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Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox

Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/28/17 4:25 AM
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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
Answer
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
Answer
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
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
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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 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 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
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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
3/30/18 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 6:59 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
3/30/18 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
3/31/18 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
3/30/18 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
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 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 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 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
4/15/18 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.  

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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
4/21/18 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
4/25/18 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
4/23/18 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 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 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 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. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/1/18 1:39 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks, that’s a good post. it’s exciting to be exploring this.

im getting more emotional flow now, which is like wine tasting.  I’m not so concerned with external behavior, except to the extent that it inhibits clarity.  It’s also weird to just interact with people in a way that accepts that I’m an average shmuck & they are too & we’re swimming together in this pool of energy.  It kind of feels like “anything goes”, but not as a contrast to a world in which something doesn’t go.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/2/18 11:39 PM as a reply to Noah D.
There are some cool folks in Seattle this weekend.  I went to see the legendary Bhagawan Das perform kirtan last night & also to a Satsang with Jon Bernie today.  A lot of energy going around.  

Feeling body sensations.  Feeling tears, vulnerability, childhood memories surfacing.  Raw, unpeeled skin.  Spacious awareness contained within an increasingly solid, physical form.  Flesh & bone.  And other people are really real to.  We all have emotions are sending signals to each other all the time.  I can feel this.

Feeling what it's like to be horny & emotionally closed off & be wiling to look someone in the eye & admit to that verbally.  And just be as open as possible to them & to my own self, with my limitations held in completeness.  That's some shit right there.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/6/18 8:46 AM as a reply to Noah D.
6/6/18

I think I'm realizing that there are these two tracks in me.  One that wants to learn (in an academic way) about traditional Buddhadharma theory & maps and a second which wants to do my personal practice & follow the advice of my teachers plus my own intuition.  Trying to reconcile these two things has bothered me for a long time.  I am not well studied in Buddhist theory.  But I am better studied than almost everyone I know.

There is so much BS that I have thought, spoken or typed about religious theory.  There is so much incorrect BS that gets put out on Pragmatic Dharma discussion groups of various kinds.  Some people I have studied from have said teachings that are categorically incorrect.  Some things that come to mind are:

-Broad statements about what the 3 vehicles (Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana)
-What a Buddha is
-Comparing two maps when someone actually lacks a firm grasp of both maps independently
-Patiently explaining that Mahamudra, Dzogchen (by which they mean 'trekcho' despite not knowing the term), Shikantaza are all actually the same thing
-Patiently explaining that things like rebirth, karma, fetters, thogal visions, jhanas are actually metaphors (or some other literary device) for other things that can be easily shoehorned into the average Joe's direct experience, with a tad bit of attentional training
-Being 100% confident that the classical fetter/bhumi model can or can not be attained
-Etc.

These discussions are ridiculous (especially when I participate in them).  However, many of these people are legitimately fulfilling there practice, attaining things, becoming happier & wiser & kinder.  I am not in any way knocking anyone's practice, but I am realizing how much BS there is in verbal interpretation of practice. 

So these things are not the same.  The teachings of the Buddha are not the same as your meditation practice.  They are both incredibly valuable within their own contexts.  And yes, with a firm grounding in them each independently, they can inform one another to some degree.  But saying that dependent origination, Sakadagamihood, bardos, tummo, rigpa are definitely things that you personally have experienced when you can't explain any degree of history or conceptual framework around those terms, much less actually provide a reference from a classical text in which they have been used, it's silly!  Just say what you are experiencing without all the window dressing.

I know I've used a lot of terms to describe my practice, but I do think I've also done a lot of work to find my own words for things.  I plan to continue to do that.  I also plan to continue to learn Buddhist theory & history, because it is something I am passioante about.  I'll let my teachers decide mostly when a given term is appropriate.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/6/18 9:54 AM as a reply to Noah D.
My feeling is that if someone is not tempted to burn all their books/library at various times during their life of practicing, then they really are not thinking critically about the words that get said/written. Likewise, if someone is not tempted to quit practicing at various times, then they really aren't practicing well.

I say both of those statements in jest, but there is enough truth in those statements to make it funny! emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/6/18 2:18 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Haha good point.  

I think the most helpful thing for me is to realize that I enjoy scholarship pursuits & yogic pursuits & these aren’t the same thing nor do they need to be.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/6/18 9:37 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
6/6/18

But I am better studied than almost everyone I know.

Some things that come to mind are:
-Being 100% confident that the classical fetter/bhumi model can or can not be attained


These discussions are ridiculous (especially when I participate in them). 


Haha!

Evam me suttam.....

Disclaimer: Papañca makes the "loka" go round (edited to include a disclaimer for the disclaimer.....ahem....Evam me suttam....)

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/7/18 4:04 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
thus i have heard that mental proliferation makes the world go round....

i think this is a koan

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/9/18 12:18 AM as a reply to Noah D.
6.8.18

I saw Amma on Sunday for the 6th (?) time.  Being with a quarter mile of her makes me feel tipsy.  Once we were in the hotel, I had the sense that her face was in contact with the air at every quadrant of space in all six directions.  There was that distinct sense of the immediacy of her knowing. 

I did not detect this straightforward consciousness the last time I saw her.  It felt as if her cognizance was not just 'vast' but also 'dense.' .I didn't get hugged because it was taking too long, but it was highly beneficial to sit there meditating.  Specifically, I got goosebumps & had the spooky sense of being on a precipice of anther opening. 

The thoughts which appeared in my mind following this were along these lines: going to this place would involve allowing an alien momentum to inhabit this body-mind & operate on a level which familiarizes itself with the surroundings, to the extent that it's surrounding are inside of it.  Also that this would not be about not-clinging or being OK with everything or nondual perception.  Rather this would be about quick access to any information in the environment or in other body-minds, as well as some facility or competence with relating to these things that would be automatically occur, as if such things were the result of electric impulses being sent through a nervous system.  

After that, this week, I have been having an instinctual feeling that space is collapsing.  I don't have a good phenomenological description at this time, so I am going to indulge in poetic langauge.  It is like the movie/book Flatland in terms of dimensional play.  There is knowing which is generic.  Because this beholding is of one species, it is actually connected through all matter & concept, by necessity.  Therefore, all matter & concept would be accessible from all other matter & concept.  All points are contained or embedded within all other points.  This is not non-duality, but non-duality would be a necessary precursor.  

Perceptions of the field without reference are nice, but irrelevent in relation to this understanding.  The field that is around me in the present moment contains the information of the field around me in previous moments as well as in the future.  The sensorium of other beings is connected to this packet of information (although by Vajrayana teaching all beings have their own individual basis of mind).  Other locations in space that are known would be contained with this packet.  This packet would be contained within other locations & connected to the minds of other beings.  

In terms of how this is literally experienced, there is a bit of vertigo.  There is the fading of importance of all nondual perception (panoramic vision, lively display, restful body, timeless awareness, etc.).  There are planes of sensation folding into each other.  For instance, the silence between sounds is falling & collapsing into the lively sights.  The panoramic vision is expanding & dissolving into the physical sensations of breath.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/9/18 8:10 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Nice.

My sense is that you are in a similar point in practice where my teacher said, "you're at the summit. you can't climb higher, yet you need to take another step. you need to step into space." It's that feeling of vertigo and danger and subtle fear...


The fading of the importance of spacious perception is a good sign. When you are settled during a practice session, when things are calm and at ease, it might be interesting to ask your deepest and truest self, to ask your buddha nature, to ask your conscience, and to this simply and without having any expectation of a response or no response or clairity or confusion, just simply and honestly ask the question.... "So, where is the problem?"

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/10/18 12:19 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Fwiw, I am no longer practicing to resolve a deep-rooted sense of dissatisfaction inside.  I consider that done. However, outside of there being a problem, there are lots of interesting questions to ask one's nature, so that's a good point.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/10/18 12:31 AM as a reply to Noah D.
6.9

I intook a substance (which will go unnamed here) earlier today, with the support of some dharma friends.  The physical setting, people, timing & intention were all carefully arranged.  We meditated together before & after.  

