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A problem with insight

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A problem with insight
Answer
10/18/16 4:49 AM
This is perhaps very obvious to some and insulting to others, so I've posted it in the Battleground section.

In another thread this became clear to me and I wanted to write it down. So I've started this thread to avoid polluting the other thread.

There are things that we can experience and things that we can't experience. For example I can experience how previous experiences impact my current experience because I have memories of those earlier experiences. My brain can make these associations that become apparent in my mind. On the other hand there are things like speaking only one language compared to speaking multiple langauges, if I only speak one language then I can't experience what it is like to speak two. Hopefully nothing too controversial so far.

If we see that the self is socially constructed it becomes clear that many aspects of that social construction cannot be experienced. They can only be understood through study, discussion and analysis. 

There are unconscious aspects of my own body that I can't experience, for example "waking up/awakening" does not give me an ability to control my blink reflex. Realizing that we are socially constructed means that the distinction between the dynamics going on in my brain and the dynamics going on between me and things outside of my body is an artificial distinction. Basicaly I am not just my experience but I am also many things that I can never experience.

It seems to me that a non-dual experience can make us completely unaware and uninterested in those things that are outside of present experience. I've been wondering why people who wake up often don't see an urgent need to get an education about these dynamics that are outside of experience. For example it seems to me that waking up should trigger a deep interest in the humanities and sociology.

So I guess my accusation is that meditation can only give insight into a limited part of what the self is. Because the self is not just what we can experience, it is implicated in many dynamics that are not able to be experienced. 

So someone who claims to have woken up and claims nondual experience may be under the influence of an ideology that has caused them to wake up into a dream. There is always a duality between what can be experienced and what cannot be experienced. The nondual experience can hide this depending on the ideology of the subject. 

The spiritual path takes on an importance that is more fitting to its impact in the world. It is an important part of the puzzle that can be confused for the borders of the puzzle.

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/18/16 7:15 AM as a reply to Mark.
how can you experience what cannot be experienced? isn't a lack of experience a kind of experience? so what is the lack of a lack of experience?

a nondual experience is just it. also it's the awerness that the experience and the lack of experience is one and the same thing.
also when you look at something - is that part of you or not you? where is it? where you end and the other begins?

why you tend to not care about social constructs or sociology or similiar notions after awaking  - is becouse you become awere of the division between experience and the description of it. you are aware that if you compress your multidimensional experience into a linear description(eg thoughts or sentences) there are so many missing points or the description gets so overly complex, that either makes no sense. your intelect becomes a map of a real terrain, and a map is not a terrain and there are terrains not on the map at all.

this is why i think that a lot of meditators are drawn into occult/magick after some time. becouse there you speak with symbols and a symbol is like a compressed meaning - a bit closer to reality than words.

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/18/16 9:03 AM as a reply to Abba.
Abba:
how can you experience what cannot be experienced?


You can't. It demands accepting that some important knowledge can't be experienced.


isn't a lack of experience a kind of experience? so what is the lack of a lack of experience?

You are confusing a lack of experience and something you can't experience. Noticing you are not experiencing a hammer hitting your big toe is not the same as experiencing the hammer hitting your big toe.



a nondual experience is just it. also it's the awerness that the experience and the lack of experience is one and the same thing.


Non-dual experience does not distinguish the object and the observer. It does not mean experiencing all things at once.



also when you look at something - is that part of you or not you? where is it? where you end and the other begins?


In a non-dual experience there is no experience of an observer.



why you tend to not care about social constructs or sociology or similiar notions after awaking  - is becouse you become awere of the division between experience and the description of it. you are aware that if you compress your multidimensional experience into a linear description(eg thoughts or sentences) there are so many missing points or the description gets so overly complex, that either makes no sense. your intelect becomes a map of a real terrain, and a map is not a terrain and there are terrains not on the map at all.

this is why i think that a lot of meditators are drawn into occult/magick after some time. becouse there you speak with symbols and a symbol is like a compressed meaning - a bit closer to reality than words.

That is a great excuse for ignoring any information which contradicts the ideology of the subject. Also a great excuse for being unable to criticize that ideology. 

It does not require awakening to realize that language is limited. In a similar way to langauge being limited so is experience limited.

Confusing the self with experience is the issue I'm pointing to. If an ideology connects the self only with experience then it misses a large part of the picture. The self also consists of things that can't be experienced. 

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/18/16 10:01 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
There are unconscious aspects of my own body that I can't experience, for example "waking up/awakening" does not give me an ability to control my blink reflex. 

