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Noah IV
Answer
6/26/15 12:03 PM
Edit (as of 6/26/15):  What I am looking for, and defining as '4th path', is a certain peak or critical mass of wisdom/insight.  An intuitive knowing of the relative nature of all experience such that it is never possible to become fully attached or embedded within any experience ever again.  I have come to realize that there are many more wisdom developments possible (stabilizing the moment-by-moment, conscious perception of the true qualities of mind such as 'luminosity', 'centerlessness', 'agencylessness', etc) past this point of intuitive knowing.  However, my explicit goal is to reach this point, for now, and to try for those things later.  The term '4th path' is simply a convenient designator or signpost marking this specific turning point.  I have spoken personally with others who have achieved this and find it a fine and worthy goal.

Third Path occurred on 4/12/15.  Description of the experience as well as my practice background are contained in my other practice log.  My technique is Mahasi noting in daily life, all day, every day.  I meet with an insight teacher every two weeks.  I am currently still in Review A of Third Path, although I can feel that things are calming down (as happened with the previous two review phases).  I expect Review B to begin in a couple days.

4/23/15- Noted at work for a couple hours, and then with better focus on the drive home.  Went from A&P to EQ on drive home in about twenty minutes.  I feel very calm and determined.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/24/15 10:28 PM as a reply to Noah.
4/24- went from 4th to 11th nana quickly again today... still in review, so no point in doing vipassana.
decided to try a version of Not Tao's recommended method of building patience... just tolerated the moment, tried to enjoy it, letting agitation and impatience arise, questioning what it was about the situation that led to these feelings.  I realize that being uncomfortable is a skill.  If I master it, I can develop the discipline to do all sorts of things in life.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/25/15 11:33 PM as a reply to Noah.
4/25- Things are really mellowing when I meditate... I feel myself going through the cycle fairly quickly but all the nanas have a really soft effect, i.e. a&p kundalini is barely detectable.  when not meditating, I feel the off-cushion cycling of review as I usually do, which is super agitated-depression-obsessive thinking and then super relaxed-potentially manic.  

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/27/15 11:25 AM as a reply to Noah.
4/26- Meditated twice, about 30 min. a pop.  Same mellowness as yesterday: a&p under the radar, dissolution obvious in all of its slowness, dn vibes are mild annoyance rather than their usual intense agitation, eq than represents a subtle relaxation... the whole thing feels like a hand that just begins to squeeze, squeezes hard but slowly for some time, and then slowly relaxes.

while not meditating: I've been trying to just be patient with the day, with whatever activity I'm doing being 'enough', i.e., not needing to obsess or listen to music or do something else to feel like I'm being entertained/something is happening.  I need a new life paradigm, more like a country bumpkin who's just sort of mulling along and taking things as they come rather than a nuerotic woody-allen-city type who has preconcieved ideas on everything. 

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/27/15 12:20 PM as a reply to Noah.
This is exactly what I've been seeing too! I wrote in my journal today, "if there's anyting you're looking forward to, you aren't happy or content right now.  Guarding the sense doors doesn't mean you're trying not to enjoy things, it means trying to enjoy everything equally - even doing nothing at all."  I stopped watching TV when I eat meals, and for the first few times there was an almost constant pulsing of "do something...do something...do something" but now it's gone away.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/27/15 9:21 PM as a reply to Noah.
4/27- The Review is really slowing down now.  Can't get a single, fully, discernable nana after an hour or more of noting.  Lots of clarity, mindfulness, insight, etc., but just not with any particular momentum or order.  Pleasant enough, though.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/27/15 10:02 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Yeah, I think there is different levels to this thing we're talking about.  There is that sparse activity of 'just eating' or 'just watching the clock', being okay with your normal mind.  But, I also like watching tv and being distracted.  And being okay with my mind, as it is, as it loves to be distracted, is also part of the practice of meta-acceptance.  So, idk if all of my specific efforts are aligned with a certain ideal, but I do know that I have a general target of cultivating an easier way of being.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/28/15 10:48 PM as a reply to Noah.
4/28- Noted all day with lots of clarity.  I can't tell which nana I'm in.  Feels like im dipping into the first 3 nanas, signifying the beginnings of fourth path, cycle one.  C&E manifests as insights about the sit, and about the path in general.  M&B is just very normal, level-headed mindfulness. However, I can still eventually get an increased energy, indicative of a&p.

I've been feeling frustrated lately.  I can really percieve the limitations of the benefits of the path thus far.  I need to reconfirm my conviction in the rightness of this path and my determination to drive this thing all the way home.  I won't stop, thats all I really need to know.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/30/15 7:57 AM as a reply to Noah.
4/29- This is the really confusing part of Review B (as I have experienced it the past two times).  I start to dip into the first three nanas but may also be cycling up above the a&p.  Hard to tell where I am.  There are also long periods where there are little, to no, energetic or other effects that help me self-diagnose.  Without the help of my teacher, all I can do is report through the phenomenological lense:
  
-starts with very clear, energized noting    
-then moves into restless agitation and annoyance at noting  
-then annoyance goes away, replaced by pleasant clarity and mild kundalini    
-then I feel a sense of renunciation: to hell with this world and the sense doors in general    
-then big agitation, then super relaxation    
-then feeling of being super connected to nature: human, animal and plant    
-then abiding sense of certainty that I have no soul    
-then a lot of obsessive thinking patterns that are extremely sticky    
-then much stronger, enveloping kundalini and big sense of opening inside-finally, obsessive thinking patterns slow down with the resolution that I must surrender  to the process instead of trying to figure it out from my current level

These are the things I experienced noting today.  Now trying to go to sleep.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
4/30/15 4:37 PM as a reply to Noah.
4/30- I feel that I need to stop analyzing so much and just trust this process (motto=simplify and surrender).  I have to get used to all these different nanas, and all the different forms of experience, emotion, thought, etc.  Its all just one slideshow: the individual images are different but its on the same reel.  I need to take this sense of the reel outside of myself and burn it.  Just get used to it.  Its all no big deal.  Withdraw, release, relax. 

Various meditation effects from today (in chronological order):
-run of the mill mindfulness at first, hints of tendency towards renunciation-type-emotions/viewpoint
-restlessness (instinct to move around)
-very mild kundalini
**all three of these happened in past two days as well, but much quicker today**
-now new stuff: kundalini + agitation (meaning anger and restlessness combined)
-a deeper sense of relaxation, soothing smoothness
-thought that I have to get used to all these various nanas and develop nonreactivity->triggers even more relaxation
-thought that I need to simplify my thinking about this process and surrender to it (this feels intuitively correct)
-thought that I need to get used to all life experiences and develop a general nonreactivity->triggers a deep sense of having no soul (in a good way), and a sense of confidence that I can become more relaxed in all areas of my life

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/3/15 10:44 AM as a reply to Noah.
5/3- Over the weekend, I think I noticed the first major blow to my bipolar disorder.  I have always been incredibly restless, agitated, and unable to simply be in the moment.  So, when I was standing behind my bar, with no customers, and decided to stop noting, I was shocked to find that I didn't mind doing absolutely nothing with my mind.  This has continued for 3 to 4 days.  It does not feel like the equanimity nana or any other temporary thing I have experienced.  Even though this type of mental rest might be common for a large part of the mentally healthy bell curve (population), for me, it feels like a superpower.

Anyhoo, I think I'm still in review because I'm still having moments of big kundalini, opening inside, feeling like I can easily fabricate various, trippy, mental effects, etc.  I will keep noting and expect to hit a serious wall where all this fun ceases.  Until then, I'll assume Review B.  I see my teacher, Ron Crouch (he told me he doesn't care if I drop his name), on Friday.  Should become clear where I am.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/6/15 4:42 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/6- It is now becoming difficult to note.  I am not having any helpful energetic effects either.  As I search for a reason why, obvious answers have to do with me being tired, unmotivated, obsessive about various issues, etc.  However, when I begin to make excuses like this that are all clumped together, they are usually being caused by an insight knowledge!  In this case, I would guess that "Axis I" of this dharma diagnosis would be the slowing-down-to-a-stop at the end or Review B and beginning of 4th path, 1st cycle (1st Vipassana jhana).  I am very excited to be making this transition.  I will continue to note despite annoying distractability.  

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/7/15 7:27 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/7- While I do notice many positive signs of improvement after Third Path, I am also highly suprised at how obsessive and forceful my mind still is.  Just now, I had another type of feeling (not forceful), which was more in tune with what Kenneth calls 'the sense of being done.'  The feeling was that Fourth Path will be a meta-acceptance.  Acceptance of non-acceptance.  Acceptance of the cycles of life, the cycles of my mind, etc.  A moment of deeper acceptance which includes the fact that that deep level of acceptance may not last.  I eventually will have to deeply allow everything to change.  This allowing will not necessarily be a perfect, clean, neat, 'baseline shift', as I have previously predicted.  I may just be in contact with the raw, messy nature of life.  Furthermore, the clarity of this contact will go in and out.  So calling it a baseline shift may not be the perfect word choice.  

p.s.: Acceptance of non-acceptance of bipolar disorder.  Acceptance of bipolar disorder.  Acceptance of awareness of limitations I put on myself by using 'bipolar' label.  Acceptance of non-acceptance of these low standards.  Life is all an all inclusive vacation, a 4-dimensional model that includes all angles of looking at it simultaneously.  Life does not care about my personal story.  My personal story does not care about life, or itself.  Each thing is its own thing occurring on its own.  Even knowledge of this rises and falls over time.  Fourth path is not perfect knowledge.  Fourth path might just be one moment of perfect understanding, a moment which may fade in time.  Will it still be fourth path?  I think so (as third path just happened and really isn't the cat's meow).

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/10/15 12:49 AM as a reply to Noah.
5/10- Met with Ron on Friday.  He says I'm still in Review, but that its a long and unusually complicated one.  Since I'm in Review and theres nothing I can do to make it go faster, I decided to practice the Actualism method for a couple days.  I had some interesting moments where my immediate environment became very luminous and attractive.  I tried to emphasize a sense of slipping into apperception, and using my newfound sensitivity to move away from all that is effort (including the subtle effort in the natural movements of the mind).  With the ceasing of even this subtle effort, it seems that a PCE is possible.  I really believe that AF will be the thing that delivers me all the way into a full functioning mode of living.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/11/15 10:57 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/11- Meditated up to the A&P again today.  Therefore, still in Review.  Then didn't meditate, and noticed how restless I was without something to do with my mind.  This is where Sila comes in to play.  The defilements exist on all levels.  Meditation treats the defilements on the perceptual level, but not necessarily on the level of speech, behavior, intellect or emotions.  For that, I need the rest of the Buddha-Dharma (or its equivalent).

However, 3rd path is clearly doing a number on me.  There were several incidents in the past few days in which I previously would have been completely flattened by agitation but instead it seemed to pass through me.  Examples include not being able to find a parking spot and not being able to wash my clothes in time for work.  Each time, the negative emotions were less and quicker.  My mom even commented on the change in my ability to cope.  So I have a long way to go but I am grateful for this progress which I have prayed for for so long.


All my ancient twisted karma,
From beginningless greed, hate and delusion,
Borne through body, speech and mind,
I now fully avow.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/14/15 5:24 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/14- Okay, definitely 4th path, cycle 1.  Getting through M&B... Lots of noting, very normal... moments of agitation/annoyance in which the jaw clenches... moments of distraction throughout the day, then returning to the notes... thoughts of reflection "wow, I've been noting a lot today", which sometimes trigger a shift into the next nana, but haven't today.

Been reading "Spiritual Cannabalism" by Swami Rudrananda.  Rudi's focus on sacrifice and hard work as necessitites in the spiritual process is very inspiring to me.  All I need to think about is how much gunk I have in my mind that I have had to carry around with me over the years- wanting to get rid of it is all the inspiration I will ever need.

In my head: touching-feeling-touching-feeling-typing-thinking-humor-seeing-feeling-thinking-annoyance-itching-moving-feeling.... and so it goes.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/15/15 1:34 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/15- 1st cycle of the new path is going very fast, as had happened the previous two times.  I am already passing the 4th Nana, which had dramatic effects on my mind today, amplifying my philosophical tendencies, which I channelled into two posts on my "obsessing" practice log.  I also feel a thrilled energy in the body as a whole.  It feels like adderall, but without any of the uncomfortable pressure I associate with that substance.  Interestingly, there is no kundalini.  I think I experience the A&P as kundalini AFTER I am passed it as a cutting edge.  But, in the midst of it, it does a lot more to my mind and body than just send some tingly up the spine.

I can already feel the cool, cave effects of the third jhana and the beginning of dissolution.  My head space is now open though, where it was previously closed before 3rd path.  So these cave effects have an added drama to them.

------------------

I can feel (in my gut) the big shift that is fourth path coming.  This feeling has arisen before in each of the paths.  This time it is more clear and more scary.  Before, I was basically asleep.  Now, I am relaxed enough to be aware the whole time.  It is like being awake during surgery.  Am I ready to experience the Dark Night with full awareness and clarity?  I can philosophize all I want and pretend like I know the experience and can therefore incapsulate it.  But what I am preparing to do is to be swallowed up by nothingness in the fullest possible way. 

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/16/15 9:25 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/16- At work bartending all day today.  It was sort of hard to keep focus on the noting for some reason.  I switched between the quick, one-word notes ("touching-feeling-seeing") and the subject-object notes ("seeing bar-touching water-feeling breath").  The one word notes seem to give good energy and momentum, while the longer notes help me remained focused.  No crazy A&P effects today, so I suspect I'm just bouncing between M&B and 3C's.  

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/18/15 1:43 AM as a reply to Noah.
5/17- I am in the middle of the day, reporting in real time: started out with similar effects as yesterday, i,e, distractability, thinking about technique and object, etc.  Later, didn't feel any strong A&P but did have a few seconds of kundalini.  Then got agitated all over the body (but wow, how much different/less sticky it is after 3rd path!) while in the shower.  This led into fearful thoughts surrounding my imminent move to the west coast of the u.s.  Then the agitation picked up for awhile.  And then, boom, just now, felt a pop and suddenly a soothing energy (with a bit of leftover agitation).  It seems that I got through three Vipassana jhanas in a couple hours just now.  Which would make some sense based on the amount of struggling I did yesterday which tends to generate a huge momentum for me (the pattern seems to be shitty days of meditation lead to easier one's following).  

That would probably make this cycle not a 'real' cycle in the sense that I still have some of the magic fairy dust of Review.  Or maybe cycles are just shorter after 3rd path?  Either way, based on past experiences, real cycles take a long time to complete.

___________________

Edit: I just wanna add some thoughts about the progress of insight as a whole.  Nothing incredible is happening to me.  It almost feels like I am just becoming more of my normal self within the context of my own life.  Is this what you want?  Sorry, just to add that point later in the day.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/18/15 2:40 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/18- Wrote that last edit while drunk last night, hehe.  Anyways, I did think through some valuable thoughts during the day yesterday.  Mostly, I realized that I feel dissapointed that 3rd path didn't make me into superman.  I keep returning to these "whats the point?" style thought-patterns.  This is a hindrance to meditation, in the classical Buddhist sense.  I need to drop it.  The path does exactly what it does.  I need to be able to see all experiences as equal.  This sense of "one taste" may wax and wane, like everything else, but in the end, the thing that 4th path does is give one a taste of one taste, such that there is an everlasting gut feeling or connection with it.  Long story short, I can't have one taste if I'm always judging the practice based on what it does for bipolar disorder.

Also, I have to have a vision of my sadhana as a whole, beyond and outside insight progress.  Then it becomes okay for 4th path to be necessary, but not sufficient.
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I think removing the 'special sensation' that 4th is the Noah-fixer-upper is an important step in de-glueing myself.  It is now time to disembed from the entire structure of mind.  Each thought, emotion and personality sensation that arises must be seen as not special.  I should not prefer some strikingly clear view of it either though.  If it feels close to home, feels personal, that is because it is close to home and personal.  And this relationship with my own mind is not something to be destroyed.  Rather, I should eliminate the possibility of seeing it as an exception to impermanence, not self and suffering.
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I predict that this is my experiencing the No-Self aspect of the third nana (3C's).  Unfortunately, I don't talk to Ron for another ten days, so I won't be able to confirm this dharma diagnosis.  However, it would fit in with his idea that one has to experience each nana in a strong, embodied way before 4th path.  Last path, I experienced the Impermanence aspect of the third nana.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/18/15 3:21 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/18- Okay, wtf, I just had a fruition!?  I guess its just a weird first cycle on a new path.  I've had such cycles the past two go arounds.  I was thinking about dropping completely into the moment, completely into normalcy, into plainness.  I thought of Ron telling me that 4th path is "waking up into your life as it is", as oppossed to waking up into some, new, amazing life.  

This thought triggered strong energy up the spine, through the head, and out into an awareness about a foot beyond the head.  It was an extended cessation, possibly a Niroddha, as the energy pelted my mental screen in a hot, pleasurable way, while also dimming all the sense factors.  

I then heard my A/C unit in the corner and had the creepy sensation that there was only the A/C unit being heard, with no mechanism (no Noah) to recieve such a stream of data.  It almost felt like I was about to get 4th path, which is obviously impossible since I just finished 3rd.  However, I decided to make the most of the moment and try to completely let go.  

But I could feel this sort of seedling inside of me, a sort of Noah energy that was still present and sticky.  A sense of having a soul.  I know that this sense is what needs to be destroyed for me to move forward.  

I then had the feeling of internal dialogue.  It wasn't the mental talk itself that was the problem, but rather the flavor of it: the sense that it was my mental talk, and that because it was mine, it deserved some special attention.  This flavor is one and the same with the Noah seedling.  There are no internal objects that deserve special attention.  Thoughts and emotions are just like the sound of the air conditioner.  They are occuring on their own, running themselves.  They have their own lives.  I just have to let them be.  I just have to let my personality be.  In this way, I can let go of the need for anything at all, ever.  There is no need to change anything.  The need is the process of creating an artificial relationship beyond the stream of attention itself.  There is no point of creating further relationships.  Life just happens.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/18/15 3:55 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/18- Its like a reverse motion.  You don't become more enlightened.  You reverse the need to be enlightened, the need to change anything at all.  Enlightenment is a type of need, a type of goal.  Goallessness is a type of goal.  Its moreso just a returning to a type of mindset parallel with what a little kid has.  He doesn't know exactly what a fully, formed, adult need is.  I'm trying to be in a state of ignorance about what a need is. 

Everything was okay before I was born.  Everything was okay when I was alive and unenlightened.  Everything will be okay when I'm alive and enlightened.  Everything will be okay after I die.  I don't change or adapt or add or actively remove.  I drop the motion in any direction at all.  Each moment of my own life or aspect of my own personality manifesting is okay.

There isn't a meditation state at 4:35 pm in which I still have needs, and then a meditation state at 4:40 pm in which I have developed a desirelessness.  There isn't a point A to point B.  There isn't a framework of striving or progress.  There IS, however, the dropping of all frameworks.  My life is my plain, boring, diverse, unsatisfactory life.  There are lots of opposites and annoyances.  I can't win at this game, because I can't change the rules.  They are set in stone.  Point A to Point B implies that I can change the rules.  

We are all like Sisyphus, losing again and again at the game of life.  WAKE UP! Stop winning and losing.  There is only the game.  It is only a game, only a board with moving peices.  No narrative, no players.  Chill out, Noah.
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Moreover, I am becoming locked into this truth.  Meaning, its the truth, and I can't change my awareness of it.  Its like your shadow, you can't lose it no matter how much you run from it.  You can forget about your shadow for awhile, but eventually it will come back.  Likewise, emptiness isn't a habit or a state or a thing to be noticed.  It is the boundaries of reality itself.  There is nothing outside of it.  Once you know, you can not, not know.  I realize emptiness today.  Next Tuesday, I will also realize emptiness.  In the month of October of 2015, I will also realize emptiness.  Some times, it will be in the forefront of my mind.  Sometimes, in the back burner.  It doesn't matter, being locked into it means that it is ultimately true regardless of the percentage of my awareness which is seeing it.
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You are imprisoned in your head.  You can only be in your head.  But if there is no escape, then there is no imprisonment.  

Imagine if you could only fly.  Walking was not an option.  Then, walking would seem special, like a superpower.  Likewise, we think flying is special because we can only walk.  

If you could only be outside of your head, like always mindful of the world around you, then being trapped in thoughts and emotions would seem awesome.  Being mindfully aware, centerless, volitionless, seems special because it is different than what you have.  But if you had it, it would be the same.  Meaning, each moment, you only have what you have.  There is nothing outside of this moment of being alive.  Just keep walking, in your head, in your own limited way.  At this stage in the path, I think this type of conceptual play will help guide me to perfect release from the need to do anything or be anything.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/19/15 2:29 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/19- Lots of crazy, inspired energy yersterday, causing me to write those things.  Later, in the evening, lots of dark night vibrations, fear, general discomfort, that weighed heavily on my chest.

Today, waking up, I am grumpy.  But the grumpiness feels different, like I am looking at it from a slightly different angle.  I am not necessarily liking or disliking the grumpiness.  It just is.  I have never felt "unstuck" from negative emotions before.  I think Third Path is ripening in a big way. Woo hoo.  I also think I may have completed 4th path-1st cycle yesterday.  Only my efforts today will tell.
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I feel the Dark Night symptoms messing with my mind.  I feel less trust in the process of meditation.  Also, I notice the limitation of the fruits of the path.  Its not making me more ambitious in life.  Its not giving me more of the exact type of mental peace that I want.  Its not giving me sufficient motivation to live a healthier lifestyle.  

I've been noticing this sense of dissapointment on a regular basis for the past week or two.  But, whatever, even if the path does only 1/5th of what I want it to do, I still have the rest of my life to figure out the rest.  Anyway, this whole thought pattern and perspective is a part of it.

Ron says this part of the path can be the most frustrating.  I think this is what is happening to me.  I have to perservere past this, its all a part of Mara's spell.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/19/15 11:04 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/19- Okay, so I think the thing that is frustrating me is that all the insight I have isn't enough (so far).  Thats the big thing that is causing my annoyance and anguish.  I'm referring to mental attitudes that are independent of any Dark Night vibrations.

But I feel like I have a new ability.  I touched upon it in previous posts.  Its the ability to see all things as the same.  All things arise and pass.  They are all part of the same family, "The Arising and Passing Family."  So all my crazy, obsessive, bipolar thoughts and behaviors; my impulses and firefighting mechanisms; my inspirations and instincts; everything I have ever known; my emotions, deeply falling in love, being betrayed, wonderful humor and joy, connections with non-human sources such as art; all the physical pain I have known or not known....    

.... all of it can be seen as it is....  .... wonderfully luminous energy... 

and if I can see it as this completely enough, for long enough, through these third path cycles... i will eventually dip into fourth path!
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Okay, so I have been frustrated for a couple weeks.  Is my final goal AF or 4th Path... If 4th Path is just a stepping stone, than is it really that Ultimate?  I realize what I need is what I have described above.  I have to attempt to stabilize this experience.  It is not that this experience being a permanent baseline is the goal, but rather the effects that being in it will have on my energetic system after it goes away.  There is some way that complete opening can invoke some gut feeling or remembrance, even after such a complete opening has come and gone.

Being open isn't a choice.  It is a preexistent quality of mind.  This mind includes everything that arises, as it arises, in a fully energized manner.  This isn't some manic effect or A&P firework... I think I know this because it has no foothold, no seeming cause.  It includes all causes and all effects as one.  

