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Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox

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Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/28/17 4:25 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/28/17 4:59 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/28/17 4:48 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 9/30/17 10:58 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 9/30/17 4:59 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 10/1/17 6:23 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/7/17 12:16 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 1/18/18 1:28 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/18/18 8:53 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 1/19/18 2:55 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/19/18 3:10 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 1/19/18 3:41 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/26/18 9:35 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 1/27/18 6:14 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/27/18 11:55 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 1/27/18 1:13 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox T DC 1/27/18 5:43 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox seth tapper 1/27/18 5:14 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/27/18 9:54 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 2/1/18 9:52 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 2/14/18 8:45 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 2/14/18 11:13 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 2/14/18 11:26 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 2/19/18 7:55 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox JP 2/19/18 12:54 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 2/24/18 3:23 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 2/24/18 3:49 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/2/18 9:12 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 3/2/18 10:45 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/3/18 12:54 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/8/18 9:59 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/20/18 7:39 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/25/18 4:04 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 3/25/18 5:41 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/25/18 2:31 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 3/25/18 4:21 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/27/18 8:48 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox T DC 3/28/18 6:09 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/28/18 11:21 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 3/29/18 7:07 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/29/18 7:56 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 3/29/18 8:17 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 3/29/18 8:29 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/29/18 6:53 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 3/29/18 9:05 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox seth tapper 3/29/18 10:00 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 3/30/18 7:20 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/29/18 6:59 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 3/30/18 7:27 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 3/30/18 10:32 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox seth tapper 3/30/18 11:14 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/30/18 6:19 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 3/31/18 8:17 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Alice S 3/31/18 2:50 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/30/18 6:23 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 3/31/18 7:58 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/12/18 8:33 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/12/18 9:11 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/13/18 5:09 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 4/13/18 7:03 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/13/18 7:14 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 4/13/18 7:49 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/13/18 9:31 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 4/13/18 10:22 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/13/18 6:23 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/15/18 4:11 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox T DC 4/17/18 8:00 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/19/18 11:35 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/21/18 1:03 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/21/18 1:26 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/22/18 9:54 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/25/18 1:55 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 4/23/18 6:24 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/23/18 11:55 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/24/18 10:52 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox T DC 4/25/18 3:25 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/26/18 3:25 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/26/18 9:00 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/27/18 10:16 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 4/27/18 5:58 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/28/18 5:31 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/29/18 8:26 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/30/18 9:18 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 4/30/18 9:29 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/1/18 9:33 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/1/18 8:52 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/2/18 11:44 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/4/18 4:29 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 5/4/18 7:20 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 5/4/18 8:29 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/6/18 2:14 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/6/18 4:12 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/8/18 8:25 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/13/18 3:02 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 5/13/18 11:44 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/16/18 9:35 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/18/18 9:11 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/19/18 11:14 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 5/19/18 4:02 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/26/18 3:05 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/26/18 10:23 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 5/31/18 11:22 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 6/1/18 6:07 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/1/18 1:39 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/2/18 11:39 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/6/18 8:46 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 6/6/18 9:54 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/6/18 2:18 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Nikolai . 6/6/18 9:37 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/7/18 4:04 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/9/18 12:18 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 6/9/18 8:10 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/10/18 12:19 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/10/18 12:31 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox T DC 6/10/18 11:45 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/10/18 1:20 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/11/18 7:00 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/13/18 7:31 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/15/18 2:36 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/17/18 12:45 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/17/18 3:08 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 6/17/18 9:35 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/19/18 9:55 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/24/18 2:48 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/25/18 8:14 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 6/25/18 8:37 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/28/18 8:24 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 6/29/18 8:52 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 6/29/18 9:27 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 7/4/18 1:20 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox T DC 7/7/18 6:39 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 7/11/18 8:49 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 7/18/18 10:38 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 7/19/18 8:08 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 7/21/18 11:50 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 7/21/18 12:41 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 7/22/18 6:02 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 7/22/18 8:33 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 7/22/18 8:08 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 7/24/18 10:25 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/6/18 1:24 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/6/18 6:33 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/6/18 9:47 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Adam 8/6/18 11:50 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Lars 8/6/18 4:00 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Alice S 8/6/18 1:36 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/7/18 5:57 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/9/18 8:37 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/10/18 10:29 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/11/18 12:04 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Alice S 8/12/18 3:20 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/13/18 2:04 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/13/18 2:30 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Nick O 8/13/18 9:53 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/15/18 8:50 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/15/18 10:55 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 8/15/18 10:22 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/15/18 1:32 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/15/18 4:21 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Adam 8/16/18 2:34 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Adam 8/16/18 5:18 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/18/18 10:20 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Adam 8/20/18 4:47 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/18/18 10:40 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/22/18 4:44 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/23/18 12:25 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/25/18 2:11 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Laurel Carrington 8/25/18 10:24 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/25/18 10:17 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/26/18 11:12 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/26/18 11:42 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/26/18 2:21 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/26/18 2:47 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/26/18 4:15 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/26/18 4:21 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/26/18 5:21 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/27/18 11:25 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/27/18 2:50 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/27/18 11:26 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/28/18 9:43 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/28/18 10:32 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 8/28/18 10:53 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/28/18 11:01 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/30/18 11:52 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 8/31/18 6:16 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/1/18 1:50 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/3/18 10:59 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/6/18 5:16 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/7/18 10:51 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/9/18 8:17 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/10/18 6:04 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 9/10/18 7:13 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/13/18 6:08 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 9/13/18 9:03 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/14/18 10:42 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/16/18 11:25 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 9/17/18 6:59 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/17/18 11:37 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/23/18 1:00 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/23/18 6:14 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Laurel Carrington 9/24/18 8:57 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/21/18 2:03 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/30/18 4:23 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox JP 10/30/18 8:59 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/30/18 7:10 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 11/1/18 10:07 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 11/2/18 8:22 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/24/18 8:58 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/27/18 10:56 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/29/18 3:25 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox ivory 9/30/18 6:40 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 9/30/18 11:48 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/3/18 1:31 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/6/18 7:23 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/16/18 10:55 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/20/18 10:28 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Lars 10/7/18 2:39 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/7/18 2:46 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/7/18 8:09 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Jehanne S Peacock 10/9/18 7:57 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/19/18 8:32 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/20/18 2:28 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/21/18 3:17 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 8/26/18 2:49 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox T DC 8/25/18 12:00 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 6/12/18 6:06 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 5/19/18 10:15 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 4/24/18 5:47 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Nick O 4/13/18 11:41 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/13/18 7:12 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Nick O 4/14/18 12:25 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/20/18 2:39 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/13/18 6:16 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 4/14/18 4:47 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/20/18 4:09 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/13/18 5:30 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox terry 4/13/18 5:19 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox T DC 3/29/18 11:38 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/29/18 6:54 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Adrian 3/29/18 11:50 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 3/31/18 6:50 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 4/1/18 6:04 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/1/18 1:48 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 4/1/18 6:45 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/3/18 3:07 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox rik 4/3/18 4:22 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Nick O 4/5/18 12:21 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox curious 4/5/18 2:03 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/9/18 7:36 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/9/18 7:43 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/10/18 10:19 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 4/11/18 8:44 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 4/11/18 12:19 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 4/11/18 12:26 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/7/17 12:24 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 10/7/17 10:01 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Daniel M. Ingram 10/2/17 12:28 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/7/17 12:30 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox D. 10/16/17 2:14 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox seth tapper 10/16/17 6:03 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/7/17 12:52 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/9/17 1:25 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Adrian 10/9/17 11:34 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/9/17 1:08 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Adam 10/9/17 4:54 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/9/17 9:12 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/10/17 11:51 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/16/17 8:12 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox JP 10/19/17 1:54 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/30/17 8:24 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/30/17 8:42 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/31/17 4:05 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/18/17 12:06 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 10/19/17 7:15 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 11/18/17 10:44 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 11/22/17 8:44 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 11/24/17 1:54 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Dom Stone 11/26/17 11:30 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 11/26/17 4:11 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Dom Stone 11/26/17 6:21 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/2/17 3:15 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/9/17 10:36 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Chris Marti 12/10/17 11:04 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/16/17 6:47 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/23/17 2:06 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox shargrol 12/23/17 5:47 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/26/17 11:39 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/27/17 7:12 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/28/17 1:57 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Dream Walker 12/28/17 12:06 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/28/17 12:36 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 12/30/17 7:50 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/2/18 11:58 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/4/18 4:45 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Francis M. Crawford 1/4/18 8:49 PM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/18/18 8:45 AM
RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox Noah D 1/18/18 8:56 AM
Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/28/17 4:25 AM
.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/28/17 4:59 AM as a reply to Noah D.
The premise of the thread is space for my thoughts and dialogue with others concering dharma in all forms, particularly being open to playing with dharmic ideas in unusual ways.

Continuation of old thread: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5715677

Starting anew due to length of previous one.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/28/17 4:48 AM as a reply to Noah D.
9.28

Very stressed at work & it will only get worse over the next few months before calming down again.  Having insomnia due to anxiety plus years of a sleep-aid med, up until about six months ago.  I learned from my teacher that, through the development of skills, I could eradicate all types of suffering.  Realizing now that I may have misinterpreted.  I can't have everything - sacrifices are still necessary.  More money, more work, more stress.  More money, frequently in an area with higher cost of living.  Less money, less work, less stress, less resources, more free time, frequently in area with lower cost of living (less fun, more isolated, lower quality of living?).  Similar breakdowns for other areas of life.

I don't think it is possible (at least for me) to have an intenisve job & no stress.  Something about this I am not seeing.  This dukkha aspect.  Not penetrating into the actuality of it.  This is the way things are.  Sacrfices, choices.  Perhaps I've thought I could have my cake & eat it too.  

Enhanced nondual perception makes things easier.  It's helped me get where I'm at.  I don't know if the goal is actually to change myself so much that I adapt to fast-paced job with no stress.  So for now it's: more work coupled with intermittent high stress & insomnia.  Nothing is permanent,  It won't always be exactly like this.  But this 'see-saw' effect of comprimise - I don't think I'm seeing that clearly on a day-to-day basis.  

More broadly I think this is says something about the eightfold path.  The implementation of it is built around the elimination of craving.  If one stops trying to change things, they will still need guidelines to make choices afterwards.  By this I mean the embodiment/integration path, whose order is wisdom -> morality -> concentration.  I kind of thought I could 'bargain with reality.'  Use dharma training to navigate a corporate world & more responsibility & just gain internal flexibility to compensate.  Maybe that is not how it works.  If I want to live in a city, I may need to take a job that will cause me more suffering.  Same for if I want to start strong in my career.  If I'm willing to sacrifice where I live and/or professional acceleration, I could probably do something slower paced.  

I must admit it makes me sad to realize this.  Can't have everything.  Not sure what I want to do.  I'm honestly really grateful for all of the dharma training though.  I'm not miserable by any means.  Just figuring things out.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/30/17 10:58 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Hi, Noah.

Thanks for starting a new thread on this topic.

I'm a product of the same dilemma you've just described. I have a couple of ideas on it from long experience: 

1) Business people have stress. It's an inevitable part of living according to external influences and pressures. Stress has both negative and positive effects, however. If used as a motivator it can help. If seen as a "bad" thing it can overwhelm. I suggest relaxing into stress and being accepting of it - unless you just cannot get there. Which leads me to...

2) You're thinking the right way about the choices you face. I applaud your self-awareness. My perception of this is it's something you've developed by really working at your practice in various ways. This is going to serve you well over your lifetime. I wish I had done what you've done at your age! I didn't get to it until I was 20 years older than you are. Good for you!

3) Jhanas -- they can help you get to sleep and they can give you a break from stress. They're a  great tool if used effectively, not just a sidetrack on the path.


emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/30/17 4:59 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
+1 on the advice and on the complement on how fortunate to have done the hard work to be this aware in the 20s.

I find that if I sit before I go to sleep, even into a dreamy state, right up to the point where I'm really ready to crash into sleep, then during that sit a lot of the thoughts, worries, planning, etc. of the day will bubble up and off --- basically I'm letting many of the things that would otherwise wake me up with insomnia off gas before I sleep. 

That said, another thing I've gotten used to is there are simply times when I don't sleep well (often around full moons). I no longer make insomnia worse by feeling bad about it. Sometimes the frustration is worse the the missed sleep.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/1/17 6:23 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I remembered something else -- oddly enough it woke me out my sleep last night! emoticon

One thing I always say to newer employees is that "People will keep giving you work. They don't know everything you are working on and if you just smile and say okay, they won't know you are being overworked. You have limits to what you can do and you are getting paid only so much money. You need to decide when and how, but you will have to say no at a certain point. You have to let them know that you have reached the limit of what you can do. You can ask them for how to prioritize the tasks you have been given, but you need to let them know that you can't do it all. Ironically, people will respect you if you say no -- and they will intentionally or unintentionally walk all over you if you do not."

Sometimes we rehearse a few scenarios, all of which end with them saying different sentences containing the word "no".

Hope this helps someone. I wish I was told this early in my professional working life.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/2/17 12:28 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Even the Buddha didn't promise the end of all suffering while alive, and he suffered from various pains and stressors until his death. Just sayin'. 

Currently enjoying the audiobook of Great Disciples of the Buddha, which gives some nice details of the trials, tribulations and annoyances of some of the great early practitioners of the dharma.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/7/17 12:16 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
I remembered something else -- oddly enough it woke me out my sleep last night! emoticon

One thing I always say to newer employees is that "People will keep giving you work. They don't know everything you are working on and if you just smile and say okay, they won't know you are being overworked. You have limits to what you can do and you are getting paid only so much money. You need to decide when and how, but you will have to say no at a certain point. You have to let them know that you have reached the limit of what you can do. You can ask them for how to prioritize the tasks you have been given, but you need to let them know that you can't do it all. Ironically, people will respect you if you say no -- and they will intentionally or unintentionally walk all over you if you do not."

Sometimes we rehearse a few scenarios, all of which end with them saying different sentences containing the word "no".

Hope this helps someone. I wish I was told this early in my professional working life.


Thanks Shargrol.  It's funny to hear you write this. I received this exact piece of advice from: my friend, my dhamma teacher & my work manager last week.  The trick appears to involve saying no or "pushing back" in tactful ways that get other people to do the work for you, shorten/simplify tasks, etc.  My overall goal seems to be do as little work as possible to not get fired & to remain on a path to get promoted eventually.  This is in the context that my job is not my passion & it is not directly a service profession. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/7/17 12:24 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks Chris.  I value your advice, I know you've had a lot of experience in both the meditative & business worlds.

I'm a product of the same dilemma you've just described. I have a couple of ideas on it from long experience: 

1) Business people have stress. It's an inevitable part of living according to external influences and pressures. Stress has both negative and positive effects, however. If used as a motivator it can help. If seen as a "bad" thing it can overwhelm. I suggest relaxing into stress and being accepting of it - unless you just cannot get there. Which leads me to...


I think it is my inexperience in business and/or level of dhamma training, but at this point what is working is lowering stress by thinking "what is the worst thing that could happen?" & making back-up plans in case I get fired (even though I am in good standing).  For whatever reason this is what works right now.  I could spend all day choicelessly accepting the fear, vipassanizing it & doing self-enquiry on it, but when the rubber hits the road, I need industrial-strength methods to get to point b.  (Not that this is what you were saying, just reflecting on the toolbox available.)


2) You're thinking the right way about the choices you face. I applaud your self-awareness. My perception of this is it's something you've developed by really working at your practice in various ways. This is going to serve you well over your lifetime. I wish I had done what you've done at your age! I didn't get to it until I was 20 years older than you are. Good for you!


I do feel lucky to have this training when I reflect on it.  I intend to bring that gratitude more to the fore of my day to day mind.

3) Jhanas -- they can help you get to sleep and they can give you a break from stress. They're a  great tool if used effectively, not just a sidetrack on the path.


In the interest of honesty - I can get into a 'decent' jhanic state when the conditions are right & sit in it for a long time.  However, the "soft" jhanic states that I have access to at any time (including when I am restless at night) do not knock me out :/

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/7/17 12:30 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel:

Even the Buddha didn't promise the end of all suffering while alive, and he suffered from various pains and stressors until his death. Just sayin'. 

That's a fair callout.  I would say my goal is to get to a "good enough" point of automatic worldly functioning, open knowing & mood regulation.  Once I'm there maybe I'll decide to keep attempting to deepen the practice, or perhaps to coast, or perhaps some other option that I can't see right now.

Edit: I wanted to add that I have no reason to believe that this "good enough" point is not possible.  This is based off of the amount of transformation I have experienced in a little over 4 years.  At this rate I should be able to hit my 'price' within a few more years.
Currently enjoying the audiobook of Great Disciples of the Buddha, which gives some nice details of the trials, tribulations and annoyances of some of the great early practitioners of the dharma.

Thanks.  I will check this out.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/7/17 12:52 AM as a reply to Noah D.
10.6

*I wrote a bunch of stream of consciousness on different topics here.  Too lazy to organize.

"Not my problem" is my new best friend emoticon  Tentatively, I have solved my insomnia through this attitude.  The short explanation is that I stopped getting stressed out.  The long is that I have been processing the impressions of the day in my head as I go to sleep.  Having these vibrations bouncing around prevented me from sleep.  Realizing that most of these issues are actually unrelated to my personal responsibility to myself is a solve.

So, my responsibility is essentially to provide myself food, shelter, clothing & medicine, now & in the future.  It is also to ensure that I don't die from illness, injury, excess cold, excess heat, thirst or hunger.  I have no dependents as of now.  My job is simply a means to provide those things for myself.  

Sleep is more pressing to those survival needs than my job is.  Insomnia is bad for the brain, bad for the body.  When I let myself have insomnia because I am trying to accomplish more at my job or in my daily life, I am essentially moving too high on Maslow's heirarchy of needs.  The very mechanism through which I am attempting to accomplish the higher, career needs is undermining the lower, physical survival needs.

I started reading the Mr. Money Mustache blog, as well as some of Vinay Gupta's resilience stuff.  The idea for MMM is that if you can save/invest 25 times your living expenses for one year, you can retire & live off of the accrued interest from your investments.  The goal is to reduce your living expenses & increase your satisfaction with the money you do spend.  This is *remarkably* compatible with what I have learned from Dhammarato & with the teaching on renunciation in general. 

It has not been until recently that I would have been ready to hear something like this.  Learning to be happy through living off of less simply did not make sense to me before I cleared a ton of 'shit' out of my 'energy system' (or however you want to frame it).  But now, the very participation in the moment is inherently pleasurable or complete, so it makes perfect sense to simplify the contents & patterns of those moments.

Zooming out a little more, I see more parallels with what has happened with the seattle pragmatic group & with these resilience/independence strategies.  It is about removing centralization, heirarchy, monetization, consumerism, rigid rules & filters, while increasing efficiency, honesty, direct mechanisms, peer-contribution, mutual gains & individual independence.  I have noticed in a short time it is possible to facilitate quite a few different dharma groups in various cities & countries.  After a few short weeks, people begin to report progress in their practice. 

There is obvious benefit to a group of cheerleading dharma friends getting together to talk openly about practice, being technique/phenomenlogy driven, etc.  There is obvious benefit to learning to save enough to live off of indefinitely, learning to live a healthier lifestyle, etc.  Vinay Gupta has some cool stuff like hexayurts (a cheap, permanent, weather-proof structure that he claims can solve the world's housing crisis) & etherium (a type of block-chain currency that he helped create which is now fairly popular).  The interesting thing about these things is that they do not require governments or corporations to run.  People can bootstrap them to get them going.  They both relate to survival.  I see the formation of grassroots sanghas, as well as the connection between grassroots sanghas, as belonging to a similar vein: open source dharma for the entire world in a way that avoids common pitfalls (it doesn't cost money, there's no teacher).

In spite of all this newfound inspiration, I'm mostly just learning to let things be.  I don't need to do more, I need to do less.  It's not my job to save the world, it's my job to keep this mind-body going & that's about it.  The rest is just extra software programs I've installed over time.  Most of it's malware anyway.  Nothing to do, nowhere to go.  I can smell this vast static as I lay down on my pillow.  I smile & look at the demons of responsibility.  With one wink, they writhe in pain & die away.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/7/17 10:01 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah, I think you have the right idea - the combinatoin of practice and practical/behavioral strategies will help you a lot as you navigate your day. Silver bullets only work on werewolves.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/9/17 1:25 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Right lifestyle (or livelihood) is starting to make more sense.  My ignorance of it explains my pendulum-swing from excitement about career to dread of it within a few months.  

My teacher has previously made it clear to me that right lifestyle is about handling the four requisites correctly.  This includes the way one secures them (i.e. having an ethical job).  Money represents food, shelter, clothing & medicine in the future.  Therefore, proper handling of money is proper handling of the requisites.  The direct dealings with the requisites simply involves taking necessary amounts of things to sustain the body-mind.  

It seems sort of like burning a candle from both ends: stash money away to secure requisites in the future & use only a small, necessary amount of them in the present.  Planning for an early retirement fits perfectly here, which my teacher calls "planning your exit."  If there is excess money past that which is needed to sustain the body-mind till death, donating to effective-altruism causes is the obvious choice for it.

When I am at work, my time there represents the money that is going into my bank account.  That money represents the maintenance of me.  Other things also contribute to this maintenance.  Things like exercise, diet, disaster/emergency preparedness, car/home care, etc.  These habits mostly just help avoid unnecessary loss of resources.  

I have felt a bit angry these past couple of weeks.  This may be a reaction against feeling anxious, like an emotional see-saw.  This anger has made me feel detached from my job.  However, that is all emotionally driven.  It would be foolish for me to purposely leave my job at this time.  But it is also foolish for me let it stress me out.  It is true that I could find another job & pivot/adapt if my current one ended.  However, the accumulation of resouces it provides is pretty good.  So I should try to keep doing it.

This necessitates probably focusing on what works rather than what feels good.  Business is never going to make me feel good.  Business is dukkha.  Stop trying to "get a handle" or "get some certainty" about it.  

I'm thinking of a martial arts analogy.  I tend to be really OCD & process focused in my work.  When I have time, I can do a task really well.  When I don't have time, it drives me nuts.  I'm sort of like a karate-player in this way.  Karate is very focused on forms: performing one form again & again, one gradually builds up their spirit & hones a slew of other skills which would transfer to a fight (supposedly).  On the other end of the spectrum, you have pressure point fighting.  A system of pressure point fighting would be only based on preparing for & ending a real fight as quickly as possible, by any means necessary.  The perfection of the spirit is secondary to defending oneself using as little work as possible.  

Perhaps I need to be more of a pressure point fighter at work.  Meaning, spend as little time there as possible (stay within 40 hour work week), being maximally efficient & efficacious for the goals of the business & ultimately not allowing it to stress me out because I would be OK if I lost the job.  

Cool - I'm going to go with that.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/9/17 11:34 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Hey Noah,
What do you think about earning a living in doing things that are meaningful to you, that you enjoy and are passionate about?
Why do you think that the act of earning money necessarily has to be unpleasant?

Adrian

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/9/17 1:08 PM as a reply to Adrian.
Adrian:
Hey Noah,
What do you think about earning a living in doing things that are meaningful to you, that you enjoy and are passionate about?
Why do you think that the act of earning money necessarily  has to be unpleasant?

Adrian

Sounds like a pipe dream :p

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/9/17 4:54 PM as a reply to Noah D.
I have similar issues of getting stressed about work, something I've found helpful is trying to change my attitude to treat it like a game. You get better at games by relaxing and trying things out and trying to get in the zone and shrugging off failures. Work isn't necessarily any different if you approach it the right way. Something that helped me learn this is observing other people who seem to thrive on the parts of work I find stressful, and try to figure out what they're doing. The most productive, efficient people are often also the most fun to work with, they aren't the people frowning and stressing out and beating themselves up.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/9/17 9:12 PM as a reply to Adam.
Adam:
I have similar issues of getting stressed about work, something I've found helpful is trying to change my attitude to treat it like a game. You get  better at games by relaxing and trying things out and trying to get in the zone and shrugging off failures. Work isn't necessarily any different if you approach it the right way. Something that helped me learn this is observing other people who seem to thrive on the parts of work I find stressful, and try to figure out what they're doing. The most productive, efficient people are often also the most fun to work with, they aren't the people frowning and stressing out and beating themselves up.
Thanks Adam.  I have found similar things to be helpful as well.  Solid pointers.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/10/17 11:51 PM as a reply to Noah D.
10.10

I think I may understand the underlying intention behind the precepts, at least for me.  Commonly, they are thought of as preparation for meditation.  They seem more to be a result of prolonged practice or a way of expressing the fruit of practice.  

I feel this delicious silence cutting into more & more of my day.  The pull towards stillness, physically & mentally.  This is permeating my consumption of food & water, my handling of the body, of my money, my living space, car, etc.  This responsible action allows the muscle of self in increasingly subtle forms to relax - the deep tissue & fascia of ego.  

The precepts, as well as guarding the sense doors, is a way to preserve & grow this silence, like watering a plant.  Communicating in ways which harm others disturbs this oasis.  I process other people's cues & then they bounce around in my head later.  I think as things are getting smaller in here I am more sensitive to these impressions, at least sometimes.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/16/17 8:12 AM as a reply to Noah D.
10.16

Over the past couple weeks, it feels like I can now keep my head inside a turtle shell.  After bringing my attention back to the breath for awhile, that became a solid diversion.  As more pointed distractions arose, they would pull me away from the breath.  This degree of distraction actually gave me insomnia.  Purposefully detachment became necessary.  Reasoning at the level of the problem: "I'm not worried about x, because I would be fine without it due to y."  This seems to have cured the insomnia. 

Doing samatha practice at a friends house last weekend, I found that I suddenly could concentrate.  This hasn't abated.  It has developed into a sense that I can retract into a protective shell and abide there for as long as I need to.  Within it, thoughts, emotions & external perceptions do not disturb.  It feels quite practical as it allows me to abide seemingly indefinitely without engaging with any other stimuli.  I can imagine potential criticisms upon reading this of course.  That is okay.

I am not talking about the ability to have choiceless awareness of unpleasant sensations, or nondual perception of the defilements.  This is a fairly popular modality amongst advanced meditation practitioners.  For some reason they see it as the be-all-end-all, when really it is merely a useful counterbalance against overly-suppressive Western misinterpretation of classic Buddhism (see Than Geoff's Buddhist Romanticism for more on that).  I'm specifically speaking to having both a choicless, nondual surrender into the field and the ability to abide free of defilements simultaneously.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/16/17 2:14 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Even the Buddha didn't promise the end of all suffering while alive, and he suffered from various pains and stressors until his death. Just sayin'. 

Currently enjoying the audiobook of Great Disciples of the Buddha, which gives some nice details of the trials, tribulations and annoyances of some of the great early practitioners of the dharma.
Why even practise then, when probably the greatest meditation practioner in history still suffered? Life seems like a futile waking nightmare that leads nowhere if a way to cut suffering at the root doesn't actually exist.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/16/17 6:03 PM as a reply to D..
It isn't true that post full awakening there is suffering.   Physical pain, sure, but what we call suffering, nope. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/18/17 12:06 AM as a reply to Noah D.
10.17

Some pattern has continued.  It feels like an inner shelter.  It is different from my experience with the following things:

-nondual perception of hindrance
-equanimity/nonreactivity towards hindrance
-antidoting hindrance with attentional technique
-resting into jhanic factors to distract from hindrance

It feels like all of these things are facing toward the myriad appearances within the field.  This feels like I'm facing away from it.  It feels like I am maybe in a cozy attic or a storm shelter where everything is peaceful & quiet despite chaos raging outside.  I'm not specifically aware of the nature of the chaos in this state.

I can link many tensions I have developed to my inability to do this type of self soothing.  I suspect it is not spiritual, but rather very basic.  I had an experience related to this in a group spuds meditation tonight: I was repeatedly returning to the shelter sense; Creating more & more space around the thoughts raging on the surface (anxiety about work); Suddenly I had a realization that I have an anxiety disorder -- I felt like a scientist observing my own mind, only able to see from the outside the quality of my mind's dysfunction;  At noticing this, everything felt very physically solid for a moment & I knew in my bones that my thought patterns were not substantial, not physically solid. 