When the short journey started, I experienced pulsations & waves moving through my body.  Then I lay down & began to see lines of light, like airport lanes at night, swirling across the mental screen.  The screen itself was undulating like rolling hills.  Then the sense of my physical body began to fold up into the mental screen, with the lights.  This one substances was then sliced into tiny bits, but also was being massaged, like a combination of a spa & surgery.  

I then entered a tunnel which moved out into space, but the space & the "out" were right here.  The message seemed to be that I did not need to go anywhere, for this particular corner of the world contained all the information needed.  More information streamed in: that there was a reason I & my friends were guided here today.  That there is a deeper intelligence to the structure of reality, particularly for sentient beings.  Wherever metacognition is, there is guiding intuition.  This would be related to "karma."

The process was rather forceful.  It felt as if it was cutting into the center of my soul, challenging all of the muscles of surrender that I have built up over the past 5 years.  I was able to let go successfully throughout, which felt like a ship gliding atop great waves in an ocean storm.  In the eye of the storm was an independent shard of myself watching the process, understanding, digesting, etc.

When I came out I was laughing hysterically & thanked my friend who had accompanied me.  I had validated that the collapsing of space & time that I have been experiencing in direct perception is worthwhile.  Nondual, centerless perception is a gateway to all other forms of information in consciousness.  The witnessing mind is the top of a funnel, which, if followed backwards, will lead to other arrangements of matter & mind.  What we see around us is arranged very carefully & masterfully by clever force of love.  The end of suffering is merely the beginning of this unfolding.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/10/18 11:45 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
 
Nondual, centerless perception is a gateway to all other forms of information in consciousness.  The witnessing mind is the top of a funnel, which, if followed backwards, will lead to other arrangements of matter & mind.  What we see around us is arranged very carefully & masterfully by clever force of love.  The end of suffering is merely the beginning of this unfolding.


In many ways, that is the beauty of it.  At the end of the path, we can live our lives free from suffering, free from self-imposed limitations, and with an infinity beyond to discover.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/10/18 1:20 PM as a reply to Noah D.
6.10

I think I am beginning to understand what diety yoga is about, specifically yidam practice.  Of course, diety yoga as a whole includes the preliminaries, building merit aka positive memory momentums, psychotherapy, developing right intention.  And of course it leads through samatha, into vipsassana & eventually up through the deep selfing process dropping out to reveal an open expanse of the gestalt.  

However, I think it includes more than this.  Specifically, as a magickal practice it is concerned with tapping into a layer of energy which resides between the sensorium & cessation.  Channeling this energy, in a way that is appropriate to a given person's predilictions, into form.  This is not the same thing as a lower shamanic practice, because it would necessarily only be undertaken by someone who had already stabilized awakening.  

The main point seems to be that there are potentialities that are stored in this frequency which are not necessarily tapped into by someone who has awakened from a false sense of self.  Furthermore, these potentialities would necessarily be causily magickal & not metaphors for psychological processes.  They would also be somewhat not merely subjective - i.e. one would either be successfully tapping in at a given time or simply deluding themselves.

This is almost all speculation, but is based on my study & practice.  Looking forward to exploring this more.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/11/18 7:00 PM as a reply to Noah D.
6.11

In becoming more intimate, there's no need for a great procession to announce one's heart opening.  No waiting for a Good Will Hunting movie moment complete with waterworks & famous actors.  You just get started, one moment of authenticity at a time.  One statement to another person, that expresses your feeling slightly more honestly than in the past.

Intimacy matters in spirituality because it is consciousness coming to know itself more fully.  This must take place at the level of the limbic system & somatic resonance with the environment.  Open, spaciousness of the sensory apparatus is incomplete.  The musculature & energetic pathways need to open, allowing one to feel other people & enjoy that sense of connection.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/13/18 7:31 AM as a reply to Noah D.
6.13

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Joshua Pollock, co author of the book, the Heartflulness Way, for several hours last night, with some friends.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of their lineage, but I did notice the meditation put me quickly infto soft 4th jhana.  Another thing that struck out to me was that he hung out with us for several hours, without necessarily having a plan & without showing any sign of wanting to leave our presence.  What I have noticed in the past in meeting teachers is that they are usually need a break after being in teacher mode for awhile where they want to talk about other subjects for a bit or talk to other people.  I've always assumed that this isn't a bad thing & that teachers simply need to relax & recharge in intervals - but  of course not a universal rule.  No sense that there was any teacher mode going on, rather just a continuity of meidtation geeks hanging out.  I will say that certain aspects weren't as academically rigorous as I would like, but they didn't mind doing open cross mapping of the traditions.  I was on gaurd for them trying to convert us but that also did not seem to be the point of the hang out.  Also, they don't profit from the book sales, which I think is best as I've written about on this thread a lot.  Cool stuff.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/15/18 2:36 AM as a reply to Noah D.
6.14

As I increasingly become in touch with creative/sexual/emotional energy & learn to give rise to it's expression, I sense a somewhat new direction or potential.  It feels like I am a beginner at this.  Not in a Zen, we-are-all-beginners way, but beginner in the conventional sense: really just starting out.  

I don't believe that there are any patterns of experiences that are unmappable or not worthy of mapping (nor am I interested in doing self-inquiry or vipassana about this belief).  However, this particular area of exploration feels moreso on the hard-to-map end of the spectrum.  

These personal energies (like all of their kind) are emerging from the unconcsious.  However, these seem to be emerging from a deeper part of the unconcsious & with less consciuos filtering involved in their emergence.  Once they emerge, they manifest as physical sensations.  Gaining direct perceptual access to these physical sensations is of prime importance.  Then letting go of any muscular, skeletal & postural blockages that prevent their flow is next.  After that, one can allow thought, speech & action to be guided by them.  

I don't think most non-meditation people have done this work, even the healthy & integrated ones.  I don't think most meditation masters have done this work either.  Particularly with the deepest pockets of sexuality.  I suspect it's much more common for meditation masters to balance the sexual energy within them & create a sort of equanimous relationship while leaving it limited in scope, yet still having an open heart, nondual perception, healed psychodynamics, disciplined action, etc.  This is not the same thing has bringing the light all the way down throughout the depths of one's being, brining that material to the surface, purifying it, then using the remainig rarified spirit-force to express fully in all of one's relationships, including with colleagues, friends, family, strangers, nature, animals, space, time etc.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/17/18 12:45 PM as a reply to Noah D.
6.16

This topic is a bit "odd", but I've never let that hold me back before, so I won't now.  I saw Amma on 6/3.  At that time I saw, with my mind's eye, a galaxy rotating in my torso.  One year before that time, while visiting her, I saw a galaxy in her torso & a voice inside my head said "this is what a buddha is..It is not the same thing as an arahant"  

So after that experience (the more recent one), I started having space collapse on me.  A bit like a spaciousness becoming a flat screen.  Then the flat screen would condense into a cube.  My sense was that this experience was somehow related to the galaxy view inside myself.  I am absolutely not claiming to be anywhere near the level of Amma's sprititual maturity or that of a Buddha - I am merely relaying what is happening.

After that time, I did a journey, with the help of a substance & some friends.  There was a presence in this trip which reassured me that these experiences were on the right track.  In that time frame, I had similar effects which included synesthesia & openness collapsing into one-place-knowledge.

And following that day, I began to sense a new presence with me when I practiced perfect parent.  I have been doing the perfect parent technique for approximately 16 months semi-regularly.  While doing it intensively on & off cushion for 3 months in the beginning of 2017, I had the occurance of a bird-like being popping through (I've written about this previously).

It's important for the reader to understand that these are not intentional visualizations, they just happen.  The purpose of the perfect parent practice is psychotherapuetic, not magickal.  There are some practitioners on this forum who will attempt to nonetheless categorize these descriptions within their own buckets of insight practice.  I think I am OK with that.

