Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Paul Kinkade, modified 7 Years ago.

Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 19 Join Date: 8/4/14 Recent Posts
"Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish."

When people say this in reference to insight practices, are they just being facetious? I realize that once I cross the A&P I'm kind of doomed to finish the path or wander through the in-between stages for the rest of my life. It doesn't sound like any arahats regret what they've done, but this forum (and MCTB ) sometimes make it seem like insight practices are only for those who have crossed the A&P accidentally and now must finish what they've started.

If I'm just an average joe, should I go ahead and do hardcore vipassana? Should I do this with my life?

I'd prefer responses only from those who have completed at least one progress of insight.
Paul
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Dream Walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 1335 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Paul Kinkade:
"Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish."
I'd prefer responses only from those who have completed at least one progress of insight.
Paul


Perhaps you may also limit it to people who had not gotten to A&P and chose to start then got to a path moment.
Don't know if there are any people here who qualify.
Good luck,
~D
James Yen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 225 Join Date: 3/31/14 Recent Posts
The fact that you're already on this forum really speaks to the possibility that you've already crossed the A&P. In general, no one really seeks solutions to problems of existential angst or suffering unless they have already started the journey. It is probably best to work from the perspective of "already begun" and work out what to do from there.

People might make it seem like it's gunning an engine to jump over a bridge, or starting the launch button for a rocket ship, it's not really like that, the nagging searching or "not rightness" is in fact insight disease.

Best wishes,

James
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Paul Kinkade, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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In general, no one really seeks solutions to problems of existential angst or suffering unless they have already started the journey
That's the thing--as far as I can tell, I don't notice any exitstential angst or suffering. It's not a real-time, experiential problem that motivates me to practice, it's just the idea that I could be living better. I read about grasping & aversion in Mindfulness in Plain English and thought freedom sounded better than my futile attempts to find satisfaction in the external world. I liked Daniel's book because the instructions were so clear and voilà, I'm here. Am I missing the point on this stuff?
James Yen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Ah, ok. So at this point it's all intellectual for you?

That's still good too, personally it was the same for me for many years, only after a streak of being vulnerable (for about 6 months) did I have an opening to this whole process, and from then on it was hell, like it literally sucked.

Thus, treading the intellectual grasping of the four noble truths, may in fact launch you into the process as well.

It is worth it.
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Teague, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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James Yen:
The fact that you're already on this forum really speaks to the possibility that you've already crossed the A&P.


Also the fact that you were able to read Daniel's book.  I've suggested that book to several people who I thought were ripe for it, and none of them were interested enought to read more than the first few chapters.  It takes a certain thirst to spend time on a website like this and to read a book like MCTB.  And it's a thirst that can only be quenched by one thing... enlightenment, baby!

-T
x x, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Hey Paul, you're asking a really good question.

I would say that there is a real reason why the saying exists and why it continues to be repeated, generation after generation. Meditation is a slippery slope and it really does wind up being something that takes on a life of its own. So it's important to really think about your life and what you really need or want right now.

Life is very unpredictable and short even when we are lucky enough to live "a long life". There will always be regrets about what we manage to do in our short time on earth... but hopefully we can minimize those regrets.

Here's what I would suggest... if there is something that quickly comes to mind as an alternative to spending time meditating, really spend time with that idea. Don't put it aside or deny it. Also keep researching meditation, either by reading or talking with people or trying it out.

There's no magical answer. You need to feel your way through this life for yourself.

Don't get seduced by people who claim that "X" is the best thing to do with your life --- they are probably saying that to help reinforce their decision that "X" is the most important thing to do in their life.

I think the domain of meditation is so wildly interesting that I can't even imagine what my life would be without it... but honestly, if you talk with people you see that people feel the same way about the decisions they have made for their life, whether it is a career or music or travel or or dating or art or charity or family or school or craft... so remember the flesh and blood human side to all of this. Meditation has also been a really hard path and not something I could just blindly wish on someone else. I think that would be cruel.

When I hear someone voice a passing interest in meditation, I often have the thought "perhaps better never to have started, once started best to finish".  I don't just rush up and offer encouragement to start meditation.

Take your time, feel it out. Keep asking good questions. Good luck!
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Paul Kinkade:
"Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish."

When people say this in reference to insight practices, are they just being facetious? I realize that once I cross the A&P I'm kind of doomed to finish the path or wander through the in-between stages for the rest of my life. It doesn't sound like any arahats regret what they've done, but this forum (and MCTB ) sometimes make it seem like insight practices are only for those who have crossed the A&P accidentally and now must finish what they've started.

