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The Middle Paths (2nd and 3rd)

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep

I have been following the various discussions about issues regarding Feelings (using the term in a broad non-technical sense) and their place within notions of AF and Arahatship with a lot of interest. I practice in a formless way that bears in mind Daniel's teachings in MCTB though I do not 'note' as such, as my awareness is steady enough for a noting process to be just clutter. I have been thinking about emotionality and spiritual progress for some time, as my experience has been heading in the direction away from distinctive emotion. However the feeling-tone is cleaner and clearer as time passes, and more positive and continuous if more subtle.

The model I am developing goes something like this: ordinary unreflective experience involves a constructed false ego to which emotions pertain, as an expression of the conflict with reality that is bound up with that state. At stream-entry one sees that one's ordinary experience is hollow at the core, and a process of dis-identification begins. This may well release a good deal of quite strong positive emotion such as bliss etc., which can be pretty spectacular, but if one has enough meditative steadiness, these emotions are more obviously empty than the knotty ones more common previously, even though they still emanate from the personality. Somewhere around second or third path, one bumps into one's True Nature, and begins to appreciate what it is or would be to live from that, even if that appreciation is to some extent indirect. I call this phase living from the Relative True Nature, because one is working one's way back to what is most fundamental, but is not there yet. This is the phase of looking at the nature of duality in one's experience, and being aware of the ways in which it is warped, but being also aware that one is as yet not free. It seems also to be the phase in which one checks whether aspects of experience are unconditioned or not. Different aspects of feeling, perception and awareness are puzzling - there is curiosity. During this phase, which seems to be the one I am in, I notice feeling tones which do not seem to emanate from any particular aspect of my experience but which are coloured by the current state I am in within a cycle. They are often subtle forms of contentment or bliss or joy, faith or interest, things like that. Not emotions as such, because they seem qualities of awareness itself, and are not derived in any obvious sense from immediate events. The more concentrated I am, and the closer to my True Nature possibly, the less definable this feeling tone is, the less distinguishable from the nature of awareness itself.

I suspect that talk of the emotions of bodhisattvas is simply anthropomorphising this kind of state ie looking at the Relative or even Absolute True Nature from the viewpoint of ego. One is not driven by these feeling tones, but one looks to others from their perspective as if one might be... One engages in a fluid and responsive manner with one's experience, and that looks like emotion to the spiritually inexperienced. Emotions have a closed-ended and conflict-ridden nature that is rather too wearing to be maintained indefinitely. The different subtle feeling-tones that arise from the True Nature however are like a perfume that pervades experience, or the different facets of a jewel. They are akin to the factors of jhana apparent secondarily within the vipassana jhanas - they arise from the insight process, and contribute to it, but are not in themselves the goal or motive for practice.

The last month or so I have noticed lots of cycles or part-cycles, with phases in which each sit seemed to consist of the passage through a cycle from A&P to fruition and review. Now and again, the Dark Night part of the cycle bites a bit for a few days, and can lead to disconcerting rather undermining feelings; or the focus of interest regarding an aspect of insight changes with somewhat new appreciations in an A&P phase. I've been getting to know the seventh and eighth vipassna jhanas, and seem to have lost interest in the sixth, which was my old haunt. It is a little bit odd that this is manageable while working full-time, and sitting once or twice a day - though I guess it has to do with the greater clarity about cycles and the vipassana jhanas from reading Daniel's work, which made so much of my previous experience suddenly clear and explicit. Lately however I have been aware of changes of perception within Equanimity, some of which (surprise, surprise!) have the look of Daniel's discussions about the Three Doors in MCTB. Odd sort-of inverted cone distortions of the field with a swirling aspect, other odd fallings-into the object of awareness, or a particularly unsettling sickening feeling of relaxing into a deeper levels of experience which felt too nauseating to be a good direction to go in (but was nonetheless)!

After this latter I felt 'emptier' than I ever had. I went for a walk out in the country, noticing then not just that I seemed particularly 'quiet' but that I was 'gone'! I was aware of the whole field of awareness, but was not around to react - I understood thoroughly what it meant to eliminate the ego and craving altogether, and that it was not at all threatening. The construct that reacts, emotes, has an attitude or view - was simply not there; and I mean not just pacified but altogether gone, blown out completely like a candle flame. I could see directly that I was incapable of emotion as ordinarily understood, because there was not a substrate for it - but there was a subtle and pervasive sense of peacefulness and beauty about the whole thing. The unity and completeness of the field of awareness were so apparent, because there was no confusing or clouding factor at the middle mucking it up. It also had a stability about it that was quite remarkable, again because there was nothing there to even be disturbed.

All this went on quite steadily for a couple of days. I expected it not to last, and a few full-on days at work returned me to the more normal cycling mode; but it did seem like a completion and a Path, and was no doubt just one of the 12 or more that seem to occur at this phase! I would say though that it was the first time in 25 years of practice that I had a clear sense of the end of all paths; the first time that I had felt that this, when fully established, would be freedom and enough. i feel that I've moved from an experience of the Relative True Nature which knows where 'things are leading', to a glimpse of the Absolute True Nature which will draw me on. It feels as though faith has become knowledge - though it was such a quiet and unassuming phenomenon really...

I suppose then, to return to the initial topic, that it seems to me that one drops emotions which arise on the basis of the constructed Ego as that dies away; and this is emotion and feeling as normally understood- but there are energies which pertain to awareness itself which manifest as tones or perfumes within the field as one acts or comes into relationship. If they have any parallel in ordinary experience, it is to the aesthetic and appreciative emotions. These are much steadier and don't cloud your vision, or take centre stage at all. I suspect that there is some samadhi in which the union with the True Nature is so complete that there is no emanation of energies in this way - or perhaps that would be nirodha samapatti, in which the complete basis is gone - maybe that is what it would take.

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
5/16/10 2:15 AM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:
I have been following the various discussions about issues regarding Feelings (using the term in a broad non-technical sense) and their place within notions of AF and Arahatship with a lot of interest.

(...)

After this latter I felt 'emptier' than I ever had. I went for a walk out in the country, noticing then not just that I seemed particularly 'quiet' but that I was 'gone'! I was aware of the whole field of awareness, but was not around to react - I understood thoroughly what it meant to eliminate the ego and craving altogether, and that it was not at all threatening. The construct that reacts, emotes, has an attitude or view - was simply not there; and I mean not just pacified but altogether gone, blown out completely like a candle flame. I could see directly that I was incapable of emotion as ordinarily understood, because there was not a substrate for it - but there was a subtle and pervasive sense of peacefulness and beauty about the whole thing. The unity and completeness of the field of awareness were so apparent, because there was no confusing or clouding factor at the middle mucking it up. It also had a stability about it that was quite remarkable, again because there was nothing there to even be disturbed.