When I was 17, my first spiritual mentor, named Al, introduced me (in a very literal way) to the force named Vajrapani.  The purpose was to instill more power & discipline to my self-regulation process.  The bird-being that I mentioned earlier was blue & black.  After some research, I discovered this matche the Khyung from the Vajrayan pantheon.

Two weeks ago a new diety popped through.  It's human form was a tall, gaunt, tattood, old, native american warrior with green eyes.  It carried a sword & tended to hang out by campfires, playing a didgeridoo (yes I know my cultures don't line up) with a few women dancing around.  These all occured in sponatenous visions.  This entity seems to have 2 characteristics: total vulnerability, tenderness & love 

& total destruction, discipline, masculinity, power, sexualiy, savagery, etc.

In this entity, these 2 streams blend together like multiple waterways feeding 1 river.  They are indistinguishable.  Vajrakilaya is "cousins" with Vajrapani.  He is a Yidam whereas Vajrapani is merely a dharma protector.  In other words, one is the general, the other a leitentant.

Also, the Khyung appears in the thangkas as one of Vajrakilayas helpers.  Furthermore, Vajrakilaya carries a Kila (in his name), which is a knife ornament, & I imagined a sword before.  I saw him with a campfire & in the thangkas he emits fire.  I saw him with women & in the thagkas he is in yab-yum with diptachakra.  The big thing that doesn't line up is the musical peice.  I saw this entity playing a bamboo flute & then a didgerdoo, yet there is no mention, as far as I can tell, of the diety holding a musical instrument in hand.

So far, I have had the sense of this entity walking near me during the day.  Also merging with my own body & operating my own body during the day.  There have been deep psychotherapuetic healing effects.  LIke I feel my self-image becoming more whole & positive in ways that have been absent for over 6 years.  I'm coming in touch with aspects of masculanity that have been masked or shadowned by the effort of the spiritual journey/ the journey to overcome bipolar disorder.

I have been chanting the vajraikalaya mantra to positive effect.  It seems to further amplify the positive aspects of this consciousness.  Most importantly, this other mind seems to be an omniscient buddha who embodies the qualities which I require at this phase to continue forward.  There is also a feeling of being totally OK with loving myself & others as they are, with some space in around & through these emotional pathways.  This is indicated by a warmth emanating from the heart area & more of a tender, soft feeling to the whole sensory field.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/17/18 3:08 PM as a reply to Noah D.
6.17

I asked internally what the relationship between the threads of tenderness & power were.  The answer arose that the heart drives the action.  That this open vulnerability is the compass & that the raw unimpeded bladelike "push" is the weapon of that internal sensitivity.  

My gut tells me this could not be the other way around.  If it were, it would be nuerosis, the ego driving off road into emotional wilderness.  It has to be the natural world expressing through a human form in uniquely kind ways.

There is also some information coming through about myself & that I am still working on very elementary things in life.  Impetus to practice self compassion, patience, etc.  Allow the ground work to be laid down, for later.  And be easier on others, as everyone is working on different types of basic things.  Allow more space for it all to unfold, less pressure all around.  Less expectation & more ease, more grace.  But of course discrimination, energy, vigor, even the power of 'emotional content' (as Bruce Lee would say) always holstered at the hip, ready to be drawn automatically when the need calls.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/17/18 9:35 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Sounds very cool, Noah. The heart really is the center of our being and has greater wisdom than the mind. That becomes very clear at a certain juncture.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/19/18 9:55 PM as a reply to Noah D.
6.19

Had a session with one of my mentors.  Sometimes it feels as if we are "rewiring" my psychodynamics in real time (I mean this in a gentle, warm, melty type of way).  Talked about how some of my continued sexual-conquest aspirations are from an early part of my life.  In the past five years I've funneled all of my "mojo" into being at level 10 mindfulness in all waking hours, at any cost.  This has moved that juju away from the socializing, ego-building & dating pipes & shifted it into the practice one.

We're discussing the possbility that now I need to allow those parts of myself to resurface.  Interestingly, this doesn't feel like 'moving into a non-meditation phase' or 'getting more into life stuff.'  The only way I would ever want to engage in things now (especially after working with this mentor) is with the power of mindfulness & an open heart (I have a very specific definition for that phrase).  So there is nothing outside of the path of practice.  Everything is about vulnerability, discovering situations at a raw ungaurded level, giving voice to hidden agendas & desires inside, participating with zeal despite the risk of disappointment.  

It is expected that these things will necessarily be paired with physical health & mental health & doing things that are good for the energy body.  Also more insights, more perceptual shifts - truly intending towards buddhahood.  But all of this is a natural engine whose parts work best when the flow is unimpeded by defensive tensions in the system.  

Back to sexuality.  The question is whether the conquest-impulses I feel are from an earlier time.  I'm clear that this desire is rooted in an earlier impulse to antidote a type of allergy to reality itself that I felt from a young age.  What my mentor says is that because I can feel complete, powerful, confident when I do "succeed" in the dating arena, that shows that I am capable of feeling this positivity within myself.  The path forward lies in cultivating that positive self structure independent of the dating component, while also fully experiencing desires (but knowing that they are just feelings) & being open to finding that I do in fact, end up getting up what I want.  The cliche idea that people are drawn to those who are already fulfilled within themselves.  These are oft-repeated, basic tenets that I have an opportunity to practice now due to all the other openings that have occured previously.

The other idea that they brought up was that grief may be present.  Mourning my past selves that are no longer present in this awake mind-body.  Those selves include this striving for power, control, balance in dating.  But also with the path itself.  The yogi-pattern who has been clearly identifiable for 5 years - the pattern which channeled all of that spirit energy into mindfulness - is no longer needed and also no longer fully present.  I have other things going on in my life other than the application of meditation technique in each moment.  The path doesn't disappear, but it becomes wider.  The yogi doesn't disappear, but the mass of it melts like butter, incorporating into all the other tracks, into each moment of inhabiting a body & being in the environment, with other human beings, with all the internal displays & the vast backdrop of nothingness & with the connection point where all of this collapses into one tiny quadrant of all-knowing.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/24/18 2:48 PM as a reply to Noah D.
6.24

You become more fully embodied & present in your emotions & less aware of what they are supposed to signify for your actions in the world

The "unhooking" of emotions from decisions creates a more direct connection with the mental images, mental talk & limbic ripples as they occur on the landscape of the self.  Love is not an emotion.  Love is simply the quality of this direct connection wherever it occurs.  

Decisions fit in here in terms of karma, intention.  "Emotions" (as I am using the term here) have no place in intention setting & acting.  Intuition (intellect + instinct) certainly does.  Emotions are not "bad" (bad is just another emotion - thus the dog chases its tail).  Clear, unimpeded intentions are not "good" (good is just another emotion - thus the dog chases its tail).  

But, there is a process of insight which uncovers the "way things are" (at least as much as any one person can understand they way they construct their reality moment by moment).  And then there is ramifications this insight has on the content of that constructed reality: the thoughts, words & actions one chooses to engage in with their body & mind.  This "unhooking" process would be part of that integration.

It seems like I made up a rule for myself, somewhere in my early years, that there were a lot of things in the world that I was allergic to (would cause me severe agitation) & then there were a few other things that were the antidotes to this allergy (would help tranquilize myself) & in order to feel good I need to avoid the allergens & maintain the antidotes.  The issue with this is the reliance on external stimuli as causal for internal stimuli.  Internal stimuli are their own cause.  The nervous system produces these sensations of itchiness & relief.  It is unlike true, physical process.  It's all psychological and/or psychosomatic.  

This psychosomatic loop is not related to the outside events.  Mind-made dramas.  Really just a type of neurosis.  It's OK to have feelings.  It's OK to have these dramas inside.  But at the ordinary-level of mind, it's not the same system as the body's interaction with the outside world.  Treating them as one system (in a conventional system) is deeply flawed & has led to a lot of extra stress for me.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/25/18 8:14 AM as a reply to Noah D.
6.25

Some random notes...