If I'm just an average joe, should I go ahead and do hardcore vipassana? Should I do this with my life?


Short answer: No.

Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Really though, from one human being to another, I really want to warn you off this path. Undertaking it was probably the single largest mistake of my life. Though it wasn't one mistake, more like a long series of them since I was doing it for a year or two.

I would recommend a normal life over a spiritual one. However, I would recommend actualism over a normal life, so I will answer your questions about that on that thread.
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Eric M W, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 288 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Paul Kinkade:
"Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish."

When people say this in reference to insight practices, are they just being facetious? I realize that once I cross the A&P I'm kind of doomed to finish the path or wander through the in-between stages for the rest of my life. It doesn't sound like any arahats regret what they've done, but this forum (and MCTB ) sometimes make it seem like insight practices are only for those who have crossed the A&P accidentally and now must finish what they've started.

If I'm just an average joe, should I go ahead and do hardcore vipassana? Should I do this with my life?


Short answer: No.

Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Really though, from one human being to another, I really want to warn you off this path. Undertaking it was probably the single largest mistake of my life. Though it wasn't one mistake, more like a long series of them since I was doing it for a year or two.

I would recommend a normal life over a spiritual one. However, I would recommend actualism over a normal life, so I will answer your questions about that on that thread.

Beoman Fire Bird... Thing, your comments are interesting. It is true that insight meditation is often unpleasant, but the end result (theoretically) is the erradication of certain levels of suffering at each successive Path moment, with freedom from all suffering occuring at 4th Path. And yet, you wish to warn others away.

What is most interesting, is that you were quite happy and enthusiastic when you attained stream-entry. Unfortunately, that particular post was eaten in the transition to the new website, but I remember you saying something about watching the backs of your eyelids and seeing the nanas play out-- sad faces when Misery rolled around, for example-- and attaining a very clear no-self fruition. You also had some posts about "solving" koans and attaining cessations that way. Forgive me if any of this is inaccurate. My point is, you seemed very happy with the results of your efforts.

Furthermore, correct me if I am wrong, but didn't you submit an Erowid experience report about your experiences? This would indicate at least some degree of wanting to share what you had learned with others.

I am curious as to why you feel differently now. A whole lot of people have spent enormous amounts of time, sometimes their entire lives, practicing and teaching meditation. Clearly they felt that this practice was of value. It is only fair that you explain why you feel it is not worth pursuing.
James Yen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 225 Join Date: 3/31/14 Recent Posts
The posts are still there!

...
My Evaluation (I'm already leaving this part out of KFDh due to their ways there, let me know at DhO if you think i should not include this, but i feel it's relevant for evaluating my mental state): ringing ear tone / solidity was pre-nyana / mind + body which i usually don't notice. the ear tone getting more complex was getting into A&P/3rd jhana. scary faces was fear. murky visuals was misery. disgusted face/smell was disgust. the "fruition Platform" was maybe an earlier cycle that i was perpetuating? don't think i got out of re-observation this time, but i think the all-encompassing lower pitch sound might be hints of equanimity.
...


...
then i turned the lights on, and now this one was REALLY fun. first i noticed just some redness. then the redness kept expanding and expanding. then i started to see what I think are the veins in the eyelids. however, it soon got into really crazy visuals. the veins really thinned out and became more like spiderwebs and rings around the vision. the background became a really detailed texture of ‘lava’ almost, like yellow, black, and brown. after it formed, it started shifting crazily. it felt like the rings were dancing around, going from right to left really quickly, while the lava background distorted in all different directions at once.
...


http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1428405

and



http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1320285
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Eric M W, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 288 Join Date: 3/19/14 Recent Posts
James Yen:
The posts are still there!

...
My Evaluation (I'm already leaving this part out of KFDh due to their ways there, let me know at DhO if you think i should not include this, but i feel it's relevant for evaluating my mental state): ringing ear tone / solidity was pre-nyana / mind + body which i usually don't notice. the ear tone getting more complex was getting into A&P/3rd jhana. scary faces was fear. murky visuals was misery. disgusted face/smell was disgust. the "fruition Platform" was maybe an earlier cycle that i was perpetuating? don't think i got out of re-observation this time, but i think the all-encompassing lower pitch sound might be hints of equanimity.
...


