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What did you gain?

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What did you gain? Zen Den Den 3/11/17 8:50 AM
RE: What did you gain? Brooklyn 3/11/17 10:40 AM
RE: What did you gain? Chris Marti 3/11/17 12:35 PM
RE: What did you gain? bernd the broter 3/12/17 8:04 PM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/14/17 8:23 PM
RE: What did you gain? shargrol 3/15/17 8:34 AM
RE: What did you gain? Ernest Michael Olmos 3/15/17 8:52 AM
RE: What did you gain? Zen Den Den 3/15/17 4:14 PM
RE: What did you gain? D. 3/15/17 5:25 PM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/15/17 5:30 PM
RE: What did you gain? Ernest Michael Olmos 3/16/17 10:08 AM
RE: What did you gain? Zen Den Den 3/17/17 3:00 AM
RE: What did you gain? Ernest Michael Olmos 3/17/17 9:56 AM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/17/17 3:33 PM
RE: What did you gain? Scott Kinney 3/15/17 12:45 PM
RE: What did you gain? Bruno Loff 3/16/17 10:26 AM
RE: What did you gain? : ladyfrog : 3/17/17 4:34 PM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/17/17 9:39 PM
RE: What did you gain? D. 3/18/17 6:20 AM
RE: What did you gain? synelg 3/18/17 1:37 PM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/18/17 1:45 PM
RE: What did you gain? Laurel Carrington 3/18/17 11:13 PM
RE: What did you gain? Laurel Carrington 3/18/17 11:17 PM
RE: What did you gain? Ernest Michael Olmos 3/20/17 8:38 AM
RE: What did you gain? Doctor Avocado 3/20/17 11:22 AM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/20/17 11:51 AM
RE: What did you gain? Marty G 3/20/17 3:25 PM
RE: What did you gain? Marty G 3/20/17 3:36 PM
RE: What did you gain? Zen Den Den 3/21/17 1:16 AM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/21/17 3:20 AM
RE: What did you gain? Marty G 3/21/17 4:16 AM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/21/17 2:58 PM
RE: What did you gain? Jinxed P 3/21/17 10:51 PM
RE: What did you gain? Jinxed P 3/21/17 11:19 PM
RE: What did you gain? Ernest Michael Olmos 3/22/17 10:27 AM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/22/17 1:03 PM
RE: What did you gain? Jinxed P 3/22/17 3:14 PM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/22/17 7:22 PM
RE: What did you gain? Jinxed P 3/22/17 10:15 PM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/22/17 11:05 PM
RE: What did you gain? Jinxed P 3/23/17 9:13 AM
RE: What did you gain? Zen Den Den 3/23/17 10:57 AM
RE: What did you gain? Jinxed P 3/23/17 11:41 AM
RE: What did you gain? Zen Den Den 3/23/17 1:16 PM
RE: What did you gain? Jinxed P 3/23/17 4:31 PM
RE: What did you gain? Ernest Michael Olmos 3/23/17 1:45 PM
RE: What did you gain? synelg 3/22/17 2:29 PM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/18/17 1:38 PM
RE: What did you gain? D. 3/18/17 2:02 PM
RE: What did you gain? J C 3/18/17 2:24 PM
RE: What did you gain? synelg 3/19/17 1:45 PM
What did you gain?
Answer
3/11/17 8:50 AM
I hope I don't offend anybody with this question - but since this is a very pragmatic dharma forum I dare to ask. emoticon

I have not much experience with the paths and attainments but I constantly hear people talking about they have now reached this and that stage etc... Thus my question: What have you really gained from spending weeks on retreats and on your cushion at home. What makes you continue? Do you see solid results or is it the hope/believe in mental freedom that empowers you to sit and meditate?

The reason I ask is that mental growth is very hard to quantify. If you go and workout you can see your body change - you get immediate response from what you are doing. Do you see the same for your meditation progress and mental growth? And if so, what is it like?

Looking forward to reading abour your experiences. emoticon

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/11/17 10:40 AM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Hello!

I am far from advanced levels but even at my level, this is the major and wonderful change - the vicissitudes of life do not bother me as much (in Goenka's words that seemed to embed in my mind).

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/11/17 12:35 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
I now know how my mind works and I know what I am. These two things are intimately related but can be expressed as individual insights, too. I'm expressing this at a very high level, about 50,000 feet, so there are derivative insights at more granular levels of detail. The paths are pretty much the mental version of physical exercise - the example of progress you gave, Zen Den Den. To a careful, dedicated and observant practitioner of meditation incremental progress is quite measurable. If you read around much on these boards you'll get a good feel for that.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/12/17 8:04 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
There are 2 levels of benefits.
The first level is very obvious:
Meditate an hour now, and for the rest of the day, you will be more centered, more able to relax, less reactive.
If you practice an hour of brahmaviharas now, then it will be easier to evoke during the rest of the day.

The second level is less obvious and takes months and years.
I guess that it's easier to fool oneself with this one, but take lots of notes and you will see the changes.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/14/17 8:23 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Zen Den Den:
I hope I don't offend anybody with this question - but since this is a very pragmatic dharma forum I dare to ask. emoticon

I have not much experience with the paths and attainments but I constantly hear people talking about they have now reached this and that stage etc... Thus my question: What have you really gained from spending weeks on retreats and on your cushion at home. What makes you continue? Do you see solid results or is it the hope/believe in mental freedom that empowers you to sit and meditate?

The reason I ask is that mental growth is very hard to quantify. If you go and workout you can see your body change - you get immediate response from what you are doing. Do you see the same for your meditation progress and mental growth? And if so, what is it like?

Looking forward to reading abour your experiences. emoticon

"I have gained absolutely nothing from total and complete enlightenment."

That's one of my favorite quotes, and it's an easy quote to misunderstand, as I think Daniel or someone has pointed out. Enlightenment is a loss, not a gain. After 4th path something was gone for me that was there before. A splinter in my side was removed. No more sensation of free will. No more comparing myself to other people.

A more straightforward answer, though: more emotional stability, less reactivity, and a better mood. I've tried pretty much everything to treat depression: getting 4th path, meds, exercise, therapy... by far the best cure I've found is to sit for 30 minutes.

But I feel like if you're looking for results, you're better off looking elsewhere. If you want results, seek a more targeted intervention that will bring you those results. Coherence Therapy, for instance, is a proven way of making change. Go to a therapist. Try psych meds if you need them. Exercise. Spend time with friends. Learn a language. Do dual n-backing to improve your working memory.

