Big Spontaneous Awakening

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Paul Philip Goddard, modified 6 Years ago at 12/22/15 7:45 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/21/15 4:52 PM

Big Spontaneous Awakening

Posts: 8 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
Hello all!!!   
    Just finished MCTB, wow! This is my first post on DO. I'm 39 now and had a spontaneous awakening in 1997 and I'm still grokking on it hardcore. Believe it or not I've never had it checked out before. Have had tons of recurrences since then but since this is the one that started it all I thought I'd bring this. I wasn't trying for anything and it just happened. I had practiced Kenpo Karate for roughly 7 years intensely and had a black belt preceding all this but never had the goal of awakening. Thus a spontaneous, unsolicited occurrence. 
   This is what happened. I had just married my ex wife and was on my honeymoon at my fathers in Vancouver BC. The night we arrived as we got into bed around 11:50 pm (clock right there), when my head hit the pillow it happened. My mouth dropped wide open, I started tearing and took a deep, quick in-breath. Naturally looking straight up at the ceiling, popcorn style texturing on it, my body relaxed beyond what I'd ever known possible and my eyesight became something like 10% more acute than I'd seen before. That popcorn texturing was immaculate. All subjective content absolutely ceased in that instant. I would say not just conscious content but all subconscious, weight, baggage, buzzing, tension, flow whatever. Everything I was ever familiar with, or unfamiliar with, gone. No ontological categories, narratives, judgements, facts, feelings, anxiety, expectation, estimation, no sense of emptiness or fullness, perfection or dissatisfaction, answers or questions. Yet all senses were sublimely alert, seeking nothing. The mental division between body and world didn't exist so the senses saw all of what would be inside and outside simultaneously.    
     This situation remained for several minutes (estimated since the clock was 1 foot away from my face as all this happened, I looked at it sometime around midnight or so). I would say that this was just sitting in the actuality of realness that was already always there. The first inner movements happened then. Consciousness, True Self, whatever.... watched brain energy trickling's build up from the black depths, spread out to various locations in the brain and witness in high resolution all the simultaneous happenings culminate in the vocalization of the words "It is." All without a doer. Speaking occurred without the speaker. Just the difference between the beyondness before the words, and the speaking of the words left impressions that "It is" was both the purist expression of life I had ever experienced by light years, and still eons more impure than the beyondness of just before.
    After this happened the mind, maybe supermind is more descriptive, asked immediately "what is this?!" and whirled through a few options in a blur presenting Kung fu the series scene of the "grasshopper" experiencing oneness at the end. Lol, I know. It was the closest thing I had seen with any stank about it all. At that point the "supermind" kicked into gear and there was such maximal clarity and incredible focus as seemingly higher order, but simple questions and answers arose simultaneously, all on its own. One example of this was something like if these colors combine in this exact way what is the exact outcome, the answer felt like math in precision. No inner talk here, just semantic motions. It was like the basic workings of cognitive functioning were being displayed. All orchestrated with flawless dexterity.
    To not go on forever I will compress the rest. The total experience lasted until 5 am or so. I would say the first 2 or 3 hours lived in the super smooth and silky textures of pure cognition. Seemingly surveying this newly accessed reality. No gross emotion, awe, yes, energy, yes, a stable and effortlessly coherent rapture of crystal clarity. Maybe a half hour into it all I started talking in a quasi automatic way, plainly describing what I was directly experiencing to my new, confused and sobbing wife next to me. In all this there was no sense of self, either at all, or just in mere cognitive reference until the end. It was like teleporting into deep space where all there was left to do was to be, and then descending back down through the thinnest of cogitative atmospheres increasing in energy and fullness of functions coming online until I hit the lower atmosphere.
    Here normal emotions came online (about 3 hours in). They cycled through one by one, sadness, joy, anger, confusion, fear, curiosity. They had been totally put down like never before, and it felt like the first time I had even experienced them - again - as an adult. Once this finished the internalized world of global human activity was connected with, and automatic simulations began. Seeming to test, probe and learn about what the fundamental shifts from all this would entail. The end results were that, regardless, no one save six people would understand this, including my new wife, I would lose her because of this... (the six people seems arbitrary to me and kind of laughable now, lol, I didn't take it too seriously) Once I realized I would lose her and connected with our love and how seemingly important it was to me (the psychodynamics here are complicated) I felt fear for my... ultimately self worth to be honest, and said out loud, NO! I rejected the whole thing. Like going into a train tunnel, in time with my words, the luminosity, the fullness and immediacy of what was going on diminished by roughly 90%. The light at the end of the tunnel, the 10%, never left.
    Now I was back to normal self consciousness. My immediate reflections were that this is what people were talking about when they talk about the supernatural and God. And then, wow, when they talk about God it's a pale, flaccid imagination barely worthy of this reality by comparison. Everything was different now. Before, life was like floating through a nebula of vague, squishy substance. Now I had found rock solidarity in existence. Something of immutable substance. The foundation of this has not changed one bit since, although through my integrations into real life I found, as many people have, that psychology is quite another thing. What I do gain is the fullness of it back as time goes on.
     Thanks a lot for reading. After reading MCTB I presumed the beginning of this to be a fruition moment, but reading in detail the "was it emptiness" section I'm not so sure and think it possible could just be an A&P event. The dropping out of sensation, which seems similar to descriptions of a nirvikalpa samadhi, has never made sense to me, it hasn't seemed necessary or obligatory. I don't feel like I've missed anything, but of course how do I account for the unknowns I don't know ;). It always seemed part of Hinduisms rejection of the body dogma to me, which seems a part of the denial of death and an escape. Just being honest. Here's my run down on that section.
  • Was there the sense of an experience, even of nothing or the incomprehensable - No. In that moment there wasn't a sense of something or nothing, there wasn't a sense of comprehensibility or incomprehensibility (I used beyondness just as a placeholder). No sense of time, not even the sense of eternity. Yet the 5 senses were vividly aware. I often say now that if your experiencing oneness, that's not it. There's no experience of oneness, or twoness or any ness. These imply relative comparison, the mind is still working somewhere.
  • A this observing that, or any self of any sort that was present - Probably No. How broad is the definition of observing? Does this mean you must black out briefly, essentially. Any self, definitely no. The 5 senses were doing. There was no one doing them.
  • If there was not a complete sense of discontinuity....time, space, perspective & memory. - No, no, no, yes. - 5 senses were aware, I have memory. I've read it said that those unfamiliar with maps can miss the gap??
  • Continued repitition of the unknowing event fails 1 - 3 - Have had more events, I never black out.
  • Continued events fail to give understanding of the 3 doors - I feel I understand a lot of this but maybe not all. Ever since, dharma texts or expressions resonate in my bones instantly with finality. Kind of in a holy crap I really get this so I better shut up kind of way if you know what I mean. For whatever reason many people cannot handle solid knowing and you have to hide.
  • Was there a double dip - Again no black out.
  • Can it be repeated - What I experienced, yes.
  • Is there a predictable pattern to stages and shifts - I would need to have more experience applying theravada maps. I have lots of predictable cycles as I deepen.  They seem more organic and messy than these maps, but I haven't written everything out to confirm a concisely predictable structure.
Thanks for any help anyone can give!
     