The speed of awareness is way faster than the speed of attention and can make weird alterations to physical ability, such as increased visual ability in one's peripherals.  The catch is that most people never breach this level in a major way and stabilize it.  If you keep doing vipassana and don't notice the container that holds the objects of attention, its next to impossible.  My source for this is my own experience and the experience of friends, as well as some very amatuer knowledge of how the Mahamudra tradition maps things out.
 the dynamics going on between me and things outside of my body is an artificial distinction.

There is a shift for this: proprioceptive nonduality.  
So someone who claims to have woken up and claims nondual experience may be under the influence of an ideology that has caused them to wake up into a dream.

Dream or real, I'm having fun!  With proper training, anyone can emoticon
For example it seems to me that waking up should trigger a deep interest in the humanities and sociology. 

Every spiritual system worth its salt teaches integration and morality, for this reason.  The project of the DhO is to counterbalance and overfocus on morality, but that can also skew things.  Integration is more important than morality.  Get a path shift, then improve your life, then use those improvements to help you get another path shift, etc.  This feedback loop is fueled by the formation of new, positive habits.  Its a type of synergy that has helped me care more about humanities and sociology.

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/18/16 1:27 PM as a reply to Noah D.
To be taken with pinch of salt, this is the battleground ;)

Noah D:
Mark:
There are unconscious aspects of my own body that I can't experience, for example "waking up/awakening" does not give me an ability to control my blink reflex. 

The speed of awareness is way faster than the speed of attention and can make weird alterations to physical ability, such as increased visual ability in one's peripherals.  The catch is that most people never breach this level in a major way and stabilize it.  If you keep doing vipassana and don't notice the container that holds the objects of attention, its next to impossible.  My source for this is my own experience and the experience of friends, as well as some very amatuer knowledge of how the Mahamudra tradition maps things out.



You seem to be falling into a trap of assuming that everything can be experienced. There are things that can't be experienced. Like you can't see the far side of the moon. If you like, make up your own example of something that can't be expereinced, it is not the specifics of the example that matter but the principle.



 the dynamics going on between me and things outside of my body is an artificial distinction.

There is a shift for this: proprioceptive nonduality.  



That your experience can change, I'm not questioning. But your desire to shoehorn everything into "non dual experience" is a potential problem. 


So someone who claims to have woken up and claims nondual experience may be under the influence of an ideology that has caused them to wake up into a dream.

Dream or real, I'm having fun!  With proper training, anyone can emoticon


OK sure, but lots of people are having fun not waking up. If being addicted to drugs or perception shifts makes you happy, this is understandable emoticon I wonder what lurks behind "proper training" does it mean those providing the training have answers ? Often I think it means that if you listen to the teacher, you don't need to think for yourself.


For example it seems to me that waking up should trigger a deep interest in the humanities and sociology. 

Every spiritual system worth its salt teaches integration and morality, for this reason.  


This is an example of the confusion I'm pointing at. Morality is not at all what I'm describing, that is not to say that morality is unimportant.

For example sociology is not morality.  

When the individual has bought into an idea that their experience is at the "centre of the universe" then they can't see this. The aspects of existence that can't be experienced are largely devalued.



The project of the DhO is to counterbalance and overfocus on morality, but that can also skew things.



I see DhO addressing the mushroom culture around meditation. Outside of the DhO I'm not sure there is a great focus on morality.

The implications of anatman for morality are something I've not seen well explored here or elsewhere. The non-buddhists seem to take this more seriously than most.


 Integration is more important than morality.  Get a path shift, then improve your life, then use those improvements to help you get another path shift, etc.  This feedback loop is fueled by the formation of new, positive habits.  Its a type of synergy that has helped me care more about humanities and sociology.


Notice how entered on the individual that is, how centered it is on things that can be experienced. 

My critique applies to myself, so I feel like I can be harsh. How much energy have you put into studying sociology due to your practise ?

Once we realise that the self is not just about what you experience, then the imbalance in "spiritual practises" is shocking. The separation between the spiritual and the mundane, between the relative and absolute, starts to look like bad ideology.

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/18/16 4:09 PM as a reply to Mark.
Limited in response capability on mobile.  My point is: everything comes down to pragmatics and direct experience.  Information about the world is known through your mind.  Helping others occurs through your mind body.  How happy are you?  How good are you at making others happy? At shaping and participating in systems and structures that facilitate broader welfare and wellness?  It all comes down to people, making decisions and acting, again and again, in this moment.