1 - I completely accept my naturally-occurring interests & inclinations, which don't change a huge amount (relative to other things) over time & don't match what some of my sub-minds deem to be optimal for life in this society.  I am no longer interested in changing those personal preferences & traits.  All of this is in spite of any frustration, greif, anger, obsessing, fantasizing & comparing that may arise.

2 - I am committed to relaxing all of my muscles as much as possible throughout the day, keeping attention in the lower half/third of the body, allowing the chi & breath to anchor, speaking from lower belly, etc. - Doing these things as often as needed during daily life until they become abiding traits.

3 - I can see & will pursue the basic skillfulness in seeking partnership in a basic, straightforward way.  Which includes ruthless transparency, self acceptance, authentic alignment with my particular desire & a willingness to expend effort over time.  It also necessitates openness to icky emotions occuring in the body (such as shame, jealousy, rage, embarassment, etc).  It also means being staunch in the face of other sub-minds that are playing audio tapes in the background that I want other things, should want, should strive for, if I were good enough, etc.  I accept that these loops are there too & am not trying to stop them.

4 - I am willing to feel all emotions of all kinds in my body in as true a way as possible.  I am open to the possibility that these signals may not be reliable inputs for actual life decisions & that the answer to the problem of emotional nourishment is likely found inside-only & not in the mind-body-environment causal chain.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/25/18 8:37 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Magnificent!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/28/18 8:24 AM as a reply to Noah D.
6/28

I am blessed to have 3 meditation mentors right now, who I've asked to teach me at different times in the past few years & for different, specific reasons.  Without going into details, I will say I learn about the entire-path/full-spectrum-integration from one, deep wisdom practice/meditation 'engineering' from another & a very specific type of integration/shadow work from the third.  All of these teachers are capable of teaching all three of these topics & do, based on conversations with other students of theirs.

In addition to this, I now have a career, aspirations for service (what I want to do with my life), relationships, etc.  I notice that things move along in each of these areas at different cadences.  They are typically out of sync with each other.  There is also a lot of cross-pollination & overlapping progress.

One theme I've been thinking about is cosmological tides vs individual participation.  The sort of 'co-participation' idea of Ken Wilber or perhaps related to the process of manifestation in the New Thought tradition.  In one sense, everything that ever has happened or will happen is already here, all at once.  All time & space in a single packet of bursting light.

In onther sense, things are unfolding on a grand scale, over aeons & humans are just a tiny element of this.  In another, there is a deeper intelligence guiding our nervous systems, thoughts & actions - working through us.  In a third, there is the traditional understanding of karma, were fate & free will combine at an individual level to shape the present & shape the future with multiple, concurrent feedback loops.  In a third, there is a brain-body system, moving according to chemical signals & complex ongoing interactions with the environment & past conditioning.  In a fourth, there is a conscious mind, in an interplay with the subconscious, with multiple levels of filters & meaning-making occuring.

Broadly, there seems to be some type of spectrum from universal to individual.  From cosmological to earth.  From magickal to materialist.  From the grandest surrender to the most minute intention.  Specifically how this relates to this practice would be continue to expand, stretch & make my paradigm flexible.

To include everything I've learned in one integral understanding (which is not to say that everything needs to make sense, be perfect, be controlled, be explained, etc --- however, it is also not to deny anything or take extremes, this practice):
-Psychotherapy
-Mental Science/Law of Attraction
-Personal Development/Self Help
-Noting/Nanas/Jhanas/Paths Lite
-Traditional Pragmatic Morality/Integration/Fetter Paths/8Fold Path/Right View/Long Term Goals
-Perceptual Shifts/Awareness Practice/Paths Heavy
-Modern Lifestyle & Service (Effective Altruism, Financial Independence, Resilience, Career Stuff)
-Shadow Integration/Bodywork/Human Intimacy
-??????  (what could be next)
-??????  (what could be next)

This is all taking place within an unbounded whole, a much larger perspective, a much smaller perspective.  World systems of galaxies & microbiomes unfolding.  The pace at which this different lanes develop is guided by something broader, which is working via the mechanism of this brain-body, in it's particular styles & quirks.  Things may not seem to be on track or unfolding at the right pace, but if the overall intuition & sense of connection is there, that alpha principle takes highest precedence.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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6/29/18 8:52 AM as a reply to Noah D.
6/29

Everyone always talks about self acceptance as if it were one thing, but it's many projects.  

Life is beautiful, painful, inspiring & disappointing.  I've been thinking that's my fault this whole time.  Now I see that's not my problem, that's life's problem.  It's not a glitch in Noah, it's a feature in samsara.

No need to constantly try to meet some emotionally-felt bar of excellence to rise to the challenges of samsara.  I'm allowed to fail, just like everyone else is.  Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't.

However, these outbursts of conniption & agitation that I experience, these are my problem (in a conventional language, relative way).  These aren't the first wave emotions, they're side-effects of a basic misunderstanding. By not seeing that they are in actuality just more sensation, like all other sensations, they index too high for me on the reality scale.  So again & again I react to them behaviorally.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/29/18 9:27 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Life is beautiful, painful, inspiring & disappointing.  I've been thinking that's my fault this whole time.  Now I see that's not my problem, that's life's problem.  It's not a glitch in Noah, it's a feature in samsara.

Beautifully expressed, Noah.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/4/18 1:20 AM as a reply to Noah D.
7/3

Visited Shambhala mothership on Boulder, CO.  Sat with group in main shrine room where Trungpa vibes were super palpable, so obvious that it was a little bit creepy.  Was later lying in bed where I am staying & reading a Trungpa book that contains a section on Thogal and was lent to me.  As I started closing my eyes, Trungpa appeared in my mental screen & began to talk.  Guided me in various ways about how radical emptiness is, much farther from inherent existence than what I am currently capable of fitting in my mind.  Was floating in space & a trap door opened & he pushed me out of it.  Falling through groundless vast black starry expanse in circles & toroids slowly.  "Once this view has been made primary, the only purpose is play or love.  Life is a dance & morality & discipline & culture & relationships & enviorenment are taking place within this dance.  It is not pragmatic or useful.  It is not necessarily of benefit or altruistic.  There are higher logics occuring invisibly than what can be recognized by the self.  There is a ground, it is playfullness." Hit a ground which was like an alien world with glowing, ethereal grass & nothing beneath this thin, porous, neon groundlayer extending in all directions.  There was exuberant, cartoonish pleasure emanating.  "You need to search for the beginnings & ends of things from within this place as primary.  Where does Noah begin & others end?  Where does discipline begin & laziness end?  Where does bipolar begin & functioning end?  Containers are not "bad" or "good."  This process is not useful or of benefit to anyone.  It is just the way things are.  And containers are the things which are preventing the conscious mind from cognizing the way things are."

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/7/18 6:39 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Holy spiritual vision batman!  Thanks for sharing Noah!  I'm impressed Shambala managed to have such a profound impact on you!  ;)

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/11/18 8:49 AM as a reply to Noah D.
7.11

Went on retreat in Colorado with the spiritual friend that I've been speaking with virtually since early 2017.  They seemed to have the impression that I acheived the perspective which was the goal of the retreat, on the 2nd to last day.  I was also able to verify that this perspective matched the checklist which was provided.  

It feels like learning to engage small, secondary muscles in isolation in bodybuilding, if anyone has done that.  It requires a very delicate type of non effort to allow this stance to emerge, then once it does, it holds itself.

What was interesting about this retreat is that I had permanent shifts for everything going in, except for one ingredient, which is the non-monitoring of the fused perception which was already present.  Once that stopped, it occured.  Oddly, this is not permanent yet.  It is on a spectrum & I need to "power up" to it by carefully following the instructions from the retreat.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/18/18 10:38 PM as a reply to Noah D.
7.18

-Note : need to add rest of retreat stuff then post June practice log.

-Left brain. right brain.  I'll use this as an oversimplified analogy for self reflection.