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago at 12/22/15 3:55 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/22/15 3:55 AM

RE: Big Spontaneous Awakening

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
howdy PPG,
i like in the film "When Harry Met Sally" after she fakes an orgasm at a lunch restaurant, a woman at the next table says to the waitress, "I'll have what she's having".

Sounds trippy exotic and life changing as A&Ps can be.  That would be my guess but who knows.  In the classic progress of insight the perceptual changes are usually written into the firmware after stream entry ( fruition the first time) but its not the same for everyone.  Who know how much of the permanent changes were due to psychology or whatever.

Do you practice or just let it all come? Have you noticed the pull toward practice over the years or anything that would resemble the "cycling" which is described in MCTB after a new path is reached?  Have you had any strong desire to give up on your normal life and move to an ashram at any point?

anyway..a fun read.

cheers

tom
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Paul Philip Goddard, modified 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 8:35 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/22/15 11:24 AM

RE: Big Spontaneous Awakening

Posts: 8 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
Hey Tom,
    Thanks for the reply. That movie reference made me LOL. I could summarize the 18 years since this happened as:

1997-2001 - 4 years of a complete rebooting of how I interact with, feel about and understand life. I had something solid to experience from in relativity so I asked all my questions and got all my answers that emerged naturally from my own spontaneous knowing. All to my satisfaction, but still not omniscient at all of course.