Edit: I think what is different (maybe) is that I may have reached a tipping point with my sila where the level of risk I feel in terms of basic things like money, health, career, relationships has dipped below a level where it is logical to continue worrying about them. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/19/17 7:15 AM as a reply to Noah D.
10.19

I think I'm starting to have some sense of how the dhamma scales.  So the primary thrust of most discussion on pragmatic dharma message boards is what I would now call "thresholds of right mindfulness."  That is, after one gathers a certain amount of data from some sort of meditative/attentional technique, the structure of the mind shifts.  The process of reaching this shift is none other than the progress of insight.  The critical mass or threshold which marks a point-of-no-return is the so-called 'path.'  This threshold can occur in one cessation, a dramatic insight experience, or much more gradually.

I honestly think focusing only on this is a totally valid & helpful goal. I do not think it makes sense to generalize that there are a specific number of these shifts or a specific order in which they occur.  I do believe there is an end point to them.  I also don't think it makes sense to associate these with what is talked about in the pali canon as the stages of awakening - in terms of terminology or actual content of what occurs.  It is true that these thresholds of mindfulness are associated with improvements to thought, speech & behavior as well.  These 'package deals' are the stated goal of the 8fold path.  However, there is an unfortunate tendency for someone in pragmatic dharma forums to achieve a threshold of clinging-reduction (which is the same as mindfulness & perception as far as I'm concerned) and then use a term from the pali canon to label that result.  

What has happened for them is a legitimate transformation.  Once again, the stated goal of the 8fold path is to affect many, many of these transformations.  This does not mean that each one is a new level of nirvana.  There are many, many permanent, radically life-changing shifts before sotapanna.  This should not somehow belittle or lessen the significance of any one of them.  They are the very building blocks of happiness.  Sotapanna is a massive, permanent, total character-perception-behavior-emotional-lifestyle-intellectual reformation.  It is a synergy of many epiphanies that results in a specific algorithm which is none other than the uprooting of the first three fetters.

Having provided context for what a 'technical path' is vs what a traditional one is, in terms of the 8folds, I'd like to unpack the other folds.  It all starts with right mindfulness.  Regardless of how these 8 components were organized through history, I believe this is their functional order.  Mindfulness is first.  It is a data gathering process that results in perceptual shifts & also gradual improvements.  This all happens before any of the other folds.  What is confusing is that utilizing the other folds out of order can help one achieve the perceptual shifts.  This is why many people order the 3 trainings as sila, samadhi, prajna rather than prajna, sila, samadhi.

Once mindfulness is initiated, it is powered through Right Persistence (aka Right Effort) -- This persistence is what makes mindfulness actually work & form right view & the rest of the folds over time.

This data must then be filtered & utilized.  This is similar to analytics in business.  Mindfulness provides a database but doesn't necessarily tell you the story of the data.  The process of shaping the data into a story & also the resulting patterns is Right View.  Lots could be said about right view but does not really need to be said beyond this.  It is simply the understanding that both arises from & is applied to mindfulness - the nature of this understanding is sukkha or happiness.

Then comes Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action & Right Lifestyle.  These build on each other.  They operate on a spectrum from subtle to gross or from micro to macro.  They are none other than the process of dependent origination.  It's very simple.  Your thoughts become your words.  Your words your actions, your actions your life.  Each link in this chain must be intentionally informed by right view.  Meaning, the choice of how you conduct your inner & outer mind-body must be made using the observations from right view.  It is not enough to stop at mindfulness.  No matter how good you get at mindfulness, if you want to fulfill the total stated goal of these teachings, you will have to change the actual content of your thoughts, words, behaviors & daily life.  Sensory clarity, concentration & equanimity amidst unskillful living patterns is not enough.

Something very special happens when all of these previous steps gel.  It is a type of synergy that is hard to describe (ineffeble, if you will ;) ).  The mind & body align  towards the goal of right view & happiness.  The conscious & subconscious unify.  All expressions of one's inner & outer world are suffused with the atmosphere "taste" of happiness.  This does not, in any sense, mean that one becomes at all monolithic, sanitized, emotionally-limited, etc.  These are all misinterpretations of the 10 fetter model.  

This is a meta-way of being in the world.  It is a skill of learning skills.  A hyper adaptive mechanism at every level.  This is the true anatta realization - a way of operating, not just percieving or truly knowing.

to be continued (need to add relational, communal & societal levels in addition to finishing individual level)

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/19/17 1:54 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
10.6

I started reading the Mr. Money Mustache blog, as well as some of Vinay Gupta's resilience stuff.  The idea for MMM is that if you can save/invest 25 times your living expenses for one year, you can retire & live off of the accrued interest from your investments.  The goal is to reduce your living expenses & increase your satisfaction with the money you do spend.  This is *remarkably* compatible with what I have learned from Dhammarato & with the teaching on renunciation in general. 



I think there are some very interesting parallels between Mr. Money Mustache and pragmatic dharma / MCTB.  They both make a strong case that seemingly quite lofty goals are actually attainable by ordinary people provided that they're willing to put in a moderate amount of hard work, and that the hard work itself can be interesting and enjoyable.  They also both lay out a systematic and legible path to follow in which certain actions will lead to certain results, which for some people can be an empowering contrast to what they've been exposed to in popular financial and spiritual writing.  And for those of us who like a certain amount of legibility and systematicity, this all adds up to discovering new options for what kinds of lifestyles are possible.

I think where the story diverges for now is in the public reception to the two.  I ran across MMM a couple of years ago, and found myself surprised by how many of my friends also were very interested in it.  I think most of my surprise was how much people were willing to discuss it publically -- stuff touching on money, budgeting, etc. is the sort of thing that most people tend to politely avoid discussing since it's an emotionally sensitive topic.  But somehow Mr. Money Mustache does a surprisingly good job of shifting the emphasis from the taboo money side to the "interesting challenge side" so that people felt comfortable talking about it in public.  It's interesting to look at pragmatic dharma from that angle, since I think that even more good could come potentially come from awakening being taken seriously and discussed publicly. 

I personally haven't discussed my practice that much with friends or family for all the good reasons that come up whenever people have discussed evangelism here before, but maybe there are different ways to tell the story of pragmatic dharma that could allow it to enter the cultural mainstream.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/30/17 8:24 AM as a reply to JP.
@JP: Really interesting parallels & divergences.  Thanks for sharing.  I agree that talking about money can be emotionally sensitve, as can practice when you go to a mainstream meditation group.  For practice, I do think that there is a way to do it that is palletable & marketable.  You kinda have to "sell it" though...

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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10/30/17 8:42 AM as a reply to Noah D.
10.30

I think that I need to push my philosophy on resource consumption further.  I was pretty damn wasteful up until maybe 3 months ago & that was usually because I was basically medicating myself or numbing my feelings through different excessive habits.  But now I don't need to numb my feelings anymore because I like my consciousness & its relation to this body & the habit patterns that have been formed  here.

Rather than thinking that living extravagently is normal or standard & that resisting that pattern is discipline or "extra", why not switch them around?  Basically, any time I am acting, speaking, using time, using money, consuming food, water or energy, sleeping, I am interacting with the world & using some sort of resource.  Given that there is a finite amount of these opportunities, it seems to make sense to use them cautiously.  

From that perspective, it seems really silly to drink a lot of alcohol (which causes me to lose at least a day of productivity), to waste a lot of time (which causes me to get backed up in my errands), to consume bad information sources, to not interact with others in an open & nourishing manner, to not exercise regularly, or to not prepare & consume food & water properly.  So why do I violate these things?  I think I have some lingering software programs which are telling me that it is cool to consume stuff.  Be powerful, be big, consume a lot.  That sort of thing.  Also telling me that it is cool to be tough & to have shitty conditions but to be able to get stuff done anyway.  I suspect some of this idealogy is decidedly american & masculine.  

For whatever reason, I seem to have learned that it's cool to make things harder for myself, but that I can learn to be so damn resilient that I will make them easier for myself on the front end & just plow through.  I've honestly taken this mindset into the dharma, believing that if I could become the toughest-10-fetter-arahant-gangster-alive then nothing could touch me.  But although I have become a lot more resilient (despite being nowhere near an arahant), the stronger tendency that is arising is a sense of intelligent design towards my life at all levels.

Take human interaction, as an example:  I have usually had a lot of friends in my life.  All the while, I have been gradually healing certain psychoemotional tensions.  What I've discovered is if I open my heart & remove the filters & masks I put on when I talk to other people, I can actually get a lot more 'nourishment' & connection than with my ego face on.  It's like having 5 conversations for the price of one.  

Food & money are big ones.  They interface with time.  Whenever I am not working, that is pretty much my time.  I usually think towards getting my errands done quickly so I can have as much free time to veg out as possible.  That is premised on the idea that I need vegging time to recover from the previous day of work/errands & charge up for the next day of work/errands.  But why do I need to have a negative relationship with work/errands?  With the proper training in the 8fold path, these things are none other than sources of happiness.  

So why not change it so that I emphasize the proper handling of resources (errands) as the same as free time?  Or just nix the concept of free time entirely.  Work vs play is definitely a false duality.  When done correctly, work becomes play.  The handling of resources is a game to be mastered.  Through & through, all the way to the bottom of the mind.  No need for holdouts of the subconscious still plugged into the morphogenetic field of consumerism.  

Through wise design, the need for vegging time goes down.  Something like that.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/31/17 4:05 AM as a reply to Noah D.
10.31

Tim Ferris talks about choosing your problems & says something along the lines of "if you don't have free time you aren't making decisions."  I am noticing that my paragon of practice is morphing away from one of complete resilience to tough conditions & towards one of utter willingness to accept limitation and therefore make things easy on myself for the future.  It is clear to me that there are a finite set of activities, that, when performed well, will maximize happiness in my life.  I do not believe that this set of activities is somehow separate from the noble eightfold path.

It includes things like successful career, money management, time management, diet/meal prep, exercise, a lot of nourishing & authentic human connection, sleep, self care & home care.  There are also a lot of other things that I don't have time for that are really healthy & encouraged.  For instance, at my current level of functioning, I don't possess the ability to do all of those things well AND volunteer in the community once a week AND spend a couple of hours in nature once a week.  There just isn't bandwidth for all of these activities to reoccur regularly.  That is perfectly OK.  I am grateful to have the ability to consciously choose what I am leaving off of the list.

There is one thing I sometimes hear in spiritual circles around this idea of accepting limitation, which I don't agree with: that is the idea of that non-remarkable or average conduct is perfectly acceptable when trying to cultivate a spiritual path.  I don't believe that one can continue to consume the same TV, media, food, social interaction, etc & just choicelessly accept all of it & that will lead to full fledged awakening.  Some people would take those lifestyle adjustments & place them as a precursor to wisdom or insight training.  I would actually place them as a product or embodiment of the realization after it has occurred.  In my opinion this is a crucial distinction.  

I don't believe that the amount of happiness I can experience is limited or at least less than 99% of all waking hours & eventually sleeping hours.  I do believe that the amount of material control or abundance is severly limited.  It is more about mindfully managing a finite amount of materiality (including time) than it is about generating more stuff. 

This all leads me to admit that I have come up against a wall: for the past 8 or so months (I'm not sure when actually) I have been off of a medication I previously used to regulate my sleep.  While I have been able to get quite a bit done in various areas of my life during this time, I have not been able to consistently sleep for an average of 8.5 hours per night.  Rather, my sleep has been fairly irregular.  I have tried (both methodically & randomly): binaural beats, sleep hypnosis, sleep hygeine, melatonin, benadryl, somatic descent meditation, metta/exemplar tantra meditation, breath medtiation, counting sheep, various types of self-talk/self-programming, amongst others.  Many if not most of these pursuits provided fruitful lessons that are applicable to other areas of life & even cool things like hypnogagia.  However, they have not resulted in consistent sleep pattern.

I have to accept that insomnia may not be under the control of self conditioning outside of medication at this time.  Insomnia is bad for the brain & body and stopping it is very high on my priority list.  Higher in fact, than not taking a medication for it or avoiding subtle, next day grogginess as a result.

Experience is ultimately disappointing.  Dukkha.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
11/18/17 10:44 PM as a reply to Noah D.
11.18

I'm experimenting with just allowing myself to feel my feelings.  Not subtly taking the witness, not mentally labelling them, not focusing specially on the non dual aspect of them, not bringing compassionate attention to them, not particularly being here-now in a hypersensory manner, not surrendering & opening my heart & allowing it all to flow -- just being with them in a moderate or mediocre everday way. 

Most of the experience I experience is fairly boring & dull.  I also notice there is giddiness, fear, confidence, agitation, anxiety, neutrality, excitement, inspiration, anger & rapture.  My baseline happens to be nondual & rapturous, which is not my fault -- I'm not trying to make it that way.  When I do this choiceless awareness stuff, I also have meditation events like cessation, jhanic aspects, some kind of "rigpa", the flow of kundalini, etc.  When I have these events, other thoughts & beliefs sometimes occur before & after, revealing how I contextualize this type of thing with the rest of my life.

Also, I notice the storyline that "noah is practicing to make his life better."  And although that storyline is totally necessary & valid, it is a storyline just like any other one like "joe shmoe wants to be a great father" or "jane doe is studying to become a champion at pinball."  

There is a need to control things.  It is not as if letting go is all that is necessary.  I hear people say that.  Ridiculous to me.  But it is a type of thing, 2 at the same time:

1.  Be at peace in heaven or hell

2.  Do actually "try", at the same time as being at peace, to optimize for heaven

3.  Be at peace with the effort in point #2, even though it contradicts with point #1.  Be at peace with the contradiction.

End of story.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
11/22/17 8:44 AM as a reply to Noah D.
11.22

Bring things into the light of awareness that have been hidden.  This part hurts.  Maintain a relaxed & open mind which contains that.

Act appropriately.  Antiodote as needed.  Return to the openness.  

Blend & balance surrender with control.  On one level, surrender is all that is necessary.  The path is all laid out before us.  This does not mean one is "done."  It is said that the full maturation of the 3rd thogal vision is halfway to the path of buddhahood.  This is something few ever reach.  Having learned a bit about the true 4 stages of Theravadan awakening, I can say with confidence that few ever reach even the first stage in that map.  So the path doesn't end. 

However, a certain type of striving does not need to be there.  There needs to be acknowledgement that what is happening is inevitable, total, always whole or integral.  Striving to escape or change this basic nature of experience is delusion.  

Striving to perfect the path which occurs within this completeness is not delusion.  That distinction is one I've frequently seen be overlooked.  I can't find the source for it, but I think Chogyam Trungpa said "You're already enlightened, but you could use a bit of work."  A confidence in the path, even an idealization of the stages, having big goals, this is not delusional striving.  As long as there is a basic connection with the natural quality of completeness of all timeless experience, this can be leaped over.  

I know the flavor of experience when practice gets too heavy on the control side.  It feels like I have to tighten my mind to perform appropriate action & keep it that way until it is time to sleep or rest.  It feels like I'm putting on a type of armor.  Honestly, to not do this feels impossible because each action is so tiring; so much resistance.  However, the 'view' demands the truth - that these sensations are empty upon arising.  They are none other than the lively display of potentiality blooming from the ground of being.  In other words, there is nothing here on this side to be hurt.  One peice of the field can not be hurting another - the formulation of struggle or resistance requires a static or independent part that is separate from interconnectedness.  

Confidence in this view, as well as the fact that I have a large portion of it stabilized already, is needed when approaching high degrees of resistance & using relative or mundane means to suppress them.  Especially when making the transition between relaxed openness & effortful methods.  That is the time when I am most likely to completely give up.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
11/24/17 1:54 AM as a reply to Noah D.
11.23

Watching what comes up.  Not trying to change it.

Fear that I will develop physical health problems if I don't do diet & exercise.
Fear that I will develop money problems if I don't practice frugality.
This manifests as a slight blockage in the chest & throat area, as well as a cloud of black whisp on my inner screen near eye level.
I can disembed from these thoughts & sensations as not me.  
When I do this I am afraid I am overly manipulating.
I can disembed from that.
I return to the basic connection with the field of sensation as a whole, knowing this consciousness to be an emanation from it.
I wonder when I can stop surrendering.  
Within that wonder lies the same energy as all the rest.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
11/26/17 11:30 AM as a reply to Noah D.
It's interesting that I can really identify with the 'problem stuff' and the nuances of the type of neuroticism that arise. Perhaps it's a bipolar thing? I'm still unsure where I will ever be able to cure it or not, though I'm thinking it'll be mainly cured with a HUGE drop in suffering (as opposed to 80% which is close to what it seems now). I believe that mania is dependent upon conditions, and that depression is mostly dependent on the fatigue onset by the overactive brain. (Not mind, the mind is the one with the problem with it)

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
11/26/17 4:11 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Just a quick comment for Dom Stone: there is nothing you can ever experience that is not dependent on conditions.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
11/26/17 6:21 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks Chris. I was obviously too vague in that paragraph, and looking back, what I said was rather silly!

To correct myself:
I believe that mania is dependent on conditioned behaviour that is most likely settled from an early age, rather than the popular opinion that it simply triggers off spontaneously as if somebody slipped some drugs in their drink. There are popular medical opinions that I believe stem from a misunderstanding (or at least non-understanding) of its mechanism of action. All we know is from studies of behaviour and neuroimaging which can only tell us fairly basic things with regards to patterns and predicability, which tend to be more prominent in limited settings (Such as your average medicated manic depressive who sees the shrink once every 2 months, and who may never get the chance to practice the dhamma like we do).
It's common belief that bipolar is incurable and drugs with therapy is the only treatment. Unfortunately, if used in a long term setting, the drugs create dependence, and lessens a person's potential for independence provided they had the correct tools to work things out in a more holistic manner. further reinforcing the belief that it is incurable. This is damaging to the outer environment due to social stigma and people's lack of faith outside of a drugs program. I find this damaging for the patients psyche and motivation to seek out new neural pathways and more importantly, combat the addiction of kindling.(When manic thoughts lead to more manic thoughts as it generates what is perceived as pleasure, but is actually suffering in disguise. To see it as the suffering it is seriously reduces the likelihood of continuing to the point of total fatigue where the only option is a comedown. As the ego doesn't like not being able to do whatever it once could, it fixates on   an inverse mania kindling of misery. Due to neuroplasticity, as this behaviour is familiar, it becomes a more standard mental platform to experience the world. The neuroimaging fixates on this issue, putting an overemphasis on the materialism, which is one aspect only. Mindfulness training is good for creating awareness outside of these pathways and creates a lower signal to noise ratio in the brain, creating less stress and less tendancy to have an episode in future. Heredity is a common factor which is taken to be a direct cause for bipolar, though I believe it just creates predispositions for certain types of neuroprogramming.

Sorry for hijacking your thread Noah, but just felt like sharing and thought you might be interested! emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/2/17 3:15 PM as a reply to Noah D.

10 Paramis
  • Long-term determination leads to
  • Momentary persistence leads to
  • Wisdom (empirical knowledge of 3 c's in immediate experience) leads to
  • Renunciation (inferential knowledge of 3 c's in all other levels of experience) leads to
  • Equanimity (non-reactivity) leads to Forebearance of pain
  • Generosity leads to Right Conduct leads to Honesty & Loving-Kindness
Explanation
  • An overarching goal of practice results in
  • Day-by-day repetition of technique results in
  • Completing the progress of insight & gaining perceptual shifts which are the direct knowledge of emptiness 
  • This direct knowledge is then applied (either automatically or purposefully) to belief structures which are the seeds of behavioral & emotional patterns, including negative ones.  Harmful behavioral & emotional patterns are not compatible with the direct knowledge of emptiness.  They reduce the inherent pleasure from the perceptual shift & go against the visceral lessons of interdependence.
  • This observation of incompatibility leads to the need for equanimity in the face of all conditions.  Once gained, this equanimity powers the ability tolerate pain - forebearance.  This group of skills is necessary because of circumstances that are out of one's control.
  • When the emptiness of one's attachments is recognized, the logical step is to no longer be attached.  From here, the appropriate response is to share one's resources - generosity.  
  • The practice of generosity creates space in the mind-heart.  This space makes it easy to conduct oneself with discipline (meaning taste rather than preference).  
  • With the refinement of conduct comes an openness in communication because one has nothing to hide - Honesty.
  • Also with the refinement of conduct comes an openness of the heart - Loving-Kindness.


Notes
  • Some people will naturally develop the rest of the chain after Wisdom because they automatically understand it's implications for the rest of life beyond the perceptual immediacy.
  • Some people will need to consciously & intentionally cultivate Renunciation in order to apply the 3 c's to underlying belief structures which lead to behavioral & emotional patterns.  These are coarser-level manifestations which may seem to be bucketed into the separate training of "morality" but really are none other than the full fruit of Wisdom.  However, without Renunciation in place, there is  no bridge between the two & the trainings seems arbitrary.  
  • Renunciation is the least attractive element of traditional Buddhism(s) to modern-western Buddhism(s).  Modern-western Buddhism(s) have attempted to create many alternatives to Renunciation, citing that we are lay people with complicated lives & that traditional Buddhism can be overly simplistic in its denial of the full spectrum of psychology.  This attempt to refute the importance of Renunciation does not acknowledge the pyschological sophistication in oft-underemphasized canons such as the Abhidharma.
  • Mahayana is frequently invoked as an alternative to renunciation by the mushroom culture.  The idea of being 'Theravada in technique but Mahayana in attitude' can be heard in many talks on the Dharma Seed archives.
  • There tends to be an emphasis on the Paramis of Honesty, Loving-Kindness, Conduct & Generosity because these are more easily aligned with Abrahamic value systems.  However, when these things are attempted without gaining the perceptual shifts & their renunciation add-ons in advance, they are a feedback loop of self-punishment & therefore samsara.
  • When performed authentically, the perceptual shifts are the base for the rest of Buddhist training.  The fact that striving (Determination, Persistence) is necessary to complete the Progress of Insight & achieve perceptual shifts is suppressed in mushroom culture because such striving is predicted to be toxic for modern-western people.  
  • The 10 fetter shifts are achieved through a balance of the Paramis.  The 10 fetter result is the true, intended fruit of the dharma.  Few people achieve even the first of the four stages of enlightenment because this balance is hard to do.  It involves going against many preconditioned aspects of human nature & modern life.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/9/17 10:36 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Things are changing
They can't be relied upon
Therefore, they aren't satisfying

Feelings based on things
are seeking satisfaction
by relying on a set "stance"
Therefore, they are based on the delusion
that things are permanent

Actions based on feelings are delusion
Actions should be based on the truth of what is observed
Which includes that there is no actor
However, even actions based on truth
are subject to impermanence
and can not be relied upon for satisfaction

The reason for right action 
is not satisfaction
The only reason for right action
is to encourage recognition of the truth of the basis of mind
Which is the same as expressing that basis of mind

The only thing which matters
in each element of the path
is recognizing that no satisfaction can be found in conditioned phenomena

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/10/17 11:04 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Wonderful!

Jumping off the cliff - nothing to catch you, falling, falling... with the realization that there is no ground to stop you, that you will never hit anything permanent.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/16/17 6:47 PM as a reply to Noah D.
12.16.17

I think I understand an intermediate phase I must now begin, if I am ever going to accomplish my goals of a spiritual life.  Having solved a lot of my anger, agitation & anxiety, I have begun to notice a layer of depression that was not accessible before.  

The “high energy” negative emotions were drowning it out of view.  Now I’ve had my perceptual shifts, morality shifts & general growth.  Recently I did some study of the Manual of Insight which taught me certain things about the pervasiveness of the three marks of existence that I was missing.  Doing some systematic “disenchantment” meditations layered on top of the new view of the 3 c’s has worked really well.

Then these last couple weeks, I started noticing that I could target laziness, anxiety or sloppiness with my “disenchantment gun” but there was a deeper sound or wavelength humming there.  When I listened to it, I realized that beneath my basic avoidance of obligation, there is a layer of depression or non-inspiration.  A type of quicksand continuously sucking the energy from my body.

Immediately upon identifying it, I noticed a surge of natural inspiration.  I have begun to learn basic coding & applying that with success in my job.  I also have felt the drive to start looking up aspects of cooking & housekeeping that I have been ignoring.  I tend not to get into things unless I can understand their context & the underlying principles behind what it takes to do them well.  For instance, with cooking, there are the 3 types of heat, the 5 basic effects of heat, the 5 basic tastes, the major food groups, food prep/storage/cleanup, etc.  I don’t like cooking unless I really dig into these things & understand what makes food taste good.  Then from there, I can apply that understanding to the renunciation practices of spending less money, eating healthy & saving time.

Same with my job.  I never like to do things just because “that is the way things are.”  I always want to know why things are done & if they can be done better, let’s find out how.  This can be applied to all of the basic areas of life - interest & strategy rather than “just do it”, reliance on repetition or willpower.  

I think I might need to allow myself to get more deeply entrenched into samsara in order to eventually get out of it.  Develop a stronger self in order to eventually lose the self.  What are those principles that I am missing in terms of housekeeping, fashion, lifestyle, cooking, finance?  These things are interesting when they are looked at for the dynamics through which they are done well, rather than their mundane contents.  I tend not to separate art from science when it comes to this sort of thing - the principles are the aesthetic - what functionally works is also the creative expression of the thing.  I can’t get inspired by things that I plan to do in a mediocre manner, which I think is an aspect of character rather than unskillful ego.  

Perhaps I am only thinking of this now because I was too depressed before to notice.Also, I recently realized that the training in Dana & Sila are to reinforce the knowledge of the 3 C’s.  In other words, they have no inherent value from a dharmic context other than the fact that right conduct undermines one’s perception of its own validity: a self-destroying feedback mechanism, if you will.

Somehow, getting more into samsara -- more into doing mundane things in a quality way can be necessary to overcome a depressed avoidance of those things completely.  In this case, the danger of attachment to “nice things” is way less than the danger of attachment to avoiding having to do nice things.  So the performance of them in an inspired & vigorous manner is ultimately that which will lead to them being seen as impermanent, unreliable & unsatisfying.  


RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/23/17 2:06 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Sitting with self criticism vs 

undermining the very paradigm/value system which gave rise to that self criticism in the first place

Healing psychodynamic wounds vs

Going back to the memories of situations which gave rise to those wounds & reevaluating the validity of one's original judgements 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/23/17 5:47 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Very meta -- nice!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/26/17 11:39 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I care to assume that personal meditative transformation can be scaled & effective at societal levels.  I know it is popular in pragmatic dharma to be cyncical or skeptical about the power of meditation to do this.  That is ultimately silly to me.

However, for this to work, the idea of meditation as a way of taking a break needs to be understood as spiritual pre-school.  Then the idea of meditation as a way of just sitting with whatever comes up & letting go of control needs to be understood as spiritual kindergarden.  It is not until these things have been grokked at a bsic level that the real work of shaping one's life can begin.  Of course, these aspects continue to mature until one is completely finished with the path, but to assume that they are the be-all-end-all (which is happening right now with many practitioners that I come into contact with) is surprising, to say the least.

People whose primary practice for decades is to just observe nonjudgementally or to try to gain insight into surrender/choiceless awareness & be kind to themselves from the witness chair are being held back from graduating, year after year.  This makes me sad.  I believe that perceptual shifts can be scaled at a massive level somehow, some way.  Starting in the 1940's a man named U Ba Khin did this successfully with Burmese gov't employees.  It is good that meditation is happening in a variety of different settings now. 

U Ba Khin's student Goenka then created centers all around the world.  I'm sure there are a variety of problems with the Goenka centers but I suspect they do more good than harm overall.  Certainly with knowledge of the downsides of meditation & that recent tragedy of the person who committed suicide, there is a growing collective consciousness of the need for a balanced, informed-consent approach.  Also, I think Goenka centers promote the practice of morality/conduct, but I wonder if it is done in a realistic way.  I don't know.  I could imagine a type of teaching on virtue which is completely universalizable to people in different culture & that also explains how these actions *synergize* with formal meditation to wire in permanent traits.

The possibility of freedom in a tangible sense, in a predictable fashion (the maps), would be good to introduce.  It shouldn't be only the progress of insight map - that is too specific.  I think Shinzen has the right idea - it needs to be a general map of wiring in permanent traits at a variety of different levels, with many opportunities for insights & power ups along the way.