I didn't go through the paths for the results - I went through them because, well, I had to. Something in me needed to seek that out. Think of a splinter embedded in your skin, gradually working its way out, and you'll have the right idea.

Daniel wrote in MCTB that you should assume that enlightenment will bring no changes. I think that's right on. The biggest surprise to me after 4th path was that everything was exactly the same.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/15/17 8:34 AM as a reply to J C.
Nice answers so far in this thread!


I'll just add that it's a really nice thing to know that what I am is not "the tiny little overwhelmed person in my head that is trying to figure out the world so that it can interact with it". There is a lot of freedom and joy and initmacy in being able to let go of that identification and simply live.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/15/17 8:52 AM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
OK. What have I gained?

There is some "clenching", "contracting", "distorting", "comparing", "analysis" thing that I used to do all the time.
As I have done it all my life, I was used to it and I considered a part of everything.

In both path moments (I'm 2nd path), a lot of that effort that was done every second of my life was suddenly gone.
So your baseline is a lot, really, a lot more relaxed.

It's not that I don't "contract", "distort", "compare", etc anymore. It just isn't done by default. I choose when and how to do it.

While many don't see it as a gain (after all I didn't gain anything, I stopped doing something I was doing), I can't see the results as anything other that a huge gain.

There are no words to explain a path moment. The words "huge", "incredible", "without comparison" should give you a clue.

Another clue? Most people that get paths tend to be very, very grateful to the world and to the course of their lifes that lead them there.
I wrote a post called "The path to the path" to somehow express that gratitude.

I get it. Path explanations tend to look watered down. "I didn't get anything", "I stopped doing something", "Its all the same".
So, you think, it's not a great deal, it's the same as going to the gym.

But they are really in another level and the fact that we can't describe them concisely, shouldn't downgrade them.

So:

- Gain: yes (huge).
- Solid results: yes.
- Inmeditate response: concentration: yes, morality: no (takes time), insight: some (cycling).
- Body change: yes
- Mental growth: yes
- What makes me continue: Past experience (specially path moments).

Comparing meditation to the gym is not fair at all. Meditation is far, far better emoticon.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/15/17 12:45 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Zen Den Den:

 If you go and workout you can see your body change - you get immediate response from what you are doing. 

This is a useful analogy from a number of perspectives. Like physical training; some results are immediate, some are attained over consistent practice. Also like physical training, your ability to operate in daily life improves incrementally as your training continues.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/15/17 4:14 PM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Thanks so much for your great and diverse answers emoticon So, you all say it was worth doing what you did to attain what you have attained. I have a couple question that came up when reading your answers:
  1. How does your "training" look like and how long are you practicing? (I know that many of you would like to point me to MTCB but I just want to hear from you how your training looks like - coming back to the anology of the gym: it is better to talk to Arnold and hear from him directly than to read his book ;-) )
  2. I am pretty aware that I am not the voice in my head nor a second instance within this body. So this hole non-dualistic idea seems rather obvious to me - am I missing there something?
  3. @Ernest Michael Olmos: You mentioned that your body has also changed from meditation - how is that? What did change?
  4. Do I understand correct that the biggest "gain" is the absence of major categorization whenever you perceive an object? You just are with the object as it is, instead of creating a mental picture from it?
I am really looking forward to hearing what you can tell me emoticon

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/15/17 5:25 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
The idea of non-duality is easy to comprehend, but to actually know it and internalize it requires practise, rather than mere intellectual understanding.It's akin to procrastination really . Concepts are useful but ,as the famous Zen proverb goes: it's like a finger pointing at the moon, and you look at the finger!

I would say the best advice is to not compare yourself to others and have faith in the process as you sit on that cushion day after day after day. Someone else's experiences won't help you sit since your sole objective is to put it all down and attend to your chosen practise object and repeat it.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/15/17 5:30 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Zen Den Den:
Thanks so much for your great and diverse answers emoticon So, you all say it was worth doing what you did to attain what you have attained. I have a couple question that came up when reading your answers:
  1. How does your "training" look like and how long are you practicing? (I know that many of you would like to point me to MTCB but I just want to hear from you how your training looks like - coming back to the anology of the gym: it is better to talk to Arnold and hear from him directly than to read his book ;-) )
  2. I am pretty aware that I am not the voice in my head nor a second instance within this body. So this hole non-dualistic idea seems rather obvious to me - am I missing there something?
  3. @Ernest Michael Olmos: You mentioned that your body has also changed from meditation - how is that? What did change?
  4. Do I understand correct that the biggest "gain" is the absence of major categorization whenever you perceive an object? You just are with the object as it is, instead of creating a mental picture from it?
I am really looking forward to hearing what you can tell me emoticon

Ok, I'll see what I can do:

1. I usually sit 30-60 minutes at a time. Sometimes every day or two, but usually a couple times a week, and there have been many periods where I go weeks or months without sitting. Most of my progress was made during the two 10-day retreats I went on. As far as what I'd actually do, it was mostly rapid noting at the beginning and more concentration based after 2nd path, just basically hanging out in 4th jhana and up and doing force fruitions.

2. yes, the idea is obvious, but that's a theoretical understanding, not an experiential one. I always knew it, but now I feel it and directly experience it.

3. not to me - but the biggest change in my body is that it feels more free, and it feels like it's doing stuff on its own, without anyone or anything controlling it.

4. No, I still categorize and create mental pictures when looking at objects. The change has nothing to do with objects or thoughts, it's just that I've broken the continuity of the false self. I'm no longer experiencing a continual feeling of "this is me, I'm here, I'm doing things, I'm taking actions, I'm in control" - if I try to bring it up, it doesn't stay.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/16/17 10:08 AM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
1. My training is pretty basic. When on the couch, I try to relax, concentrate on the breath, play with awareness, investigate sensations, thoughts, etc.

When I feel I'm out of "focus", again I concentrate on the breath, and focus on jhana factors. Mostly sustained effort, one-pointedness, joy.
Sometimes I narrow the focus to the tip of the nose. Sometime I focus on the raising and falling of the abdomen.

Once I achieved some concentration, I look for the 3 characteristics. I really try to stay in the present, to try to "catch" things as they are happening. To break the "continuous" sometimes I do a repetitive mental note like "present", "present", "present".

