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Nanas & me.
10/17/14 1:47 PM
I'm trying to get fix for where I MAY be in relation to the nanas.

Nana 1) Mind and Body:
I understand this as a general understanding of one's ability to be aware of physical things that perhaps were previously never considered consciously. "Oh I actually CAN notice thoughts as they arise.".

Nana 2) Cause and Effect:
I understand this as a general understanding of the fact that things lead to other things.
  • Intent precedes movement.
  • Lifting the foot precedes stepping forward.
  • Reality TV makes me stupider
  • etc
Of course feel free to correct my understanding if needed, but assuming I'm not too far off base...
My First question is:
I've got #s 1 & 2 ... when I'm paying attention or meditating.
But when I'm answering a client email, or driving to work I'm pretty much back on unconscious autopilot.
Is that the way it's supposed to work?
Or would one only consider themselves "past" these nanas if we were somehow able to be this aware ALL the time?
cause that would feel pretty darned enlightened to me emoticon 

Nana 3) Three Characteristics:
This is where I get confused. I sense myself making progress on the three characteristics but I wouldn't go so far as saying I've come to any stage of insight on them.
BUT - This nana is often said to accompany LOTS of physical pain even though sits used to be just fine.
AND - I've also seen this nana named "Mastery" and described as: 
he [the meditator] now sees clearly the beginning, middle and end of the experience he is examining. This stage is called knowledge of mastery because the meditator acquires mastery in his understanding of impermanence.
Which I can certainly do, but again wouldn't claim to have gained any impressive amount of insight as to no-self from it. (though perhaps a little.)

So, My Next question:
Given the alternate description, and the fact that my back is WRECKED during meditation lately (seriously like my ENTIRE back) ... am I in nana 3?
Can you be "IN" nana or is it just a binary done/non-done thing?

Last Question (for now):
If I am in fact past #2 ... and perahps passING #3 What should I do to help tease out the lessons of no-self & impermanence that seem rather shallow to me now?

Thanks for all the help and direction folks.
I sincerely apprecaite it.

RE: Nanas & me.
10/17/14 4:02 PM as a reply to Doug M.
Doug - You have some fair questions there.  You might be in stage (nana) 1, 2, 3, 4...?   It would be hard to say without considering your history of meditation practice. 

As a general matter, it is said that people 'cycle' through the stages of insight.  So you might be in daily life and feel some aspects of a certain stage of insight, but then you might move into another stage during the course of that same day, or whenever.  In other words, you don't really 'lock in' your insights from a certain stage of insight and then go about embodying that in real life all the time (unless we are talking about stream entry etc., and that is a wholly different question).

In the end my advice is to 'keep on truckin', but be aware that the hardest stages for most people are yet to come.   You might be in #3 given the back pain, (I had a lot of shoulder / upper back pain at that time).  But really the advice is the same if you are coming out of three or still in stage 2, just follow your meditation instructions to the best of your ability, and keep learning about the dharma - make adjustments to your practice as necessary.

RE: Nanas & me.
10/17/14 4:21 PM as a reply to Mike H..
Thanks Mike - great simple advice I needed to hear. emoticon

If it helps - here's a brief bit of background on my practice.
  • Been "playing" with meditation in no serious way and with no serious consistency (mostly for stress relief) for a number of years.
  • A year or so ago started doing it a bit more consistently in response to difficulties in a relationship. (realized that if I had a problem it was because I was making a problem - and wanted to become less easily provoked.)
  • Saw AMAZING results and wanted to learn how to do it right.
  • About 6-8 months ago started devouring buddhist thought/teaching (being careful to stay secular). 
  • The creation of a formal practice in addition to the dharma has increased the already great results I've experienced from an interpersonal standpoint.
  • Budding interest in progress, path, and eventual liberation began about 4 months ago.
  • Lots more reading since then.
I don't specifically remember any epic A&P experiences but have certainly had moments of exquisite calm, and joy. Even experienced the "laughing for no real reason" that I've seen described. These things occurred for me while out in the real world, not during a sit.

I don't specifically remember any obvious dark night either, but hey - we all have ups and downs in life.

So that's where I am... really not sure where that is... but that's where I am.

RE: Nanas & me.
10/17/14 5:16 PM as a reply to Doug M.
Doug - that all sounds great!  I don't really have any more advice but glad to hear you are seeing some real-life benefits. 

I think that difficulties in day-to-day life can be some of the best motivators and sort of catalysts for good practice.  But that is just me!