It should be communicated, again & again, that despite the language of maps, meditation is not the process of gaining anything, it is the process of losing things which block what has always been there.  There should be one sentence about surrender for every two sentences about progress.  

All of this teaching on contemplative practice needs to be contextualized into a larger network of altruistic projects that are occurring around the world.  Scaling deep practice that leads to personal transformation so that more people get that transformation.  Creating cultures & memes & using advertising to make this "cool" or "hip" or whatever.  Using social media & computer programming to embed this into the group muggle mind.  Then informing people that a good use of their time is effective altruism.  

Another peice of the puzzle is to save enough money to become financially independent, then to keep working, but to give the rest of the money away to causes *which actually work* or to give the rest of ones time away for the same thing.  This fits in with the teaching on spiritual practice in that contemplation is what leads to one being able to do this happily.  Without perceptual nonduality, psychotherapuetic healing, value system reorg & healthy habit formation, most people would not be able to do this happily.

So the simple formula is:

get enlightened
become financially independent (food, shelter, clothing, medicine)
help other people get food, shelter, clothing & medicine
help other people get enlightened

Wash, rinse, repeat

This is the iterative function that destroys samsara 

Edit:

Here's a good video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtWINl3C_7s

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/27/17 7:12 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Formula for All of Life

[pragmatic dharma*]
[mr. money mustache]
[effective altruism]
[resilience planning**]

*By "pragmatic dharma" I mean the dedicated, hardcore practice leading to perceptual shifts, morality shifts & ultimately ten fetter shifts.  "Cosmopoesis", renunciation & release of basic striving are all subsumed within this meaning.  Things like finding one's life purpose, having deep interpersonal relationship, creative outlets and travel are also contained within this meaning.  Things like dealing with ones own disease, poverty & other personal disasters are also contained within this meaning.

**By "resilience planning" I mean the transformation of ones own life & broader communal structures into prevention of the 6 dangers (too hot, too cold, thirsty, hungry, illness, injury) & the promotion of the 4 requisites (food, shelter, clothing & medicine).  This is technically contained within effective altruism but it is a separate consideration of mine right now so I am including it separately.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/28/17 1:57 AM as a reply to Noah D.
  1. Generosity (dana) - Create space in the mind to allow for virtue (sila), build the platform/paradigm for the rest of the path, an external training
  2. Virtue (sila) - Abstain from causing harm in a variety of ways, an external training
  3. Heaven (sagga) - The results of the previous two trainings are favorable outcomes in terms of the external world, the basis of the dhamma is training for favorable outcomes in a conventional sense
  4. Drawbacks (adinava) - The drawbacks of senusality are highlighted, this is the beginning of the internal path of reworking motivation 
  5. Renunciation (nekkhamma) - The beginning of being able to withdraw from sensuality & the external counterparts of this realization -- the internal corollary to generosity & virtue is realized
  6. The 4 Noble Truths
    1. All conditioned phenomena are ultimately unsatisfactory
    2. The cause of this unsatisfactoriness is not understanding the unreliability & impermanence of all conditioned phenomena
    3. There is an end to unsatisfactoriness
    4. This path leadaing to this end is the eightfold path, which is the alignment of oneself & ones life to the truth nature of all conditioned phenomena
      1. Right View
      2. Right Intention
      3. Right Speech 
      4. Right Action
      5. Right Lifestyle
      6. Right Effort
      7. Right Mindfulness
      8. Right Concentration 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/28/17 12:06 PM as a reply to Noah D.
HMMMmmmm
That is very buddhist centric.
In what order did you actualy do the path? How many others that actually made progress of attainments have followed what order?
Just curious.
~D

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/28/17 12:36 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Lol.  The order I did the path was a crap ton of noting for 2 years (the last 2 steps of right Mindfulness & concentration) then a mish mash of all those steps thrown into a blender (with a continued strong emphasis on those last 2 steps) for the past 2 & change.  This is the uber dogmatic traditional "6 fold gradual training " per the pali canon.

im not sure about others.  I think the most useful path is to get some solid POI completions & perceptual shifts down before trying to nail morality though.  Because a lot of ppl won't even want or need to do the morality path after the wisdom comes.  So as long as they're not being a bad person, why bother? 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/30/17 7:50 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Note to self to be patient in this process...

a little bit of saving
a little bit of diet
a little bit of exercise
a little bit of self care
a little bit of recreation & socializing
a little bit of housekeeping
a little bit of service
a little bit of study

keep curious & interested
keep a light touch
these things are not permanent
rather, these things are that which reinforces the truth of impermanence

keep at it

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/2/18 11:58 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Notes about intimacy 

1.  I now detect a field of awareness-love as my baseline.

2.  Other people are interesting to listen to & observe because they are conscious, just like me.

3.  The only thing that matters when communicating is my wholesome intention.

4.  The details of how people react to my communication is not important.

5.  Self-love is a process that needs to operate continuously & subconsciously.  It is not a static, one-time epiphany.  It is necessary for intimacy with others.

6.  Living this way is a better version than what I was doing before.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/4/18 4:45 AM as a reply to Noah D.
1/4

I'm going to journal a bit about details of my sleep habits here, for the purposes of internal alignment on a strategy forward.

Sleep continues to be an obstacle, although my "floor" or "rock bottom" raises every month.  Meaning, I have higher functioning while lacking sleep now then I ever have in the past.  Also, notably there is no trace of survival stress in the sense of financial, health, career or logistical risk anywhere.

That said, the obstacle is insomnia.  I take either 1/4 or 1/2 of the lowest manufactured dose of a sleep med.  If I don't take it at all, I won't be able to sleep.  My need for either 1/4 or 1/2 fluctuates, depending on biological factors that are unbeknownst to me.   I use my bodily instinct the day of to tell which amount to take.  If I take 1/4 when I should have taken 1/2, I will either have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep & be sleep deprived the next day.  If I take 1/2 & don't get enough sleep, I have a severe "hang over" the next day & need to intake too much caffeine, which is somewhat physically uncomfortable in it's after effects.

Since I have had insomnia related to mood disorder for around 10 years, it would not surprise me if I have developed an aversion to falling asleep & being asleep.  I have been very successful at countering aversion lately.  Last month was the most I have ever enjoyed doing chores & found them inspiring.  

I am going to attempt to counter my aversion to sleep by fostering fun, excitement, inspiration & playfullness through dreaming.  I have some study about this under my belt, as well as several dharma friends who are heavily into dream practices.  Here are the two, low-effort steps I plan on implementing:

1.  Write down my dreams (or no dreams) each morning first thing

2.  Periodically look down at my hands & ask if I am in a dream right now

I am aware that there needs to be a willingness to engage with my imagination here: with whatever it throws at me.  "Suppression" has no place at this table.  Its time to make sleep great again emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/4/18 8:49 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah:
 
As a newcomer to all this, I really appreciate your contributions to this and other forums.  You are, obviously, a big-hearted guy.

Try 2 glasses of red wine and a big plate of spaghetti at 10 pm.  Usually works a charm and if it doesn’t at least you’ve had a nice plate of pasta and some tasty wine.

Not great for the waistline though so you have to punish yourself earlier in the day with a hard workout, which may also help you sleep.

Sounds silly but try it if you haven’t.  It has worked for Italians for about 500 years....except the workout part.....

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/18/18 8:45 AM as a reply to Francis M. Crawford.
@Francis: Thanks!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/18/18 8:56 AM as a reply to Noah D.
1.18

Things are going well in a balanced sort of way.  I keep a stash of healthy food at home & work including chicken, fruits, veggies & nuts.  I've been doing a small amount of exercise every day & practicing better general self care.  My meditation projects in & out of the workplace are going.  Saving is working.  At work I'm feeling confident & taking on more responsibility without being a pushover.  And sleep happens nightly, although no lucid dreams yet.  I'm consuming a little bit of news daily & taking in other useful information like books on python, advanced excel & world news archives. 

A couple adjustments are: find a person to date regularly (although nothing serious), as this is a proximate cause for happiness, at least for me.  Raise the bar of what I consider "clean" in terms of my house, car & appearance to a higher level & keep it there.  Bring back more formal meditation practice.  

Other people may disagree, but this is the way I have been taught the eightfold path.  It is a delicate balancing act of combining the things which make you happy & are of service to others.  Also, it is centered around the synergistic effect these elements have when combined, as well as the momentum-building effect when they are properly sequenced (appropriate intention -> appropriate speech -> appropriate action -> appropriate lifestyle).

My current state is *similar* to what my desired outcome was 4.5 years ago, at the start of this path.  However, my goals then were to be impervious or bullet proof to any woes of the world.  Whereas the reality involves moreso being smart & cautious in my approach to life.  Not having no weakness, but understanding my weaknesses & working around them.  Changing habits to adapt to the needs of my body (i.e. get a lot of sleep) or changing my value system to adapt to the needs of my circumstance & temperament (i.e. changin my goals in dating & finance).  All of this has a deep synergy with my realization into the nature of mind (aka the perceptual shifts or the release of clinging or the knowledge of dependent origination --- all the same thing).  Appropriate operation of the mind & body which is in relative sync with the environment is all contained within the luminous displays arising from empty ground.

I don't expect this state of harmony to last in it's current form.  I know that I will need to adapt & pivot as things change in my life, perhaps dramatically - as life tends to go.  But adaptation gets easier each time one does it mindfully.  Therefore, I fully expect my perception of my life at the level of content to get progressively easier.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/18/18 1:28 PM as a reply to Noah D.
[quote=]

 My overall goal seems to be do as little work as possible to not get fired & to remain on a path to get promoted eventually.  This is in the context that my job is not my passion & it is not directly a service profession. 

aloha noah,

   In light of this statement, you definitely should find yourself something else to do.

   Do what you like, or do nothing. Don't waste your human creativity merely making money. Get into a direct service profession, or create art, or meditate; travel, or go to ground. Do science, or philosophy. Study the dhamma. Hunt for birds of a feather, and flock together. Associate with people who care, or who need care; be a person who cares. You'll never be proud of selling out, of not following your passion; you will always regret the waste of human potential involved in working for less than what you believe in. 

   In my personal view, life has three important aspects: who you live with, where you live, and what you do for a living. If you are happy with all three, life is golden. Two out of three ain't bad. One is enough to sustain you, but keep looking. If you have none of the three, you better jump out the window and run.


terry

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/18/18 8:53 PM as a reply to terry.
Thanks!  I appreciate your point.  Yes I do lots of enjoyable things with my time, similar to what you describe.  Also, although my work isn't my passion, I enjoy it overall & it is a good outlet for my energy.

there is something the Buddha said about having enough food, shelter, clothing & medicine.  I think ones work intersects with that too.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/19/18 2:55 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Thanks!  I appreciate your point.  Yes I do lots of enjoyable things with my time, similar to what you describe.  Also, although my work isn't my passion, I enjoy it overall & it is a good outlet for my energy.

there is something the Buddha said about having enough food, shelter, clothing & medicine.  I think ones work intersects with that too.

"In my home town there are two brothers  
with contrary characters.
One is clever and eloquent,
the other foolish and silent.
The foolish one
seems to have all the time in the world.
The clever one
is always busy depleting his life.”

~ryokan

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/19/18 3:10 PM as a reply to terry.
Good zen there.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/19/18 3:41 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Good zen there.


(wink and smile)

terry

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/26/18 9:35 PM as a reply to Noah D.
1.26

You have to be a healthy child before you can be a healthy adult.
This means having a loving metacognitive awareness stabilized.
This is essentially an attainment of the self-structure (not the traditional use of the term attainment, which refers to a realization of emptiness).  
This attainment is that which is with everything, no matter what, good or bad, through thick & thin.  
It is complete acceptance of the self, of others, of conditions as they are.  
This acceptance comes from the fact that all is within it, all manifestation is "the child" of it.

This condition is not a prerequisite for "awakening" as it is known in certain contexts.
Meaning, one can have a high degree of knowledge of emptiness, dependent origination, the ground of being, nonduality, etc. without having healed the self-structure sufficiently.
To meet this condition, one has to go back to the dark corners & face them not just enough to go through the progress of insight or just enough to develop certain behavioral capacities, but much more than that.
To the earliest sense of rejection, of danger, of uncertainty, of feeling unloved & worthless or physically awkward & uncomfortable or sad.
And meet this place with the same loving metacognition that one places on boredom, washing dishes, going to work, having sex, talking, looking at nature, being in jhana, nondual perception, feeling hatred, etc.
The loving metacognition is the ground of being which contains all of these things.

One thing that always confused me was people told me to "just accept" or "just investigate" these sensations.  "Don't be afraid to feel the bad stuff."  It isn't that simple.  There is a specific type of knowing which must occur & this quality only happens through a certain machine part of the self.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/27/18 6:14 AM as a reply to Noah D.
It's interesting isn't it? People claim awakening or 4th path because they have a high >intellectual< understanding of emptiness, dependent origination, the ground of being, nonduality, etc. ...but it is really hard to say that they truly have knowledge (actual understanding) if they haven't seen how all of these things apply to their actual sense of self.

A parallel is people who intellectually know about psychological models but don't manifest actual mental heath. You can't really say they "know" psychology... basically they just know "about" it.

Unworthiness is basically a clinging to a victim identity in a very subtle sense. It is one of the most basic things we do to "fill emptiness" or "halt imperminance" and it is why dukka is right at the heart of the sense of a separate self. Basically, we use the non-verbal sense that "something is lacking" as an emotional filler for finding "nothing" when we seek "what/who am I?" and then we hold onto that subtle uneasiness as a constant which masks the ongoing sense of imperminance.

When I checked in with my teacher after my basic awakening, he basically ignored my statement. We talked a bit more over the next few months and he was indifferent if I hinted at it. About a half-year later, we met during a week long conference and he didn't seem to want to talk. We eventually went out for lunch and he didn't mention anything as we walked to the restaurant, talked about life in general etc.

I knew what he was doing and I was doing the same thing, because I really wanted to know for myself. 

Any doubt is going to be betrayed in the days, weeks, months after a so-called awakening. The >body< is going to let you know. It doesn't matter what you think or know or can experience. The body doesn't lie. The subtle emotional feelings of needing recognition for spiritual practice/attainment is a really good indicator that there is some sense of unworthiness that hasn't been seen, that the sense of separate self hasn't been seen as the paradoxical illusion it is, that there is more to actually understand, etc.

This is why false gurus are the lowest of the low -- they take the basic problem which practice is supposed to reveal, that's their one job, and then they use it as a form of manipulation and dependency. Any worthy interaction with a teacher should make you more and more self reliant, independent, and frankly indifferent to the teacher over time --- even though in a certain sense they are priceless.

I hope this is useful information for someone.


RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/27/18 11:55 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Hmm.. great points but what I'm saying is moreso the difference between someone who is psycho emotionally healthy without awakened awareness vs someone with awakened awareness & without psychoemotional health.  

Meaning someone can *grok* emptiness in their body & deeply/directly with their perception (not just intellectually) and STILL not have a metacognitive, loving background installed.  There are tons of people with authentic realizations & great yogic capacities that have been built on top of damaged attachment structures.  Meaning, they are walking around in a wonderous, non-clinging, non-dual field of perception with a deep bodily grokking of interconnectedness with mind & environment AND they still haven't gotten over the memories of early insults to self.  They are two seperate things as far as I can tell.  Healing the self structure & realizing emptiness are mostly separate but somewhat combined.  The classic model of the 10 fetters has to do with both, but moreso with healing the self structure after the spiritual knowledge has been subjectified.  

I suspect we're saying the same thing in different ways, except you are emphasizing more how these two axes are intertwined like DNA whereas I see them more in sequence.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/27/18 1:13 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Yeah, I think we're both emphasizing how essential healthy psychology is. And you're right, I guess "DNA intertwining" is kind of my emphasis... or maybe how one scaffolds the other. One aspect supports the other aspect and without the other it collapses.

Insight without sanity becomes conceptual and pathological. Sanity without insight is great (mental health is wonderful), but the human will probably stagnate on a middle level of adult development (and so they will have some odd kind of self-other hangups despite their sanity). 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/27/18 5:43 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Great conversation here guys, I experienced something very similar.  Before I got started on the path, at the end of high school, I had a glimpse of enlightenment experience - a moment of total perceptual unity - in which all my psycho/emotional baggage was (temporarily) cleared out, or perfected.  This led to me to belive that achieving enlightenment - the end all state of non-dual perception / insight - would simultaneously solve all my psycho/ emotional issues. 

On the path I focused entirely on achiving insight as I saw this as master key to any psycho/emotional locks.  Althought gaining insight / attainment did result in major psycho/emotional purification, even upon full enlightenment emotional imbalance persisted.  Ultimately I corrected this issue through a major, energy-balancing breakthrough achived through targeted qigong practices.  As a result, I do think psycho/emotional health and insight can be viewed as seperated yet inter-related tracks. 

The way this translates with qigong is that people naturally experience a range of physcho/emotional or energetic balance (The Master Key by Robert Peng has a great section on this), innately and seperable from degree of insight - insight in turn helps to purify our perception, or energy.  A more wholistic psycho/emotional approach applied in tandem with insight (qigong for example) can help round out our practice to reflect the greater necesary realities of insight and psychoemotioal development.  Ultimately however I think progress in insight does act as a kind of governing factor for progress in all these realms - the more we progress in insight, the greater our ability to create wholistic life balance. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/27/18 5:14 PM as a reply to T DC.
 The trick, in my view, is to see that it is all just mental fabrication caused by whatever nonsense reason you decide causes stuff - I choose newtonian physics.  In my experience, a voice in the mind in my own voice begins telling a story and the nervous system adds a soundtrack.  "something is terribly wrong!" cries the mind and the nerves in my right side fire to make it real and make it important.  

If I can sit through it equanimounously, it just goes away.   If I can sit through it in love, it is love.  This repeats millions of times until nothing more arises. 

In my view the whole emotional world is just a compound system of aversion and conditioning based on a whole slew of obviously false assumptions.  In my experience, you can transcend it if you make the effort and have a clear understanding of at least what isnt true.  It is really fucking hard. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
1/27/18 9:54 PM as a reply to Noah D.
1.27

7 hours of practice today 

some notes

perfect parent figure = perceptual "ground" = emotional trust = attentional stability
touching a deep reservoir of self acceptance that I didn't know was possible
sense of well being & clear thinking
returning to the breath but in a way that does not reject fear
fear can be subtly pushed away while the "realization" is present
choiceless, nurturing, metacognitive embrace is the platform upon which "progress" occurs
2/3rd's self acceptance to 1/3rd self change is good ratio
Metacognitive love is not another "tool" - it is the primary principle which preceeds any other efforts on the path - all tools come from this place out of a compassion

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
2/1/18 9:52 AM as a reply to Noah D.
2.1

Good "morality" (i.e. keeping of the precepts, proper handling of the four requisites, day-to-day moderation/discipline) happens because one is moving slower due to their being less pressure since samsara is seen as not worthy of creating a fuss about.  My mistake was to assume it happened because one was moving faster due to wiring in better habits which could keep up with all of the pressures of daily life.  The error in that is that it ignores the perspective of right view.  

One has to assume, at the level of mastery, that this perspective (and the conduct which unfolds from it) hold steady even in the face of extreme duress.  There may be an adaption/transitionary period when tragedy or emergency strikes but that would necessarily be a short time before the bodily habits & limbic system reactions adapted again to the view of emptiness.  Once again, this adaptation would be arising from a sense of lightnesss, ease & harmony - which in turn arises from not being in a rush/ not being engaged with the game.

A prerequisite for this level of mastery would be the emotional 'base' or 'ground' of trust.  Which means someone has gone back through their history, reviewed all of the large & small insults to self and forgiven all parties involved in those to restore basic sanity to those memories.  This means complete, not partial, psycho-emotional healing.  This would include insults to self around sex, romance, self-image, body-image & power.  Thus any person who has even performed an act of sexual misconduct was necessarily not at this level when they did it.  From this place, ones strings are no longer being pulled by the stealth ventriloquist of narcissism, codependence, etc - *at all* - not even a little bit.  Those places have not "gone away", but they are now inhabited by a loving metacognitive atmosphere which is toxic to the weeds of greed, hatred & delusion.

So there is no "pressure" here.  No "obligation" to do anything.  The burden has been dropped.  The crossbar lowered.  Etc.  

From that place, so-called "discpline" arises.  In the sense that meeting even complex situations with simplicity is the natural response when the mind-heart is not engaged with worldly affairs.  It is not about being a great or excellent or powerful or super skillful person.  It is just about not giving a shit so thoroughly that you're not in a rush to do anything & because you have no compulsions, you act with straightforward ease at all times.  However, not giving a shit without right view could lead to sociopathic apathy which is actually arising from damaged memory traces & not shedding light backward onto them.  So it is only detachment powered by the view which works.  

It should also be said that this mode of operation includes healthy attachment to one's internal family system & other people.  Meaning, a sense of investment in the happiness of friends, family & all of humanity/life.  This would include the relative sense of healthy attachment & also the ultimate sense.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
2/14/18 8:45 AM as a reply to Noah D.
2.14

I've come from a place where I was taking in information from everyone all the time & negatively interpreting it.  I gradually worked over to taking in information from everyone all the time & positive interpreting it.  Now I'm moving towards taking in very little feedback from other people but positively interpreting what I do (using it for growth).  

Up until now I haven't been a busy enough person to actually not have the time or energy for honoring all perspectives.  However, doing this 'honoring' can be crippling for a hyper-sensitive person, thus preventing high-level functioning (vicious circle).  I think having a serious job has broken that chain.

The highest goal remains to abolish all suffering & it's cause.  Meaning not just digging up the seed of tanha but also the root system, the trunk, branches, leaves & fruits.  This high goal has a host of secondary & tertiary goals which arise from it, which essentially make up the 8fold path.  These include: financial independence, effective altruism, minimalist, healthy, green living, community organizing/selfless service, samatha/vipassana/awareness meditation, bodywork/energy healing, skillful communication & relationships, healthy hobbies, etc.

At this time I am not concerned that this path leads to the classic image of arahantship or even the vaunted buddhahood, but rather that it is internally consisten with the illogic of my suffering patterns & externally consistent with resisting the pull of collective-manmade suffering & harmonizing with the natural world.  

On that note - so more specific details about what has been happening:

-There's not *enough time* to indulge in restlessness/sloth/gluttony/libido -The body is present & alert to these sensations as they arise & chooses repeatedly not to go down that pathway

-There's not *enough time* to listen to my inner critic's opinions on other's feedback (the only exceptions would probably be my parents, my work managers, my dharma teachers) - I've done a fairly thorough investigation (at this point) of the patterns of my life & am acting on them, to the best of my ability, to end suffering.

-Mainting this body in good shape, a quality appearance of this body, a clean living space, a clean car or desk area, etc., are of the highest importance.  There's not enough time to keep practicing disorder as I have been.  Keeping an objective view of these places as under my control, rather than allowing them to accidental expressions of hindrance is top priority. Vigilence & high standards are needed.  

-Being very selective & direct in my communication with others is important.  I can honestly say, at this point, that I want everyone to be happy.  I've never been so automatically benevolent in my life.  What comes out of that baseline will be more informed by what is efficacious in the context of the interaction, rather than by broadband bodhicitta.  

-Perceptually, with an increase to psycho-emotional detachment in the past 2 months or so, I just notice no center at any time, nor any searching for one in a subtle or gross way.  The world is blazing as it is, where it is, as it always was.  Nothing to do, nothing to change, just an interdependent spider web extending into a spherical void.

I feel like I'm inching closer to "sealing the deal" on 10 fetter stream entry (the real, hardcore thing) - a mode of being that is so fully devoted to happiness that a critical mass of the subconscious is irreversably zealous about it.  This is a thing which changes the entire value system & the basic conceptual understanding of what reality is (not just perceptual-nonverbal).  It changes the underwater judgement mechanism from which paradigms form & then give rise to automatic reactions.  Something to deeper than "I'm done" or "complete nonduality" or "I've gotten out of my own way" or "I've seen tanha & fully & no longer want to change things."  Not only not *needing* to change anything, but also living from that place such that it informs every deparment of the company.   

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
2/14/18 11:13 AM as a reply to Noah D.
loving some of the statements in the last few posts:

"Good "morality" ...happens because one is moving slower due to their being less pressure..."

"A prerequisite for this level of mastery would be the emotional 'base' or 'ground' of trust. ...ones strings are no longer being pulled by the stealth ventriloquist of narcissism, codependence, etc "

"So there is no "pressure" here.  No "obligation" to do anything.  ... From that place, so-called "discpline" arises."

"What comes out of that baseline will be more informed by what is efficacious in the context of the interaction, rather than by broadband bodhicitta. "

"This is a thing which changes the entire value system & the basic conceptual understanding of what reality is (not just perceptual-nonverbal).  It changes the underwater judgement mechanism from which paradigms form & then give rise to automatic reactions. "

awesome stuff!!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
2/14/18 11:26 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah, your dedication is impressive!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
2/19/18 7:55 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Just moved into a new house share in Seattle.  My wonderful yuppie-muggle friend who was helping me move was super turned-off by the general "quality" of the place, while I was psyched to have found a place that is tolerable, at 2/3rds the price of a typical house share, in an awesome neighborhood that is a 20 minute bike ride or 30 minute bus from everything I do in the city (both North & South).

My "mustachianism" (the Mr. Money Mustache philosophy) is getting better, but could still be improved.  While I've got the car rolling now in terms of savings, I will definitely need to get more real-time savvy & into the nitty gritty in order to be able put more cash away.  *Warning* - I'm allowing myself to indulge in romanticism here for a moment: Acheiving financial independence is a key peice of the bodhisattvic mission.  This allows one, after doing so, to continue working part-time & shovel all the extra cash into the most effective charities in the world while spending the rest of ones time gaining skills to produce helpful shit to the world in a non-monetized fashion.  Examples could be computer programming, political lobbying, knowledge-sharing/training, community building, "service" in other forms. *End romantic spasm*

It's interesting to watch the 'post modern' definitions of money & dharma.  I've read a fair variety of articles & opinions on this now, with most saying that it's totally fine for a teacher to support themselves on the dharma.  I suppose this would be OK if a teacher opened their books & explained exactly how much they need for food-shelter-clothing-medicine-other stuff, but I don't see most of them doing that.  I guess beyond that we have to assume, based on a person's character (& as a result of their training) that they are utilizing the funds supplied to them in a reasonable manner. 

One thing that comes up is the idea that materialism is OK.  Like that its OK for a teacher of Buddhism to still have a desire for things beyond the basics.  Note: this criticism DOES NOT apply to desire for intimacy, desire to be in nature, desire for simply, healthy food, desire for clean, well-fitting clothing, desire for a safe living space -- but why would a Buddhist teacher need more than this?  Perhaps their teaching is only about "perceptual shifts:?  Perhaps its only about *reinterpreting* the content of one's life to eliminate all desire to change it (which may or may not actually shift the entire personality around)?  Perhaps its just not hitting all-quadrants-all-levels enough to actually dig in & uproot?

I don't know.  It's curious.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
2/19/18 12:54 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Note: this criticism DOES NOT apply to desire for intimacy, desire to be in nature, desire for simply, healthy food, desire for clean, well-fitting clothing, desire for a safe living space -- but why would a Buddhist teacher need more than this?

I think the situation changes a bit when potential teachers already have partners and families that they're helping to support, especially if they started practicing seriously after entering into those relationships or if their partners aren't highly attained themselves.  Even if such a potential teacher would personally be completely fine with starting over somewhere else with a much lower cost-of-living lifestyle, that's not necessarily something that their partner and/or children signed up for in the first place.  Likewise with opening their books -- I don't think a lot of partners in that kind of situation would really want their household income/spending/budget published on the Internet.  So even if a potential teacher has already done everything they can to reduce their impact and to live frugally, they could very well find themselves in the position of having to choose between continuing to work to support their family, charging money to teach the dharma, or separating from their family obligations to teach the dharma for free/cheap.  That trichotomy isn't necessarily exclusive or meant to foreclose creative possibilities like further reducing spending, publishing dharma books/videos that can scale without extra time expenditure, etc. -- but I think it does cover some of the real tradeoffs for householders with a limited amount of available time.  