Once the mind "speeds up", I focus on the observer, or the suffering.

My advice, just go and try to do things, put effort and play.
Don't compare so much, only Arnold is Arnold and your experience with meditation will be different from mine and everybody else.

2. It's not at the rational level. It's the way what you see, feel, think, your sense of space are processed.
My guess is that all the sensations are "post-processed" on two directives (I have control of them or not), the famous fight or flight, control or surrender.

Don't think too much about who you are. Think about what you control and what you don't control. About causes and consequenses. On who does the things you do, and why do you do them. Try to catch the sensations in the body that trigger actions.

When in doubt, remember MCTB: "there are no special sensations that are in unique control of other sensations", "sensations are not fundamentally split off from other sensations ocurring at the moment".

For this I recommend noting, fast noting.

3. Meditation brings relaxation. Over time, that relaxation has a positive impact on the body.

Other things that have impacted the body have been more indirect.
For example, meditation brings more awareness of the body, so you tend to talke care of it better.
Also, with meditation you are better able to cope with pain and doubts, very useful things when training the body.

4. Categorization is done in order to know if fight or flight.
The fight or flight (control or surrender) is rooted in a person (the one who fights of flights, or the one that controls or surrenders). That is my guess.

Things do look different, very different after path.
The best I can say is that if you stare at something after a path, you know that something that was keeping you attached to it is gone, some mental filter to your senses that required effort is gone. And it's not subtle, it's really very noticeable.

I don't know if "worth it" is enough, "life changing worth it" is more accurate. Eventually words have limits, for the real thing, you'll have to find for yourself emoticon.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/16/17 10:26 AM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Directly attributed to the meditation itself:
  1. I started meditation because of a depression. A stream-entry I have never been depressed again.
  2. That said, I still have ups and downs, like everyone I know. However several years after stream-entry I can say that the downs never go very low, nor the highs ever go very high. I am much more balanced.
  3. My vision, hearing, and sense of touch have changed dramatically and are now much clearer and more vivid than ever before. I can reach psychedelic levels of vividness in a normal walk in the park.
  4. My mental functioning is much more silent than when I started this. The changes that led to this silence are very before-and-after, and always happened during meditation.
I attribute the following to experience I gained by having a meditation practice.
  1. I am less prone to believing bullshit, just because it feels pleasurable to do so. This happened in part because of trying to keep sane while in weird mental states brought about by the practice.
  2. I can handle anxiety much better than I ever could. It also rarely occurs.
Lost:
  1. Time & patience. This shit takes much longer than I'd like, quite honestly. I wish there was a fucking button.
  2. Interest in various things that gave me pleasure. Especially things involving ideas, narratives, self-grandeur, and so on (see 1 in the previous list). Also the pleasure that I got from those things was never really replaced with something else.
... 

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/17/17 3:00 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
Great! Thank you all for your nice input emoticon

@Ernest Michael Olmos
Once I achieved some concentration, I look for the 3 characteristics.
I can see how one could observe Anicca: Feelings arise and pass, thoughts come and go etc.
I also understand how to observe dukkha: Thoughts that make you feel uncomfortable, pain etc.
But how do you observe Anatta? Is it acctually possible to observe something that is thought to be empty?

I really like your playful approach - I think I wouldn't be capable of forcing my self to do a dogmatic practice. I have once been to a Zen temple in my town and was overwhelmed with all these rituals. Didn't resonate very well with me emoticon

What do yout think of retreats? From J C's answer they seem to have made the biggest impact on his progression.


Can somebody please quickly explain to me what exactly is ment with 2nd or 4th path? I am not familiar with this terminology. A link to an explanation would also be sufficient emoticon

Thank you all!

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/17/17 9:56 AM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
For anatta, I just observe the observer, then observe the observer of the observer, etc, until it becomes such a mess, effort and paradox that the illusion of control goes away.

Also sometimes I contract my awareness in my body (in the chest or behind the eyes) to a single point where I have full control and then expand it to everywhere, feeling the lack of control, the surrender.

In the peak of this actions, there is a contrast.
First between the single point and the awareness of everything outside of it.
In the expansion, the everyhwere, the contrast is with the sensations in the body.

Another useful thing is to feel the process (or sensation) that groups sensations or combines them. Not to stop it, just be aware of it.

When you are aware of focus on something, exactly in that moment, there is a shift to somewhere else, when you focus on that somewhere else, there is another shift, etc. Chase it until it can't hide. Chase the chaser. Moment to moment.

Did you read the slacker guide to stream entry?

https://web.archive.org/web/20110705081413/http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/ReformedSlackersGuide?p_r_p_185834411_title=ReformedSlackersGuide

At least for me, retreats are very, very useful. I did one last year (where I got 2nd) and planning to do another this year.

About 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, they are path numbers.

Progression would be:

AP (Arising and Passing away) (1st)
1st Path fruition
Review (1st path cycling and fruitions).
AP (2nd)
2nd Path fruition.
Review (cycling and fruitions).

After 2nd path or 3rd its a mess because:

- There are cycles and mental shifts related to previous paths (that confuse people).
- Many people can get fruitions on demand.
- Daniel said somewhere that development is a fractal.

Very good reading on that topic:

A framework of awakening by dreamwalker
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5800908

All I can offer is what I know (and think), but I don't know that much emoticon.
There are people a lot more experienced than me in this forum.

Hope it helps.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/17/17 3:33 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Zen Den Den:

I can see how one could observe Anicca: Feelings arise and pass, thoughts come and go etc.


There's more to it than that. Not only do feelings and thoughts come and go over a few seconds or minutes, but each feeling, thought, perception, and sensation is itself constantly in motion. If you look closely at it you'll see nothing lasts even for a few seconds. It's not continuous.


I also understand how to observe dukkha: Thoughts that make you feel uncomfortable, pain etc.


There's more to it than that. Dukkha is separate from the uncomfortable thought and feeling. There is dukkha in everything - even comfortable or pleasant sensations. Any time you want something to last, want to keep it around, want it to go away, want to control it, feel the need to fix or change or improve it - that's dukkha.

Dukkha is more an overlay on top of thoughts or feelings than a thought or feeling itself. It's a restlessness. A sense of dissatisfaction.


But how do you observe Anatta? Is it acctually possible to observe something that is thought to be empty?


Anatta literally means no-self (an-atta - the word atta is related to Atman). What you're doing is noticing that there is no self to be found.