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/18/16 7:05 PM as a reply to Noah D.
I wanted to add that I appreciate some of the aspects you are emphasizing, like deconstructionism and meta-systememic perspective.  Vince Horn has explored these topics really well on some of the more recent Buddhist Geeks podcasts.  So yes, I'm down with this way of thinking.   However, the universe is still just a string of causes and effects.  Human life is a series of decisions within that string.  Buddhism is the study of how those decisions occur, and how to make more skillful ones.  

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 2:45 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Hi Noah,

Noah D:
Limited in response capability on mobile.  My point is: everything comes down to pragmatics and direct experience.


I'm not sure what you mean by "pragmatics" but I assume you mean acting pragmatically. The phrase seems typically western buddhist. The notion of direct experience does not hold up to serious investigation. Experience can't be separated from ideology. Furthermore what would it mean to have "direct experience" of a photon, is it at the retina where that happens ? After your next perceptual shift does it make all previous experience no longer direct experience ? 


Information about the world is known through your mind.  Helping others occurs through your mind body.  How happy are you?  How good are you at making others happy? At shaping and participating in systems and structures that facilitate broader welfare and wellness?  It all comes down to people, making decisions and acting, again and again, in this moment.
I would guess that most of the information about the world is not known through your mind. You know in a conscious way an infintiely small amount of the information required to function in the world. The idea of "your mind" as separate from other minds is itself a confusion that is reinforced by typical meditation practises. Pretty much everything you experience is conditioned by other minds, for example language only works because it is shared. The separation of your mind from those other minds is artificial, it is your ego/identity that maintains that artifical separation.

Your placing "happiness" as the highest ambition makes me sad emoticon For example the person selling drugs to an addict is making the addict happy when they hand over the drugs. The meditation teacher giving you an "offical path" is making you happy too. I am not writing this to make you happy emoticon

You mention systems and structures, which give me hope this discussion will make progress. But you make a clear distinction between you and those systems and structures. That distinction is artificial and reinforced by some practises. Because you are not having "direct experience" of those things they are devalued. Consider how much time you spend trying to better understand the processes going on in your experience compared to the time understanding those systems. It requires different practises and I would assume your efforts are completely out of balance (as mine were).

Noah D:
I wanted to add that I appreciate some of the aspects you are emphasizing, like deconstructionism and meta-systememic perspective.  Vince Horn has explored these topics really well on some of the more recent Buddhist Geeks podcasts.  So yes, I'm down with this way of thinking.


It is not a way of thinking, it is a way of being. I don't think Vince gets it, he frames it as an ethics/morality question.


  However, the universe is still just a string of causes and effects.  Human life is a series of decisions within that string.  Buddhism is the study of how those decisions occur, and how to make more skillful ones.  
This might be a better angle. We know that the universe is not a string of cause and effect because quantum mechanics introduces indeterminism. The universe is not a big clock like the ancients tended to imagine it.

Human life is much more a consequence of the systems and structures than it is individual decisions. You are where you are largely because of where you were born and the genes you were born with. This is not to deny that decisions are important but you don't make conscious decisions. You become aware of decisions that are made by unconscious processes. Meditation can certainly help by giving more options, for example avoiding some reactionary decisions. In meditation we experience thoughts and we can slow down the emergence of thoughts but, for example, I've not seen how language gets manipulated to construcct a phrase - I'm conscious only of the formed word not how it was formed. 

Buddhism is absolutely not the study of how decisions occur although some Buddhists would certainly claim that. Buddhism ignores completely the modern scientific method (which is normal for an ancient tradition). The meditation practises is Buddhism are great for getting insight into some aspects of what is means to be human. But they simply did not have science as we know it in the modern period. For example sociology is hundreds of years old not thousands. Buddhism is missing huge parts of the puzzle which is not to say it is not valuable. If you buy into Buddhist ideology you also devalue significant knowledge about the human condition that is basically ignored by that ideology.

If, instead of focusing on perceptual shifts and paths, you explore insight into anatman this should become clearer. There are different types of knowledge. Subjective first person knowledge is not to be undervalued but it is only part of the picture. Using reason to derive knowledge and induce knowledge is just as important. Once you see that anatman means you are not just the mind and body but also the social proceseses and systems that you had alienated, this is a big shift. That would make me happy ;)

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 4:23 AM as a reply to Mark.
You are confusing a lack of experience and something you can't experience. Noticing you are not experiencing a hammer hitting your big toe is not the same as experiencing the hammer hitting your big toe.
First you need to know how it is when a hammer is not hitting your toe, to then experience a hit. If that wasn't the case it would be like a frame of time when a hammer hit your toe was frozen for all eternity. What I'm trying to say is that you need both on and off experience to actualy register a signal, when something is constatnly "on" you have no way of noticing it.

