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The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/18/14 6:58 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log ftw 9/18/14 7:10 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Karalee Peltomaa 9/18/14 8:29 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Eric M W 9/18/14 12:33 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Florian 9/25/14 10:46 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Not Tao 9/25/14 2:44 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/26/14 5:32 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/26/14 5:43 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Not Tao 9/26/14 10:38 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/28/14 7:24 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log John Wilde 9/28/14 10:52 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/28/14 7:45 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log John Wilde 9/28/14 8:42 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/28/14 9:11 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Not Tao 9/28/14 9:42 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log John Wilde 9/28/14 10:09 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/29/14 3:54 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Not Tao 9/29/14 12:43 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/30/14 5:27 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Not Tao 10/1/14 8:04 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Jenny 10/1/14 11:25 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 10/21/14 5:14 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Rod 10/21/14 7:18 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Jeremy May 10/21/14 7:20 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log J C 10/29/14 2:08 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 10/29/14 2:54 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Teague 9/19/14 9:36 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/19/14 9:49 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/24/14 7:48 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Tom Tom 9/24/14 8:02 PM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Karalee Peltomaa 9/25/14 9:58 AM
RE: The Last Step - Practice Log Dream Walker 9/29/14 11:55 AM
The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/18/14 6:58 AM
I am going to use this thread to track and report my progress from late anagami to arahat (according to Daniel Ingram's criteria).

For background purposes I sent the following e-mail to Daniel:

Hi Daniel,
I was re-reading your actualism article and came across this: "So things progressed, cycle after cycle after cycle for 6 years, until that retreat in April, 2003 when suddenly the last little warp in space, that last little, hyper-elusive knot of distorted perception was untangled and didn't re-tangle and the thing was now so straightforward, so simple, so obvious, with such a definitive sense, "Ah! Finally! That makes sense! That is it! That is the answer that I have been looking for!" I still have that feeling 10 years later, which is a long time in this business."
How do I get past that "last little warp in space"?  I'm getting pretty sick of it.  I have no sense of some self in some "super-space" and am well "aware" that there is no awareness separate from the sensations themselves.  There are only sensations.  I have no sense of some "void-like" potential to which all returns and all arises.  I experience pretty much no time or time pressure either.  This is very stable.
However, there is still some kind of warp perhaps in the head and thus I do not experience complete and utter agencylessness at all times, though there is a distinct lack of agency.  How do I get to the point where I can say "Finally, that makes sense, that's what I was looking for"?  What am I missing?  It's been like this for two years now.
Thanks for any help you can give,Tom Vitale (Tom Tom)

Daniel Ingram

11:23 AM (14 hours ago)

to me
Dear Tom,
Well, my strategy was simply to go for 100% investigation of all sensations all the way through the entire field of experience on retreat every single second I was awake for about a week and that did it, meaning about 18-20 hours per day of that, ferociously, relentlessly, like a man possessed.
Mileage may vary depending on the setup and what is going on with you in your practice.
On that last retreat, I basically flailed around for about 7 days, meaning had a Fruition every few minutes, attained to hard formless realms again and again, attained to Nirodha Samapatti a few times out of sheer frustration, confusion and boredom, and, finally, after a serious case of primal disgust with all of that and how none of it helped, simply went brutally for the heart of the thing using a very simple assumption: if no sensation is allowed to ever arise and vanish again without clear comprehension of the Three Characteristics of it, including everything that seemed to be left in that maddening little space warp, then eventually the last illusion will fall. This proved to be the case.




I've been getting the motivation to finish this thing up recently, but the impetus has come when my girlfriend of a little more than a year decided to quit the relationship a couple of weeks ago.  She is a Christian and I never told her I was enlightened though she knew I was into Buddhism.  Ironically, one of the reasons she quit the relationship was because she felt she needed to advance "spiritually" and be closer to God (though I'm sure this wasn't the only reason). She probably is in some kind of A&Pish territory.  I actually always had a lot of trouble explaining to her about the dharma and enlightenment, I tended to avoid the topic for the most part, not that she wasn't willing to listen.

I never could seem to bridge the gap between her concepts and mine. She would often talk in a very dualistic way about God and her relationship with him. Buddhist or even Hindu concepts were very foreign to her and I was often at a total loss to explain anything that I knew in a way that would be understandable.  I was also baptized Christian and went to Sunday school for eight years, due to my mother's influence, and I still couldn't bridge the gap.  She is also one of the more open-minded Christians I have met.  I'm not sure if the fact that she is "spiritually unsatisfied" is due to a failure on my part or simply due to some fundamental incompatibility between the Buddha-dharma and Christianity.  

I know people on this forum often talk about "Christian Mystics," but most Christians aren't "Christian mystics" or anything close to that.  They seem to, perhaps unconsciously, believe God to be a real entity made in "man's image" who is "out there" somewhere.  Getting around this is extremely difficult, I just can't do it. How am supposed to explain that there is no separate self when they implicitly believe that not only that there is a separate self, but that that self is in a personal human-like relationship with another separate Self?  I know in MCTB there are the "God" models working in the sense that God is manifesting here and now in every sensation, and therefore getting enlightened is seeing through the delusion of "free will" and as such 'you' begin to act more in "God's channel,"  but explaining this only works if the person has some doubt about the validty of a separate self to relate to that separate God to begin with.

I am reminded of MCTB's warning about discovering loneliness.  Although I don't actually feel particularly lonely, there is loneliness in realization.  Loneliness that I can't seem to communicate it effectively to more than 99% of the population.  I sometimes wonder about how the Buddha was able to spread his Dharma for so long when it is so esoteric and foreign to most people.   This was done without the internet or even a writing system and, for the most part, I can't even explain it or even direct people who seem to be spiritually searching for something.