I will still, however, stay in 1st gear.  I believe switching gears is a mistake that many yogis make.  Keep the practice dumb and simple.  Note, note, note, fire away.  But, I will also keep, in the back of my mind, this open luminosity as the goal.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/20/15 5:06 PM as a reply to Noah.
Okay, I need to gain some perspective

so its Wednesday, the 20th of May...

Finished 3rd Path on April 12th,
Then had 3rd Path Review for about a month,
then on Wednesday/Thursday (13th/14th), I finally began 4th Path 1st cycle 
on Friday, the 15th, I passed through the A&P of 4th Path 1st cycle
then on Monday, the 18th, I seem to have completed 4th Path 1st cycle

It seems that 'the fruits' of Third Path are still revealing themselves (meaning, it did not happen all at once, which makes sense)...
During the month of Review, I felt somehow definitely different, most notably that I was slightly more okay with discomfort.
Then, in the week after Review, I was basically just focused on completing the first cycle of 4th Path..
However, that happened on Monday, and for about 2 to 3 days I have felt the greatest baseline shift so far (since I started this process in September of 2013... about that):

           The shift seems to be coming into contact with some unavoidable realness... that everything is the same, whether I would like it to be or not... so, its not that being uncomfortable is NOW okay, its that it was always okay... stress isn't quite as possible in the same way as before because it has some type of veneer removed from it... Preference is somehow less possible than before.

Yeah, I wrote five long posts in the last three days which all expressed different things.  But I want to acknowledge that this thing has happened to me which is consistent across all these differing viewpoints.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/20/15 10:42 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/19- 4th Path. Cycle 2. Nana 1...  Several hours of noting after work today, nothing special happening.

Been reading this guy Alex Serrano's blog, "Active Dharma"... seen his posts on KFD archives as well as the DHO and such.  I'm a fan so far, posts such as "How to Dismantle Neurosis", and "Shift: From Dharma Tools to Testimony"... good stuff.  

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/22/15 7:06 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/20- 4th Path. Cycle 2. Nana 1/2/3... still below A&P (mostly in M&B, occassionally feeling the clarity of C&E and even more rarely the annoyingness of 3C's)... this is now definitely a real cycle... plenty of noting, no fireworks, just the regular bs that occurs at the beginning of the cycle.

I'm trying to move to Seattle in as little as two weeks from now.  Have a job set up, and a roommate.  Just need to find an apartment and plan the drive from NJ to WA.  Even though it will take a lot of concentration given the annoying agitation I deal with, I am determined to not let this planning stage interfere with my insight progress.  Enlightenment at any cost!

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/22/15 7:42 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/22- Still similar territory.  I am noticing 2 major efforts occuring.  One is the usual 1st gear, constant noting.  The other is that I seem to be prepping or adapting my mind (viewpoint/perspective, modes of thinking and feeling) for 4th Path.  Today, this took the form of realizing that I am more embedded in my thoughts and feelings than I am in my gross physical sensations.  This is related to my thinking/worrying/obsessing addiction.  I am addicted to thinking.  It feels good and empowering, so I am always moving towards it, into it.  

I am going to try to classify thoughts in exactly the same category as physical thinking.  There has been a subtle qualitative difference so far on the path.  Thoughts are just part of the bubbling up of this sensory field.  Thoughts are thoughts, sensations are sensations, they are separate, but also equal in that they are part of the same field of the 3 C's.  

This field is always adjusting itself and moving.  Enlightenment is not the ability to force it to stop moving, or to endlessly coast on it with no need to adjust myself, moment-by-moment.  If there is a way to ride the wave of impermenance (as Shinzen says) it requires constant adjustment and rebalancing, like real surfing.  But there is some type of simple change, which is that I can become completely open and awake to all of the bubbles in all of their changes, even if this quality of awakeness itself changes somewhat, in each moment.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/24/15 1:43 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/23- C2N1... had a really strong experience of M&B which included cognitive insights about how thoughts are unrelated to physical reality and contained in their own, inner world and then physical sensations are also separated into the external world, and somehow I try to create an artificial connection between them (the creation of the sense of self).  Progressed a little into a hard C&E where I was trying to remain detached and relaxed and open at work but kept having tension when I would become distracted.  

I'm meditating a lot of hours a day, but no A&P yet.  This is the nitty gritty of the path now, no more Review momentum.

I'm also feeling some doubt about myself, my efforts, and also my thoughts.  I feel that I'm addicted to thinking and that gets expressed here on the forums.  Its useful to see how obsessive I am over the weeks and detach.  In general, I'd like to move away from the type of conceptualizing I am so fond of.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/24/15 11:00 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/24- Noted a lot today.  Definitely still within the same cycle, but not sure about any details beyond that.  At different times today I swear I could have been in low eq, dissolution, 3 c's, fear, etc.  Just different, confusing body vibes, moods, thought patterns, etc.  The most notable thing was heavy, unpleasant body vibes with a twinge of paranoia for about two hours while at work tonight. Its a healthy-humble reminder that I'm not that good at dharma diagnosing myself and therefore definitely not for anyone else.  Ron-sesh on Thursday for that.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/26/15 4:12 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/26- I still don't know where I am.  Its hard to tell if I'm making progress.  I feel moments where the kundalini wants to go up, but just can't yet.  Then other times it starts to.  Sometimes I feel tension in the face and I grimace, others times I'm able to relax and let it go.  I feel the need for a bit of a cognitive-emotional change in approach as I watch this Grateful Dead documentary.  There is something about enjoying life that I need.  A bit more of the joy and tranquility factors of enlightenment, perhaps.  I even started doing second gear practice today, as Ron taught it to me, finding that button behind the eyes and pressing, then feeling the rush.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/27/15 6:37 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/27- Lots of noting again today.  No signs of A&P.... grrrrr.  

Luckily, I speak to Ron tomorrow morning.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/28/15 5:35 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/28- Ron-sesh in the morning.  Says my mindfulness is really good right now (which was my thought as well): 30 minutes straight of fairly calm, equanimous, continuous noting ("touching-chair, hearing-computer, feeling-flow, mental-imaging, feeling-arms", etc).  We also agreed that I am cycling up and down the first three nanas with extremely vague hints of low a&p from time-to-time.  Ron continuously warns me that the higher paths are frequently the most frustrating.  Since I am so used to progress this part is annoying.

I shared with him that I have been having some interesting, spiritually-symbolic dreams lately.  He confirmed that it is a sign of a deeper processing occuring, despite the seeming slow nature of this cycle on the surface.  Things are happening to my mind that will later come bubbling up.  I will reap the rewards of my effort.  He advised me against changing up my technique (i.e. switching to second gear) this late in the game.

After the session I noted all day at work, especially on the commute to and from home.  I just have to stay humble and not have too much expectations.  When I need motivation I watch some inspiring warrior movie or listen to some mindless rap music while telling myself I am a machine.  As corny and delusional as that sounds, it works. 

____________________________________________

I realize I've been getting really deep into the 1st 3 nanas.  I think this depth and length of time experience the sub-layers of them is what Daniel is talking about in his notation system for jhanas/nanas and sub-jhanas/sub-nanas... I realized this when I reread what I wrote a few days ago:
Definitely still within the same cycle, but not sure about any details beyond that.  At different times today I swear I could have been in low eq, dissolution, 3 c's, fear, etc.  Just different, confusing body vibes, moods, thought patterns, etc.  

Its interesting because the 1st vipassana jhana is like an entire cycle itself.  I should be more patient with it and let it do its thing.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/31/15 9:46 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/29- I really don't care about the idea of Buddhism, being a Buddhist practitioner, classify my meditation practice or technique, comparing meditation practices or techniques, synthesizing different models of enlightenment, etc.  The only thing I care about is my own progress; my point A to point B.  This is a huge refresher for me because I have always been very obsessive and overly conceptual in my thinking.  As my dad said while I was explaining this to him, "you're only in it for the money."  

Here is an example of "the money": I have never been the calmest person in the room.  Quite the opposite, frankly.  Last night, my co-worker asked me why I was so agitated when we were trying to sort out bar-tabs in the computer.  I responded by saying that I felt really calm, which was true.  I then realized that I had a tense tone and mannerisms, despite being completely tranquil on the inside.  Fruits of the path right there.  The only stress was my self-consciousness, which I could easily eliminate by choosing not to care.

Practice, practice, practice.  Care less, note more.  Withdraw from the senses, while continuously noting them.  In Raja Yoga, this is called Pratyahara.  Is there a Buddhist corollary?

p.s. In my notebook, I wrote out my future goals in the present tense.  I am close to the first one emoticon
-I am an arhat.
-I am actually free.
-I have mastered the jhanas.
-I have mastered the brahma viharas.
-I have mastered the law of attraction.
-I am perfectly physically safe and healthy.
-I have the job of my dreams.
-I have plenty of money.

Within this list, the idea of serving and helping others is interwoven (just saying, since it seems so incredibly selfish at first glance).  For those who think goal setting can only be a cause of more suffering, know that I have tried to perfect a goalless state of being for months on end in the past and it simply hasn't worked for me.  On the other hand, attaining to technical paths is forcing me into a state of goallessness, but the process to get there is inherently will-driven.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
5/31/15 9:47 PM as a reply to Noah.
5/30- Woo-hoo, A&P baby.  So, I'm finally triggering some loose kundalini going up and down my spine in a cloud of electricity.  I notice that the energy is less tense and coiled and more open as I progress along this path.

Also, I got super manic at work tonight, like, more energized than I had been in a couple months at least.  Considering there were no other factors that would be contributing, I attribute this to a mid A&P symptoms.  Finally!

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/1/15 5:33 AM as a reply to Noah.
5/31- Slacked off in early afternoon, then got to it on drive to work.  Noted all shift, alternating between one-words when distracted and sense-object when idle.  Noted all the way back home.  I'm trying to change my mind forever.  It makes sense that it would take this much effort.  Hours and hours.  But its the most important thing in my life right now.  If I can fix my broken mind (which IS happening already), then the whole spectrum of life opens up for me.  I'm trying to break out of jail here, and I won't stop digging until I hit free soil.  Still flirting with low A&P, I think.  No gimmes this cycle, obviously.  Sometimes, you gotta bleed for it.

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Lying in bed, listening to an old Vince Horn BG podcast about a two month ims retreat.  Thought about how the retreat experience really gets you 'high' since I could hear it in his voice.  Thought about how I've been doing so much daily life meditation that it could have that effect if I stop resisting.  Then I stopped resisting.  It felt nice.  I don't think 4th Path is that far away, regardless of where I am in my current cycle.  Its not really about cycles this far along, after long.

Maybe all I need to do is stop resisting.  Could be that simple.  Just sayin.

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Interviewer:  Just sitting is boring.  Why do it?
Brad Warner:  You do it because its boring. ... (further paraphrase)  Most of life is boring.  Sometimes its intolerable, sometimes its exciting.  You keep meditating until you realize that most of it is in the middle, and eventually it is all seen as normal, in the middle, and therefore, its all interesting or exciting.

          This is very relevant to where I'm at.  I hear this, think, "its all supposed to be boring", its all supposed to be plain like this.  I felt energy rush up through my head, but it doesn't feel dramatic or that noticable.  I think thats 'cause its not constricted anymore.  Third Path wiped away the "iron skullcap."  I don't know if more stages are coming.  Does it matter?  

          Perhaps the rest of my life is supposed to be boring.  This is it, folks.  This is the only game there is.  There is nothing outside of it.  And I can know this even though I'm 23 and in knowing it have more Insight (with a capital "I") than someone who is 85, conventionally wise, but not contemplatively developed.

          To be done, I'm gonna have to realize that I'm done and that this insight thing isn't going to go any farther along this particular axis.  I'm done with fighting the quality of the moment.  I'm done with believing that there can be something outside of this exact moment with these exact ingredients.  It will always be a permuation of this batch of soup: Noah's perception, Noah's sensory field, Noah's mind and body, Noah's environment.  If it changes, it will be the same dough, but kneaded into a differently shaped roll.  And that kneading process is important, but recognizing the oneness of the dough is what makes it "Insight."

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Wow, lots of information being downloaded into my brain at six in the morning.  I'll keep posting here because its about my practice (rather than in my 'obsessing' log).  Okay, so there is the A/C on in my room and my bodies kinda cold.  But I feel like I have the option to be free to be cold.  But its a freedom I can't put my finger on.

a/c----> percieving a/c -------> feeling cold -------> judging cold to be "bad"---------> sense of Noah'ness/identifying with this bad/protecting myself from this bad

So, somewhere between the judgement of the bad and the deeper sense of me, there is some lack of clarity.  I need to clear up these details in the chain of dependent origination.  The freeing up or loosening of the mechanism there IS Fourth Path.  Its a type of power, a power of perception, which allows you to just be.

________________________________

Okay, so I think the way to untangle it is to see it all as unsatisfactory.  Just be disguisted with it, be done with it.  Rest in this firm conviction and the mind will let go on its own!  The whole thing is messy.  Subject is messy.  Object is messy.  The interaction between them is messy.  Messy, messy, messy.  Hard to organize.  Hard to control.  Endlessly frustrated.  It is what it is.

I can feel this in my body, what is coming.  It feels like a pull to another world, or another state of existence.  One in which there are no rules.  Unplugging from the matrix emoticon.

.....

Pondering this right now, I felt the brain, and the world around it.  And I felt this force, just tugging on the brain, this force which is creating a relationship between me and my physical environment.  And thats all this is, this self, this soul, just a string of quantum energy whispily connected two sides of an equation.  Its all very physical, it has no soul, its no big deal, its just this physical, chemical, psychic reaction, but not much more than that.

.....

I feel a bit high after this exact moment described above.  But I know that this clarity, knowledge, and afterglow will fade.  The only thing that will remain will be the lasting, subtle, after-effects... Subtle being the key word.

I then had the thought, "there will still be so much more work to do", which triggered a strong kundalini pull and inner deepening sort of backwards and down and also the gut feeling that this could be it (not that it was it, but I have learned that Path moments are not that big of a deal and not that dramatic or anything, they just happen).

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I tend to think this inspired energy which I am expressing is a side effect of being in high A&P... But I also think that it is a deeper process happening, the deepening which occurs through nanas, cycles and paths.  So its a two-fold way of thinking about it.  I tend to put more stock in the second version.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/1/15 12:14 PM as a reply to Noah.
Edit: I just wanna add some thoughts about the progress of insight as a whole.  Nothing incredible is happening to me.  It almost feels like I am just becoming more of my normal self within the context of my own life.  Is this what you want?  Sorry, just to add that point later in the day.

You are on to something here, Noah.

P.S.- Tell Ron I said Hi emoticon

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/1/15 10:43 PM as a reply to Russell ..
Russell .:
Edit: I just wanna add some thoughts about the progress of insight as a whole.  Nothing incredible is happening to me.  It almost feels like I am just becoming more of my normal self within the context of my own life.  Is this what you want?  Sorry, just to add that point later in the day.

You are on to something here, Noah.

P.S.- Tell Ron I said Hi emoticon
Haha I will!  He's off the radar for a few weeks but I'm sure he'd be happy to hear from you.  You were on KFD years ago right?  I like reading those archives.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/2/15 9:08 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
Russell .:
Edit: I just wanna add some thoughts about the progress of insight as a whole.  Nothing incredible is happening to me.  It almost feels like I am just becoming more of my normal self within the context of my own life.  Is this what you want?  Sorry, just to add that point later in the day.

You are on to something here, Noah.

P.S.- Tell Ron I said Hi emoticon
Haha I will!  He's off the radar for a few weeks but I'm sure he'd be happy to hear from you.  You were on KFD years ago right?  I like reading those archives.

Yep, that was me.  I mean it what I said, your last post has a lot of good insight in it.  Keep it up!

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/2/15 10:24 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/2- Some big A&P stuff going on.  Some of it actually feels like low EQ and mid EQ, but its way to early in the cycle for that.  I walked around in the dark in the rain.  My senses increased a bunch as I listened to the rain and looked at the street lamps glow on the wet leaves, etc. (lots of poetic stuff).  Also, I felt a type of transition from 3C's to A&P that was very close to the type of relief I feel when ReObs first clicks in to Low EQ.  Interesting stuff.  It basically just feels like a weight is taken off of my shoulders.  That relief moulds itself around whatever thought process is going on at the time.

I also felt a greater sense of detachment-type feeling occuring.  Something deeper.  A feeling of a 3rd-party mindset that was attempting to hijack my own, but in a good way, in a way that would drastically improve my life and mental state.  This was paired with a sense that my bipolar disorder is, in large part, a spiritual problem.  There is some energetic blockage on a deep, heart and spirit-based level.  Some way that my personality energy wants to express itself all the time but is unable because it is locked into certain negative feedback loops which play out on multiple levels.  I believe my practice will, in time, free up this energy to be as it was initially intended to be, before early environmental stresses, drug abuse, and other factors contributed to me being heavily inhibited by this bipolar.  

Edit: I also felt a way in which my consciousness has an impulse to separate itself from the patterns of my life situation and personality.  There is something inherently or chemically different about my citta or pure mental energy and as I come more and more online, it is trying to be able to float freely.  Its not that there is somewhere else for it to escape to, but it can be recognized for what it is and become more of a moment by moment experience of free flowing awareness rather than one that is identified with all the stressful bullshit.  And I have a particularly large amount of this "stuff", so this change that is developing is fairly obvious.

I look forward to continuing to explore this A&P territory.  Momentum is very important right now, since it is tempting to just bask in the wonder of the stage.

__________

Edit: Another noticable side-effect of this A&P is that I feel the wish to drop my interest in spirituality forever.  Moreover, I would like to be free of any and all locked-in thinking patterns and obsessings.  I believe it is possible for my energy to be much freer than what it is right now.  But I don't think I can get there by effort, persay.  I think the effort leads to grace, and grace removes the moulds or caps or whatever you want to call them... the psychic barrier that keeps things weighted down.

Edit: There is a way I am so self-absorbed and I sort of want to become enlightened to be important, powerful and recognized.  I want to quit this thinking too!  

I am always thinking about who is better than who.  Who is more enlightened, more detached, who is a better teacher, who is better at life in general.  When I listen to Buddhist Geeks podcasts, I feel critical of the people that are speaking.  I look for holes in their statements.  This isn't the only thing I do, but this insecurity is definitely a pattern.  Its wierd to imagine being totally disinterested.  Its an absence of a feeling, rather than the prescence of something extra.  The absence of involvement and intensity.  Thats what I want and thats what I feel that this Path is slowly doing.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/4/15 1:02 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/3- Still fighting for the A&P, but I'm just grateful that its happening.  I had to note in daily life for 4 hours today to get it going.  In general, I feel pretty good.  When I get upset, I can easily flip a switch and hear a wise voice inside saying, "this isn't real."  And then there is the automatic way in which I simply don't get upset a lot of the time.

___________

Its getting hard to multi-tasking, including note in daily life.  Just wanted to note this for future reference.

I usually note while conversing with someone and I might be a little distracted but I don't care.  Now I care, so I'm noticing the distraction or gap between me and the situation more clearly.  This is reducing the quality and quantity of my noting.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/4/15 10:03 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/4- I am pretty agitated, in the body.  Also, I feel anxious mentally and am having obsessive thinking and nothing makes me happy.  I don't think I'm past the A&P yet, but this does have the stink of the dark night.  I'll just have to wait and see. 

I get some medium strength kundalini after hours of noting.  I get a stronger mental/mood effect once every two days or so for the past week (embedded A&P experience).  So its not like I'm consistently in the thick of the A&P all the time now.  Probably a little early to call DN.

edit: I later realized the agitation is the 3 C's nana

Sometimes (especially right now), I think that I should be out looking for a job (in the professional world, with my degree), not staying at home meditating.  Other times, I tell myself it is well worth the extra wait given how I will gain certain mental qualities that will later be useful in all situations, including my career.  Furthermore, there is a third type of thinking that happens; one in which I am aware that all of this mental chatter is arising because I am an anxious person.  This Path is one of unplugging from that anxious core deep inside of me.  Job or no job, meditation or no meditation, I am trying to transcend this level entirely.  And that is something stainless that I can say nothing more about.  All I can do is do the work to get it.

p.s. I'm watching the film "There Will Be Blood" and totally relating it to my practice in a metaphoric sense.  The entire first film is about the incredibly slow, painstaking process of drilling for oil and digging for gold in America's frontier at the turn of the century.  The protaganist must make the mine shaft himself, make all the equipment and then do all the work himself, going 50 feet into the earth.  Its an unbelievable amount of work.  Thats how I feel about my practice.  I'm sacrificing a lot of activity I would otherwise be engaged in to be noting all the time in daily life.  But I have already struck oil several times and my next step is to go so deep that I strike oil once-and-for-all!

_______________________

Watching the Reggie Ray live stream that Droll posted.  I feel like his energy is in the room, his head seems 3D, etc.  I've felt this before with various diety-invoking DIY practices.  I've felt some nice energy going up through my head.  I feel openness in my head and some screwy energy causing pleasant vertigo in my body.  

I also feel the instinct to alter my noting to include more internal objects (thoughts, thought-patterns, emotions, thought-emotion series, etc.), and also to just slow the noting down and feel the impatience as it arises.  I've definitely done similar shifts before around various parts of a cycle including, post-a&p, post-dn, etc.

Note to future self: Reggie Ray is awesome!  I totally have to check out his brand of Tantra at some point down the road.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/5/15 10:51 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/5- Notes, notes, notes... I'm tired of this, but I won't stop.  I'm sure of that.  A&P at different times throughout the day.  3 C's is the barrier I must bust. Manifests as restlessness and agitation.

Haven't worked this hard since pre-first path.  Whoo.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/6/15 9:55 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/6-

Cutting edge: Either late A&P or early Dissolution.  

Notable aspects of the day:
-Grumpiness, paranoia, obsessive thinking and a general disguist for everything went on for a couple of hours while at work- May or may not be dark night starting to show.  Carried a different quality than the 3 C's Nana.
-In general, the past few days, having trouble working hard and also sustaining the notes while doing other tasks (moreso than in the past).
-I feel the instinct to do things other than note, i.e. self-inquiry or choiceless awareness.
-I have a new gut feeling about how enlightenment should feel; some type of undiscovered centerlessness that is taking place in the periphery of my vision.  It is not obvious, but the general theme or thing that is happening is that there is this whole world out there and none of it is "in me".  "Me" is this little point of attention that is 'of' this field.  In no way, should this relationship be used to tell a story about the world.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/7/15 7:35 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/7- Adjusting for Right View:

So, at different times throughout the past 2 years that I've been noting in daily life, I have needed to put less emphasis, on extreme, continuous mindfulness, and more emphasis on a sort of, 'thinking or feeling it out.'  I have needed to get my Right View sorted out.  I think this effort also has to do with Right Intention and Right Effort.  

In this case, Right View-->Right Intention-->Right Effort-->Right Mindfulness.  I am comfortable mixing them out of order after reading Thanissaro Bhikku's 'Wings of Awakening' and hearing how they can be fractalized and reordered in all types of ways.  I think this Right Viewing process takes on different forms at different stages in the path.

Right now, it feels like I am needing to let go of stages and linear progress.  The thing I am trying to detect or pick up on (4th Path), is non-linear.  It is the catching of a certain sense or understanding which lies outside of the senses.  I am Noah.  I do have this mind and body.  I am not trying to destroy that (yet ;-) ).  But, there is a way that I tell my story, or have a sense of my story or my narrative, that needs to go.  It is the way of finding myself as the centerpoint of the universe.  With the forever-banishing of this center point, comes the forever-banishing of the prerequisites of stress.  Stress can't arise if its basis' can't.  Its like trying to quote a paragraph in a book that was never written.  

I need to orient my mind more towards this type of understanding, and then, do the noting from that place.  