Somewhere in 2013 I started to note in daily life.  This marked the beginning of a progression towards increased 'left brain' & executive functioning.  Learning to deal with life, be an adult, all that stuff.  The meditation allowed me to suppress my 'right brain', which had been rampaging via the creative fires of bipolar disorder.  Awakening transcends the right-left duality & created balance - but this balance still favored the left brain, as up until very recently I was not financially stable, physically healthy, getting all basic needs met, etc.  So even after the deeper wholistic intelligence began to take over, it continued to bloom the logic & order side.

The right brain is where the mojo is stored - the creative juices, the social skill, the illogical passion, the creative impulse.  My ability to express myself socially & reach desired relationship outcomes is packaged in this part of the mind.  I've handicapped my "game" for years now, for the sake of the path of self discipline.  The right brain is not useful for getting awakened in the classical sense.  It is fun to let out once one is awakened though.  As I experiment with turning this valve back on, it is interesting to watch what happens.  There is a survival reptile onlooking nervously.  

There is a broader, subtler harmony to all of this, which knows what to do.  Even though I don't understand or predict it, I trust it.  I can't use my left brain to allow my right brain to turn back on.  But I can allow my awakened metacognition to automatically manage both.  I will gently attend & re-attend to the quality of uncontrolled spasmic fluxing creative impulse & watch it flow. I will gently attend to the disciplined habit patterns, the desire for physical health, the desire to continue to program my lifestyle for meditation progress, the listing & defining mind.  There are multiple Noah's here, truly.  There is not one face.  That is seen & accepted.  That which actualizes through this localized patterning is not of this world or any other.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/19/18 8:08 PM as a reply to Noah D.
7.19

the plan
1. nurture awareness until it is blazing - aiming for GG level - then aim for full maturity - then completion
2. live on the 'right side of the brain' with just enough left to get by
3. continue on with diet, exercise, sleep, job, finances, other life hacks at an even keel (do not push to improve these things more)
4. complete relaxation body work (as bandwidth allows)

appendix
-continue to not put effort into improving self in various ways or engaging with world
-path will veer to service once capacity is built

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/21/18 11:50 AM as a reply to Noah D.
7.21

Mindfulness or attention-awareness-balance or metacognition or remembrance

can be counter productive when cultivated in all waking hours

and one's goal is supramundane insight & mundane happiness 

as a layperson.

Because the deep, primitive survival mechanism 

can hijack the exercise

to suppress the flowing, easeful, creative, spontaneous parts of oneself

as seeming unsafe 

when they're really just trying to help.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/21/18 12:41 PM as a reply to Noah D.
awesome

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/22/18 6:02 AM as a reply to Noah D.
7.22

Self criticism is narcissism disguised as sensitivity & selflessness.  Why should one have unrealistic standards for themselves, that they wouldn't place on anyone else?  It indicates a false belief that 'I' am special, an exception, a standout amongst the crowd.  And beneath that, a fear that 'I' am ordinary, but if I let go, allowing 'myself' to be that, 'I' might die.  So instead, the last holdout remains, the whipping boy is kept captive.  The familiar pain which protects the hologram of separation.  The task of self-compassion is to unplug that projector.  Have the courage to admit that one's faults actually are not that big of a deal and neither are anyone else's.  We're just humans, after all.  And beneath that thought there's not much ground to stand on.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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7/22/18 8:33 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Well said!

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
7/22/18 8:08 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
+1

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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7/24/18 10:25 AM as a reply to Noah D.
In a way, this whole question of moral/personal perfection was also an active debate in the time of early buddhism. The similarities and differences between Jainism and Buddhism and all those debates are fairly timeless.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/6/18 1:24 AM as a reply to shargrol.
8/5/18

Visited NY for family event.  Last minute lodging & activity changes caused me to become a bit of a nomad in the somewhat punishing humidity, staying in a place with no A/C, dragging my luggage around, creating my own "fun" & spending lots of excess, unplanned cash.

Therapy realizations are occuring.  The onion of psychology is peeled further.  It is suprising how much work can already have been done on one's past karma, only to reveal that actually a whole other layer is there, one that is earlier in life/development, even though it seemed that that was already taken care of.  Permanent progress has been made, many problems have been eliminated, and here is some more exploration to be had.

I sense a bubble of projection that I have lived in for most of my time here.  That taking the role of helper or servant or order taker is safe.  I am protected when I am in this role & unsafe when I step out of it.  Creating a new overlay on top of this one is what I tend to do, albeit in increasingly subtle ways as I work through this stuff.  The mind wants to add layers, rather than remove them, especially past a certain point.  Going "down there" & feeling what it's like to not like myself & not deem myself worthy of being the one who is making the rules, is certainly not the comfortable or preferred path. 

It is the path that is needed to become free of a whole lot of extra stress.  I attribute a few regular, unhealthy, self medicating habits to this deep sense of pressure & collapse & obligation to please some projected force out there which is judging my every move.  There is some nonverbal instinct to suppress this pain with food, alcohol, entertainment & other vices.  

This whole thing fits in with my insight practice.  Broad & deep penetrating vision of emptiness.  Emptiness of personality pattern, emotion, time perception, external world, people, relationships, culture, work, play, sex, body, nature, space, health, animals, money, service, politics, power, art, pain.  Actually having a personality which automatically thinks about these things as empty, feels about these things as empty, an energy system which preconceptually relates to these things as empty, a body which physically feels these things as empty, sense organs which direct perceive these things as empty.  This all needs to be permanently ingrained such that the reifying processes are gone & forgotten. 

Then later, of course, the display of reification may occur as play, because why not.  

"My favorite cloud" is sensitive empathetic attunement to the needs of others & the world, at the expense of my own needs, which causes my own needs & narcissistic self absorption to be heightened (thus things like compulsive monitoring & journaling about my path, etc.).  

And beneath this, I find that there are times when I can not sleep.  Protective mechanism prevent loss of consciousness.  I do think that I need to index high on the self care scale, since this mind-body unit has a very sensitive equilibrium.  There is a way that I want to punish myself, that it is not safe to approve of myself, to step outside the role of helper-servant (little brother/little son).  It is not safe to play the role of big brother, father, boss, decision-maker, order-giver.  Nor co-participant, equal, eye-to-eye conversation partner, egalitarian loving team member.  It has not been seen through, that all of these perspectives are empty.  If it were, I do think I would be able to sleep deep inside.  To allow this computer to shut down & recharge it's battery, because it deserves the same amount of TLC that other computers do & also that it is powerful enough to protect itself & not be harmed when it lets its guard down.  Somewhere there is likely some fear of being in danger by going unconscious.  What a weird path this is.

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

Law-of-attraction riff: What would it look like if this next layer of self was healed & organized?  I believe thoughts about self image would be greatly reduced, as would thoughts around sex & relationships.  The sense of importance of these things would drop, as I would begin to trust my inner compass to navigate the world intuitively, rather than hypervigilantly & analytically.  The drive towards self care & self kindness would greatly increase as more of my subconscious approved of myself & therefore deemed this self very important to nurture & grow.  Out of these habits would come a sense of safety which would allow the nervous system to turn off & sleep at night, every night.  Also, the ability to have satisfying relationships in general & in dating would be a simple side effect of becoming more others-centered in a saner way.  People & the outer world would seem more interesting.  Conventional matters would more obviously shine forth as expressions of dharma, just as supramundane topics currently do.  

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

P.S. - After writing all of that, I feel the urge to pay homage to the teachers, teachings & realizations which have already given me so much.  Being shown glimpses of, gaining permanent intuition of, later incomplete direct perception of & now somewhat complete direct perception of the fact that there is no one home has been incredibly liberating & healing.  Being shown vocabulary for coarse level emotional patterns, feeling coarse level dynamics, then subtle level, then very subtle level personality "stuff" has also been of invaluable.  Learning about the most basic behavior modification, how that can be patterned into lifestyle & branch of into specialized types of self discipline, self expression & relationship with people & environment is likewise a precious teaching.  The opportunity to come into contact with this knowledge is fortunate, as is the interaction with those alive & dead who transmit it.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/6/18 6:33 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Awesome awesomeness.

