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Stream entry, retreat rules

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Stream entry, retreat rules
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12/3/14 4:16 AM
In a view weeks I have 2 retreats (23 days in total) coming up. I’am aiming for stream entry. I wrote down some rules for during retreat to increase my chances for stream entry. I tried to keep it short, so I can easily remember my retreat “rules”. I am highly motivated and belief I can do it.

At my last retreat I am pretty sure to have gotten to arising and passing away (again), I think I have been a “dark knight yogi” for a long time already... I have done three retreats so far and have been meditating daily for 2 years.

So here are my retreat "rules"
  • Tightly follow the retreat schedule.
  • Stay away from content of thoughts as much as possible.
  • Treat the retreat as an amazing opportunity and give it everything I got.
  • Remain aware/labelling all of the time/as much of the time as possible. View every time I notice not being aware as a “victory” and a chance of being aware again.
  • Pay special attention to the three characteristics in all sensations, and try to remain equanimous with all sensations.
  • View hindrances as opportunities for investigation.
  • Pay special attention to intentions preceding actions. Do the switches between sitting and walking meditation as slowly and aware as possible.
Do these rules seem sensible? Any suggestions or tips? Thanks for reading!

RE: Stream entry, retreat rules
Answer
12/3/14 5:34 AM as a reply to Pjotr Hill.
Good for you. Sounds like a plan. Some comments after your items. [*]Tightly follow the retreat schedule. Follow it, but "tightly" isn't usually a helpful attitude. You're an adult, you might want to alter it a little and that's okay. Don't stop being aware of the richness of every moment, however. [*]Stay away from content of thoughts as much as possible. This is impossible, since you don't control it. Better to say, commit yourself to returning to the sensations of the moment whenever you get lost in thoughts (which will happen a lot). No big deal, just return to now. [*]Treat the retreat as an amazing opportunity and give it everything I got. Yes! Giving it everything you got is just being you, however. Show up entirely for each session. Fully experience the retreat. [*]Remain aware/labelling all of the time/as much of the time as possible. View every time I notice not being aware as a “victory” and a chance of being aware again. Yes! [*]Pay special attention to the three characteristics in all sensations, and try to remain equanimous with all sensations. Just pay attention to how things are and notice how the moment changes by itself. That's really all you need to do. Sometimes people complicate it. [*]View hindrances as opportunities for investigation. Yes! Get excited about this "oooh this is what resistance feels like! this is what being greedy feels like! this is what fantasizing (ignoring) feels like!" [*]Pay special attention to intentions preceding actions. Do the switches between sitting and walking meditation as slowly and aware as possible. Yes! be like an invalid, an old person, who can only move slowly. You might need to go for quicker walks, just to get the blood flowing and that is fine. After a bit, return to being slow. Good luck! Remember, meditation progress happens by itself with consistency. You don't need to manipulate or control experience --- just attempt to fully experience the richness of being on retreat.

RE: Stream entry, retreat rules
Answer
12/3/14 11:02 PM as a reply to x x.
XX, something went wrong with your editing, but this was so good, I wanted to clean it up for better consumption.
  • Tightly follow the retreat schedule.  Follow it, but "tightly" isn't usually a helpful attitude. You're an adult, you might want to alter it a little and that's okay.  Don't stop being aware of the richness of every moment, however.
  • Stay away from content of thoughts as much as possible. This is impossible, since you don't control it. Better to say, commit yourself to returning to the sensations of the moment whenever you get lost in thoughts (which will happen a lot). No big deal, just return to now.
  • Treat the retreat as an amazing opportunity and give it everything I got. Yes! Giving it everything you got is just being you, however. Show up entirely for each session. Fully experience the retreat.
  • Remain aware/labelling all of the time/as much of the time as possible. View every time I notice not being aware as a “victory” and a chance of being aware again. Yes!
  • Pay special attention to the three characteristics in all sensations, and try to remain equanimous with all sensations. Just pay attention to how things are and notice how the moment changes by itself. That's really all you need to do. Sometimes people complicate it.
  • View hindrances as opportunities for investigation. Yes! Get excited about this "oooh this is what resistance feels like! this is what being greedy feels like! this is what fantasizing (ignoring) feels like!"
  • Pay special attention to intentions preceding actions. Do the switches between sitting and walking meditation as slowly and aware as possible. Yes! be like an invalid, an old person, who can only move slowly. You might need to go for quicker walks, just to get the blood flowing and that is fine. After a bit, return to being slow.