...
then i turned the lights on, and now this one was REALLY fun. first i noticed just some redness. then the redness kept expanding and expanding. then i started to see what I think are the veins in the eyelids. however, it soon got into really crazy visuals. the veins really thinned out and became more like spiderwebs and rings around the vision. the background became a really detailed texture of ‘lava’ almost, like yellow, black, and brown. after it formed, it started shifting crazily. it felt like the rings were dancing around, going from right to left really quickly, while the lava background distorted in all different directions at once.
...


http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1428405

and



http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1320285
Thank you James, those were the posts I was referencing. I also found this one by Beoman in another thread:

After my stream entry I was very hyper-charged and energetic. My first review phase was amazing and I could fruition at will doing just about anything. I would totally show off with it, too. Like I would be like "ok I'm gonna lean back in my chair, hang my head upside down, then have a fruition just for the heck of it", and then I would do exactly that. Great stuff.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4876916

My question to Beoman remains-- why the sudden shift in opinion on the benefits of meditation? Vipassana seems to provide a whole lot of fun, interesting, and profound levels of experience. I am curious as to why this is a bad thing. I do not mean to come off as confrontational. Rather, I simply do not want to be fooled into taking a path that seems fun but is really not worth the trouble.
Jeremy May, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 191 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
I love you, James.

It is a good question to ponder... 
Had I not began my quest, I would be quite happy and probably wealthy.
Knowing what I know now, I thank God everyday that I didn't settle for that, though I am empty and I have been broke for two years.

Had I not finished my quest, I would have been destroyed.  There is no question about that.

But did I ever have a choice?  Like James said in another post, those who are strongest, hurt most.  It was the suffering around me that pushed me onto the path.  It was also the suffering around me that made me push through the path.  I don't think I could have ever said, "No, I will stay with this imperfect understanding and live as well as I can."  

It was worth the cost.  It was worth the cost a thousand times over...
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Hi Eric,

Eric M W:
I also found this one by Beoman in another thread:

After my stream entry I was very hyper-charged and energetic. My first review phase was amazing and I could fruition at will doing just about anything. I would totally show off with it, too. Like I would be like "ok I'm gonna lean back in my chair, hang my head upside down, then have a fruition just for the heck of it", and then I would do exactly that. Great stuff.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4876916

My question to Beoman remains-- why the sudden shift in opinion on the benefits of meditation? Vipassana seems to provide a whole lot of fun, interesting, and profound levels of experience. I am curious as to why this is a bad thing. I do not mean to come off as confrontational. Rather, I simply do not want to be fooled into taking a path that seems fun but is really not worth the trouble.

It's a good question. For part of the answer you need look no further than the next paragraph from this post you quoted. The next paragraph I wrote is (emphasis added):
Encouraged by that ease of mental manipulation, I decided to make as rapid progress as I could through the next cycle. Things started falling apart pretty quickly, though, and I got myself into a pretty unpleasant state wherein I would be making rapid progress through the cycles, yet I would also be in a lot of pain as a result of not going through it all carefully. I would say to take your time and really investigate, and heed well Daniel's advice in this easy-to-miss sentence of his:
On the other hand, even if you gain all kinds of strong concentration, look deeply into impermanence, suffering and no-self, but can't just open to these things, can't just let them be, can't accept the sometimes absurd and frightening truths of your experience, then you will likely be stuck in hell until you can, particularly in the higher stages of insight practices.


Also at the end of that post I allude to the reason that I stopped meditating:
Good luck, and I would recommend you reflect often and well on what exactly your motivations are for pursuing this - that is, what you expect to get out of it - and what you are currently getting out of it, and whether those two are matching up.

Basically, what I wanted to get out of meditation, and the actual results I was getting, were not matching up. I started meditating because I saw that there was much more to life - that it was possible to lead a much better life than I was - and I wanted to lead that better life. There were initial successes, though nothing definitive. Then I found MCTB and my life quickly became more and more miserable - commonly termed the Dark Night. I pushed through it and got stream entry, which was quite an accomplishment, I felt awesome about it, and I felt awesome for a brief period. But then the Dark Nights continued - the post above described what happened after stream entry, not before.

I had been pushing for a while and being miserable for a while. Then I learned about actualism, and recognized somehow that that's what I wanted. What Richard was writing about, seemed to align much better with what I initially got into meditation for. However, I was misled - doesn't matter whether it was intentional or not - and was practicing "aff" (mostly with Trent as a guide), and not actualism. It took me visiting Richard & Vineeto in Australia to see that I was misled. As soon as I figured out where I had gone wrong with actualism - and how meditation would never, ever lead to PCEs (except maybe by accident) or actual freedom (not even by accident) - then it was easy to make the decision to switch. It did take a few months of intense cognitive dissonance until I could say all this with confidence, though.

