Brick wall after 2nd path

Dom Stone, modified 5 Years ago at 6/20/17 4:04 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/20/17 11:46 AM

Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
I wasn't sure if this needed a new thread, but don't think it closely enough matches any existing ones.

Stream entry came after approx a year of formal practice (and a much longer period of questions and experiences), 2nd path only a month after that. Things were a bit crazy with the cycling for a little while after and now things have settled down somewhat. I'm getting the feeling this is going to be a long uphill slog, and the ñanas aren't quite having that same diagnostic criteria vibe they used to. It feels like the difficulty level has been ramped up 10 times, and it's disheartening not knowing what's going on which leaves part of me doubting my progress, while the other part of me is sure of the emptiness of that other part of me.

I've never been good at the concentration sides, or spent that much time on samatha meditation, so this may come in useful, but normal life is starting to seem pointless. Love seems to be a very good thing in this world however, becoming clearer with the lack of distortion put on it.

I feel that I'm having a lot of subtle aversive behaviour like checking up on the recent politics of the UK, or even having Mr Monkey Mind chilling out with me and my girlfriend. As third path is supposed to remove clinging to sensual desire, to what degree is this supposed to be restrained. I think it's probably important for me to note and restrict any time I'm being averse to the present moment, eg responding to desire with no skillful outcome, but it's all such a dense fog of subtle cravings, I feel like maybe I should be meditating for 5 hours a day to bring it down, not the disappointing 1 hour that is happening right now.

I think I need pointers, despite the fact part of me has been ignorant enough to believe that skillful intent alone is sufficient. Maybe it is, but that won't necessarily stop a micropocket of cosmic delusion giving me a big cuddle!

Everything is very spacious in my visual field, and despite some unresolved forgotten lustful personal stuff from the past surprising me with its strength, desire is a wounded beast.
When I meditate, I see my awareness jumping to different parts constantly, feel like it's a hinderance when my mind groups objects in my visual field together, like it's solidifying what isn't, but maybe it's ok when it is noted? It feels like my mind is just desperate to cling onto some sort of sense in the visual field that it creates lines that don't exist out of leaves and mud etc.

I assume I'm supposed to investigate the nature of this jumping about?

There seems to always be flickering, forest floors breathing sometimes, and by observing these I feel that I am missing something important.

I know I've been working on this path for a very short time, but I feel like I'm missing something.

Also this conceit of "I" feels like a constant existential angst making life an ahedonic mission in search of nothing. It is like there is a weightless weight, buried deeper than my conceptual storytelling, that words cannot touch, and cannot be touched by...
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 1:35 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 1:35 AM

RE: Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 1448 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
This is a stream of consciousness ramble, did you actually have any questions you wanted answered or are you just blowing off steam?
~D
Dom Stone, modified 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 3:50 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 3:48 AM

RE: Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Sorry! It was a bit of both I think, I'll try to clarify.

I'm honestly finding the right questions hard to gather.

Is 1 and a half hours meditation a reasonable target assuming I'm starting toward 3rd path?

To what extent is morality a factor? Its certainly highlighted in my life, but feel that it is more than just making sure I uphold the 5 precepts.

The main thing that's an issue is the bewilderment and lost feeling. I think the most information I have gleaned on these paths is from your posts DW, which I have found particularly helpful.

In terms of proprioception, I've noticed the apparent location of sensations as conceptually relative points in non dimensional space if that even makes sense? Like instead of there being a feeling in a hand or a foot on a different field, they are in the same place but a different phase. It's hard to explain, and I'm not sure if it's even the right way to view things!

Sorry about the rambling nature of the last post, I'm just finding these things hard to put into words. I think I'm just seeking a bit of clarification to see if things are 'going ok', but maybe I should remember that things are going just the way they should, and the sooner I realise the the better lol...
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Ward Law, modified 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 9:18 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 9:18 AM

RE: Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 123 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
No apology necessary. There's nothing wrong with your original post.
Dom Stone, modified 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 9:55 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 9:55 AM

RE: Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Thanks for letting me know! I still think I should put more effort in getting the intended point across.