(...)

I suppose then, to return to the initial topic, that it seems to me that one drops emotions which arise on the basis of the constructed Ego as that dies away; and this is emotion and feeling as normally understood- but there are energies which pertain to awareness itself which manifest as tones or perfumes within the field as one acts or comes into relationship. If they have any parallel in ordinary experience, it is to the aesthetic and appreciative emotions. These are much steadier and don't cloud your vision, or take centre stage at all. I suspect that there is some samadhi in which the union with the True Nature is so complete that there is no emanation of energies in this way - or perhaps that would be nirodha samapatti, in which the complete basis is gone - maybe that is what it would take.


in the experience you refer to (on your walk out in the country), did you notice any 'energies which pertain to awareness itself which manifest as tones or perfumes within the field as ones acts or comes into relationship'? or were those part of what was absent?

i'd like to make sure i understand you correctly before responding in full.

tarin

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
5/16/10 11:44 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Hi Tarin

Language is a mine-field - so some clarifications... The phrase 'as one acts or comes into relationship' is something of an external description, if you will, or a conventional one - not a description of the actual structure of the inward experience.

As I remember, there was a sense of the glory of life unfolding, a perfect continuous unfolding - a sense of Being recognising itself in its many forms, or better through its various forms. This was not a Pure Land jhana, which (in my experience so far) more obviously involves a response by a subject. My sense was that awareness had collapsed completely into the forms of awareness, because there was no subject holding it away from that. I could reflect on the experience, and make comparisons - noticing the complete absence of even the most subtle tension, because quite obviously, the source of the strain had gone. But these thoughts were just part of the unfolding.

I allude to aesthetic and appreciative emotions in trying to clarify my point... an example would be how one might notice with love someone being completely themselves in a gesture or action, someone you didn't have any particular investment in or requirement of... I don't really mean those particular pinnacles of aesthetic feeling which tends to intensify the subject, so to speak. Another example would be a sense of the subtle beauty of a landscape. The feelings are particularly involved with what is before one, and not so obviously bound up with one getting what one wants, one's-self, or whatever.

I am not sure why it should be problematic that there are feeling-tones in our most profound experiences. We are sensitive organisms, and consciousness has this adaptive and responsive sensitivity as part of its nature - my growing impression is that it is a thorough transformation, or better, releasing of the emotional faculty, the heart-aspect of our ordinary experience. So much so that use of the term 'emotion' can be argued as being completely inappropriate. Perhaps it is inappropriate to attempt to even see correspondences between these feeling-tones and ordinary emotions, but hey this is what we have to play with - perhaps a new palette is required?

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
5/30/10 8:52 AM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
hi ian,

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:
I am not sure why it should be problematic that there are feeling-tones in our most profound experiences.


yet there is no feeling-tone whatsoever in the most profound (and priceless) mode of experience i have known, and so the assertion that 'there are feeling-tones in our most profound experiences' is incorrect (and, to that extent, it is problematic).

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:
We are sensitive organisms, and consciousness has this adaptive and responsive sensitivity as part of its nature - my growing impression is that it is a thorough transformation, or better, releasing of the emotional faculty, the heart-aspect of our ordinary experience. So much so that use of the term 'emotion' can be argued as being completely inappropriate. Perhaps it is inappropriate to attempt to even see correspondences between these feeling-tones and ordinary emotions, but hey this is what we have to play with - perhaps a new palette is required?


if i am understanding you correctly, i would call the 'feeling-tones' you describe 'passions' and the 'ordinary emotions' simply 'emotions'.

in my explorations into the relationships between feeling-tones and ordinary emotions, i could find no clear and steadfast correspondences, but to say there was no relationship at all would simply be untrue. off the top of my head, here are the sort of notes i had on this territory (making use of your terminology):

-feeling-tones are always implied in ordinary emotions.
-feeling-tones exist as the undercurrents of ordinary emotions.
-ordinary emotions cannot exist apart from feeling-tones, as they are sculpted of feeling-tones, via a sense of identity felt to exist apart from those feeling-tones.
-feeling-tones can exist without ordinary emotions via a sense of identity felt to not exist apart from those tones (which tones are 'like a perfume that pervades experience').
-the thinner or more transparent the current feeling-tone is, the less it pervades experience/the less it is part of it - and the more experience becomes scintillantingly, sensately clear - and the more a sense of child-like, almost forgetful, wonder predominates (which sense i here dub naivete').
-the feeling-tone of naivete is very thin and the sustained experience of it rapidly leads to ever-further thinning (as the very feeling-tone of naivete is easily forgetten/not noticed in all the wonderment - and the fun that is being had - so its existence is not further fuelled).
-at some not-easily-discernable point along its course of thinning, the feeling-tone becomes so thin that the tone becomes unsustainable and vanishes completely, leading to an entirely different mode of experience, of which all the feeling-tones (particularly the positive ones) can be (easily) seen to be imitations (or that they are somehow gesticulations toward it), and in which there is no 'perfume that pervades experience' - there is only this experience entirely, resplendent in all its perfection.
-this mode of experience is the pure consciousness experience (pce).

about which last point i thought, 'i'd do well to live like this all the time'.

tarin

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
6/3/10 12:57 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Hi Tarin

I am not sure why 'passions' occurs to you as in any way an appropriate or equivalent term for 'feeling-tones' - perhaps English is not your first language? If people took this 'translation' seriously they would seriously misconstrue what I am saying.

You also draw parallels between feeling-tones and emotions which seem to deny the essential differences that I am pointing to - in charitable mood, I suspect that this is because you do not understand what I am getting at initially, and so believe that the comparisons you make are fair. It looks to me though as if you are distorting and hi-jacking my points to promote PCE material. It is a risky business, to 'translate' someone in this carte blanche fashion - one really needs to qualify what one is doing quite carefully if one is not to give the appearance of simple arrogance.

Did not the Buddha essentially teach that the ending of craving is the ending of suffering? He does not anywhere speak of the ending of feeling altogether as being a worthwhile goal. I sincerely doubt that as an end-result this would be admirable.

best wishes
Vajracchedika

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
6/5/10 10:07 AM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
I don't know Vajracchedika, the stuff that Tarin has been describing sounds incredibly similar. You say:

I suppose then, to return to the initial topic, that it seems to me that one drops emotions which arise on the basis of the constructed Ego as that dies away; and this is emotion and feeling as normally understood- but there are energies which pertain to awareness itself which manifest as tones or perfumes within the field as one acts or comes into relationship.