It is with these thoughts that I now embark on finally finishing this thing once and for all, and am starting my first official practice log on this forum as a way of committing myself to this goal. 

Sit Log 1. September 18, 2014. 4am. 30 minutes. (For conciseness, I will not always be using complete sentences in my sit logs)

Immediately the impermanece of sensations predominated. Mulltitudinous sensations flickering in and out of existence, bodily sensations, sounds, a slight ringing in the ears, head, arms, feet, toes, legs, back, butt, fingers all exist only as transient blips. It seems nothing is being missed, but yet I know something is (maddening). Focused on the instructions to not allow any sensations by without noticing the 3Cs. Gradually after a couple minutes some exceptions showed up. The neck seems to be an island of permanence in an ocean of blips. The neck doesn't seem to want to break. Some small tension between thought sensations and neck sensations. The relationship between the body and the surrounding "external" sensations starts being investigated. Looking for artificial boundaries between body and environment and breaking them down into their component sensations. Dropped into boundless space for a bit. Things speed up a bit and this is apparent in the rapidly flickering visual sensations (blips of blackness and blips of whiteness). I'm not used to logging my sits and thus the mental sensations involving narrating and recording the sit are seen as blips too. There is some kind of dualistic tension between these auditory thoughts and the sensations in the neck. There is still some maddening "warp" somewhere. Thoughts seem to activate component neck muscle sensations where the words would normally be spoken aloud. Finally, the neck starts to break. The sides of the neck start to blip out first, then the front, then finally the back.




RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/18/14 7:10 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
emoticon

Thumbs up and good luck TT!

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/18/14 8:29 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Hello TT,

I share your angst about loneliness, i.e., the playing field getting sparser -- "...99 percent of the population ...".   My solution is to check myself for compulsions re "To Help" and "To Enhance", etc.    I feel that people "must know" ..... and it is my desire to have players of equal or greater magnitude.  So I am working on clearing out mental compulsions that will simply send me into a tailspin re others.  

Even though I am fortunate to have my partner joining me in my clearing activities, as long as we have our current mind-of-lies and conflict, there will be at times a sense of separation -- when one of us has gone off into the deep end.  The only thing I can do in that situation is to find and release what it is within myself that reacts negatively to another's "unreason".

Being with a partner who more specifically shares your path and where you are on your path is less taxing.    

And, of course, on a higher perspective we all know they are just "me" playing a game with myself.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/18/14 12:33 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom,

I understand your frustrations and confusion regarding your ex-girlfriend's faith. My wife is a conservative Christian. The only time I have ever mentioned my practice is when she wanted to divorce me because she thought I didn't love her anymore, because I had been miserable for years. I sent a long email explaining my A&P experience, the DN, the maps. I expected to be laughed out of the house, but to my surprise, she seemed to accept it. She said she didn't understand and didn't really want to understand, but was happy to know that my mental state had nothing to do with our marriage. She has tried to help in little ways, like taking the kids for a while so I can meditate, which has truly touched my heart. I expect that will end soon, though, as she is set to deliver our fourth child in less than two weeks. Hooray for sleepless nights...

For my wife, spirituality means going to church, listening to the preacher, and reading daily devotions. God is some "being" who is "out there." Quite where he is, no one seems to know. It's very frustrating for me, as an ex-Christian, because there are so many fallacies within that belief system. I'm not sure how to approach the subject when it comes to discussing my own beliefs.

I think fast investigation of the 3C's is the best option, if it worked for Daniel it will probably work for you. You seem to have had some success so far.

One more exercise you might try-- go into 6th jhana and see the 'Watcher' flicker.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/19/14 9:36 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
What's a warp, in the sense you're using the term?

-T

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/19/14 9:49 PM as a reply to Teague.
What's a warp, in the sense you're using the term?

-T


I'm using the term in the same way Daniel used it in his article: "My Experiments in Actualism."  As far as what it is, it isn't anything at all, it's some small remaining bit of illusion that's not really there.  It's whatever small amount of left-over sensations that are arising and passing without the three characteristics of them being completely and totally known.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/24/14 7:48 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Sit Log 2. September 19-23, 2014. 30 minutes per sit.

I've been sitting for 30 minutes per day since I started this practice log and things have been going well.  Most of my investigation during sits has been going toward investigation of the sensations in and around the neck and the subtle dualities between these and thoughts.  The main investigation has been the impermanence of these sensations, but a few sits have gone towards the unsatisfactory (dukkha) nature of them.  

Analysis off cushion has been toward a continuous dissection of agency.  A subtle sense of agency seems to be all that is left, and as I have stated, I experience no sense of time.

Some sitting time has also been spent trying to analyze what is left of attention.  I seem to have little to no sense of attention. Investigation of neck sensations has been a priority, but this does not seem to exclude the other sensations much. There are only sensations and whatever arising and passing mental sensations that might be thought of as attention are seen as only more mental sensations.

I've noticed that a lack of attention does not seem to mean I lack the ability to tune things out if I'm not listening.  For example, if I'm reading and people are talking I won't always know what they're saying since the focus is on what I'm reading and not what the people are saying.  I've been looking at this, and strangely, I tend to hear some jumble of sounds but it is not processed in a way that makes it understandable if the "focus" is on something else.  Whether this constitutes some form of attention or not I'm not sure. 