Just come back from my meditation spot. I paid specific attention to the existential malaise while focusing on my breath and gathered an insight on the nature of this suffering. As the mind became more concentrated, the mind noise got more pronounced. Normally at this point of 3C's, my mind normally gets louder too preventing mindfulness. Then it became clear, it was simply the compulsive desire to create mental formations, not just the big ones as an attention object, but vibrations around 10 to 20 times a second as well. All with the purpose of holding up the illusion of duality. Afterwards, there was a much more direct seeing of phenomena, though it felt less impactful.

This is motivating indeed.
Adam, modified 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 10:16 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 10:08 AM

RE: Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 110 Join Date: 3/10/16 Recent Posts
Is there a reason you can't mediate more? Do an hour or two in the morning and evening? Use weekends for meditation? Go on retreat? I'm in similar territory (post 2nd, pre 4th) and find solid practice yields progress, though I'm finding the need to carefully balance effort and surrender. Also, putting a lot of willpower into maintaining mindfulness off the cushion seems very important. And also, the spirit of investigation that got you to Stream Entry in the first place.
T DC, modified 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 11:10 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 11:09 AM

RE: Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 464 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
I actually think your first post has a lot to say about where you're at.

Adam:
...solid practice yields progress ... putting a lot of willpower into maintaining mindfulness off the cushion seems very important. And also, the spirit of investigation that got you to Stream Entry in the first place.


I definitely second this advice from Adam – bear down in practice and stick with the technique that has gotten you good results so far.

As far as increasing meditation time, personally I think an hour a day is sufficient, maybe you could try to bump it up to an hour and a half. Off cushion practice, moment to moment attention to sensations or mindfulness, is the most important factor IMO.

Dom Stone:

… the ñanas aren't quite having that same diagnostic criteria vibe they used to. It feels like the difficulty level has been ramped up 10 times, and it's disheartening not knowing what's going on which leaves part of me doubting my progress, while the other part of me is sure of the emptiness of that other part of me. .. I feel that I'm having a lot of subtle aversive behavior…

I've never been good at the concentration sides … becoming clearer with the lack of distortion put on it.


In my experience, the nanas are largely useless for diagnosis between 1st and 3rd path – I found little correlation in my own experience – so don’t worry about that.

General confusion, lots of subtle aversion – sounds like par for the course. 2nd path IME was about recognizing there was lots more to be done and really bearing down. You mentioned 3rd path alleviating sensual desire, but it’s really not that simple. Yes attainment makes our mind clearer (as you said “lack of distortion”), but the fetters model does not track well, and there is still a long path beyond third. The path is tough and we encounter lots of uncomfortable mind states – necessarily – as we are gradually working through them. I would say don’t worry about content too much and stick with the technique – maybe contemplate the 5 precepts if it’s really bothering you.

Practice wise, post second is a great time to work on developing concentration skill – the mental boost from 1st and 2nd path attainments lends itself well to jhana practice. IME after second path you should be able to work through the first 4 jhanas without too much trouble.

Looking at third, Daniel Ingram said his path moment occurred with the realization, “the cycle is complete”, and my experience was remarkably similar. It felt as though a mass of subtle mental content suddenly clicked, and was neatly resolved. A friend had an experience in which he realized, “Aha! THIS is how you meditate!”. So third path seems to manifest as a subtle experience based insight.

The result of this insight is greatly increased confidence, observed in myself, my friend, and also here (https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/294901) - so there’s something to consider going foreword.

I hope this helps!
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 7:15 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/21/17 7:15 PM

RE: Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 1448 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Dom Stone:
Sorry! It was a bit of both I think, I'll try to clarify.

I'm honestly finding the right questions hard to gather.

Is 1 and a half hours meditation a reasonable target assuming I'm starting toward 3rd path?

To what extent is morality a factor? Its certainly highlighted in my life, but feel that it is more than just making sure I uphold the 5 precepts.

The main thing that's an issue is the bewilderment and lost feeling. I think the most information I have gleaned on these paths is from your posts DW, which I have found particularly helpful.