Anything you observe isn't you - it's the observed, not the observer.

This is at the heart of the witnessing or "who am I?" approach - disembedding from everything until you realize none of it is you.

It's tied in with the delusion of free will. The idea that there's a you. A separate, permanent thing there. Something that can control things or make them some way other than what they are (see how this fits in with dukkha?)

Observe any sense of control. Any sense of free will. Any sense that you could do something other than what's actually happening.

Observe cause and effect. Look at how each moment inevitably leads to the next, with no room for free will, no room for the self.

Anicca, dukkha, and anatta are three ways of looking at the same thing. You're approaching it from three separate directions.

It's all about free will, control, and acceptance of the present moment.

Anicca - there's no free will because nothing can last to control things. each individual moment is exactly how it is.

Dukkha - delusion of free will always wants to change things, can't accept things as they are

Anatta - there's nothing there to control things, no way to have anything other than the way it is


Can somebody please quickly explain to me what exactly is ment with 2nd or 4th path?


It's a process of dissolving the sense of self (also known as the delusion of free will).
It falls off in 4 big chunks. Each chunk is associated with a path moment.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/17/17 4:34 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
in terms of the idea that one only loses vs. gains, or that everything is the same, it is true on one level and has undeniable meaning - but it is a little misleading on its own sometimes in how it rings depending on where one is at. i would say that what i gained is a freedom and artfulness as a result of realizing that how i related to everything, what i imputed to be fixed and solid, was totally just one possible interpretation, and a very conditioned one. What comes with that is the ability to much more freely re-interpret anything.  That makes life into an art.  I can to a much much greater degree keep what i like (the intimacy, the poignancy, the vividness, the relational aspects, the beauty, freedom to act appropriately, the full spectrum of emotion).

Its like this: Once there were songs I couldn’t  bear to hear because they reminded me of a time full of some darkness or sadness (for me it’s songs of my pre-teen years).  If one came on the radio, i would switch it off asap, but not before I was flooded with dread or some congealed, negative constellation of thought/emotion/body sense.  Now i hear those same songs, and i enjoy all of them, from beginning to the end, even more so because they cause a reaction in me.  I can see the beauty within them which was totally unavailable before - too much reaction, seeming unbearable, blocking it.  The feelings of melancholy still might arise, but i see beauty in those too now - how something as mysterious as a song could touch a young girl to the point of unbearable grief, sensing the wonder in that.  That itself is a kind of song, too.  If i want that girl to be me - if that’s where the most beauty is - i can do that.  If i want it to just be a song, or some sound passing by, or energy, whatever, that’s available too.

So i got that kind of relationship, or a variation on it, with all sorts of things.  Its all the same in some respects, but it's a totally different world.  Even in my more contracted states, i know there is flexiblity of view/perspective/reality possible, and that changes so many things.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/17/17 9:39 PM as a reply to : ladyfrog :.
: ladyfrog ::

Its like this: Once there were songs I couldn’t  bear to hear because they reminded me of a time full of some darkness or sadness (for me it’s songs of my pre-teen years).  If one came on the radio, i would switch it off asap, but not before I was flooded with dread or some congealed, negative constellation of thought/emotion/body sense.  Now i hear those same songs, and i enjoy all of them, from beginning to the end, even more so because they cause a reaction in me.  I can see the beauty within them which was totally unavailable before - too much reaction, seeming unbearable, blocking it.  The feelings of melancholy still might arise, but i see beauty in those too now - how something as mysterious as a song could touch a young girl to the point of unbearable grief, sensing the wonder in that.  That itself is a kind of song, too.  If i want that girl to be me - if that’s where the most beauty is - i can do that.  If i want it to just be a song, or some sound passing by, or energy, whatever, that’s available too.

So i got that kind of relationship, or a variation on it, with all sorts of things.  Its all the same in some respects, but it's a totally different world.  Even in my more contracted states, i know there is flexiblity of view/perspective/reality possible, and that changes so many things.
This is a really good description. Right now I'm incredibly sad over my fiancee leaving me and it helped a little to read this. I'm 4th path and even after 4th path there is sadness, pain, grief, depression, dread, anxiety, panic, and lots of other negative thoughts, emotions, and body senses. So if anyone thinks 4th path takes any of that away - well, it doesn't.

I still have this intense desire and wish to have her back. And I can see that for what it is, just a thought and desire and feeling that's there, and totally accept it and recognize that things could not be any other way. Yet there are still moments where I'm just lost in the sadness and wish that things could be different.

That's life - enlightenment doesn't change it, it just helps you see it clearly.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/18/17 6:20 AM as a reply to J C.
Is enlightenment just a pointless endeavour then? Seems like a waste of time if so much effort is put in and things still concern you.(No offense is meant by this, but I'd rather do something else with my time if it turns to be ineffectual in the end to achieve my goal of being unbroken by any single life event or circumstance)

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/18/17 1:37 PM as a reply to D..
Deepankar:
Is enlightenment just a pointless endeavour then? Seems like a waste of time if so much effort is put in and things still concern you.(No offense is meant by this, but I'd rather do something else with my time if it turns to be ineffectual in the end to achieve my goal of being unbroken by any single life event or circumstance)
I feel this way also.   Whenever I read what people say about the benefits, they just don't seem worth the time and effort that I'm putting in.   Like - I thought doing this was supposed to end suffering?   Please tell me that I'm not wasting my time and that it's worth it.

RE: What did you gain?
Answer
3/18/17 1:38 PM as a reply to D..
Deepankar:
Is enlightenment just a pointless endeavour then? Seems like a waste of time if so much effort is put in and things still concern you.(No offense is meant by this, but I'd rather do something else with my time if it turns to be ineffectual in the end to achieve my goal of being unbroken by any single life event or circumstance)

No offense taken at all - your post cracked me up!

Can you elaborate on what it means to be "unbroken by any single life event or circumstance"?

What if you're broken by the combination of several, for instance? Lol.

But seriously, what do you mean by broken?

The truth is that you've already met your goal because you already are something that cannot be broken by anything, ever. Or, another way of looking at that is that you don't exist, so you can't be broken. Enlightenment doesn't change that - it's true for the enlightened and unenlightened alike.

If what you mean is that you want to be consciously aware of this at every single moment, always perfectly calm and centered, I have some bad news for you. Emotional perfection does not exist in this lifetime. So, yes, seeking enlightenment would be "pointless" if that's your only reason for doing it. It's just really funny to think of it as "pointless"!