A kick to the left-over sense of agency is my top priority and since sitting I have noticed some significant diminishment in agency when not on the cushion.  I'm still not where I want to be in terms of a 100% lack of agency, but I seem to be getting closer (quantitatively, it's currently at about 85%).   To what extent some remaining sense of attention may be creating some small sense of agency is also a consideration and is an additional thing I'll be analyzing in future sits.




RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/24/14 8:02 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
For my wife, spirituality means going to church, listening to the preacher, and reading daily devotions. God is some "being" who is "out there." Quite where he is, no one seems to know. It's very frustrating for me, as an ex-Christian, because there are so many fallacies within that belief system. I'm not sure how to approach the subject when it comes to discussing my own beliefs.


Thanks for sharing your experience.  To me it's not really a frustration about not being able to express or share my "beliefs."  It's more about my ability, or current lack thereof, to be skillful in communicating to people who are working with different spiritual paradigms so that I can help them make progress.  

Based on listening to various enlightened teachers, across many traditions, it is abundantly clear to me that they're all talking about the same realization using different terminology.  Many of these teachers, particularly Hindu teachers, will use phrases like the "Divine Person," or "God," but with the requisite insight it's pretty easy to read between the lines to see that their realization is the same as that found in Buddhism.  It's the whole True Self vs. No-self distinction where, in reality, there is no distinction.  It's merely a distinction in language and not in realization.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/25/14 9:58 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
What Tom Tom wrote:


"Based on listening to various enlightened teachers, across many traditions, it is abundantly clear to me that they're all talking about the same realization using different terminology.  Many of these teachers, particularly Hindu teachers, will use phrases like the "Divine Person," or "God," but with the requisite insight it's pretty easy to read between the lines to see that their realization is the same as that found in Buddhism.  It's the whole True Self vs. No-self distinction where, in reality, there is no distinction.  It's merely a distinction in language and not in realization."

Yes, perhaps even some gnostic and devotional Christians.  In my own insightful sittings, however, I see that a barrier of separation was intentionally set up by the original One so that it might have a different and more persistent experience of itself as "not-self".   Does that make any sense?

On the "not-creator" or "not-god" (anymore) side of the wall of postulates (postulare -- to demand) I find myself experiencing very intensely and I can usually trace all my self-destructive and destructive tendencies back to that incident (yes, it was an incident).    Only once that wall is taken down by direct looking (which can take many routes and forms and types of practices) can one no longer be stuck in the awareness of there being a creator who is "not-them".   I equate that with Nirvana, eternal bliss and oneness.

I see too that one can, by letting go of all the negativities of their existence, be in accord with the one they view as the divine creator:  There were both bliss and agony in the separation incident.  If one lets go of both then they can once more see all that they have done and be all that -- or be nothing but awareness.  

In Christianity, this set of First Postulates is called the Logos and is given some importance.   Take away the mystery, romanticism and aesthetics and take an analytical look at what exactly was the first postulate set that created thee and me.  All practices point in this direction and very few practitioners are able to totally "remove the veil".  That is a testament to how well our postulates work, and still are, for thee and me -  if not "are", at least "were" that One.

I used some Christian terms because of the mention of one's wife being Christian and because I started out practicing devotional Christianity and read much and have had much subjective insight of this very incident... how it was experienced by me at that time, and letting go of the decisions I made as a "not-creator".  We have all been on an eons long careening path based upon the decisions we made long, long ago.  Are we having fun yet?   :-)

This is all my own experience base and please take it only as that.   It may not be true for you, as I would not wish to put any limits on the All-that-is.





RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/25/14 10:46 AM as a reply to Eric M W.
Hi Eric,

Eric M W:
she is set to deliver our fourth child in less than two weeks.


Hey, congratulations!

For my wife, spirituality means going to church, listening to the preacher, and reading daily devotions. God is some "being" who is "out there." Quite where he is, no one seems to know. It's very frustrating for me, as an ex-Christian, because there are so many fallacies within that belief system. I'm not sure how to approach the subject when it comes to discussing my own beliefs.


Yeah... man, we've experienced very similar frustrations, my wife and me. She's not Christian, though. What I'm about to say is not advice, just the step I took from there to where I am now:

I tried to express myself without using any religious language at all. It was so hard I ended up mostly listening to what she had to say. In the meantime that led to us discovering common experiences we had never even talked about, and us finding ways to talk about "this stuff" which is meaningful to both of us. So far, this approach has been worth the effort of shutting up until I find a totally everyday way of speaking about the far-out stuff.

Again: not advice on how to have a relationship, just a report on what we did.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/25/14 2:44 PM as a reply to Florian.
This thread is a bit confusing to me.  What exactly is lonely if you believe yourself to be a part of everyting?  Maybe that, itself, is this "warp" that's keeping you away from your goal of unity.

If you are trying to explain something difficult to someone, and you feel frustration, what exactly is that frustration anyway?  It's you not getting through to them.  This is separation.  These negative emotions come from conflict, and conflict always involves two things.

Also, your desire is to finish, but since everything is imperminant (in buddhist dogma) what does finish even mean?  When did you start?  Who is this "you" that is finishing anyway.

I don't really find this belief structure useful myself, but if you really want it to work for you, I think you're going to need to go in balls and all.  It sounds like you're holding yourself back waiting for something to happen.  If the Zen masters are to be believed, nothing is going to happen - it's always been there from the beginning.  What is there to search for anyway?

Haha, I frustrated myself typing all this out.  Back to Actualism for me... emoticon

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/26/14 5:32 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
This thread is a bit confusing to me.  What exactly is lonely if you believe yourself to be a part of everyting?  Maybe that, itself, is this "warp" that's keeping you away from your goal of unity.