Tarin describes a process of successive "thinning" of feeling, and the end result of this unfolding, which seems very much like what you are going through (based on the previous paragraph). I find it very plausible that he has gone through the same territory you are now in, and I find it weird you reacted so vigorously.

Of course, it might be unpleasant to discover that all the emotions and perfumes might one day be gone... but Tarin seems to describe the end result as a good thing...

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
6/6/10 2:28 PM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:
Hi Tarin

I am not sure why 'passions' occurs to you as in any way an appropriate or equivalent term for 'feeling-tones' (...)


the word 'passions' occurred to me as an appropriate and equivalent term for what you have dubbed 'feeling-tones' because it is the word i have used, for the past few years, to refer to the phenomenon which you have, in this thread, described quite clearly as follows:

'...I notice feeling tones which do not seem to emanate from any particular aspect of my experience but which are coloured by the current state I am in within a cycle. They are often subtle forms of contentment or bliss or joy, faith or interest, things like that. Not emotions as such, because they seem qualities of awareness itself, and are not derived in any obvious sense from immediate events. The more concentrated I am, and the closer to my True Nature possibly, the less definable this feeling tone is, the less distinguishable from the nature of awareness itself. '

'Emotions have a closed-ended and conflict-ridden nature that is rather too wearing to be maintained indefinitely. The different subtle feeling-tones that arise from the True Nature however are like a perfume that pervades experience, or the different facets of a jewel.'

'there are energies which pertain to awareness itself which manifest as tones or perfumes within the field as one acts or comes into relationship.'

'there was a sense of the glory of life unfolding, a perfect continuous unfolding - a sense of Being recognising itself in its many forms, or better through its various forms.'

i have understood this mode of experience to be very close to the root of suffering itself. thus, the word 'passion' is appropriate (not least of all because 'passion' comes from the latin - as passionem/passio/pati - for 'suffering').


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

(...) - perhaps English is not your first language?


english is my native language, though i also speak another (unrelated, non-indo-european) language fluently and can comprehend and get by brokenly in another two. i also have a growing knowledge of and appreciation for the etymology of words (mostly those rooted in latin or greek), which is what, in particular, makes me aware that the word 'passion' is a suitable term for the mode of experience you describe. why you do not know this, i cannot be sure.. perhaps english is your only language?

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

If people took this 'translation' seriously they would seriously misconstrue what I am saying.


yet, as you have said this:

'However the feeling-tone is cleaner and clearer as time passes, and more positive and continuous if more subtle.'

and:

'The more concentrated I am, and the closer to my True Nature possibly, the less definable this feeling tone is, the less distinguishable from the nature of awareness itself.'

...then let me ask you this: what do you suppose the 'feeling-tone' is like when it reaches complete and total cleanliness and clarity? what do you suppose the 'feeling-tone' is like when there is not even a trace of anything which can be even in the slightest way distinguished from the nature of awareness itself?



Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

You also draw parallels between feeling-tones and emotions which seem to deny the essential differences that I am pointing to - in charitable mood, I suspect that this is because you do not understand what I am getting at initially, and so believe that the comparisons you make are fair.


ok then, for the sake of your charitable mood, let's here assume i do not understand what you were getting at initially. so that i understand, will you point out what parallels, exactly, i have drawn between feeling-tones and emotions which deny the essential differences you have pointed to? and will you also point to those essential differences (which the parallels between feeling-tones and emotions i drew are supposed to have denied)?

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

It looks to me though as if you are distorting and hi-jacking my points to promote PCE material. It is a risky business, to 'translate' someone in this carte blanche fashion - one really needs to qualify what one is doing quite carefully if one is not to give the appearance of simple arrogance.


before i can sensibly respond to your claim that i am distorting and hi-jacking your points to promote pce material, i will need further clarification about which of your your points are supposedly being distorted and hi-jacked.

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

Did not the Buddha essentially teach that the ending of craving is the ending of suffering? He does not anywhere speak of the ending of feeling altogether as being a worthwhile goal. I sincerely doubt that as an end-result this would be admirable.


i am not particularly concerned with (anyone's interpretation of) what the buddha taught or didn't... what i am concerned with is what really constitutes the end of suffering[1]. my experience showed me that inherent in any feeling, however subtle or diffuse, is desire (the movement of feeling *is* desire). as desire is suffering, any feeling-tone (which is necessarily born of desire) is suffering.

regardless of this, however, the facts (drawn from your own report) that: 1-your feeling-tone becomes 'cleaner and clearer as time passes', and 2- that you are able to distinguish a feeling-tone from 'the nature of awareness itself', should clue you in about something here.

tarin

[1] besides, i took this to be a discussion between you and me, not you, me, and the buddha.

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
6/12/10 4:20 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Hi Tarin (and Bruno!)

Thanks for getting back. It does look like I need to go into more detail.



yet there is no feeling-tone whatsoever in the most profound (and priceless) mode of experience i have known, and so the assertion that 'there are feeling-tones in our most profound experiences' is incorrect (and, to that extent, it is problematic).



This way of communicating seems to me to be rather didactic and irritating. Universalising from the experience of one person is necessary on occasion (Namo Buddhaya!), but it is a risky process, and it is rarely useful to assume absolute knowledge in the actual process of communication. It usually loses you your audience, except under special circumstances.



if i am understanding you correctly, i would call the 'feeling-tones' you describe 'passions' and the 'ordinary emotions' simply 'emotions'.



Well, 'passion' as a term here in the UK has connotations of extreme and biased emotionality, as in 'crimes of passion', 'being passionate about...', 'passionate love', 'in a passion', etc. Pretty much exactly the opposite of what I am trying (or it seems perhaps failing) to communicate. It is so opposite that it is difficult to appreciate where you are coming from. I have a degree in English Literature and Philosophy, and lesser qualifications in Ancient Greek and Latin; and so, while I can be aware of the etymology of words, I do know that a word's intended or even original meaning tends to get lost within its broader connotation. The connotation can become so explicit that it becomes the meaning, as it were.

To then go on to draw conclusions other than those that I have drawn, and so on, in the guise of the words ('feeling-tones') I have used but not the meaning I intended them... where shall I start? this is the hi-jacking...