___________________________________

More thoughts, later in the day:

-There is no specialness to any of it.  My karma is not special.  My experience is not special.  Neither is anyone elses.  All experience is equal.   The fact that it is an 'experience' (that consciousness exists), is not a big deal.  It does feel like "my" karma, "my" experience, "my" specialness.  But that feeling of "my" is just another phenomenon!  It is just another aspect of the one taste of it all.  

-The specialness (the delusion) feels like "this moment that I am percieving is the only one that anyone is percieving."  "This moment is the only moment!"  But that is not true!  There are many perceptions going on, many points of consciousness walking around (other people).  None of them are special.  None of them are more true than any others.  They are all relative experiences.  

-There must be no preference, and there also must be an understanding of the relative nature of my perception.  Don't be attached to anything that arises in my field of awareness (meaning, don't be attached to anything in life).  Non-clinging is not a phenomenon.  It is the hole or void that is created when phenomenon  that were there dissapear.  It is negative space, or perfect stillness.  

I might be in the process of fully crossing the A&P, rather than flirting with it but then falling back into the 1st Vip. Jhana.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/8/15 3:05 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/8- My baseline concentration is a lot higher.  I've been feeling a bit of difficult staying focused during the past 4 days or so, which is gone now.  I'll post more later.  

I think the A&P (in full) occurred yesterday with the in-sight that I need to release some of my clinging to states and stages and just sort of allow myself to float along this river.  Also, the quick, one-word notes are starting to feel right, and the longer, sense door-object notes are starting to feel more tedious.

-----

Had a wonderful, open, bright, kundalini rush a little bit ago.  Extreme clarity and calmness.  All very nice things.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/9/15 6:37 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/9- Wow, today was a rollercoaster.  I bounced between the manic intensity of early A&P, to the chill clarity and openness of mid A&P, and then back down to the utter agitation and restless tension of late 3 C's, like 10 times!  I feel like my ego is being beaten up and tenderized in preparation for the full surrender of the Dark Night.  At least I'm starting to gain some mastery of this part of the cycle.  For awhile there it felt like I was making no progress. Its crazy how I can go from doing 3 full cycles a day in Review to not being able to get past the 1st Nana for a week!  Each nana has many sub-levels.  It really is a vast territory of mind.  Very humbling.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/10/15 5:26 PM as a reply to Noah.
Let's get some perspective:

Its been 3 weeks since I started my current cycle (5/20 to 6/10).
It took me ten days to get to early A&P (5/20 to 5/30).
And for another ten days I've been working through the A&P (5/30 to 6/10).

Not bad, but not great either.  I need to do a little magick.  Let it be known that I am directing the One Law/ One Mind as me and through me, to reach 4th Path as quickly as possible!!

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/11/15 3:19 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/10- Writing this on (6/11)... Had some good energetic/kundalini/jhana factors emerge in formal-lying meditation for about an hour yesterday.  Felt like I was going to dissappear at times, or felt like the energy was uncomfortably ripping through me, and then later pleasurable... Lots of inner openness, and some formlessness (probably all just sub-levels of the 2nd jhana/4th nana).  Anyway, just noting that the A&P is slowly maturing.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/11/15 5:51 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/11- Just lost my work of a post I was making... grrr, extremely frustrating... So I'm just going to write a summarized version:

Basically, after getting 3rd Path, Ron told me that 4th Path can't happen until I get to know and understand each nana fully.  That is coming to pass.  Without describing each individual sub-level again, I will say that each nana has at least 3, and sometimes 6, discernable sub-phases within.  This is why it took me a week to get through 3 C's and a whole other 10 days so far to get through the A&P...  However, the good news is that once a territory is traversed, you know it, and can't quite get stuck on it as much as before.

This all relates to Kenneth's chakra-model in which 3rd Path represents the stabilization of all the insights from each chakra at the 3rd eye.  I understand this because I can feel the new perspective I have: none of this is a big deal, none of this is special, all of this has one taste.  I need to experience each of the nanas in their fullness from this new, one-taste perspective.  Once I have done this, all the insights will then stabilize at the level of the crown chakra.  After the 4th Path fruition, they sink down and rest at the level of the heart chakra, permanently, marking the end of insight disease and the beginning of the rabbit-hole free-fall (living with "total" experience).  

It doesn't matter that I did at the cycle a bunch of times already.  This is that first time (not counting the previous cycle, which still had Review-momentum) that I'm experiencing them as an Anagami.  
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It is significant that a single note can tell it all.  It depends on the quality of the note.  The highest quality notes reveal the volitionless, impermanent nature of the phenomenon one is noting.  There is a sense of centerpoint, a sense of viewer, in relation to the note.  However, connecting with the initial volitionlessness, reveals that the sense of viewer is also an object that is spontaneously arising.  It is on the same par with the initial note.  All phenomenon are on the same par.

The part where it gets interesting is the fact that awareness, or awakeness, or consciusness, exists at all.  I think, in a way, consciousness IS reality.  Subject<------>awareness<------->object is really just one thing: -----awareness----.  There is only awareness.  

Isn't it fun and interesting that this reality we live in is so inherently luminous!?  And we don't have to do anything about it.  We can't do anything about it even if we tried.  Its just permanently lit up on its own.  All I have to do is be with the light, one note at a time.
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There is a legitimate separation between the external world of phenomena and the internal world of phenomena.  However, the separation that I sense, although real, is actually another phenomena.  The internal world is its own system, its own jungle, its own habitat.  At the center of this habitat, is "I."  But "I" is not real.  "I" is not its own thing, it is just another animal.  It is the king of the jungle, but a part of the jungle nonetheless.  This jungle is suffuse with awareness.  The objects in the jungle are being observed by that awareness, but are also MADE of it.  

I vow to let this jungle do its thing.  I vow to let the external world do its thing as well.  I vow to understand that awareness is already perfect, and that my clarity will reveal this to me fully.
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Its not enough to just ponder all of the insights I described above.  Thinking about it and 'feeling' it wont actually get me IT.  Thats what the cycle is for.  I have to traverse this territory.  But there are layers of delusion between me and the territory of mind I am traversing.  Each path peels away a layer of delusion, making the details of the cycle more clear.  The peel away moment is cessation.

This last path of mine, I need to reach a certain critical mass of clear seeing of the nanas.  When I can't see them any more clearly, and I have traversed the whole territory, the final cessation will happen.  That is when awareness will be on its own.  When I come back from that, it will change the physio-energetic system forever.  It is what the yoga sutras describe "yoga-citta-vritti-nirrodha", yoga is the stilling of the waves of the mind---- the next, although I don't know the sanskrit, is "when this happens, the seer abides in its own nature."

At 4th Path, the awareness abides in itself.  With all the corriders and levels of the mind having been revealed through the progress of insight, there is nowhere for the awareness to hide or contract or be blinded.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/12/15 2:39 AM as a reply to Noah.
6/12- The same thing that happened last path is happening this path, although earlier along, I might add.  That thing is this: rather than it being about nanas and cycles, it is about the quality with which I go through my life.  It is about learning my way into a state that isn't reliant upon any conditions, forever.

How can I be in this fight with my girlfriend and be free from the inside?  How can I go to my shitty job tomorrow and be free from the inside?  How can I be here now, typing, and there is nothing wrong... time and space are just happening on their own, passing me by.... and I am this awareness... and I am perfectly free, how can I just accept that?  Just be with that?

This is a lifetime commitment, this 4th Path thing.  It is a commitment to a new way of being.  My personality, the entire structure, needs to be disembedded from.  All of the aspects of this physical body, and this physical environment, need to be disembedded from.  Only then, can true dispassion take root (as I read Nikolai referencing frequently).  I vow to become dispassionate from the very core reference point from which all other associations spring.  I vow to allow all things to arise and their own.  I vow to understand and be awareness in all of its capacity and weakness.  I vow....

--------------------------------------------------------------------

The thing that makes this type of thinking different from straight-up/pure noting is that I am somehow priming the mind in a background sense for 4th Path.  It is like preparing the grounds of a castle for a royal visit from a neighboring land's king.  I am "cleaning up" the thought-processes and emotional-physio-body channels to be able to "hold" the mantle of 4th Path.  The same thing happened at 3rd Path and can be found in my other practice log.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/12/15 12:22 PM as a reply to Noah.
That all being said, here are a few thoughts:
-To get stream-entry, it seemed that my koan, or key thought that sort of "unlocked my energy", was 'How can I allow the perception of reality to be inherently pleasurable, regardless of whether a given phenomenon is negative or positive?' .... ... the answer was to just step aside, and when I thought this, the path moment occurred.
-Right before my second path moment, the thought I had was 'How can I incorporate not just my conscious process of perception, but also my subconscious, with this generally pleasurable sense of allowing?'.... ... right after thinking that, I felt like my entire mind (surface and deep) was one big container that was just being allowed to do its thing... ... then I had fruition and second path.

I have had a couple cycles since then.

For third path, I keep thinking of the first line of the famous (but very distasteful) Jimmy Soul song: "If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life"...  The big shift now is to really figure out how to do that in a major way.  Honestly, as I lie in bed, it seems that I have to really, really, deeply stop giving a shit about my external affairs.  Fuck my personal relationships, my physical health and my financial well-being.  Just let it all go!  Just drop it completely and totally in this moment.  That is the only way I can continuously view the world with no filters.  And viewing the world with no filters IS third path AKA "cognizing emptiness in real time."

I'm basically saying there has to be a change in personal philosophy, a commitment to a different worldview and attitude which will facilitate a commitment to a different perceptual baseline.  Its not enough to just note and get jhana... I think if I only meditate without this psychological change then I will just keep cycling without getting path.

This is where I listed my koans for 1st, 2nd and 3rd paths.


I think I found my 4th Path koan:  It is the noticing of the sense of unavoidable awakeness, which forms the prerequisite basis for the process of perception at all times... Noticing how I am trapped in this mode of being awake, how I can not not be aware of stuff as I live this life and go through my day... It is a type of noticing which clarifies and leads to the ultimate insight... it is a type of noticing which diminishes the hindrances, increases the factors of enlightenment, and leads to uprooting of the fetters...

These are my guidelines to know I am doing it right, because there are certainly a lot of ways to look at emptiness.  How can I allow myself to be the ghost in the shell.  If I am perfectly imprisoned than I am perfectly free.  Realizing this is 4th Path.

Basically, I need to learn to be "okay" at all times, with whatever is arising and passing, because not only do all of these phenomena share the same "one taste", but from the perspective of this background, unavoidable awakeness, even the sense of one-taste is another phenomenon.  This is the happiness which is beyond conditions.  A sense of the always-there, ultimately-relative, continuous consciousness which is, without needing to be a true self.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/13/15 12:22 AM as a reply to Noah.
Alright, so I've been thinking more about this koan-type thinking.  I also call it fake-it-till-you-make-it.  I'm basically imagining how the next stage of enlightenment will feel.  It usually occurs at the 11th nana, not at the 4th.  However, in a recent thread, Dream Walker said that A&P is like a "half-path", which is how this baseline felt today.  It felt like a big improvement from 3rd-path effects.  So all this thinking/figuring I'm doing might actually still be the A&P maturing.  It probably is.  What a long A&P.
---------------------------------
6/12- THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF MY MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES YET ON THE PATH 

Sorry for yelling, I just wanted it to be noticable for myself later, lol.

Ok, this is the discovery.  It feels like I have a switch inside.  All I have to do is remind myself: "Just be free from the inside", "just stop resisting from the inside."  I then notice how this creates a sort of space or barrier between me and all of reality.  It is as if there is a part of me that is totally allowed to just chill.  It also feels like a muscle relaxing or a flower opening up.  But the mechanism is completely invisible and unknown.


JUST BE FREE FROM THE INSIDE

What is it that is significant about the "inside" part to me?  I think its that "I" am inside this mind and body.  I am contained within this structure.  So, I am specifically not trying to 'see no-self' or 'see through the illusion of self', but rather, I am trying to be totally fine with the self as it always is, always has been, and always will be.  I am completely removing the wind from the sails of resistance.


 I am completely removing the wind from the sails of resistance.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/13/15 8:13 AM as a reply to Noah.
6/13- I think I'm close.  My fake-it-till-you-make-it, koan-type-questioning is working well.  I have not been doing much formal noting for the past couple days.

I have to alter my approach at different times.  Sometimes I have to try and see through the center of caring.  Sometimes I have to try and see through the center of attention.  Sometimes I have to try and see these things as one in the same.  Regardless of what it is, there is a sense of creating a relationship with things and between things.  There is a sense of falsifying a basis for the continuous existence of this world within and around me.

Mostly, these thoughts have to do with a change in MY perception, rather than what I am percieving.  However, I just now had the thought that if I change the MY of perception, it has to inherently change the perception process and objects.  This led to good kundalini and a sense of impending change.

Reality is free.  Reality is free from me.  I am not free from reality.  Reality is free from me.

Everything has to change.  It isn't a quality or an aspect that I am dissecting and examining separately as if in an isolated laboratory.  It is everything, that arises in my attention, passes from my attention, and even the things that are currently outside of my attention.  Those things are also free from me.  Those things are also free from the 'relationship' requirement.  Those things are also free to exist, to do their own thing.

I want to re-emphasize my new insight.  THE QUALITY OF ALL THINGS MUST CHANGE IF THE ME IN THEM CHANGES.  NO CENTER MEANS NO OUTSIDE; NO RELATIONSHIPS; NO NEED NO STRIVING.

How can I see that this reality is fake?  That I am plugged into the Matrix?  That a belief in something outside of it is bullshit?  Its all in the game.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/13/15 10:42 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
I have to alter my approach at different times.  Sometimes I have to try and see through the center of caring.  Sometimes I have to try and see through the center of attention.  Sometimes I have to try and see these things as one in the same.  Regardless of what it is, there is a sense of creating a relationship with things and between things.  There is a sense of falsifying a basis for the continuous existence of this world within and around me.

Mostly, these thoughts have to do with a change in MY perception, rather than what I am percieving.  However, I just now had the thought that if I change the MY of perception, it has to inherently change the perception process and objects.  This led to good kundalini and a sense of impending change.

Reality is free.  Reality is free from me.  I am not free from reality.  Reality is free from me.

Everything has to change.  It isn't a quality or an aspect that I am dissecting and examining separately as if in an isolated laboratory.  It is everything, that arises in my attention, passes from my attention, and even the things that are currently outside of my attention.  Those things are also free from me.  Those things are also free from the 'relationship' requirement.  Those things are also free to exist, to do their own thing.

I want to re-emphasize my new insight.  THE QUALITY OF ALL THINGS MUST CHANGE IF THE ME IN THEM CHANGES.  NO CENTER MEANS NO OUTSIDE; NO RELATIONSHIPS; NO NEED NO STRIVING.

How can I see that this reality is fake?  That I am plugged into the Matrix?  That a belief in something outside of it is bullshit?  Its all in the game.

"You" have to step out of your own way. You have nothing to do with the flip. Quit giving weight to any of it. To me, it seems there is so much weight being thrown around in the above post. Weight to "altering approaches". Weight to "seeing through this and that". Weight to this view and that view. Weight to "re-emphasising". Weight to the thought "How do I get this thing done?"

"You" are in the way. Relax and and try contemplating whether the mind is adding weight anywhere. Some aspect of the field of experience? A thought loop? An image loop?  A manner of holding experience? A supposed centrepoint? A clustering of sensations? A way of wanting to "be"? Wanting to "be"?


One phrase flipped it for me: THE NON-SACREDNESS OF ALL PHENOMENA. 

No weight given to these phenomena over those phenomena. No weight given to any of it all period...then maybe .....flip.


Just giving you more thought triggers to add weight to..hehe. Please ignore my post if it triggers only frustration. 

Nick

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/13/15 9:44 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
"You" have to step out of your own way. You have nothing to do with the flip. Quit giving weight to any of it. To me, it seems there is so much weight being thrown around in the above post. Weight to "altering approaches". Weight to "seeing through this and that". Weight to this view and that view. Weight to "re-emphasising". Weight to the thought "How do I get this thing done?"

"You" are in the way. Relax and and try contemplating whether the mind is adding weight anywhere. Some aspect of the field of experience? A thought loop? An image loop?  A manner of holding experience? A supposed centrepoint? A clustering of sensations? A way of wanting to "be"? Wanting to "be"?


One phrase flipped it for me: THE NON-SACREDNESS OF ALL PHENOMENA. 

No weight given to this phenomena over that phenomena. No weight given to any of it all period...then maybe .....flip.


Just giving you more thought triggers to add weight to..hehe. Please ignore my post if it triggers only frustration. 

Nick

Thank you, Nick.  I'm working with it now.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/13/15 11:02 PM as a reply to Noah.
Okay, back in the saddle…. I ended my last thread very abruptly. Here’s why: I spent nine days on the road in late April and early May. This was business travel full of running around producing stuff and meeting people and managing things. At the end of those nine days I was bone tired. So I got on a plane at Dulles in Washington DC and flew home. This was Thursday May 6th. Window seat. I really like window seats because I like the sensation of flying and I like the view, which heightens that sensation. I was decompressing. I was listening to music. I looked out the window and saw some clouds floating by below me, and then …… **click ** Before that click I was what I have been all my life and throughout my practice: – out of sync with my experience – wondering what magical thing I could find to help me see what was really going on – driven by a process that seemed energetic, biological, inexorable, a dharma conveyor belt After that click I was: – in sync with experience, all of it. I mean ALL of it. – not wondering or seeking, knowing beyond any doubt that what I had been looking for all these years was right in front of me and always had been – off the energetic, biological conveyor belt What struck me then (and now) is that I had suddenly, somehow, managed to get out of my own way, phenomenologically speaking. No more need to seek, no need to see anything but what is right here, right now.

The import was thus — awareness became a part of perception. All the time, always on, real time, any time perception. Perception is wrapped in awareness, so to speak. This was not an event. I don’t know what happened. I don’t recall a fruition. I know those and how they feel, event the little ones. This was…. not that. But it did and still has immense consequences. TBC….

Okay, so that is from Chris Marti's practice log, as posted to the magazine function of Awake Network.  Very inspiring.

I can guess what this 4th Path shift might be like.  I can actually rehearse it.  And despite how it may sound (extra effort, delusional-sticky-striving), it is actually helping me.  It is like there is an invisible wall, and on the other side of it lies 4th Path.  It really isn't a big deal.  

I've done a lot of harder things, and I actually sort of hate my mind, which is why I have done progressed fairly quickly (I think).  Its easy to give up what you don't want in the first place (annoying mental energy/perceptual constriction).





RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/14/15 10:17 AM as a reply to Noah.
6/14- I don't think I've done it and am not claiming that.  However, in reading through the threads DreamWalker posted as an answer to my "Should I Change My Technique...." thread, I notice the thought 'I don't feel like there is any problem other than the one that I am creating by looking for more.'  In other words, I 'feel done', as Kenneth would say, and stress.

The past 2 or 3 days have been marked by lots of different types of efforts as I decided to stop doing strict first-gear which suddenly felt so pointless.  While in the backyard of my friends house last night I felt like there was no-thing home and had a general panoramic sense.  I did sense the fact that my visual field only included that which was in front of me, but I noticed that the distinction between front and behind was just another phenomenon.  However, inner objects did feel more stick than outer ones.

Later, in the night, I was rethinking my relationship with inner object: 'it can't be 4th Path unless I have the same relationship with all things!'  I realized that it is okay if my inner world feels different than my outer world, they are different.  Then, I was okay with it.

In the transition between before-sleep, sleep, and waking up, there didn't seem to be false conceptual overlays about the need to classify "new day" in my head.  Why muddy my perception of my natural stream of awareness?

Why do I have to muddy my perception of my natural stream of awareneness with notions of solving bipolar disorder?  With trying to change my awareness?  Its cool, as it is.

Shargrol answered me via my repost in AN:
You finally understand what it means to experience.

That feels right.  What it means to experience is that you can't change it even if you tried.  Its just one continuous river.  When you stop interfering with the river, that is peace.  Peace is when you finally agree to happily float down the river.  My whole life, I have been fighting the moment.  Perhaps I am almost ready to stop.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/14/15 10:54 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah, why would the stuff "inside" you be any different than the stuff "outside" of you? Something you hold deeply and that seems very special.

What is it?


emoticon

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/14/15 12:12 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris,

Its because I've always been so tortured by my emotions, by insecurity, by continuous, low-level anxiety.  I've never been able to 'just be.'

So I tend to treat the (me<----->inner stuff) relationship with more significance than the (me<------->outer stuff) relationship.

What should I do about this?

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/14/15 12:35 PM as a reply to Noah.
What should I do about this?

Noah, this next step is a matter of perception.  

You may indeed have constructed a strong set of defenses against the "outside" and assume that what's "inside" is somehow different. You hold unseen assumptions about it. You need to find out what those assumptions are. This requires a change in the angle of your perception, a figure/ground reversal. Brute force doesn't seem to work.

I'm sory and I wish I could help you more but that's impossible. I've described the issue as best I can. Soon enough you'll see this for yourself, and know why no one else can help at this stage. This is your history, your preceptions, your assumptions. You have the key that'll open this door. You've gotten this far so you definitely have all the tools.

And, BTW, you actually do know how to "just be." We all did, and do, before anything happens at all. You already "just are" and simply don't see that yet. What's in the way of that perception?


RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/14/15 1:24 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
@Chris: I getcha, thank you, regardless.  I have always benefitted from reading your commentary.
 

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/14/15 1:29 PM as a reply to Noah.
So I think I'm going to change the angle of my practice log.  I am not claiming 4th Path, although I do feel different since last night.  I think what I am going to do is start posting mini-bits of insight, mini-experiences.  Here's one:

Driving home just now, I was working with the seeming stickiness of my internal stuff, as opposed to the external.  I was also working with the stickiness of the things I find important: success, confidence, validation, enlightenment, life-advancement, self-improvement, etc.  These are all the ways I "frame it."  I realized that these are just more non-sticky bits of internal experiences.  Then I had the image that it is all a puzzle made of separate, jig-saw peices, and up until now, I have been seeing it as one solid image.  When I thought this, I had the image of all the puzzle peices coming apart and beginning to float up into the sky.  I started laughing.  The humor is that it isn't one thing.  Its many, disjointed things.  When seen this way, the pain goes away, at least for a time.  If it comes back, thats okay.

I also notice that I suddenly feel less interested in participating on this message board, and I feel less interested in "pragmatic dharma", or perhaps, "dharma" in general.  It is sort of limited in terms of the positive effect it can have on our lives.  And yet, I feel so open.

Thread Split
Answer
6/18/15 12:51 PM as a reply to Noah.
The new thread can be found at http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5742679.

As this is predominately a practice thread I asked if Noah would like to split off the discussion. He agreed.
~D

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/18/15 1:21 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/17- Lying down, almost falling asleep, I can feel the leftover impression of the sunglasses I had on all day, a phantom limb type thing.  I can also see after images of the sun and the sand (I was at the beach).  Then, I begin to transition into a dream.  I don't remember what it was, but I remember the remarkable quality that each of the things I have mentioned were all sort of the same, or flat, in some way.  They didn't seem rare or unusual, just normal.  

I also noticed an insight into the fact that "my story" feels more dual than other objects.  The background sense of my story, my problems, as well as all the thinking I have done along those lines, still needs disembedding work.  I am sure this will bring me closer to fourth path and true freedom.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/19/15 12:34 AM as a reply to Noah.
6/18-  So, it is obvious to me that there was some deepening of Third Path that took place last Saturday night.  It was strong enough for me to initially think it was Fourth Path (which, of course, I have fully taken back!!!).  I wont be making a premature claim again.  It is a lesson learned.