These core identity/wounds are so self-limiting it's really unimaginable until you see it. It can be possible to live a whole life out of the primal fear that "can't be myself, must help others or I'll die" and never see it. This is the sort of really deep stuff that becomes more obvious when we try to hold awareness "open" without guiderails in dzogchen/mahamudra and the body/mind instinctually contracts to protect itself. It's possible to see that contraction in realtime and then get a taste of what emotions/thoughts are associated with it.

In measured doses, it can be helpful to imagine the life without the identity/wound, just slowly growing the perfect fantasy, and then noticing how at somepoint the body contracts. That's our limit of abundance. Anything more feels dangerous, the oldest wound (of feeling safe and loved and then losing that) gets retriggered when we don't have some level of contraction of "holding on to ourself". It can be good to be friendly/metta those reactions. But basically, you can methodically increase the feeling of being an abundant being and then notice when the body/mind steps in and says --- don't go so far, this is dangerous, and "look how prideful you are, you should be thinking about helping others instead" That's the kill-joy. That's an identity knot.

It's something you don't try to get rid of it (which would be more "I can't be myself" motivating the "fix"), but rather trust that if you see it often and clearly enough, you won't get confused by it.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/6/18 9:47 AM as a reply to shargrol.
For what it's worth, what I saw in myself was something like "I must know what to do or I will die".

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/6/18 11:50 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks for sharing Noah (and shargol), useful and inspiring. I'm sure a lot of lurkers are quietly benefiting from exposure to these aspects of practice which don't get discussed as much! Hope I can contribute a little by adding some recent exploration of self-limiting/identity-enforcement - I've found that if you can tire out regular habitual reactive patterns by just letting them be on the cushion repeatedly for long periods (and also removing off-cushion excitement as possible to get in the habit of leaving things alone rather than always wanting to meddle), eventually they get bored and see there isn't much for them to do and start having a rest instead of stirring up trouble (which is nice in itself), then without the usual song and dance to distract, out of the corner of the mind's eye a different breed of patterns start to show up which seem to have the job of shaping the playing field for the other regular patterns to play on, problem being that by getting interested and trying to examine whatever goes on there, all the usual suspects wake up since they have something fun to do and then the whole circus starts up once more, but I figure with enough practice and just having patience enough to consistently chillax with patterns rather than provoking them, the whole ball-game including the stadium, sponsors, maintenance personnel etc. will start to become clear just like how it do right at the beginning with the very surface level thought-patterns where it all kicked off.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/6/18 4:00 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
But basically, you can methodically increase the feeling of being an abundant being and then notice when the body/mind steps in and says --- don't go so far, this is dangerous, and "look how prideful you are, you should be thinking about helping others instead" That's the kill-joy. That's an identity knot.


Thanks for this, it resonates with certain things in my practise lately. That contraction and "kill-joy" effect was very pronounced a few days ago, seems fine now but something to keep an eye out for.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/6/18 1:36 PM as a reply to Noah D.
"And beneath this, I find that there are times when I can not sleep.  Protective mechanism prevent loss of consciousness.  I do think that I need to index high on the self care scale, since this mind-body unit has a very sensitive equilibrium.  There is a way that I want to punish myself, that it is not safe to approve of myself, to step outside the role of helper-servant (little brother/little son).  It is not safe to play the role of big brother, father, boss, decision-maker, order-giver.  Nor co-participant, equal, eye-to-eye conversation partner, egalitarian loving team member.  It has not been seen through, that all of these perspectives are empty.  If it were, I do think I would be able to sleep deep inside.  To allow this computer to shut down & recharge it's battery, because it deserves the same amount of TLC that other computers do & also that it is powerful enough to protect itself & not be harmed when it lets its guard down.  Somewhere there is likely some fear of being in danger by going unconscious.  What a weird path this is."

One of the most helpful things I've read here!   I came to practice 12+ years ago now because I was not sleeping.  It has been just recently that my ability to sleep has improved and it seems to have everything to do with practice and my experience on my most recent retreat.  "Protective mechanism prevents loss of consciousness" and "Somwhere there is likely some fear of being in danger by going unconscious."  Exactly- and is what I have felt for such a long time, but would never have been able to express it so succinctly.  Seeing, even as briefly as I did- the emptiness.  Yes, not having seen through completely, but enough that I have begun to feel safer and am sleeping better.  Not as well as I would like to, but it's been so long, that better is enough for now.  

Thanks, Noah!  Yes, I am one of the lurkers who has gotten much from reading your log.  You have a way of expressing yourself that resonates-with many of us I am certain.   May Morpheus and his minions find you soon! :-D

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/7/18 5:57 PM as a reply to Alice S.
Thanks all.  Good to see the dialogue is useful.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/9/18 8:37 AM as a reply to Noah D.
8.9

New insight on sleep & insomnia.

Sleep > dharma.  Sleep is the prerequisite for having brains & sense organs & nervous systems & bodies which can do anything at all.  Sleep is the forerunner to everything.

For that reason, sleep deserves great reverence, rather than a begrudged, transactionally-based commitment that would be thrown out if one could.  Modern people perhaps wish they could be able to sleep less in order to have more time to do what they enjoy.  Obviously for many it is a survival wish, to sleep less & for those I feel compasssion.  

But sleep is a surrender into the unconscious mind.  I once heard Tucker Peck explain the concept of God as simply the rest of the iceberg of one's mind, most of which is unconscious.  Bowing down to that unconscious can be done through worship, or it can be done through sleep.  

Sometimes I wait at those temple gates of hypnogagia for hours.  But I didn't realize what I was was doing - which is rejecting the notion of sleep as secondary to waking & also as adding danger to my life by letting my guard down.  Through noting & breath meditation I am finding the ability to give my monkey mind something to do for long enough - then Morpheus can get his hooks in & pull me inside the temple, where I stay until my alarm rings.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/10/18 10:29 AM as a reply to Noah D.
July & August Documentation (For Practice Log)

*In rough chronological order

July
continued body work - no shifts yet just spectrum-like - will take much more work to make permanent
@ retreat 5+ major therapy shifts (see notes)
@ retreat tasted "the goal"
after retreat stabilized that level of "the goal"
then one week later, that deepened or expanded 
presence of new diety/exemplar continued in July & August + clarified his qualities 

August
micro shifts around emptiness of concepts, not just direct perceptions (body, self, world, time, etc.)
therapy shift around recalling right-brain/creative-self & now gradually integrating that
therapy shifts around self care, putting self first, not being sucked into helper role
therapy shift around dating issue being "popped"/overcome (just let go of the problem)
micro shifts through meditation - another technical 4th path moment (?)

