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Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?

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Just wondering whether reaching some of the more advanced stages of the insite journey and specifically obtaining advnaced paths i.e 2nd 3rd 4th etc) makes you less reactive to things in general - I.e more able to have compassion in a explosive situation, more able to see the anger come up and just let it pass without engaging it, more able to see the other person is suffering and understand thier behaviour and let this soften your response?

I'm always interested when I see more advanced members of the community getting upset about things, disagreements, etc, and I guess I was kind of hoping that with the diminishment of a sense of self that comes in these advanced stages, there was also a loss in the ability for that sense of self to become offended? I have been dragged into arguments and taken offense from things writen that I so strongly diagreed with or just couldnt believe the other person was saying, and it was horrible. I promised myself I wouldnt do it again. And saw the madness in it, but I guess sometimes that is easy to say when you are not in the heat of the moment, 

Any thoughts?

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/20/15 5:10 PM as a reply to b man.
I make no claims to any path or attainment.
But I have seen marked improvement in my ability to stay centered - even when people are PURPOSEFULY pushing my buttons.

For me becoming more imperterbable to some degree was equal parts meditation and study of the 8 fold path.
In my (very humble) opinion there is a synergy that happens with mindful awreness, and conscious work with the 8 fold path.

But I imagine ALL people, even very advanced folks, would be capable of occasionally accepting an invite to conflict.

For me just being aware enough to be able to call it that - an invite to conflict - is often (not always) enough for me to "RSVP No"

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/20/15 5:19 PM as a reply to b man.
I never read Jack kornfields account in after the ecstasy, the laundry  but the general consensus/pattern I have noticed is that someone can go deep with insight, but not develop themselves much in emotional maturity. There was some Buddhist Geeks talk with Shinzen, Ken McLeod where they say they went deep into insight at their monestaries, but when they came back to living in complex society they noticed that their emotional sides didn't develop. I think what happens is that the DhO triggers yet handled reactive emotions and chaos ensues. Especially so since the DhO is a world crossroad of different ideas that in the past never encountered each other.

Personally, I decided to practice a lot in daily life so I wouldn't be sidelined by these unexamed emotional reactivities. My posts are nicer than if I really let loose. So I definitely get reactive, however, as of late, it seems my mind no longer gives a huge fuck, in the sense it's like it knows it's going to run into chaos but will aim for the target post anyways. Often there are no thoughts even triggered anymore if I read something that once pissed me off 6 months ago.

I think my practice is much stronger having been weathered by so much chaos and letting go of it.

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/20/15 5:28 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:
I never read Jack kornfields account in after the ecstasy, the laundry  but the general consensus/pattern I have noticed is that someone can go deep with insight, but not develop themselves much in emotional maturity. There was some Buddhist Geeks talk with Shinzen, Ken McLeod where they say they went deep into insight at their monestaries, but when they came back to living in complex society they noticed that their emotional sides didn't develop. ....

ah yeah, I remember this. He had been in thialand for like 5 years and came back to america and had a shock because he had expected life to fall into place now he had seen the true nature of reality, but then realised he'd not matured emotionally as a result. Maybe thats why a lot of his writing since is about love and living from the heart. 

I guess what I am wondering is that if the ego or sense of self is the thing that gets offended, and at those later stages of paths you see that this sense of self isnt real, or it eventually goes completely, then what is actually getting offended or reactionary, if not the ego, for more advanced practitioners?

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/20/15 6:56 PM as a reply to b man.
My guess would be a pie chart of the following:
1) They don't have a lot of meditation experience (Like 10+ years), so they're not super duper advanced. (I like what pawel K says about etheric body/Kundalini/whatever)
2) They have a more dramatic personality: there is no identification but personality remains
3) Enlightenment isn't about being flawless emotionally because that would entail a conditional relative limit to awakening 
4) They buy into concepts that make them feel justified in their reaction. "Academia taught me x, y, and z, so it must be right.", "scripture says a, b, and c so it must be right." And basically get hung up on conceptual world views that feel justified but are what they need to let go of at that point of their development
5) Etc.

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/20/15 11:48 PM as a reply to b man.
The stoics like to talk about two aspects of practice.  The first is understanding what is not in control and letting go of responsibility for it.  The other is discovering what IS in control and learning to master it.  I think the modern traditions of Buddhism focus heavily on seeing what is out of control, and not as much on what is IN control.  For example, high level vipassana practitioners report a "non-stick" aspect to their emotional experience.  They say emotions still flair up, and may even be more intense than before, but they aren't suppressed in any way so they just dissipate.  What they probably haven't practiced as much is looking into how and why emotions arise, and this means they're still the same person they always were with the same emotional triggers.  This way of experiencing the world might be exactly what they were looking for though, so then there is no sense of urgency to look further.