Ron thinks I should follow my gut at this point.  It is telling me that I needed to stop noting for a week or so so that I could experiment directly with my baseline and find out how to deepen it.  Now I think that week is up and it is time to go back to straight noting.  Eventually, I feel that some difficulty will be revealed through the noting and my work will be disembed from it.  

Completing the cycle no longer feels valuable.  However, it does feel valuable to be able to access each of the nanas and have them fuck with my mind and see if I can stay disembedded and keep them completely integrated with the sense field.  Shargrol gave some similar advice like this on "bandwidths" on AN.  I think this struggle would also work with the jhanas, and with life experiences, as well.
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While noting just now, felt agitation, but remembered what Not Tao wrote in my log recently (problem isn't presence of negative emotions, problem is trusing them to lead me in a certain direction/letting them steer the ship+ freedom is controlling the mind, not having absence of negative emotions, freedom must come first, then pleasure)... I then had the thought "I am not my feelings", which triggered hella kundalini and openness.  Is 4th Path the complete surrender?  Just no longer fighting anything, forever?  I think thats one part of it, but there are also physical-spatial ways I am locked into perception which need to be disembedded from and also temporal aspects that frame perception which need to be disembedded from.  This is all about unlocking the last chains that bind my perception at this point.
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Yeah, so I think the goal now is to unlock the false/relative sense of time and the sense of space that I have.  There are various "senses" of things that I have needed to see through on this path.  A big one was the 'sense' of a centerpoint of caring or signficance.  I feel like that sort of went away after my experience on Saturday night which I thought was 4th Path at the time.  But there are other layers of selfing that are present.

There is a way that I define my experience by the boundaries of my physical body as well as the boundaries of what I can see, hear, taste, smell and touch outside my body.  There is a me in here and things out there, based on these boundaries.  

There is a way that I define my experience based on the sense that I am continuous through time and other things are continuous through time.  Also, in my mind, the spatial field changes through time, when it is probably more accurate to say that having a sense of time is actually an illusion and endless space is all contained in one endless moment.

In the past, I was focused on synching up with MY, personal, little field of perception/sensory field.  However, there is a vast, interconnected outer world... and I become aware of only a infintesimly small amount of it at any given time; this small amount is my physical-sense-field.  There is also a vast, interconnected inner world, which has many stored memories and imprints and is always working very hard to relate to the outer world as it arises, and to assimilate the data that it has just seen as previous impressions of the outer world pass away.  I am only aware of a small portion of this inner world at any given time. 

The "me" is basically just a flashlight that walks around, lighting up different parts of the inner and outer worlds.  Outside of this flashlight, there is a vast, interconnected, inner and outer reality.  Realizing that the light of my awareness is perfectly free and integral, at any given time, may be the key to 4th Path.

I am seeking to let go of my associations with the physical space around me and the passage of time as I experience it.
I am seeking to penetrate and destroy the illusion of volition, center, time & space, and all other dualistic relationships.

Every moment contains all the information I will ever need to get 4th Path.  Every object is perfect for this.  Even tension, dualism and other small-self contractions are perfect for this.  I have nothing to worry about.  I will always experience what is my destiny.  I am committed to stop resisting the flow of experience, and instead to expand so far outwards that I dissappear completely.
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My working self-definition right now is that "I" am the junction point of my inner sensory field and my outer sensory field.  However, this junction point doesn't exist, it needs to be seen through.  I never existed in the first place.  In fact, no one else ever existed in the first place either.  As Tuangpulu Sayadaw says, there is only 'materialy and mentality', the two realities, but there is nothing special linking them together and they don't revolve around some special center point that is me.
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Even though there are materiality and mentality, which are different, they are really just one big room, which is reality.  Anything which removes my awareness from the openness and awareness of this big room, is what needs to be removed or seen through.  Sometimes I have moods or perspectives or other filters on reality.  But at those times, those filters ARE the reality.  They ARE the one, big room, where there is no "me" present.
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In an article on the Awake Network site, user Bjork, writes that there are two kinds of suffering: attitudinal and non-attitudinal.  These basically correspond to suffering vs pain, and fundamental vs conventional, or pain from "the split" vs pain from "the stuff."  I do feel a huge decrease in the first kind of suffering.  I then ask myself: where are my blind spots?  

Where is there still attitudinal suffering (the type that comes from not seeing the 3 c's, not seeing past the relative view of time and space, not seeing cause & effect, not seeing that all is energy/process)?  

There is still attitudinal suffering when I am not paying attention.  It has become incredibly easy for me to see with wisdom and clarity whenever I do so consciously.  But, inevitably, sometimes, I am unconscious of this perspective.  Sometimes I need to use my attention in other ways.

Then, I believe that it becomes a matter of faith.  My faith must be so deep that even when I can not see it clearly, I believe it.  When my attention is elsewhere, it feels like I am in control.  Dispassion must be at the center, at the core of it all.  When this is the case, I will not be seduced by feelings of control, even as they arise.
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I do believe that change is the nature of sentience or human consciousness.  This includes change and variation in the quality of the consciousness itself.  Meaning, I don't believe in static attainments.  I don't believe that it is possible to permanently make my mind a certain way such that if I described it at random intervals for the next 50 years, it would always have certain features.  'Baseline' seems to be a good term.  It reminds me of the idea of a resting heart rate.  One will eventually return to their baseline, even if their experiences vary.   One's heart rate will go up and down, but will average, over time, a certain resting number.  It is helpful for me to keep this idea in mind so I do not become too frustrated with not achieving some rigid, constant state.  In other words, this is an exercise in managing expectations.

The degree to which one directly percieves centerlessness, volitionlessness, experience-as-process-ness, sense-of-completeness-and-depth-ness, will go up and down.  But the 4th Path moment is one in which one's critical mass of clarity produces such a clear sight that one can never lose faith that these are the true aspects of reality, even if they fade at times.  It is like becoming 51% certain that the true nature of reality is as the dharma describes; the scales have tipped enough so that you can never not know this.  What I am trying to do is guide my experience towards this critical mass-moment of clarity.

In "Saints and Psychopaths", Bill Hamilton writes that at each path, a new stratum of the unconscious mind is uncovered.  These unconscious processes then become conscious.  After they become conscious, they become the new baseline, and seem normal.  It quickly starts to seem like this must be how everyone is experiencing reality.  At 4th Path, the deepest stratum of the individual unconscious is revealed.  There are no longer body-mind processes that are not known by the meditator.  

Since this is my practice log, I must relate these ideas to my actual practice.  I will do so in the form of questions.  

Question:
What is it that I am not knowing in the body-mind process, the process of perception?
Answer:
          Even in those moments when I forget, the truth is there.  Even in ignorance, the truth is in the ignorance.  Before I was born and after I die, these will be the laws of human perception.  
          Human perception is always being manipulated by the arising and passing of reality, aka its simultaneous contraction and expansion (as Shinzen would say).  Suffering occurs when this manipulation is unconscious, aka when one has expectations or thirst for a perception that is independent of this constant motion.  Suffering will still occur after 4th Path.  It is probably impossible to escape completely.  
          There will always be some degree of "relationship" between subject and object, in the process of perception.  This relationship will always require some degree of "management" or "adjustment."  Even if it is 1000x more workable in the mind of an arhat than in the mind of someone pre-a&p.  Sometimes, when I read descriptions of 4th Path, or of the nondual experience in general, I am lead to believe that the sense of relationship is completely eliminated forever.  This is probably not true.
          Instead of trying to eliminate the subject-object arrangement, perhaps I should seek to completely accept it, completely normalize the inherent tension involved in the effort of it.  Perhaps that is one unconscious process I need to make conscious: the non-acceptance of the constant vigilance required in living in the world and being part of a subject-object relationship.  Even if it the required vigilance is actually the illusion of vigilance, I still need to accept it.
           Part of my bipolarness has been that I wish for things to happen for me, for things to become completely easy and effortless.  Yet, the true nature of reality and living is that living IS effort.

Pointer: Completely accept all aspects of the truth of perception, including centerlessness, volitionlessness, total-cause-&-effectness.  But also, accept the counterpoint which creates a contradiction or paradox, I do have a separate mind and body which feels like it is doing things.  This is just what it is to be human.  Accept that too, and actively percieve the truth of it.

Results of Pointer: Calmness and openness arise, yet these are just relative qualities.  They are not to be preferred.  The feeling of the center point expands, and then becomes contracted again.  But, even if there is a feeling of a center point, I know that there isn't actually a center point.  This triggers a huge energetic reaction, which is nice.
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Another way of defining the sense of self is that it is where the past meets the future.  It is the thing that divides these two things.  Another phrasing is that there is only the present.  The sense that the present can be divied up IS the sense of self.  It is the mechanism inside which seeks to mark as special a certain portion of experience through time.  Linking up the future and past reveals only a perfect continuity, without the need to define a separate observer independent of the continuity.
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I am already "doing" 4th Path.  Before I even begin to start meditating, the 4th Path experience is already happening, behind my efforts, driving them, characterizing them.  There is nothing special about the act of meditation it is just another event in the mind.  All things are just other events in the mind.  This is the 3rd Path realization, for me.  4th Path is what lies beyond that.  Which is the answer to the, so what? question.  After the novelty of the one-taste wears off, one is left with only all things, as they are, all the time.  The faith in anything else has died away.
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Despite all my nondualistic pontificating, I do notice a lingering background tension of dualism when I stop meditating and immerse myself in some other activity completely unrelated to meditating.  I believe that that tension is the thing which must be dropped at some point, through grace, or by accident.

"I" have to stop trying.  "I" have to stop propping up the illusion of a duality.  There is nothing in the content of reality that has to change: this, in fact, seems to be one of the main hindrances to me.  The only thing that has to change is the subtlest, invisible effort occuring, moment-by-moment in the background sense of perception.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/18/15 6:23 PM as a reply to Noah.
Hi noah,I've read your posts the past couple of days,very interesting,I would just like to ask,and hope I'm not going off topic to much,did you master the samatha jhana's before changing to insight practice? I'm meditating on and off past 4 years,I've only gotten into hard 1st jhana once where I couldn't feel my body and my being felt very far away and very expansive,then ever since then I've been bouncing off the nimitta,the piti seems to overwhelming and stuns me everytime,I'm wondering how to not be excited if the essence of the piti seems like excitedness to the extreme,then because of family life I lost practice momentum and have retrogressed back to access concintration have not seen the counterpart sign in weeks,I need to up.my practice,lol 

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/18/15 7:02 PM as a reply to paul j o'connor.
Hi Paul, 

It sounds like you know a lot more about kasina practice than I do.  I have understood, from Daniel's recent writings that it is super complex and subtle and is basically an entire system.  Also, I haven't done any regular, formal, concentration practice since I started Mahasi-noting in daily life.  
My personal experience with the samatha jhanas is that they are highly interconnected with the vipassana nanas, ala the vipassana-jhana model and the 20 stratum of mind model.  For instance, I tend to fall into 4th jhana in the midst of the 11th nana, but not before that point in the cycle.  Also, each path feels like it rips away a layer of perceptual skin, making it easier to access jhana any time.  So, I don't see the jhanas as something to be trained in before the progress of insight, but rather, alongside, or perhaps, as a side effect of, the progress of insight.

Hope some of this info helps, given that I'm not definitely not qualified to give advice regarding samatha practice.

-Noah

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/19/15 2:24 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/19-

-Ron sesh this morning.  Got some good advice.  Basically, I am on the right track.  The trick now is to balance investigation and letting go.  There are various pointers I can use relating to these two poles.  

-Ultimately, the moment of synching up with reality is up to grace.  It will be the moment when my unconscious is finally ready to give up.  Based on what I read in Bill Hamilton's book, this will be related to the uncovering of some of the deepest unconscious processes.

-It is clear to me that one thing I am missing is the sense of the inherent completeness of my experience, even when certain perceptions are clearly incomplete or sticky.  Even then, I am exactly where I need to be.  The centerpoint of caring, aka the deep sense of longing, aka the fundamental restlessness must go, to be replaced by complete relief and fresh oneness and integration with what already is.  I must see through the process of seeing itself.

-I think the reason I am philosophizing so much lately is that I am 'getting it all out of my system.'  I need to regurgitate all this 'figure it out' energy before I can finally accept the suchness of what is.  The function of the nanas and jhanas is to experience various extreme representations of life itself and to learn how not to be trapped in them.  The same could be said for my obsessing.  How can I not be trapped in my obsessive energy?  I must neither suppress, nor encourage it.  It just is my mind struggling to figure it out, and hopping from one conceptual extreme to another.  The truth is not found in the stability of any extreme end of understanding.

-I can feel my mind going up, down, in, out, right, left.  The muscle is moving every which waym every possible direction.

-Interestingly, and perhaps somewhat unique to me, based on all that I have read and the view that I have had from talking to others who have done this, I think that not seeing 4th Path as the end is proving to be a barrier or hindrance.  Thinking of 4th Path as another stepping stone is incorrect.  It is something wonderful, something to be cherished and looked forward to.  And also, something that should be seen as a legitimate end to 'practice', in one sense of that word.  Also, another line of thinking that seems to be helping is to remember how much work I have done.  I have probably noted for at least 3 hours and at most 12 hours of every day in my life since maybe, July or August of 2013.  So many endless hours, moments of inspiration, so many tens of thousands of notes.  I really feel ready to drop the ball when I frame my experience: "this is how far I have come"<-------->"this is the wonder of the thing I have yet to gain."

-My body and mind is my house.  When I am present, I am at home in my house, and there is no problem.  Dissassociation is not the road to synching up with reality.  Seeing through illusions of voliton and center have a valuable place, but they must be balanced by a sense of harmony with the true limitations of experience, even clear, insightful experience.

-Okay, here's some of that phenomenological description everyone seems to love.  After the 'in my own house' thought, I walked outside and it felt like my seeing process from inside my head connected more with the visual field-sense outside of my body, and my visual field shook back and forth a few times (rapture enlightenment factor, perhaps?).  I then felt light and great and comfortable in my own skin.  I felt a manic, tingly, nice light energy flow in my torso.  I also felt this central, deeper warmth and everything else that could possibly go wrong felt distinctly outside of this satisfying warmth.  I also feel, now, mentally, a deep sense of not giving a shit and being already satisfied, prior to any engagements with the world, prior to notions of the past and future of my life and prior to notions of reaching 4th Path.  I think that real freedom involves just allowing yourself to have average perception, average mental and physical states, and nothing more, but to make this things heaven through true acceptance of them all.

-I am practicing staying grounded in the body, as of 2 pm today.  New for me.  Whenever there is the feeling of at-home-ness and nonresistance in the body and mind, there is peace and there is no problem.  When resistance arises, I am not at home.  I feel a subtle resistance in the sense of clinging to this state of at-home-ness.  I know there is a state beyond this one, in which there is not resistance.  May I soon take my boat across this river.
          Not grounded in the body, but in open mindfulness, grounded in the at-home-ness, and with the element of investigation being strong.  My intuition says a few days of continuous mindfulness like this are a good next step.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/19/15 9:37 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah, I remember being in that frustrating stage that you are in.  It was suggested to me by Kenneth and Ron to talk in private to as many people who had 'done it' as possible.  They aren't going to be able to do it for you obviously.  But hearing different perspectives can get you some interesting mental 'pointers' and maybe some 'Zen whacks' as well.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/20/15 3:47 AM as a reply to Russell ..
6/19-

Wow, I gotta create a new post for this aspect of practice.  So after my session with Ron, in which he gave me some incredibly useful pointers, I realized that all I needed to do at this point was to be mindful of the moment.

I had a truly unique shift at work.  For one, I worked through various difficult, jealousy-related emotions, by parsing them out into their component parts.  Doing this was extremely obvious and had never been easier.  The heaviness, in the torso, is one aspect of jealousy.  Also, the seeming-logic of the seeming-clear thinking is another component.  This logic was especially hard to disembed from.  I had to realize that it was simply another thing that I was experiencing in the moment.  Mental images were another part of the emotion equation.  Once I realized that there was no greater equation, I was able to let go into the moment.  None of this would be available without the deepening of Third Path that I have experienced.

I was also working with the pointer, "have I sufferred enough?"  I realized that there was some, basic, resistance to the moment which I was suffering from.  There was nothing to do about it, other than simply realize, "Oh, this tension is just another arising and passing."

I feel greatly at peace.  There is no problem.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/20/15 10:29 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/20

-I feel my crown chakra opening up.  It feels like a cloud or halo of condensed awareness-energy split open a foot in each direction around my head.  It feels very pleasant as pulling me "up."  I think this is partially a side-effect of my current a&p, but also a legitimate deepening and development.

-I notice that I am slowly disembedding from different things that are patterned in my experience, through this new, choiceless, continuous mindfulness-without-noting.  For instance, there is the feeling of meditative "effort."  It somehow feels different when I am purposely paying attention vs when I am going about my daily tasks and forget to pay attention.  This is a fabrication, an unnecessary add-on to reality.  Whether I am intensely observing, or just kind of going on autopilot, there is just consciousness in variegated forms.  Consciousness is free.  So, when I make the transition, "oh, a second ago I wasn't meditating, now I am", the transition no longer feels like a "big deal."  Instead, there is disapassion for it. 

-It feels physically like inner and outer are one, big block of "reality."  There isn't a separation anywhere.  There is no problem, one big lump of clay.  This is pleasant because it means watching thoughts can literally be the same thing as watching a bird in the sky.  'Allowing' is easy.  I used to be obsessed with how my inner world is structured and how that differs from the structure of the external world and how they are connected.  Now I feel like my only job is to just be with them, in a simple, direct manner.  Even adding "being with them" is already too much.  That is subtle suffering.  Only inner world-outer world, simply and directly.

-Allowing dispassion to be suffuse throughout all areas of awareness and all objects feels right.  It is all one.

-I've been doing a small bit of reading of "Clarifying The Natural State."  I was then thinking about how a fruition is cessation of all experience.  But sometimes, when I read the 4th path experiences of others, it sounds like it is more of a cessation of caring or preference in relation to experience, rather than a cessation of experience itself.  Then, just sort of working with that phrase, "cessation of caring."  This seems to potentially reveal 'the natural state', the pre-existenting free, and open quality of awareness, before, during and after the time I enter anything into it.  My thought is "I can do no wrong."  I can do nothing to change or improve this.  

At that thought, I felt tingles in my legs and torso, as well as goosebumps on my skin.  I felt a euphoria arise and my visual field became brighter.  I felt very focused "out" in a good way.  I noticed how I wasn't seduced by the feelings of excitement, anticipation or expectation, as I had been previously in the past week or so when this 'potential energy' would surface.  Its like a potential energy that wants to be converted to the kinetic energy of 4th path.  

There is also the feeling of a vertigo, swinging energy arising from my tailbone and moving up towards my navel when I have these thrill-type-experiences.

-Wow, okay, so immediately after that, just now, I had the thought "I don't care about anything that happens to me", which felt complete and totally different than times I thought it in the past.  I then shifted to the thought "what I really mean is that I don't care about anything that happens in my experience." Everything is "my experience."  So this rule of thumb would have the effect of completely freeing me from everything.  I then felt a full-force kundalini energy, through my spine, which was more diffuse than normal, being about 6 inches wide.  It hit my skull area hard, rapidly cycling back like a tiny river in my head, causing me to seemingly almost (but not completely) knock in and out of consciousness 4 or 5 times.  I then felt and saw a huge, black sqaure of nothingness expand in and as my mental screen.  It was fuzzy on the edges and moved back into my witness side, where I merged with it.  I then felt a huge sphere surrounding my inner and outer body, encapsulating me in open space.  As each of these things arose and passed, I remained obviously dispassionate towards them, as they are all a part of my experience.  I was also disspassionate to the thought "this could be it."  Each thing that presented itself needed to be adjusted to so that I could understand that it was just another part of experience.   I then felt one of the trippiest things I had ever felt in my life, which was that I asked myself the question "if I don't care what happens to me, what is the point of there being a me (?) as opposed to only expereince itself?"  I felt super-euphoric, manic-trippy, shakti energy at this point.  My inner screen became neon-black lit up and it felt like my whole being was one big smile.  I could have just dissapeared and dissolved into it then.  Then there would be only the smile and the screen and the rest of experience itself, with no me as a reference point.  I am excited, since I believe that this will soon happen.

-At work tonight, I was incredibly grumpy because of lack of sleep and other factors.  However, it was awesome because I felt mentally light and airy and open.  No mental objects were sticky.  The grumpiness felt like a flow in my mind.  Also, my energy field was like this very faint spherical cloud around my body about 7 feet in every direction.  Hard to explain.  It almost felt like my physical body was transparent or invisible or dissapearing or dissolving.  Sort of pleasant and sort of unpleasant at the same time, yet I didn't feel an aversion for the unpleasantness.

Later in the night, driving home, I really felt the strongest luminosity I ever have.  My hand was on the wheel and I realized that the surfaces, where they were touching (about 3 feet away from my head, the 'center' of awareness, where things are processed) were the only thing that was real.  Meaning, the feeling of "touching" was being processed were it was being had.  Ground zero for "touching" was at the hand itself, not in my head, being relayed to by the nervous system.  Even more poignant was the feeling that the consciousness in my head (the very core of me, of my life itself) was also another spontaneously arising object that was only real where it was happening and was not needed to be processed somewhere else when I became mindful of it.  Feeling these things gave me super-strong kundalini, a kind of feedback that I am looking in the right direction.

I am just a doll in a dollhouse.  There is no cares and therefore, no me.  No distinction that this body and mind, identified by a localized awareness, is anything special.  It is just a localized awareness.  Thats what I am.  But the reason this localized awareness still exists is simply because it has a habit of existing; it is an effect, maintained by a cause: a series of mind moments, strung together.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/22/15 5:02 AM as a reply to Noah.
6/21

-The luminosity perception that started yesterday has increased tenfold today.  It feels like my soul has completely left my body and is inhabiting the environment.  All phenomenon are objects in the environment.  Environment=mind=sense field.  Mind requires objects to exist.  "I" am not a thing, but there is a collection of objects that are connected together.  Sounds occur where they are.  Objects are visual where they are.  There are not messages going from a space of consciousness in my skull to objects in the environment.  There is only the obvious inherent awakeness of things where they are.  

Now, to be honest, I am having to fabricate this and purposely focus on it to continuously percieve it.  However, the fact that such a perception is even possible is remarkable.

-Did 'noticing' at work all day today.  Lots of sense of open, physical field past my body.  Awareness in the floor, in the air in front of me, in objects, etc.  My mood vascillated between anger/agitation and hypomania/silliness several times, which could be cycling.  

There is also a different, deeper type of state I can get to where I realize that the whole premise of "me" existing as my "my life" or "my experience" is undercut when I realize that the only reason I have consciousness in the first place is because of the links of dependent origination (aka I am only 5 aggregates, nothing more).  When I think like this, I feel kundalini, and also some deep sense of being forgetten by the universe, which also feels really peaceful and nice in the mind.

I had an interesting energetic experience on the ride home when I thought this deeply into no-self; a literal stream or river of liquid-feeling energy rapidly moved from the top of my crown into my forehead, causing my eyes to roll back into my head forcefully several times.  It was pleasantly weird.  Another effect was that my visual field became really bright for about a minute sometime earlier tonight.

-I kept reminding myself of the fact that I was never here in the first place.  I felt kundalini but also the energy field of the torso open outwards.  The field then came full circle, completing itself in my body, and granting me a delicious feeling of satisfaction.  I also have some activity on my mental-screen but it is seen through as illusory and not me, making it stop to some extent.