Non-dual experience does not distinguish the object and the observer. It does not mean experiencing all things at once.

and 

In a non-dual experience there is no experience of an observer.

Of course it does. This is a common misconception. It is connected to the point above, that you need an on and off state. So there is no "you" where there is no "other" And the whole point is to notice, that they can not be separeted - this is a knowledge of nonduality. There is no good without evil, light without darkness etc But this is a realy hard thing to talk about, becouse we have a badly designed language. Consider this - every noun you use is in fact a verb. There are no nouns in the universe ;) As we use a noun now is like slacing a tiny part of a long process and calling it somehow. Or from another angle: how can a static noun initiate a process - verb. So we have two processes - an object and an observer - and the "observation" is just a relation of those two processes together.

Confusing the self with experience is the issue I'm pointing to. If an ideology connects the self only with experience then it misses a large part of the picture. The self also consists of things that can't be experienced. 
But you can be not aware of an experienc you are having, what then? How do you know that you are not experiencing the whole universe right now? Becouse I think you are linking awerness with experience.
In case I'm wrong then I guess you are a fan of a soul mechanics - that there is something more than experience. But I didn't make up my maind about this subject emoticon

Anyway I do like the conversation, so thank you emoticon


EDIT: just read your response to Noah and I think we could get along eventualy. We are just not alaigned along the same language lines I guess. Me not beeing a native speaker doesn't help either, but I do like the "feel" of your post
also reading it thoroward the end I had this brought up and this is one of the best ;) 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7CH9cRN8Rg&index=1

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 4:18 AM as a reply to Abba.
Abba:
You are confusing a lack of experience and something you can't experience. Noticing you are not experiencing a hammer hitting your big toe is not the same as experiencing the hammer hitting your big toe.
First you need to know how it is when a hammer is not hitting your toe, to then experience a hit. If that wasn't the case it would be like a frame of time when a hammer hit your toe was frozen for all eternity. What I'm trying to say is that you need both on and off experience to actualy register a signal, when something is constatnly "on" you have no way of noticing it.




Experience is always relative, we seem to agree on that. But it is not what this thread was intended to be about.



Non-dual experience does not distinguish the object and the observer. It does not mean experiencing all things at once.

and 

In a non-dual experience there is no experience of an observer.

Of course it does. This is a common misconception. It is connected to the point above, that you need an on and off state. So there is no "you" where there is no "other" And the whole point is to notice, that they can not be separeted - this is a knowledge of nonduality. There is no good without evil, light without darkness etc But this is a realy hard thing to talk about, becouse we have a badly designed language. Consider this - every noun you use is in fact a verb. There are no nouns in the universe ;) As we use a noun now is like slacing a tiny part of a long process and calling it somehow. Or from another angle: how can a static noun initiate a process - verb. So we have two processes - an object and an observer - and the "observation" is just a relation of those two processes together.



I'm not sure whether you are talking from experience or what you've understood from others. But it you have experienced everything at once it would be interesting to hear more about it. If you've had a non-dual experience while experiencing an observer then you are misunderstanding non-dual.

Even in a non-dual experience there are many things that you are not experiencing. It is just another experience.



Confusing the self with experience is the issue I'm pointing to. If an ideology connects the self only with experience then it misses a large part of the picture. The self also consists of things that can't be experienced. 
But you can be not aware of an experienc you are having, what then?
How do you know that you are not experiencing the whole universe right now? Becouse I think you are linking awerness with experience.



Yes. I'm limiting my experience to things I can be aware of.

To imagine that you are experiencing "the whole universe" is nonsense. Firstly you can't define what that means. That we are all very limited is something that many don't want to accept, it is understandable, like being unable to accept there is no life after death. An ideology that makes claims that can't be experienced or reasoned about is technically called bullshit ;)


In case I'm wrong then I guess you are a fan of a soul mechanics - that there is something more than experience. But I didn't make up my maind about this subject emoticon


I'm not sure what soul mechanics means. But I'm not a fan of the idea of a soul. I'd describe my position as closer to "radical immanence". It is drawn form experience and understanding of anatman which convinces me notions like soul are erroneous.