The particular point at issue is whether the whole sensitive faculty is eliminated at Enlightenment, not putting too fine a point on it. You are telling me that it is. I beg to differ, and at least question this - and, let me hasten to add, not from the viewpoint of established Enlightenment.

So far, I do believe that the emotional structure around the constructed self actually dies completely, and is even felt as a death - but then the sensitivity that is coerced and even corrupted in this ordinary emotionality is liberated, and what essentially will be left is a kind of love, between the True Nature and the phenomena of the Field of Awareness. The True Nature and the phenomena of the Field are not essentially different in nature or even in 'position' at this point - I am just (mis-)using language. The difference is such though that the sensitivity feels like something other than emotion altogether. Perhaps your descriptions of a sense of wonder, of the sensed world being perfect, etc. are in fact a description of this. These feeling-tones will be 'found' 'in' the very phenomena of the field of awareness, because, well, where else is left? The difference is in the ending of the structure in the Field that distorts sensitivity and leads to Craving, not in the sensitivity itself.

So it seems to me, so far...

very best wishes
Vajracchedika

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
6/12/10 9:52 AM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Indeed, both Tarin and Trent refer to their mode of experience as perfect, priceless, interesting, just to name a few.

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
7/2/10 7:26 AM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:
tarin greco:

yet there is no feeling-tone whatsoever in the most profound (and priceless) mode of experience i have known, and so the assertion that 'there are feeling-tones in our most profound experiences' is incorrect (and, to that extent, it is problematic).


This way of communicating seems to me to be rather didactic and irritating.


why do you find a statement i made which pertinently points out an inaccuracy in a statement you made ('there are feeling-tones in our most profound experiences') didactic and irritating?

and would you call this irritation that you experienced an emotion, or a feeling-tone, or.. ? do you find that there is a feeling-tone which makes things seem irritating?

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

Universalising from the experience of one person is necessary on occasion (Namo Buddhaya!), but it is a risky process, and it is rarely useful to assume absolute knowledge in the actual process of communication. It usually loses you your audience, except under special circumstances.


pardon? it is precisely because i disagreed with the universalising comment you made ('there are feeling-tones in our most profound experiences') that i contradicted it (with a statement which, by the way, read, 'there is no feeling-tone whatsoever in the most profound (and priceless) mode of experience i have known...)'.

yet, i do not find your way of communicating irritating in the slightest (being entirely absent of the conditions which give rise to either emotion or feeling-tone, there is nothing which urges me to), so you have no risk of losing your audience in me for this reason (though i would prefer the term 'interlocutor').


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:



if i am understanding you correctly, i would call the 'feeling-tones' you describe 'passions' and the 'ordinary emotions' simply 'emotions'.



Well, 'passion' as a term here in the UK has connotations of extreme and biased emotionality, as in 'crimes of passion', 'being passionate about...', 'passionate love', 'in a passion', etc. Pretty much exactly the opposite of what I am trying (or it seems perhaps failing) to communicate.


yet, what you have communicated (what you have actually written) is that 'there are energies which pertain to awareness itself which manifest as tones or perfumes within the field as one acts or comes into relationship.'

what could be more extreme and powerfully biased than feelings which 'pertain to awareness itself' .. or which 'manifest as tones' of reality itself .. or which are (as you have also written earlier) 'like a perfume that pervades experience'?

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

It is so opposite that it is difficult to appreciate where you are coming from.


i understand why you think experiencing energies which pertain to awareness and feeling-tones which perfume and pervade experience is opposite to ordinary ol' feelings.. can you understand why i am saying that what i am talking about - which is those energies'/tones'/feelings' entire absence - is opposite to both the conditions that you contrast?

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

I have a degree in English Literature and Philosophy, and lesser qualifications in Ancient Greek and Latin; and so, while I can be aware of the etymology of words, I do know that a word's intended or even original meaning tends to get lost within its broader connotation. The connotation can become so explicit that it becomes the meaning, as it were.


i understand how this happens.. so let's try again, and perhaps with a broader context.

what i mean by 'passions' are subtle feelings, which, in action, daniel ingram calls, understandably, 'the attention wave' (see the thread entitled 'AF and Insight: PCE Mode and Cycling Mode').. and which colour one's entire mode of experience in very basic ways.. and which, when one's experience of them has become very rarified, manifest in very much the ways you describe (i.e. 'he different subtle feeling-tones that arise from the True Nature however are like a perfume that pervades experience, or the different facets of a jewel.').

these passions are near the source of suffering (which is the blindness that maintains them).. they lay far deeper than the sense of personal identity (which forms them into emotions). past this identity, they are perpetuated like this:

the source (the blindness) of suffering maintains its existence by acting. in acting, it necessarily goes through a prism of sorts, and in going through this prism (which is also itself), it gets refracts into different tones.. and views the world through them (through itself as these tones).

it is accurate to say that these tones are different facets of a jewel.. but it is inaccurate to say that this jewel is the end of affliction. rather, this jewel is suffering's very core.. and it is what gives rise to afflictive feelings of any sort and at any level.

seeing this jewel for what it truly is is a big step toward seeing the blindness in action, and in ending the blindness, and thus in ending the stress the blindness causes (which is no less than the entirety of affective affliction, both active and latent).

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

The particular point at issue is whether the whole sensitive faculty is eliminated at Enlightenment, not putting too fine a point on it. You are telling me that it is. I beg to differ, and at least question this - and, let me hasten to add, not from the viewpoint of established Enlightenment.


what i am actually telling you is that by eliminating the whole affective faculty, affliction and all possibility of it is eliminated entirely. furthermore, in the absence of this faculty (latent affliction and all), sensitivity abounds, and far more than it ever did before. it is a sensitivity which is actual - which is sensate - and of which the source is clear (the experience of this world as it actually is as the human being that one actually is).

with this sensitivity, i can comprehend, for example, the moods of others more clearly than i ever could before, for now it is clear to me how clearly others wear their moods on their faces, in their voices, and in their actions... my theory of mind is not lacking. i am privy to how others look, what they say, and how they behave in a way that is uncoloured by any feelings or feeling-tones whatsoever, and find this sufficient for knowing at least as much as i did before (my affective faculty vanished), and often, it seems, even more.

i am glad to hear you are not questioning this from the viewpoint of established Enlightenment, as i would prefer to engage with you and communicate about our respective experiences as directly is possible.

Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

So far, I do believe that the emotional structure around the constructed self actually dies completely, and is even felt as a death - but then the sensitivity that is coerced and even corrupted in this ordinary emotionality is liberated, and what essentially will be left is a kind of love, between the True Nature and the phenomena of the Field of Awareness. The True Nature and the phenomena of the Field are not essentially different in nature or even in 'position' at this point - I am just (mis-)using language. The difference is such though that the sensitivity feels like something other than emotion altogether. Perhaps your descriptions of a sense of wonder, of the sensed world being perfect, etc. are in fact a description of this. These feeling-tones will be 'found' 'in' the very phenomena of the field of awareness, because, well, where else is left? The difference is in the ending of the structure in the Field that distorts sensitivity and leads to Craving, not in the sensitivity itself.


my claim is that sensitivity is distorted by these feeling-tones which you are locating 'in' the phenomena (of which you are sensitive) itself. here, it may be relevant to once again ask you the following key questions (which you have neglected to address in your reply):

as you have said both:

'However the feeling-tone is cleaner and clearer as time passes, and more positive and continuous if more subtle.'

and:

'The more concentrated I am, and the closer to my True Nature possibly, the less definable this feeling tone is, the less distinguishable from the nature of awareness itself.'

...then let me again ask you this:

what do you suppose the 'feeling-tone' is like when it reaches complete and total cleanliness and clarity? what do you suppose the 'feeling-tone' is like when there is not even a trace of anything which can be even in the slightest way distinguished from the nature of awareness itself?

tarin

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
7/27/10 3:46 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Thanks Tarin for taking the trouble to reply.

Since I last posted, I've been on solitary retreat for a week (in early June), and quite a bit has happened which proves relevant to this discussion.

Four things I suppose I can say about that retreat. I spent quite a few days mostly absorbed in the formless realms, particularly the seventh and eighth, as they are relatively new to me as stable attainments. As has been my experience with other dhyanas, one has some solid quite deep samatha-type sits as one's mind quite consciously experiences the relief of a new deeper kind of peacefulness, and it is also like meeting a long-lost old friend in some ways. I have personally re-titled the eighth the 'What the effing hell was that?' jhana. It seemed transparent how it is on the way to NS.

During the last few days, I could see more clearly than ever before the fluidity of experience, by means of the 3 marks, and how things are 'not really there', are resistless, are a gateway to something I describe to myself as Infinite Life - a metaphor for the sense of perfection that flowed out of any aspect of experience that I opened to. This was part of an A&P phase, which suggested to me that the experience I refer to in the first post was a path, as I suspected.

However the most relevant experience to this thread was something that occurred on day 3 or so. Now and again, always on retreat so far, I have these sits which pop up out of the flow of practice, about the heart(-area) and its place in compassion, the spiritual life, or what have you. In this case, my sense was that my heart-area was finally exhausted with the emotional activity of life - depleted, done for, unwilling to go on. Once I saw this, it was clear that I just had to let it die. So it did - it wasn't exactly a relief (that is to underplay it). The previous experience in this series late last year was of the fact that life being what it was, the heart has to break - it will be shattered, and there is no help for it. So it did that too, then. On this retreat, it had come to the end of the road. It wasn't a difficult experience, and there was such a rightness to it, that it didn't take any 'doing' - both the heart-area and 'me' were in complete agreement. After that, pretty quickly I carried on with the flow of practice as before.

I suppose I expected to be left with some cleaner or clearer sensitivity of some sort, and I had every confidence that it would be some kind of clarification or enhancement of previous experience. However it has proved to be rather uncomfortable and awkward, both as an experience and also as I try to make sense of its implications. It has taken a couple of months to even get a handle on it.

One thing that is clear is that the heart-area really is dead and gone. Whole aspects of wanting or caring are just not there. It is also clear that this does not seem to affect my daily functioning at all. I have had some fairly tough things to deal with, such as someone close to me having a nervous breakdown requiring hospitalisation, and seem to have managed situations well enough. I seem to be much more easily distracted by thoughts when sitting - the heart area is empty - the gut is really where I seem to be clinging, if anything is apparent. However I seem to notice clinging to sensations there as 'at a distance', and I lose interest easily. I also have little grip on the cycles and actually struggle to analyse my experience in terms of dharmas. Usually I sit at work during lunch-break for 10-20 mins, and often that passes through to Equanimity and Fruition, ditto when I meditate during a walk in the country, but in a certain rather disconcerting way I have ceased to care what is happening. Frequently it all seems to be happening to someone else to whom I just seem to have privileged internal access, so to speak. At the same time, I am not in any sense falling back from practice. I have as much faith and confidence as before - I just seem to be lost and not minding! It is vaguely apparent that I am in some kind of Dark Night, with Disgust and Desire for Deliverance beginning to sound more clearly the last week or so, but there are lots of sub-cycles.

I suspect that the attachment in the gut has to go next. In fact it is a good clue to a rather mucky sense of Being that seems to predominate, which occasionally clusters around sensations in the solar plexus or below that - but actually not very much, and not that uncomfortably. I think that the difference between the eighth jhana and NS quite possibly IS this 'mucky sense of Being'. It is a kind of false tension; when it clings to a sensation to any degree the sensation becomes like an empty tin that is crushed under its own internal vacuum. Broad awareness is quite easy, particular interest quite hard because I have to force the interest. I have an inkling that I am somehow now 'static' and am being 'forced' to just open to experience as it is, and not in a profound way. Because of this it seems like something of a desert - I would have seen this as some kind of living nightmare a few years ago. So Tarin, I seem to have got exactly what I didn't want, and I suspect it will get 'worse' before it gets 'better'!

With regard to your question - "what do you suppose the 'feeling-tone' is like when it reaches complete and total cleanliness and clarity? what do you suppose the 'feeling-tone' is like when there is not even a trace of anything which can be even in the slightest way distinguished from the nature of awareness itself?" - what can I say? This state I am in is residually unpleasant, unpleasant 'at a distance', but oddly enough seems closer to pure awareness than what went before. To generalise from this 'progression', if it is that, I suspect that any sorts of feeling-tones, however refined or subtle, pertain to the organism, and are something secondary to awareness - as they seem to have substantially gone in my case with the death of the heart-area. Perhaps they are to do with the fluid sense of self that arises following stream-entry, which is why they seem an 'advance' at the time. I suspect there is more to do before I can be clearer. I have noticed the last week growing concern about what is left, if anything, beyond the six self-illuminating sense-fields, once they are completely 'revealed'.

Am still reflecting on what you write about the jewel and the blindness, so no response as yet - very interesting!