Here's the best way of thinking of it: enlightenment is the process of a painful splinter working its way out of your skin. When the splinter's gone, your life isn't any different except that the splinter's gone and you no longer need to remove it. You still experience pain from other things, just not from that one splinter.

The only point is to remove the splinter (the delusion of free will).

RE: What did you gain?
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3/18/17 1:45 PM as a reply to synelg.
synelg:
I feel this way also.   Whenever I read what people say about the benefits, they just don't seem worth the time and effort that I'm putting in.


That's because you don't realize how much being unenlightened hurts. You've been carrying this tension around for your entire life and you haven't realized it.

Being enlightened isn't so great. It's just normal. It's just life. It's being unenlightened that's so terrible.

Like - I thought doing this was supposed to end suffering?   Please tell me that I'm not wasting my time and that it's worth it.

The suffering it ends is a very specific type of suffering that's difficult to describe or understand until it's gone.

You're not wasting your time. It's worth it.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/18/17 2:02 PM as a reply to J C.
By 'unbroken' I meant being calm and composed 24/7, partly because my first introduction to spirituality was Stoicism and I was incredibly inspired by the philosopher Epictetus and his attitude to extreme adversity. I became disillusioned with it after a while because it required you to be beyond human(or so I thought), until I found meditation where the state of my idealised 'stoic sage' could be intentionally cultivated.

But I guess I'll have to attain it myself to truly understand the  view at the mountain top, rather than looking at it from the valley below.

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3/18/17 2:24 PM as a reply to D..
Well, those are two different mountains.

To get rid of the delusion of self, you need insight meditation. And that won't make you calm and composed 24/7.

To cultivate calmness and composure, what you're looking for is concentration meditation, not insight meditation. If you can get a few hours of concentration meditation in every day, you'll be amazingly calm almost all the time.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/18/17 11:13 PM as a reply to synelg.
synelg:
Deepankar:
Is enlightenment just a pointless endeavour then? Seems like a waste of time if so much effort is put in and things still concern you.(No offense is meant by this, but I'd rather do something else with my time if it turns to be ineffectual in the end to achieve my goal of being unbroken by any single life event or circumstance)
I feel this way also.   Whenever I read what people say about the benefits, they just don't seem worth the time and effort that I'm putting in.   Like - I thought doing this was supposed to end suffering?   Please tell me that I'm not wasting my time and that it's worth it.

I'll second J C: you are not wasting your time, and it's absolutely worth it. 

RE: What did you gain?
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3/18/17 11:17 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Sorry about this--having trouble with replying to a quoted post on my iPad.

I feel that nothing I have done in my life is as important as this. It's like finding one's sanity restored after a long, long bout of madness. It's like remembering that in the past there were a lot of screaming toddlers in my head, except now they're not there any more. And I still get upset and get angry, but not nearly as much. Sometimes I ruminate just a little, then realize how silly it is and it just stops. I honestly don't know how I put up with it for so long.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/19/17 1:45 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Thankyou Laurel and J C for your reassurances.   Very much.  emoticon ❤️

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3/20/17 8:38 AM as a reply to synelg.
OK.

So, how "a big deal" is what insight meditation solves?

Many things that you do in this life solve specific problems that arise in your daily life.

You get a degree, that's useful when applying for a job. You get some confidence, you can use it when you are in trouble.
Some impact your some aspects of your social life, others impact some aspects of your body, and others impact some aspects of your mind.
Most of these problems and solutions come and go.

What insight meditation solves is so fundamental that it is with you all the time. Really all the time. And it impacts (in fact it distorts) everything. That distortion and the work the mind does to try to make sense of that is felt as stress.

But not stress, like you are a little nervous. Because when you are nervous, it comes and goes. Or you deal with it.
This is constant, no-way-to-deal-with, heavy stress. If feels like a block of opressive, mind numbing, constant effort.
And it's there all the time, everywhere, in every sense.
Daniel says somewhere that to see suffering you need some bravery. Imagine how opressing it must be if you need bravery to feel it.

It's constantness and everywhereness qualities make it very different from any pain or common suffering.
I really cannot compare it to anything.
Whatever thing you solved or felt relief in your life, is in no way comparable to what a path moment is felt.

At least for me, most of the other sufferings in my life, really pale in comparison to the suffering that insight meditation solves.
Of course, after a while, you get used to you new baseline and carry on with your life.

It's worth it.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/20/17 11:22 AM as a reply to Ernest Michael Olmos.
A question was asked enlightenment not sounding like much fun, with the constant cycling, dark nights, etc. Shinzen's response:

"Because of the (justifiably) negative language used by some teachers, students like yourself might get the impression that enlightenment isn't any fun. So here's the take-away message: If I was given the choice of living one more day experiencing life the way I experience it, or living 20 more years as a wealthy, healthy, celebrity sexual athlete, beloved by everyone but not experiencing what I experience (vis a vis enlightenment), the decision would be a no-brainer--I'll take the one day of enlightened living. IT'S THAT GOOD, DUDE."


http://shinzenyoung.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/dark-night.html

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3/20/17 11:51 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
I remember that quote from one of Shinzen's youtube videos. I heard it before 4th path and I didn't really understand it.

After 4th path it all makes sense. Yes, one day like this is better. Not because this is so great, but because that was so horrible.

I can't even really remember or think about what it was like to be unenlightened. It's hard to understand what that was like. I was stuck in there the whole time? That one tiny little space? How was that even possible?

It doesn't even make sense to me now. After 4th path, if I try to put myself back in there, I immediately bounce out.

My life pre-4th path feels like a dream now, and I now feel very disconnected from the people and events in my life before 4th path.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/20/17 3:25 PM as a reply to J C.
Sounds like self-deceiving, programming."I'm enlightened, I got 4th path" etc. Especially with a materialistic outlook. Begins with body/brain ends with body/brain death.It's temporary, if you follow my arguement. If you argue that temporary does'nt matter, and it's still enlightenment, then self-deception rules. 

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3/20/17 3:36 PM as a reply to Marty G.
There may be value in that view of enlightenment, as 'therapeutic' and a pragmatic resolution to deep life dilemma (good & truthful). But why call it enlightenment as if there is a spiritual or transcendent dimension?