-The thing that is doing serious damage every time is the idea that 4th path is about something totally different, something I just don't know or have never encountered.  More specifically, none of this is really because I am not real, and I am the one it is happening to.  I am actually just arising because at some point I was conceived as a fetus (a group of physical cells in a physical environment) that detected other physical objects in the environment.  This detection evolved into a continuous stream of impressions that eventually became refined into symbolic mental representations of other objects around me, which required a platform or seat upon which to be recieved (consciousness).  But other than that, there is no reason to think that I exist.  

Anyway, when I keep doing this, I get strong,wide, relaxed kundalini flow as well as a cool, calm, vertigo type energy in my belly.

-This is the formula I am working with:

1) Notice the inherent luminosity of objects outside of my self.

2) Notice the inherent volitionlessness of objects inside my self.

3) Notice the basic fact that the entire field of experience is all an illusion or a lie, since the very core of "me" is only happening as a side effect of co-dependent origination.

-My pattern as of the past week or so seems to be to notice some aspect or layer of awareness as fully and completely as possible, then, when it reaches its peak, think "oh, this must be 4th path."  Then, the experience invariably turns out to not be 4th path, and I feel frustrated and annoyed.  Then, after the annoyance wears off, I realize that the experience did me good anyway, as it improved some aspect of my experience in  some way.

For instance, about 4 days ago, I felt I improved something about not having a center of caring or significance-creation, or meaning-giving.  Then, in the past 3 days, I feel that I have improved my direct perception of luminosity and volitionlessness, independent of caring/stress-creation.  Now, I feel that something related to the core of experience is transforming, something that gets at everything and nothing simultaneously.  Here is my attempt to describe it (not phenomenologically, at least not yet):

There is only my body, and outside forms.  'Mind' is a continuously existing, suffuse quality throughout matter.  My 'consciousness' is just a side effect of being a form and sensing other forms.  It is easy to notice how, on a basic level, I freak out as my consciousness tries to "figure it out."  In reality, there is nothing to "figure out", there is no good reason to have so much movement inside.  I just have to be at peace with the fact that I live in a material world which I have either miniscule control over or no control at all.

In fact, I feel that if I can get my mind to quiet down enough and feel enough trust for the pre-existing arrangement, as it is, I feel that I could get my heart chakra to open, probably, which would be the best thing ever.  

-When I reflect on the 3 paragraphs above, I feel very calm in my body.  It is a deeper sense of relaxation and surrender in the knowing that wherever and however my mind moves, this reality of form and the other links of origination, precede it.  Its not that I shouldn't do anything, its that I CANT do anything.  

I also feel sort of like there is this condensed column of energy going from my tailbone, up through my spine, and way up into the sky.  It feels very solid and grounded and reinforcing in a good, but no-self kind of way.  Like, "oh, instead of being attached all of these arising and passing mental formations (which is absolutely everything in all of reality), I can be attached to my understanding of how this whole arrangement works outside of my mind, actually, in creating my mind." 

With this thought, I felt very pleasant and had the anticipation that something was about to happen, and felt a sort of shift from the head down into the torso and then out into the visual field in front of me, and also felt a sense of presentness and lack of inner intensity and also a sense of completion.

-Okay... so the interesting thing is that, if I am just the body, in the physical environment, and the entire mental process and structure is just a side effect of the sensing of that physical relationship... then.... nothing matters?  Nothing can bother me.  Nothing can stain the truth.  My student loans don't matter.  I mean, they do in some conventional sense, but that requires me to temporarily take the mind's symbolic function very seriously so that I can phrase a story in my head about it.  But, if I don't do that, nothing can ever bother me.  Nothing can ever be more than the physical happening and the mental side effects of it (btw, emotional and energetic levels are just more mental side effects, they are real or ultimately there, they're just other forms of consciousness-fabrication.  Everything is just consciousness fabrication, my mind representing the outside world to itself and then the rest is just the interpretation of that.  

Okay, so where it gets interesting is that I have this baseline, restless annoyance related to wanting to finish the path of insight.  But, the 'nothing can bother' applies to that restlessness as well.  Fuck the restlessness, I am good.   I am just things the way they are.  I am just this interpretation process.  I can never know consciousness or background awareness directly.  I can only know it through the fabrication-process.  Thats just how it is.  The restlessness isn't really there.  Nothing is really there.  Or at least, nothing that is out there is relevant to me, because I can't directly sense it.

-So, thus far in the path I've been interested in seeing inner activity with the same one-taste/3 C's across-the-board that I see external activity with.  However, my viewpoint is starting to change.  There IS something to do about inner activity beyond just observing it.  The thing to do is to understand that it is secondary, it is a side effect of the existence of the external, physical world.  The inner activity is where the suffering lies.  Without the inner processes running rampant and being taken very seriously by the contracting consciousness/ witness-sense, there is no suffering.  And being without suffering is the point of this whole thing.  I also realize that this minimizes baseline-dualism suffering, but also relative/conventional pain as the content of the mind, when not taken so seriously, tends to mellow out.

If I have an itch on my shoulder, that is just a message sent from my body, nothing more.  That does not have to spark a train of thoughts and emtions and symbolism-associations.  However, if it does, that inner-train can just be allowed to arise and pass, having been seen as nothing more than the animal of the mind reacting to the environment. 

The difference between now and before is that I would still be feeling stress in the body as I was thinking these things.  Now, as I think them, I understand them, and there is no stress in the body, there is only a cool pleasure suffuse in the torso.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/22/15 7:45 AM as a reply to Noah.
Summary of last 10 days:

6/13- some type of baseline shift, more rawness, panorama aspect to walking-around awareness + internal objects way less sticky than before
6/17- development of above shift matures, felt as the dropping of the center-point of 'caring', then a move back to focusing on center-point of 'perception'
6/18- important conceptual adjustments, feeling that 4th path requires adjustments, moving foundation, rather than static uncaring, investigations guided by this notion
6/19- session with ron, dropping of the center-point of 'caring' matures (from 2 days before), first time ever being able to deconstruct incredibly deep/upsetting negative emotions
6/20- I feel true luminosity for the first time, lots of energetic phenomenon as well
6/21- luminosity seems to be maturing/possibly peaked, along with energetics, I feel conviction that inner reality is only side effect of consciousness created by external, physical world, complete reduction in suffering

Wow, so there's been a lot of great stuff happening, related to different aspects of insight.  I just need to keep pushing and making adjustments, revealing my blind spots, until this path matures.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/22/15 7:49 AM as a reply to Noah.
6/22

1st mental exercise for today:  Know that there is no centerpoint of caring to create significance, and no centerpoint of perception.  Instead, there is simply a consciousness that is a side effect of physical existence, but there is no independent, inner world at all.  See if there can be suffering when all of this is kept in mind.  If there is no suffering, try to just be completely okay with continuously, physically existing, in this moment.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/22/15 8:22 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/22

Umm, yeah, this is working.  Feels very solid and nice, a sense that any stress that might arise will be undercut by the knowing of its cause: a lack of awareness of the fact that I am not real, I am just a robot, created through the natural cause and effect field that is the universe in order to be able to establish a relationship between the inner and outer conditions.

Did some noticing efforts which I've described above.

Also just took some time to chill out, really see if I could let go into the moment yet in a healthy, conventional way.  Couldn't quite yet, but I'm getting there.  Realizing that there is no point to my life is helping :p

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/23/15 1:22 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/23

There is a way in which the tone of my life carries a certain intensity to it; it always has, even before I was diagnosed bipolar.  This intensity most commonly manifests as impatience.  Interstingly, I have used noting as a way to stave off impatience.

Today, I am working with not noting as a way to allow impatience to arise.  When it does, the quality is so much different than before 3rd path.  It is nice or okay or acceptable.  However, eventually, I tense up.  

Things take time.  I don't know this, in my body, but I want to know it.  The reason I tense up is because I reject the fact that things take time.  I want them to happen now.

This is related to another characteristic of things; they are unsatisfactory.  I have not known this, this past week or so.  I have tried to gain such deep knowldege into my self and world that they would become satisfactory.  I don't think that is what 4th path is.  Knowledge of the void where there once was a self, is one part of it. 

But ultimately, knowledge of that lack of self (centerless, volitionless, agencyless, total/complete, etc) will also be unsatisfactory.  Everything is an experience.  Knowledge of the one taste of all experience is also an experience.  All experience is unsatisfactory.

Now is the time to not note, and instead be with this truth.

----------------------------------------------

This is the message I am getting:

Conventional happiness is really important.  I need to know that if I don't like my job or where I live, the effects of meditation won't matter.  I will need to change my living situation.  I haven't thought this way in almost two years, since I've been on this path.

My gut telling me that something is wrong with my life or my mind isn't a feeling that meditation will solve.  It is a feeling that meditation will reveal to me.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/23/15 12:23 PM as a reply to Noah.
It is very possible that I have been going through a cycle whose nanas have disguised themselves as the deepening of third path which is independent of cycles.  If this is right, then it means that the fourth path cycling process is actually doing a number on the mind in permanent ways, which was not true leading up to any of the previous three paths.  Furthermore, if this is true, it is good news, because (based on the powerful degree of transformation I have experienced in the last 10 days alone) by the time I am done with fourth path, I will probably have enough mental health to move on with my life, which is why I am doing this.

This is my cycle theory, going by when my cutting edge was:

5/20-5/30- Nanas 1-3
5/30-6/13- Nana 4 (culminating in a mature a&p which caused a baseline shift that I foolishly thought was 4th path)
6/13-6/22- Nanas 5-10 (involving no pain or negative emotions in particular but rather the strong feeling that we are all robots)
6/23- Nana 11 (I think this because I feel very chill with the notion that, robot or not, all is suffering, and I need to be more patient)

So, if I am right, there are some new truths I must now about where I am at:

1) noting either doesn't work or works incredibly slow
2) self-inquiry/reality-inquiry/koan-type effort does work
3) the nanas are major, purifying mechanisms not side effects of working towards a path-moment that will be a major purifying mechanism

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/23/15 4:24 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
Without the inner processes running rampant and being taken very seriously by the contracting consciousness/ witness-sense, there is no suffering.

Even tension, dualism and other small-self contractions are perfect for this.

aka its simultaneous contraction and expansion (as Shinzen would say)

The feeling of the center point expands, and then becomes contracted again.

I wanted to point out something....between the expansions and contractions but still on that continuum....what is there?
Explore this 'neutral area' between if you have not.
~D

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/23/15 9:04 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Noah S:
Without the inner processes running rampant and being taken very seriously by the contracting consciousness/ witness-sense, there is no suffering.

Even tension, dualism and other small-self contractions are perfect for this.

aka its simultaneous contraction and expansion (as Shinzen would say)

The feeling of the center point expands, and then becomes contracted again.

I wanted to point out something....between the expansions and contractions but still on that continuum....what is there?
Explore this 'neutral area' between if you have not.
~D
Lol I didn't even remember writing that.  One of the functions of this log is to see how much of a joke my day to day obsessing is.

But yeah, I think I might be starting to get at that notion.  Today I tried not meditating, which was interesting.  I've gotten a lot better at chilling in the moment.  Couldn't do that at all before stream entry in January.

I might not get what you're talking about though, can you elaborate?

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/23/15 10:40 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
I might not get what you're talking about though, can you elaborate?

stress/aversion/contracted state ---------------(dont look here/just neutral/move along)----------------powerful/manic/expanded state

look between the contacting and expanding....what is it?
~D

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/24/15 11:32 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/24

-Before entering the shower, just now, the sun came in through the window, suddenly, lighting up the bathroom.  The light was wonderful but before that moment, I was pondering 'the allowing of all experience.'  I realized that I recently have been doing this koan-type pondering with a sense of anticipation of the 4th path moment.  However, there is tension there, when I am anticipating, no?  Relaxing this tension, I decided to allow the experience I was having, and the light came in through the window.  It was poetic.  

This feels hear-based, right now.  All of experience is sacred.  There have been so many souls, so many center-points of awareness, throughout history, all having different experiences.  It is overwhelming, unless I choose to allow it.  Then, it is touching, and nice.

When I sit with it, I eventually feel agitation interrupting it.  What am I to do with that?  It seems I am destined to deal with this negative tension all along this path.  

-So I was reading Antero's incredible practice log which is all gathered on his wordpress page.  I was also thinking about Kenneth's 8 stage path and how, although it has some obvious holes, there seems to be some truth to it in the way people develop after 4th path.  I also talked to my dad about these stages of development as well as some other dho friends.  I was thinking about all of this, as well as the discussion threads that have been going down with regards to the 3rd and 4th path effects, plus the fact that everything is an experience, and some die this experience of mind will dissappear, at death. 

With the progression of all of these thoughts, I felt a background bubble of self energy expand into my environment.  A similar bubble expansion-feeling happened at 3rd path.  It felt mellow and not involved in any passion, anticipation, meditative-energy factors, or anything else... I just felt a deeper acceptance in my bones, in a way that felt nice and good and integrated.  The energy feels like it is melding the energy of my self and of this new stage I am moving into.   Before it felt unintegrated and surprising each time this deeper layer of no-self has surfaced.

There was then a certain thickness to the air and I felt this sort of other consciousness that was looking back at me.  Interesting stuff.

-There is the pointer that Chris and Ron have reccomended to me at this point: What is it that I am not seeing clearly?

I think this is part of it:

When I crave junk food, I am not seeing unsatisfactoriness clearly.
When I crave other types of emotional release, the same is true.  
When I think about the past and the future, about models of enlightenment, plans to achieve them, and how that will affect my life, I am treating these things like they are separate from experiences or exceptions from the 3 C's.
Everything is included in this picture:

[noah meditating]-[noah obessing about life]-[noah thinking about past and future]
[noah feeling good]-[narcisstic tendencies, use of "noah"]-[going to work]-[craving and aversion to work]
--[over eating]----[watching tv]

everything is an experience.  everything is flow.  everything is change.  nothing is separate.

-If I want 4th path then I wont settle into anything in any moment throughout the day, including the anxiety-soothing feeling of writing this log and other dho communications.  The idea of this as a place for definite progress and definite communication about what I am interested in.  Don't settle or solidify anywhere ever.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/25/15 7:34 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/25

-I feel like I've exhausted every possible avenue of effort I could go down: inquiry, noting, seeing-luminosity, koan-type thinking, etc.  Blah, this is frustrating.  But, I will keep paying attention to the sense field in whatever way seems best at the given time.
--------------------------------------
-10 minute samatha session (focus on nostrils):
          highlights
     -lots of kundalini, rapidly shifting between that and agitation and calmness
     -interestingly, unlike in concentration-meditation efforts in the past, nothing could stick to me this time... all the thoughts about trying to figure it out, trying to do this, do that, etc. ... all the myriad directions I go in in my life, not just in meditation, they were all seen as just relative versions of reality, the many faces of Mara...
     -remarkably increased sensitivity, I could feel 'between' seeming contradictions that vexed me in past attempts at samatha (i.e. effort vs allowing, looking vs forcing the mind, rapture vs tension) .... I could also feel the different factors of enlightenment as they increased and decreased in each moment, really cool
     -seeing through impatience for the first time: I realized that I have always felt difficulty tolerating the slow passage of time... this time, I simply told myself 'this is another illusion, another mask, the way that I percieve time... not reality itself, just one lens among many' ... somehow, thinking this made it tolerable   
          a big 'pop'
     -after the last point in the above list, I then had a big surge of kundalini... however, something was different... usually, I will be filled with anticipation, a sense of "is this it!?".... this time, I had the thought "this is how reality will always be, 4th path will not take it away.  It will always be waxing and waning, surging and descending, energy then sloth, etc."  I realized that I am simply a very sensitive person who thinks a lot and percieves time as very slow because I pay so much god damn attention to it!  
          What I am looking for, the next shift, is not contained in any given moment.  Its not as if things will be any different.  Its just turning the lights on in the room.  The room has been lit to varying degrees by 1st, 2nd and 3rd path.  Now is the time to let the lights stay fully on.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/27/15 1:21 AM as a reply to Noah.
6/26

-The feeling of incompleteness at the core of my being is part of the utter completeness of it all.  3rd to 4th (as I am defining it) is the shift from the feeling of incompleteness at the core to the feeling of completeness.  But other than that, nothing needs to change.

I feel outside of the moment.  I can feel and hear typing the keys.  I have the thought that I am not enlightened.  I have the feeling that there is something outside of these things.  I have the intellectual knowing that this is false, that there is nothing outside of these things.  How do I make this an intuitive knowing?  That is my koan.

My effort to get there is to continuously sense the realness or authenticity or completeness of all the content that I can sense in each moment.  I have to realize that what I can sense is enough, I don't need to see something else other than what I am seeing in the moment.  The "Truth" is that each moment of consciousness-through-a-deluded lens is a full moment of consciousness which contains nothing outside of it.  My effort is to get as close as possible to this until it finally clicks.  And to have a bit of faith in the process.

-I had another pop earlier today while washing my hands.  It felt like I was able to synchronize a lot of the things I've been trying to work on thus far.  It actually prompted me to write the story that is in the post below, fairly spontaneously. 

I was looking at my kitchen sink and listening to the sound of the water.  I was thinking about how I will continue to cycle both in a spiritual and conventional sense, in life.  I will continue to deepen the levels of mind I can experience.  It is a marathon, not a sprint.  Something questioned what 4th path meant, however.  Some feeling was there to doubt the legitimacy of it.

I then had the thought "whats the point?"  This made me realize that the point is that the I am already here.  I am already awake.

I wish I didn't think so god-damn much lol.

-I was practicing seeing sensations where they arise, as they arise.  I would notice the "seeing" of an object, where the object was.  However, I would then notice the "feeling" of a me on the other side, doing the looking.  I would then notice a complex series of thoughts and emotions related to this seeming-relationship, with each mental activity an object in-and-of-itself, arising on its own and then passing on its own.

I felt very tense, and was trying to objectify that too, with some success.  However, the problem was that the tension was interfering with the time I was spending with my girlfriend.  I then felt extreme frustration and dismay, feeling like I have so far to go before I am a meditaion master (of perception).

At this thought, I felt a 'loosing' in my chest cavity, and my eyes swelled with tears.  I felt filled with compassion for myself and a truly deep surrender.  It felt good for awhile after that.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/26/15 4:44 PM as a reply to Noah.
A group of people recieve an electronically-run device out of a time portal from the future.  They are trying to get it to turn on, flipping all the switches, turning the knobs, looking through the glass panes at the inner workings.  Finally, they decide to take it apart.  They do so, analyzing all the wires, gears, transistors, and everything else.  They realize it is simply a technology that is beyond their current comprehension for their time in histroy.

One person continues to sit with the machine, looking at it, staring deeply at it, pondering it.

Finally, she has an epiphany, a true lightbulb moment, causing her to shout for joy: "ITS ON! ITS ALREADY TURNED ON! ITS ALWAYS BEEN ON!"   She continues to leap around for another hour or so, before calming down.

She has realized that the machine was already on, even though she does not know its purpose nor does she exactly understand its inner workings.  However, the recognition that it is "on" is an invaluable first step towards knowing its function.

Edits: 3X, for word choice

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/26/15 3:31 PM as a reply to Noah.
A darker version is Kafka's Parable of the Gatekeeper (http://www.kafka-online.info/before-the-law.html).*

*Sorry I can't create a link; something seems to be wrong with it.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/26/15 3:48 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Woahhh thats a trippy story.  I'm already teetering on the edge so that one really dug in haha.  Wikipedia says one of Kafka's themes is "mystical tranformation."  Are there many other stories like this?

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/26/15 5:00 PM as a reply to Noah.
Kafka is a trippy guy. The most famous story is Metamorphosis, in which the main character wakes up one morning to discover he's a cockroach. There is also the novel The Trial, and another called The Castle. The parable is from The Trial, in fact. 

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/27/15 3:50 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel Carrington:
Kafka is a trippy guy. The most famous story is Metamorphosis, in which the main character wakes up one morning to discover he's a cockroach. There is also the novel The Trial, and another called The Castle. The parable is from The Trial, in fact. 
Irvine Weslh, the scottish author you probably would know from the book/film "Trainspotting" (about the herion Junkies in Glasgow) wrote some other books and one of them is a three part short story book called Acid House. The last of these the guy wakes up to be a fly, and he sees his whole life fall apart infront of his eyes in the most shocking fashion! 

http://www.irvinewelsh.net/books/info/?t=The-Acid-House

D
isclamer - This is a nasty book and is not for the faint of heart or for kids.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/27/15 12:20 PM as a reply to Noah.
Hey Noah --

Can you pinpoint where the feeling of "I" is? Sit down and be still and try to identify where "you" are centered. What does that feel like? Can you see into that place? What happens when you try? What's in there, anyway?


emoticon

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/27/15 12:29 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris,

What I have come to is that I can no longer pinpoint a 'center of caring' or 'preference.'  However, I believe that I am discovering that that is not enough.  

The perceptual center of 'I' is in the upper-back wall of my skull, and also sometimes in the front of my chest.  When I become aware of that, it moves towards my back.

There is also a feeling of 'I' in the movement of thoughts, emotions and body, in the sense that there is some subtle feeling of possession of these things.  When I become aware of that, I sometimes feel my awareness field tingling and opening up on all sides, towards the cieling.

This new type of meditation I have been doing is a lot more rigorous than noting, but I am sure that it is necessary.

-Noah

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/27/15 12:36 PM as a reply to Noah.
When you ponder that feeling of possession, what's it like? What is possessing what?

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/27/15 1:01 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I don't fully know yet.

My current impressions are that its is like a subtle blanket or a cloud all over me that recoils back when I become aware of it.  I know I've done it successfully because I feel a rush of kundalini whenever I properly disembed from something.  After that it progresses to a sort of broader energy, in my general vicinity. 

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/27/15 1:12 PM as a reply to Noah.
That's the place you have to go. Why is there a void or a dark place? What's still hidden from view?

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/27/15 7:32 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/27

7:02pm: Agency- less... ... 'I' am percieving, means, 'I' am recieving.  I am always on the recieving end.  But, the big joke is that, anything that is, in any way, substantially identifiable as this recieving end, is actually just, another thing being recieved.  

Bahahaha! Get it, reality is this circular feedback loop.  And thats the only thing going on.

Oh, the humanity...

7:08pm: There isn't like, you know, one point where its being recieved, persay.  It's being recieved everywhere.  The see-hear-feel precedes my recognition that I am the one perceiving in each moment.  The actuality of perception occurs, and then the echo of "me" occurs, which is, of course, another real (albeit purely mental) phenomenon.  

8:09pm: I was feeling pretty shitty about my life which included streams of thoughts and also an abiding body-pressure in the torso indicative of depression.  I was objectifying these things fairly continuously.  I then realized (along the lines of 'what am I not seeing?') that I have this abiding sense of "my disability", as if it were one thing and not a pattern of disjointed mental and physical activity.  It seems that the biggest problem is that I remember these things and gain confidence that they are really based on one, bigger thing which is taking place in the background ("bipolar disorder").  But, there is no one, bigger thing in the background, there is only the confidence-giving memory and spontaneously arising, false sense of oneness.  I bet seeing this more and more clearly could be really psychotherapuetic.