When did I say I "believe myself to be a part of everything?"   There is no "self" to unite with things to begin with.

If you are trying to explain something difficult to someone, and you feel frustration, what exactly is that frustration anyway?  It's you not getting through to them.  This is separation.  These negative emotions come from conflict, and conflict always involves two things.


When did I say I "felt" frustration?  When did I say I had any conflict? I feel perfectly fine thank you. 

Also, your desire is to finish, but since everything is imperminant (in buddhist dogma) what does finish even mean?  When did you start?  Who is this "you" that is finishing anyway.

I don't really find this belief structure useful myself, but if you really want it to work for you, I think you're going to need to go in balls and all.  It sounds like you're holding yourself back waiting for something to happen.  If the Zen masters are to be believed, nothing is going to happen - it's always been there from the beginning.  What is there to search for anyway?


Look, I'm still alive and a sentient and an alive person is going to interact with its environment in its conventional language, for me it's English. 

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/26/14 5:43 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
To Not Tao:

This is a practice thread on the vipassana method of practice and its results.  If you wish to try to persuade me toward actualism, please don't bother as I'm not interested.  However, this may not have been your intention.  By the way, Richard has explicitly stated that vipassana and Buddhism are incompatible with Actualism.  You're posting on a vipassana-oriented thread and saying you do not understand and this is because you're doing a completely different, and incompatible, practice.  You may never understand.  Your post is rife with misconceptions about the fundamental nature of enlightenment.  You're assuming enlightenment is some type of "I AM" experience and it is not.  You're also mistaking the surface words and concepts for the fundamental reality itself.  You seem to be convinced that you know what enlightenment is, but it is apparent that you do not.

Also: I've been on this board and its previous incarnation, the dharmaunderground, for a very long time.  I've been around the block and am fully versed in actualism and its methods.  I am still not interested.

To everyone:

It is astounding to me that there are such a large number of posters on this board these days who are so resistant and in opposition to the entire point and theme of the message board and it's book.  Please post on message boards that are in your interests and not ones that are not.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/26/14 10:38 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Hey Tom Tom,

I honestly was trying to be helpful. emoticon Please don't take my post as an attack or an advertisement for Actualism.  I was hoping to offer a different perspective you might not have considered.  If this doesn't seem helpful to you, perhaps because you see me as less experienced or holding conflicting views, then feel free to ignore what I wrote.  I won't be offended.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/28/14 7:24 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Hey Tom Tom, 

I honestly was trying to be helpful. emoticon Please don't take my post as an attack or an advertisement for Actualism.  I was hoping to offer a different perspective you might not have considered.  If this doesn't seem helpful to you, perhaps because you see me as less experienced or holding conflicting views, then feel free to ignore what I wrote.  I won't be offended.


Hi Not Tao,

I am not anti-actualist. I actually like the core methods of actualism and find them to actually complement most other "spiritual" practices.  However, at the same time I respect Richard for keeping his teachings unadulterated.  A lot of people have said it is unfortunate that Richard is not open to combining Buddhist practices with Actualist practices.  i actually disagree.  Any progenitor of teachings should keep strong about not muddying their teachings up with other practices.  

However, this shouldn't stop others from taking the teachings and mixing them up and creating a separate set of teachings.  For example, Zen and Chan are a combination of Taoism and Buddhism.  This hasn't stopped either Taoism or Buddhism from existing nor has it stopped people from getting enlightened from practicing Zen/Chan.  I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a new form of practice like Buddh-actualism that combines the core points of actualism with the core points of Buddhism, something obviously completely separate from Richard's form of actualism.  However, at this point in time, this is considered taboo on this forum.  There was a golden age on this forum where people were open to combining the practices, but Richard unequivocally came down on this as an attempt to muddy his teachings.  I think the attempt should be made again, but this time a huge distinction must be made between the Actualism of Richard and the new practice of Buddh-actualism.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/28/14 10:52 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:

I think the attempt should be made again, but this time a huge distinction must be made the Actualism of Richard and the new practice of Buddh-actualism.

If there's a huge distinction, why use actualist terms at all?

Surely the real and proven disadvantages of doing that must outweigh the advantages....?

[Edit: "doing that" == using actualist terms outside their native context]

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/28/14 7:45 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
If there's a huge distinction, why use actualist terms at all?

Surely the real and proven disadvantages of doing that must outweigh the advantages....?


Then don't use actualist terms, call them something else.  What are these "real and proven" disadvantages?  I haven't seen any real and proven disadvantages other than quibbling over the non-practice differences between the Materialist philosophy of Actualism and the Idealist philosophy of Buddhism.  These philosophies are irrelevant to paying attention to bare sensations, apperception of phenomena, or "out-from-control" experience.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/28/14 8:42 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:
If there's a huge distinction, why use actualist terms at all?

Surely the real and proven disadvantages of doing that must outweigh the advantages....?

Then don't use actualist terms, call them something else.  



That's what I'm suggesting.

What are these "real and proven" disadvantages? 

A few that come to mind:

- Huge volume of back and forth between people who believe that what they're doing is actualism and others who believe it isn't.... all of which would be completely unnecessary if they were not using actualist terms. (And all of which will be repeated every time a newcomer joins the discussion).

- If those who say that actualism is profoundly different in aim and method from "Buddh-actualism" are right, then what actualism really is gets buried underneath layers of well-meaning and authoritative-seeming misrepresentations and distortion.... all of which is unnecessary and not helpful to anyone.