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
7/27/10 2:36 PM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Tarin you have mentioned some relationship between various areas in the body and your own progress, e.g., that solving some sort of problem in the gut relates to a sense of "loosing oneself" in the world. There seems to be some relationship with the chakras, as if AF is what you get if you purify them in a certain way. What do you think?

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
8/4/10 1:11 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Tarin you have mentioned some relationship between various areas in the body and your own progress, e.g., that solving some sort of problem in the gut relates to a sense of "loosing oneself" in the world. There seems to be some relationship with the chakras, as if AF is what you get if you purify them in a certain way. What do you think?


i think it would make more sense to consider it the other way around, like this:

if the centre of being is abandoned entirely (through and through, including its empty core), then the entire structure of being (and feeling) is abandoned. if the entire structure of being is abandoned, the parts of the body which were taken as energy centres no longer have any significance as such.

does this answer your question adequately?

tarin

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
8/5/10 11:33 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Tarin or trent, is this process the original poster is going thru with feeling unplesant feeling-tones part of the process for AF or enlightenment? It seems like an enlightenment thing. Do you go thru this for AF? Doesn't AF encourage you to "feel good" all the time?

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
8/4/10 12:15 AM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

Thanks Tarin for taking the trouble to reply.

Since I last posted, I've been on solitary retreat for a week (in early June), and quite a bit has happened which proves relevant to this discussion.


thank you likewise; it has been a delightful exchange and i am glad to continue it.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

One thing that is clear is that the heart-area really is dead and gone. Whole aspects of wanting or caring are just not there. It is also clear that this does not seem to affect my daily functioning at all. I have had some fairly tough things to deal with, such as someone close to me having a nervous breakdown requiring hospitalisation, and seem to have managed situations well enough. I seem to be much more easily distracted by thoughts when sitting - the heart area is empty - the gut is really where I seem to be clinging, if anything is apparent. However I seem to notice clinging to sensations there as 'at a distance', and I lose interest easily.


just a suggestion.. have you investigated what/where the 'here' is, wherefrom the clinging (to sensations at the gut which are 'at a distance') is observed?

if so, what/where is it?


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

I suspect that the attachment in the gut has to go next. In fact it is a good clue to a rather mucky sense of Being that seems to predominate, which occasionally clusters around sensations in the solar plexus or below that - but actually not very much, and not that uncomfortably.


do you find any difference between the feelings clustered around the solar plexus and those lower down at around the navel or just below it (at the hara/tan tien)?

if so, do those those around the solar plexus come in surges, or palpations, or sometimes form into what feels like a knot? and do those feelings lower down, at the hara/tan tien, feel more smooth and calm? does that area feel rather more like a stable core than like a knot? and, can you detect any motion down there at all?


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

With regard to your question - "what do you suppose the 'feeling-tone' is like when it reaches complete and total cleanliness and clarity? what do you suppose the 'feeling-tone' is like when there is not even a trace of anything which can be even in the slightest way distinguished from the nature of awareness itself?" - what can I say? This state I am in is residually unpleasant, unpleasant 'at a distance', but oddly enough seems closer to pure awareness than what went before. To generalise from this 'progression', if it is that, I suspect that any sorts of feeling-tones, however refined or subtle, pertain to the organism, and are something secondary to awareness - as they seem to have substantially gone in my case with the death of the heart-area.


i would say that feeling-tones pertain to a particular faculty of the organism (the affective faculty, which produces the intuited feeling of being/Being) rather than (the entirety of) the organism itself.

i would also say that awareness pertains to the organism; no organism, no awareness.

(of course, what exists regardless of whether or not the organism or awareness exists still exists.)


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

Perhaps they are to do with the fluid sense of self that arises following stream-entry, which is why they seem an 'advance' at the time. I suspect there is more to do before I can be clearer. I have noticed the last week growing concern about what is left, if anything, beyond the six self-illuminating sense-fields, once they are completely 'revealed'.


what about it has been concerning?

tarin

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
8/7/10 4:01 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Hi Tarin


Replying in order to your two posts...

From Tarin: just a suggestion.. have you investigated what/where the 'here' is, wherefrom the clinging (to sensations at the gut which are 'at a distance') is observed?

This hasn't been problematic, so I haven't particularly... there does not seem to be a 'where' - there are some relatively minor responses in the rest of one's organism suggesting the mode of 'being attentive'.

From Tarin: do you find any difference between the feelings clustered around the solar plexus and those lower down at around the navel or just below it (at the hara/tan tien)? if so, do those those around the solar plexus come in surges, or palpations, or sometimes form into what feels like a knot? and do those feelings lower down, at the hara/tan tien, feel more smooth and calm? does that area feel rather more like a stable core than like a knot? and, can you detect any motion down there at all?

The hara is much quieter, and seems to have substantially 'died' as well - it would normally be a 'reservoir of bliss', and a kind of backdrop for any difficulties experienced and would cushion them, so to speak. It is open, steady, quiet, on the positive side of neutral, spacious.

Regarding the solar plexus: "when it clings to a sensation to any degree the sensation becomes like an empty tin that is crushed under its own internal vacuum." This is much less the case now, these surging or crushing feelings. It is milder and relatively steadier. I've seen that the discomfort is simply a reaction of the mind/organism to awareness, in that the last thing this sense of self wants is to be seen as it is, naked! This sense of self is fundamentally inconsistent, like the ordinary heart, involving beliefs that are completely at odds with the reality of the situation. If one sifts the whole experience, nothing justifies the necessity or basis for this sense of self. So, if it seen steadily and completely, it cannot but dissolve. In my case it is also throwing off a few nightmares! The most exciting one was of being attacked by a rabid big rottweiller suddenly from behind, and waking up as I threw it off against the wall! Ordinary life seems pretty tough at the moment too.

From Tarin's post: "I have noticed the last week growing concern about what is left, if anything, beyond the six self-illuminating sense-fields, once they are completely 'revealed'." what about it has been concerning?

Well, the sense that there is less and less to stand on - it is like the supports for one's sense of self are dissolving into the sea like little icebergs, leaving one teetering on what unstable few are left... My previous rather implicit model of the meditative life was perhaps about Refinement, a kind of cleansing of the mirror of one's awareness, leaving some purified remnants of the sense of one's self. Now though the process has become one of Loss. The experience of Awareness without a sense of Self I drew attention to in my first post of this thread is in fact both, though I suppose the Refinement is actually via the Loss.