The key to complete non-reactivity is to look at more mundane levels of attachment, I think.  Our reactions come from striving and wanting created by looking at things with expectations.  Letting go of expectation, meaning, and purpose is what disconnects the reactive impulse.  I think good practice can be summed up in two sentences: we can't control how we feel (so, we should stop/avoid suppression), but we can control what impulses we listen to (so we should trust our reasoning over emotional reactions).  The two combined work to erase reactions while also opening up emotional expression.

EDIT: As a disclaimer in case I offended anyone again - I'm not suggestng all vipassana practitioners are like this, I'm just suggesting why it might be the case that people focusing on sensations and feelings might still have reactivity.

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/20/15 11:06 PM as a reply to b man.
I feel like I'm crashing the thread because I'm not highly attained, but here I go.

Yes, in my case, practice has dramatically reduced my defensivness.  The thing about *experience* is that it effects you in a deep way, a way that *automatically* changes you, which *automatically* leads to a new experience of life.

If you're practicing equanimous awareness of present moment sensations, practicing well, then you gain equanimity in the face of present moment events.

I used to doubt that a skill learned solo can transfer to random other social settings, but now I do believe that.  I should say that in addition to sitting vipassana practice, I have a highly physical/social vipassana practice, and that may make my experience different than others.

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
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6/21/15 6:17 AM as a reply to b man.
I'd say my practice has made me more patient. I very rarely get angry (and only in a mild way), although I was never prone to anger to begin with. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to accurately describe the degree to which one experiences negative emotions. I do want to just reassure you as much as I can though. Because if anything, the problem is that my perception of reality and behaviour have so greatly changed for the better, that it can be quite lonely and isolating. Nobody I know is interested in doing as much good as they can. Everyone is way more prone to unnecessary suffering from ego-clinging and neuroticism than I am. It's basically like living in a world where all but a very rare few more or less stopped maturing after the age of about 14 (if the average person was in my position).

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/21/15 12:32 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
I would say the culture here emphasizes not enough morality training and so you see an over-emphasis on vipassana at the expense of psychological training, heart meditations, and so on. I think one can utilize psychological 're-ordering' to drasticly increase normal happiness/less negative emotional reaction, but it has a somewhat strict upper bound compared to psychological 're-ordering' + meditation on emotions to dissolve reactivity + seeing through the ego.

Personally, I don't trust reason over emotions all the time because emotions can inform reason and reason can inform emotions. Sometimes anger is an appropriate response and motivator. I see the answer as not easily reducible to, "Get rid of emotions and the world is great." Rather, it's a complex interdependence that requires ever evolving judgement via intellect, intuition, and emotions.

Your post makes me think of Jack Englers quote that in order to be nobody, you need to be somebody first.

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/21/15 3:06 PM as a reply to Matt.
Gordo . .:
What is a highly physical / social vipassana practice?
It's an activity that comes out of improvisational/stage training.  My exposure to Vipassana has me re-vamping the practice in light of what I've learned.

The idea is to observe/experience impermanence, dissatisfaction and no-self in a social context, where present moment events include physical, emotional and cognitive cues from the people around us. 3-10 people stand in a circle, we hit a ball around as you would in beach ball.  The ball is the physical part, simple perceiving/expressing games make up the cognitive and emotional parts.  We operate with a tight (but evolving) set of rules which create right view, right thought, right action, right speech boundaries within which we can improvise our behaviour.

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/22/15 12:15 AM as a reply to B. B.
B. B:
Because if anything, the problem is that my perception of reality and behaviour have so greatly changed for the better, that it can be quite lonely and isolating. Nobody I know is interested in doing as much good as they can. Everyone is way more prone to unnecessary suffering from ego-clinging and neuroticism than I am. It's basically like living in a world where all but a very rare few more or less stopped maturing after the age of about 14 (if the average person was in my position).
Very nice observation near the end there. This reminds me of something Ken Wilber said in his interview in the Sounds True "Waking Up" series: in the case of his model of Integral Awakening -- It's never enough to wake up. One must also grow up (mature emotionally) and clean up (own and work out the dark bits). This would nicely explain why there are so many "awakened masters" who act in deplorable ways and also asshole arahants trolling the Interwebz. This could also be seen as a refactoring/renaming of sila, samadhi, panna.

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/22/15 12:27 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
What TPFKARJ and SS said.

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/22/15 10:02 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
Another version I've heard from Ken Wilber is 

Grow Up, Clean Up, Wake Up, Show Up

RE: Does obtaining paths make you less defensive?
Answer
6/22/15 11:47 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Another version I've heard from Ken Wilber is 

Grow Up, Clean Up, Wake Up, Show Up
Love it. I see this as a virtuous spiral and reminds me of some things I've heard Daniel mention. To paraphrase and hopefully not mis-quote or mis-attribute, "The work continues, and we can explore how deeply we can grow the positive qualities, like love, compassion, etc."