- When that happens, actualism loses its intended status as a "third alternative"... for better or worse. For those who believe actualism has something profoundly different to offer -- which is the unanimous verdict of those who know it best -- it's a really inconsiderate thing to do. For those who favour actualism, this distorts both the aims and the methods. For those who don't favour actualism, it gives actualism air time and respectability on false grounds (ie. that it's just another variant of {whatever}, and {such and such respected person in the community} practices and advocates it).

I'm sure I could think of more if they're needed... but isn't it enough to suggest that if there is a "huge distinction" -- your own words -- then the first step in respecting that distinction is not using the same words for things that may well be completely different in character, intention and outcome?

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/28/14 9:11 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
- Huge volume of back and forth between people who believe that what they're doing is actualism and others who believe it isn't.... all of which would be completely unnecessary if they were not using actualist terms. (And all of which will be repeated every time a newcomer joins the discussion).


I think this problem can be avoided by creating a system with unique terms that is centered more within the context of vipassana and Buddhism.  Using my Zen/Chan example -- I've never heard of Taoists charging into Zen temples accusing them of misrepresenting Taoism.  Most people are unaware that Zen/Chan is even a combination of the two separate systems.

- If those who say that actualism is profoundly different in aim and method from "Buddh-actualism" are right, then what actualism really is gets buried underneath layers of well-meaning and authoritative-seeming misrepresentations and distortion.... all of which is unnecessary and not helpful to anyone.


I'm not convinced that actualism is profoundly different in aim, though it definitely is in method.  Richard claims he was enlightened before he became "actually free," but his enlightenment was not the same enlightenment of MCTB or the dharmaoverground.  His previous enlightenment wasn't actually enlightenment, but only a very early form of it.  I don't really see much of a difference between apperception and the Buddhist notion of "in the seeing just the seen, in the feeling just the felt, etc."   There is only a subtle difference, if any difference at all, between the very refined selfless-sensations-only, no controller/agent of complete enlightenment and the apperception and "out-from-control" in actualism.  You might say that actualists are eliminating affect, but very few actualists have claimed to have removed all affect just as very few enlightened people have.

- When that happens, actualism loses its intended status as a "third alternative"... for better or worse. For those who believe actualism has something profoundly different to offer -- which is the unanimous verdict of those who know it best -- it's a really inconsiderate thing to do. For those who favour actualism, this distorts both the aims and the methods. For those who don't favour actualism, it gives actualism air time and respectability on false grounds (ie. that it's just another variant of {whatever}, and {such and such respected person in the community} practices and advocates it).


It is notable that of the few people that claimed "actual freedom,' many were enlightened in the four path model, and reached an "actual freedom" at the fastest rate.  Many of these people were not even practicing "actual freedom" like they were supposed to.   Trent fused actualist practices with some unique method involving the jhanas, Tarin wasn't convinced that the two needed to be completely separated, and Daniel called his experiments with Actualism an "actualist-inspired practice" instead of "pure actualism."  

Some people may not be interested in eliminating all affect and some may not consider it realistic to completely eliminate affect. Some people may not be interested in a complete "actual freedom" because their memory may fall apart too much in such a state, but may still be interested in cultivating the PCE or an EE (or whatever new name would be used).  People who are 3rd path may be able to reach 4th from fusing actualist-type practice methods with vipassana (or obtaining other paths with the persistence of maintaing bare sensate perception).    

There are advantages in obtaining paths since they are permanent shifts that do not need to be maintained with practice.  The only permanent shift Richard mentions is the state of "actual freedom" itself, and this is a shift very few seem to have obtained, if any people have obtained it at all.  Other people may fully believe in re-birth and are interested in ending it and permanent path realizations may facilitate that aim for them.

Daniel himself also encourages doing these practices outside of the Richard-Actualist context in his article,

Daniel Ingram: "Screw the fanaticism of the die-hard Actualism-is-the-only-true-way converts. Enjoy the empowerment, experiences and insights that come from just experimenting with being present and tuning in to this wondrous world instead.Screw what any of these practices have to do (or not do) with anything else, including "Buddhism" and "Actualism", and finally Screw anyone who says these basic practices are a bad idea, as points 1) to 6) above all make perfect sense and are based on sound meditative principles, and it is your journey, your life and your attention to it that finally will make the difference."

This creates a conflicting notion: The owner of the forum encourages combining the practices, but the current consensus of the forum is that it's taboo to combine them. Creating a new system would be a way to resolve this conflict.

I'm sure I could think of more if they're needed... but isn't it enough to suggest that if there is a "huge distinction" -- your own words -- then the first step in respecting that distinction is not using the same words for things that may well be completely different (both in intention and outcome)?


Sure, completely change all the words and all the terminology.  I have no problem with that.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/28/14 9:42 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
I hope I haven't derailed your practice log, Tom Tom!  I really didn't think anything I said in that original post pertained to Actualism, that's why I said, "back to Actualism for me!" at the end, haha.  In my post, I was trying to point to a few of the things that seemed to be in conflict for you.

For example, you mentioned a kind of loneliness that comes from realization, and a difficulty explaining your personal discoveries with people like your girlfriend (if I'm mixing you and Florian up, lol, sorry about that...). You also mentioned you believe there is a "warp" blocking you from seeing things clearly. I was trying to point out that that, itself, could be the warp. As the zen masters say, there is no realization, no attainment, etc. Zen koans are always asking, "if there's nothing to do, what is enlightenment, exactly?"

