Message Boards Message Boards

Toggle
Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/14/16 9:37 PM
Hello, I am practicing according to noticing of 3 characteristics as described in MCTB, but need some help putting it in context.

In MCTB it is described that when one focuses on a sensation, there is a physical sensation and a series of mental impression of that sensation that follows.  When I do this exercise with a finger touching a table, say, I perceive many sensations flashing about, such as that of a physical touching sensation, an image of a finger, or a locational sense of a finger in relation to other parts of my hand.

My impression then, is that the illusion of solidity is coming from the mental component (e.g. shape and location of a finger) of that sensation, so I try to isolate out the pure physical sensation.  As the result, what I perceive can now described as pure "intensity" without features of shapes or location.

However, at this point I am a bit confused as to whether I have made any progress.  Isn't it possible that I may simply have replaced one conceptual experience (shapes or location) with another conceptual experience( an "intensity")?.  So, the pure sensation seems to yet have receded from my grasp.

I could, then further try to defocus my attention from the concept of "intensity" in an attempt to try to experience the sensation in a even more featureless and pure way.  But it seems that it is like catching a dog tail, sometimes,  Could it be that the point of this exercise is to realize that there is never such a thing called pure physical sensation aside from our trying to experience that sensation in a certain way (be it shapes, location, intensity, even impermanence, not-self, emptiness etc)?

In any case, I would appreciate any help regarding my exercise above.  Should I proceed further along the lines above, trying to increase my perceptual threshold higher and higher?  or is there misunderstanding on my part regarding the nature of sensation?  Any comments would be appreciated.

Yuki

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/14/16 10:04 PM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
Hi Saka-san,
... When I do this exercise with a finger touching a table, say, I perceive many sensations flashing about, such as that of a physical touching sensation, an image of a finger, or a locational sense of a finger in relation to other parts of my hand.

My experience is that it requires a certain level of concentration in addition to mindfulness to see the sensations flashing sort themselved out into the sequence of mental impressions described in MCTB, especially when getting started. I've found that a meditation practice starting with some concentration exercise up to access concentration, then switching to vipassana works well for this investigation. Are you doing any meditation before investigating the sensation?

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/14/16 10:15 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:

Thanks for your reply.  Well, yes I sometimes do breath meditation before vipassana.  The effect is the similar though if not even more pronounced, I begin with various senseations such as images and physical sensations, then eventually the sense field becomes saturated with unspecific cloud-like mass of intensity.  In that state, I may try again to regain focus on a specific sensation but still that specificity is soon to be replaced by this intensity.

Yuki

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/14/16 11:19 PM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
@OP:  what worked for me was go stubbornly keep noting through everything, no matter what.  This analysis you're experiencing is probably because you're in the 2nd nana.  It will go away on its own.  You don't have to "figure it out."

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/14/16 11:57 PM as a reply to Noah.
Noah:

Thanks for your suggestion.  Yes, my tendency is to try to over-analyze.  I'll try to keep noting and see what happens.

Yuki

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/15/16 1:55 AM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
Hi Yuki Saka,
excellent. 

just noticing the fact that there is a sensation and that the mental picture of a finger which arises with that impression is not the same thing and that it reinforces the construct of "my finger touching" is a really excellent insight.

that is mind and body.

seeing that is dissembling the basic illusion which supports the sense of self.  all of these impressions are like additive, transparent layers which alone, when seen clearly, could not hold up as inherently real and permanent but when taken as a sum conspire to fool us into believing in an objective reality.

noticing that each one of those elements (mental image, sense of touch) are fleeting will give you insight into impermanance, and perhaps the other two of the three charachteristics common to ALL impressions which make up your world.

some of this stuff can be unsettling but that feeling too passes.  with some more work you will soon see your ability to notice this stuff getting faster and faster and more fascinating.  this will build your sense of curiosity and pleasure which will encourage you and lead you on.

if you follow the pleasure it will be more jhanic, if curiosity more of a vipassana direction.

exciting.

cheers

tom

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/15/16 2:22 AM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
Yuki Saka:

Isn't it possible that I may simply have replaced one conceptual experience (shapes or location) with another conceptual experience( an "intensity")?.  So, the pure sensation seems to yet have receded from my grasp.

I could, then further try to defocus my attention from the concept of "intensity" in an attempt to try to experience the sensation in a even more featureless and pure way.  But it seems that it is like catching a dog tail, sometimes,  Could it be that the point of this exercise is to realize that there is never such a thing called pure physical sensation aside from our trying to experience that sensation in a certain way (be it shapes, location, intensity, even impermanence, not-self, emptiness etc)?

I will try to give an explanation of what is going on using Culadasa's point of view as expressed in The Mind Illuminated.

You are experiencing different possible modes of perception of the same sensation. You could tentatively say that they correspond to different parts/functions of the brain in elaborating a signal coming from the senses, or a different "layer" of the mind.

So what you have observed is that the same sensation (finger touching something) can surface in consciousness as...

(1) "Ordinarily elaborated", that is having what looks like well-defined, stable, continuous qualities of location,  shape, intensity, and so on. emoticon

(2) the sensation can be "ordinarily elaborated" like above, but you start to observe its flickering in and out of "conscious experience", so that the shape, location and intensity are unchanged, but its time aspect of stability starts to flicker. emoticon

(3) Some of the "ordinary aspects" of the sensation can be "peeled off" from consciousness, leaving you with a "raw" experience of the sensation, in which some qualities (shape and location) are in principle available to your consciousness but are, as a matter of fact, not projected onto it, leaving you access to a more "raw" form of experience. emoticon

What you experiencing directly is that there isn't just one way to experience a sensation, but rather many different ways. This is teaching you directly, on an instictual level, that the "solidity of the finger" is just one way of experiencing this sensation --- not at all an objective one. As a matter of fact, things are much more complicated and fuzzy. Experiencing this will automatically start to shake your unconscious / subconscious relationship to your perceptions, irrespectively of whether you understand rationally what is going on, and of whether this explanation makes perfect sense emoticon

So, to put it otherwise, I think you are doing a good job and should keep it up emoticon

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/15/16 9:00 AM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
Just do your best to be with the sensation the moment it occurs, to "catch" it.
Its a good idea to note so the mind gets used to be in the present (and its easier to buid momentum).