It is classic Re-observation to have one's beak firmly up against what actually is the case, as opposed to what one would like to be the case. One's false resistance is now low after previous stages, and if one is willing things can be absorbed very deeply. I wonder if re-observation is the stage of transformation. Progress is surely more than a process of dissociation or disidentification, however useful and creative that might be. Awareness in the end will do the work by itself, but it is work, and it is transformation. However difficult it has been, I trust the process of the ending of the heart, and would not (be able to) go back. The inner landscape is so different now though that I don't not see any easy way to full-blown Equanimity - it is like I'm being funnelled through the centre of the worst of what is left.

So Tarin, when I say I am becoming 'comfortable' with this dis-ease, it is not in the sense of being willing to accommodate it indefinitely. It is in the sense of getting some measure of it, weathering the excesses of early clear awareness of it, and getting more equanimous about having it there and looking into it (in all its variability). I have an unavoidably clear experience of what it is like for it not to be there, and if it is manageable, look to see the ending of the dis-ease and a return of complete clarity. I do appreciate your concerns about a Transcendent Awareness as some kind of refuge. Since my last post here, I've had a couple of experiences of putting down spontaneously the experience cluster which is the sense of self, while walking home from work. Thy were brief and quite weak, and though interesting not really what I would want. They may have just arisen as an escape from stress!

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
8/14/10 2:49 AM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:
Hi Tarin


hi ian,

a quick reply from me this time, as i have little to say and am markedly more interested in how things have been going since you last updated us here.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

The hara is much quieter, and seems to have substantially 'died' as well - it would normally be a 'reservoir of bliss', and a kind of backdrop for any difficulties experienced and would cushion them, so to speak. It is open, steady, quiet, on the positive side of neutral, spacious.


have you ever located an area just under the hara, above the sexual centre, that has feeling-elements of both but the gravity of neither?

some words that might describe this place: light, buoyant, untethered, quietly interested, curious, naive, sweet.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

It is classic Re-observation to have one's beak firmly up against what actually is the case, as opposed to what one would like to be the case. One's false resistance is now low after previous stages, and if one is willing things can be absorbed very deeply. I wonder if re-observation is the stage of transformation. Progress is surely more than a process of dissociation or disidentification, however useful and creative that might be. Awareness in the end will do the work by itself, but it is work, and it is transformation. However difficult it has been, I trust the process of the ending of the heart, and would not (be able to) go back. The inner landscape is so different now though that I don't not see any easy way to full-blown Equanimity - it is like I'm being funnelled through the centre of the worst of what is left.


well, there is a sense in which 'what is left' is simply you. i am here thinking of a phrase which has served me well many times to consider: it goes "'i' am 'my feelings, and 'my feelings' are 'me'".. can you see a way in which this might be the case? if so, does the understanding (that these equivalences are so) help direct the worst of what is left... into being the best of what is left?


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

So Tarin, when I say I am becoming 'comfortable' with this dis-ease, it is not in the sense of being willing to accommodate it indefinitely. It is in the sense of getting some measure of it, weathering the excesses of early clear awareness of it, and getting more equanimous about having it there and looking into it (in all its variability). I have an unavoidably clear experience of what it is like for it not to be there, and if it is manageable, look to see the ending of the dis-ease and a return of complete clarity. I do appreciate your concerns about a Transcendent Awareness as some kind of refuge. Since my last post here, I've had a couple of experiences of putting down spontaneously the experience cluster which is the sense of self, while walking home from work. Thy were brief and quite weak, and though interesting not really what I would want. They may have just arisen as an escape from stress!


how are you now?

tarin

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
8/15/10 12:55 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Hi Tarin

I am replying in a new thread, called 'Moving into Equanimity', as this one is becoming unwieldy!

Vajracchedika

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
1/22/11 2:06 AM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Ah, 'emotion' under scrutiny?

Hmm, so it continues unabated......a new thread ...a new idea...a new belief... a new religion...a newly defined emotion...more discussion, more debate, more conjecture, more theories, more discord, more aggreement/disagreement. Isn't it about time people just did what they need to do?

In fact 'I',(as ego and soul), am a work in progress until I am without concern or discord...or until I reach any other goal I may set mysef. 'I' have but two choices...change myself or attempt to change someone or something else.

In fact humans need only address and act upon actual particular issues...fine tuning individual ideosyncratic problems until we are as H an H as we can achieve...or until we reach any other goal we may set ourselves. Sure we can learn from everyone and everything but in the end there is only here and now in which I can learn, operate or function to the best of my abilities.

In fact there is only here and now so I always start from where I am now...precisely each moment again...I never needed to rule anything in, (or out), or convince another of the correctness of my discoveries or indeed of my inferior/superior methodologies.

My first duty was always to my self as flesh and blood.

I myself, (as 'flesh and blood'), bear witness to myselve(s), (as ego and soul), from whom their is no deseit ...no deceit especially when I am in this moment...completely fearless/brave and unrelentingly honest.

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
1/22/11 7:34 AM as a reply to Grant Geoffrey Brissett.
Thank you for this.

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
8/3/10 3:08 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Further reflections about the 'blindness and the jewel' metaphor from Tarin's post...

I seem to have moved on into Re-observation since the last post, and indeed posting helped me clarify and move on, I think. Without the active heart-area, I could see I was in a sense at the mercy of this raw experience of dukkha which seems on the whole to focus around the solar plexus or just below. The heart-response if it was around would be in a sense a refuge or escape from it, and perhaps in that sense would be sentimental or indulgent. This discomfort does seem quite fundamental to self-hood, because, though it is apparently variable in so many ways, obviously impermanent and not-self, it is a consistent indicator of clinging and 'centring in sensations'. When it is particularly active it is like a wound, and the ways in which it is trying to express or exert itself are like a flow of pus or poison. It seems a bit dramatic to put it like that, but the image does speak for itself, rather. The awareness of it is like being trapped or imprisoned, if one was to allow a reaction to form to it - I think this is why it is so difficult to reach in a clean way - without the background we have in practice, one would perhaps inevitably formulate a dualistic response, so as to move away from this discomfort, either into some other experience, or into a response or evaluation of some unhelpful sort. So meditation for some time has had this 'being dragged into the torture chamber from the prison-cell' quality to it. There is nowhere else to go, which is in a sense the worst of it, as the sensations themselves are on the whole not too bad. It is in a sense a static experience - the work is in not going away from it or trying to make something else out of it. The death of the heart-area has meant that I can see this fundamental unease (much more) cleanly and clearly - oh joy!