It would be great if there were tons of highly-attained dharma teachers who could work for free or for just basic necessities.  But in their absence, it looks like most people turn to books and peer-to-peer arrangements like this forum.  It's great that we have all those, but it'd be even better if we had an expanding set of teachers who are able to able to help. And if we want more teachers, some tradeoffs are unavoidable, like some combination of encouraging/allowing people to teach even if they're not at MCTB 4th, allowing them to support themselves, and treating it as a legitimate occupation. 

Maybe it'd be different if dana was a better-established social institution here -- but I'm not really sure that it was all that different in effect, at least in Tibet.  My impression from reading Blazing Splendor was that generous rich benefactors somehow ended up having highly attained lamas spending a lot of time staying at their houses, discussing the dharma with them, performing tantric initiations, etc.  Keeping the transactions implicit rather than explicit was what was socially comfortable in Tibet, but I think the reverse is true here.

You may be in a somewhat unique position of having exposure to both mustachianism and the dharma before you've entered into any such commitments, since that allows you to ethically precommit to trying to live according to those standards.  That's great, and I think everyone would benefit from incorporating both into their lives as soon as they hear about them.  But people get into the dharma from a wide variety of life circumstances, and it might be worth considering both those circumstances and the likely effect of different social norm.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
2/24/18 3:23 PM as a reply to JP.
JP Lewicke:

You may be in a somewhat unique position of having exposure to both mustachianism and the dharma before you've entered into any such commitments, since that allows you to ethically precommit to trying to live according to those standards.  That's great, and I think everyone would benefit from incorporating both into their lives as soon as they hear about them.  But people get into the dharma from a wide variety of life circumstances, and it might be worth considering both those circumstances and the likely effect of different social norm.


Very good points!  And that's why I like to have these conversations in the sandbox space, to be able to say silly things & then learn from wiser perspectives.  emoticon

It's tough territory & there's probably no "right" answers, but understanding the increasing complexity involved & being able to make decisions within that is useful.  As is communicating about it.  So yeah, a teacher who already has a partner and/or children who didn't sign up for a lifetime of enlightened frugality.  There's definitely an ethical obligation there to consider those needs.  

I'll have to ponder this & perhaps will share more thoughts later... Granted, I don't necessarily want to write about things that have no connection with my actual situation!


RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
2/24/18 3:49 PM as a reply to Noah D.
To put a finer point on it - why would the behaviors and social norms surrounding the teaching of dharma that made sense 2,500 years ago make sense now? The support system no longer exists. It's not socially or culturally acceptable today to beg for alms in exchange for teaching. People who do beg aren't very well respected, either, though some do beg full time seem to be able to survive. So... dharma teachers have to live on something. They either have to have another vocation, limiting the time they have to teach, or charge enough for their teaching to be able to live.

Maybe a few rich people can step up and become dharma sugar daddies ( i.e.; patrons)  emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/2/18 9:12 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Thoughts on Facilitating Meditation Practice & Discussion Groups

-Perception/marketing matters
-Old systems frequently won't work
        -1 teacher model (1 person sits at front, is primary source of truth)
        -1 method 
        -Secrecy (comes off as weird)
-Flexibility
       -Read audience to determine what presentation is needed (scientific vs sensitive-mushroom-culture vs practical, etc)  
       -Switch presentations as needed
       -Invite others to lead group, sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneously
       -Frame such that there is no group leader, only peer-led committee
-Use humor a lot, but not to avoid hard topics (which is what IMS people do)
-Know your own lens 
       -Ones lens is constructed based on age, lifestage, occupation, sociocultural/ethnic background, economic situation, other
                -Don't ever mansplain (unfortunately this seems to happen when "pragmatic dharma" discussions occur)
       -Don't shy from "owning" your lens but also try to imagine what other lenses on the practice could look like
       -Not everyone relates to sciency/pragmatic/linear/rational approach
       -However, happiness/effective practice is for everyone - everyone wants to be happy - brain change is necessary for happiness - meditation is brain change - meditation is for everyone (even if its not thought of as "meditation")
-Keep goals for a given session very general
-Introduce small amounts of gamification as appropriate
-Encourage positive, light-hearted feedback loops with practice/self-talk/perspective on practice
-Know the "culture" or context of your audience - offer a frame for the session that might relate to them - if it doesn't, pivot

Other thoughts?
        

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/2/18 10:45 AM as a reply to Noah D.
maybe this, too?:

Know the venue -- not everything can be accomplished in group settings. Some understanding/diagnosing/practice recommendations take time to fit to a person's actual situation. The quick "oh you have problem X you need to do Y" is often a wild-ass-guess at best. Use group discussions to set up side discussions for later that can be more indepth and well-considered. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/3/18 12:54 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Awesome , thanks 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/8/18 9:59 AM as a reply to Noah D.
3.8

-Being 'in touch' more with masculinity
-Choiceless-awareness/surrender-based practices can default the mind to it's protective/repressive mechanisms - AKA ignore powerful subconscious forces of creative/sexual energy
-Stabilizing nondual perception can also do this because the conscious bandwidth taken up by the immediacy of the sensory field is much greater than in dual perception, so less room for subconscious to express itself
-Changing ones intuitive-interpretation of reality (i.e. 'my relationship to sensation has changed) can also do this by creating a sense of allowing things to just flow & unfold as they are, when really, the way they are unfolding is already biased by passed conditioning to ignore certain things

-With this background in mind, I am doing some work now to specifically get back in touch with my own masculinity
-Specifically, feeling emotions in the torso & pelvis (gently encouraging those in the head & limbs to return to the center to be felt there)
-This work is taking place outside the frame of desperation to escape suffering (I feel like I've somewhat succeeded in that now)
-Masculinity (at this time) feels to me like the bodily sensations associated with the acknowledgement of my influence (not control) on peope & situations in the environment
-There is a sense of 'charge' that can occupy the torso broadly when this comes on - it also lights up the mind a certain way & creates a mood of excitement overall

-I believe there are some impressions I internalized as a child which caused me to suppress this energy because it was "unsafe" to express
-This 'emasculation' was catalyzed by the rise of mood disorder symptoms when I was 16 - These symptoms manifested as the exact opposite of my above definition: the bodily sensations associated with my awareness of an inability to reasonably influence the people & situations in my environment
-To allow this energy to do the unfolding that it wants, I am feeling into it more & letting it 'talk' to me (through journalling like this)

-One last point: 

If there is a strong desire to influence a situation or interaction towards a certain end, then that desire is part of the moment.  Therefore, 'just being natural' & 'just being in the moment' must necessarily include an acknowledgement of how I want that moment to unfold.  Said a more mathematical way, if 70% of my consciousness (attention) is taken by that desire but I only place 25% of my mindful metacognition (awareness) on it, there is likely some degree of suppression occuring.  Finally, if being aware of the desire causes less impetus for action towards accomplishing it, there may be some degree of suppression occuring.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/20/18 7:39 AM as a reply to Noah D.
3.20

Getting out of the way of Noah's "authentic" self
Is not always a simple matter
For so-called choiceless awareness is already biased by the subconscious

Requiring new skills 
Brought about by seemingly contradictory perspectives
Which reflect the dynamic, oblong, irregular,
internal machinary
That wants different things at different times

Creativity
Sexuality
Order 
Dominion
Mastery
Movement
Stillness
Safety
Thrill
Dullness

There is no end point to the individuation of these streams
While this body draws breath

And in matters of relating to other sentient beings
No controlling them
No "progress" or ordered sequence or map
More like two bizarre clumps of space matter from different dimensions
With entirely different physical rule sets
Journeying through space

This does not mean that the 4 Noble Paths of the Buddha do not exist
That these internal streams can not become familiar enough
And brought into sufficient internal geometry
That it not only reflects in direct perception,
in visceral interpretation,
but also in behavioral reaction

Even in the most extreme of situations

Yes, I do still believe that those far shores exist & are to be persisted towards

But how could they be accomplished, 
without first becoming familiar with the raw, deep, fleshy shadow 
Deep inside that range of mountains
in a cavern long hidden from the sun
in a world that intersects with many other worlds

that most of the time, move out of sync,

Unlike gears in a clock?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/25/18 4:04 AM as a reply to Noah D.
3.25

An interesting mix of emotions is occurring.  I'm not trying to change any of it & it is unfolding naturally.  There is confidence (bordering on arrogance), deep fear, equanimity, mindfulness, terror, joy.  

There is the sense that my negative story lines are utterly invalid.  Based on my accomplishments in the past five years, they don't hold water (no real data backing them up).  So this is an odd time of transition when that is being recognized.

I don't particularly want them to go away, but I am interested in as real of a view I can get of the reality around me as possible (with the understanding that it will always be filtered).  I don't want to lose vulnerability.  If anything, I want to gain visibility into that & empowerment to express it.  However, the self- doubt & insecurity that lingers in my mind is bullshit.  I'm confident that there is plenty of raw emotion beneat that candy wrapper.  

Tonight I was having drinks with a friend & an attractive woman came up to our table & said to me "you're super handsome!"  She then turned & ordered a drink.  As we were walking out later, I engaged her in a fun dialogue.  This was oddly synchronous, given the themes I've been exploring lately in practice.  

This is a strange & diverse journey.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/25/18 5:41 AM as a reply to Noah D.
First of all, very cool! Isn't strange how self-disempowering once had a feeling of being the safe and cautions path, but now it just seems ridiculous? And yet, dropping all the self-doubting/second-guessing does take time.

As far as possible dharma linkages goes... This stuff can be insights into the titan and god realms. A titan is powerful but envious/fearful of losing. A god "has it" but can't admit any vulnerability. Just for fun, you might want to experiment walking around as a titan and as a god. The titan wants to ACHIEVE. The god wants to MAINTAIN. Deep down a titan feels slightly INADEQUATE despite its power. A god keeps a constant feeling/thought of being SUPERIOR at all times, basically as a way of ignoring any possible counter-evidence.

So a titan's inner dialog is: I feel the twinge of being inadequate, therefore I must achieve something.

A god's inner dialog is: Only I and people like me are superior, so I have a right to do what maintains this.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/25/18 2:31 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks , that makes a lot of sense.  I *think* I'm already doing that but without the realm labels.

Im allowing the full spectrum of feelings felt in the body, then applying a label to them, then giving them "voice" internally if they seem to want to say something.  Part of this study is actually about how I can be in multiple realms at once, or at least in a five minute span.  And not needing any greater consistency , but still using logic to challenge the voice that says "I can't do this" , when obviously I can.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/25/18 4:21 PM as a reply to Noah D.
(Agree, I think you are already doing this.)

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/27/18 8:48 AM as a reply to Noah D.
3.27

Random Further Thoughts on Monetized Dharma Teaching

Expanding on previous posts about money & dharma, which have brought up fruitful in-person & text conversations.  People have pushed back in several different ways, about dharma teachers "opening their books".  One is that it is 'just plain unresonable'.  Another is that the dharma teacher's dependents might not be comfortable with having their finances published, even if the dharma teacher is.

Some thoughts on this...

-There are different levels of 'opening the books.'  It isn't just black or white.  It could be declaring the exact amount an individual or family unit needs in a year to survive.  It could be declaring a general range.  It could be declaring tiers (i.e. this is how much without vacation, with vacation, with extra gifts, etc).  I would think the lowest tier would be for a teacher to disclose how much they make each year on dharma teaching.  It may actually be 'unreasonable' to say that not even one of these tiers could be met, all because one's partner is a private person.  At that point, perhaps there should be a consideration of alternate forms of income.  

-There are other ways of providing the 4 requisites to a dharma teachers.  For instance, on his website Yuttadhommo Bhikku provides a means of supplying food gift cards or purchasing items on his Amazon wishlist (which is usually empty).  Why aren't more teachers doing this?  Simply because it is unconventional? 

-Also, it is not THAT hard to figure out, based on where an individual or family lives, what they need in a given year to survive.  Cost of living alone should be able to do this.  Beyond that, other major factors might be ownership of property vs renting, education for the kids (depending on private vs public school/ cost of university, etc) & unforseen medical costs.  Again, the question becomes - Why do they need this funding from their students?

-Privacy is an interesting topic.  The idea that someone can be "awakened" & be an extremely private person at the same time is a dialectic for me.  Some traits are clearly linked to greed, hatred & delusion, while others are merely expressions of individual character & upbringing, independent of the 3 poisons.  At first glance, it seems to me that the desire for privacy is the desire to 'protect' one's personal details, to 'shelter' onself, to create a 'safe' space within which one can function.  That, on the surface, seems like a type of self-protective mechanism.  However, I am sure people can unpack that in all kinds of different ways.  Sort of like how a Zen or Tibetan master of 40+ years could commit sexual misconduct on their students but they were actually expressing crazy wisdom.  (Those two sentences may represent an unfair comparison - I apologize in advance if they upset anyone).  

-Another thing that comes to mind is a meditation teacher vs a dharma teacher.  If someone only ever teaches meditation in a secular context & never goes into any philosophy behind it or how lifestyle integrates with it, then I suppose a conventional, modern payment model works.  I personally don't know any teachers like that, but I'm sure they exist.  However, the minute someone explains that meditation practice relieves stress in life & that allows us to do different things in life, to me, they are venturing into the "dharma" realm.  At that point, the question is - what makes someone a qualified teacher?  In most fields, it means they have the knowledge of the topic within them.  This topic is life experience, therefore I would assume they have the successful life experience of integrating meditation realizations with everything else.  Then the next question - Are meditation realizations the same as being an expert on Art History?  I would say "no", because there are implications on how those affect character, personality, worldview & behavior in the former (not in the latter).  And how do meditation realizations affect character?  Do they reduce the overall "sense" of self?  Do they reduce the need to protect oneself?  Related to that, do they reduce attachment around material things?  Do they increase skill in communication & managing relationships with loved ones & dependents, including finding ways to please those dependents that do not necessarily involve supplying more material things?  If the answer to any of these questions is "No", I would guide the questioner to ask what system the teacher trained in & what do the words of that system actually indicate that successful practice within it should lead to?


Edit: One more thing - If the standards I write above would mean that less people were making money teaching meditation, that might not be a bad thing.  The next question becomes one of scalability: How can we build tools & infrastructure to allow less teachers (the ones who are "up to snuff") to teach more students than what is currently being done or what has been done before?  Which goes down the tech rabbit hole. Weeeee...

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/28/18 6:09 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Re: Monetizing the Dharma

Just thought I'd ask Noah, where does your basic idea that teachers should not be paid for dharma teaching come from?  The Pali Cannon?  I ask because it seems like you are making the assumption straight off that this should not happen, and I have to ask why.  The best argument I can think of is simply that dharma should be available to all.  If this is coming from more of a 'dharma is sacred and should be seperated from money' I think it deserves some more analysis. 

To use an example from my life - Robert Peng, a qigong teacher I highly respect and consider fully enlightened, charges a fair amount for his qigong programs (which are mostly all retreats to be fair).  This makes them somewhat cost prohibitive, but at the same time this is what he does for a living, and a man's got to eat.  Who am I to look at his books and say, "well you could probably downgrade your appartment, I think you should charge less". 

There seems to be a tradeoff here between the cost vs. benefit of having a teacher charge - it may be cost prohibitive for some students, but it may also allow the teacher to put more energy into teaching and to ultimately reach more students with higher quality teaching.  I suppose there also needs to be some trust that the cost is fair and worth it, and if we judge it isn't then vote with your dollar, so to speak.  I am super grateful Daniel Ingram provided MCTB for free, easy access and a lack of barriers definately boosted my practice, but I've also paid for transformative books and I'm still grateful they were out there; to go through a standard publisher and sell for a price may simply have been that teacher's best option.

I am with you on the benefits of freeness, if I ever started teaching I would probably go dana and possibly direct that fund to a worthy charity, but it's certainly a rich area for discussion.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/28/18 11:21 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
The Pali Cannon?  

ya
To use an example from my life - Robert Peng, a qigong teacher I highly respect and consider fully enlightened, charges a fair amount for his qigong programs (which are mostly all retreats to be fair). 

What do the root Taoist texts say about money?  Did Taoist monks & nuns earn money back in the day or did they focus more on maintaining food, shelter, clothing & medicine?
but at the same time this is what he does for a living, and a man's got to eat.

How much does he have to eat?  If he's fully enlightened, does he have to eat more than what is required to maintain the body?  If so, why?  That would be interesting.
Who am I to look at his books and say, "well you could probably downgrade your appartment, I think you should charge less".  

You are an intelligent, analytic human being with more access to basic information (cost of living data, pricing for food/shelter/clothing/medicine, strategies for the reduction of those items. etc) than any prior generation.  You can observe what it costs to live a decent lifestyle in a given area.  By "decent", I mean one in which you can connect with positive emotion to other human beings, put enough nutrients in your body, wear clean well-fitting clothing, have creative & sexual outlets, have fun hobbies that don't cost that much money, get out doors regularly, etc.  It's not that hard to actually judge someone's spending & be able to say "yeah, you probably could live with less square footage & pay exponentially less" or "yeah, you probably should sell your mortgage & go back to renting since home ownership isn't right for you since you aren't handy & your area has high housing prices."  



RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 7:07 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I have to add here that there seems to be a thought process among some folks who pick up Buddhism or Buddhist practices that is an interesting mapping of 2,500 year old social, economic and moral practices onto modern life. I'm not saying human nature has changed in 2,500 years because I doubt very much that it has. What has changed, however, is the construction of human society, the liberation of the individual, the Enlightenment (the 17th century European intellectual version, not the spiritual version), technology, and the organization of the economy and how human beings manage to get along financially, raise families and just plain survive.

It's fascinating. Not judging, just interested.


emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 7:56 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
It is interesting.  Although, to be fair, there are plenty of modern peoples pointing out that most people simply suck with their money.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zms_oiHb7CY

Also, lots of non iron-age folks are waking up to the fact that their time & lifestyle can be designed way more efficiently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX3eJRwJqlc

And finally, there are all these super-modern TED talks about what happiness actually is.  

(plug TED talk relating to how money doesn't buy happiness)

So while ideas about actually saving money that you don't need to spend, intending on not wasting one's whole life doing mandatory work & how money doesn't buy happiness (except up to a point) may have a firm basis in the Pali Canon, I do think lots of people are also discovering this on their own or from other sources or at least taking it from the Buddha & adapting it easily to modern audiences.

The question is, how does this relate to dharma teachers?  It relates in the following way.  Dharma is about systematizing happiness & non-clinging throughout every aspect of one's life.  I don't know what "meditation teaching" is.  If the purpose of "meditation" is to improve one's life, it is dharma.  

The Buddha talked A LOT about handling 4 things: food, shelter, clothing & medicine. Modern people don't like these suttas, because they tell them how to live their life & modern people don't want to hear that shit from the Buddha.  Instead, modern people look at sexy suttas like the Anapanasati, the Bahiya or the Satipattana.  But it is all in there.  Happy to add sutta references by request (but lazy at the outset).

The suttas essentially contain the spirit of automated lifestyle design, super-saving/early retirement & where mundane happiness comes from already.  I would assume a dharma teacher would have some sense of or fluency with these things.  If not, perhaps we could sign them up for the next Tim Ferris seminar emoticon



Edit: One more thing regarding the suttas - Where basic human rights & freedoms contrast with the words of the Buddha (i.e. saying silly shit about women's ability to get enlightened, be ordained or cause men not to get enlightened), I choose human rights.  Also, if magical stuff is mentioned, I think it is right to take an agnostic atheist approach.  However, I don't think the same rules needs to apply for the handling of material stuff.  I'm just saying this because a typical point people make is that there are lots of things from the Suttas that don't even indirectly apply to us, which I disagree with.  I think the main things that don't apply would be magical stuff (rebirth, powers) & devaluing humans.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 8:17 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Yes, Noah, that's a great example of what I was just talking about. My perception is that people in the 21st century just aren't going to live the way the Buddha taught. It's pushing rope uphill to think they will. As it applies to dharma teachers, if I want to learn a skill - in this example meditation - I can either use the DIY method or work with a teacher who I believe can transfer that knowledge. I agree with you that dharma is, utlimately, about how we live our lives. That said, that kind of information has come to me in several different ways, only one of them being what I grok from my dharma practice. I didn't need a teacher to transfer that information. It seems to have come with the practice and my readings. I used a teacher to obtain practice and process information, not moral lessons (yet I would refuse to work with someone who I felt wasn't ethical).

I think modeling one's life after someone like Buddha is laudable. It's also a very romatic idea as applied to modern times. Modern human beings could probably use more romanticism and more shared morality. The lack of shared experience, reality and ethics is a major cause of the problems we have, IMHO. I'm just not sure we can mandate it. That feels wrong, too.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 8:29 AM as a reply to Noah D.
 Also, if magical stuff is mentioned, I think it is right to take an agnostic atheist approach.  However, I don't think the same rules needs to apply for the handling of material stuff.  I'm just saying this because a typical point people make is that there are lots of things from the Suttas that don't even indirectly apply to us, which I disagree with.  I think the main things that don't apply would be magical stuff (rebirth, powers) & devaluing humans.

What is the system you use to determine which parts of the Suttas to adopt and which not to adopt?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 9:05 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I'm honestly confused about the implications of this sentence, I sense that there is something more profound being said...

Noah D:

Dharma is about systematizing happiness & non-clinging throughout every aspect of one's life.  I don't know what "meditation teaching" is.  If the purpose of "meditation" is to improve one's life, it is dharma.  

Does this include anything that includes analysis and future intentions, things like psychology, leadership training, massage therapists, personal trainers, philosophers, lifestyle analysists, financial advisors, etc.?  (I'm just throwing those out as possible examples, I'm not arguing it either way.) 

I'm trying to understand where the dividing line is between things that improve one's life and things that don't? It seems like you have a distinction in your mind, but I don't quite get it. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 10:00 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I am pretty sure that the buddha was teaching skillfull means to realize what he had realized and not revealing commandments from God, a la moses and mohammed.  

The question, I think, should be what is most effective and not what is right or wrong.  No? 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 11:38 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Who am I to look at his books and say, "well you could probably downgrade your appartment, I think you should charge less".  

You are an intelligent, analytic human being with more access to basic information (cost of living data, pricing for food/shelter/clothing/medicine, strategies for the reduction of those items. etc) than any prior generation.  You can observe what it costs to live a decent lifestyle in a given area.  By "decent", I mean one in which you can connect with positive emotion to other human beings, put enough nutrients in your body, wear clean well-fitting clothing, have creative & sexual outlets, have fun hobbies that don't cost that much money, get out doors regularly, etc.  It's not that hard to actually judge someone's spending & be able to say "yeah, you probably could live with less square footage & pay exponentially less" or "yeah, you probably should sell your mortgage & go back to renting since home ownership isn't right for you since you aren't handy & your area has high housing prices."  


I'm with you there man, I have the ablity, but do I have the right?  That's really the question.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/30/18 7:20 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Dharma is about systematizing happiness & non-clinging throughout every aspect of one's life.  I don't know what "meditation teaching" is.  If the purpose of "meditation" is to improve one's life, it is dharma. 

My take on "what the dharma is all about" is that it can reveal to us how we construct reality, how perception works and on the bottom line how the mind mediates everything we know. The purpose of meditation is the same - to reveal these things. Meditation is a tool to use to find these realizations. There are other tools that other disciplines use to the same end. Meditation is thus really about finding out what happiness is, how it works, and why and how we can get hooked by it (cling to it), like every other object. Happiness is an object or a state at the end of the day, a specificf state, so it's by nature impermanent, not us, and leads to discomfort (suffering).

The dharma is about waking the f*ck up. That's what the Buddha said, I think the very first thing he is supposed to have said, after confronting Mara all night while sitting under that tree. So when he was asked: "What are you?" he responded with,  "I am awake."

JMHO

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 6:53 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 Also, if magical stuff is mentioned, I think it is right to take an agnostic atheist approach.  However, I don't think the same rules needs to apply for the handling of material stuff.  I'm just saying this because a typical point people make is that there are lots of things from the Suttas that don't even indirectly apply to us, which I disagree with.  I think the main things that don't apply would be magical stuff (rebirth, powers) & devaluing humans.

What is the system you use to determine which parts of the Suttas to adopt and which not to adopt?
My "hermanuetic strategy" is learned from my teacher Dhammarato & in turn, the Buddhadasa lineage.  It involves multiple points but I've written about it a lot in the sandbox thread(s) & my 'new path' thread from awhile back.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 6:54 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Who am I to look at his books and say, "well you could probably downgrade your appartment, I think you should charge less".  

You are an intelligent, analytic human being with more access to basic information (cost of living data, pricing for food/shelter/clothing/medicine, strategies for the reduction of those items. etc) than any prior generation.  You can observe what it costs to live a decent lifestyle in a given area.  By "decent", I mean one in which you can connect with positive emotion to other human beings, put enough nutrients in your body, wear clean well-fitting clothing, have creative & sexual outlets, have fun hobbies that don't cost that much money, get out doors regularly, etc.  It's not that hard to actually judge someone's spending & be able to say "yeah, you probably could live with less square footage & pay exponentially less" or "yeah, you probably should sell your mortgage & go back to renting since home ownership isn't right for you since you aren't handy & your area has high housing prices."  


I'm with you there man, I have the ablity, but do I have the right?  That's really the question.  

I am grateful to live in the "free" world emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 6:59 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Shargrol:
I'm trying to understand where the dividing line is between things that improve one's life and things that don't? It seems like you have a distinction in your mind, but I don't quite get it. 

The dividing line wouldn't be based around general improvements to one's life.  It would only be based on things which systematically increase happiness & non-clinging.  Another way of saying this would be things which are aligned with the view that everything changes & is worth letting go of.  Some activities work towards a goal of sustainable happiness based on letting-go, while others don't.  All of the things could be steps towards sustained happiness if they were practiced from the aforementioned understanding.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/29/18 11:50 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Hey Noah,

Thanks for bringing up this interesting discussion!

The one question I have is the following:
Why is it ok for an advanced Dharma practitioner to charge money for an "ordinary" job, but not for Dharma teaching.
If I understood correctly, your argument is that an advanced Dharma practitioner will have reduced attachment and thus needs less money.
By this logic, not charging money for a service is a result of practicing the Dharma, rather than teaching the Dharma in specific, or am I getting something wrong?

Also, how do you reconcile the MrMoneyMustache stuff (e.g. investing in organizations that cause suffering) with the Dharma?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/30/18 7:27 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah --

Some activities work towards a goal of sustainable happiness based on letting-go, while others don't.  All of the things could be steps towards sustained happiness if they were practiced from the aforementioned understanding.  

I'm compelleed to say again that happiness is an interim goal. It's a state of mind and can't be sustainable. Seeking states of mind isn't the end game, is it? Or when you use the word "happiness" do you mean something different than I'm interpreting you to mean? I suspect you do mean something different so... can you elaborate, please?

Sorry to be a pain in the ass, Noah, but I believe these deeper issues are important.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/30/18 10:32 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Another way to zero in on this happiness idea... what pali word translates as the happiness being referring to? Sukha? Piti? Somanassa? Metta? Nirāmisa sukha? Sagga?


I'm probably still not understanding the dividing line... As far as no momentary excess funding for that "which systematically increase happiness & non-clinging" --- I'm thinking about the consequences of that economic model... How resilant would that system be? On the surface it seems like it would basically guarantee that any economic excess would be directed toward things which create unhappiness and clinging, and that anything that increases happiness and non-clinging would be destroyed/overwelmed by the slightest economic or political or environmental disturbance.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/30/18 11:14 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Sounds like capitalism to me!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/30/18 6:19 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Another way to zero in on this happiness idea... what pali word translates as the happiness being referring to? Sukha? Piti? Somanassa? Metta? Nirāmisa sukha? Sagga?


I'm probably still not understanding the dividing line... As far as no momentary excess funding for that "which systematically increase happiness & non-clinging" --- I'm thinking about the consequences of that economic model... How resilant would that system be? On the surface it seems like it would basically guarantee that any economic excess would be directed toward things which create unhappiness and clinging, and that anything that increases happiness and non-clinging would be destroyed/overwelmed by the slightest economic or political or environmental disturbance.  