RE: What did you gain?
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3/21/17 1:16 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
Wing Biddlebaum:
A question was asked enlightenment not sounding like much fun, with the constant cycling, dark nights, etc. Shinzen's response:

"Because of the (justifiably) negative language used by some teachers, students like yourself might get the impression that enlightenment isn't any fun. So here's the take-away message: If I was given the choice of living one more day experiencing life the way I experience it, or living 20 more years as a wealthy, healthy, celebrity sexual athlete, beloved by everyone but not experiencing what I experience (vis a vis enlightenment), the decision would be a no-brainer--I'll take the one day of enlightened living. IT'S THAT GOOD, DUDE."


http://shinzenyoung.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/dark-night.html


I am always very careful with quotes like this from a "professional" meditation teacher. It is his product that he sells to you that he praises here... Go to a car reseller and he will do the same for his cars, go to a restaurant and the cook will do the same for his food.

Can anyone of the 4th path fellows here second the quote above? Or is it a little too much? emoticon

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3/21/17 3:20 AM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Like I said a few posts up, it's not that being enlightened is so great, it's that being unenlightened was so terrible.

Marty - delusional or not, there is definitely a spiritual and transcendent dimension to it.

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3/21/17 4:16 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:


Marty - delusional or not, there is definitely a spiritual and transcendent dimension to it.


Glad to hear it, you had me worried, for a moment emoticon  How does this gel with philosophical materialism ? I had a conversation on Twitter with someone claiming enlightenment could work with brain produced consciousness, ending in death. It does not seem a good argument to me, but convince me if you will ( assuming you hold this view). 

RE: What did you gain?
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3/21/17 2:58 PM as a reply to Marty G.
I started a new thread on enlightenment and materialism: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/6089098

RE: What did you gain?
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3/21/17 10:51 PM as a reply to synelg.
synelg:
Deepankar:
Is enlightenment just a pointless endeavour then? Seems like a waste of time if so much effort is put in and things still concern you.(No offense is meant by this, but I'd rather do something else with my time if it turns to be ineffectual in the end to achieve my goal of being unbroken by any single life event or circumstance)
I feel this way also.   Whenever I read what people say about the benefits, they just don't seem worth the time and effort that I'm putting in.   Like - I thought doing this was supposed to end suffering?   Please tell me that I'm not wasting my time and that it's worth it.
What people consider 4th path on this forum is not all there is to this. There is still much more to work on.

Bhante G has told me that he never worries. He never gets angry. He'll sometimes experience irritation, but that's about it. I've spent enough time around him to believe it. There's a gleam in his eye. However, he has also told me that he doesn't know anyone who has completely gotten rid of suffering. But he does know people who have gotten close.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/21/17 11:19 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
The reason many people here claim 4th path, but not the incredible results promised by the Buddha is because they have only mastered one part of the path. They have mastered insight, but not concentration and morality. 

Enlightenment happens when you combine concentration and insight. When one masters concentration, the brain is unified, that is, all the various subconscious modules of the brain are unified and receptive to insights. I'm making up numbers here for simplification, but lets say there are 12 subconscious modules and if you have achieved shamatha (full concentration abilities) then all 12 modules are unified. If you then do insight practice that insight (such as anatta) will penetrate all 12 modules and your whole brain will realize no-self. 

The practice of noting, without a strong foundation in shamatha, leads to what is called "momentary concentration" and it is a concentration that is sufficient for producing Awakening, but perhaps not for all 12 modules. Again, making up numbers here, maybe that insight only penetrates 5 of the modules. So while part of the brain recognizes no-self, there are other modules that still very much have a sense of self and craving etc.  

So if someone tells you that they reached 4th path, but didn't put a serious dent in ordinary suffering, I'd bet a good amount of money it's because they didn't master shamatha first. 

RE: What did you gain?
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3/22/17 10:27 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Concentration, insight and morality are very interdependent

Insight (path moments) helps concentration and morality. Morality helps concentration and insight. And concentration helps the others.

I don't think you can get 4th path (insight) without strong concentration abilities and your life affairs at least in order (morality).

At least for me, each path attainment has improved concentration abilities. They had also implications in morality. And to get 4th you must first get the other 3.......

In fact, at least for me, as my practice evolves, insight, concentration and morality are integrated or mixed in a way that sometimes I don't even know what kind of practice I'm doing.

About for the incredible results, at least for me the results so far have been incredible (and I'm not 4th path).

And I would be very, very careful about the emotional, no pain, no suffering perfection goal.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/22/17 1:03 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed - can you elaborate on what the subconscious modules are and how concentration unifies them?

What I don't understand about your theory is that concentration is temporary and fades when you stop doing concentration meditation, but enlightenment is permanent.

So is the idea that after 4th path, at a low level of concentration, only 5/12 modules have realized insight, but then if you increase your concentration, you can get to 12/12 modules? What happens when you stop doing concentration meditation for a bit - do those modules lose the insight they had?

For me, I have definitely noticed that even after 4th path my level of stability, calmness, awareness, and acceptance varies greatly with the amount of concentration meditation I've done recently.

4th path + no concentration meditation in a while -> feeling depressed, still no-self but low awareness of it

4th path + daily concentration meditation -> much better mood, outcome independence, stable, calm, high awareness

RE: What did you gain?
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3/22/17 2:29 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:
The reason many people here claim 4th path, but not the incredible results promised by the Buddha is because they have only mastered one part of the path. They have mastered insight, but not concentration and morality. 

Enlightenment happens when you combine concentration and insight. When one masters concentration, the brain is unified, that is, all the various subconscious modules of the brain are unified and receptive to insights. I'm making up numbers here for simplification, but lets say there are 12 subconscious modules and if you have achieved shamatha (full concentration abilities) then all 12 modules are unified. If you then do insight practice that insight (such as anatta) will penetrate all 12 modules and your whole brain will realize no-self. 

The practice of noting, without a strong foundation in shamatha, leads to what is called "momentary concentration" and it is a concentration that is sufficient for producing Awakening, but perhaps not for all 12 modules. Again, making up numbers here, maybe that insight only penetrates 5 of the modules. So while part of the brain recognizes no-self, there are other modules that still very much have a sense of self and craving etc.  

So if someone tells you that they reached 4th path, but didn't put a serious dent in ordinary suffering, I'd bet a good amount of money it's because they didn't master shamatha first. 