2001 - 2006 - This lead to the next 6 years of turning outward and wondering what other people think about this. Its here that I even realized that what I experienced was probably enlightenment related. It was that far off the map for me, the reality of it that is. I found ways to not work and just contemplate 24/7 from 2002 to 2008, I had to. (going too college, live with dear ole Mom, travel etc...) Joined, or toured through, a New Age meditation group for 2 years early on but didn't feel right about being a teacher within it. They didn't understand any of this but just had a valence about it that was merely relevant and obviously focused of psychic stuff. It was the only authentic vibe I knew to find in Reno, NV. Read broadly on Buddhism, Hinduism and anything esoteric. The internet was just booming with stuff. In 2005 I felt I was not becoming what I thought I wanted and radically set out on a 1 year tour through China, India & Europe (3 days in Thailand). Taught english in China. Spent 3 months at Bodhi Zendo in South India practicing Zen. This helped immensely, the only place I felt right in, but the 'no words are ever good enough method' (which I get the reason why) of Zen is a little rough on integration in modern western society IMO, and me. This has always been important in my consciousness, that words and living normally aren't ultimately anathema to living in abiding awakening. I wasn't able to connect with the Zen Master there, maybe I just wasn't ready.  No ashram but Bodhi Zendo called to me though.
     I experienced at least the 2nd Samatha Jhana there imo easily. Radically effortless, no monkey mind, narrowed focus on whatever I looked at for about an hour or so. No insight with it, just super focus, wasn't trying to attain it. On its own doesn't seem important. Haven't trained traditionally with samatha jhana really but I imagine I've ran into more than I know along the way naturally, especially with martial arts. That time in the Zendo freakishly stood out. My concentration is generally epic if I can say that, but I never force it either, which I'm betting maybe has downsides. Sometimes I'll get hangry 6 hours later or more and I'm wondering whats up lol. I've stayed in meditative concentration for up to 3 days without moving much for the most part, but only when it comes naturally. I know this is peanuts to some monks in caves n stuff.

2007 - 2015 (now) - Now I felt my individual path was complete enough and a natural turning toward interaction, socialization began. Also I began to doubt mythological, or more subtly, near mythological explanations (read emotional model etc... in MCTemoticon to anything, and essentially became a naturalist with Jungian interpretations and sympathies regarding psychic phenomenon (Rites and rituals were always a no starter to me with secular upbringing, after awakening it is just, shocking). Also here, I found on my own, to radically include all negativity, emotions or otherwise and just bring the luminous mind to it. Also to include radical positive stuff that people normally are more terrified of than negative stuff if it's self referenced i.e. Golden and Dark shadows. After college in 2008 I felt strong enough, and wonderfully crazy enough to go back into the work world. To apply it all and build real world integration. Gave it my best to good affect until this last July when I found another limit and absolute need to retreat and practice. I've been in Asia since October now, Japan, Nepal, India (New Delhi as I write this). Off work since July. Ahhhhhh.

     Admittedly, I have been deathly afraid of the "Enlightenment" label, socially speaking, from the beginning and am really playing catch up to the scaling of the difference between reality and culture. Generally the process does me, I feel like a force of nature doing what it does and I know I passed the point of no return in 2007. I don't feel like I'm "Enlightened" though, awakened yes. Realization is not liberation right. I'm seriously working through debunking the BS of enlightened stature for one. Who wants to step into that. I question the psychology of all who have, but not necessarily their awakening. Daniel's "models" critiquing section is so, so, so, so welcomed I want to hug him and promote him, but if I could be immodest just to inform of the direction of my efforts there were only some parts I hadn't figured out yet. Which is the hardest, ugliest work ever to stand against millenia old traditions and collective inertia, at least for me. This is why I have stayed away from all Dharma teachers till now. Imho, MCTB is the first clearly BS free book that is truly based only on direct knowing which then modulates the good of existing frameworks to not reinvent the wheel, AND is modern. Ex. the Three Pillars of Zen is good but contains overt references to reincarnation and such by Yasutani Roshi. I've mainly YouTubed, read books and such since 2007.
     I bring this up as a preamble to my practice efforts. Currently I have long moments of suchness in the flow of living and moving happening daily or weekly without help, and equals the original taste by at least 80-90%. I can always bring it now easily with meditative concentration with a few seconds if I care to try, which I rarely do. It's all starting to normalize, meaning I don't gawk at it too much although it can be like the most beautiful sunset I've seen everytime even if I'm looking at garbage.
     I don't practice in any culturally sanctioned, or overt ways, unless I'm in a meditation center (I don't sit down, schedule a time length and do concentration practice). I am merely always looking into anything that comes up until it looks like that garbage i.e. I have insight into its fundamental existence (which is always the same), then relative insights emerge with paradigm shifts and there is a natural restedness about it all and moving on happens. Then I psychologize the hell out of it, literally. emoticon Which to me is the process of mapping/conceptualizing the relative insights into a social framework which I sometimes have to create.
     When this cycle completes that issue or facet of reality is complete and never comes back. I also know it won't immediately upon cycle completion and this pans out over time. Overall this seems to be leading to more common and fuller moments of suchness. If I lack concentration, or courage I look into the source of that and do the same or move onto other areas that click more naturally. It seems a blend of concentration & insight practice without any should's driving it, then fairly smooth transitions into psychoanalysis when needed and back. No framework guides this process that I know of. I think I'm guilty of hoping my psychotheraputic practice will help bring about abiding suchness as Daniel has mentioned. Definitely looking into that. As I've only ever been a general mystic with Buddhism as my fav, a video by Sam Harris and also the MCTB has clued me into the direct experince of the self knot as physical sensation. I had only engaged it mental/emotionally before, both of these layers seem resolved. This happened a few weeks ago, and I'm bringing insight practice to it currently, if thats what I'm doing. emoticon