I think the word happiness here would necessarily have to encompass multiple Pali words that relate to concepts.  Broadly, 'happiness' here is referring to both changing one's relationship to sensation & also gaining the ability to improve sensation.  As Shinzen says - Appreciate, Transcend & Improve.  However, the "improve" portion only refers to improvements that loop back into wisdom.  Said another way, manipulating experience is only useful to the degree that it in turn increases one's eq/clarity around experience & there

I don't know what the implications of the economic model would be in which dharma teachers teach for free.  However, I will think about it & this is great dialogue.  I wonder if there is some middle ground here, where there could be (to start) an increased acknowledgement from dharma teachers that charging is somewhat non-traditional & they could explore & discuss the topic, even if they don't go as far as to open the books.  Perhaps, from such exploration, a more sustainable model could emerge.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/30/18 6:23 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Noah --

Some activities work towards a goal of sustainable happiness based on letting-go, while others don't.  All of the things could be steps towards sustained happiness if they were practiced from the aforementioned understanding.  

I'm compelleed to say again that happiness is an interim goal. It's a state of mind and can't be sustainable. Seeking states of mind isn't the end game, is it? Or when you use the word "happiness" do you mean something different than I'm interpreting you to mean? I suspect you do mean something different so... can you elaborate, please?

Sorry to be a pain in the ass, Noah, but I believe these deeper issues are important.
I agree that these issues are important.  Glad to discuss & learn.  

So, I don't ascribe to the idea that awakening is ultimately, at it's core, only about changing one's relationship with experience.  I believe that, at it's core, it is about a feedback loop between two things:
-Changing one's relationship with experience
-Patterning one's habits to improve experience in ways that further clarify that relationship

So when I say happiness, I'm referring both to insight into D.O./having EQ with things & also balancing the 8fold path to be an expression of those insights.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/31/18 7:58 AM as a reply to Noah D.
So, I don't ascribe to the idea that awakening is ultimately, at it's core, only about changing one's relationship with experience. 

Sure - but Awakening brings all the rest along with it- the habits, the compassion, the awareness. It's the very essence of the deep realization of the Buddha. It's the game changer, the paradigm buster.

So when I say happiness, I'm referring both to insight into D.O./having EQ with things & also balancing the 8fold path to be an expression of those insights.

I thought that might be so: it's not the elation kind of happiness, but the compelety okay with everything kind. Cool. Now I understand!




RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/31/18 8:17 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I don't know what the implications of the economic model would be in which dharma teachers teach for free.  

Noah and shargrol, I suspect the implications are that there would be fewer dharma teachers. It's like any other economic good or service; with prices (teaching fees) lowered or non-existent the supply of teachers will dwindle as the ability to teach and at the same time survive economically dwindles. The implication is that either another way of paying for the teaching will emerge (modern monasteries, maybe), or that dharma teaching will be harder to come by than it already is. Another alternative is that teachers teach only part time and maintain other, more lucrative jobs in order to survive.

I don't think today's situation is fertile ground for the monastic model (I coudl be wrong), or an alms-based, begging or donation model. So my personal belief is that it's beneficial and probably even necessary for some dharma teachers to charge reasonable, life-sustaining fees in order to teach. In today's culture, society and modern economy charging sustainable fees for teaching might be helping the dharma stay relevant because the practice helps insure that there are sufficient sources of teachings.

Question - is holding retreats and having people pay for those including enough "profit" margin to sustain the teachers economically considered excessive? I'm thinkkng here of a model that is in place at IMS or other similar locations.

I'd hate to live in a world where folks like Jack Kornfield, Chogyam Trungpa or Steve Hagen couldn't teach full time.

Thoughts?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/31/18 2:50 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Enjoying the discussion and the points made on both sides. 

Chris, I agree, it's likely there would be fewer teachers.  Looking for a qualified teacher who had time to add me to his student roster was
difficult.  While I had no expectation that having a teacher would be free and intended to pay whoever I ultimately found, I have ended up 
paying more than I anticipated.  That said, I have also gained more from the teacher than I thought I would, too.  Paying someone leaves 
out the guess work that would exist if the teachings were dana based and the money seems a fair trade for wise guidance.

As for today not being fertile ground for a donation based model, I would point to Insight Retreat Center in Scotts Valley.  Retreats are held on a dana basis, you are assigned a private room and retreats are small (around 45 people).  If there are more applicants than retreat spaces, a lotto is held. Granted, the proximity to Silicon Valley and some generous donors perhaps explain the success of the place, but it has
worked quite well and they have run it this way since they opened a few years ago.  Resident volunteers run the center in exchange for
rooms, a small stipend and the opportunity to sit frequent retreats.  Yogi's are assigned a job during retreat and are required to clean their
room and help with cleaning the center on departure.  The place is simple, clean and located in a beautiful setting.  A modern day example
of dana based teaching.  Would it work as well if it were located somewhere economically depressed?  Not sure. 


Thanks to all for the interesting banter on a topic I'm sure isn't going away soon!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
3/31/18 6:50 PM as a reply to Adrian.
Adrian:
Hey Noah,

Thanks for bringing up this interesting discussion!

The one question I have is the following:
Why is it ok for an advanced Dharma practitioner to charge money for an "ordinary" job, but not for Dharma teaching.
If I understood correctly, your argument is that an advanced Dharma practitioner will have reduced attachment and thus needs less money.
By this logic, not charging money for a service is a result of practicing the Dharma, rather than teaching the Dharma in specific, or am I getting something wrong?

Also, how do you reconcile the MrMoneyMustache stuff (e.g. investing in organizations that cause suffering) with the Dharma?

Hi Adrian,

Your assumption is correct about argument.  Logic is also correct - the not charging would be the fruits of their attainment.   However, I would not make the distinction that a dharma teacher's life & teaching are two separate things.  Dharma teaching is the meta-science of happiness in all of life - it is not an isolated skill or siloed knowledge set.  So to me that is a false distinction, if that makes sense.  A dharma teacher should give advice based on their experience in relationships, their perceptual field, their degree of surrender, their behavioral modification, their handling of food/shelter/clothing/medicine & other things.  

Regarding the MrMoneyMustache stuff, I am simply willing to make the trade-off, at this time.  Meaning, pour money into an index fund which includes organizations that cause suffering, which in turn will allow me to retire early & spend the rest of my life trying to help people.  This of course is not an either/or situation, one can help people while they are still in the "mandatory work" phase of life, but there is not nearly as much time as there would be otherwise.  

More broadly, on topics of extreme ethical complexity, I default to the "good enough" set point (based on my own intelligence, judgement & training).  My teacher has taught me to do this - meaning make financial decisions based on the best data available to me at any given time - rather than going down endless rabbit holes of cause & effect which would probably be classified by the Buddha as an imponderable.  I've been taught to apply similar reasoning to right livelihood.

-Noah

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/1/18 6:04 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Fyi - an interesting financial site: https://www.ussif.org/sribasics

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/1/18 1:48 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Fyi - an interesting financial site: https://www.ussif.org/sribasics

Wow, I didn't know about this!  But it totally makes sense that it exists.  I will have to look into it some more.

I came upon this article while googling around: https://www.caniretireyet.com/socially-responsible-investing-worth-the-price/
I asked Mr. Money Mustache for his take on socially responsible investing. He is one of the most influential voices in personal finance, with impeccable credentials as a champion of low-cost, planet-friendly lifestyles. His reply: “I just don’t focus on the investment side of it too much at this point since there is much more leverage on the consumer spending side. If people only bought renewable energy and valued ethics, even Exxon would transform overnight into an ethical solar company – because that would be where the money is.”

Exactly. For all the sanctimony of those peddling socially responsible investment products, the ultimate power for change lies in the hands of consumers. The world is more likely to be transformed on the demand side than on the capital side. Industries are created based on what people want and buy. Manage our desires better, and a host of social problems will go away on their own.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/1/18 6:45 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Consumer demand/spending accounts for 70% of U.S. GDP. It's the engine that drives our economy. When consumers speak, companies listen.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/3/18 3:07 AM as a reply to Noah D.
4/3

Some different thoughts coming up for me on various things.

One is drinking.  Really moving internal sub minds away from wanting to drink alcohol.  I notice that about once a month this body-mind system tends to end up getting highly intoxicated, some how, some way.  Some times it's stress, other times environmental stimulus, other times excitement.  Whatever the case may be.  

There's some latent addicitve tendency here for sure.  The drinking takes about a week from me in terms of functioing.  Not all functioning, but certainly my cutting edge in sila.  Also, at the time when I am drunk, I am starting to be concerned with my conduct.  It isn't bad relative to other intoxicated individuals & certainly always getting better over time, but it leaves a mental imprint on me for a few days that I can tangibly feel now, that is specifically different from the effects of a hang over. 

That idea is that drinking is unskillful not just because of the after effects, but also because I might say something slightly off color to someone or slightly look at someone in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable (with some harm in my intention) does make me uncomfortable, because it's a moment of non-mindfulness (& of course because it could make the other person feel bad - but I don't control that, I only control my intention).  Raising the bar of what suffering I'm willing to tolerate, as Dhammarato says.  

Another one I'm thinking about is dating.

I can't see myself as a celibate.  That just doesn't make any sense for me to try.  It's also not in line with my own understanding of right view & the N8FP.  

I definitely can't see myself in a monogamous relationship, at least not now.  I understand that the nesting instinct is so strong in most people that that's the only romantic arrangement they could consider & they just gravitate towards it.  Monogamy makes people feel safe.  Of course, if it's a real relationship, it will also make them feel unsafe & grow.  But my sense fromm talking to people over the years is that for most, it is in part a delusional safety net.  It's very rare for two people to explicitly & truly be in a relationship for the internal growth opportunity.  For whatever reason, I don't experience that sense of safety in a monogamous set up.  Don't get me wrong, I don't feel unsafe.  I'm not afraid of the intimacy.  I just don't personally experience an emotional, psychological or physical difference in levels of intimacy, being with one person, or multiple.  To me, to be honest, that is a superior way to be, because it means one has the choice to either be in monogamy or non monogamy - more options of what paths to carve with intention based on what is skillful in a context =  "better" in the dharmic sense.  The best of course, would be to have the option to be celibate, monogamous or non monogamous, with no suffering whatsoever, at any given time.

The new one for me here that I'm truly doubting is a type of conventional modern non monogamy where one engages in hook ups & one-night-stands.  This is typically what cookie cutter monagamists do in between relationships.  I am starting to see, in real time, how it makes suffering more likely.  For awhile now, a big part of me has craved more experiences of this type.  Something about the illusion of power & control, not the authentic kind.  Similar to the drinking peice, it is simply more likely to subtly harm another person when one has a specific outcome in mind for an interaction with another human being.  Time is a big issue here: there's a huge difference between spending a couple dates with a person & then explicitly acknowledging that the two of you want different things before parting VS attempting to guide an interaction towards sex with a set period of time or as quickly as possible.  The first version essentially comes from love, the second from hate or desperation.  Not that there is anything morally wrong with an interaction leading to sex quickly, if that's truly the way things naturally happen based on the way both parties are preconditioned, without extra metacognitive analysis or manipulation.  

Figuring these types of things out, slowly over time, is incredibly valuable for me.  Repatterning broad swathes of life, through space & time, to increase the likelihood of truly cutting through suffering in each moment.  By suffering I mean not just perceptual duality or subtle clinging, but also coarse afflictive emotion & behavior.  The true goal here for me is 'traditional' arahantship.  Some people say they have never found someone who has actually accomplished that.  But I believe that some of these individuals simply come off as boring people who lay low.  Someone who truly has no problems could actually be fairly boring.  Anyways, I don't believe that the specific content of my decisions is somehow objectively correct over what other people might decide.  Rather, it is the degree of internal alignment that is objectively correct for happiness across different people.  By alignment, I do not mean just choiceless non clinging acceptance that the mind is pointing in all kinds of crazy directions, I mean actually getting most of the mind to be pointed in a few major, healthy directions in a way that holds up under extreme duress & the highs of life as well.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/3/18 4:22 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
4/3

Some different thoughts coming up for me on various things.

One is drinking.  Really moving internal sub minds away from wanting to drink alcohol.  I notice that about once a month this body-mind system tends to end up getting highly intoxicated, some how, some way.  Some times it's stress, other times environmental stimulus, other times excitement.  Whatever the case may be.  

There's some latent addicitve tendency here for sure.  The drinking takes about a week from me in terms of functioing.  Not all functioning, but certainly my cutting edge in sila.  Also, at the time when I am drunk, I am starting to be concerned with my conduct.  It isn't bad relative to other intoxicated individuals & certainly always getting better over time, but it leaves a mental imprint on me for a few days that I can tangibly feel now, that is specifically different from the effects of a hang over. 

That idea is that drinking is unskillful not just because of the after effects, but also because I might say something slightly off color to someone or slightly look at someone in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable (with some harm in my intention) does make me uncomfortable, because it's a moment of non-mindfulness (& of course because it could make the other person feel bad - but I don't control that, I only control my intention).  Raising the bar of what suffering I'm willing to tolerate, as Dhammarato says.  


This hits the nail on the head of my experience as well.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/5/18 12:21 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
4/3

Some different thoughts coming up for me on various things.

One is drinking.  Really moving internal sub minds away from wanting to drink alcohol.  I notice that about once a month this body-mind system tends to end up getting highly intoxicated, some how, some way.  Some times it's stress, other times environmental stimulus, other times excitement.  Whatever the case may be.  

There's some latent addicitve tendency here for sure.  The drinking takes about a week from me in terms of functioing.  Not all functioning, but certainly my cutting edge in sila.  Also, at the time when I am drunk, I am starting to be concerned with my conduct.  It isn't bad relative to other intoxicated individuals & certainly always getting better over time, but it leaves a mental imprint on me for a few days that I can tangibly feel now, that is specifically different from the effects of a hang over. 

That idea is that drinking is unskillful not just because of the after effects, but also because I might say something slightly off color to someone or slightly look at someone in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable (with some harm in my intention) does make me uncomfortable, because it's a moment of non-mindfulness (& of course because it could make the other person feel bad - but I don't control that, I only control my intention).  Raising the bar of what suffering I'm willing to tolerate, as Dhammarato says.  


Hey Noah,

Of course alcohol has a wide range of effects on different people but I thought I'd share with you my experience in case it may help.

Alcohol was a problem / solution for me for a long time. I drank to be social and was social to drink. Having an insight that my problem (dukkha) was something beyond drinking vs non drinking was what got me into meditation in the first place.

After spending a few years swinging from sobriety to moderation to benders and back I've come to discover that (for me) it is not helpful to influence the subminds away from alcohol directly by what I have been calling the "should be" submind. Inevitably there will come a time when I feel regret for not indulging when it was most likely perfectly OK for me to have a couple beers. Or, I'll slip up, fall off the wagon for an evening and then feel guitly about it. Instead what's been effective is just moving along with the good ole' Tao; Drink when I feel like it but then meditate on the negative repercussions afterwards. This has allowed the subminds to "train" themselves by experience, not by discipline. Now my awareness when drinking alcohol and my very taste for it has changed; There's unconscious work happening on its own that regulates alcohol consumption and there's less regret or guilt. Not to say that the system is yet perfect, but I feel that this moderation is the way of least resistance.

But holy hell do I feel you on what it does to sila. A heavy night of drinking puts me in the doldrums for days. But you know sometimes a little spur of the moment light goofy tipsy sesh with friends does some good. For me its often a time when I make some honest, beautiful connections with people.       

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/5/18 2:03 AM as a reply to Nick O.
I like to say ... "all things in moderation, includiing excess."

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/9/18 7:36 AM as a reply to Nick O.
Thanks Nick.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/9/18 7:43 AM as a reply to Noah D.
4.9

Right speech intends to do no harm.  To the extent that specific maps & measures of awakening cause individuals or groups to express displeasure, the communication of those maps are doing harm.  Right speech recognizes this & adapts.  

The dhamma is process oriented.  The teaching is designed to teach, not to accurately describe the entirety of the way perception works at each stage: rather, it is designed to guide a person within the stage they are at.  Even if few are qualified to do this, it seems to still be worth the effort.  

The best dhamma peer groups would have this orientation but also acknowledge non-authority.  Discussion of maps would take a backseat to the discussion of direct experience in practice & attitude towards that.  Perhaps they would also have a silent sitting component, even if it was short, in the beginning & end.  Perhaps there would be an encouragement to speak from a place of mindfulness within the groups.  None of this needs to degenerate into Buddhist Romanticism, provided the discussion is still focused on serious, directed practice.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/10/18 10:19 PM as a reply to Noah D.
4.10

The maps are useful between teacher & student.  Within the student's own understanding, once they already have some experience.  Sometimes, in conversations between students, as an exploration.

Long, drawn out conversations on maps between students are likely not useful.  Long, drawn out conversations between groups of teachers & students are also likely not useful.  Targeted (possibly moderated) conversations between teachers, for the benefit of students, could be useful. 

What is useful?  Takiong the time to describe the experience of past practice.  Taking the time to describe one's present moment experience.  Taking the time to meditate silently together.  Taking the time to do "ping pong" noting together.  Taking the time to "point out" the nature of mind to each other.  Giving each other pointers on practice, with the understanding that we are all speaking from personal experience or relaying second hand info (calling out which is which).  Cheerleading & encouraging each other in practice in simple & positive ways.  Backing off of each other & talking about other things, when the focus of meditation becomes too intense ("dharma toxicity").

Running 'wash, rinse, repeat' on these useful things, in lots of locations & at scale, may have a positive impact.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/11/18 8:44 AM as a reply to Noah D.
4.11

I sense that something in my understanding of time is holding me back.  The passage of time allows for before & after juxtaposition.  The comparison of states & situations.  Value judgements, large & small.  There are levels here which are conceptual, perceptual, somatic, other.

Extra work is being done to prop up these vantage points.  I am lazy & don't want to do extra work.  I wouldn't venture to say I know what is past this particular wall, although I have heard it described as "quite ordinary."

What am I missing about, that which doesn't arise and doesn't pass away? Where is the extra stress in the comparing mind?  The mind which folds the timeline in half at the present, for means of seeng multiple things at once, which allows it to simplify & rank?

The construct of time is required for things to arise & pass away.  A succession of moments in which things can be there, or not there.  Moments themselves are parsed by the ordinary mind.  With that moments, there can be no succession.  Without the succession, there can be no reflection (or comparison, or ranking). 

The whole thing is a big cluster of suffering, in one sense.  But I can also see how it is useful.  How it is needed to become a functioning, fully-grown human being.  Perhaps not useful once those patterns are ingrained & the boat can go on auto pilot.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/11/18 12:19 PM as a reply to Noah D.
What about space; space as in distance, size, position, that is. Oh, wait - what about every concept? 


emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/11/18 12:26 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Time is useful for things in time. Time is >definitely< useful for things in time. So it's not worth second-guessing that.

Is "now" ever in time?

Would the real, actual Self ever be found in time?

The only way to have a self in time is to think-create-believe it. We did that a long time ago, it seems like the self-in-time has always existed.

But maybe this self-in-time, what we think of as ourself, what we identify as ourself, is just an narrow idea about Self.

When we get close to realizing the false nature of "idea of self" it feels like a tightness in the chest, like we are dying. It's a knot in our "heart".

The real Self sees the knot.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/12/18 8:33 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
The Buddha talked A LOT about handling 4 things: food, shelter, clothing & medicine. Modern people don't like these suttas, because they tell them how to live their life & modern people don't want to hear that shit from the Buddha.  Instead, modern people look at sexy suttas like the Anapanasati, the Bahiya or the Satipattana.  But it is all in there.  Happy to add sutta references by request (but lazy at the outset).

The suttas essentially contain the spirit of automated lifestyle design, super-saving/early retirement & where mundane happiness comes from already.  I would assume a dharma teacher would have some sense of or fluency with these things.  If not, perhaps we could sign them up for the next Tim Ferris seminar emoticon



Edit: One more thing regarding the suttas - Where basic human rights & freedoms contrast with the words of the Buddha (i.e. saying silly shit about women's ability to get enlightened, be ordained or cause men not to get enlightened), I choose human rights.  Also, if magical stuff is mentioned, I think it is right to take an agnostic atheist approach.  However, I don't think the same rules needs to apply for the handling of material stuff.  I'm just saying this because a typical point people make is that there are lots of things from the Suttas that don't even indirectly apply to us, which I disagree with.  I think the main things that don't apply would be magical stuff (rebirth, powers) & devaluing humans.


aloha noah,

   I have heard you say before that the buddha approved of saving up and taking care of oneself financially, and that this is in the literature. I have read a lot of suttas and don't recall anything like what you speak of. Please provide the sutta references, if you can. What references there were to food, shelter and "medical requisites" (unspecified) were in terms of minimalism: patched clothes, deserted huts, stale food and basic medicines begged from householders when required. The gross excesses of modern materialist culture are incompatible with the practice of buddhism... in my view. "There is no north and south in the dhamma" or male and female either.

   The buddha approved of women obtaining the dhamma; what "silly shit" are you referring to? What "magical stuff (rebirth, powers)"? We are reborn every moment; every past life is our own past life. I find the pali canon readily applicable to contemporary life. 

   "Devaluing humans"? In fact, buddhism regards human birth as rare and wonderful. Many people  - and most religions other than buddhism - are anthropocentric. To them, the world and all its creatures were given by god to humanity to be their property to be used as they saw fit, without regard for the welfare of the creatures themselves, or for the web of life on which all depend. Buddhism regards all living being(s) to be one web of interrelationship. If contemporary critics of buddhism feel that this devalues humans, they need not be pandered to. Enlightened beings of any religion or culture must understand that "we are the world," or we all perish. 

   The buddha did not encourage materialism, an extreme position; nor was he an idealist. The dhamma is not designed to excuse selfishness or encourage the delusion that it is appropriate to indulge oneself in desires which lead to suffering. 

   I will grant that going into homelessness nowadays is not feasible for the spiritual person, the way homelessness is allowed to exist in america. But any teacher of the dharma, if not every practicioner, should be able to live simply and frugally, and be an example of such living. The principle of homelessness applies, though. Which is becoming non-attached to possession. "My" objects of desire and tools do more than anything else to create "me," or "I" as subject. If I don't want things and don't want to get things for later, I can forget myself and be happy, content. To teach that is to be that. 

   There is a sufi story about mullah nasrudin, who was the magistrate of a small market town. A woman came to him while he was holding court, and she asked him to tell her son to stop eating sugar. He told her to return in three days. When she came back, he turnded to the boy and said, "stop eating sugar." The mother asked him why this pronouncement took him three days; the mullah replied that he himself had to first stop eating sugar. The buddha dhamma essentially asks us to give up all selfish desires, that is, to stop eating sugar. (Sukkha means "sweet" and dukkha is its opposite.) For our own good.

   Anyone who feels called to teach the buddha dhamma ought to be committed to not eating sugar, in my view, as a necessary but not sufficient condition. If you are a lay teacher, provide your own living; if a monastic, accept reduced comforts and the inability to support a family on donations. In my view.

   All a person really needs is a handful of grains per day.

   
terry


   "Customs become diluted year after year.
Both the noble and the common decline.
The human mind grows fragile with time;
the ancestral way becomes fainter day by day.
Teachers can’t see past the name of their school;
students enable their teachers’ narrow-mindedness.
They are glued to each other, unwilling to change.
If the purpose of the dharma were to establish schools,
sages would have done so long ago.
Now that people have declared their schools,
whom on earth should I join?
Everyone, shut your mouth
and listen!
A discourse should have a beginning.
Let me begin with the one on Vulture Peak.
The Buddha is the deva of devas.
Who can criticize him?
Five hundred years after the Buddha passed away,
people gathered two or three volumes of his teaching.
Bodhisattva Nagarjuna came to the world
and wrote a treatise explaining emptiness.
He said he was simply called to do so.
Who is right and who is wrong?
The Baime Monastery was first founded
after the buddha dharma moved eastward.
Our master Bodhidharma came from afar.
It was then that all teachings found their source.
Zen flourished in Great Tang.
Never had it been so magnificent.
Guiding the assembly and correcting the crowd,
each teacher was a lion in dharma.
Although sudden and gradual teachings emerged,
there were not yet Southern and Northern Schools.
In the later dynasty of Song,
the white jewel began to be marred.
The Five Schools exposed their spearheads;
the Eight Schools competed with one another.
Their influences spread far and wide,
impossible to stop.
Then came our Eihei Dogen,
a true pioneer in the ancestral domain.
He carried Taibo’s seal of approval.
His voice resounded like thunder throughout this country.
Vigorous was his work of spreading dharma,
so vigorous that it overshadowed
other dragons and elephants.
Even hermits did not miss being illuminated.
He also guided those living on remote islands.
He eliminated what should be eliminated,
offered what should be offered.
Since the master left this land of Shinto deities,
how many years have passed?
Thornbushes grow around high halls,
fragrant flowers wither in the weeds.
Vulgar songs fill the days.
Who will expound the luminous teaching?
Ah, I, a humble one have encountered this era.
When a great house is about to crumble,
a stick cannot keep it from falling.
Unable to sleep on a clear night,
I toss in bed, chanting this poem.”

~ryokan



from "unborn; the life and teachings of zen master bankei":

   "If we compare the duties of a Buddhist priest with those of a samurai, we find that in some respects the duties of a samurai are easier to perform. Those who leave home to become priests usually begin their studies at an early age. Their practice takes them all over the country, even overseas to other lands. Though they may have some destination in mind, they never know what will be waiting for them when they arrive. They carry no food or money with them on their pilgrimages, and wherever they go, they find very little in the way of comfort. If someone offers them shelter while they're on the road, they accept it gratefully, regarding it as a dispensation be stowed on them by the Buddhas. When there is no such shelter, they lie down in the fields or in the mountains. If they run out of food, they take their bowl and beg for some. Often no alms are given, so they must go with an empty stomach. As a rule, their practice is carried on in a state of perpetual hunger. Occasionally someone may give them nice lodgings. They are deeply grateful and filled with a feeling of indebtedness for this expression of the Buddhas' favor.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/12/18 9:11 PM as a reply to terry.
Terry - thanks for the In depth response!

i will say that I reserve the right to be objectively wrong within the confines of my conceptual sandbox.  

I'll have to respond to most of your points later.

That said, this is my best sutta support for frugality & financial independence:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.062.than.html
"And what is the bliss of [making use of] wealth? There is the case where the son of a good family, using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, partakes of his wealth and makes merit. When he thinks, 'Using the wealth earned through my efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of my arm, and piled up through the sweat of my brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, I partake of wealth and make merit,' he experiences bliss, he experiences joy. This is called the bliss of [making use of] wealth."And what is the bliss of debtlessness? There is the case where the son of a good family owes no debt, great or small, to anyone at all. When he thinks, 'I owe no debt, great or small, to anyone at all,' he experiences bliss, he experiences joy. This is called the bliss of debtlessness.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 7:03 AM as a reply to terry.
It is always interesting to see how some who follow Buddhism have such romatic notions of the dharma and how its followers should live. One of the deepest connections I have with Buddhism is its practicality. It has adapted into many cultures and has taken many forms. It's not a belief system but a practical prescription for waking up to what we are.

Just my humble opinion...


emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 7:14 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Not denying that I fall into this group of romantics.  Yet the specific topic being discussed (money, usage of resources) is of utmost practicality, no?  But then I think you'll come back with saying it has absolutely nothing to do with the dharma... 

edit:  I'll add that I think the opposite, non romantic perspective seems silly - that ancient Pali writings say absolutely nothing valid about how to live ones life & that their only practical contribution is insights into the nature of subtle selfing processes.  Of the several problems with this view, one is the idea that the contents of ones life at a coarse level have no effect on ones ability to attain to these subtle insights.  Another is that these subtle insights do not compel the yogi to make certain coarse level behavioral decisions as an expression of them. Things like the handling of resources are conducive to insight at the top of the funnel, an expression of insight at the bottom.  

Thats how i read & understand these suttas.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 7:49 AM as a reply to Noah D.
 I'll add that I think the opposite, non romantic perspective seems silly - that ancient Pali writings say absolutely nothing valid about how to live ones life & that their only practical contribution is insights into the nature of subtle selfing processes.  Of the several problems with this view, one is the idea that the contents of ones life at a coarse level have no effect on ones ability to attain to these subtle insights.  Another is that these subtle insights do not compel the yogi to make certain coarse level behavioral decisions as an expression of them. Things like the handling of resources are conducive to insight at the top of the funnel, an expression of insight at the bottom.  