In terms of proprioception, I've noticed the apparent location of sensations as conceptually relative points in non dimensional space if that even makes sense? Like instead of there being a feeling in a hand or a foot on a different field, they are in the same place but a different phase. It's hard to explain, and I'm not sure if it's even the right way to view things!

Sorry about the rambling nature of the last post, I'm just finding these things hard to put into words. I think I'm just seeking a bit of clarification to see if things are 'going ok', but maybe I should remember that things are going just the way they should, and the sooner I realise the the better lol...
Hey, no judgement, I've rambled plenty here. I felt like you were looking for something though and wanted clarification. If you have specific questions I've always found it useful to number them so the people can refer to that number and respond.

45 min twice a day is fine, did that a lot thru the years, some more, some less.

Morality can be an issue if it is an issue, only you can decide that.  Golden rule dude.

Feeling lost after second is standard for most. I've felt lost for quite a while in the past looking for a good map of third, I finally just mapped it myself...its been quite difficult to do. 
I've identified about a dozen shifts after 2nd path that I consider to all be in the third path territory. Some minor and some major. I've created a flowchart of them and am trying to finalize it. 
Proprioception has three major components to work on. Loci within the body, at the boundary of body, and personal bubble surrounding you. I'd work on those things as they seem to be gates for some to continue progress. Each shift is quite evident unless you got one as a package deal with previous shifts, then diagnoses are a bit harder.
I'll try to get off my lazy butt and post it all to my 'framework of awakening' post.
Good luck,
~D
Dom Stone, modified 5 Years ago at 6/22/17 3:07 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 6/22/17 3:07 PM

RE: Brick wall after 2nd path

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Thanks for all the replies, just what I was hoping for, will try respond accordingly, but I'm not sure how to quote multiple people using my phone.

My practice time tends to vary, at good times it's 2 hours a day with slightly irritatingly obsessive noting through parts of the day. What Adam says about effort and surrender is nice to know. I feel that there's this compulsion to keep "moving forward" that can really hinder allowing some quietude.

I've had a couple of shifts so far, notably the upgrades to visual field. Colours are always strong, and everything looks HD, like I've gone and upgraded my TV to a high end Samsung lol. There are other shifts but I can't make them out. The most annoying thing is when I get some shift that makes me go "whoa" like the personal bubble thing. For about 3 hours, when walking back from meditation, my mind suddenly decided it was much too much effort to keep the illusion going, and I was no longer in any particular place in my body, and felt like the awareness around it instead. This also shifted the selfing process in conversations with people too. That gradually went, possibly by social interaction, but it would be nice if I could just drop whatever it is I do that seemed so much more appealing than effortless presence!! 

Id be very interested in reading your additions to your Framework of awakening!

Adam, probably partly due to laziness. I'm finding it hard to properly write the other reasons I have in my mind which makes me question their validity. I would love to go on retreat for the kick up the ass motivation, however have various commitments that I need to finish to improve my life and simplicity. After September, things will be more suitable. Would be good to take the samatha side more seriously as I don't believe I have gone above second jhana through concentration alone. Perhaps the diagnosis for ADHD / Bipolar are not as superficial as I had hoped, but I think with the correct long-term commitment, I shouldn't be at any true disadvantage. Think there's just more for me to get through with that than with the average meditator.

Thanks for explaining the uncomfortable mind states T DC. I guess is the fact that the issues become far less 'superficial' as they progress, and the relative flow of 2nd gathered a false confidence. I feel that I'm bumping against some gritty walls made out of little buzzy chattery demons that, if seen through, would dramatically changed things.

To repeat on the jhana thing, despite the fact samatha jhanas aren't going too well, the vipassana 'jhana' state feels like it spends most it's time around 4th, with the occasional shuffling around. Things do feel very present and focused, but this isn't hard jhana, so it's definitely a topic of confusion for me!

Nice to hear about the type of final 3rd path insight. It explains the nature of the cycling to me, and give me patience as well. 

Thanks for the replies, really helpful stuff! It's such a shame that pragmatic dharma can't hit the mainstream!