Good luck! Remember, meditation progress happens by itself with consistency. You don't need to manipulate or control experience --- just attempt to fully experience the richness of being on retreat.

RE: Stream entry, retreat rules
Answer
12/4/14 1:38 AM as a reply to Matt.
Thanks for the reply. Really useful, your comments made a lot of sense to me. I know am sometimes a bit overenthusiastic/ambitious which has a lot of positive sides, but I have to be careful not to be tight, or to hard on myself . With your comments this became clear to me once more, so i modified my rules slightly:

  • Follow the retreat schedule. 
  • Commit myself to returning to the sensations of the moment whenever I get lost in thoughts.
  • Treat the retreat as an amazing opportunity and give it everything I got (by just being me ;-) ). 
  • Remain aware/labelling all of the time/as much of the time as possible. View every time I notice not being aware as a “victory” and a chance of being aware again. 
  • Pay attention to how things are and how the moment changes
  • View hindrances as opportunities for investigation. 
  • Pay special attention to intentions preceding actions. Do the switches between sitting and walking meditation as slowly and aware as possible. 

RE: Stream entry, retreat rules
Answer
12/4/14 6:12 AM as a reply to Pjotr Hill.
(not sure why I'm not getting paragraphs... it shows up as paragraphs in the text edit screen???) I'm a little goofy sometimes, which has it's negative sides... but honestly a easy-going sense of kind and loving humor will help a lot during long retreats. It can be funny what we have to go through before we learn to be gentle with ourselves and just allow ourselves to actually experience the retreat. We get in our own way most of the time. Each moment just needs to be experienced. Simple. One more refinement: [*]Remain aware/labelling all of the time/as much of the time as possible. View every time I notice not being aware as a “victory” and a chance of being aware again.  My comment: It can help to remember that >as soon as you notice< not being aware, you all ready aware again. No need to fix anything, it's already fixed. Some people start devising strategies or approaches to prevent it from every happening again... but there isn't a way to "game the system". Give your self a pat on the back, just as a reward, but also recognize that, in a strange way, mindfulness itself is learning to be mindful. "You" don't need to get overly involved, except to have the intention to fully experience the retreat, which includes watching how the mind works. Best wishes!

RE: Stream entry, retreat rules
Answer
12/5/14 12:33 AM as a reply to x x.
I agree again.

I was thinking about strong ambitions and the comment on tighly following retreat rules. It just tought of the story that Buddha before his full awakening vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. This seems pretty tight to me. So maybe being thight can be helpfull ;-). But being gentle and kind to yourself at the same time is indeed very important as well.

RE: Stream entry, retreat rules
Answer
12/5/14 8:13 AM as a reply to Pjotr Hill.
Tarin certainly advocates some intensity: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/ReformedSlackersGuide

RE: Stream entry, retreat rules
Answer
12/6/14 9:53 AM as a reply to Matt.
This isn't a simple bullet-point piece of advice, but the greatest challenges I've had on retreat are dealing with fears during the dhukka ñanas.  I was floored at the shocking places my mind went during some of these bouts, thinking about all the horrible things that could happen to my loved ones.  I had strong determination and I could constantly bring myself back to the breath, but these dark thoughts kept creeping in around the edges.  One occasion I finally found out how to chop these thoughts down at the root.  I began reasoning: Okay, this is life, and it's not always one big picnic.  Some horrible things may very well happen to me or my loved ones at some point, and there may be nothing I can do about it.  I and my loved ones will someday die, and it might very well be in some horrible fashion, and there may be nothing I can do about it. That's reality and I have to deal with it.

And on that occasion, the dark clouds broke and I experienced the most profound equanimity I'd had up to that point (as well as a great deal of bliss that made me think there might have been a fruition).  Since then that method has helped me take virtually any fear to it's logical conclusion and accept it and move on.

Maybe that helps.

-T