Noah, I don't actually happen to think there is no wisdom in the suttas. I do think, however, that they represent a 2,500 year old oral tradition that lays out a very practical guide to awakening and to proper living in that time. To take even the buddhist scriptures literally is a form of fundamentalism. I think we need to judge these things for ourselves in the context of our own lives, culture and society, and then apply them as best we can in consideration of all those factors. This means we have to figure out what right speech, right livelihood, and so on, are in our own lives, right now. Some of what is in the suttas is very relevant to our time. Some is not. You, yourself, made this very same point not very long ago. Here's a practical example: I'm simply not going to give up my my career, my family, my house and my car so that I can live in alignment with a certain series of suttas from long, long ago written for a different time and for a very, very different social, political and economic environment. Also, keep in mind that people in diffrerent stages of their lives inevitably have different views. You're lucky to have come to buddhism at an much earlier age than someone like me. That gives you a certain freedom of choice and operation that others may not have.

YMMV, and I fully respect the individual choices people make.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 9:31 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Noah, I don't actually happen to think there is no wisdom in the suttas. I do think, however, that they represent a 2,500 year old oral tradition that lays out a very practical guide to awakening and to proper living in that time. To take even the buddhist scriptures literally is a form of fundamentalism. I think we need to judge these things for ourselves in the context of our own lives, culture and society, and then apply them as best we can in consideration of all those factors. This means we have to figure out what right speech, right livelihood, and so on, are in our own lives, right now. Some of what is in the suttas is very relevant to our time. Some is not. You, yourself, made this very same point not very long ago. Here's a practical example: I'm simply not going to give up my my career, my family, my house and my car so that I can live in alignment with a certain series of suttas from long, long ago written for a different time and for a very, very different social, political and economic environment. Also, keep in mind that people in diffrerent stages of their lives inevitably have different views. You're lucky to have come to buddhism at an much earlier age than someone like me. That gives you a certain freedom of choice and operation that others may not have.

YMMV, and I fully respect the individual choices people make.


I understand and agree.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 10:22 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Come on Noah and Chris, how are we going to have the next schizm if you guys are so respectful? emoticon  emoticon  emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 11:41 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 I'll add that I think the opposite, non romantic perspective seems silly - that ancient Pali writings say absolutely nothing valid about how to live ones life & that their only practical contribution is insights into the nature of subtle selfing processes.  Of the several problems with this view, one is the idea that the contents of ones life at a coarse level have no effect on ones ability to attain to these subtle insights.  Another is that these subtle insights do not compel the yogi to make certain coarse level behavioral decisions as an expression of them. Things like the handling of resources are conducive to insight at the top of the funnel, an expression of insight at the bottom.  

Noah, I don't actually happen to think there is no wisdom in the suttas. I do think, however, that they represent a 2,500 year old oral tradition that lays out a very practical guide to awakening and to proper living in that time. To take even the buddhist scriptures literally is a form of fundamentalism. I think we need to judge these things for ourselves in the context of our own lives, culture and society, and then apply them as best we can in consideration of all those factors. This means we have to figure out what right speech, right livelihood, and so on, are in our own lives, right now. Some of what is in the suttas is very relevant to our time. Some is not. You, yourself, made this very same point not very long ago. Here's a practical example: I'm simply not going to give up my my career, my family, my house and my car so that I can live in alignment with a certain series of suttas from long, long ago written for a different time and for a very, very different social, political and economic environment. Also, keep in mind that people in diffrerent stages of their lives inevitably have different views. You're lucky to have come to buddhism at an much earlier age than someone like me. That gives you a certain freedom of choice and operation that others may not have.

YMMV, and I fully respect the individual choices people make.
I was cruising down an interstate yesterday in a service truck when my coworker mentioned something about how he found it difficult to navigate modern day life within the moral ideals of Buddhism. As I gazed down the multilane freeway of fast moving traffic, I reflected on that; We drive these heavy metalic machines over millions of miles of paved wilderness, spewing toxic exhaust in our wake past fields of factory agriculture that have destroyed countless square miles of forest. All for our own convenience and to keep up with our race's burgeoning growth. I had a deep moment of accepting being part of that. I live a simple life and work in solar energy, but even still, I depend on the agriculture of the Sacramento Valley and that freeway to deliver nourishment and goods to my small Sierra foothill town. Indeed, a very different situation from when the suttas were written.

One could completely remove themselves from this situation and find a remote area to live off the land. This to me, however, would be denial of the larger problem. Finding a way to live skillfully within modern society will always be a give and take.

As Chris says above, "...we have to figure out what right speech, right livelihood, and so on, are in our own lives, right now." 

emoticon      

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 5:09 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Terry - thanks for the In depth response!

i will say that I reserve the right to be objectively wrong within the confines of my conceptual sandbox.  

I'll have to respond to most of your points later.

That said, this is my best sutta support for frugality & financial independence:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.062.than.html
"And what is the bliss of [making use of] wealth? There is the case where the son of a good family, using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, partakes of his wealth and makes merit. When he thinks, 'Using the wealth earned through my efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of my arm, and piled up through the sweat of my brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, I partake of wealth and make merit,' he experiences bliss, he experiences joy. This is called the bliss of [making use of] wealth."And what is the bliss of debtlessness? There is the case where the son of a good family owes no debt, great or small, to anyone at all. When he thinks, 'I owe no debt, great or small, to anyone at all,' he experiences bliss, he experiences joy. This is called the bliss of debtlessness.


aloha noah,

   That's ok, bra, if you want to "reserve the right to be objectively wrong" in your sandbox. But for me, there is no "objective" wrongness. You offer your thoughts, I respond with mine. The next person responds to both, and adds their own. Readers take from the discussion what they may. It's all good.

   I don't regard what I think as "the truth," as it is only a view. Truth, I'm afraid, is more than I can express. It is found more readily by evaluating a discussion than by listening to a monologue.

   The words you quote only indicate that wealth in itself is not the problem, if one is unattached. One free of attachment, having wealth, uses it wisely and honorably and thus incurs no harm or distress. The sutta's protagonist "partakes of his wealth and makes merit." The buddha dhamma is fitted to every class of society; even the burden of wealth may be used meritoriously. Whatever merit or enjoyment a person "earned through effort and enterprise" is not the dhamma and won't end suffering. It must be recognized too that no scripture is infallible, the suttas were recorded many years after the fact and some of the collections and some of the suttas are lamer than others. You won't find anything in the mahayana scriptures to support even this view, that wealth may be "enjoyed" without attendant suffering. One must imagine the enjoyment of wealth envisioned in the sutta is due entirely to its meritorious employment.

   Enjoy a cup of tea, brother. The fragrance of a flower, the intricacy of the clouds, the warmth of a sunset, the softness of moonlight. The comfort of friendship, the purity of dhamma. This is wealth, unearned and not sweated for. Notice the lilies of the field, who do not toil, and yet are well dressed and well provided for; they would suffer from being gilded.

   I'm not saying you shouldn't do what you like and enjoy yourself. I'm just saying it is not the buddha dhamma, won't set you free or end suffering. You can believe anything you like, of course. But if you set up for a dhamma teacher, then you must hew to the dhamma.

   I'm seriously tempted to quote buddhist scripture to buttress my position, but we both know the buddha recommended poverty and simplicity, even if there may be a loophole here or there, in dozens if not hundreds of suttas. 

   I understand that there is an attempt to "modernize" buddhism, especially theravada, but to use the dhamma to shore up an unsustainable culture is pointless. We need to model sustainable ways of life for both householders and monastics, and to develop a monastic tradition in the west. (I have to keep saying "in my view" as these are obviously opinions; please feel entirely free to disagree). I don't think we have to torture the suttas too much to accomplish these ends. We can still have clean underwear and healthy food and modern medicine. Give up alcohol, meat and television for starters. Keep peeling off what is unnecessary and harmful to the spirit as we go, until there is no more conditioning to be deconditioned. In mahayana terms, samsara is nirvana *precisely* because it is samsara. Knowing samsara as samsara is nirvana. (That is why this is so very important.) Knowing samsara as samsara itself diminishes attachment; more importantly, we are awake and aware when consciously involved in seeing samsara as samsara, while otherwise we are asleep. Self-interest is attachment, and blinding. Not wanting things is liberation. Samsara, birth-and-death, is *identification with* the timeless changing of the generations, while nirvana is identifiction with the Unborn (the undying; the species itself: the unnamed, natural, every-human). To see samsara is to be free. Clear vision is absolutely crucial, it is always easy to give in to desire and blind ouselves.


terry


from the tao te ching (not a buddhist scripture - I don't really accord the buddha any special authority, or lao tzu, they just spoke well)



Three

Not exalting the gifted prevents quarreling. 
Not collecting treasures prevents stealing. 
Not seeing desirable things prevents confusion of the heart.

The wise therefore rule by emptying hearts and stuffing bellies, by weakening ambitions and strengthening bones. 
If men lack knowledge and desire, then clever people will not try to interfere. 
If nothing is done, then all will be well.

 

Forty-four

Fame or self: Which matters more? 
Self or wealth: Which is more precious? 
Gain or loss: Which is more painful?

He who is attached to things will suffer much. 
He who saves will suffer heavy loss. 
A contented man is never disappointed. 
He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble. 
He will stay forever safe.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 5:19 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
It is always interesting to see how some who follow Buddhism have such romatic notions of the dharma and how its followers should live. One of the deepest connections I have with Buddhism is its practicality. It has adapted into many cultures and has taken many forms. It's not a belief system but a practical prescription for waking up to what we are.

Just my humble opinion...


emoticon


aloha chris,

  As this is a reply to me, I suppose it is my "romantic notions" that you refer to. 

   You might help me by spelling out what you think is a "romantic notion" in what I said.

   I know you love confrontation (smile). I actually thought your comment was funny.


mahalos, terry

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 5:30 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Not denying that I fall into this group of romantics.  Yet the specific topic being discussed (money, usage of resources) is of utmost practicality, no?  But then I think you'll come back with saying it has absolutely nothing to do with the dharma... 

edit:  I'll add that I think the opposite, non romantic perspective seems silly - that ancient Pali writings say absolutely nothing valid about how to live ones life & that their only practical contribution is insights into the nature of subtle selfing processes.  Of the several problems with this view, one is the idea that the contents of ones life at a coarse level have no effect on ones ability to attain to these subtle insights.  Another is that these subtle insights do not compel the yogi to make certain coarse level behavioral decisions as an expression of them. Things like the handling of resources are conducive to insight at the top of the funnel, an expression of insight at the bottom.  

Thats how i read & understand these suttas.

aloha noah,

  You have what the pali canon calls "a supple mind." This is the fruit of meditation, mindfulness and selflessness. Good for you and a blessing for all.

   What really encourages people on the path is its embodiment, much as children do what you do and not what you say. Humans are hopeless romantics (laugh).


terry



"Great is the robe of liberation,
a formless field of benefaction.
Buddhas have authentically transmitted it.
Ancestors have intimately received it.
Beyond wide, beyond narrow,
beyond cloth, beyond threads;
maintain it thus,
then you are called a keeper of the robe.”

~ryokan

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 6:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 I'll add that I think the opposite, non romantic perspective seems silly - that ancient Pali writings say absolutely nothing valid about how to live ones life & that their only practical contribution is insights into the nature of subtle selfing processes.  Of the several problems with this view, one is the idea that the contents of ones life at a coarse level have no effect on ones ability to attain to these subtle insights.  Another is that these subtle insights do not compel the yogi to make certain coarse level behavioral decisions as an expression of them. Things like the handling of resources are conducive to insight at the top of the funnel, an expression of insight at the bottom.  

Noah, I don't actually happen to think there is no wisdom in the suttas. I do think, however, that they represent a 2,500 year old oral tradition that lays out a very practical guide to awakening and to proper living in that time. To take even the buddhist scriptures literally is a form of fundamentalism. I think we need to judge these things for ourselves in the context of our own lives, culture and society, and then apply them as best we can in consideration of all those factors. This means we have to figure out what right speech, right livelihood, and so on, are in our own lives, right now. Some of what is in the suttas is very relevant to our time. Some is not. You, yourself, made this very same point not very long ago. Here's a practical example: I'm simply not going to give up my my career, my family, my house and my car so that I can live in alignment with a certain series of suttas from long, long ago written for a different time and for a very, very different social, political and economic environment. Also, keep in mind that people in diffrerent stages of their lives inevitably have different views. You're lucky to have come to buddhism at an much earlier age than someone like me. That gives you a certain freedom of choice and operation that others may not have.

YMMV, and I fully respect the individual choices people make.

aloha chris,

   From my perspective as a biologist, 2500 years is short time, a mere 100 generations. Our culture is ephemeral and will have little effect on the dhamma, as we produce virtually no wise people. People suffer from identifying with the transient, and from self indulgence. Kalpas from now there will still be suffering, sickness, old age and death.

   I didn't leave my job or my family either, but maybe I should have, "successful" though we all may be. There are (as you say) age-related differences in philosophy, though the dhamma trumps them. My family, being raised, need me less than before, with consequent benefits to body and mind. (Are my sacrifices appreciated? What difference does it make?)

   One source of misunderstanding is that westerners come from a judaeo-christian background, wherein certain behaviors are demanded and required, and you are made to feel guilty if you don't comply. In buddhism, these are more like guidlelines - as a rule, my younger son is a vegan, but in practice he eats what he pleases, with the goal of eating more vegan over time. The same can be true of dope, sex, religion and tv, we can gradually minimize their pernicious effects, while not giving up our "delights" entirely, while they still delight us. Whatever you think appropriate is fine with me. (Unless you are really hurting someone, of course; even then, I don't know.)

  Another thing I have been thinking: it is easier when one is young to exercise muscles and become strong and athletic, but it is easier when one is old to train the mind. What seems romantically difficult for you may be relatively easy for a lot of older folks. The perspective of having less than twenty years of mental acuity left, maybe a lot less, 'concentrates the mind wonderfully.' Besides a western monastic tradition and a vibrant lay community, I would like to see old people live in peace, simplicity and meditation in set aside retreats as an alternative to the sort of warehousing of old folk we do now. (Romantic notion, bra?) The early suttas present a very workable way for turfing out the old when they need to make way for the next generation to build their sand castles. I suspect medical requisites and even alms food and clothing were routinely provided by relatives, that seems taken for granted in the pali suttas. Perhaps people could form a co-operative old folk's home along dhamma lines, for their aged parents and grandparents. Maybe they have already.

   And, chris...maybe it is you who are the romantic, eh? Hold the dhamma too high, put it on a pedestal, say human nature cannot reach this degree of venerableness. It is hard to believe that suffering may be ended. Impermanence tamed. It may seem idealistic, even idolatry. And the dhamma can be reified and idolized, it's simple depth unplumbed. Don't sell people short, bra. Many can change hearts and minds in a short time.

terry


tao te ching

Forty-one

The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently. 
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again. 
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud. 
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

Hence it is said: 
The bright path seems dim; 
Going forward seems like retreat; 
The easy way seems hard; 
The highest Virtue seems empty; 
Great purity seems sullied; 
A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate; 
The strength of Virtue seems frail; 
Real Virtue seems unreal; 
The perfect square has no corners; 
Great talents ripen late; 
The highest notes are hard to hear; 
The greatest form has no shape; 
The Tao is hidden and without name. 
The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment.


 
and perhaps I am a romantic; my world is filled wth love...

"My hand holds a cane made of rabbit horn.
My body is wrapped with a robe of flowers in the sky.
My feet are clad in shoes made of tortoise hair.
My lips chant a poem of no sound.”

~ryokan

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 6:23 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Come on Noah and Chris, how are we going to have the next schizm if you guys are so respectful? emoticon  emoticon  emoticon

aloha shargrol,

   We used to say, "sects, sects, sects, it's all you monks ever think about."

terry

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/13/18 7:12 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:

I was cruising down an interstate yesterday in a service truck when my coworker mentioned something about how he found it difficult to navigate modern day life within the moral ideals of Buddhism. As I gazed down the multilane freeway of fast moving traffic, I reflected on that; We drive these heavy metalic machines over millions of miles of paved wilderness, spewing toxic exhaust in our wake past fields of factory agriculture that have destroyed countless square miles of forest. All for our own convenience and to keep up with our race's burgeoning growth. I had a deep moment of accepting being part of that. I live a simple life and work in solar energy, but even still, I depend on the agriculture of the Sacramento Valley and that freeway to deliver nourishment and goods to my small Sierra foothill town. Indeed, a very different situation from when the suttas were written.

One could completely remove themselves from this situation and find a remote area to live off the land. This to me, however, would be denial of the larger problem. Finding a way to live skillfully within modern society will always be a give and take.

As Chris says above, "...we have to figure out what right speech, right livelihood, and so on, are in our own lives, right now." 

emoticon      


aloha nick,

   Wherever you feel most comfortable. (laughs) 

   For many years I had a bumper sticker on my truck which read: "life's a beach, and then you dive". We have some of the best diving (and fishing, marlin "granders" and the like) in the world off of the kona coast, where the ocean can be 1000' deep a quarter mile off shore. I've scuba dove the whole length of the coast, 100s of times; it's like being a fish. And the ocean creatures are fantastic; I've heard whales sing, seen sharks, octopi, manta rays, moray eels... oddly, now that I think of it, by far the most fantastic colors on sea cretures show up at night under lights.

   Don't find yourself in a position a decade or two from now where you regret not taking the option to 'cast your fate to the winds' and seek happiness on your own terms, and live as free a life as you can. Romantics do that, you know. (Tramps like us, eh?)

   In the chuang tzu, the eponymous hero tells a story about a snake and a millipede. The snake asks the millipede how he manages so many legs, and the insect replies, "I don't manage them. If I try to manage them they go all awry and I stumble. If I just move along naturally they appear to manage themselves without thought." Chuang tzu is saying that the right Way is not a matter of thought, more of imulse and opportunity, sincerity and self-effacement, "acting non-acting." The 'true human' is like a wound crossbow, ready to burst into activity at any moment. Chuang-tzu also tells stories about himself. One time he was fishing in the river near his rural home and two ministers came from the local monarch with papers asking him to rule the kingdom for them. Chuang tzu asked them if they knew of the great turtle which whose shell was gilded and kept on an altar and worshipped in a special temple. They did. He asked, do you think the turtle was happy to be sacrifced and gilded and kept on display for 500 years, or would he have been happier rooting around in the mud of this river? They replied the animal would no doubt be happier living in the river than dead in the temple. Then, said the taoist, leave me to my fishing.

   Finding a place to hang on to your sanity in this world is crazy difficult, you want to cut yourself a lot of slack, without losing your focus. Don't get used to evil, it should always rub and chafe. 


terry



THE FLIGHT OF LIN HUI
(the way of chuang tzu trans merton)

Lin Hui of Kia took to flight.
Pursued by enemies,
He threw away the precious jade
Symbol of his rank
And took his infant child on his back.
Why did he take the child
And leave the jade,
Which was worth a small fortune,
Whereas the child, if sold,
Would only bring him a paltry sum?

Lin Hui said:
"My bond with the jade symbol
And with my office
Was the bond of self-interest.
My bond with the child
Was the bond of Tao.

"Where self-interest is the bond,
The friendship is dissolved
When calamity comes.
Where Tao is the bond,
Friendship is made perfect
By calamity.

"The friendship of wise men
Is tasteless as water.
The friendship of fools
Is sweet as wine.
But the tastelessness of the wise
Brings true affection
And the savor of fools' company
Ends in hatred."
[xx. 5.]

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/14/18 12:25 AM as a reply to terry.
terry:
[quote= Don&#039;t find yourself in a position a decade or two from now where you regret not taking the option to &#039;cast your fate to the winds&#039; and seek happiness on your own terms, and live as free a life as you can. Romantics do that, you know. &#40;Tramps like us, eh?&#41;
]

  Oh I've done plenty of years of living life "freely". Don't you worry! emoticon

I've found that true freedom lies in routine.

No regrets here.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/14/18 4:47 PM as a reply to terry.
 And, chris...maybe it is you who are the romantic, eh? Hold the dhamma too high, put it on a pedestal, say human nature cannot reach this degree of venerableness. It is hard to believe that suffering may be ended. Impermanence tamed. It may seem idealistic, even idolatry. And the dhamma can be reified and idolized, it's simple depth unplumbed. Don't sell people short, bra. Many can change hearts and minds in a short time.

Aloha back at ya, terry.

I like Buddhism because it's practical, not a set of beliefs, and because it adapts to the quickly changing nature of human society and culture. Buddhism asks me only to trust in what I experience for myself. I also like buddhism because it's a formula for awakening - which I know we can all achieve in this lifetime. We just have to practice at it. So in that way, yes, I suppose I do hold a romantic notion.


RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/15/18 4:11 PM as a reply to Noah D.
4.15

I have noticed a sense of vastness beyond what previous versions.  Like looking out into a chamber which shows faintly beyond the wall of form before me.  Also notable is the sense of knowing it not as all around me.  It is not as if there is a big sphere around me.  Rather, it is as if there is a large plate of knowing which is more like an element or characteristic of the vastness - built into it.  

When I pause to marvel at this quality of knowing, there can be a sense of collapse inwards where the sense organs begin to turn off.  There can also be great quiet & joy with some goosebumps or thrill.  Forms include all external patterning and internal processing of that.  But there is clearly also an world of form inside - a history, memories, beliefs, expectations, etc.  Specifically, these are all like complex geometric oragami unfolding when the brilliance of lucidity meets the broad swathes of deep outer space.

However, the transparency of these displays is not easy to see.  They appear to be self existent & self satisfying.  Knowing them from this frequency is of great value & servie in the world.


The other thing on my mind lately is the structure of materialism.  Meaning, it is great to have this crystalline awakeness to what occurs & to not grab onto anything within it.  But it is possible to further optimize the way the personality & habits are patterned even beyond the natural results of exhausting craving.  For instance, most modern people are not aware of how little is typically actually needed on a material level to get by and to be completely satisfied.  If this is known in the conscious mind, it is not known in the individual subconscious.  If it is known in the mind as a whole, it is not known in the body.  I suppose this is one purpose of discipline & renunciation.

My own interest in this lies in moving past narcissistic self protection.  I find that my ability to let go of materialistic tendancies increases proportionally to my ability to nurture positive social relationships & serve others.  Moving past the desire for physical comfort creates an open space in which I am able to have a wider array of choices.  

This is where I think renunciation & discipline are needed & that reducing craving at a subtle level is not enough.  One can have no fundamental suffering, yet still not be optimized to serve.  There can be a wholistic knowledge of conscious process, but not intimate connection at ultimate & relative levels.  There can also be a sense of big-heartedness, while there is still attachment to material things.  Or attachemnt to material things, without any supramundane insight.  So all three are necessary.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/17/18 8:00 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah, thanks for posting all this, you raise some interesting points and issues!


Noah D  4.15

This is where I think renunciation & discipline are needed & that reducing craving at a subtle level is not enough.  One can have no fundamental suffering, yet still not be optimized to serve.  There can be a wholistic knowledge of conscious process, but not intimate connection at ultimate & relative levels.  There can also be a sense of big-heartedness, while there is still attachment to material things.  Or attachemnt to material things, without any supramundane insight.  So all three are necessary.

As far as a practice orientation, I won't argue with this because to each their own, after all this is 'what works' dharma.

As far as a grand theoretical orientation, I disagree somewhat and I'll give you my perspective, because the more the merrier..

Sometimes you have posted about the limitations of perceptual shifts and the necessity of more integrated development.  Your reasons seem to be totally spot on here - the need for emotional and social development to balance more mental insight-type development.  I would say that ultimately that is true, but it is also a single perspective - the other being a single-minded perceptual shifts type path orientation.

To make the case for perceptual shifts - people who come to the path and make significant progress are inevitably driven by significant suffering - I know we have talked about this and certainly it was my case.  I always wanted to attain the bliss and peace of the state of enlightenment, but part and parcel of this was to overcome my significant social and emotional suffering.  

When I gained some early attainment, stream entry and 4th path, I realized that with these insights suffering was decreased, but not eliminated.  There are two directions to go from here potentially - seek integration, or seek further insight.  At this point I assumed that any deficiencies in my level of attainment were simply due to its incomplete nature - not being fully enlightened.  Therefore I sought enlightenment, to remedy my suffering in all areas of life, perceptual, emotional, and social.  All this is to say that a perceptual shifts model need not be solely mentally focused, and if successful, will naturally produce change and integration in a variety of life arenas.  

To further play devil's advocate here, I find it hard to differentiate between a moment of integration and a moment of insight.  Inevitably any lasting, acute shifts in perception, even those with significant effects on social/emotional functioning are so closely comparable to moments of insight to be difficult if not impossible to separate.  The obvious assumption I'm making here is that permanent progression is always accompanied by a discrete insight / apprehension type moment.  In practice, be it insight or morally oriented, we train in a certain direction, experience gradual changes if successful, and then lock these changes in to accomplish a lasting freedom from that certain suffering, however it may be classified in experience.  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I suppose the important point here goes along with the idea of 10,000 dharma’s - to each their own.  If training in morality is what works for you then go for it, if something else works for someone else, fine.  If both paths produce results - genuine freedom from suffering - then they are both successful, and valid.

One reason I quoted your text was to offer a divergent opinion to the idea that "One can have no fundamental suffering, yet still not be optimized to serve" - in my experience, this is ultimately not the case.  However, I think that our views of suffering and the path may be much more closely intertwined than it may appear.  In my view, to be un-optimized to serve is suffering - it is an obstacle to be overcome.

Ultimately I have found that these paths - social, mental, and emotional - converge.  At the end of the path, our perception is purified - no internal blocks exist - and consequentially, we naturally act to our fullest and best capacity, we are 100% at all times, in all three areas.  We can still learn more, we can still develop, but further progression occurs beyond any dualistic ideas of better or worse, there is simply an increasing of perfection.

Pretty heady stuff perhaps, but I think it offers a vision of hope as well as of inevitable internal and external unification, if we follow the path to its end, however we chose to do so.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/19/18 11:35 PM as a reply to T DC.
Thanks T DC.  I think that is a valuble perspective.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/21/18 1:03 PM as a reply to Noah D.
4.20

Descriptions

Manually created flavor of self is like the table cloth. Thoughts & sensations are the china. Noticing the latter pulls the cloth out from the former. Beyond that is a pillow like whisp filling a big nothing, heading out as far as can be sensed. The sensing is like a lantern showing everywhere.
Deeper than this, space & time have been painted on top. Identifying their brush strokes strengthens the recognition that light is filling the room, creating a doll house.

=================================

yea im playing with how its all a house of cards

on a big plate
with a light shining from all angles
that comes & goes in a spectrum also

===========================

There's the knowingness - brilliant energy coming out from the inner "eyes"
There's what it's looking at - into a cave darkened or out into the endless sea (as if it had never been explored)
Where this knowing & this opening meet there is a chemical reaction
Giving rise to the everything which can be known as 'life' or 'experience'
inner - outer - see - hear - feel (including the construction of subtle space time consciousness)
This arising is like a hologram (which is a played out simile)
Or like a slow motion neon rainbow geyser - eternally rising & falling

Some parts of the display are watching other parts
Creating their own further spurts of experience

There's a backdrop to all of this which has no substance
Which doesn't subtly react
It doesn't subtly watch over
It doesn't exist

=======================

Notes

It is funny that I didn't notice this stuff before
It is interesting that emptiness practice could be adding something that noting, antidoting, conduct, contemplation, bodywork, therapy, etc has not already done
But I do have to say that I'm doing more than taking the "sting" or "grab" out of objects & attention
I'm understanding their relationship to the backdrop
These displays are born of it & collapsing back into it 
What does that mean?  I am doing the same?  What does that mean?  
There's more to vipassana (emptiness practice) than taking the sour out of experience
When the ecstatic elemnt is not exceedingly obvious at any time or state (waking, dream sleep, deep sleep, dying)
Something is missing from practice
The sheer awe of looking - the looker is complete in it's reception
The quiet expanse 
The swirling born out of that marraige
To the extent that this depth is out of sight/out of conscious mind at any time
Something is missing
And until I master this, there will be more work to do towards my goal of eliminating the symptoms of mood disorder*
If however,  I do master this & the symptoms of mood disorder are present
then I can resume conduct, discipline, renunciation, antidoting, positivity practice, etc
Until they are gone

*My language is my own - regarding my experience (which I reserve the right to express on this thread).  I'm not interested in choicelessly surrendering into greed, hatred & delusion & their offshoots as mental & physical resistance patterns - at the ordinary level of mind - which is what is typically suggested when I share my outlook.  I'm not interested in "making friends" with the delusion which is like being drugged by my genetics.  I do embrace all aspects of my authentic self, including empathy, creative power, strangeness, humor, love - the weed-like growth of my damage is of course a part of the display of reality which takes place within a light show of affection.... But at the conventional level of practice that I speak from (within the paradigm of time & necessary duality) I am not interested in "embracing" this weed.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/20/18 2:39 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
terry:
[quote= Don&#039;t find yourself in a position a decade or two from now where you regret not taking the option to &#039;cast your fate to the winds&#039; and seek happiness on your own terms, and live as free a life as you can. Romantics do that, you know. &#40;Tramps like us, eh?&#41;
]

  
Oh I've done plenty of years of living life "freely". Don't you worry! emoticon

I've found that true freedom lies in routine.