Consider this, does a grandmother feel separate from her grandchildren or lonely when she's around them? They obviously can't understand her point of view, but she is still perfectly content. If you believe your attainment has elevated you to a higher understanding than what other people have, then it will probably make you feel lonely. If, instead, you realize your attainment has decreased your suffering - and that's the only thing that makes it worthwhile - then there will be no temptation to see it as anything special. To be enlightened is to see the extraordinary within the ordinary, don't you think? If you're trying to break through something, you're going to be looking at the ordinary and saying, "this is all ordinary, it can't be enlightenment yet."

So, all I'm trying to say is, the warp itself is probably the warp. The idea that you aren't there yet is probably what's causing you not to be there yet. Self is not separate from phenomena in Buddhist dogma - there is nothing to look for!

But, hey, I'm not a Buddhist, so what do I know. emoticon

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/28/14 10:09 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
I hope I haven't derailed your practice log, Tom Tom! 

Yeah, sorry Tom. Same here. Just thought a few dozen words here could obviate hundreds of thousands of them down the track.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/29/14 3:54 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
I hope I haven't derailed your practice log, Tom Tom!  I really didn't think anything I said in that original post pertained to Actualism, that's why I said, "back to Actualism for me!" at the end, haha.  In my post, I was trying to point to a few of the things that seemed to be in conflict for you.


It's okay, I'm the one that derailed it, but now I'm putting it back on track.

For example, you mentioned a kind of loneliness that comes from realization, and a difficulty explaining your personal discoveries with people like your girlfriend (if I'm mixing you and Florian up, lol, sorry about that...). You also mentioned you believe there is a "warp" blocking you from seeing things clearly. I was trying to point out that that, itself, could be the warp. As the zen masters say, there is no realization, no attainment, etc. Zen koans are always asking, "if there's nothing to do, what is enlightenment, exactly?"


I understand and appreciate the Zen perspective, but for the most part I have operated within the Theravada/vipassana and MCTB paradigm where there is something to do and to obtain and that effort will take you to that goal.  It's worked well so far, and seems to still be working, so that is where I am primarily operating from in my practice.  

Consider this, does a grandmother feel separate from her grandchildren or lonely when she's around them? They obviously can't understand her point of view, but she is still perfectly content. If you believe your attainment has elevated you to a higher understanding than what other people have, then it will probably make you feel lonely. If, instead, you realize your attainment has decreased your suffering - and that's the only thing that makes it worthwhile - then there will be no temptation to see it as anything special.


A grandmother still teaches her grandchildren about the world and helps them to grow into well-functioning children and adults.  Sure, she is content when she is around them, but this does not negate the natural process of helping them to grow and evolve.  If a child asks a complex question that he/she would not be able to fully understand, the adult usually explains it in a way that they might be able to make sense of, but is incomplete in some way.  (Analogously to dharma/"spirituality") I currently tend to lack this ability, to an extent, and would be likely to try to explain it to the "child" the same way I might explain it to an adult.  I don't have aspergers or autism, at all, by the way.

Also, I'm not sure about the analogy of comparing other grown adults to children.  I think that could create some patronizing attitude in some way.  Perhaps this is also responsible for why I tend to circumvent child-like explanations for things.  I would actually prefer to think of it as using alternative concepts rather than "dumbing-down" concepts. 

To be enlightened is to see the extraordinary within the ordinary, don't you think? If you're trying to break through something, you're going to be looking at the ordinary and saying, "this is all ordinary, it can't be enlightenment yet. So, all I'm trying to say is, the warp itself is probably the warp. The idea that you aren't there yet is probably what's causing you not to be there yet. Self is not separate from phenomena in Buddhist dogma - there is nothing to look for!


I didn't do any practice for almost two years until now and that did not cause any significant progress beyond what I already had.  
I feel like if this were the case I would have lost all remaining sense of agency by now.  Just a little bit of sitting has significantly reduced the remaining sense of agency, so doing "something" seems to be working better than not doing anything.  However, even if that "something" is just sitting.  

I feel like just saying "I'm done" and really believing it doesn't and won't make me done.  Only when I reach some kind of permanent path-type-shift which permanently ends all agency forever will I be done.  This also may have to do with my natural propensity toward the goal-oriented type of practices.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/29/14 11:55 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:
I am going to use this thread to track and report my progress from late anagami to arahat (according to Daniel Ingram's criteria)

Hope you don't mind but I started another thread for conversation about your Practice Log as it seems to be inspiring a lot of simi-hijacking topics not directly related to anagami to arahat practice.
The Last Step - Conversation Thread
Good luck,
~D

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/29/14 12:43 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
I must not be saying the right thing to convey what I mean.  I'll try one more post, here, but then I'll leave you alone.  ^^ 

I wasn't implying to do nothing.  What I'm trying to say is to let go completely.  It sounds like this is what you're accomplishing with your "just sitting" practice.  I was trying to point out a few things you didn't seem willing to let go of from the posts you've made.  The warp you're experiencing might be the idea that you've attained something and you have somewhere left to go with your attainment.  What happens if you examine your attainments themselves with your vipassana techniques?  What happens if you let go of the idea of attainment totally?  That isn't doing nothing - it's probably the hardest thing you could do at this point considering the effort you've put it.

The paradox of letting go is that, to attain it, you have to stop attaining.  To finally be complete, you have to allow yourself to stay incomplete.  To reach the end, you have to give up.  If there is no self, what self is there to let go of?  It isn't that you do nothing, it's that you stop doing.  How can you smooth out any warps, the warps are just part of everything else, aren't they?  There is nothing for you to do because there never was.  Nirvana is seeing the emptiness of samsara - the warp is just as empty as everything else.  The nagging uncertanty about the field of experience is just as empty.  Everything is empty, no exceptions, right?  If you feel like you can't see it completely, that's also empty - what are you looking for?