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/11/18 12:04 AM as a reply to Noah D.
8.10

Experience of inner camera shifting to chest cavity during open eyes transmission with same teacher from back in May, tonight.  Consciousness pouring forth from heart rather than head.  Also, admitting to myself that I don't really like talking to people.  Working on accepting that about myself.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/12/18 3:20 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Wondering if you (or anyone else) might find one of these helpful in regard to the sleep realm.  I’ve ordered, but not received mine yet.   

https://ouraring.com/

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/13/18 2:04 AM as a reply to Alice S.
Alice S:
Wondering if you (or anyone else) might find one of these helpful in regard to the sleep realm.  I’ve ordered, but not received mine yet.   

https://ouraring.com/


Wow thanks this looks cool.  I will check it out & report back if I end up buying one.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/13/18 2:30 AM as a reply to Noah D.
8.12

-vast in the sense of no floors, no walls, no location, no orientation point, but also nothing going on in the realm of conception, no subtle sticky assumptions those too are transparent & do not represent boundary pads to ensure that the soul stays put... there is stillness & not a "holy shit this is so big" reaction but rather quite a peaceful still sense of presence that is not confined but wouldn't have a problem if it were confined, it just so happens that confinement is not actually there
-Various micro shifts: emptiness of this & that (including dating effort, agitation/body-aversion, the idea that a world exists or life exists at all or does not exist, the idea that an individual consciousness is present here or there, jealousy about meditation stuff)
-Feeling great peace with where I am on the path
-Feeling great peace with where I am in my career
-These leading to another 'technical 4th path' type moment of such all pervasive satisfaction with the now that a level of monitoring & holding shuts all the way down 
-Realizing that to maintain this level I simply need to "own" it / "have the guts" to 'be' this satisfied & not protest 

-in shakti tranmsission class with wonderful visiting teacher (who also visited in May) -feelign my lower chakras open, particularly a warmth spreading sensation frome the sex chakra --- the idea that energy from the sex chakra spreads laterally into the pelvis, legs & torso is a new experience for me -- also that it would produce a sort of bodily bliss emanating from that point (but unrelated to arousal) is new 

(theory stuff) 
- I do believe that the descent of the realization into the body is "where its at" & that this takes place primarily on two levels I can identify
-----somatic (posture + muscle relaxation [including facial expression, gesticulation, speech])
-----energetic (kundalini->chakras->central channel [both opening chakras to allow circulation but also more complex & subtle mechanics such as condensing the energy in the "vase" to stimulate the heart & brain centers]; opening winds along the limbs & locations outside the central channel to allow for full flow throughout the body)

(thoughts on sleep)
**false belief 1: if I got to sleep deeply, I will not be able to wake up in the morning.  If I don't allow myself to sleep deeply, I don't have to deal with this risk.
**false belief 2: mornings represent the start of a day of hellish responsibility & pressure that I am not ready for.  If I don't sleep, I won't have to face the morning.
*I believe both of these come from later experiences in high school & college after I became "bipolar" & do not come from family of origin stuff... this would make sense since I didn't develop insomnia until young adulthood
*how to release this pattern?  focus on that notion & what arises when I hold it in mind loosely, then go from there. potentially do sealing/cuttring-thru on it. potentially law of attraction - we'll see

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/13/18 9:53 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
8.12


(thoughts on sleep)
**false belief 1: if I got to sleep deeply, I will not be able to wake up in the morning.  If I don't allow myself to sleep deeply, I don't have to deal with this risk.
**false belief 2: mornings represent the start of a day of hellish responsibility & pressure that I am not ready for.  If I don't sleep, I won't have to face the morning.
*I believe both of these come from later experiences in high school & college after I became "bipolar" & do not come from family of origin stuff... this would make sense since I didn't develop insomnia until young adulthood
*how to release this pattern?  focus on that notion & what arises when I hold it in mind loosely, then go from there. potentially do sealing/cuttring-thru on it. potentially law of attraction - we'll see

Closely monitoring your thoughts on sleep. I share with you a bit of false belief #2, but I've been able to remedy that (and other issues) by just getting up at the same time every day no matter what. In full agreement that sleep > dharma. Sleep and meditation are so intimately intertwined for me but quality of sleep dictates quality of meditation (probably true for most). I was hoping to get an hour of extra practice in last night, but knew it was better to get to bed on time. During many of these intensive meditation retreats they allow for only 4 or 6 hours of rest. Would people make better progress if they had an extra hour or two of sleep? I think I may have.   

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/15/18 8:50 AM as a reply to Noah D.
8.15

*treat "technical paths" with heavy air quotes please emoticon

vipassana 1 
pre path: noting or investigating or contemplating, heavily influenced by nanas

vipassana 2
post technical 1st path: jhanas arise naturally during investigation

vipassana 3
post technical 2nd path: fractals nanas arise during investigation, leading to indirect peripheral shifts to walking around perception

vipassana 4
post technical 4th path: backdrop/ground begins to take prevalance, leading to direct shifts to walking around perception

vipassana 5 
post 'going past the attentional movement': within the non-attending, certain lingering structures (direct & conceptually) are seen through with extra investigation

vipassana 6
post 'the structures have been seen through': with no fuel for the clinging (as far as I can tell), the 'shell' of habits (particularly animal impulses) remains, these need to be soaked further in the vipassna (which is now automatically ocurring) ---> the only volitional action to do this is a gentle pointing of the metacognition (no extra work with the attention muscle)

ex of vipassana 6: fight or flight system continues to "jolt", even though nonduality is in place, the attention does not attend, the deep emotional causes have been seen thru, the conceptual frameworks have been seen through... thus the reptile brain just needs to gently get misted by the gains for some time

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/15/18 10:55 AM as a reply to Noah D.
For what it's worth, the way I tend to use 1-4th path [in brackets]... to be taken loosely, just for laughs...

vipassana 1 [= pre-first path]
pre path: noting or investigating or contemplating, heavily influenced by nanas

vipassana 2 [=post 1st path, but some people are naturally jhanic and get this pre-1st especially on retreat]
post technical 1st path: jhanas arise naturally during investigation

vipassana 3 [=post 1st path, classic to be lots of confusion about nanas because of fractal nature]
post technical 2nd path: fractals nanas arise during investigation, leading to indirect peripheral shifts to walking around perception

vipassana 4 [=post 2nd path, this is the emptiness in real-time aspect of the road to 3rd path]
post technical 4th path: backdrop/ground begins to take prevalance, leading to direct shifts to walking around perception 

vipassana 5 [=late 3rd path, close to 4th path, "seeing" difference between awareness and attention becomes possible, mindfulness no longer equals attention]
post 'going past the attentional movement': within the non-attending, certain lingering structures (direct & conceptually) are seen through with extra investigation

vipassana 6 [= post 4th path]
post 'the structures have been seen through': with no fuel for the clinging (as far as I can tell), the 'shell' of habits (particularly animal impulses) remains, these need to be soaked further in the vipassna (which is now automatically ocurring) ---> the only volitional action to do this is a gentle pointing of the metacognition (no extra work with the attention muscle)

ex of vipassana 6: fight or flight system continues to "jolt", even though nonduality is in place, the attention does not attend, the deep emotional causes have been seen thru, the conceptual frameworks have been seen through... thus the reptile brain just needs to gently get misted by the gains for some time



...me again... just want to re-emphasize that I'm not being doctrinal here, just speaking loosely. 


RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/15/18 10:22 AM as a reply to shargrol.
There is a deep awakening of the heart in there during vipassana 5, during 3rd path. I think that's critical.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/15/18 1:32 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Makes sense, your brackets agree with my current understanding of "the paths" (I hold "the paths" loosely because these are not the '10 fetter full blown integration version' that I also think is possible with decades of monasticism & after "4th path").  My usage of the technical paths here is in regard to landmarks I was provided as a student in the past rather than my current understanding.  

My fingers are getting tired from all these air quotes.  I suppose I do this to myself.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/15/18 4:21 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Yeah, this "technical path" stuff is really all over the place, so no worries.

I, too, think that something close to pure 10 fetters version might be possible if environmental variables were controlled (monastic) and about one or two decades post-4th path to "melt" all the remaining shadow stuff.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/16/18 2:34 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Oh and just for fun, though I don't belive this and can't support it, I enjoy considering the notion that the Buddha, having helped a great many people to attain to arahatship, was aware his recorded words would allow space for different interpretations of fetter-uprooting and that this was intentional, since non-buddhas would not have his understanding of enlightenment and so would eventually diversify into different schools/lineages with different understanding of his words, which since fetter-uprooting is actually somewhat idiosyncractic would mean that ultimately it is possible for each individual to find a non-buddha teacher with the understanding of fetter-uprooting suitable for them - though of course not all understandings are correct and there are many people out there talking nonsense, it may be possible that multiple understandings are equally correct within a bigger picture only seen by the buddha. Or to put it another way, perhaps the distinctions between understandings can to some degree be considered to be down to differences between semantic-experience-models (how being a living consciousness is understood verbally, determined by culture & personal psychology), which despite potentially significant superficial differences manifest the same underlying truth.

tl;dr you can't uproot someone else's fetters, you have to uproot your own.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/16/18 5:18 AM as a reply to Noah D.
FWIW Noah, your posts strongly remind me of where I'm at - though this may well be just because I tune into the parts that pertain to me and don't see beyond. What resonates is the process of becoming, as the clarity of emptiness/3C's and their ramifications on all action/intention/living gradually permeates the being. As I see it currently, this means working through deep resistance to accepting the enormity of the impact of the 3 poisons throughout the entire mind-body-psycho-emotional-action system (with a little help from the 8-fold path) until a radical unification is finally allowed to produce 3rd path.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/18/18 10:20 PM as a reply to Adam.
Adam:
 As I see it currently, this means working through deep resistance to accepting the enormity of the impact of the 3 poisons throughout the entire mind-body-psycho-emotional-action system (with a little help from the 8-fold path) until a radical unification is finally allowed to produce 3rd path.