It is possible if I kept meditating I would have gotten better results from meditating. I'd argue I tried it for a long time, but I could have done it more, or differently, perhaps. But as soon as I understood that it would never lead to what Richard describes, I had no reason to continue down that path.
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Eric M W, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Thank you for your response. 

Was it the "big" Dark Night of second path that made your life miserable, or was it cycling through "small" DNs in review? It sucks, I'll admit. I've been a dark night yogi for two years now.

I hope whatever path you choose brings you happiness.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Eric M W:
Thank you for your response. 

Was it the "big" Dark Night of second path that made your life miserable, or was it cycling through "small" DNs in review? It sucks, I'll admit. I've been a dark night yogi for two years now.


Well the pre-path one sucked, the 2nd path one sucked more, and after that it just sort of kept perpetually sucking and I kept getting dragged into that unpleasant morass. I thought that I had to continue to get the dark nights to stop, but then I realized that I could just stop meditating, instead, and deal with all the fallouts of that. It took a while to stop meditating after having done it almost non-stop for over a year, and I still suffer some after-effects, but the cycling has stopped.

Eric M W:
I hope whatever path you choose brings you happiness.


Likewise for you!
Jeremy May, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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It's time for you, Dragon.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Jeremy May:
It's time for you, Dragon.
Can you elaborate?
Jeremy May, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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No.  Not yet needed.
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


Well the pre-path one sucked, the 2nd path one sucked more, and after that it just sort of kept perpetually sucking and I kept getting dragged into that unpleasant morass. I thought that I had to continue to get the dark nights to stop, but then I realized that I could just stop meditating, instead, and deal with all the fallouts of that. It took a while to stop meditating after having done it almost non-stop for over a year, and I still suffer some after-effects, but the cycling has stopped.


So you regret ever practicing vipassana and getting SE and wish you'd just started doing AF? I've noticed that most of the people who have some AF attainment (Richard himself, Trent, Tarin, Daniel, and Jill all claimed some type of freedom from doing AF-style practices) had a background in vipassana and had reached some high levels of attainment - Richard himself claims to have been an arahat for years before discovering AF.

Kind of reminds me of people like UG Krishnamurti who meditated for years, had some kind of transformative enlightenment experience, and then bizarrely claimed that the meditation had nothing to do with it. You don't think that vipassana can help get people started with AF?

What would you recommend to someone who had never done either - how would you suggest they start?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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J C:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


Well the pre-path one sucked, the 2nd path one sucked more, and after that it just sort of kept perpetually sucking and I kept getting dragged into that unpleasant morass. I thought that I had to continue to get the dark nights to stop, but then I realized that I could just stop meditating, instead, and deal with all the fallouts of that. It took a while to stop meditating after having done it almost non-stop for over a year, and I still suffer some after-effects, but the cycling has stopped.


So you regret ever practicing vipassana and getting SE and wish you'd just started doing AF?

Yep. I am pretty sure I would be better off now if I had come across the actualism site instead of MCTB when I did. Or maybe I would have dismissed it, I don't know. Either way I figured it out now, so that's good.

J C:
I've noticed that most of the people who have some AF attainment (Richard himself, Trent, Tarin, Daniel, and Jill all claimed some type of freedom from doing AF-style practices) had a background in vipassana and had reached some high levels of attainment - Richard himself claims to have been an arahat for years before discovering AF.

Hmm... well all those people (besides Richard) didn't attain actual freedom - because they themselves rescinded that claim. I'm not 100% sure about Trent - someone said that he did rescind it, but he couldn't point me to the thread - but I'm pretty sure about the rest. And to be precise, Daniel never rescinded a claim to actual freedom as he never did claim actual freedom. So of a large group of people who had vipassana backgrounds, none of them managed to attain actual freedom. That is not a good track record for success.