No regrets here.




aloha nick,


    No worries, bra.   

    Even so, the assertion that "true freedom lies in routine" may be worth some examination.

   In my work, fabricating silver jewelry from sheets and wires, I maintain a balance of routine and creative tasks. I look at the routine ones like the zen tea ceremony, trying to perfect each movement, each stoke of the file or saw, like prince hui's cook. Each act, despite being repetitive, is slightly different and capable of refinement. The joy here is that the mind is entirely left behind, and the perfecting of the effort merges with the effort itself, and the effected product. Then there is creative work. The mind is set free and the hands follow. The mind becomes as instrumental as the hands. Perhaps it is "routine creativity" in the sense of what we would call "routine emergencies" in the ER. (There comes a point, early or late, where emergencies no longer make the blood quicken. And creativity also becomes familiar.)

   I'm reading a fascinating book by peter sloterdijk called "the critique of cynical reason" and in it he shows a picture of the sign over the gate into auschwitz, "arbeit macht frei" or "labor makes you free." And there is the sign on the cia's entrance, cut in stone: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth  shall make you free" with its echo of "macht frei." Can't get much more reified than to cut it in stone. "Freedom" as a thing, a possession, something to be desired, fought over, hoarded and kept for oneself. (Another nice quote from sloterdijk's book, he gives as a "lutheran saying" the following: "A timid arse rarely gives forth with a joyful fart.")

   I find routine can be a danger, in the pursuit of mindfulness. I change up my meditation routines regularly, keeping them fresh, interesting and fun. Attachment to routine is practically a given in human (or sentient) nature. We can use the tendency to form habits for training purposes, sure; but there are dangers. Every habit is attachment itself. Rather like learning wisdom from words: sooner or later the words themselves become obstacles to realization.

   One reason it is so difficult to give advice to a group is that people are at very different positions, and those change. There is a story of a wise man whose apprentice was heading off on a long journey and wanted advice. The master had the disciple sew two small pockets, in which he put two small scrolls. The disciple was told to read the right hand one if he was achieving great success, and the left hand one if he were in despair. When the disciple had recourse to the messages in due time, he found the right-hand one said, "You are only a speck in the infinitude of space" and the left one said, "you yourself are the source of divine power and cannot be hurt or defeated." Through impermanence right and wrong themselves interchange; sometimes routine is good and sometimes it isn't.

   I'm not disagreeing. It can be quite magical at times how the spirit can be set free while body-mind is involved in routine. 


terry



from 'the way of chuang tzu' trans merton:


CUTTING UP AN OX

Prince Wen Hui's cook Was cutting up an ox. Out went a hand,
Down went a shoulder,
He planted a foot,
He pressed with a knee,
The ox fell apart
With a whisper,
The bright cleaver murmured
Like a gentle wind.
Rhythm! Timing!
Like a sacred dance,
Like "The Mulberry Grove,"
Like ancient harmonies!

"Good work!" the Prince exclaimed,
"Your method is faultless!"
"Method?" said the cook
Laying aside his cleaver,
"What I follow is Tao
Beyond all methods!

"When I first began
To cut up oxen
I would see before me
The whole ox
All in one mass.

"After three years
I no longer saw this mass.
I saw the distinctions.

"But now, I see nothing
With the eye. My whole being
Apprehends.
My senses are idle. The spirit
Free to work without plan
Follows its own instinct
Guided by natural line,
By the secret opening, the hidden space,
My cleaver finds its own way.
I cut through no joint, chop no bone.

"A good cook needs a new chopper
Once a year - he cuts.
A poor cook needs a new one
Every month - he hacks!

"I have used this same cleaver
Nineteen years.
It has cut up
A thousand oxen.
Its edge is as keen
As if newly sharpened.

"There are spaces in the joints;
The blade is thin and keen:
When this thinness
Finds that space
 There is all the room you need!
It goes like a breeze!
Hence I have this cleaver nineteen years
As if newly sharpened!

"True, there are sometimes
Tough joints. I feel them coming,
I slow down, I watch closely,
Hold back, barely move the blade,
And whump! the part falls away
Landing like a clod of earth.

"Then I withdraw the blade,
I stand still
And let the joy of the work
Sink in.
I clean the blade
And put it away."

Prince Wan Hui said,
"This is it! My cook has shown me
How I ought to live
My own life!''
[iii. 2.]

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/20/18 4:09 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 And, chris...maybe it is you who are the romantic, eh? Hold the dhamma too high, put it on a pedestal, say human nature cannot reach this degree of venerableness. It is hard to believe that suffering may be ended. Impermanence tamed. It may seem idealistic, even idolatry. And the dhamma can be reified and idolized, it's simple depth unplumbed. Don't sell people short, bra. Many can change hearts and minds in a short time.

Aloha back at ya, terry.

I like Buddhism because it's practical, not a set of beliefs, and because it adapts to the quickly changing nature of human society and culture. Buddhism asks me only to trust in what I experience for myself. I also like buddhism because it's a formula for awakening - which I know we can all achieve in this lifetime. We just have to practice at it. So in that way, yes, I suppose I do hold a romantic notion.




aloha chris,


    Romantic notions as articles of faith... I have to think about that. If you "know" - in italics, yet - that we can achieve "awakening," then you are a buddhist all right. No doubt about whether suffering can be ended; one assumes being Awake is sufficent, it was good enough for the buddha.

   I still don't know as I have any romantic notions, though, as you alleged. I think beliefs in general are attachments, and (try to) avoid them. If romantic means impractical, then each impractical idea may be argued on its merits. I understand, though, if you prefer to avoid argument. So often argument becomes an arena where word daggers cut and wound for imagined egoic gain. The word itself, "argument," which means "an idea or assertion" has come to mean an ordeal, like an "examination." I just like to air out the ideas, always wanting to change my ideas for better ones, as often happens, or to confirm them for the time being.

   A brief visit with Enlightenment, the sort that arose during the renaissance of greek ideals starting around the 15th century, which was the beginning of western mental maturity. Like the greeks, the Enlightenment set out to uproot 'superstition, error and ignorance' through the application of reason. The "application" of reason involved two basic ideas: one, the arguers have good will, and only seek the closest approximation to truth. The second is that one who is defeated in argument will lose graciously and abandon their former view and adopt the view proved superior in argument. This Enlightenment received a big setback when fascists starting shooting intellectuals and burning books, but it stands fast and cannot any longer be uprooted. In the face of totalitarianism and materialism,which are manifestations of a will to individual power and wealth, the Enlightenment is still what stitches together the tattered remnants of a public will to the truth. The Enlightenment, long a partner to science and technology, is beginning to grapple with their insufficiencies and deceptions. The spirit of the Enlightenment is a naive questioning attitude, a willingness to be shown and have things proven. As science is the basis of tecnology, "reason" (Enlightenment) is the basis of science. With the late western "discovery" of the unconscious mind (which did predate freud), the Enlightenment now must question the final fig leaf we hold before our minds, the illusion of ego. Consider peter sloterdijk - who calls the delusion of ego, "the illusion of privacy" - this excerpt from 'the critique of cynical reason':


"The establishment of inwardness and the creation of the illusion of privacy are the most subversive themes of enlightenment. It is still not really clear today who the social conveyor of this impulse of enlightenment may be. One of the ambivalences of enlightenment is that although intelligence can be explained sociologically, educationally, and politically, "wisdom," self-reflection cannot. The subject of a radical ego enlightenment cannot be socially identified with certainty —even though the procedures of this enlightenment are anchored in reality.
   "In this point, the majority of societies seem to strive for a conscious nonenlightenment. Did not Nietzsche too warn of that "life-destroying enlightenment" that touches on our life-supporting self-delusions? Can we afford to shake up the "basic fictions" of privacy, personality, and identity? Be that as it may, in this question both old and new conservatives have come to the hard decision to take the "stance" of defending, against all the demands of reflection, their "unavoidable lies for living," without which self-preservation would not be possible. That they are aided in this by the general fear of self-experience, which competes with curiosity about self-experience, does not have to be expressly emphasized. Thus the theater of respectable, closed egos goes on everywhere, even where the means have long been available to secure better knowledge. Crosswise to all political fronts, it is the "ego" in society that offers the most resolute resistance against the decisive enlightenment. Scarcely anyone will put up with radical self-reflection on this point, not even many of those who regard themselves as enlighteners. The dance around the golden calf of identity is the last and greatest orgy of counterenlightenment. Identity is the magic word of a partially hidden, partially open conservatism that has inscribed personal identity, occupational identity, national identity, political identity, female identity, male identity, class identity, party identity, etc., on its banner. The listing of these essential demands for identity would already suffice to illustrate the pluralistic and mobile character of that which is called identity. But one would not be speaking of identity if it were not basically a question of the fixed form of the ego."


   What I am getting out of this is that the Enlightenment in terms of the advance of Reason in global consciousness - the consciousness of all being(s) - is beginning to align with the perennial individual desire for enlightenment and ego transcendence. The World-Honored One may indeed be world honored. In our anonymity and ordinariness we change the world.


terry



(from 'the zen teaching of bodhidharma')


But suppose I don't see my nature, can't I still attain enlightenment by invoking buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, observing precepts, practicing devotions, or doing good works?

No, you can’t.

Why not?

If you attain anything at all, it’s conditional, it’s karmic. It results in retribution. It turns the Wheel. And as long as you’re subject to birth and death, you’ll never attain enlightenment. To attain enlightenment you have to see your nature. Unless you see your nature, all this talk about cause and effect is nonsense. Buddhas don’t practice nonsense. A buddha is free of karma, free of cause and effect. To say he attains anything at all is to slander a buddha. What could he possibly attain? Even focusing on a mind, a power, an understanding, or a view is impossible for a buddha. A buddha isn’t one-sided. The nature of his mind is basically empty, neither pure nor impure. He’s free of practice and realization. He’s free of cause and effect.  

A buddha doesn’t observe precepts. A buddha doesn’t do good or evil. A buddha isn’t energetic or lazy. A buddha is someone who does nothing, someone who can’t even focus his mind on a buddha. A buddha isn't a buddha. Don't think about buddhas. If you don't know what I am talking about, you'll never know your own mind.

and

Buddhas don’t save buddhas. If you use your mind to look for a buddha, you won’t see the buddha. As long as you look for a buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the buddha. Don’t use a buddha to worship a buddha. And don’t use the mind to invoke a buddha. Buddhas don’t recite sutras. Buddhas don’t keep precepts. And buddhas don’t break precepts. Buddhas don’t keep or break anything. Buddhas don't do good or evil.

To find a buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless. Invoking buddhas results in good karma, reciting sutras results in a good memory; keeping precepts results in a good rebirth, and making offerings results in future blessings—but no buddha.












   

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/21/18 1:26 PM as a reply to Noah D.
4.21

Doing emptiness practice.  I have the space down pat, at least at some level.  The emptiness of the objects within the space is where problemness, solidity, reification remains.  It's not enough to see it in the moment, you have to see it in past moments.  See the construction of the personality, of individuality, of gender, of culture, genetics, race, history.  Personal history, personal trauma, the basic sense that what has occurred here is somehow different from the life of a plant, or the instance of a rock floating through space.  The sense of specialness, familiarity, identification.  There can't be any solidity to the history.

When I really feel into this (very new phenomenon), there is a wobbliness and a deeper sense that this is a dream.  Like Inception movie though, there's dreams within dreams.  All these insights & paths & shifts have occurred, peeling back an onion, revealing deepening layers of subtlety to the mind's tendency to create a continuity out of all this lightshow in the sky.  

====================================

There's the emptiness in the moment.  But its connected to memories of solidity.  Those have to be broken up simultaneous with the emptiness in the present.  Back to the beginning.

====================================

Related to this is the standards, the perfectionism - I think subtle sense of continuity that's how I glue this identity together across time.  The fetter of "pride" perhaps (sutta 8th fetter - conceit - "mana").  Maybe "pride" is actually just the elusive, whisplike sense of woven continuity.  That I'm moving towards perfection.  That I'm moving towards making sense of things.  Towards certainty.  And that is done through finding linkages across memories - because of that Noah, this happened, & know I'm leading into this other thing.  Interestingly, that seems like a sneaky way the doctrine of karma can be hijacked   

====================================

And actually there's a problem with it being about relief.  Relief is based on my opinion about what suffering is, which is information gathered within the container of my selfhood through time.  To get outside the selfhood may involve a discovery that suffering is not what I thought it was & the relief or happiness or truth is not what I thought it was either.  Have to get outside the box first to be sure though.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/22/18 9:54 PM as a reply to Noah D.
4.22

Allowing the whole inner world to collapse into light
Just as the outer world would
Is important

That's really the solution offered by the vertical wisdom
Is to understand the constructed nature of all situations, all outcomes
All manufactured by mind, taking place within the projections of the mind
Seeing the 1's & 0's 
Reveals the process occuring beneath the appearance

The inner world is a special, continuous, personal circumstance
So it might seem harder to see the 1's & 0's here
But actually it's all made out of the same stuff
Made out of the material of mental projection, psychic creation
The product of a habit of assumption, subconscious storage & conscious retrieval

There is a great peace to be had 
In creating space enough to see this process in real time
In all it's brilliant splendor
The great machine of the heart, displaying lights upon the sky
With nothing but a dance & a song

Before geometry collapses into personhood 
Before shapes & numbers become labelled with concepts
And concepts become storylines
And storylines become emotions
With individual, segmented awareness arising somewhere in that process.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/23/18 6:24 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
The emptiness of the objects within the space is where problemness, solidity, reification remains. 

...

Related to this is the standards, the perfectionism - I think subtle sense of continuity that's how I glue this identity together across time.  The fetter of "pride" perhaps (sutta 8th fetter - conceit - "mana").  Maybe "pride" is actually just the elusive, whisplike sense of woven continuity.  

It can be helpful to look at what space IS. You are sitting in room. There's stuff on the floor and on the walls and piece of furnature rise up into the space of the room. But then there is all the space. When you see the areas of the room that don't have objects in it and it solidifies into that "space" expereience, where was that space before? When you turn your attention back to the objects in the room or get distracted by the TV or a sound from the street, where did the space go?  Where did space come from? Where did it go? If space is a distinction that comes and goes... what IS space?


Turning to the objects within space... Sure if you kick the wall you will hurt your toe. That's fine, that's real. Don't be someone who believes in a stupid emptiness.  Now what is the >experience< of objects within space. Notice how experiences come and go. Where were they before they came? Where to they go when they leave? Notice even when something "stays" the experience of it changes. Look at any object and it becomes a kasina, the object seems at various times to be completely outside of you and then it seems completely within your experience.

Notice that discomfort that comes from wanting to know if it is inside or outside. Notice how we want to say it is outside, but then there is a feeling of being alone over here and the world is over there. Now notice the intimacy of the view that all experience is inside the mind, how it feels like the universe and you are one organic single thing, but notice the creepy feeling that maybe you are missing something, trapped in this little self-bubble.

Notice that each view comes and goes. Where does each view come from? Where does it go? What IS each view?



Yes, the fetter of pride. Noah, follow this idea all the way home. It's the keystone idea --- meaning it is the center stone in a stone arch and if it weakens, the whole arch collapses. It is the "ridgepole" that collapses when we see that there isn't value in building a perminant home and instead find our real home in imperminance. 

"I am..."

It doesn't matter how you complete the sentence. The "I am..." is pride. It is the essential aspect of solidifying identity. Notice that "I am" comes and goes. It's sometimes here and sometimes forgotten. Where does it come from? Where does it go?

Notice what comes before "I am" -- there is the tickle of dukka. Something is not right. We need to fix it. "I am..."

Notice that there is a subtle:
* lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth
or
* lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm 

We just want to be materially happy or we just want to be >beyond< it somehow.


So we form an idea about ourself, our faults or our successes:
* conceit 

Okay, then what happens if we give up on the whole "I am" project? What if we just accept the whole "i'll just welcome whatever happens" approach to spirituality and life? We experience:
* restlessness 

This is nothing particularly tricky, it's the obvious feeling, that proto-dukka feeling. It's probably related to your core wound -- I'm not good enough, I need to hide to be safe, I need to be smart, I need to distract people, I need to be seen, I need to be loved, I need to be special. (Everyone seems to have a particular flavor of this, along with a reaction formation -- both the wound and the the classic "I'm doing the opposite of my wound so I'm not wounded" survival strategy.)  Basically some pre-verbal conclusion that "If I don't do X, I'll die." Some relationship with "life" that keeps you on the hamster wheel. If I don't X, I'll die, I'll be nothing, I won't exist, I'll be meaningless. This is deep psychology/spirituality. Don't rush this. Build lots of support, pace the exploration.

If we don't fully look at/experience this seed of restlessness, then it will unconsiously compel us. We will definitely be reborn as another "I am". We will cling to some aspect of material or mental well-being and make it into a project, creating a self that has a project. So we need to look at this restlessness. Do the same investigation that we did to space, objects, and the I AM. When this little bit of restlessness is seen for what it is, we realize that we have been pushed around this entire life by the subtle feeling that this I AM is real and vulnerable and needing protection and if we don't protect and defend it, we will die. 

But restlessness isn't always here. It comes and it goes. Where does it come from? Where does it go? What IS restlessness?

When we see this restlessness, we finally see the nature of:
* ignorance 


And then we really can't be confused anymore. Well, life goes on of course, but mind nature doesn't confuse us. And of course a lot of things get clarified during this whole journey and there are still things that can be further clarified in the future.  Perfection is an idea like "I am", but there is still meaning to life. 



Wishing you the best possible insights and the most gentle possible awakening.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/23/18 11:55 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Well put, thanks.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/24/18 5:47 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Don't be someone who believes in a stupid emptiness. 

Dear shargrol,

Can I borrow this line? It's fantastic.


RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/24/18 10:52 PM as a reply to Noah D.
4.24

Yesterday I had a dilemna at work, since I was focusing on spaciousness & clarity in the form of light emerging from vastness.  I found that I didn't have my "work mojo" or the typical energy, inspiration & vigor that I bring to the job.  My job is pretty demanding.  I get asked to do things in 2 hours that one might get 2 days for at most places. 

As I feel better this morning, I realize that dissolving everything that pops into perception into light is a useful exercise, but light can also take a solid form that doesn't dissolve, like when it enters through a prism & then sharply refracts in various directions. And to the extent that this type of emptiness has truly been seen, there can be no doubt that anything that occurs within this human life (or previous ones) is an expression of it.  If this body/mind needs to be "sharp" or "strengthened" at work, that doesn't necessitate stress.  It also has nothing to do with the metacognition's ability to reside on the frequency of unbounded wholeness (not that I'm there yet, but theoretically).  

Of course, at a closer level, even in work mode, everything is dissolving into light.  But the important thing is the confidence/knowing/certainty which sees through the appearance of things, not the exact way that hologram happens to be displayed in the moment.  In fact, preferring one sort of display to another is actually a subtle duality, a type of solidification.  

I will continue to play with dissolving everything into light in all waking hours, but also with knowing that whether things are exactly dissolving or not in a given moment, feeling into the sense of confidence that I know what their true nature is regardless.  I sense that building up the muscle of being able to toggle between (& eventually fuse) these different lenses on emptiness, even in fast paced situations, will be an important part of training.  Avoiding fast situations is another type of training (the training in seclusion which allows old pathways to die out in a specific way), but that is not in the cards for me at this particular time.  

It is interesting how the path forward here involves multiple valid answers.

===================================

I have previous experiences which indicate a very mild energetic connection with Bhagawan Nityananda.  I asked him for help with my current exercises.  I got a charge of energy & the following occured.

Instinct to feel into the very basic, blanket of consciousness which is hearing vs seeing vs feeling.  Inquiring about the difference between them.  Feeling an odd wobbliness in my entire being, a charge & then a sense of resolution with the thought that they are all energy - the same.

Instinct to feel into the stimuli which come from these basic consciousness in hearing vs seeing vs feeling.  INquiring about the difference in the stimuli.  Going back to the baseline sense categories themselves for resoltuion.  Understanding that they are coming from the energy, which is all the same.  

Then returning to just continuously sensing everything as dissolving into light.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/25/18 1:55 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
4.22

Allowing the whole inner world to collapse into light
Just as the outer world would
Is important

That's really the solution offered by the vertical wisdom
Is to understand the constructed nature of all situations, all outcomes
All manufactured by mind, taking place within the projections of the mind
Seeing the 1's & 0's 
Reveals the process occuring beneath the appearance

The inner world is a special, continuous, personal circumstance
So it might seem harder to see the 1's & 0's here
But actually it's all made out of the same stuff
Made out of the material of mental projection, psychic creation
The product of a habit of assumption, subconscious storage & conscious retrieval



aloha noah,

   These reflections remind me of an idea I first got from stephen gaskin (monday night class; the farm). He saw awareness as a reality hose, as each sentient being sprays the void with mind-stuff, prakriti. We see only what we have ourselves have painted onto Substance with our spray gun. Everywhere we look simply creates more reality. Look into an anthill, see grubs, food storage, and so on - the more you look, the more you see. It is like this everywhere, the clouds, the ocean, a random rock. Awareness constantly creats reality anew every moment; we never get a rest. We never get to the bottom of things, the end or the origin - we are always 'in the middle.' (Go deep.)

   I used to think (I love the phrase "I used to think" as much as I loathe the scientistic phrase, "we now know") - I used to think that people are pumping out maybe 3% of their potential of the consciousness (reality creation) that they could be pumping out, and that people could create lots more reality by being more aware. Now I think being able to shut the hose off entirely, and control the flow completely, may be more desirable. There is already enough reality.

   People think that love is the greatest thing, that it is always appropriate. Sometimes it is the last thing we need or need to give another. Pure love loves love alone. "The wise treat the people as straw dogs." (ttc)

   Another story comes to mind, from the mahabharata. After duryodhana beats him at dice, yudhisthira has lost everything, including himself, the four other pandava brothers, and their common wife, draupadi. Duryodhana, of a mind to humiliate them all and defile the princess, has a henchman tear off draupadi's sari. Underneath her sari instantly appears another sari. He keeps tearing them off, sari after sari, until there is a pile of dresses like a haystack on the floor, and they give it up. The five pandavas are the senses, their common wife draupadi is the mind. The mind is clothed in Reality and no matter how violent you may be, she cannot be disrobed or defiled.


terry


(from "the zen teaching of bodhidharma," trans red pine)

But since married laymen don’t give up sex, how can they become buddhas?

I only talk about seeing your nature. I don’t talk about sex simply because you don’t see your nature. Once you see your nature, sex is basically immaterial. It ends along with your delight in it. Even if some habits remain, they can’t harm you, because your nature is essentially pure. Despite dwelling in a material body of four elements, your nature is basically pure. It can’t be corrupted. Your real body is basically pure. It can’t be corrupted. Your real body has no sensation, no hunger or thirst, no warmth or cold, no sickness, no love or attachment, no pleasure or pain, no good or bad, no shortness or length, no weakness or strength. Actually, there’s nothing here. It’s only because you cling to this material body that things like hunger and thirst, warmth and cold, and sickness appear.


and


The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words. They’re not the Way. The Way is wordless. Words are illusions. They’re no different from things that appear in your dreams at night, be they palaces or carriages, forested parks or lakeside pavilions. Don’t conceive any delight for such things. They’re all cradles of rebirth. Keep this in mind when you approach death. Don’t cling to appearances, and you’ll break through all barriers. A moment’s hesitation and you’ll be under the spell of devils. Your real body is pure and impervious. But because of delusions you’re unaware of it. And because of this you suffer karma in vain. Wherever you find delight, you find bondage. But once you awaken to your original body and mind, you’re no longer bound by attachments.

Anyone who gives up the transcendent for the mundane, in any of its myriad forms, is a mortal. A buddha is someone who finds freedom in good fortune and bad. Such is his power that karma can’t hold him. No matter what kind of karma, a buddha transforms it. Heaven and hell are nothing to him. But the awareness of a mortal is dim compared to that of a buddha, who penetrates everything, inside and out.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/25/18 3:25 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:

I have previous experiences which indicate a very mild energetic connection with Bhagawan Nityananda.  I asked him for help with my current exercises.  I got a charge of energy & the following occured.

Instinct to feel into the very basic, blanket of consciousness which is hearing vs seeing vs feeling.  Inquiring about the difference between them.  Feeling an odd wobbliness in my entire being, a charge & then a sense of resolution with the thought that they are all energy - the same.

Instinct to feel into the stimuli which come from these basic consciousness in hearing vs seeing vs feeling.  INquiring about the difference in the stimuli.  Going back to the baseline sense categories themselves for resoltuion.  Understanding that they are coming from the energy, which is all the same.  

Then returning to just continuously sensing everything as dissolving into light.

Cool Noah!  Sounds like you're crushing it!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/26/18 3:25 AM as a reply to Noah D.
4.25

Fusing the sense doors together is different from fusing the sense objects together.  The former involves identify the lens which is being looked through, the latter is identifying the objects seen through that lens.  Given that experience manifests usually through multiple senses at once, it is as if the looker is switching between multiple lenses rapidly.  The work is to "zoom out" & see multiple lenses side by side. Later, when the sense doors are fused, you are ready to also incorporate the objects themselves into one view.  This is akin to microscope slides superimposed on top of each other, as if you are seeing multiple bacteria cultures at once. I mean this in a direct, phenomenological way.  It is as if see-hear-feel are all transparent taking place on top of each other on a simplified, almost 2D surface, like an IMAX theater.

When internal thought & emotion arises, it pulls me out of this view.  It is as if there is an artificial slot of space wedged between the individual slides.  This slot would be the energy of ego or duality, which is like an extra static charge that does not need to be there.  Bringing the internal world too, out into the IMAX, is very important since internal has a special way of signifying ownership & personalness.

Eventually, the work will be to question - Where is the boundary between waking state & sleep?  What parts of the sleep cycle do I go through in getting asleep, staying there & waking up?  Where are the borders of mind?  Can I feel into them from the waking state & try to press on them a bit?

How about death?  If I imagine what it would be like to die, can I do the same for the bardos?  (I'm indulging in a rebirth lens here for a moment, as a thought exercise)  Why would one phase of sleep or one intermediate state be different from this state?  What feels like the inherent qualities of these different realms that could possibly re-project a "me", especially once that "me" has gone dormant in waking hours?

