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Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/1/16 11:49 AM
I have had an experience and was hoping to get the communities take on what it was. 

To start off, I used to be an irreligious person.  I was/am an Agnostic Atheist.  

However I had an experience that I cannot explain. The best way of putting it would be a deeper version of the "Overview Effect" : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_effect

I work as a Software Engineer, and since I can remember, have had a deep attraction to gaining Knowledge, Science and a search for meaning of existence.  I read a lot of books on biology, information theory, quantum physics, time, philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, etc.  All secular science books.

The experience is kind of hard to explain;  Blissful Fear, I think about sums it up.  It was like a cascade of "connect the dots" moments, which ended in a momentary loss of self(an expanded awareness, and no thought), and then a confusion/fear of what "that" was... followed by a sense of a weight being lifted off my shoulders that I did not realize was there before. 

After which I had an understanding of a few things that I did not see before, but had knowledge of that was not “connected”. 

1: That what we call the "self" is a compounded entity, a concept. Which I now see as Memory, Future projections based on memory, various emotions, genetic tendencies, and cultural programing.  Words, labels, and concepts are all "empty" we give them meaning.  I also lost the “fear” of death. 

2: Entropy or change is constant. Nothing ever stands still, and nothing is ever constant, except entropy. 

3: Things are connected to each other.  For instance, a magnet has a positive and a negative poll,  if you break it in half, you will still have both polls, because one poll cannot exist without the other.   Love implies Hate,  Black implies White. Etc... One causes the other, and neither can exist without the other causes that preceded it.

And all of this is from a scientific perspective. I had a very superficial understanding of Buddhism before this all happened, I did not really meditate, though my job requires a lot of focus.

After this experience happened,  I had a week or so of a kind of euphoria, where things did not seem to bother me. Then that faded, but has not gone away completely, though it did change into contentment/Sublime Joy.  Race, Sex, Countries, etc, stopped mattering to me (not that they mattered to me to begin with, but it was more that I did not see a point of labeling people as their color, or sex,  etc... all life on this planet came from the same single cell, and we all “want” the same thing, to be loved, accepted, etc, and try to avoid suffering) 

Since then, by trying to figure out what it all means I eventually found Alan Watts, and then through him Buddhism, and have started Meditating. (It has been about a year, though I have started to meditate seriously for about 2 months or so).  

The more I meditate(using the 6R’s, Metta/Breath), the more I feel this sense of disinterest. The only thing that does pull me, is studying Buddhism, and reading the Pali Canon. (I have been reading "In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon by Bhikkhu Bodhi)  The reason it pulls me is because what the Buddha spoke of is exactly how I now see things, more or less, but from the points of view of Science and Philosophy.  Specifically, Impermanence, Unsatisfactoriness(Suffering), and “Not-Self”. 

I have taken the Refuge and the Five Precepts at a Theravada Buddhist Monastery in San Diego California (Metta Forest), and the interesting thing is I now notice and cannot knowingly lie, there is a sense of “oh thats a lie” and I stop (note these are white lies, that really should not matter, I do not lie when it comes to “big” stuff anyway.). The other interesting part is interest in anything "worldly" has started to fade. More and more I am seeing it all as empty, and trivial. Mostly because of the impermanence of things, and ultimately “things” will not lead to happiness, and if they do, in the long run it will only turn into pain (due to loss, change, etc).

Recently, (last week actually), I got into what I think was the 4th Jhana (my body felt distant, I could not feel most of it, there was vibration/hum of energy that I could both feel all around my body, and could also “hear”), though I lost mindfulness right after because I was not expecting it, and the excitement of “what is this” completely sidetracked my concentration.

So yeah… I am going to continue my practice and progress to cessation (8th or 15th Jhana, depending on the who you ask), but I seem to have gotten a weird turn of events, where the “goal” happened first, without actually meditating, or really knowing much about Buddhism. 

Thoughts?

RE: Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/1/16 12:05 PM as a reply to Benjamin Babeshkin.
That seemed like an awakening out of the me-trance. But it seems reading that text that now it's back again claiming that "glimpse" or an awakening for itself. It usually happens like this. There is kind of a dissolving of the veil and afterwards the apparent me comes back, trying to get back to that state (in which it wasn't even present).

Ultimately even awakening or final liberation is still a story in time. Amazing story though.

RE: Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/1/16 12:17 PM as a reply to Robert.
Robert:
That seemed like an awakening out of the me-trance. But it seems reading that text that now it's back again claiming that "glimpse" or an awakening for itself. It usually happens like this. There is kind of a dissolving of the veil and afterwards the apparent me comes back, trying to get back to that state (in which it wasn't even present).

Ultimately even awakening or final liberation is still a story in time. Amazing story though.