As to Richard, he didn't have a background in Vipassana. He became enlightened by mis-application of the actualism method - where instead of minimizing the 'good' and 'bad' feelings and maximizing the felicitous ones, he minimized the 'bad' feelings and maximized the 'good' ones. He never studied the three characteristics or applied them to his ongoing experience, moment-to-moment, etc., in order to become enlightened. He actually didn't know he was enlightened until he started telling people about what happened to him, and they recommended he read books about enlightenment. Further, Richard himself recommends against becoming actually free via enlightened:

RESPONDENT: Do you see enlightenment as necessary step to get to where you are at?
RICHARD: No ... no one else need ever take that route again (and I would not wish upon anyone to have to follow in my footsteps for I had to run the full gamut of existential angst to break through to what lay beyond). I always liken it to the physical adventure that Mr. James Cook undertook to journey to Australia two hundred plus years ago. It took him over a year in a leaky wooden boat with hard tack for food and immense dangers along the way. Nowadays, one can fly to Australia in twenty-seven hours in air-conditioned comfort, eating hygienically prepared food and watching an in-flight movie into the bargain.
No one has to go the path of the trail-blazer and forge along in another leaky wooden boat. [link

So all of the examples that you listed actually support my point that it's better not to have gotten stream-entry or to have practiced vipassana.

J C:
Kind of reminds me of people like UG Krishnamurti who meditated for years, had some kind of transformative enlightenment experience, and then bizarrely claimed that the meditation had nothing to do with it. You don't think that vipassana can help get people started with AF?

I don't know that that's such a good comparison. I didn't have a transformative enlightenment-type experience that led me to pursue actual freedom. It isn't like all of 'my' being changed into something else, then I claimed that what 'I' did before had nothing to do with that change. 'I' remained the same, for the most part, I just realized I wanted to pursue something else. And then I noticed that the mental and emotional habits that I had trained myself into, persistently, for over a year, were a hindrance to being happy and harmless, which is what the actualism method is. So yes, I don't think that vipassana can help people get started with AF. It really has nothing to do with it.

However, I could see how an interest in vipassana could lead to an interest in the self, and could then lead one to question what the self is, etc., which could lead one to be interested in actualism and actual freedom where they otherwise might not have been. But then it's not any particular aspect of what vipassana actually is, or that you 'learn' by doing vipassana, that helps with actualism, it's just the general interest in the self. You don't need vipassana to figure out that the self is a weird, bizarre, anti-rational, quite often harmful thing. And if you take vipassana far enough, perhaps by crossing the A&P, and then you get wrapped up in that spiritual trip, then that would start making it more difficult to pursue actualism.

J C:
What would you recommend to someone who had never done either - how would you suggest they start?

I would suggest they carefully examine both what actualism and vipassana have to offer and figure out which has the 'goods' that they want for themselves.
Jeremy May, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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I agree 100% with Dragon.
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Jeremy May:
I agree 100% with Dragon.

Really? You find meditation to be harmful? I'd be curious to hear exactly how and why, and what happened... Claudiu has stated that his vipassana practice consisted of reducing emotions to physical sensations, which doesn't seem necessary - my own approach is to note both the emotions and the physical sensations.
Jeremy May, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Tantra can create both DemonKings and Buddhas.  Look that up, mister.
Pål, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Do you think vipassana equals to tantra?
Jeremy May, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Tantra is an umbrella term for all meditation techniques.

Some meditations empower a person's ego.  
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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J C:
Jeremy May:
I agree 100% with Dragon.

Really? You find meditation to be harmful? I'd be curious to hear exactly how and why, and what happened... Claudiu has stated that his vipassana practice consisted of reducing emotions to physical sensations, which doesn't seem necessary - my own approach is to note both the emotions and the physical sensations.
I was noting emotions as well. The question is, what is an emotion as you understand it? Can it entirely be explained by thoughts + physical sensations, or is there more to it?
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
J C:
Jeremy May:
I agree 100% with Dragon.

Really? You find meditation to be harmful? I'd be curious to hear exactly how and why, and what happened... Claudiu has stated that his vipassana practice consisted of reducing emotions to physical sensations, which doesn't seem necessary - my own approach is to note both the emotions and the physical sensations.
I was noting emotions as well. The question is, what is an emotion as you understand it? Can it entirely be explained by thoughts + physical sensations, or is there more to it?


There's more to it, in the sense that an emotion is an observed pattern that affects how you think and respond to things. When I'm irritable or happy or sad or anything else, there are thoughts and physical sensations, but there is also a different pattern of responses and a different pattern of thoughts - thoughts may arise faster or slower, with more or less reactivity, and so on.

What's your conclusion? How would you describe the "more to it" of emotions?
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

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J C:
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
J C:
Jeremy May:
I agree 100% with Dragon.