==================

See In | See Out
Hear In | Hear Out
Feel In | Feel Out

See In See Out
Hear In Heart Out
Feel In Feel Out

See Hear Hear Out
Out In Feel In
Feel See In Out

Multiple Silos, Multiple Data
One Silo, Multiple Data
One Silo, One Data

==============================

Object | Backdrop | Knowing

Object Backrdrop Knowing

ObjectBackdropKnowing

===============================

Waking | Dreaming | Death

Waking Dreaming Death

WakingDreamingDeath

===============================

WakingDreamDeath
ObjectBackdropKnowing
SeeHearFeelInOut

===============================

It is vast, yes.  It is silent, yes.  It is radient, yes.
But these flavors are seamlessly interwoven with sensory experience.  So they are not noticed separately.
There is a broadcasting station localized to this coordinate in the time & space matrix.
The broadcast itself is the thing.  Invisible waves of transmission endlessly flowing.
Flowing through waking, sleep & intermediate states.  Cutting through & containing all the different categories of event that occur.
The paper on which all is drawn.  Empty knowing freedom dances.
It includes cessation, kundalini & deep emotional bonds with others.  It is love but also crystallizes into love & crystallizes into so-called hate & nuetral formation.  Closing ones eyes, it is there.  Opening them, there.  In the process of opening & closing, also there throughout, uninterrupted.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/26/18 9:00 AM as a reply to Noah D.
4.26

Last night I had some dreams, which I remembered.  As usual, the nondual perception is present in the dream.  But, like all nights, there was also a period of dreamless sleep.  And there was a liminal period between waking & dream sleep.  And between waking & deep sleep.  And between deep sleep & dream sleep.  How did I get to these points?  It seems that I lost consciousness during these times.  There is no memory there.  Yet the streamlike pattern localized to this mind & body has continued.  So some type of artificial walls have been propped up between these phases, creating the appearance of separate worlds, when really they all took place in this "world" (the one experienced & created by this stream).  I'm definitely venturing out of my depth here & don't expect to gain lucidity soon, but interesting to contemplate nonetheless.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/27/18 10:16 AM as a reply to Noah D.
4.27

This has been quite a dynamite 1.5 weeks.  I began a new technique on 4.16.

These are the approximate nanas
4.14 - 4.17: nana 1 - 3 
     Marked by newfound investigation into the sense field
4.18 - 4.19: nana 4
     Marked by large jump in clarity, vividness, space
4. 20 -  4.22: nana 5
     Marked by an impulse to see everything as dissolving into light
4.23 - 4.24: nana 6 - 10
     Marked by a mini freakout at work, feeling that seeing everything as light was incompatible with working a busy job.  The impulse to make plans in case I got fired (Desire for deliverance).  
4.25 - 4.27: nana 11*
     Marked by newfound inspiration to resolve the dilemna of the past couple days.  Things are not dissolving into light, they can stay in their place, but transparent like a hologram.  Also, a more sophisticated sense of investigation.  Sense of dropping effort.

*or later given that I've been having cessations, although I hesitate to map these to nanas in my current practice level

I'm not sure I want to say this indicates progress, having a stronger experience of the nanas again.  But it does align with practicing a new set of insight instructions.  In my current state this morning, I realize that everything is a vast empty room.  Dreams, deep sleep, waking, death.  Injury, illness, thirst, hunger, heat, cold, orgasm, inspiration, rapture, seeing the world, depths of love, childbirth, intellectual fascination, discovery.  Everything that has ever happened to anyone.  Has been a hologram in a bottomless pit.  Before humans, animals, plants, rocks, chemicals.  Time & space have always been floral arrangements.  They always will be.  Nothing has ever happened.  Nothing ever will happen.  (sarcasm: thank you in advance, friends, for patiently explaining how nihilism & eternalism work)

There are different versions of Noah that manifest throughout the day.  When these versions are compared, I get pulled into the details of the situation.  I lose sight of the wow factor that this really all is just an EDM light show taking place in a cosmic cave music venue.

So taking "the view" necessarily involves some commitment to continuously reallocate conscious energy to the metacognitive recognition of this wow factor.  This might mean being worse at my job or being a shittier friend.  Or might not.  But preparing in advance to be willing to sacrifice those things in order to stabilize surrender-into-vastness is a worthwhile pursuit.  It does seem like hands-off-the-wheel is the move here.

If the dark night comes back, I must understand that the dark night is taking place within the Big Show.  It has it's own appropriate fit here.  It is not to be rejected.  Nor are my flaws to be rejected.  They are important characters in the play.  Events of misfortune too, are scenes in the play.  None of these things are different from any other things.  All things possess a core scent that is wafted throughout the room.  The scent of reality.  

So there has to be a commitment to stay this way.  To maintain this perspective.  A conviction that allows things to unfold just as they are.  Because the minute you try to control things, you lose sight of the canyon beyond the events themselves.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/27/18 5:58 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Empty but undeniably luminous.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/28/18 5:31 PM as a reply to Noah D.
4.28

The prism of "caring" or perfectionism is down there.  I thought it was solid.  But now I can slightly see through it.  As if it were eroding.  As if I were waking up from a dream in which I was trying, day after day, to resist my fate & be perfect.  But it turns out I'm just in imperfect, limited human being, taking place in this limitless location without up or down.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/29/18 8:26 PM as a reply to Noah D.
4.29

What storylines & plot details are causing me to lose sight of the "wider reality?"  Earlier it felt like some cares fell away like a line of dominoes.  There is some fear of losing touch with the parts that have been steering this ship.  Yet those are some of the parts that are clouding the view.  The view from up there is more real & important than the individual mechanics occuring down here.

There is a process which is afraid of death.  Then there is one which, even if this individual were not afraid of death, would still be grumpy & annoyed at reality.  There are the many momentary annoyances associated with ingesting enough & the right food & water, exercising & bathing this body, cleaning the living space & managing money.  There is a pendulum swinging between good & bad.  I have already woken up to it's impermanent, interconnected, conditioned nature.  I have let go of the pendulum like a hot coal.  And yet it keeps on swinging.  There is a process running in the background & my interest in it does not have to do with alleviating suffering.  I want to understand the way in which it clouds my contact with the big room.  Regarldess of whether I suffer or not.

The avoidance of death & the avoidance of pain are not the same thing.  The avoidance of death feels like something which runs deeper & covers more extreme situations.  The avoidance of pain is more shallow & covers more common situations.  It's a process which is surfacing & revealing itself fairly commonly throughout the day.  In the past, I would have said I wan't to use discriminative seeing to delete or uproot it.  I'm not currently interested in that.  What does interest me is how it is blocking me from keeping a larger perspective.

There also seems to be a process related to doing well in the world or managing outer conditions.  I see 3 of them right now: fear of death, fear of pain/pain<->pleasure & fear of out conditions not working out.  It seems odd to not want to get rid of these things, but rather to want to awaken to them more.  But i do understand that trying to get rid of them involves losing the bigger picture.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/30/18 9:18 AM as a reply to Noah D.
4.30

There seems to me, to be 2 forms of renunciation.

One is what I have previously studied.  It involves taking the view (cognitively/conceptually) of impermanence & interconnectedness.  And out of that, determining that focusing the mind on the present moment is of utmost importance.  However, there are things which interrupt the present moment, so internal techniques of "antidoting" can be applied to this.  Furthermore, external behavioral modifications can also be affected.  Finally, once the goal of this view is accomplished, external behavioral modifications are the natural result of taking this focus, or at least are manuall rewired in, based on the new perspective.

The second is what I am discovering now.  Unlike the first, it makes no modification to the attention or the objects of attention in the present moment.  Meaning, whether the mind is conventionally focused or scattered does not matter.  Whether one's mood is conventionally happy or sad does not matter.  This is in spite of the fact that a mind free of the hindrances is both the entry way into & the logical after effect of, the recognition of the 3 characteristics at a deep level.  For this type of renunciation only cares about the peripheral awareness, the nature of the container within which everything arises.  All objects are necessarily not separate from that container, so by understanding it, the objects can be put in perspective.  The scary thing with this type of practice is that there is no gauruntee that things will turn out OK.  There is not a sense that the practice of morality is seamlessly fused with wisdom in the same way.  I'm not necessarily, gradually building new, healthy habits alongside my new inner vantage point.  There is not even a sense that seeing everything as of "one taste" is heading me towards another path shift.  This is unlike in the past, when I would do this sort of practice at a lower spectrum of mind, within the broader strategy of heading through the nanas or weathering a certain difficult phase of habit formation. 

I don't have enough contact with people at this level of practice to know that for sure, I am actually headed to a place where morality will be improved.  There's not a big enough sample size of people who resemble me personally & are also in this territory.  

Also, this is 100% to early to have any confidence in, but I want to note it now in case it sustains later -- Mysteriously, within this scary new detachment, there seems to be a sense of 'seeing through' or transparency of the prism of caring, the structure I have developed which allows me to prioritize my own circumstances over other ones or whatever is happening naturally.  Feels like having the table cloth pulled out from beneath.  there may be some kind of vibratory "resonance" with this larger, silent room that is causing this type of disorientation.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
4/30/18 9:29 AM as a reply to Noah D.
The topic to ponder is, "What is morality?"

There are different versions and different philosophies. Morality itself is conceptual and contextual, like time and space. The Ten Commandments are nice but... are they inviolate? Are they ALWAYS right? Just what is "right," anyway?

You've reached that part of the process in which you can see there is no ground to stand on. You've jumped off a cliff and you will fall forever. Falling is at first destabilizing and frightening. Funny thing though - it's always been this way. You just thought you had solid ground to stand on.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/1/18 9:33 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Aye.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/1/18 8:52 PM as a reply to Noah D.
5.1

There is a slot inside.  It moves between good & bad, from side to side.  It also moves up & down, in to out.  It's moving within a quiet space of nothing.  It's doing nothing.  There's nothing to improve upon there.  There's nothing to accomplish over time.  Time is empty, but life itself is also empty.  Human experience is empty & space is empty.  Yet it exists, it isn't completely collapsed.  There is something happening.  What is happening & why?

============================

later

Attention is in perfect attunement with peripheral awareness & the objects in the field.  It is clear that things only ever could have been this way.  As soon as a bodily sensation or conscious energy in the head arises, attention arises. As soon as luminously known objects arise, attention arises.  When the sense of space flares wider open or contracts slightly, an analogous element on "this side" knows it.  There can be no gap between any part in the machine, they all function together.  I think of an image of lasers tracking objects arising perfectly.  There's no effort required for the laser to keep up, nor for the object to move.  The perfect match of these moving parts is like a dance that is inherently harmonious.

In other words, the camera always moves with the frame.  

I think of a movie set for an epic movie like LOTR, where the camera's must be 50 feet high, moving smoothy & quickly across large distances to film wide shots.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/2/18 11:44 PM as a reply to Noah D.
5.2

Waking up
Cleaning up
Growing up

-Ken wilber https://batgap.com/ken-wilber/

8fold path to 10 fetter result is all 3.  Critical mass of each.  Hard to say if 8fp/10f is real phenomenon, as something more inherently cohesive than the complex reality of development along multiple axes.

Also thinking about yin/feminine, yang/masculine.  It seems that at least the axes of waking & growing are first yin, then yang.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/4/18 4:29 AM as a reply to Noah D.
5.3

It doesn't make sense to have a self when attention & objects co arise.
==============

1.  Space is a construct within a larger room
2.  The relative sense of time is " "
3.  The dream space is non dual with the deep sleep space
4.  The waking space is non dual with the death space
5.  Dream, sleep, waking & death are all taking place within a larger room at the same time
6.  Seeing, hearing & feeling are all taking place within a large room, stacked on top of one another
7.  Inside & outside are taking place within a larger room, stacked on top of one another
8.  See/Hear/Feel/In/Out are taking place within a larger room. stacked on top of each other
9.  The nondual perceptions of luminosity, spaciousness, 3 C's are taking place within this larger room
10.The larger room is known past the nondual perceptions.
11. An ingredient of clear knowing is known at all the objects & perceptions
12.There is sometimes a clear knowing "on this side"
13.The knowing ingredient always arises with the objects & perceptions - either simultaneous or before, I can't tell which (but it's definitely not after, as in a cause -> effect chain) 
14.The ultimate sense of time is merely a construct.  What this means is that all past situations are now (meaning literally happening now), all present situations are now & all future situations are now.  Obviously am not here yet, but calling it out as a part of this chain.  All places & times in the universe, happening in one spot & in all other spots, transparently taking place on top of each others.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/4/18 7:20 AM as a reply to Noah D.
The ultimate sense of time is merely a construct.  What this means is that all past situations are now (meaning literally happening now), all present situations are now & all future situations are now.  Obviously am not here yet, but calling it out as a part of this chain.  All places & times in the universe, happening in one spot & in all other spots, transparently taking place on top of each others.

This is SO CLOSE.

Yay!

Please take some time to enjoy this place you find yourself in. It is magical and mystical and very pleasurable.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/4/18 8:29 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Yay indeed!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/6/18 2:14 AM as a reply to Noah D.
5.5

I new detachment power, like a magnetic resistance to the pull of caring, but even beyond that, a magnetic resistance to the appearance of a real world.  

A wormhole of knowing, bending into the space, the objects, the void beyond. 

These two things seem to be siblings.

=========================================


I keep thinking of the image of a vortex or wormhole in relation to the knowing energy.

It's clearly open on both ends & coagulates as consciousness in this sensory apparatus.  It's like a tunnel made of the stuff of reality (like how hot air appears semi solid on top of things)- this tunnel bends out into the environment & then space bends back into the tunnel. 

Also the width or scope of the knowing is remarkable.  Despite my attempts to describe it as a structure, there is not an identifiable boundary.

Finally, the sense is that I'm tuning into a frequency that is part of the structure of this world , yet unrelated to the contents.  The idea that it would change me as a person in a specific or predictable way is silly.  However, this frequency does seem to pair well with an attitude of detachment (the 2 synergize like wine & cheese).  The detachment seems analogous to me as a wind up toy.  The more I engage, the more I wind up.  Then I let it unwind & do it's dance, then wind up again.  The impetus now would be to continuously let go & thereby unwind- even if that "dance" looks a little bit messy at times.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/6/18 4:12 PM as a reply to Noah D.
5.6

It feels like I have these massive eyes following me around, behind my body.  Like some anime character or something (lol).  And these eyes have some sort of "witnessing" power that resists the pull of suffering without me even trying.  Furthermore, there seems to be some kind of filtering mechanism for morality choices that allows me to see what the right amount of discipline is for me, that will lead in the right direction.  

These effects feel separate from me as an individual, as if they were there before I was born, before I became aware of them & will be there after I die.  Perhaps, even before humans were around in general.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/8/18 8:25 AM as a reply to Noah D.
5.8

I dreamt I had awakened awareness & was practicing mixing it into everyday life (in the dream).  AA was like my side & "out there" were both 3D shattered panes of glass (literally visualized in the dream) with countless mini-me's looking at each other from both ends, everywhere. The sense is that they they then started mixing together so there were no sides, only these prisms of reflection fingering through & collapsing into each other.

===================

For the past week or so, the "knowing" has been opening up for me, but presenting itself differently in different nanas.  For instance, on Saturday, while walking in the woods, it expanded far beyond my body & fused into the space - yet oddly this ingredient was not the same as the volumetric luminosity which is always there since August 2017.  The body disappeared or melted into space when this happened, as did individual consciousness.  Metacognition was there obviously, but not locatable.

On Sunday, it was like a wormhole cutting through space.

In the dream last night, it was shards intermingling between outside & inside.

This morning, it is like a flashlight in my body.  As if I can see through form of my body, forms of my inner world & into the core consciousness element inhabiting through these things.  An invisible yet brilliant mass of hot-air.  Similar to the external world, I can see through into the space which inhabits through & beyond the walls of perception.  The space is clearly made of other stuff that is similar but unique to the knowing.  When seen purely, these two types of stuff are touching & possibly permeating or seeping between each other; that is hinted at but not yet clear.

What is heartening is that these similar effects are happening across the nanas (not just in a&p), as well as in stressful situations at work, which suggests the first inklings of stability.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/13/18 3:02 PM as a reply to Noah D.
5.13

Since Tuesday, the knowing has matured.  On Thursday, there was nothing in my skull.  It felt completely hollow & I was looking at a ghost in the mirror.  Following this line of reasoning, on Friday I decided to do nothing & not try at all in life.  At lunch an energetic release occurred.  I realized I don't have to try to improve myself anymore.

I've realized that specifically for me, at this time, self improvement is a big trap.  All I need to do, for know, is just to watch & unwind the wind-up toy.  This weekend I have felt a more complete bliss & peace than I may have ever felt.  I say this in the sense that the background sub-minds which hold anxiety, even within past EQ's, jhanas, drug trips, Review phases, etc. are quieter than they have ever been.  I don't know for sure if it's the most peaceful, but it's definitely up there.

I can close my eyes at any time & rest into the calmness of the mind.  However, I could do this before, since my last shift in August 2017.  The difference now is that the ocean I am resting into is simultanously me & not me.  The flavors of agency & fate are swimming around in it together.  This amplifies the feeling of ease, as it is it's own answer to any challenge that arises in mind, body or environment.

Also, I have begun to get previews of deep therapuetic healing.  Last night, I felt early memories of pain, of feeling betrayed by the world, betrayed by my nervous system, insecure in a life that could produce so much pain at any time.  This has transferred to an ongoing mistrust of my body & of other people.  I toggle between two modes: defensive & offensive.  I crave being on the offensive because it makes me feel powerful, which is my personal highest high - the drug I crave the most.  That is why I have become obsessed with morality for so long, amongst other things.

The answer is to rest into the state of nonduality between defensive & offensive.  I can be one with a bit of the other, both at once or nuetral.  Adding in these other ambiguous modes & being deeply OK with the imperfections of the body (sleepiness, agitation, lust, acne, itchiness, insomnia, etc) & the mind (mania, depression, agitation, twisted humor, anxiety, obsessiveness, restlessness) is key.  Returning to a pre-pragmatic dharma paradigm in which the possibility of being of average mindfulness & compassion was not so shameful.  Just resting as average.  Just letting living this life, as an awareness in this mind-body suit.  Working with what I have slowly.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/13/18 11:44 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Middle path.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/16/18 9:35 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Here's some awakened awareness.  Now be at peace with your misery.

emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/18/18 9:11 AM as a reply to Noah D.
5.18

Preface: Regarding "middle path" - for some people this means finding gradual balance over time by spending periods of practice on opposite ends of "the spectrum."  For others it looks like more moderation or a mix of things, continuously.  For someone with a fixed idea (or even a so-called 'general idea') of what middle-path looks like, I would advise them to take the middle-path ;)

And now...

I feel my practice moving in a new direction.  I am not interested in being cheerful.  I am not interested in feeling better.  Other than keeping my job, saving money & being physically healthy, I am not interested in improving my life.  I am not interested in gradually mastering the 8fold path.  I am not interested in gladdening the mind, practicing renunciation, or practicing anything with an active, controlling, transactional flavor.  I am not interested in getting married, having children, being successful, travelling, eating great food, having wonderful life experiences, having deep intimate reward relationships, having nice clothes, house & car, going to awesome concerts, having a lot of good sex.  I am not interested in uprooting the sublte sense of identites (country, racial, gender, class, linguistic, lifestage, modern age).  I am not interested in mastering the bodywork of flowing movement & still postures & non-grandiose gesticulation/conversation.  I am not interested in practicing optimism, cheerfullness, open-heartedness towards others, methodical generosity.

I am interested in being nice to myself (but if I'm not able to, that's OK to).  I'm interested in continuing the practice of awareness which has led me to a recent perceptual shift (but in a way which allows it to unfold with soft effort).  I am interested in not hiding from my feelings of sensitivity which have caused me to shield in many ways, but instead gradually encouraging those parts of myself to open up.  I am interesting in moving into a paradigm that is more embracing of my life, which includes this peculiar set of obstacles I have that make me somewhat allergic & irritable.  I am interested in opening more to the friends, family, coworkers & acquaintances that I come into contact with.  This will be different things in different relationships & I would like to be willing to adapt to that.  That there's no right answer for human interaction & shared human feelings.  That it is dangerous & 

P.s.

I think the 10 fetter path is real.  I think probably almost no one on the DhO or in pragmatic dharma has even the 1st stage of it.  What I think it is, is if someone got MCTB 4th Path (which almost no one has but lots of people think they have [including Noah at several points] ) & then they trained body, speech & mind in a very specific way for years & decades, they would have a chance to begin to develop the fetter paths.  I see the fetter path as a post-awakening practice of the *siddhi of rehabituation*.  If someone develops this, it is possible.  I think it is a valid & valuable & important type of development to pursue.  But few people have the capacity to do it.  Opening & vulnerability (the lay-householder path) will develop the 10 fetter path in a slower & more chaotic way.  

Note to any readers: During this talk of maps, remember to mindful before, during & after reading it.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/19/18 11:14 AM as a reply to Noah D.
5.19

space is supportive all around but also in
not just the background plane but the foreground
x, y & z axes
thick voluminous support

objects are droplets emerging from space
on horizontal planes
like points where to pools of liquid touch 
the display is the drool between them

mind is the warping of sentience coagulated in the looking glass

==================

Experiencing feelings is like looking at paintings in a museum
because you're not trying to "fix" the paintings, they're already created
you're not trying to "be mindful" of the paintings, that sounds silly

Yet, if a certain openness is not present, you won't be able to have any direct impact from it
eventually you move on to the next painting or leave because the security guards kick you out
the painting might arouse thoughts that you want to change it or you might accept it, either way

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/19/18 10:15 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Interesting stuff Noah, and I think your "not interesteds" are what I'm pointing at as middle path.

For what it's worth, I tend to go with (maybe?) a slightly different version, perhaps a more advanced version than the renunciation/moderation ideas of middle path and suggest it's more about seeing the difference between the language-based bifurcation of reality through paired opposites (e.g., healthy-unhealthy) and the lived experience which doesn't come with labels (e.g. if I was neither healthy nor unhealthy, what am I really?).

Pretty much all of identity is identifying with a particular point between paired opposities and saying "that's me", which is fine except we don't see the belief as a belief, we think that it's actually true. And we really think there is a "thing" that is at a point in spectrum that needs to be defended and moved in one direction or another. And then there is suffering. I think it's more consistent with all of your "not interesteds". That's it. Anything we are "interested in" is some idealized and maybe even fetishized something that is wildly independent from this acutal lived life and creates a huge gap between all of this and that. And then there is suffering. 

This awakening stuff, in my opinion, should point out the futility of the language-mediated sense of identity and lead into an experiential relationship with life, which sounds basic, but which really cannot be done unless A LOT of psychological baggage gets jettisoned --- because life is just too raw and vunerable of a place "to be" if we are fully awake to it. Non-languaged-meditated life is the ultimate death sentence any sense of safety that comes from a belief in a separated identity. Towards the "end" of awakening, so to speak, is all about turning into experience and having that teach us (in a non-languaged-mediated way). This kind of teaching is direct, there is very little need for any conceptual framework to interpret it, including self-other, and yet it hits more powerfully than any language-based dharma teaching ever encountered.

Middle path begins with renunciation, moves to moderation, but eventually becomes living without orientation, no north-south or east-west coordinate to pin down "I". (And yet bills need to be paid from my bank account and this body's muscles need to be foam rollered.) 

4th Path is basically unbreakable because it is sort of an all-at-once realization that any "me" is completely conceptual and not a "real" thing, that every moment is entirely lived with no alternative and no escape, and yet the next moment will be different and beyond any controlling. Awakening is neither experiential (which implies an I that experiences) nor conceptual (which implies an I other than experience). It's an all at once insight into utter lividness of nothingness and utter emprisonment yet changingness. Nothing in life is without this nature. That realization completely drops the bottom out of the bucket of "I". Any "I" is never existing, never not existing, not something, not nothing, never different, never the same. Radical middle path. 

So middle path is kind of a koan or riddle - if awakening is neither experiental nor conceptual, what is it?


And just because I worry that the above verges on preteniousness, here's some goofiness:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjWZz839T8w

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/19/18 4:02 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:

mind is the warping of sentience coagulated in the looking glass



aloha noah,

   In your previous post, there was the repeated, "I think..." as though such thoughts were significant, and meant something. Actually, such thinking is "the warping of sentience coagulated in the looking glass."

   Emptiness is preferable to proliferation.

  "Mind" (in which thoughts arise and pass away) is buddha nature. Think about that.

terry



"This is Enough"

(from "rumi, the book of love," trans barks)


Aphrodite singing ghazals. A sky with

gold streaks across. A stick

that finds water in stone. Jesus

sitting quietly near the animals.

Night so peaceful. This is enough

was always true. We just haven’t

seen it. The hoopoe already wears

a tufted crown. Each ant is given

its elegant belt at birth. This love

we feel pours through us like a giveaway

song. The source of now is here!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/26/18 3:05 PM as a reply to terry.
Thank you Terry.  I will.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/26/18 10:23 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Vulnerability and openness
Means feeling emotions in the body
Getting back in touch with that which has numbed
Regaining the flow of energy in the torso, the heart area, the limbs

Being honest in one's thoughts & reflections
About weakness & strength 
Which ultimately becomes value-free objectivity (or at least as close as one can get)

Kindness is laziness
Aggression is extra work
It is more exhausting to maintain the crossbar, to dig the trenches, uphold the banner (MN 22)
Than to reveal the raw skin underneath
Meet people & situations as they are

And the body matters
Don't forget the body matters
The earth matters, the natural world
Yet I still frequently scoff at "hippy shit"
While these particular fascinations newly rise.

Nondual perception arises from the body
The body arises from the field
The field arises from the mind
These loci are ouroboros.

=============================

In what ways to mind, body & environment interact
To create & disturb balance?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
5/31/18 11:22 PM as a reply to Noah D.
5.31

Spoke with one of my mentors on bodywork.  I realize I've lumped all "somatic stuff" together in my mind.  We discussed & worked on some interesting things for how to hold the body (both in practice & daily life):

-Bringing the chin down 
-Softening the gaze
-Releasing the shoulder muscles
-Deepening the voice
-Speaking from the pelvic floor
-Releasing the neck (this one is complicated)
-Specifically feeling the heaviness/solidity of muscles & bones & NOT the lightness/ariness/spaciousness
          -The possibility that my 'awareness', in addition to being a legitimate attainment, is also an impulse 'out' of the body

Other notes:

-My neck tension is likely related to psychological stress around being heard/empowered (needing to yell as a kid)
-Left shoulder is tighter probably due to compensating for right shoulder injury (popped clavicle out in BJJ tourney)
-Intensity of eyes in communication may be some type of hypomania component
-Goal is to get into my body in an easeful & gradual way & not a super HxC let-it-rip way
-Having a good posture is not the same thing as releasing somatic stress
-There are many components to somatic release.  Someone could have a good shoulder but a bad voice, or a general groundedness but a bad shoulder, or general relaxation but bad posture.  This is interesting & I never thought of it like that.

--------------------------------

Also, I tend to get hyped up or energized when explaining something to this teacher & they do something to calm me down.  Yet a big part of the training is fully embracing & giving channel to expressive impulsive.  So I realize that the purpose of calming down is not to be calm, it is to provide an opportunity for light to shine on something unexamined.  The end goal is internal observation & external full flowing expression (not external calmness).

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/1/18 6:07 AM as a reply to Noah D.
"Expressiveness" is like the ultimate practice... you can't understand what you are unless you allow natural expression to happen, and yet natural expression is going to show you all your abilities and all your remaining pathologies/blind spots in a really direct and raw way. It's the ultimate lifetime practice. 

Done correctly, natural expression feels great and it feels like shit. When you natural rock a situation and feel great, there just needs to be acceptance and enjoyment and awareness that the success is fleeting... and not to cling to "I am great". When natural expression is a total FAIL, there just needs to be acceptance and a kind of bittersweet enjoyment and awareness that the fail is the only way we can identify what we need to work on... and not to cling to "I suck". Obviously, we've been doing something like this our entire life, which is how we developed from children, but we all tend to beat ourselves up with guilt and shame and rumination and worry. Meditation should make us more sensitive to the success/failure (and see it in more and more subtle ways) and less inclined to engauge in endless guilt and shame and rumination and worry. A little of the four is fine, a natural expression too, but meditation shows that when we were younger/less aware we tended to use the four to create a negative "I suck" identity, which is as much of an error as clinging to "I am great". 

There is a natural tendency in spiritual/meditation circles to put expressiveness back into some conceptual/practice framework... It's useful to master many different frameworks through practice, but ultimately the mind realizes that everything except expressiveness is some form of crutch and not-quite-IT. And expressiveness can seem like a let down, but that's mostly because we've had a lifetime of demoting our true self and reifying "spiritual practice". Expressiveness and unflinching awareness of the good/bad outcomes is basically the purest expression of practice. It's basically living your conscience in a fundamentally unpredictable world. 

A lot of people will read something like this and say -- I get it: practice is bullshit, I just need to be natural!  But as paradoxical as it sounds, it actually takes A LOT of practice to even have a chance at being natural. No practice and you are just a habitual pattern playing out over time. Lots of practice and you are an awake and creative process playing out over time.