*nod*, Since I did not go thought he usual training of removing the hinderances, they were all still there, etc, during meditation.  But I have sense started learining about releasing emotion/habitual dentdincies, being mindful in everyday life, so the "self" concpet is slowly being chipped away at.   I still realize that it is an illusion, but it is on an intilectual level, but doubt of what I need to do is non-existant, I know exatly what has to be done. (Staying Mindful, Releasing hindernaces, etc).

And I never had the idea of  "Rites and Rituals" being able to lead me to anything, so that was not a "fetter" I had to begin with. (Though I did lose my clinging to social "rites and rituals" like my political slant, or clinging to extreme dualistic ideas in generel.) 

RE: Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/1/16 12:22 PM as a reply to Benjamin Babeshkin.
Benjamin Babeshkin:
.


*nod*, Since I did not go thought he usual training of removing the hinderances, they were all still there, etc, during meditation.  But I have sense started learining about releasing emotion/habitual dentdincies, being mindful in everyday life, so the "self" concpet is slowly being chipped away at.   I still realize that it is an illusion, but it is on an intilectual level, but doubt of what I need to do is non-existant, I know exatly what has to be done. (Staying Mindful, Releasing hindernaces, etc).

And I never had the idea of  "Rites and Rituals" being able to lead me to anything, so that was not a "fetter" I had to begin with. (Though I did lose my clinging to social "rites and rituals" like my political slant, or clinging to extreme dualistic ideas in generel.) 


^All that has to do with "I". But reality beyond thinking, which apparently was revealed, has nothing to do with that "I" which has all those ideas.

RE: Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/1/16 12:28 PM as a reply to Robert.
Robert:
Benjamin Babeshkin:
.


*nod*, Since I did not go thought he usual training of removing the hinderances, they were all still there, etc, during meditation.  But I have sense started learining about releasing emotion/habitual dentdincies, being mindful in everyday life, so the "self" concpet is slowly being chipped away at.   I still realize that it is an illusion, but it is on an intilectual level, but doubt of what I need to do is non-existant, I know exatly what has to be done. (Staying Mindful, Releasing hindernaces, etc).

And I never had the idea of  "Rites and Rituals" being able to lead me to anything, so that was not a "fetter" I had to begin with. (Though I did lose my clinging to social "rites and rituals" like my political slant, or clinging to extreme dualistic ideas in generel.) 


^All that has to do with "I". But reality beyond thinking, which apparently was revealed, has nothing to do with that "I" which has all those ideas.

When does it disappear for "good"?  From reading the Suttas, it seems Arahant is when it is tottaly desolved?

Supposidly even Anagamis have a (weakened) sense of self. For instance Ananda was a Sotapanna a bit after Buddha's death (at 80).

RE: Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/1/16 12:51 PM as a reply to Benjamin Babeshkin.
Benjamin Babeshkin:

When does it disappear for "good"?  From reading the Suttas, it seems Arahant is when it is tottaly desolved?

Supposidly even Anagamis have a (weakened) sense of self. For instance Ananda was a Sotapanna a bit after Buddha's death (at 80).

There will most probably be a gradual disinterest in ideas like the ones that say that the "I should disappear". That idea is coming from the dividing mindstate. There's nothing anyone can do about it, because the someone that could do something about it is nothing more than an idea. But there will be a disinterest with the mind activity most probably. Can't say how long it'll take. Usually it takes years from what I've heard.

The mind will seek though and trying to stop the seeking will be just another form of seeking. But it's happening by itself. The mind can be soothed with listening to talks that have to do with these things. Can relax the mind a bit, the reassurance that things are going the way as they are supposed to.

edit

Oh and that which the mind chases, that (non-)experience in which it wasn't present as a separate experiencer is still here right now. And it doesn't have to be spotted out or found. It's all there is, including the apparent seeking.

RE: Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/2/16 7:57 AM as a reply to Benjamin Babeshkin.
Benjamin Babeshkin:
...The best way of putting it would be a deeper version of the "Overview Effect" : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_effect

...

Thoughts?


Benjamin, I agree that probably the best way to look at the experience is through a rather secular lense and as something similar to the Overview Effect. It's possible to obtain deep levels of awareness/wisdom through normal contemplation and reflection. It might not be classic enlightenment, but it will put you way outside of the worldviews of 99% of humans on earth and it will have a lot of overlap with the insights that come from meditation practices.

I think you would like this material/information from Cook-Greuter. She studies adult development and I think you will probably find a lot of her descriptions of the later stages of development will resonate with your experience. 

http://www.cook-greuter.com/Cook-Greuter%209%20levels%20paper%20new%201.1'14%2097p[1].pdf

Hope this helps!

RE: Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/3/16 12:46 PM as a reply to Benjamin Babeshkin.
Have you discussed this with Than Geoff or anyone at Metta Forrest Monestary? I'm sure their feedback would be instructive.

RE: Moment of Clarity?
Answer
3/3/16 11:14 PM as a reply to Eric B.
Yeah, curious what they might say!  Then again, I would not be surprised if they just told you to keep meditating, ;-P