But if this doesn't seem helpful, maybe it isn't.  I just remember that, when I was practicing radical acceptance, the real breakthroughs came when I finally stopped looking for justification or events or confirmations and just left everything alone.  V ipassana (noting) is essentially a radical acceptance meditation, no?  When letting go happens automatically all the time, you're an arahant.  So what is there to attain?  If you're thinking about working towards the future, you aren't letting go, you're striving.  You can't try to stop trying, you just stop trying.

So, don't stop trying, don't give up, just stop trying and give up, haha.  Damn I must have been more influenced by Zen than I thought.  Good luck, anyway, I hope you find what you're looking for. emoticon

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
9/30/14 5:27 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
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Sit Log 3.  September 30, 2014, 1 hour. 2:00am
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During this sit I deeply pondered Not Tao's words in the previous post:

The warp you're experiencing might be the idea that you've attained something and you have somewhere left to go with your attainment.  What happens if you examine your attainments themselves with your vipassana techniques?  What happens if you let go of the idea of attainment totally?  That isn't doing nothing - it's probably the hardest thing you could do at this point considering the effort you've put it.


Thoughts began to repeat the phrase, "There is no attainment here,' "I have no attainment," "I have no attainment," "I have no attainment..."  Other thoughts responded with, "there is nowhere to rest here," "there is nowhere to rest here," "there is nowhere to move," "there is nowhere to rest here," "then don't rest anywhere."

This was followed by a chase sequence where a thought would say "Who is observing me?" and then another would say "who is observing me?" and then another "so who is observing me then?"

As previously pointed out, with each thought, there are subsequent sensations arising in the throat and neck area. Some time was spent examining these.

After this there was a noticing that this sit was heavily focused on the no-self aspect of sensations.  The focus of the sit then shifted back toward the notion of "no-attainment."  It was noted that there is no attainment here, that this is just the way things are and have always been.

As a result of this contemplation thoughts began to get reduced to a very minimal level.  While there were a few mental-sensations, a thought would only arise about every twenty seconds or so.  The body felt like a silent and voiceless entity/experience. When a thought would arise there was some sensations trying to figure out who the thoughts were talking to.  

Next the focus of the shift went straight into the very core knot itself which seems to manifest as some tension in the middle of the head between the temples.  It was noticed that there was some impenetrable seeming core in the center of the head or directly behind the third eye area.  In mental pictures some saws appeared that try to hack and saw into it simultaneously with an attempt to notice the selflessness and impermanence of it.  The head swung side to side on about three rounds of this.
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Comments:

Since this sit last night I have noticed a significant reduction in a sense of agency (experience seems about 95% or more agentless at the moment).  Focusing in the mental area within the head still triggers tense sensations in the back of the neck and auditory thoughts trigger tense sensations in the throat (front of the neck).  It still feels like there is some kind of puzzle in the head (the main mental sensation area) that needs to be solved.  There must still be some lingering mental sensations trying to observe the vast array of selfless/impermanent sensations.  Perhaps these are sensations thinking about this very thing as Not Tao has stated.  Perhaps these are sensations thinking about the notion of having an attainment itself.  This will be the focus of the next log.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
10/1/14 8:04 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Good stuff, I'll be really interested to see where this goes.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
10/1/14 11:25 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom,

Just dropping this line to say best wishes to you. And thank you for sharing your practice notes here--helpful and inspiring. 

Jenny

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
10/21/14 5:14 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
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Sit Log 4.  Oct 1st-20th, 2014
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I have been sitting about 30 minutes a day for most days, but have skipped several days.  I haven't been doing a whole lot in each sit other than examining this "incompleteness."  There doesn't seem a whole lot left to do, so I just tend to sit and see what happens.

I began to notice that I was seeking out a period of time a couple of years ago that was a much more "altered" and less "ordinary" situation where I had lost almost all sense of agency.  It was this realization that led me to look for the agencylessness in utter ordinariness rather than in some slightly whacked-out altered state of consciousness. 

My daily experience feels very ordinary in almost all circumstances.  This is even true on the occasions I have gotten drunk. The body and mind will act and react in a drunken way, but the way this manifests is exceedingly ordinary as sensations arise and vanish without a controller or agent and there doesn't seem to be much of a difference than when sober other than the altered behavior.  

I began to realize that this situation several years ago was not actually the realization of 4th path and that I should instead notice the utter agencylessness in the utter ordinariness.  This has led to a significant diminishment in a sense of agency (99% or more lack of agency). I have had many occasions where I have thought to myself that I must be completely done.  However, I'm going to hold off on drawing this conclusion for a while longer.

The only situation that is not ordinary is when I'm dreaming.  I continue to have very intense and strange dreams that can sometimes result in brief spurts of a visceral sense of reality that is close and similar to being awake.  For example, a dream I had last night involved the arising and passing of sensations of feet walking on the ground that was pretty much almost equivalent to the same sensations that would arise when I'm awake.  Many of these dreams tend to swing sllightly toward the negative end of the spectrum in their content.  Situations of being trapped in some sort of circumstance are a common occurence, though these dreams tend to get shifted into something and somewhere else at some point.