Anyway I do like the conversation, so thank you emoticon



Great, it is fun to be posting the "battleground" section ;)

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 5:01 AM as a reply to Mark.
I'm not sure whether you are talking from experience or what you've understood from others. But it you have experienced everything at once it would be interesting to hear more about it. If you've had a non-dual experience while experiencing an observer then you are misunderstanding non-dual.
Well the moment itself didn't have observer, becouse my glimps was from doing a "void medidation" whatever it is called here. And at a particular moment an awerness araised that if this is this whole "nothing" there must be also "everything" and for a moment there was ;) it just didn't eradicate the notion of self in the long run.

Yes. I'm limiting my experience to things I can be aware of. 

I do have a problem with this point. Like, is seeing something you do, or are you concious of it? Like setting those mussles in the eyes so the image is sharp etc? Digestion? Growing hair? Sure you can focus and be awer os some of this stuff, but usualyy this all goes unnoticed and still shapes your reality. Like a muscle tension you are not aware of, but this affects your mood - so you are experiancing it, but not conciusly.
Atmospheric preasure? Less sunshine in the winter? Electro-magnetic fields? Are you "aware" of those?

I'm not sure what soul mechanics means. But I'm not a fan of the idea of a soul. I'd describe my position as closer to "radical immanence". It is drawn form experience and understanding of anatman which convinces me notions like soul are erroneous.
Well immanence is basicaly a soul in my dictionary ;) it's a natural characteristic of a given thing? and the wiki goes all spiritual on this term.
Or maybe you mean a kind of animism, which has it's raise in western awerness recently?

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 5:28 AM as a reply to Abba.
Abba:
I'm not sure whether you are talking from experience or what you've understood from others. But it you have experienced everything at once it would be interesting to hear more about it. If you've had a non-dual experience while experiencing an observer then you are misunderstanding non-dual.
Well the moment itself didn't have observer, becouse my glimps was from doing a "void medidation" whatever it is called here. And at a particular moment an awerness araised that if this is this whole "nothing" there must be also "everything" and for a moment there was ;) it just didn't eradicate the notion of self in the long run.



That is a cool experience.We know experiences are not a sure indicator of truth. Consider optical illusions, it is possible to have an experience that induces an error in judgement. I would put what you experienced into that category. For example feeling connected to "everything" is a similar experience but it does not hold up to reason. We know that the human senses are very limited, we can't experience many things that we can deduce. Furthermore we have no idea of what "everything" would include - it is a very abstract notion. Different ideologies are likely to give different experiences, the concept of "nothing" and "everything" have been pre-conditioned by the ideologies shaping those concepts for you. Someone else might have described your experience as seeing their "original face" etc.




Yes. I'm limiting my experience to things I can be aware of. 

I do have a problem with this point. Like, is seeing something you do, or are you concious of it? Like setting those mussles in the eyes so the image is sharp etc? Digestion? Growing hair? Sure you can focus and be awer os some of this stuff, but usualyy this all goes unnoticed and still shapes your reality. Like a muscle tension you are not aware of, but this affects your mood - so you are experiancing it, but not conciusly.
Atmospheric preasure? Less sunshine in the winter? Electro-magnetic fields? Are you "aware" of those?


We can only experience a very narrow range of the electromagnetic spectrum (sunshine being part of it). I see what you mean regarding "experience" is anything that impacts you, so for example you experience the individual bacteria living in your gut. But this is a different definition of experience. You can assume I am referring to "conscious experience" basically the things that meditation can train you to notice in exquisite clarity.




I'm not sure what soul mechanics means. But I'm not a fan of the idea of a soul. I'd describe my position as closer to "radical immanence". It is drawn form experience and understanding of anatman which convinces me notions like soul are erroneous.
Well immanence is basicaly a soul in my dictionary ;) it's a natural characteristic of a given thing? and the wiki goes all spiritual on this term.
Or maybe you mean a kind of animism, which has it's raise in western awerness recently?

Basically you have transcendance and immanence and ideologies need to come down on one side or the other.

The soul is a transcendent concept, something you "add" that transcends what you can experience, it supposes there is some aspect of reality that is "behind" or  "above" what we are able to experience i.e. reality transcends what we experience.

Immanence is close to a materialist conception, this can still be interpreted into religion/spirituality through notions like god being in everything, some interpretations of Buddhism can go in this direction with the idea of anatman and co-dependent arising i.e. there is no god. But the concept of "radical immanence" is not a religous take on immanence.

Radical immanence is associated with Non-Philosophy - different section of wikipedia ;)

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 6:58 AM as a reply to Mark.
We know experiences are not a sure indicator of truth
So we came to THE subject.
Im'm not gonna jump into the matter as it's enough philosophy for me today.