     There are so many markers in all this, to me, to suggest fruition versus A & P only (EDIT - I read the A & P chapter again see next response). Honestly I feel like I bumbled my ass into fruition then filled in all the steps including dark night purifications after (which started in 2007, resolving for the most part currently), working in reverse. My main meditation process in the martial arts was Kata, or dance of death practice which is moving concentration practice imagining your adversary is attacking you while you essentially meditate. I would practice 2 hours, 2-3 times a week for 7 years. I don't practice anymore. Breath work in emphasized. This training has as implicit in it that you don't lose consciousness here anymore than you wouldn't go to sleep in the middle of a fight. Unless you have narcolepsy, and that would suck.

     The reboot analogy is awesome and that makes sense, you shut down the computer completely, and as it boots back up it changes the registery, the most fundamental part of it. Is it really impossible to have a computer do this while leaving the desktop up and shining but nothing else going on in the insides. If it were designed this way, as a martial arts background might suggest. Actually now that I've said that, I think I've identified the automatic conditioning that would cause me to resist deep shutdown of even superficial sensation?! I'll play with that and see what happens. Could all this natural dedication really not be fruition lol. If so thats fine. I just know to make more progress I need to be sure, and talk to people for real who know. Not just youtube anymore!!!
     If you read all this stuff, my goodness, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I tried to streamline it. Cheers!!!!
C P M, modified 6 Years ago at 12/22/15 12:17 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/22/15 12:15 PM

RE: Big Spontaneous Awakening

Posts: 218 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
Paul Philip Goddard:
My main meditation process in the martial arts was Kata, or dance of death practice which is moving concentration practice imagining your adversary is attacking you while you essentially meditate. I would practice 2 hours, 2-3 times a week for 7 years. I don't practice anymore. Breath work in emphasized. This training has as implicit in it that you don't lose consciousness here anymore than you wouldn't go to sleep in the middle of a fight. Unless you have narcolepsy, and that would suck.

I've also spent many hours doing Kata, with the same emphasis.  The head of the organization added as instruction: "At the beginning of the Kata, relax, visualize yourself on the battlefield, and then accept your own death.  Having accepted your own death, you are now fully free to engage in battle at your maximum potential."  I think Kata is a transformative practice.
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Paul Philip Goddard, modified 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 11:53 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 11:53 AM