Just try to be fully in the present and fully with the sensation as it happens. Try to capture exactly in the moment that happens.
To make it easier, try to be still with your body and mind while doing it.

Don't be dissapointed if nothing happens, keep trying. Don't try to make something happen. Don't make rationalizations.

Just be with the sensation. The most important point is not what you are doing but what you are not.
No past, no future, no other thing (just the sensation as it happens), no rationalizations, no effort, etc.
If it's seems like you're doing a lot of "effort" to do it, slow down and let the sensation reveal itself.

Sorry to be repetitive.

Hope it helps.

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/16/16 2:29 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
Hi tom moylan,

Thanks for your encouragement.  At this point, it feels like a disorienting and painful deconstruction process, but hopefuly some joy and interest would come as I go forward.  I am considering of doing more samatha practice to smooth the ride.

Yuki

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/16/16 6:49 AM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
hi,
you're welcome.

did you look at Neko's post?  What do you think about that?

cheers

tom

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/28/16 7:35 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:

I apologize for a late reply.
Thank you for your elaboration. 

It has become relatively easy for me to percieve "tactile" sensations in various modes that you speak of (ordinarly perception such as "solid images", "spatial locations", to more raw perception such as "intensity", "flickering" etc.).

My next objective is to bring this understanding into other sense-spheres like seeing, hearing and thinking.

For touch, the starting point was to distinguish what is physical from what is mental and it was relatively easy because I could divide the sensation into internal vision or location of a finger from the intensity of a tactile sense.

For hearing, this seems more difficult, due to the sound being more fleeting, but I could subtly sense that the mind is projecting concepts or images onto the sound which I hear...like If I hear a "cough" then there is the sound but also there arises an image of a person or an uneasy kinesthetic feeling.

For seeing, it's more difficult to distinguish the physical (colors and shapes) from the mental, but often it seems that for a specific visual object, the mental component arises as an internal thought that is heard or some kind of kinesthetic feeling associated with the object.

For thinking, I cannot separate it into physical and mental for thinking is mostly a mental process.  However, I could consider a thought and separate the thought into purely sensory aspect of that thought and the "meaning" of that thought.  What does the "meaning" of a thought consists of, I am not yet sure but this could also be nothing but some other sensations such as internal kinesthetic sense.

So, generally, it appears that for a particular sense-sphere, the "ordinary" aspect or mental aspect of that sensation seems to come from a projection onto that sense-sphere that is actually coming from a distinct internal sense that is complementary to that particular sense-sphere.  For instance, for touching, the mental projection seems to come from internal vision or internal prioception, for hearing, the mental projection seems to come from internal vision or internal kinesthetic sensation and for seeing the mental projection seems to come from internal sound or internal kinesthetic sensation.  I wonder if this a general phenomena?

In any case, I'll see what else I can find about sensations.

Yuki

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/28/16 7:39 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Ernest:

Sorry for a late reply.

Thank you for your encouragement.

Like in my other post, I tend to rationalize quite a bit...a habit of mine that is quite hard to shake-off and tends to prevent me from getting really deep into the sensation.

I'll see what I can do to increase my concentration.

Yuki

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/29/16 9:07 AM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
Four more tips:

- When noting, if something disrupts it or you lost track of what you were doing (and it will happen), note it (note "lost in...something") and get back to noting.
- In concentration, when you loose it, the same, note "distraction" and get back.

In both cases, its important the feeling of continuity, of not "starting from zero".

- If doubts, expectations, frustation, comparisons, etc bother you (and they will) try to note them. The same with rationalizations ;)

There is a quote in MCTB:

Should you find that the numerous instructions and avenues of inquiry I present are too confusing, remember this paragraph and stick to these simple but profound practices. “When in doubt, note it out!”

The importance of noting fast is that by noting fast (shooting invaders in MCTemoticon you move the temporal window to the present. Eventually the noting becomes "blip, blip, blip" and then flickering.

Hope it helps.

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
6/29/16 6:53 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Ernest:

Thanks for the tips. 

Working on the continuity of noting sounds like the exact thing I need to do at the moment to increase concentration.

Yuki

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
7/10/16 5:15 PM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
3c, as no-self impermanece, suffering (not sure..)

When you think about coffee then sensation of wanting to drink coffee rises, you mentally notice it and reflect on not doing it or not allowed to do it becuase of discipline, then you will see yearning at the right and the black or emptiness from the left or a hole(eventually one day).

later onepointed concentration on that will be achieved. The how different sensations or things are connected is seen.

when you cook rice, its ready you start eating then the sensation that its hard(still raw) its mental, you can't let go of it as long the rice is hard. Its not yours to decide if the rice is hard, it is decided for you.

RE: Please help with 3Cs
Answer
8/24/16 10:07 AM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
I've found that a meditation practice starting with some concentration exercise up to access concentration, then switching to vipassana works well for this investigation.
How are you defining your access concentration? Many teacher define it differently.

One is that access concentration is when the learning sign has just become shiny and bright just before the arrival of jhana.

Others have define it as a chunck of time when there are no thoughts.