-Its my personality that cherry-picks only the bad stuff to remember and makes it into a thing called bipolar.  I have to disembed from this cherry-picking impulse, as its happening.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/28/15 9:19 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/28

-Meditated on recognizing luminosity, emptiness, centerlessness and agencylessness today while at work:

          -energetic effects: crown chakra opening, heart chakra feeling warm and open in chest cavity, energy field expanding into 10 foot sphere outside body and then minimizing into only a feeling on the soles of my feet, feeling that I am nothing and could poof and dissapear if I turn the dial down on my soul's energy enough, feeling my 3rd chakra in the lower belly become a wide disk outside my body, feeling myself as only a wall towards my back

          -noticable lack of "wow" factor in any of this, unlike in the past

          -I am becoming very sensitive, it feels like I am overloading my energy field with mindfulness

          -there are deeper and deeper ways of disembedding from the witness, until all there is is knowing or receiving... which can also be disembedded from

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/29/15 4:09 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
-Its my personality that cherry-picks only the bad stuff to remember and makes it into a thing called bipolar.  I have to disembed from this cherry-picking impulse, as its happening.


'personality' sounds like this big, insurmountable thing, that can't be changed.
I would say that this is a simple behaviour, just very well practiced.
Idea: learn another behaviour (the alternative in this case is clearly mudita, or its special facet 'gratitude'.), and apply that whenever you see the current behaviour.
Source for that idea: Thanissaro's 'cutting new paths in the mind'.
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/4408667

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/29/15 10:10 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
@Bernd: Wow, thank you, bernd.  I'm going to print this out and reread it occassionally.  Thanissaro is the resource for sila.  

I will specifically consider cultivating gratitude as a new mental behaviour.  I have long known the power of purposely being grateful, but have not yet had the patience to really practice it.  However, my confidence in my problem is a huge part of my problem...

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/29/15 2:34 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/29

These are my current techniques (which are lenses) of meditation:

luminosity: Regardless of what I sense, it is taking place at the "object" of attention, not at the "subject."  The feeling of 'sensing' are actually more objects which, in this case, are taking place in my head or body.  However, most of sensation is not taking place within Noah's form.

agencyless: Everything I sense is in the form of being 'received.'  Therefore, how could "I" ever be doing anything?  "I' is the receiving point (which actually brings me to my next technique).  Agencylessness becomes pertinent when there are particularly sticky phenomena, such as difficult emotions or subtle self-sensations.  In the end, none of these things could be controlled since all of them are coming in.  There is nothing in existence which can be not 'coming in.'  "Control" isn't an illusion.  It is simply the perception of 'control', which is another uncontrollable phenomena.  

centerless: As I said above, "I" is just the receiving point.  But the problem is, there is no one point for this receiving.  There are just things happening which are within a given human's field of perception.  But these things are doing their own thing, where they are.  Perceptions which interfere with that notion are doing their own thing in the skull cavity, chest area, etc.  Everything is just hanging out!  Everything is just chilling where it ought to be!  So, how could you possibly create a "center" of this activity which somehow tells things where they ought to be?  It is bs.

emptiness: In this case, I am referring to "emptiness" as knowledge of cause and effect. Meaning, although there is nothing pushing the sensations into being or owning them, and there is no 'home base' for them, all sensations are clearly influenced by previous sensations.  So, nothing has its own, inherent existence.

I don't think I have to see all of this, all the time, in order to "be" 4th path.  Rather, I think I have to see enough of it at once, for one moment, in order to cross that 4th path threshold.  Does this ring untrue for anyone?  Has anyone achieved some state that is truly static? 

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/29/15 2:57 PM as a reply to Noah.
I don't think I have to see all of this, all the time, in order to "be" 4th path.  Rather, I think I have to see enough of it at once, for one moment, in order to cross that 4th path threshold.  Does this ring untrue for anyone?  

I'll repeat what I said yesterday - try to get some down time. You seem to me to be trying to force this transition. That doesn't work from my experience. Slow down. Take a break. This will happen for you, probably when you least expect it and probably when you're relaxed, just chilling out and not fretting over how to make this happen and your "progress."

emoticon

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/29/15 3:03 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
You really think I should stop meditating in daily life?  Its my personality style to sound forced.  But if you think that this is what I need, past that, I will do it.  I see Ron on Thursday so it wont be much of a gap.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/30/15 3:09 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Dear Noah, 

FWIW, I agree with Chris. As Daniel has had to tell me more than a few times, "Rewiring can only go so fast." So let what you have "settle," and practice a little patience by settling into this moment with much less effort. Taking a break from "practice" in order just to notice life is a great idea.

I woke up one morning with luminosity shift, and I didn't do anything special (or at all) to get it. The Dharma is doing us, so we just have to keep practicing with diligence, but also with steady patience. Be gentle with yourself, for when you are, then that's when reality will show itself to you, which is what you want to happen--it is shy, so it comes forth only when you aren't gunning for it, for something in the future, but are truly just settled into this moment, effortlessly, naturally, without preconceptions but with the wide-open simple curiosity of a child.

Hope this helps. Peace.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/30/15 5:26 AM as a reply to Jenny.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/30/15 4:43 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Give up.



RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/30/15 4:58 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/30/15 7:10 AM as a reply to Noah.
You really think I should stop meditating in daily life?  Its my personality style to sound forced.  But if you think that this is what I need, past that, I will do it.  I see Ron on Thursday so it wont be much of a gap.

Yes  emoticon

I can only go by what I read on these message boards. What I read here says you're pushing hard, trying this, trying that, thinking, analyzing, thinking some more. The pushing might just be part of your unique process, so what do I know? Talk to Ron and take his advice, not mine, if we disagree. He's much more informed about your process than I am. All I can do is react to what I observe here.

@Nick - great images!



RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/30/15 10:19 PM as a reply to Noah.
6/30

Jenny, Nick, and Chris, thank you for your advice.  I do value it, so I refrained from meditating for the majority of the day today.  I hadn't done this in awhile, and noticed that I was fairly miserable, with waves of agitation going through the body fairly constantly.  This was mostly because I was severely sleep deprived (which means extreme agitation for those with bipolar disorder).  I also think not meditating contributed to my mood, but it also allowed me some space to feel how my mind has changed and opened up, as of late.

Also, it is important to mention the positive effects of 3rd path; my experience is vastly more preferable, I am incapable of becoming fully absorbed into any negative thought or emotional pattern.  There is just less negativity overall.  I think this is amazing because these changes are not occuring through any traditional mental health treatment, and yet are more effective and healing than any traditional ones I have tried.

At the end of the day, driving back from work, I was thinking about how I am still relatively miserable, despite the progress I have made.  It seems impossible to start buying healthy food and cooking it.  It seems like such a huge task to fill out the latest apartment application or to clean my room or car.  These are the standard types of life-functioning that I wish to make possible through contemplative development.

I need meditation.  I need progression.  I have nothing to lose.  Even though I respect the wise practitioners who have advised me to reduce the effort, that is not what has worked for me so far.  I have gotten paths while gunning for it.

There are many subtle aspects to my selfing which have recently been revealed.  A sense of time relies on there being a character who progresses through it.  A sense of space relies on the existence of a true center of experience (which is not there, despite the illusion-feeling of a center).  A sense of good and bad relies on the creation of preference, which is actually just another fabrication.  A sense of willpower relies on possession of the body and mind, when really sensation and thoughts are uncontrollably arising on their own.  Any sense of perception at all is ultimately the result of clinging, of energy, of passion, of attention that is coagulated in one spot and not diffuse.

Noah needs to go.  Everything must go.  All the personal senses.  All the subtly intertwined layers of personhood.  

RE: Noah IV
Answer
6/30/15 11:05 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
There are many subtle aspects to my selfing which have recently been revealed.  A sense of time relies on there being a character who progresses through it.  A sense of space relies on the existence of a true center of experience (which is not there, despite the illusion-feeling of a center).  A sense of good and bad relies on the creation of preference, which is actually just another fabrication.  A sense of willpower relies on possession of the body and mind, when really sensation and thoughts are uncontrollably arising on their own.  Any sense of perception at all is ultimately the result of clinging, of energy, of passion, of attention that is coagulated in one spot and not diffuse.

Noah needs to go.  Everything must go.  All the personal senses.  All the subtly intertwined layers of personhood.  
What you're doing seems to be working for you...petal to the metal til that approach stops yielding good stuff...
Power it out if that is your inclination/intuition...
"Giving up" and "surrender" comes on its own when its time...as all other things do
Good luck,
~D

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/1/15 9:45 AM as a reply to Noah.
I need meditation.  I need progression.  I have nothing to lose.  Even though I respect the wise practitioners who have advised me to reduce the effort, that is not what has worked for me so far.  I have gotten paths while gunning for it.


A yogi's gotta do what a yogi's gotta do. Still, make sure you ask Ron about this stuff. He's a unique individual, a veritable one stop shop of psychology and dharma.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/2/15 1:09 AM as a reply to Noah.
7/1

-Things I disembed from: time, space, perceptual-center, preference, memory, possession of body, possession of mind/subconscious, personality patterns....

-New thing I am disembedding from today: caring about the whole thing in the first place/ caring about life/ the energy of paying attention

-When I disembed from this, I get huge kundalini and feel stripped down to bare awareness.  When I disembed from this bare awareness, I feel a super-charged wall of kundalini smacking up against my mental screen.

-Further notes on the above process: I can't be lazy or relaxed, even though these are preferrable to tense or obsessive.  I don't need a different mental state, I need less mental state-ness, overall.  Both of those states would be 'states' with more 'content.'  The whole form of the perceiving needs to change.  The hand needs to relax its grip and let go completely, rather than take a more loose or alternative grip.

-------------------------------------------------------

-Had another 'pop' just now: I was pondering the triality of 'self'+'outer'+'inner' contents... I realized that, for the most part, 'self' is just more 'inner' content.  Which leaves only outer & inner.  This sparked a wave of confusion and rejection of the idea, for I believed that there must be some special junction point for these two aspects to connect.  I realized this belief in a special junction point is a big part of the problem.  Its just materiality and mentality.  Even though most refined phenomena such as sense of witness (mentality) and basic sense of gravity/location based on directional awareness (materiality), are just more basic, simple phenomenon.  

--------------------------------------------------------

-'Pops' on pops on pops!  Alrighty, meditating on the materiality-mentality sense described above, I came to the "So what?" juncture I have been reaching lately (when I get to a point of clarity in describing reality and then need to figure out what to do with it).  As an answer, I added in the lens of the three C's; the so-what is that I trust this god damn arrangment to dictate my every mood, and the way I feel about life!  I am allowing myself to suffer because I feel that there is something permanent here, something worth preserving, something worth caring about (note: I am not speaking in a physically dangerous, emotionally tormented, or nihilistic view, I am talking about integrated meditation insights).

This sent energy down my legs and out of the bottoms of my feet, as well as through my torso and arms.  Can't call it kundalini, so I suppose I'll just generalize it as "shakti."  I felt a nice sense of dropping a weight off my back that I had been carrying.

I've said this a lot before, and I'll say it again; I don't need to figure this out.  I don't need to be a person.  I don't need to maintain, prop up, organize, perservere, etc.  I don't need to find a place of healing, wellness and stillness.  Fuck it all.

I am allowed to feel depressed, disorganized, agitated, obsessive, sticky, attached, icky, hopeless.  No one can force me to do anything.  From where I am standing, experience has the ultimate ingredient of 'randomness', which is just as important as luminosity or centerlessness.  

The goal is to feel, in the body, in the energy system, and embodied sense of this impermenance, this randomness: to uncover the layer of mind where the last bastions of finely-intertwined self-visioning are occuring.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/2/15 4:08 AM as a reply to Noah.
Hi Noah,

It seems like you might be stuck on the idea that you can't want peace/happiness/calm and also work on allowing these things to express themselves freely.  On the surface this makes sense, but it's actually a misunderstanding of the process, I think.  When a feeling arises, it's already here and we can't force it to do anything, that's true enough.  But we CAN decide the level of importance and value we give to feelings.  The trick is to let the things that are already here dissipate on their own by giving them no importance.  An example of this in action might look like this: you notice you're feeling anxiety about work.  If there is any attempt to push the anxiety away or logic it out, you just stop doing that.  Then, you turn to your logical mind and make the decision that the anxiety is not important and is actually a misrepresentation of the situation.  While you feel the anxiety, you decide not to listen to it, and let go of any thought streams aiming to solve the anxiety through action.  It's like allowing a toddler to have a temper tantrum in a store and paying no attention to him so he learns that screaming does not yeild results.

The point, essentially, is to look at feelings unemotionally and judge them from that perspective.  They will not go away immediately, but they will go away eventually and they will arise less and less powerfully as time goes by.  It just takes patience and resiliance.  It's also important to consider that physical and emotional feelings are not separate things - your energy level and willingness to do daily activities is just as subjectively inaccurate as getting angry or feeling sad.  Boredom, sloth, and anxiety are all emotional "drivers" that control you.  In order to control yourself, you need to stop listening to the drivers and drive yourself instead.

As a final note: there is no need to practice suffering.  If you aren't suffering, and noticing this causes suffering to arise, it probably means you are equating suffering with practice.  That's an inescapable cycle to fall into.  It's the ability to be free from influence that leads to the end of suffering - so it's safe to treat that "drive to practice" the same way as any other driver.  Let it cry if it wants, but pass objective judgement on it from the logical part of your mind.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/2/15 5:57 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/2

-I feel really worn down.  My parents are pressuring me to move and I am trying to fill out apartment applications and do other real world stuff.  Its weird, because all my bipolar stuff is really coming out (yet I feel okay).  There are obsessive thought loops and body agitation that presents as me grimacing and restlessly tensing my muscles (bipolar and epilepsy are supposedly related).  There is also a central stickiness (concept of "bad" tying all this together) where some latent craving used to be.  But now there is just moving, flowing, going-motion.

Because there is no one home.  There is no specific intersection point of material and mental stuff.  So, it actually doesn't all feel that bad.  My body tenses, my mind goes crazy, flashing with all these images, yet somehow I am just coasting along.

I had this moment, a few minutes ago, in my basement, where I had this "no intersection point", thought.  And then the stress just stopped.  There is no extra layer of weight, just one bubbly creek of experience.  

I will figure out how to make a living, how to take care of all these logistics of life that seem so hard, one way or another.  Just because there is a lot of "pain" in my particular river of experience right now, does not mean there has to be any "suffering" whatsoever.  My way of working with the world, of avoidance and procrastination, is actually working, when you get down to the bare essentials.  I have a job, I have healthy relationships with friends and family, etc.  This whole thing is really about just waking up to this situation as it is.  

In my skype session with Ron this morning, he emphasized focusing on the areas where there is still craving.  I basically don't have any.  The last one was probably the idea of "bipolar" and the need for "self-improvement."  All I have to do now is just allow any occurences of these types to simply be momentary flashes in mentality.  If there is a feeling of stringing them together to create a self, that is actually just another momentary flash in mentality.

Everything is a part of something else.  Everything is a part of something greater.  No things are separate in-and-of-themselves.  There is no special junction point between inner and outer worlds.  All things are in continuous contact, continuous flow.  

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/2/15 6:00 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao,

It will soon be time for me to begin working with insight into the emotional process.  For now, I will remain focused on the meta-insight that the entire process as a whole is doing itself, including the typing of this message.  

I remain grateful for your unique insights and plan to reread your advice and ask questions as soon as I feel that I have completed the current phase of my practice.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/3/15 1:40 AM as a reply to Noah.
I wasn't trying to steer you any which way with my last post there, I was trying to point out that you can have your cake and eat it too. emoticon  It seems like the good/bad nature of feelings has a way of messing with your noting practice, but it doesn't have to.  When you're noting something, you're letting go of attempts to suppress or hold on to feelings (not just emotions, but all feelings, which seems exactly right to me). In order to line up the rest of your mind with practice, you can pass judgement on feelings as well. Think of it as a skillful way of using thought streams to cooperate with your efforts. You don't have to disembed from something and then let that thing keep its legitimacy and keep messing with you into the future. You can disembed, and then use your higher vantage point to say, "ah, I see it for what it is now." It sounds like you did this in your last post there.

Just because there is a lot of "pain" in my particular river of experience right now, does not mean there has to be any "suffering" whatsoever.


This, particularly. From this vantage point, you can look at pain and devalue it. Once it's devalued, it loses your attention and a little while later it's not even there anymore. I'm not actually suggesting you add anything to your practice, like some extra step or something. Instead I'm suggesting a perspective, or a way of thinking. You don't have to do anything in particular except see your feelings as non-objective, or as being a kind of overreaction that doesn't represent a situation. This is specifically what's helped me the most.

Anyway, I don't want to push anything at you. I just wanted to make sure you understand what I meant.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/3/15 1:45 AM as a reply to Noah.
I've been meaning to post this here for some time, although I did link it in another thread. Its a poster on reddit who used to post here. The reason I list this is that he did a jhana orientated practice and did it to basically rewire his life as he desired, a very worldly application of jhanas vs renunciate the world end game of jhanas. I cannot say for certain that you will find something of value here, but contacting absolutus on reddit may give you some practice tips for utilizing jhanas to apply to daily life as he seems to have. That's not my current focus myself so I cannot comment personally, but you may find something of value from:

http://www.reddit.com/r/Meditation/comments/2ggqkj/ama_ive_been_doing_concentration_meditation_daily/

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/4/15 9:27 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
@Ryan: Thanks man!  It looks really promising at first glance.  I'll definitely share after I read through it and try applying it (or choosing not to).  

@Not Tao: I hear you.  I think you're right, I was thinking that what you were expressing was an "extra step", but it really isn't a technique, but rather a "way of thinking."  Pretty much just my own rigidity there.  Once I find something that works (Mahasi noting, 4 path model), I have a tendancy to avoid other methods, but I would say you've won me over.  
         
So, feelings are malleable, and, after I disembed (or just observe) from them, I can then notice other things about them.  

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/4/15 9:38 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/3 & 7/4

-meditation effect: seeming weightlessness, as if I was on a swing, while sitting on a stool at work (basically full body disassociation).  What was weird was that I felt pretty calm and normal other than that effect happening, so I didn't immediately reduce it to an a&p symptom.

-insight: Gained greater understanding that my personality (or just, mental habits, as per the point that Bernt made the other day) is a filter that completely alters the way I see the world.  Not partially, but rather, 100%.  It all seemed like a big joke, and I was able to let go a little bit, instead of resisting the notion of being 'filtered.'

-new method: I've really whittled down all phenomena such that I am not embedded completely in much, except for the feeling of consciousness in the skull cavity, which is seemingly continuous and solid.  Instead of labelling this embedded state as "bad", I decided to completely, radically accept it with a glowing, positive regard.  This really seemed to help me actually let go of it, and gain some insight, even if I didn't penetrate the object completely.

-piti & sukkha: I realize that even though I have good 1)Mindfulness, 2) Concentration, 3)Equanimity, 4) Investigation, 5) Effort, I have virtually no 6) Joy or 7) Relaxation.  I'm a true believer in the 7 factors being as exact as the pythagorean theorum, so I am trying to figure out how to feel more pleasant and amplify these two.  I also think some of the encouragement I have received (as from Chris, Nick, and others) to drop effort has to do with me not having these 2 factors.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/6/15 1:27 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/5

-My piti & sukha plan is working!  I said a spiritual mind treatment for the enhancement of these factors yesterday and woke up feeling great today.  I went out and bought a cheap new laptop instead of just freaking out and feeling discouraged that mine died.  I also l)ooked for Seattle apartments and did the dishes in my house.

When I close my eyes I feel a new, softness to complement the openness in my head that has been expanding ever since stream entry.  What if this was already 4th path (which I am not claiming!) ?  Well then, I would have to figure out how take advantage of my newfound spiritual improvements.  I would try to live at ease.  Also, I would practice mindfulness just for the sake of being mindful, not out of desparation.

So, thats what I'm going to do: let this ease really sink in, keep trying to enhance the happiness and the positivity. 

We'll see where it goes from here.
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-Woahhh, I just felt something new, perhaps for the first time ever.  All my desires stopped for a couple minutes.  I wasn't attentive to anything.  I wasn't even purposely meditating.  I was just chilling.  I even stopped analyzing/thinking, which never happens to me.  There was just a black dot or square in my awareness.  But no bodily disassociation.
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Lots of cool stuff in the past few hours.   Driving to work, my mind suddenly felt super malleable, like I could stretch it infinitely up or shrink my body down to the level of cells or expand my body.  Basically, I started to feel like I had psychic powers.  I felt totally calm and grounded.  First time for that for me.  As a sub-point, I suddenly have crazy visualization powers just automatically happening, what!?  Never occured in any a&p, eq, jhana, or even drug experiences, lol.

I also feel a lot joy and heart opening, but in a bigger, impersonal way.  I feel that the whole world is a big illusion, on a grand scale, where as before it felt like only my individual perceptions were illusions.  

Woo-hoo!  I'm curious to see how this evolves.  Its important that I write this stuff down, because I have no precedent for it, so I have no ability to map it, and will be relying on Ron completely.

p.s., Somewhere in the past few hours, there was another mini-shift/mini-path wereby I feel all this stuff at a much deeper level and my whole mind and body is transparent/invisible and so is the whole world, and everything will be okay.  emoticon
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I wanted to add a detail from earlier that I forgot... right in the midst of all this cool stuff happening, I had this odd discontinuity while driving... I lost like at least a full second between the time I had a thought about "the world" and the time I moved my arm to the steering wheel.

This whole day has been straight out of the matrix
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edit: another remembered add on from this day:

I was driving to work and I had the thought of 'being done' or feeling certainty/confidence and I felt another blip.... so there were two blips in the same car ride,

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/6/15 5:33 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/6

note: I'm obviously taking a little bit of artistic license/upaya mindset with my personal use of the word 'sukha.'  In this case, I'm using it to refer to the quality of 'ease' in reaction to any and all phenomena that I experience in a series of moments.  This may or may not be in line with various traditional interpretations. 

-Open chillness in the mental screen and energy body-->accepted... agitation and restlessness, followed by negative vedana, followed by attempts to dissassociate completely from mind & body to fix this---->accepted... realizing I'm doing the right thing and following everyone's advice to drop effort or give up----> accepted... feeling that I could be 'done' now, in this moment, if I take this train of thought far enough ---->accepted-----> triggering energy rush upwards out of my head and through all of my limbs---->accepted...   I'm just going to keep on with this..

-------------------------

-I was practicing the favoring of pleasure (piti) and ease (sukha) arising over the other factors, mainly investigation (dhamma vicaya) and efffort (viraya), with the ultimate intended outcome of having no goal and just being perfectly still and satisfied with the moment at deeper and deeper levels.  I felt and saw darkness, and then analytical thoughts naturally arose pertaining to how this is all a process going in no particular direction, and that my sense of 'development' is just another overlay attempting to separate something from the inherent chaos of the system.  As this thought, a black sphere extended beyond my body, and I had a very strong feeling of rising up and elevator with thrill and anticipation.  For a moment, when I got to the top, it felt very formless, and then I sort of 'came to', and felt some restlessness returning, along with the sense of confidence that there was no 'push-pull' in relation to any of the phenomena I had just experienced.  I also had the gut instinct that 4th path is just around the corner.  Its almost like I have to accidentally bump into it while looking in the opposite direction.

--------------------------

Basically, in the same spirit of the above two entries, I was trying to feel no goal, only here and now and there never has been a goal, complete innocence and ignorance in the best, most in-moment kind of way.  My pointer was to imagine that I had just been born and had no memory of being here and was experiencing consciousness, inner objects, outer objects, and the process of perception, all for the first time.  To appreciate each thing as it arised like this.

This led to a typical rise in rapture, and typical analytical thought.  Also, the feeling again, that 4th path is very close, and all I need to do is give up searching for it because the trick is that the feeling of searching is actually the most refined or advanced form of delusion that there is.  There is nothing on the other side, nothing to realize that isn't already here.  In fact, there is only "the other side", there is only, the process of perception, and endless dream, with no real world to wake up to.  This thought triggered a pulsing wave of energy coming back into me, which was interesting. 