Thanks Jinxed - I'm following TMI, so I'm hoping for that unification.  emoticon.  Thanks for reassurance.  emoticon

RE: What did you gain?
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3/22/17 3:14 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Jinxed - can you elaborate on what the subconscious modules are and how concentration unifies them?

What I don't understand about your theory is that concentration is temporary and fades when you stop doing concentration meditation, but enlightenment is permanent.

So is the idea that after 4th path, at a low level of concentration, only 5/12 modules have realized insight, but then if you increase your concentration, you can get to 12/12 modules? What happens when you stop doing concentration meditation for a bit - do those modules lose the insight they had?

For me, I have definitely noticed that even after 4th path my level of stability, calmness, awareness, and acceptance varies greatly with the amount of concentration meditation I've done recently.

4th path + no concentration meditation in a while -> feeling depressed, still no-self but low awareness of it

4th path + daily concentration meditation -> much better mood, outcome independence, stable, calm, high awareness

You have my book already, yes? I go into a bit more detail on the brain modules and Awakening in there. Culadasa's book TMI also gives a very technical and even more thorough description. But briefly, your brain is divided into dozens of different modules that each perform different functions (hearing, memory, thinking, planning, emoting, etc). When we are distracted, these various modules are competing for attention, say you are meditating and trying to focus but you keep on thinking about some past memory that is bothering you. These different modules aren't unified towards a collective goal. But when we are deep states of concentration are subconscious modules are unified and aren't competing for attention, which is why there aren't any distractions. In this state of unification insight penetrates deeper, reaching all the modules that are unified. Any modules that aren't unified, aren't paying attention, and aren't "listening" to the insight. 

It's kind of like learning anything, if you are only half paying attention, you probably won't learn it very well. But if you are fully focused it's going to stick.  I don't think if you stop doing concentration you will lose the insight, not without a head injury or something of that nature. If you stop doing concentration, your concentration will wane though. 

Let's use bike riding as an analogy. If you don't ride a bike for a while your fitness (concentration) will wane. But you won't ever forget how to ride a bike (insight). 

RE: What did you gain?
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3/22/17 7:22 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
So suppose you have 4th path insight and very high concentration (12/12 modules unified and full of insight). Then suppose you stop concentration meditation for a while and lose the concentration. Would you now have fewer modules unified and full of insight, because your concentration is lowered? Or can the modules retain the insight even without concentration?

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3/22/17 10:15 PM as a reply to J C.
J C:
So suppose you have 4th path insight and very high concentration (12/12 modules unified and full of insight). Then suppose you stop concentration meditation for a while and lose the concentration. Would you now have fewer modules unified and full of insight, because your concentration is lowered? Or can the modules retain the insight even without concentration?


The modules would retain the insight. Full enlightenment as Culadasa describes it (although he doesn't think there is an actual end, as there is always different things you can work on..like deepening compassion) would be when the entire mind system (all those brain modules) no longer generate intentions based on delusion. 

RE: What did you gain?
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3/22/17 11:05 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:
J C:
So suppose you have 4th path insight and very high concentration (12/12 modules unified and full of insight). Then suppose you stop concentration meditation for a while and lose the concentration. Would you now have fewer modules unified and full of insight, because your concentration is lowered? Or can the modules retain the insight even without concentration?


The modules would retain the insight. Full enlightenment as Culadasa describes it (although he doesn't think there is an actual end, as there is always different things you can work on..like deepening compassion) would be when the entire mind system (all those brain modules) no longer generate intentions based on delusion. 

Interesting. My own experience is that when I got 4th path, I had very high concentration. Since then, my concentration is much less, and I notice the effects. So have my modules all retained the insight from when I had very high concentration?

RE: What did you gain?
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3/23/17 9:13 AM as a reply to J C.
JC,

1. Can you describe your experience of 4th path? Or if you have written about it somewhere, link it? Not everyone means the same thing by fourth path. I assume you mean MTCB 4th path, but even among MTCB practictioners there is some debate. In other words, when you attained 4th path and had very high concentration..where would you put yourself on Culadasa's interpretation of the traditional four path model (basically keeping the attainments but taking out the rebirth stuff?

1st path: Obtained through the direct experience of emptiness, this is by having a cessation or a series of smaller insights. One is no longer deceived by perceptions of self, and self-existent reality outside the mind. There is less attachment, less suffering, less craving , more inner peace, more love, more generosity

2nd Path: Desire and aversion, while not completely extirpated, have vastly diminished and only appear when tired, or unmindful, and are easily overcome when they do arise with a little mindfulness.

3rd Path: One becomes completely and totally free from the compulsions of desire and aversion and there manifestations of greed, hatred, anger, jealousy, and sadness

4th Path: The arahant has completely overcome the conceit and restlessness associated with "I" and has put an end to suffering.


2. How high was your concentration? Ajahn Brahm level jhanas? That is..someone could pick you up and drop you while you are in jhana and you would never know? Or as Omega Point once referenced on this forum - you could be sitting by the side of the road and a caravan of ox, horses, and carriages could roll past you kicking dirt into your face and you would never know, because you are so absorbed in concentration.  Now that level of concentration is clearly at the highest levels, but perhaps it is what is needed for "full enlightenment". Or maybe you just need Culadasa's 10th stage. I don't think these questions have been satisfactorily answered to the point where there isn't debate.

3. Did those modules retain the insight? You tell me! If not, perhaps you didn't have high enough concentration, or perhaps you didn't blast them with enough insight while in that high level of concentration to the point where they stuck. You don't learn how to ride a bike on the first try. Theoretically, the insights should stick if you have high enough concentration + high insight + repeated blasting. 

RE: What did you gain?
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3/23/17 10:57 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
@Jinxed,

I have almost finished your book and really liked it so far. Despite the stuff about how great and healthy our paleo ancestors were. I don't think comparing deseases with people that got 25 years old in average and died often from infections or a simple cold is very productive. Diabetes and Alzheimer are definetly linked to the way we live and what we eat but they are also deseases that mainly show up when people get old. Much much older than our ancestors ever got. I find that this flowery presentation of the "simple" and "easy" lifestyle of people before the industrilization has become a real problem to literature in this genre... people think life was that great but seriosuly non of us would even be able to cope with it for half a year before wishing to go back to his/her heated appartment to take a nice warm shower to clean of all this aching dirt from his/her skin. But this just as a side note.