Really? You find meditation to be harmful? I'd be curious to hear exactly how and why, and what happened... Claudiu has stated that his vipassana practice consisted of reducing emotions to physical sensations, which doesn't seem necessary - my own approach is to note both the emotions and the physical sensations.
I was noting emotions as well. The question is, what is an emotion as you understand it? Can it entirely be explained by thoughts + physical sensations, or is there more to it?


There's more to it, in the sense that an emotion is an observed pattern that affects how you think and respond to things. When I'm irritable or happy or sad or anything else, there are thoughts and physical sensations, but there is also a different pattern of responses and a different pattern of thoughts - thoughts may arise faster or slower, with more or less reactivity, and so on.

So is an emotion that very pattern of thoughts and physical sensations, which pattern may be different depending on the emotion? Is there anything to it besides the pattern of thoughts and physical sensations, I mean?

J C:
What's your conclusion? How would you describe the "more to it" of emotions?
My conclusion is that an emotion is that which results in various thoughts and physical sensations, but it isn't the thoughts and physical sensations themselves. It is separate from them and comes before. The emotion of anxiety isn't the elevated heart-beat and, say, tightening in the chest - it is that which causes the heart beat to rise and the muscles in the chest to tighten. The emotion itself is extra-sensory and is picked up intuitively. That is, you don't know which emotion it is based on what physical sensations are occurring, rather, you know what it is intuitively, and you come to associate the resulting physical sensations with it, but it isn't those sensations themselves.

As far as I can tell, in buddhistic circles like this and KfD, there isn't anything besides the five senses plus thoughts, so emotions are slotted amongst thongs things. I remember a Skype chat I had with Daniel which confirmed this. I don't remember the context, he said something along those lines, that there are just thoughts plus the five senses, but then he acknowledged that that may be a buddhist thing. Hopefully he can chime in to clarify if my recollection is incorrect.
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Daniel Leffler, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 292 Join Date: 9/9/14 Recent Posts
I think Chogyam Trungpa said that originally?
The Buddha said the Dharma is good in the beginning, middle, and the end
I tend to go with the latter, although your thread quote certainly resonates at times
I'm not even meant to be responding here because I'm neither a Stream Enterer (no blips) nor a pre-A&P happy- go-lucky guy, so for whatever it's worth
When Morpheus offers Neo to take the blue or the red pill, which do you root for?
It's a deep F-ing question, which would you take?
I think it was Adyashanti that said Enlightenment isn't about being happy (which pissed me off ;) but there is a deep sense of peace, contentment and sometimes fearlessness that I've personally gained from walking the path
As for Actualism I have no personal experience, but I've experienced what they refer to as PCEs (though considering they practically trademarked the experience my assertion may piss the Actualists off haha), and the writings of Tommy McNally (in your other post) and Daniel Ingram (in his write-up) make a lot more sense to me than others that have dogmatic beliefs about Self and 100% Freedom and Actualism being something totally new and different that no one else knows about. Sounds a lot like religion to me, and I mean that in a bad way.
One suggestion may be to search for deep contentment in 'normal' things, girlfriend (or boyfriend), job, money, nice stuff, vacations, etc. and see if you find it there. Never did the trick for me 
Tom Tom, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 466 Join Date: 9/19/09 Recent Posts
I made a thread like this way back in the day:

http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/418486?doAsUserId=U4FYRpmIICQ%3D%2F-%2Fmessage_boards%2Fmessage%2F10847%2F-%2Fmessage_boards%2Fmessage%2F392971

I believe the Chogyam Trungpa quote is: 'If you can possibly avoid the spiritual life you should do so."

With the insight I have now, I am extremely grateful for it (I am somewhere between very late 3rd-4th by Daniel's criteria).  It continues to provide astounding benefits day after day.  I did go through a lot of troubles (probably an understatement) to get where I am, though I did get there relatively quickly.  I very highly doubt you will go through the degree and amount of trouble I had to go through (due to mental illness), and even I think it was worth it, but I have no guarantees about how long it will take you.  However, the amount and quality of information available has never been better.



Tom Tom, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 466 Join Date: 9/19/09 Recent Posts
should I go ahead and do hardcore vipassana?


Also, it doesn't necessarily need to be done "hardcore."  For me the word "hardcore" represents high standards of wisdom and not some forceful and strained method of meditation.
Pål, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Best not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.

Posts: 778 Join Date: 9/30/14 Recent Posts
Well if you're not sure about insight but interested in meditation, I guess you could do like the Buddha himself did: start by going hardcore concentration! emoticon

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