This non-philosophy... kind of convoluted.
But what it really is is just that the guy put all philosophies currently avaible into one bag and put a negation mark in front of it emoticon
I predict that some other student of his will go "oh so if i put a different "primal reason" i will create a whole new bag of philosophies" So we'll end up with a lot of different philosophical bags and then again there will be another guy who'll gatther them up in one maga bag and put a negation in front of it, ad infinitum... emoticon

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 7:50 AM as a reply to Abba.
Abba:
We know experiences are not a sure indicator of truth
So we came to THE subject.
Im'm not gonna jump into the matter as it's enough philosophy for me today.


This non-philosophy... kind of convoluted.
But what it really is is just that the guy put all philosophies currently avaible into one bag and put a negation mark in front of it emoticon
I predict that some other student of his will go "oh so if i put a different "primal reason" i will create a whole new bag of philosophies" So we'll end up with a lot of different philosophical bags and then again there will be another guy who'll gatther them up in one maga bag and put a negation in front of it, ad infinitum... emoticon

Non-philosophy is hard to grasp. You have misunderstood it but that is normal to begin with. It is a radical perspective shift. If you can explain it after studying it for a few hours then you can be sure you have not understood it emoticon I've been interested in it for a while and I would not be able to explain it well i.e. I still don't have a solid grasp of it. Part of non-philosophy is trying to avoid exactly the issue that you point out. 

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 12:51 PM as a reply to Mark.
Hi Mark, 

I liked the points you made in your response to me, particularly the last one about the benefits of a shift into broader perspective on anatman.

I have read a decent amount of Glen Walliss's blog, and listened to the Imperfect Buddha podcasts on him.  I have enjoyed Cook Grueters 9 stages of ego development, which focus on the axis of meta systemic maturity.  Lately, I have been listening to the Crash Course World History YouTube, which provides many trippy insights into how we got here.

That being said, I do not think my development into greater levels of various types of freedom has been at all "predetermined."  It's involved the application of attentional techniques for most of my waking hours for over 3 years.  I agree that this freedom could include the dropping of concepts and assumptions surrounding how I got here though.

RE: A problem with insight
Answer
10/19/16 1:50 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Hi Mark, 

I liked the points you made in your response to me, particularly the last one about the benefits of a shift into broader perspective on anatman.

I have read a decent amount of Glen Walliss's blog, and listened to the Imperfect Buddha podcasts on him.


Yeah those 3 podcasts are long but excellent.



 I have enjoyed Cook Grueters 9 stages of ego development,



I'm not familiar with it but at first glance it reminds me of parts of Integral Theory (Vince Horn was right into that at some point)


which focus on the axis of meta systemic maturity.  Lately, I have been listening to the Crash Course World History YouTube, which provides many trippy insights into how we got here.



Sounds like a great idea. I've been following a MOOC on Sociology for a few weeks https://www.coursera.org/learn/classical-sociological-theory which has been great. 

Keeping this in perspective, it is like someone who has studied the humanities for 3 years doing a 10 minute a day, 10 day, home study, mindfulness meditation course aimed at stress reduction. 

But we have to start somewhere.



That being said, I do not think my development into greater levels of various types of freedom has been at all "predetermined."


I agree, that is not what I was implying. I think I made a case against that, introducing indeterminism.


 It's involved the application of attentional techniques for most of my waking hours for over 3 years.  I agree that this freedom could include the dropping of concepts and assumptions surrounding how I got here though.

I'm not implying it is easy. But it might have been even harder not to do that emoticon

If we take anatman seriously there are some not so easy questions to answer. Perhaps a key point is understanding that your experience is always subject to an ideology. Ideologies persist when they are good at convincing subjects to buy into them. Ideologies that have lasted a long time are obviously very good at doing this. Non-buddhism is an antidote to being put to sleep by a Buddhist ideology but it does not provide a ready set of answers, it demands intellectual effort. Meditating is much easier and more agreeable!

On a completely different subject, I heard a scientist explaining that we now know the "conscious now" is delayed by about 0.5 seconds from events we sense. This is quite an amazingly big delay, I've not heard meditators mentioning this. Another interesting point is that the delay from nerves in your finger to your brain and nerves from your nose to your brain are significantly different, just due to the length of the nerves. If you touch your nose and sense the sensation on your finger and nose at the same time you know your conscious experience is fabricating the experience. Again something I've not heard discussed. It is amazing just how good the mind is at creating illusion.