I also don't seem to be able to dream lucidly anymore, and this has been true for quite some time.  I'm not sure what it would mean to be lucid since things in dreams just happen and arise the same way as when I'm awake.  The idea of "controlling" a dream doesn't make sense anymore.  I don't tend to notice that I'm dreaming much.  When I'm dreaming it just seems to be the appropriate reality of the moment and any notion of my ordinary persona when awake just doesn't seem to come up unless I'm trying to actually wake myself up.  

I tend to have a reoccuring experience where I try to wake myself up from dreaming and am usually not very successful.  The body in the dream is generally not the same body when awake and I will often find the dream body shaking its limbs trying to wake up, but these are not the same limbs of the body when awake.  Eventually as the waking body begins to come out of sleep the actual limbs of the body will start to move and will be in a different spatial location than the limbs of the dream body and sometimes both are experienced simultaneously until the actual body takes over.

I don't tend to cycle or have fruitions much in any noticeable way.  I suppose there tends to be somewhat of a very subtle continuous cycling shift from whether sensations are impermanent, dukkha, or self-less but the stages do not manifest in a way that is very noticeable.  I get little tiny fruitions, usually only noticeable when laying in bed, but they are not the big obvious whammy-type ones.  

However, this will completely go out the window if the body and/or mind is sick in some way and cycling and fruitions will then become very obvious if I have something like the flu, for example.  Another example, I have mild schizophrenia and lately I have been experiencing absolutely no voices or symptoms (though on occasion still during dreaming or if the body is sick with a virus or something).  However, if I'm having symptoms then I will cycle in proportion to how bad these symptoms are.  This is also true if I'm feeling a slight bit of depression, though I don't tend to have this happen very often (quite rare) and when it does it doesn't last more than a couple hours.  All of the stages will show up in a very obvious way and fruitions will be very big and obvious too until the body and/or mind have recovered.

-Tom

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
10/21/14 7:18 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Hi Tom Tom,
Thanks for your detailed description of your perception now. Everyone is different so I am not into diagnosing states or locations etc.

FWIW, just trying to remember my experience of what turned out to be 4th technical path (Practice was a Jhana, noting and metta practice) - it was a sudden moment of total silence, no thoughts, nothing. Ever since, I walked around as just a pair of eyes or ears, and nothing was behind that perception of sights and sounds etc. just vast emptiness which has expanded and infiltrated since. Thinking did resume gradually no connection with the thoughts and emotions except on 2 occasions of extreme intensity and it was gone very quickly as if nothing had happened (so that is the suffering gone)

The other most notable difference was the end of a need to search for anything. This changed my perspective on most areas of my life -  job/career, relationships, interests/hobbies. There was a tremendous sense of ordinariness to this whole thing and still is so the mind has had lots of fun with that doubting and questioning what has actually happened etc. I did laugh when I realised, of course this would feel ordinary because its all about realising what is real, so it would feel the most natural thing in the world - the cosmic joke as they say. I also find it hard to remember what things used to be like, as there is little holding on to past or future or speculations so things are forgotten pretty easily - I now write stuff down alot more and I think that contributes to why everything feels so normal as the mind is not dragging all these memories and cross-checking for diferences so much anymore. 

I found the total lack of interest, drive and motivation was clear though - I just wanted to sit and be and now still do prefer that - the ordinary mundane world is incredibly fascinating but I could not tell you why. I could see why Eckhart Tolle sat on a park bench for a couple of years - I felt very much like doing that and now whilst I have worked on grounding this experience, I am still happy to just sit and experience everything as it is. I am sure it sounds crazy but yesterday I sat for 3 hours watching the waves at the beach with no thoughts virtually no narrative - just the swirling water. No matter how different all this sounds, it feels really ordinary and normal which is the joke since the path up to that point was full of phenomena and crazy energy experience etc so the expectation was that post 4th was almost like another supercharged dimension. But its not (and it is emoticon )- its just wonderful as it is. Maybe the 4th described in the suttas is such a thing and what we call 4th is just stream entry? It doesn't matter.  

Lots of other points to make I guess which would be really hard to explain with language (normally I say nothing because language doesn't serve to describe things so well) - but maybe this might contribute a reference point (as minds like to have) with which to get a bearing on where you are at and I am sure others have a bunch of different experiences to me too - after a while it will not seem important anymore but until then....

Best Wishes
Rod

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
10/21/14 7:20 PM as a reply to Rod.
This.  This was like a sweet breeze, a drink of fresh air.  

Beautiful....

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
10/29/14 2:08 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:


This creates a conflicting notion: The owner of the forum encourages combining the practices [actualism and vipassana], but the current consensus of the forum is that it's taboo to combine them.


OK, I'm confused. How is that the "current consensus of the forum"? My understanding is that the exact opposite is true... many of us incorporate actualist-inspired practices (which aren't so different from Kenneth's 3rd gear, rigpa, dzogchen, direct pointing, or just plain "paying a ridiculous amount of attention to everything") without it being taboo at all.

RE: The Last Step - Practice Log
Answer
10/29/14 2:54 PM as a reply to J C.
OK, I'm confused. How is that the "current consensus of the forum"? My understanding is that the exact opposite is true... many of us incorporate actualist-inspired practices (which aren't so different from Kenneth's 3rd gear, rigpa, dzogchen, direct pointing, or just plain "paying a ridiculous amount of attention to everything") without it being taboo at all.


Nikolai was combining them at one point and then came to the conclusion that people should pick one or the other and go at it whole-heartedly since it creates too much doubt in the mind.  

Emu Fire Golem has consistently said not to mix the two practices.  

I've seen several new threads where people try to talk about mixing the two practices and they were scolded by various posters who said the two should not be mixed.