RE: Big Spontaneous Awakening

Posts: 8 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
     So I read the A & P chapter again. My concerns are about that first few moments. I can see the rest of the event as A & P but the first few minutes were not jiving with me as A & P. It makes me feel better to see this in MCTB "Reality is perceived directly with great clarity, and great bliss, rapture..." etc... I groove on the Reality is perceived directly part (although there was no ideas, feelings, body sensations of a perceiver), the rest of that did happen but not until after the first minutes. In the first part there was none of that, bliss, rapture etc...
     Also, "they will have an increased ability to understand the dharma teaching due to their direct and non-conceptual experience of the three characteristics". This makes me feel better about my event being A & P too, if it is.
    Another thing, (after A & P) "they are "on the ride" and may... feel... that the dharma is doing them..." that makes me feel better too.The Arising & Passing itself too though, seems to be an artifact of the way Theravada trains, doesn't it? I definitely have not developed those experiences where I follow individual sensations to where they disappear. Thus the whole point of the name A & P. Never heard of this in Zen, but I haven't had a dedicated Zen master relationship either. I trust it exists if you train this way, seems the artifact of sensate concentration and these markers are used as signals for specific stages in the path everywhere in MCTB. Yet I had my event happen anyway, without this. This makes it hard to determine where I'm at. I suppose if it was A & P I'm likely up to the desire for deliverance phase at this point, I guess, but I think really this just means I need to meet a competent teacher or person who can relate directly. Peace out!
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Paul Philip Goddard, modified 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 11:57 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 11:57 AM

RE: Big Spontaneous Awakening

Posts: 8 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
C P M:
Paul Philip Goddard:
My main meditation process in the martial arts was Kata, or dance of death practice which is moving concentration practice imagining your adversary is attacking you while you essentially meditate. I would practice 2 hours, 2-3 times a week for 7 years. I don't practice anymore. Breath work in emphasized. This training has as implicit in it that you don't lose consciousness here anymore than you wouldn't go to sleep in the middle of a fight. Unless you have narcolepsy, and that would suck.

I've also spent many hours doing Kata, with the same emphasis.  The head of the organization added as instruction: "At the beginning of the Kata, relax, visualize yourself on the battlefield, and then accept your own death.  Having accepted your own death, you are now fully free to engage in battle at your maximum potential."  I think Kata is a transformative practice.

Right on man. I can see how accepting your own death would help a lot, lol.
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 7:44 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/23/15 7:44 PM

RE: Big Spontaneous Awakening (Answer)

Posts: 1478 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Paul Philip Goddard:
     So I read the A & P chapter again. My concerns are about that first few moments. I can see the rest of the event as A & P but the first few minutes were not jiving with me as A & P. It makes me feel better to see this in MCTB "Reality is perceived directly with great clarity, and great bliss, rapture..." etc... I groove on the Reality is perceived directly part (although there was no ideas, feelings, body sensations of a perceiver), the rest of that did happen but not until after the first minutes. In the first part there was none of that, bliss, rapture etc...
     Also, "they will have an increased ability to understand the dharma teaching due to their direct and non-conceptual experience of the three characteristics". This makes me feel better about my event being A & P too, if it is.
    Another thing, (after A & P) "they are "on the ride" and may... feel... that the dharma is doing them..." that makes me feel better too.The Arising & Passing itself too though, seems to be an artifact of the way Theravada trains, doesn't it? I definitely have not developed those experiences where I follow individual sensations to where they disappear. Thus the whole point of the name A & P. Never heard of this in Zen, but I haven't had a dedicated Zen master relationship either. I trust it exists if you train this way, seems the artifact of sensate concentration and these markers are used as signals for specific stages in the path everywhere in MCTB. Yet I had my event happen anyway, without this. This makes it hard to determine where I'm at. I suppose if it was A & P I'm likely up to the desire for deliverance phase at this point, I guess, but I think really this just means I need to meet a competent teacher or person who can relate directly. Peace out!
The A&P can be considered a half path....definately a minor attainment as it is a permenent shift for most.

What you describe is what I would call a preview. They often happen in A&P but go beyond what usually occurs and you get a temporary look at things what are beyond your current level of operation. They are transformative and having seen deeper into reality you tend to be able to understand things that would before baffle you. There are a lot of wonderful and deep temporary shifts that can happen and there are the very occational permanent shifts too. 

Good Luck,
~D
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Paul Philip Goddard, modified 6 Years ago at 12/24/15 7:24 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/24/15 7:24 AM

RE: Big Spontaneous Awakening

Posts: 8 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
Thanks Dream Walker, cool avatar too. A preview makes sense. Know of any references where I could look that up? I was going to edit those statements to where I said I haven't experienced a disappearing. I realized the first moment of the big experience was a gran daddy of watching all go and come back. Also I've had an experience of remaining conscious from dreaming to waking up in the normal sense and the inbetween there was nothing.
    I remember speaking to a Theravada practicioner years ago and he mentioned something like meditation causing visual blackouts like it was garunteed to happen. Off that vibe in my next meditation at that center my visual field went nearly black from basic concentration practice, but I never pursued it. Thanks for the feedback. emoticon