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The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)

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So, for months now, I've been totally out of "this." It feels pretty good actually.

I've been focusing on my job, my health, and my family. It all feels really normal. I've been pretty uninterested in the dharma or enlightenment. It's worth noting, I'm pretty sure I "got" it, whatever "it" is. 

Yes, everything is empty, I saw that. Yes, everything is one, I can still tap into that whenever I want.

For whatever reason, though, recently, I've been turning back to the practice. The fact that I caught myself becoming a workaholic probably had a lot to do with it. 

It it all raises the question, though, am I starting a new path or simply falling back on the things that have provided me comfort in the past. 

The zeal's not there, but I'm doing vipassana, just cause that's what I've always done. It doesn't feel imperative that I find out the absolute nature of existence, but it begs the question: Am I done?

What I'm asking I guess is, and this has always drove me crazy, but what is day-to-day life like for an Arahat, for Daniel Ingram?

I can tap into "the natural state" whenever I feel like it, but it's certainly not my default operating mode. My mindfulness comes in and out, and I feel really shitty about that. But, that's normal right? 

So, I guess I'm asking, what does it feel like, on a day-to-day basis to be an Arahat?

Netflix binges? Pizza buffets? Do tell.

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
9/6/14 12:03 AM as a reply to C. Wilson.
Is there really a hard, categorical, shift into the state of arahatship that occurs in time?

I'm struggling with this because I don't see a definitive, hard, categorical end, wherein I don't practice anymore. The historical Buddha stated that the path was gradual (like an ocean-shelf) and that there was no sudden penetration to gnosis.

Dogen said that there is no separation between practice and enlightenment, it's an interesting dichotomy.

If I were to put it into words, I've been noticing a tendency in my own practice for things to just pan out, I see no difference between myself and others, between waking up and growing up, between enlightened problems and ordinary problems, and all my "struggles" that I went through to get here, really seem like they were just not a big deal at all.

It's like a reference-point-less attainment, nothing seems to mean anything, no dichotomy between samsara and nirvana.

That last line was probably a little too fancy.

Anyways peace.

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
9/6/14 12:17 AM as a reply to J J.
Great reply, James. I guess what I'm asking, though, is: Is it normal for the feeling of enlightenment to wax and wane?

Yes, I've seen the Ox-Herder art and read Jack Kornfield's "After the Ectasy," but ...

And, yes, I know the answer.

I guess I just want to make sure that I'm not missing something ... that you guys aren't walking around in eternal bliss, while I'm not.

Does anyone ever really get used to the fact that life is nothing but suffering?

Perhaps I'm lacking grace. 

Who was it who said that after enlightenment, it's just a "big bowl of dukkha"?

Namaste,

chris

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
9/6/14 1:12 AM as a reply to C. Wilson.
Oh no, I'm definitely not always happy.

Addendum: But there's nothing to "remember", there's nothing to "remember", apart from daily life.

Further addendum: You don't have to recollect anything.

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
9/6/14 5:51 PM as a reply to C. Wilson.
In case you haven't seen this before (and for other readers of this thread). 

Daniel Ingram's criteria for Arahat:


Since the topic has come up so often and been so bandied about so many times by so many people, let me state here what I mean by 4th path, regardless of what anyone else means by it. It has the following qualities:

1) Utter centerlessness: no watcher, no sense of a watcher, no subtle watcher, no possibility of a watcher. This is immediately obvious just as color is to a man with good eyesight as the old saying goes. Thus, anything and everything simply and obviously manifest just where they are. No phenomena observe any others and never did or could.

2) Utter agencylessness: meaning no agency, no sense of doing, no sense of doer, no sense that there could be any agent or doer, no way to find anything that seems to be in control at all. Whatever effort or intent or anything like that that arises does so naturally, causally, inevitably, as it always actually did. This is immediately obvious, though not always the forefront of attention.

3) No cycles change or stages or states or anything else like that do anything to this direct comprehension of simple truths at all.

4) There is no deepening in it to do. The understanding stands on its own and holds up over cycles, moods, years, etc and doesn't change at all. I have nothing to add to my initial assessment of it from 9 years ago.

5) There is nothing subtle about it: anything and everything that arises exhibits these same qualities directly, clearly. When I was third path, particularly late in it, those things that didn't exhibit these qualities were exceedingly subtle, and trying to find the gaps in the thing was exceedingly difficult and took years and many cycles. I had periods from weeks to months where it felt done and then some subtle exception would show up and I would realize I was wrong yet again, so this is natural and understandable, and if someone claims 4th as I define it here and later says they got it wrong, have sympathy for them, as this territory is not easy and can easily fool people, as it did me many, many times over about 5 years or so. However, 4th, as I term it, ended that and 9 years later that same thing holds, which is a very long time in this business.

There are other aspects that may be of value to discuss at some other time, but those are a great place to start for those who wish to claim this. If you truly have those, then perhaps we can talk about a few other points that are less central and essential.

Now, how there can still be affect (though quite modified in many ways) when there is centerlessness and agencylessness, this is a mystery to the AF kids and to me as well, and that brings me to my next point: there seems to be areas of development depending on what you look for and aim for that may arise independently, and not everything seems to come as a package necessarily. Those things are what I looked for really hard for about 7 years, and that is what I found. Now I find that the interest in the unraveling of what drives that residual affect is arising, and so that investigation happens on its own also.

Perhaps people will find this helpful in some way.

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
9/6/14 9:02 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Thanks, Tom.

No, I hadn't seen that. Good stuff.

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
9/7/14 7:42 PM as a reply to C. Wilson.
All that fun stuff said...

I was working way too hard for about 5 weeks, now finally in vacation in Asheville, and it was great to have some time to catch up with old friends, rest, eat some good food, and take it easy in these beautiful mountains. I am sitting here playing with a balloon with one of the grandkids. Major life projects: I am currently working on cleaning up my inbox and unsubscribing lots of email lists that had been taking too much time. I recently upgraded the handling on my Prius by installing a rear sway bar and tower stabilizer bar, looking at 17 inch rims and better tires, as I found it a bit squishy and it felt somewhat unstable on corners. I am trying to figure out how to sell my house, work somewhat less, and likely move here to Asheville. Life balance is the current project, really. So many things calling for my time, and then the question is, how much can this mammalian organism give and still be ok?

The experience of this field is remarkable, vastly better than before. This human life is still a human life, and to most outward appearances would appear quite ordinary: just ask my wife... ;)

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
9/7/14 8:02 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Asheville is gorgeous. I grew up in Chattanooga, not far from there.

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
4/18/18 10:45 PM as a reply to C. Wilson.
Four years later ... haha.

Man, I totally forgot about this place. I was doing a Google search for something earlier and Dharma Overground popped up. Seems like another lifetime ago.

Soooo ... yeah.

Thanks, this place. I had a crazy experience a long time ago, and this place sent me on a journey to discover what the meaning of that experience was.

So, yeah, I got enlightened. Then, another kid. Then, I got divorced, and then and then, etc.

Now I’m a certified energy healer. Channeling that shit I found from this place into something that helps people.

Crazy world. Much love. 

It’s real, folks. It works. ❤️

- Chris

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
4/19/18 7:29 AM as a reply to C. Wilson.
In Zen they have a number of sayings about this but they all revolve around the obvious: mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers, and life is life. Nothing changes but everything changes.

Read Daniel's version up-thread.

RE: The New Normal (aka the "default" state of an Arahat)
Answer
4/19/18 3:38 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Here in 2018, I'd love to hear Daniel's take on how things are at this point, beyond the utter stability described above.

Are you around Daniel? emoticon