My working model is that this is fundamental suffering and its activities are the asavas, as 'outflows' seems the right term, and this is a common translation of 'asavas'. So I believe we have the blindness and the jewel of refraction, re-cast as wound and 'flow of poison'. I have been looking at the actual experience and trying to see it clearly. The centre of it not easy - metaphorically it is like blinded craving bound in a sheet, at times trying to get out - in some way it seems to do with the link between awareness, body and mind. It in fact seems to be the way in which mind distorts the relationship between awareness and everything - though I might be being premature. It is consistently wrenching and pulling at experience to some extent or another. It is broadening and easing on the whole with each sit - I really cannot just swallow this one whole, and have to let it unfold at walking pace, so to speak. It has been quite a task just to be comfortable with it - now that I more or less am, I am not sure if there is anything I can do in terms of seeing through it in some way - or whether it is even susceptible to that... It seems like an opportunity of sorts - but for what exactly?

RE: Contribution to the discussions about Emotion; with a bit of a rep
Answer
8/4/10 1:01 PM as a reply to Vajracchedika Ian Vajra.
Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:
Further reflections about the 'blindness and the jewel' metaphor from Tarin's post...

I seem to have moved on into Re-observation since the last post, and indeed posting helped me clarify and move on, I think. Without the active heart-area, I could see I was in a sense at the mercy of this raw experience of dukkha which seems on the whole to focus around the solar plexus or just below. The heart-response if it was around would be in a sense a refuge or escape from it, and perhaps in that sense would be sentimental or indulgent.


the heart-response is indeed an attempt to find refuge or escape from this raw, visceral discomfort of being. further, it is a blind response, for though it is given shape (and made relatively superficial) by social and interpersonal conditioning, it is, at root, entirely instinctual.. it is a part of what the passions do.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

This discomfort does seem quite fundamental to self-hood, because, though it is apparently variable in so many ways, obviously impermanent and not-self, it is a consistent indicator of clinging and 'centring in sensations'. When it is particularly active it is like a wound, and the ways in which it is trying to express or exert itself are like a flow of pus or poison.


and when it is not particularly active, it is like a scab.. just waiting to be scratched open again.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

It seems a bit dramatic to put it like that, but the image does speak for itself, rather. The awareness of it is like being trapped or imprisoned, if one was to allow a reaction to form to it - I think this is why it is so difficult to reach in a clean way - without the background we have in practice, one would perhaps inevitably formulate a dualistic response, so as to move away from this discomfort, either into some other experience, or into a response or evaluation of some unhelpful sort.


another common - though admittedly less so - response is to formulate a non-dualistic response, so as to transcend the discomfort (without moving away dualistically).

to explain:

one can say to oneself that any reaction formed to 'the raw experience of dukkha' is also impermanent and not-self, and as such, one needn't interfere. then one can allow the reactions (one's thoughts, feelings, and actions) to arise and pass on their own, just as one allows 'the raw experience of dukkha' to arise and pass on its own.

now, while this method can make sense in theory (as it operates on an internally consistent understanding of the three characteristics), when actually put into practice, the result is so limited; one is still subject to momentary afflictions (such as fear or irritation or insecurity) because one is still dwelling in the illusion that the cause of these afflictions (which gives rise to them) has an actual existence. so long as this is the case, it makes no difference whether or not one identifies with the cause (which is the feeling of being/Being).. so long as this cause exists, the effects (the afflictions) will arise.

further, i have observed that there are a good number of people who, having practised this (or other, similar) method(s) and reported these (or other, similar) results, have gone on to compound their ignorance of the aforementioned illusion (of being/Being) by believing that they are a transcendent awareness which cannot be touched by these afflictions, and who, therefore, do not care that these afflictions continue to arise.

if you want the discomfort (and all its unhealthy consequences) to truly end, be wary of doing this.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

So meditation for some time has had this 'being dragged into the torture chamber from the prison-cell' quality to it. There is nowhere else to go, which is in a sense the worst of it, as the sensations themselves are on the whole not too bad. It is in a sense a static experience - the work is in not going away from it or trying to make something else out of it. The death of the heart-area has meant that I can see this fundamental unease (much more) cleanly and clearly - oh joy!


joy indeed, as seeing the fundamental unease (more) cleanly and clearly puts you in a (better) position to bring it to an end.. provided you care enough to keep going until that's done.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

My working model is that this is fundamental suffering and its activities are the asavas, as 'outflows' seems the right term, and this is a common translation of 'asavas'. So I believe we have the blindness and the jewel of refraction, re-cast as wound and 'flow of poison'.


my advice, in case you would like it, would be to notice, again and again, how the 'flow of poison' colours your experience. contrast this colouration with what your experience is like when the poison isn't flowing.. or contrast the different flavours of poison, the different ways in which it flows, from each other.

also, notice, again and again, what things the flow of poison activates in response to. notice the subtle details of cause and effect in action here. abandon the causes that lead to poison; favour the causes that lead to its absence.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

I have been looking at the actual experience and trying to see it clearly. The centre of it not easy - metaphorically it is like blinded craving bound in a sheet, at times trying to get out - in some way it seems to do with the link between awareness, body and mind. It in fact seems to be the way in which mind distorts the relationship between awareness and everything - though I might be being premature. It is consistently wrenching and pulling at experience to some extent or another.


have you read daniel ingram's descriptions of what he calls 'the attention wave'? you may find his first two posts (the original post and his first reply) in the af and insight: pce mode and cycling mode thread to be of interest.


Vajracchedika Ian Vajra:

It is broadening and easing on the whole with each sit - I really cannot just swallow this one whole, and have to let it unfold at walking pace, so to speak. It has been quite a task just to be comfortable with it - now that I more or less am, I am not sure if there is anything I can do in terms of seeing through it in some way - or whether it is even susceptible to that... It seems like an opportunity of sorts - but for what exactly?


in case you are thinking of this phenomenon in terms of clinging or blind reaction, consider that if the wrenching and pulling and distorting of experience is there (such that feelings of anxiety or discomfort can even arise in the first place), this means that the clinging/reacting is already happening, and as such, that no amount of 'not identifying with it' is going to fundamentally change what is already taking place.

if that makes sense to you, consider asking yourself these questions:

am i willing to get comfortable enough with the discomfort that i am able to see/feel it clearly, in such detail (and with such willingness) that the illusion which gives rise to it is penetrated sufficiently and my experience becomes wondrously sensate (and pristinely unaffected)?

am i willing to actually do this, rather than only become comfortable enough to dissociatively surrender my ability to do the very best thing i can do for this very body living this very life... which is to bring it (this body) to a state in which it can always live peacefully in the most down-to-earth and clearly manifest way?

tarin