Lol, I swear I'm not trying, I'm giving up, just being mindful for the hell of it and reporting experience.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/6/15 3:32 PM as a reply to Noah.
Yeah!  There you go.

So, where you are seeing your feelings and personality as a filter - to me this has been the key.  If you consider the objective truth about reality, it doesn't judge things or put one object over another in terms of importance.  The universe kills babies and serial killers without a second thought for either one.  So whenever a feeling pops up - anything from a headache to anxiety - it's safe to assume it's a distortion of reality based on your subjective experience.  This is also true about positive judgements of feelings, like piti and sukha, and so if they go away or there is trouble cultivating them, it actually isn't that important because it's another part of subjective existence.

Things can become confusing here - I've been caught by loops where I'm trying to figure out if it's the positive feelings associated with this mindset that I'm looking for.  The cure for this is to stop seeking permanent results, I think, which you also pointed out.  The complete lack of desire isn't so much a letting go as it is a freedom of choice.  These days, I'm thinking along the lines of self-control, or freedom from impulse and urgency, as being the most desirable outcome.  So, instead of looking at bad feelings as something to escape or erradicate, I'm looking at them as being lies to stop listening to.  The same is also true of "positive passions" like love or deeply caring about something.  The symantics of this aren't so important - what is love vs. what isn't etc - the important part is whether a feeling is driving the mind in some way, either for or aginst something.  As long as the mind is being driven, it's impossible to find or remain in that desireless state.

What you've been describing here is what I would point to as my own goal.  The open, easy, freedom from anything being important or serious.  I think this is actually what the Buddha calls "jhana" in the suttas.  You don't really see the Buddha taking about energy flows, concentration, etc - you just see "abandon the five hinderances" repeated as the main instruction for entering jhana, and once entering jhana, the Buddha says to bask in it and let the pleasantness of detachment and physical relaxation take you over.  This seems to be what you're describing.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/6/15 4:17 PM as a reply to Noah.
Thanks for sharing, Noah!
I´ve been following your practice log recently and it´s very nice to read that this where you have gotten to. And it´s a good inspiration to continue with my own practice...

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/6/15 4:25 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
@Caro: Thanks!  I think we need lots more practice logs on the dho, lots of people persistently testing out different techniques for weeks on end, and reporting results, instead of discussing ideas and concepts behind the techniques only (and dogma behind the sets of concepts).  Also, I think its good to do morality practice logs, test out new behaviors, attitudes, ways of relating to others, etc... then to report these things and compare results.

Lets do it!

@Not Tao: Yes, I agree with all the above.  I agree with your assessment of sutta-style jhanas.  They are more balanced between samatha and vipassana, and seem to have more of an obvious, immediate, daily-life application.

I'm still doing 'goallessness' for an ultimate goal, but my view of the process is slowly changing.  My intended 'technical 4th path' attainment is simply the obvious milestone where something happens in the energy system (a subconscious stratum is accessed and becomes conscious, then fades into the background).  But then life has to go on, and I will continue to practice to try to make dealing with it easier.  It is all in process, in motion.  I just want to feel a sense of certainty, a sense of end-point to this clear-seeing and seeing-separate, so that I can fully devote myself to Actualism.  But AF isn't the end-point either, is it?  Thats the joke. 

I still have to falsify end points for myself to preserve my sanity and maintain hope in a better life.  But deep in my heart, I am slowly accepting that the spiralling, circular river coming from nowhere and going to nowhere is all there is.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/7/15 4:50 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/7

-I had one interesting experience today: a thought about feeling good independent from the 'world' triggered a wall of energy, like visibly hot air, come down over my field of vision like shutter for a split second.  But I had full vision the whole time, so I don't think it was a fruition, and there was no energy in the head either.

-Other than that, I'm just really fucking bored.  You guys asked me to drop effort, and give up, so thats what I've done.  Im chilling, I'm bored.  I'm not meditating, just kind of moving through my days.

Last Thursday, Ron told me to see where there is still clinging.  I feel like I have completely done that.  What is left is basically just my normal life, but in a much more down-to-earth, mellow way than before.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/7/15 11:10 PM as a reply to Noah.
Not to point out the obvious or anything, but if you're bored, that's where you're clinging.

If there's anything you're looking forward to, you can't really enjoy what's currently happening.  All this time you're been looking forward to this 4th path idea you have, it actually sounds like you've put your whole life on hold for it from the tidbits I've seen you write about your life.  It seems like that's problably the biggest bit of clinging you have.

EDIT: I'm not sure anyone suggested stopping meditation, btw.  When Nicolai said to give up, he's talking about something deeper than just stopping the process.  If you're bored, you haven't really given up anyway, so you might as well keep meditating.

EDIT2: Ah, I see a few people did actually suggest that.  I guess do what you think is best.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/7/15 11:30 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Hey NT,

the copy & paste function isn't working well on my new laptop...

yeah, its definitely deeper level change required, but the only way to get at those depths is by indirectly changing more surface level, conscious things, which is what I'm doing

also, yes and no, to me putting my life on hold, 4th path is "my life" in the sense that my abillity to enjoy life, to be in the moment, to cultivate self confidence and self efficacy, is tied in with my ability to heal my mind, which is tied in with my ability to cultivate deep contemplative shifts--- I know many pragmatic dharma people will have resistance to this idea, that path attainments are directly psychotherapuetic, but I care not, because it has already come to pass for me personally

as someone who is usually very humble and open to the advice of others, I am putting my foot down here in saying that I can feel, intuitively, that I am headed in the right direction

p.s. I have not forgotten your other idea/ideas, I am pausing during the day to examine my emotions after disembedding from them, noticing their inherent malleability and level of skillfulness, etc.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 3:51 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:

-Other than that, I'm just really fucking bored. 


Are you expecting anything? Are you noticing (and maybe noting) the expectation of something "better" than what is occuring in the moment?  Boredom means there is a lack of satisfaction with this moment. A craving for something mentally deemed  "better". So. damn. fertile is this territory. Why are you complaining about advice you took on board with your own free will? 

Haha! FRUSTRATION!!!!! Haha...brings back memories. Carry on!  (**munches on buttered popcorn and a choctop.)

Nick

Edit: and yes to what Not Tao said. It isn't about giving up meditation and practice but that which drives us to practice. Do you understand the notion of "beginner's mind"? In hindsight, every one of the shifts I've experienced, have occured while "beginner's mind" has taken root. A little experiment?

Is there a difference in experience and result if you: 

* note (or do whatever practice) for 30 minutes non-stop with the notion that it will result in something "special" or "different".

VERSUS

* note (or do whatever practice) for 30 minutes non-stop without any notion that it will result in something "special" or "different".

In my experience, there is a difference. And that is what I point to when I say "give up".

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 7:08 AM as a reply to Noah.
Do you follow any precepts, like hinayana precepts?
Without them its kind of impossible to regret. And becoming serious.
Celibacy. Guarding the senses. 

There is certain qualities that they are hidden and only becoming out with strict discipline and when failing painful regertting starts to gain back what is lost.

----
Stay aware. Without discipline we lose everything in time between two sitting practices. If you become feeling satisfied by doing something like talking, watching TV you lost large amount of what you gain and are unable to even regret so need to build up again and then able to think "what stupid i have done again emoticon "
There is also positive side for failing, if you see that you failed you will have additional shame. 

When you see a woman and lust rises, you have lost again. But in a larger picture you did lost nothing, In time you will be able to repair your generative essence and you won't lose that type of battle but will have different challenges.

--
for an example when you have urge to do something then be mindful of the urge till it subsides itself and cultivate also the nothingness or emptiness what comes after it. And repeat.
---
why? because you will see how it all works and can do things what could take months in a single sit, and learn to avoid mistakes and finding out what is correct.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 7:11 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
@Nick: Okay, I"m feeling loose so this is my experiment.  Stop the practice, see what happens.  Its just something new.  A few days won't kill me.  Maybe it will set up the conditions for beginners mind later on.

@Rist: Funny you mention precepts, I'm listening to Thannissaro right now.  I should follow the precepts, but I don't.  They're on my long-term dharma goal list.

In terms of your more subtle point of guarding vital awareness energies, I get it, but idk if I"m ready to make use of that.  I think I'm not that advanced emoticon

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 7:26 AM as a reply to Noah.
In a sense you don't have to follow them. You need to recieve them and they are recieved by wanting to "become a better person" thought. And from precepts you need "signals or qualities". Dumb following is not the goal i see what could bring results, but you will naturally choose to be chaste.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 8:35 AM as a reply to Noah.
Hello, Noah.

What Nick and Tao said. You're still seeking, so what are you seeking, and why? You could sit with that as your koan. A little mediation won't hurt you. Moderation!

And... don't blame the messengers emoticon

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 4:45 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hey Chris,

I think this process requires me to be honest about my doubts.  I had such a conversation with Russell, and it was very helpful.  So I will engage one with you as well.

I get the whole "stop seeking" thing, to the extent that such a surrender is necessary to get over this particular energetic hump (technical 4th), but I believe I'll be meditating and developing for the rest of my life.  If this '4th Path' isn't the end, than why do I need to give up?

Thanks

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 9:26 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/8

-Didn't meditate for a large part of the day.  Then did some noting with what Nick had in mind (with the assumption that there is no explicit goal).  At first I was trying really, slow, mindful & concentrated noting, but then I got irritable.  Its funny because, I still basically am the same person.  So I went back to my old style of noting (not that old, what I've been doing up until about 2 or 3 weeks ago) which is quick, one-word notes and I allow myself to be semi-distracted.

-Did shinzen's "do nothing" for about an hour.  Lots of writhing around.  Further insight into how bipolar is related to epilepsy (I'm not epileptic) in terms of such symptoms.  Felt acceptance come and go.  Had a thought about just being in this space, this block of awareness, this now that is my headspace, something like that.  Felt some relief and some sort of 'pop.'

I think I'm starting to detach from the idea that I will be aware of my 4th path moment, that I will describe it on here and have it validated clearly by others and also by Ron.  Most likely, it will become apparent later.  The reason I think this is because I have been getting a lot of good shifts and pops in meditation lately and each one of them seems to last in some way.  For instance, my need to hunger-eat or do other compulsions when stressed has dropped dramatically after a recent meditation.  Also, after that shift a few weeks ago that caused me to claim 4th path (and stir the shit on the dho), I would say something about mindful awareness has become more permanent.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 4:53 PM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
Rist Ei:
In a sense you don't have to follow them. You need to recieve them and they are recieved by wanting to "become a better person" thought. And from precepts you need "signals or qualities". Dumb following is not the goal i see what could bring results, but you will naturally choose to be chaste.

Part of me does want to become a better person.  But part of me feels lazy and resistent.  I am hoping that if I do enough insight, concentration and metta, that resistent part of my mind will give way to the wiser impulses.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 6:04 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah --

I get the whole "stop seeking" thing, to the extent that such a surrender is necessary to get over this particular energetic hump (technical 4th), but I believe I'll be meditating and developing for the rest of my life.  If this '4th Path' isn't the end, than why do I need to give up?

This is good! I don't believe I said you had to give up, assuming what you mean in the context of your post is to stop meditating forever. I suggested that you take a breather from what seemed to me to be a rather frantic seeking for something, jumping from one type of practice to another. I also acknowledge that what you were doing may simply be your way of dealing with where you find yourself on the path right now. That's certainly okay. 

When I got into late 3rd path territory a few significant things happened:

1. I got very curious about what the achievers of 4th path knew that I didn't. It was an obsessive curiosity. I could stay with them word by word as they woulld describe their phenomenological experience. It agreed with what I was seeing but there was some weird and hugely significant difference that they couldn'r describe very well and I couldn't figure out. Maybe what you're experiencing, Noah, is your personal version of that. My curiousity didn't lead me to push harder into noting practice. That didn't feel right at all. Instead I adopted a more koan-like practice where I could just be with my new obsession. It soaked.

2. Things got very, very still. I could still see the frantic nature of existence around me, all the shit happening and flickering in and out of existence but that was background. The foreground was stillness. Like a pebble that falls into a forest pond and settles restfully to the bottom. That was the last "thing" that changed right before things clicked.

I say all that because I'm likely projecting onto you what ended up "working" for me, so be skeptical and take what I say with a grain of salt. My comments are just suggestions based on my experience, which was that this transition cannot be forced. Whatever causes that one last click is a mystery and to assume it's tha same for everyone is silly. So call me silly.


RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/8/15 7:17 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris.

I think I was just trying really hard to break through to some 'fundamental perceptions', even though we know the "fundamental perceptual model" is bs.  Perhaps trying a little too hard to map my experience to Daniel's (the whole complete luminosity/centerlless/voitionless/not-subtle set of criteria), and others, given the challenge various people posed to me in saying that I might not yet be 3rd path.  In the end, it was probably a valuable 2 weeks or so of investigation, but not a valid, final goal.

Basically, I think some type of desire just has to burn up inside of me, and it takes a certain amount of strugging, of various forms, for that to happen.  This matches up with Nick's excellent analysis that he wrote in my "should i change my technique..." thread.

I also might not be close to 4th path.  That would be fine.  Either way, my efforts and non-efforts will continue.

Thank you for the descriptions of what happened to you.  They are helpful in getting a realistic sense.  I don't think they are projections of your experience alone, because there are a lot of people I've read who also had it happen this way (on AN/KFD archives, for instance).

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/10/15 2:21 AM as a reply to Noah.
7/9

-Shinzen "do nothing", 30 minutes.. lots of bipolar stuff, I know that its not going anywhere (at its core), thought of a quote from my favorite tv show "life" about a guy (charlie) who discovers zen in prison: in the show, a cop asks an inmate if they ever wonder what its like out there 'in the world'... the inmate turns to the cop and says 'this is the world', cop says 'sounds like something charlie would say', inmate says 'charlie taught me that'....

This is my world.  I have these symptoms.  Its part of this total experience.  Its all very real.  Much more real than it was before se, 2nd path, 3rd path.... ..

-More 'do nothing'... feel crazy detachment, mind is big room, room is bland or nuetral but full of fat, opaque energy.  sometimes It becomes buzzing solid wall of pleasure.. other times it feels very ghostly like I truly might just dissapear completely, at my root, even deeper than a fruition... sort of a general sense of oneness or integrity to it... there seems to be a way I can slightly alter my thought to adjust my 'attitude' which makes the technique more effective, I feel more of that ghostly unity

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/9/15 11:05 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah, what do you mean by "real" in the context in which you just posted about your world? Why is a particular set of phenomena more real than before your recent paths? Isn't practice supposed to take things in the opposite direction, i.e.; phenomena being perceived as less real?

(If this inquiry is bothersome or intrusive just ignore!)

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/9/15 11:38 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris,

its less filtered, more mature.  kinda feels like how my concept of 'adult life things' like money, jobs and sex where filtered through my immature daydreams when I was a kid, but then as I got older these things became obviously just what they are and nothing more or less.  Time is real.  My impatience is also real.  These things are here to stay.  This is it. 

There is nothing special for me to know outside of my five sense capabilities.  There is no special energetic shift that I need to work towards.  This is the maximal "it", the only reality.  Even writing this is trying to make it sound special, when really it is less special.

I'm feeling like sensations of self are real but they aren't more real than anything else, its just one field of super-obvious normal moment.  I am real.  This is real.  When I start to ruminate, its the mechanism of my mind which is moving away from the real... this mechanism is obviously part of it all, but it causes dukha.  So the only thing to do is get in touch in such a way as to not be in dukha (I like the "dirty space" translation of dukha)

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/9/15 9:56 PM as a reply to Noah.
I think I was just trying really hard to break through to some 'fundamental perceptions', even though we know the "fundamental perceptual model" is bs.  Perhaps trying a little too hard to map my experience to Daniel's (the whole complete luminosity/centerlless/voitionless/not-subtle set of criteria), and others, given the challenge various people posed to me in saying that I might not yet be 3rd path.

What is the "fundamental perceptual model"? Why is it BS? How do you know it is BS?

If you mean Daniel's model, then, interestingly, I've been reading in the Indo-Tibetan mahamudra tradition as of late (I'm going on a mahamudra retreat this month), and I was struck at how nearly identical the Tibetan Buddhist list of perceptual shifts is with Daniel's model. The only difference I could find was that the mahamudra texts list "elimination of reactivity," whereas Daniel does not. All the other items on Daniel's list are there, though. 

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/9/15 10:07 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jenny,

Naw, I wasn't equating Daniel's model with a fundamental perceptual model.  The fundamental perceptual model, for me, would mean that I enter a certain state whose qualities never change and never fade from view, regardless of what I am doing.  This is my personal, working definition.  It would be bs for me, personally, to believe that I could accomplish such a change.  I'm just speaking for my own experience.

I would add a phrase in to what I wrote: "Perhaps trying a little too hard to map my experience to Daniel's, as I understand it...."  I can only use words to communicate about these subjects, and I can only interpret words to try and understand what others are trying to communicate.  We know Daniel is a meditation master (as you so aptly put it), therefore there is a limited degree to which I can fathom his experience.  I'm just trying to reach my own, personal potential with insight.

Could you please link to the mahamudra criteria?  It sounds really helpful.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/10/15 10:26 AM as a reply to Noah.
Ah, yes. And I looked at MCTB2, and there is a section on "Fundamental Perceptual Models." I can't remember whether all this is in the first edition. Daniel says there what you are saying, I think: that, while the perceptual models are useful and true, it is not true for him that he is constantly aware of all the perceptual criteria every moment, just as he is not aware of his toes every moment. It is just that, whenever he inclines the mind ever so slightly, the luminosity is there, the agencylessness is obvious. All that is on his list doesn't become some transcendent super-special thing, since it seems and is very natural, since what we awaken to is this life, here and now--although he also says it is "awesome." emoticon

Here is a link to the Mahamudra book I'm reading, by Daniel P. Brown, PhD; he spent a decade translating many root texts from the Indo-Tibetan traditions, compiling them, and mapping the stages of enlightenment among them in order to design a modern interpretation of the core teachings for students in the West. It is his retreat that I'm taking. I'd post a lot more about this book and Clarifying the Natural State by Tashi Namgyal, which is also excellent (mahamudra root text), but I have very little time while trying to finish work on MCTB2 Part II.

http://www.amazon.com/Pointing-Out-Great-Way-Meditation/dp/0861713044/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436541533&sr=8-1&keywords=Pointing+Out+the+Great+Way&pebp=1436541538960&perid=1F35R9P2Q74G0ZNZPVN6

Best wishes for your practice.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/10/15 10:51 AM as a reply to Jenny.
 Daniel says there what you are saying, I think: that, while the perceptual models are useful and true, it is not true for him that he is constantly aware of all the perceptual criteria every moment, just as he is not aware of his toes every moment. It is just that, whenever he inclines the mind ever so slightly, the luminosity is there, the agencylessness is obvious. All that is on his list doesn't become some transcendent super-special thing, since it seems and is very natural, since what we awaken to is this life, here and now--although he also says it is "awesome." 


That's well said, IMHO. It certainly agrees with my experience.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/10/15 3:08 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/10

-'Do Nothing' 30 Min: went through this loop many times, spacing out/distracted thinking- gently returning to moment- awareness increasing without effort- thrill sense or kundalini rush as I feel like I am dissappearing- I dissappear for a bit, there is only perception at these times- I come back and get agitated or restless- I start getting distracted again.... ... This technique is good for me b/c it doesn't allow to obsess about "what I'm not seeing" or frantically try to get enlightened... ...Also, at the end, I felt a deeper sense of surrender (a phrase from swami rudrananda), where the 'me' inside decided to truly drop the goal of getting 4th path and truly just do the meditation for the heck of it.. it felt very nice and simply and helped me remain mindful in a good way even while thoughts or restlessness arised

-I'm doing the low-level continuous one-word notes to maintain some mindfulness in between do-nothing sessions.  I think I'm finally starting to figure how to practice with moderation or without such a sense of urgency and clinging to outcomes.  The noting is nothing new to me, its just one more tool to help keep me connected with this reality throughout my waking hours.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/10/15 12:01 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 Daniel says there what you are saying, I think: that, while the perceptual models are useful and true, it is not true for him that he is constantly aware of all the perceptual criteria every moment, just as he is not aware of his toes every moment. It is just that, whenever he inclines the mind ever so slightly, the luminosity is there, the agencylessness is obvious. All that is on his list doesn't become some transcendent super-special thing, since it seems and is very natural, since what we awaken to is this life, here and now--although he also says it is "awesome." 


That's well said, IMHO. It certainly agrees with my experience.
What interests me most about this is its implications for dukkha: namely, that the hardwiring of 4th path, which is not always being noticed, will relieve suffering at all times, regardless of how conscious one is of such relief and its cause (nonduality).  Furthermore, the positive, mental side-effects of 4th path are, likewise, automatically occuring.  This is what I meant by 'background' in the other thread, but I think it was poor word choice on my part.  I realize now that something can be in the 'foreground', even if it goes unnoticed for large periods of time.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/11/15 8:55 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/11

-do nothing, 30 min: mostly distracted, first sit of the day

-I'm having a bit of a conundrum: I feel that there is 'still clinging' in my attachment to noting (b/c it allows me to be distracted from my normal baseline of agitation/restlessness), but I also feel that noting allows me to maintain mindfulness in daily activities.  So I don't know which choice would make me more progress, not noting and tolerating/investigating the agitation, or noting to be mindful but also indulging in an escape from the moment.  I e-mailed Ron this question as well.

-Update: Ron answered my e-mail, instructing me to be "light on my toes" and willing to change my approach from day to day, based on where I am in the path.

So, I'm going to keep noting in daily life, with what Nick said to me in a previous post, in mind (30 min. of noting with no-goal in mind is different from 30 min. of noting with the goal of gunning down 4th path).

-do nothing, 30 min: this sit worked better.  more calmness, possible jhana, at times.  although there was a slight clinging to this calmness, I remembered Shinzen's instruction not to interfere with the 'concentration, clarity & equanimity' that spontaneously arise from the technique... so, I didn't try to 'drop' the clinging in those moments, since it seemd to be connected to the calmness and flow... I also had plenty of writhing-around agitation, but was able to not feed extra intention into those instances...   

I think this technique is a good one for me in terms of not allowing much space for me to obsess... that was part of the problem in my practice of the past couple weeks when I was looking intentionally for specific qualities of fundamental awareness... I need more of a structure within which I can drop intention.

-do nothing, 10 minutes: plenty of calmness, blank, bright, pleasant mental screen...

-do nothing, approx 15 minutes: previous calmness arose, along with automatic musings about the fractal model, and how I had to be satisfied with my cutting edge rather than trying to leap forward... the thoughts seemed to trigger a much deeper sense of calmness that felt super fortifying and relaxing in a way that I am not used to (as I usually feel that calmness is fleeting in comparison to my restless baseline)... the thoughts slowed down a bit and I rested in this feeling for about 5 minutes... I still feel a nice, buzzing afterglow... note: I did remain mindful during the experience, so it wasn't pure samatha.

-d.n. 10 min: best session yet!  I get to a point where my whole mind and body feel like one field and then the witness starts to self forget and merge with the field.  the most remarkable part was how deeply patient and safe I felt.  This is so different from how I always feel, whether in daily life, or cultivating nanas or jhanas in the past... this feels so integrated and solid and good. nice.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/11/15 12:29 PM as a reply to Noah.
the hardwiring of 4th path, which is not always being noticed, will relieve suffering at all times, regardless of how conscious one is of such relief and its cause (nonduality)


Noah, I have to say this for the sake of clarity - suffering is not relieved at all times no matter where we are on the path. It can easily be recognized for what it is (empty) and if we pay close attention we can reduce suffering, but to totally eliminate suffering requires us to be unconscious. Many of the fruits of awakening have to be recognized, brought into awareness, to be felt in real time. That is what Daniel means when he is quoted as saying, "... whenever he inclines the mind ever so slightly..." This is certainly true of reducing suffering, seeing the emptiness and non-dual nature of perception, and so on. It is easy to fall back into "normal" perception, which is why practice should be continued as long as the practitioner is alive.



RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/11/15 12:19 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks Chris, for another gold morsel.  This is all helping me assimilate previous information into a new, more realistic, paradigm.  So, there is no free lunch.  It will always require some work.  Damn.... well this is way better than the other, mushroom option (enlightenment doesn't exist, spot-stick solution mindfulness is the only way to go).

So 4th path activates this underlying potential such that it is always very close to the surface: the potential to completely see through the illusion of duality in any moment, all moments, thus eliminating any tension associated with that delusion.

A work in progress...

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/11/15 12:28 PM as a reply to Noah.
So 4th path activates this underlying potential such that it is always very close to the surface: the potential to completely see through the illusion of duality in any moment, all moments, thus eliminating any tension associated with that delusion.

Excellent!

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/11/15 12:31 PM as a reply to Noah.
Benefits of the path:

I just wanted to share some of the wonderful effects of 3rd path I am benefitting from on this particular day.  I took a small dosage of a psychostimulant earlier since I am completely cleaning and organizing my room and car in preparation for my oncoming move.  I have noticed that this substance (Adderall) helps me work for hours on tedious projects while bypassing a large amount of tension and irritability I would feel otherwise.  However, it also has some negative side effects for those with bipolar disorder. 

In the past, before 3rd path, I would take it and would feel many highs and lows throughout the day.  I would be caught in narcissistic, grandiose fantasies and obsessions.  I would be swept away by euphoric body sensations and then would crash when such sensations faded.  For hours and days afterwards, I would be trapped in heavy, depressive body sensations and negative, self-critical thought loops.  Remarkably, almost all of that is not present today.  I feel fairly even.  I do not feel like today is a specific day to "be productive" in a way that has triggered a lot of pressure and performace anxiety in the past.  I am aware of the mental and physical effects of the pill, but they are not overpowering and I am not embedded in them. 

This is vastly preferable to how it was previously.

--------------

Another positive effect I have noticed is the way I am able to deal with feelings of jealousy.  I have literally destroyed previous romantic relationships by continuously indulging in illogical feelings of jealousy and paranoia.  The same feelings have been arising as of late, but I have been able to contain them.  I am mindful of each overall mood as it arises, peaks and passes, as well as the individual wavelets (as Shinzen would say) that comprise the mood.  I can see that the path to happiness lies on either ignoring, tolerating, or dismissing (thanks, Not Tao) the feelings, rather than indulging in them.

-------------- 

So, those are two positive effects, here is a negative situation that is not improving.  I get agitated when I talk to my mom, regardless of what we are talking about.  I want to have a great relationship, a friendship, with my mom.  Perhaps 4th path will improve this.  Or perhaps I need a different type of shift, such as Actual Freedom.  We shall see.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/12/15 10:03 AM as a reply to Noah.
Hooray for the nice benefits!

Here's a thought -- is our practice and its fruits meant to help us avoid difficulties, or better investigate, know, and cope with diffculties?

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/12/15 10:08 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Ideally it will automatically eliminate some difficulties, but it is guaranteed to help us better know them, and therefore, cope.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/12/15 10:25 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/12

-do-nothing, 10 min., X5: I go through all these emotions, all these thoughts, and sometimes these moments of energetics/clarity/anticipation... but eventually I just come back to this moment, the boring, continuous reality of the mind-body experience.  I used to think that there is something else beyond this, but now I know that it is the final answer.  My work now is just to spend enough time existing as this mind-body only without extra layers or filters.  Hopefully, after some time, I will pop.  But to go where?  Here, all the time.

-mahasi-noting in beween do-nothing sessions.  Just trying to maintain some mindfulness... "keep the pot on the stove"

-do-nothing, 10 min: writhing around, various obsessive thoughts- successfully unplugging and just witnessing these... then the noticing of how I was still tied up in them somewhat as they were happening and disembedding from this subtler knot with the thought 'there is nothing to this.. its just more dukha'.. i then felt impatient and wanted the sit to be over, but realized that thought too, was just more dukha.. with this, I began to feel a weird sort of vertigo where I was spinning sideways

I think I need to do longer do-nothing sits but I get so god damned impatient.  It doesn't matter though, I'll do anything for 4th path, so fuck it, make it happen.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/13/15 7:29 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/13

-mahasi noting in daily life: sense of boredom/rawness of experience/suchness or one-tasteness.... life just kind of moseying along doing its own thing... no thing here nobody home

-do-nothing: 10 min X3

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/14/15 10:48 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/14

-only daily life noting

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/15/15 9:25 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/15

-do-nothing, 10 min (edit X2): after skipping a day, I see how easy it is to lose momentum at the do-nothing practice.  the space I was gettting to previously which was bored by stripped down raw to the bare senses (plus I would sometimes dissapear) was obviously my cutting edge.

I notice how I still have clinging to certain concepts and beliefs which are keeping me from being fully committed to powering up my mindfulness and concentration (thereby making "progress").  I am clinging to thoughts of my relationship, ideas of my limitations due to bipolar, negative opinions/aversion to shifts at work, etc.  My mind is willing to spend time on these topics because it does not believe that 4th path will wipe them out.  However, that does not mean I should allow myself to dwell on them (it also may be untrue).  I have to be willing to truly let go and let the drivers of mindfulness and concentration take me into uncharted territory. 

-I had a series of weird energetic events while driving.  They were related to a mode of thinking and feeling I was having.  I realized that this world is it, this me is it, and furthermore, there is no right way to be or right way to live.  Ethics and morals apply, but reality is arbitrary.  Furthermore, the very fact that different forms of meditation seem to lead to different enlightenments further proves this. 

However, it is somehow comforting in body to know this deeply.  There is nothing I have to do.  I am just a part of this arbitrary reality.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/16/15 12:22 AM as a reply to Noah.
Hey Noah,

Maybe instead of looking at your desires as clinging (i.e. problems) you can resolve them by just being optimistic about them.  For example, instead of trying to let go of wanting 4th path, you can just think positively about it and then move on.  I've been doing some thinking about this lately - this idea of clinging and suffering related to future outcomes - and it seems like the easiest solution is just to replace difficult, circular thoughts with the assumption that things will turn out for the best.  This way you don't have to try to stop thinking about something or even wishing for specific outcomes to avoid attachment - you can just allow yourself to be confident in both your current vision of the future and your ability to handle unforseen pitfalls.  So far this has just removed my focus on the future.  Anxiety and circular thinking are just attempts to find solutions to problems.  If you remove the preception that there is a problem then those thoughts stop coming up and there's just what's currently happening - which is "mindfulness," but is actually just the absence of preoccupation, or peace of mind.

BTW, the nice thing about "do nothing" is that there is no cutting edge, no momentum, and no progress to make.  If you think you're making progress, you've got something you're trying to do, eh? emoticon

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/16/15 10:23 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Hey Not Tao,

I have definitely practiced optimism for large periods of time in my life.  The main problem I have with methods that don't promise permanent solutions is that, in the end, I still have this disability to work with.  However, the paths are working for me.  Meaning, since April (3rd path), I have a dramatic dip in instances of overwhelming agitation and other symptoms.  The only other thing that was as effective was EMDR therapy which resulted in huge "ah-ha" moments that changed me forever.  Medications, learned optimism, meditation pre-stream entry, and other ways of working with the mind, all failed me, again and again.

p.s.- I am partially talking this way because I have been posting on the Yahoo AF group and have felt some need to 'defend' the validity of the experience I am having with viapssana.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/16/15 9:13 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/16

-Some more thoughts: If there is no one right way for me to be, no final direction or correct course for me in life, than there is also no wrong place for me to be.  My current condition, my weaknesses, my strengths, are not the 'wrong' place that I need to get out of.  Reality will always be some version of these ingredients, will it not?

If I am not meaning-making in this way, what I find is that I might as well poof and dissapear completely.  Because although I know that there is no Noah, just a subject arising as another object in the field as a result of previous experience, I live and make decisions and think, on a daily basis, as if there is a Noah.  So there might as well be...

Well, not necessarily.  In fact, I am starting to think that this might be one of the differences between being 3rd and 4th path, for me.  That level of integration and realization that actually affects me, my decision making, the emotional patterns in my body, down to my very bone marrow.  The deepest possible knowing that all meaning-making is a fabricaton.

Up until now, although I have questioned my journey, I have not been able to escape my faith in it.  I have such utter faith that this is a path and I am a traveller.  But really, that belief, is just a barrier blocking me from the somewhat traumatic truth: that I am the path, there is no traveller, and to call it a path in the first place is to project a thin but evident layer of fabrication over the truth of it.  The truth, which I can't know direclty, is probably something like the assertion of chaos magick... that it is a chaotic system out there that we can't fully understand, and that we are trapped in this mode of creating meaning out it, and that our intentions have some magickal, reflexive relationship with it, but that this does not mean that there is some purpose or direction for any of it.

-Do-nothing, 10 min. X1

-Yet more thoughts: Since yesterday, I have had this feeling that all the mental activity I do that tries to make sense of my actual experience is at least one tier lower in complexity than the experience itself.  The ways of reality, outside of my mind, the thing that includes my mind as part of its whole, are somehow more solid, more real than the versions of it I manifest in my mind in order to be able to process.

Yet, that means that the very cloud of processing that I call myself, this vague set of seemingly continuous, conscious experiences, is actually more real than I can ever realize from within it.  It is deeply being caused by the environment, the way a cell is born in to a human with a brain and chemistry that births consciousness.  This is all very deeply programmed into reality.  The mind which is typing this is as solid as a rock.  Its as real as death, as sex, as the orbit of the planets.

I don't know if I can trace back my mind's connection to its source; I don't know if I can decode this sense of witness.  Right now, it feels like I am supposed to try.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/16/15 3:29 PM as a reply to Noah.
There is nothing to catch you. You are falling, always, no matter what. There is no ground, nothing solid, no place that is safe, no refuge, no heaven and no hell. It's really freaking scary. It will also make you free.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/16/15 5:52 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris,

It feels like the main work I have left to do is internal conformity to this knowledge.  If I really know this in my body, I feel that I will not be so bored, restless, trapped in thoughts, etc.   I know that the full range of phenomena still occur after 4th path, but I can say from my personal experience of 3rd path that the frequency and quality of certain phenomena can change.

So yeah, just really getting my whole mind, my whole self, to agree to this truth...

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/17/15 11:28 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/17

-I still feel this rock solid 'thing' beyond my perception.  My thinking today is that it is the source out of which this thinking mind arises, and this thinking mind gives birth too some nebulous, cloud-like (perhaps non-localized [credit to Nick for that term]) sense of self that seems to be the most obvious thing to point to as "I".  But then I keep returning to this palpable sense of realness, like something in my body is resonating with something out there, in physical reality, even though my mind isn't subtle enough to process or register it.  I feel guided to the idea that all mental formations, including the witness-self and/or this nebulous self, are all basically just physical, non-human processes.  Noah, as a brain-body-mind-emotional/energy occurance, is a natural event in the Universe.  So, this seems to be progressing towards a 'non-human' level: one in which no things are 'special' or 'personal', thereby undercutting the possibility of creatng any stories or any suffering in the first place.

Now, this does not just apply to me.  All people must be occuring like this.  There are no human centers of consciousness anywhere: only naturally occuring events in this reality which is much more complex, solid or real than anything my mind is able to process or represent to me.

The funny thing is that my parents are both into spirituality and I grew up meditating and reading lots of eastern philosophy books.  I have known these words that I write, in my mind, for a long time.  However, I am only just starting to know them in my physical, energetic and emotional bodies.  This seems to be ground zero for the transformation that actually relieves suffering.

-Had lots of weird shifts and energetic stuff while at work today.  Still have a different feeling in my body.  Feel things are less sticky, I'm finally able to fully not give a shit, to fully not be in love with myself, in love with my expereince, etc.  The pain comes from my love or preference for this life.  When I am perfectly here, there is no pain.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/18/15 9:18 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/18

Okay, here is a BIG experience I had today:

I was driving to work, feeling out and openning up to this 'realness' or 'solidity' that I have been resonating with lately (something outside of my immediate perception).  Energy stuff started to spontaneously happen that felt totally unscripted and really strong.  I had some ideas pop into my head as well; that regardess of the whole 'one-taste' thing, my internal world IS different from my external world, and DOES get in the way of my enlightenment/relief from suffering; also I had some libido-energy and other sensations that would normally have interfered but I thought, just let it be, just be, for once, just truly give myself a break...

I was now parked in the parking lot.  When I had that thought, of relaxing, I felt the energy come to a head; it felt like I was pooping out a ton of excess 'stuff' out of my energy system.  I suddenly felt lighter and stronger.  I started thinking about the thought I had when I got stream entry in January (what if I just let myself be happy?)... then it felt like I was leaving my body/not confined to my body somehow.

The experience felt way more complete or total than previous 'pops'/mini-shifts I have had recently.  Then, for the rest of the day, it felt like somehow my energy body and the energy of the environment, which are both like tuning forks at difference frequencies, had finally synched up, and there was no more dissonance between them.

________________________________________________________

And here is a second big experience that happened just about 30 minutes ago:

Linked to more thoughts about integrating my mental processes with this new shift, I decided to 'open' my whole mind to this process.  I suddenly felt my head being pushed back and my eyes turned inwards and downwards back into my head (the reverse direction of a fruition).  I also felt a great wind blowing up my torso.  I heard a voice inside me say "you are not small."  I interpreted this to be the healthy/healing energy of the insight process fighting back against my bipolar disorder.

That event was also super-duper strong energy.  Then I felt agitation in my body afterwards but it felt incredibly minor and even the thoughts about it didn't bother me at all.

It feels as if my thought processes are not as much of a problem as they were before.  This is really important, because I need positive effects that are working when I am not being mindful.  I need the benefit of more open-spaciousness even when I am lost in obsessing.

____________________________________________________________

after these two incidents:

-do-nothing, 10 min.: I feel reallly restless, so dissapointing, dark night vibrations in my body, hard to really apply the technique bc I had been thinking so intensely about the events from earlier... I'll need to do more of this tonight.

-do-nothing, 10 min.: this one was a lot better, kept returning to the moment/successfully dropping intention.  definitely seemed to go up and down the nanas a couple times, from agitation to calmness to rapture, etc.

I think event 1 from earlier might've been a fruition and event 2 might've been an a&p

-do-nothing, 10 min.: this time started to get a little bit calmer and into the soothing way these sits can go... I think this might be "3rd gear".  I'll have to confirm that with Ron though.

-do-nothing, 10 min.

-do-nothing, 10 min.: lol it took me 5 do nothing sits to have some of the excitement of todays events wear off... at which point I realized, "why am I thinking about 3rd gear and this or that?  I'm supposed to be doing nothing.... ohhhh there really is no goal here... okay, fine"

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/19/15 9:43 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/19

-I feel the same thing today that I've described previously.  Beyond that, did a ten minute do nothing in the morning before work.  Was very sleep deprived and agitated, yet it was sooo much better than it would've been otherwise.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/19/15 11:36 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah, do you want to be fixed, or do you think you are unfixable?  It seems like you're arguing with yourself about this and trying to accommodate both at once - like, by realizing you are unfixable this will fix you. I don't think this is a zen paradox.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 7:51 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
I suspect Noah is wrestling with the realization that everything is constructed so some things still appear solid, like those things he perceives to be his weaknesses.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 9:13 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Noah, do you want to be fixed, or do you think you are unfixable?  It seems like you're arguing with yourself about this and trying to accommodate both at once - like, by realizing you are unfixable this will fix you. I don't think this is a zen paradox.

My working paradigm (and this could be wrong/too idealistic) is that 4th Path will partially fix me, which will give me enough space to live my life.  I can say for certain that each Path has raised my frustration tolerance, and made me way more stable in the face of things like sleep deprivation, relationship stress, etc. 

I do fear that I sound to dogmatic in my focuc, however, I have been derailed so many times in my life by this condition that I seem to be latching onto this thing that actually is working.  So, given my history, I think my attitude is understandable.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 9:21 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I suspect Noah is wrestling with the realization that everything is constructed so some things still appear solid, like those things he perceives to be his weaknesses.
I think you are right.  Although lately I may have been able to recognize my 'weaknesses' as just things popping up in the cloud of my head, which is where my identity is hiding.  There is a sense of continuity there.

Also, whats weird is that the more that I see that things are constructed the more "solid" they seem, but by that I mean totally real, just as they are: in a way that I have never previously encountered.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 3:22 PM as a reply to Noah.
7/20

-do-nothing, 20 min.: struggling, writhing, obsessing, fantasizing, then, about halfway through, I realize that I am intentionally looking for some state, perhaps "rigpa" or some other nondual essence, which is NOT the techniqe.  I am very, specifically 'doing nothing', I have no goal.  Then I just sat for the duration.  There was no relief from emotion persay, but some relief in not needing anything.

-do-nothing, 30 min.: fairly succesfull at just being... about 20 minutes in I fell asleep, which is really special for me because I can usually never, ever take naps.  So it wasn't really a 30 minute sit.

-do-nothing, 20 min

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 10:22 AM as a reply to Noah.
Also, whats weird is that the more that I see that things are constructed the more "solid" they seem, but by that I mean totally real, just as they are: in a way that I have never previously encountered.

In my experience seeing the constructed nature of things made them seem less substantial, less "real" and more malleable. Empty.


RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 11:28 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Also, whats weird is that the more that I see that things are constructed the more "solid" they seem, but by that I mean totally real, just as they are: in a way that I have never previously encountered.

In my experience seeing the constructed nature of things made them seem less substantial, less "real" and more malleable. Empty.

Difference in semantics, or difference in perception?  And, if its the second, am I going off track?

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 11:42 AM as a reply to Noah.
Maybe you can describe what you mean by "more solid"/"totally real"/"just as they are" and we can go from there.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 12:52 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
There is this in-body sense of feeling connected to my environment.  As if my body, the air around me, and objects in the room, were all just one, big block of matter.  This doesn't scare me or bother me, rather, it is sort of pleasant or nice.  My thoughts and emotions are recognized to be something different from this physical realm and I feel some acceptance of this process, where there was only resistance or dissassociation before. 

Overall, I don't know if I am seeing things much differently from how I did before stream entry.  Its like this recognition of the obvious realness of being this body & mind was previously obscured by lots of thoughts and filters: themotions in the body linked to personal narratives which pasted concepts over things and kept me away from experiencing the immediate materiality or mentality of them.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 2:04 PM as a reply to Noah.
Okay, so what I think I'm hearing you say is that in your life prior to practice your moment to moment experience was very noisy, with the bulk of the noise coming from wandering thoughts and overwhelming emotions. Now that you don't have so much noise in your moment to moment experience the signal to noice ratio is higher, which leads to a better dialing-in or focusing in on of your experience objects (and subject, I presume).

Correct?

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 2:53 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Yeah, that sounds right.  And also, my interpretation (my storyline) about it seems to be that I am more accepting that "this is it" (whatever that means).  For some reason that keeps coming up to me as important.  I guess its because I have been so focused on finding some special quality outside of myself and this moment.  But I think that what you've said is probably the skinny of it.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/20/15 6:01 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah, I think this inside/outside distinction you keep making could be a very fruitful thing for you to ponder.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/21/15 7:37 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
'Outside of this moment' is the material of the imagination, which leads to some stress.  Just like my physical body and baser mental processes, my imagination is a naturally occuring part of this universe, this reality, this field.  However, it feels different.  It feels like I give it more importance because it is the thing that keeps driving me towards my goal of reaching optimal functioning, a survival goal, of sorts.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/21/15 11:58 AM as a reply to Noah.
7/21

-do-nothing, 10 min.

-Mahasi noting in daily life. Edit: I'm not doing any noting today.

-Instead, I am making an effort to take delight in the senses in as passive a way as possible.  I am just noticing how they are being recieved where they are.  I have lots of weird moments where I disappear completely.  This exercise is deeply satisfying to me, for some reason.  It completely short-circuits any restlessness or agitation I might have.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/22/15 9:56 AM as a reply to Noah.
7/22

It doesn't feel right to intentionally push my mind to meditate.  Whenever I tune in, there is this soft but solid energy, and these feeling of continuity between all things.  And yes, if I had to describe it this way I would not say that it feels like there is an abiding self.  But more importantly, the self-sensations don't HAVE to go.  They just are, everything just is, right where it always was.  And its so real and down-to-earth and unfiltered that to take any stance for or against any of it whatsoever, just doesn't make sense.

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/23/15 8:04 AM as a reply to Noah.
7/23

Just met with Ron.  He thinks I probably got technical 4th path.  If I did, here is when it happened (on Saturday):

I was driving to work, feeling out and openning up to this 'realness' or 'solidity' that I have been resonating with lately (something outside of my immediate perception).  Energy stuff started to spontaneously happen that felt totally unscripted and really strong.  I had some ideas pop into my head as well; that regardess of the whole 'one-taste' thing, my internal world IS different from my external world, and DOES get in the way of my enlightenment/relief from suffering; also I had some libido-energy and other sensations that would normally have interfered but I thought, just let it be, just be, for once, just truly give myself a break...I was now parked in the parking lot.  When I had that thought, of relaxing, I felt the energy come to a head; it felt like I was pooping out a ton of excess 'stuff' out of my energy system.  I suddenly felt lighter and stronger.  I started thinking about the thought I had when I got stream entry in January (what if I just let myself be happy?)... then it felt like I was leaving my body/not confined to my body somehow.The experience felt way more complete or total than previous 'pops'/mini-shifts I have had recently.  Then, for the rest of the day, it felt like somehow my energy body and the energy of the environment, which are both like tuning forks at difference frequencies, had finally synched up, and there was no more dissonance between them.

I described how it feels like my body is on the same frequency (ala tuning forks) as the environment.  In my body, I feel a sense of totality or completeness in relation to the moment.  Mentally, there is this hyper-real clarity to everything, such that I am not in a state or pleasure, persay, but utter neutrality.

I noted out loud for 30 minutes and it was all very mundane in its suchness, very muted in terms of any nanas, absorption effects, or reaction to any of it.  This seemed to be further evidence for his tenative diagnosis. 

He said I should look out for dark night flare-ups as well as trippy or odd perceptual experiences (both of which have already started in droves).  He also said that the true test will be to see if my sense of peace and the sense of completion remain over time.  We meet again in two weeks, and probably at least a couple more times after, just to make sure everythings on track.

So yeah, 4th path....

RE: Noah IV
Answer
7/23/15 10:36 AM as a reply to Noah.
emoticon

RE: Noah IV
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7/23/15 12:45 PM as a reply to Russell ..
Yee Haw!

RE: Noah IV
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7/23/15 2:20 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Congratulations emoticon

RE: Noah IV
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7/24/15 2:21 AM as a reply to Noah.
Russell, Chris, and Caro, thank you!  I'm excited... it feels good.  It really feels like something big has changed inside.. only time will tell!

RE: Noah IV
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7/25/15 10:32 AM as a reply to Noah.
Congratulations, Noah. It's an important shift. Enjoy!

RE: Noah IV
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7/25/15 11:31 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Thanks Laurel!

RE: Noah IV
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7/25/15 12:39 PM as a reply to Noah.
Congrats!  I really like reading your posts, but now I am kind of envious too!  ;-P  Should be interesting to see how 4th path develops and settles from here. 
-Eva