What I did like a lot were the later parts about the shamans, monks and meditation and your very well-grounded take on enlightenment.
I have just followed your discussion with JC here in this thread and was just wondering if what you are saying in your book comes from direct experience, e.g. have you reached 4th path yourself, or is it a compilation of intelectual understanding that you have gathered from talking to more experienced people?

RE: What did you gain?
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3/23/17 11:41 AM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Zen Den Den:
@Jinxed,

I have almost finished your book and really liked it so far. Despite the stuff about how great and healthy our paleo ancestors were. I don't think comparing deseases with people that got 25 years old in average and died often from infections or a simple cold is very productive. Diabetes and Alzheimer are definetly linked to the way we live and what we eat but they are also deseases that mainly show up when people get old. Much much older than our ancestors ever got. I find that this flowery presentation of the "simple" and "easy" lifestyle of people before the industrilization has become a real problem to literature in this genre... people think life was that great but seriosuly non of us would even be able to cope with it for half a year before wishing to go back to his/her heated appartment to take a nice warm shower to clean of all this aching dirt from his/her skin. But this just as a side note.

What I did like a lot were the later parts about the shamans, monks and meditation and your very well-grounded take on enlightenment.
I have just followed your discussion with JC here in this thread and was just wondering if what you are saying in your book comes from direct experience, e.g. have you reached 4th path yourself, or is it a compilation of intelectual understanding that you have gathered from talking to more experienced people?
Thanks,

Although I'd like to correct you on the age of our paleo ancestors. Maybe you skipped the chapter on health? They didn't live to age 25, that's only the 'average' age because infant mortality was so high. But once you made it out of childhood the modal age of death was 72. That's without ever going to a doctor. The tribe I visited, there was a woman probably in her late 80's, and an older man who was 99. They were both mentally sharp. 

I spent time with the tribe, and it didn't bother me at all not to take showers, I was perfectly fine bathing in the stream and being dirty didn't bother me at all. It's also about 80 degrees year round where they live..so no need for air conditioning. The only thing that bothered me, and they were awful, were the mosquitos. But the tribal people didn't get bitten. They've evolved to deal with mosquitos. Maybe a scent?

Here is a good video, taken from a TV show called Meet The Natives where they took tribal people from the island of Tanna and brought them to UK and the US to see what they think. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLt9jeT0Njk

You are right that most people couldn't handle living like this, but this is because we have grown soft and pampered. If you grow up your whole life Paleo, you will be much tougher, braver, more courageous than we are. 

I'm not fourth path (ended suffering) by the traditional descriptions. I don't know anyone that is. Which is why in my book (perhaps you haven't gotten there) I sort of eschew path descriptions, and focus just on how much do you suffer? How happy are you? That's the more important scale. When I talk about 4th path on this thread, I'm going by my studies in brain and behavior research (my masters degree) and the experiences of people far more advanced than me who have gotten close to ending suffering.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/23/17 1:16 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Hey, Jinxed thanks so much for your input emoticon
I was referring to my ancestors from northern europe... to my knowledge they got 25 years old in average (again the child death is included) but not much older than 40 in general. Weather, work and of course hygine conditions in the small villages were everything but nice at that time. I admit that things seem to look different in small tribes that live isolated in a very comfortable climate zone.
And please don't see my previous post as a critique - just my two cents on this - and I am by far not experienced at all in that topic emoticon

I like that you have a solid scientific background on brain science that you incorporate in your meditation research. Would you mind sharing your research paper library with me e.g. mendeley or zotero library that you found the most helpful when writing your book? Just an excerpt or a list of doi would be sufficient emoticon

Just of curiousity, where have you done your master's degree?

RE: What did you gain?
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3/23/17 1:45 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
My guess is that some abilities, once learned, are very difficult to be unlearned or forgotten (except you have a disease).
For abilities to "stick" there are, at least for me, 3 parameters: frequency, complexity, depth.

Frequency, is how many times you do something, reinforcing (or not) a pattern.
In insight meditation (what path moments solve), frequency is very, very high (highest of all), because you are distorting all the time, it's almost constant.
So, if you change the pattern, you are done, because you are reinforcing a different pattern all the time.
Other things that are not so frequent may be easier to change, but as they are not so frequent, it's more difficult for them to stick.

Complexity is how complex is the thing you are trying to do, how many modules of the brain it requires.
It follows that very complex things require lot of habit to stick, because you are trying to accomplish modifies so much.
My guess is that what insight meditation solves is not very complex (low complexity).

Depth is how "wired" we are to some things, our ability to change the pattern.
I don't know much about the brain, but you almost have no control of some things. The instinct of survival, sex, etc go here.
My guess is that what insight solves is pretty close to "very wired" (almost subconcious).

About the buddhist path, my guess is:

Morality: Frequency: Low, Complexity: Very high, Depth: Low.
Concentration: Frequency: Very low (except when meditating emoticon), Complexity: Very low, Depth: Dependent on frequency on meditation.
Insight: Frequency: Highest, Complexity: Low, Depth: High.
Learning to ride a bike: Frequency: Low, Complexity: Very low, Depth: Very low (some fear to fall).

Just an opinion.

RE: What did you gain?
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3/23/17 4:31 PM as a reply to Zen Den Den.
Zen Den Den:
Hey, Jinxed thanks so much for your input emoticon
I was referring to my ancestors from northern europe... to my knowledge they got 25 years old in average (again the child death is included) but not much older than 40 in general. Weather, work and of course hygine conditions in the small villages were everything but nice at that time. I admit that things seem to look different in small tribes that live isolated in a very comfortable climate zone.
And please don't see my previous post as a critique - just my two cents on this - and I am by far not experienced at all in that topic emoticon

I like that you have a solid scientific background on brain science that you incorporate in your meditation research. Would you mind sharing your research paper library with me e.g. mendeley or zotero library that you found the most helpful when writing your book? Just an excerpt or a list of doi would be sufficient emoticon

Just of curiousity, where have you done your master's degree?

You're right that life expectancy was lower when people moved from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to small farming villages. But our hunter-gatherer European ancestors would have also lived into old age. 

Instead of sending you a bunch of boring articles just go ahead and get yourself Culadasa's The Mind Illuminated. He's a neuroscientist and very advanced meditator and his book if you aren't familiar with it, is quite incredible. It's basically a textbook on the path to Awakening and everything that is going on in the brain. 

I went to SFSU.