That's an interesting view.  In one sense (an orthodox one), I don't identify as having first path yet.  I can't imagine having no sense lust or ill will forever (yet).  I like the line of thinking behind it for sure.
I enjoy considering the notion that the Buddha, having helped a great many people to attain to arahatship, was aware his recorded words would allow space for different interpretations of fetter-uprooting and that this was intentional, since non-buddhas would not have his understanding of enlightenment and so would eventually diversify into different schools/lineages with different understanding of his words

Now this is really interstesting!  I am going to repeat this idea (but I'll credit Adam from DhO for it ;).  I wonder if that could be real thing...  I am very intrigued by this notion.
Or to put it another way, perhaps the distinctions between understandings can to some degree be considered to be down to differences between semantic-experience-models

Firstly, I'll acknowledge your word choice - "to some degree"

That said, I don't think all yoginis & yogis are always just using different words for the same thing.  That is an overgeneralization that veteran teachers revert to (in my observation).  Rather, it is the case that some people get vastly farther than others along the path.  Furthermore, it is the case that there are individuals who exhibit signs of true ten fetter progress (typically non-charismatic, anonymous, ordained individuals).  This is simply not the same thing as someone who has perfected centerless, nondual perception in all waking hours.  Furthermore, that is not the same thing as someone who has dualistic direct perception, but feels an intuitive sense of doneness, grokking of dependent origination & in their body knows they are "out of samsara."  As another example, none of these are the same as somone who has centerless, nondual perception in all waking hours, as well as awakened lucidity in dreamless sleep ever night (+ dream sleep), has seen death as an empty construction, has seen the material world as an empty construction, etc.  

In my opinion there are truly, unique axes as well as unique levels of development along them (rather than "its all one thing with different cultural lenses).  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/20/18 4:47 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Last thought and I'll stop hijacking your thread emoticon

Noah D:

That said, I don't think all yoginis & yogis are always just using different words for the same thing.  That is an overgeneralization that veteran teachers revert to (in my observation).  Rather, it is the case that some people get vastly farther than others along the path.  Furthermore, it is the case that there are individuals who exhibit signs of true ten fetter progress (typically non-charismatic, anonymous, ordained individuals).  This is simply not the same thing as someone who has perfected centerless, nondual perception in all waking hours.  Furthermore, that is not the same thing as someone who has dualistic direct perception, but feels an intuitive sense of doneness, grokking of dependent origination & in their body knows they are "out of samsara."  As another example, none of these are the same as somone who has centerless, nondual perception in all waking hours, as well as awakened lucidity in dreamless sleep ever night (+ dream sleep), has seen death as an empty construction, has seen the material world as an empty construction, etc.  

In my opinion there are truly, unique axes as well as unique levels of development along them (rather than "its all one thing with different cultural lenses).  

Completely agree that the various descriptions are not "different words for the same thing" - all descriptions are misleading, since enlightenment is ineffable, and most of them are plain wrong, since most people who claim to be enlightened aren't. It's probably true that there are many axes of development (perhaps infinitely many), and maybe those axes themselves each go infinitely deep - but this does not need to conflict with the idea of a single path. Perhaps the path is very different for different individuals, and so requires different depths of training in different axes. Perhaps 3th path for one person requires sitting alone in a forest for 30 years, for another requires a decade of dedicated pseudo-monastic conditioning, and for a third requires deep engagement with charitable works for a few years - maybe the notion of "abandoning" fetters is flexible enough to permit such variation. Perhaps the four path model refers to 4 waypoints within a hyper-dimensional system, which despite appearing very different in their different manifestations, are real and equivalent for different individuals. Perhaps an anonymous monastic who has suceeded in destroying all emotion and all attachment to life has gone very far along one particular confluence of axes, but has neglected some others, and yet in some sense this can be considered equivalent to someone who has never done a day of retreat but who has dedicated their life to skillful action in seeking an end to craving - and that both are equivalent to infinitely many other possible variations on a theme, but that there and still infinitely many more ways to succumb to Mara and fail to develop sufficiently on some axis (or fail to develop the necessary hyper-dimensional-balance of axes-development) and stay lost in samsara.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/18/18 10:40 PM as a reply to Noah D.
8/18

Am I doing extra work by not engaging more in social bonds?

Am I doing extra work by allowing myself to get stressed out at my stressful job & therefore yo-yo in my health habits?

Or are these patterns simply what occurs when I rest into my "natural" being?  I would be ok if either side was true, but I find the questions interesting nonetheless. 

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

Certainly, in some sense just allowing pre patterning to unwind within awareness is skillful.  Yet, in another sense, that pre patterning may have further awareness trapped within it.  Which would mean that an intention other than "allowing" might be necessary to unpack it.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/22/18 4:44 PM as a reply to Noah D.
8.22

some notes & small adjustments 

-perception "metling", concepts "melting", paradigms "melting"
-foreground & background merge, background falls away, no replacement
-very little identifiable dukkha, dukkha requires extra work

-seeing parents during visit to seatlte is having positive effect, can feel results of perfect parent practice causing great healing effects, acceleration of positive self image creaitng increased desire to engage in world

-8fold path stuff: how to engage in world without making it about self improvement
**pick the path of least resistence, laziest path forward
---go on dates, be transparent, don't try, yet also be willing to reveal parts of myself which are excited & engaged
---maintain existent friendships more
---clean house on weekends
---do easy hobbies like consuming art & learning python + read news
---continue towards financial stability (pay off loans, then max 401k)
---continue towards path of health (veggies, water, buy groceries, cardio, movement)
---don't worry about service, travel, adventure, being well rounded person, [insert all other bullshit here]
**Also note that certain things seem like less resistant but are actually slightly harder than other things
---for instance, caring only about dharma is slightly more annoying than the effort of getting new habits
---also having only dharma friends is slightly more effort than maintaing non dharma friendships through planning
---also living in cheap, good-location, poor quality apt is slightly more annoying than living in more expensive apt

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/23/18 12:25 PM as a reply to Noah D.
8.23

experience in morning meditation
(this is an a&p experience as I was in 3 c's yesterday, but it also felt like a new effect)
--despite this being a&p nana, the experience of the nanas now does not include the self-powered searching & grabbing in the body-mind that has driven them forward in the past.  They're more like abstract paintings in different colors & moods.

this gestalt is an
ocean in all directions
no center in ocean
no floor
no surface
not full "visibility" -- meaning as far as I can look it keeps going & going
like that tunneling forward scene in the move Limitless - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WNtAHG4rq4
all of a sudden my intuition told me that all appearances are little ghostly swimmers in this water
this water is not liquid, solid, gas, plasma, light -- rather there is nothing holding it up
I started to feel tingles all over my body, including deeper into my muscles than I normally would - through my limbs as well as central channel
In past experiences like this there would be a sense of adreniline, but I realize that "holding" part of me which produced that is not around nowadays
So there was only the thrill of sensing the non-solidity of all without border - at a deeper level 
then I felt a type of ecstatic "high" that I've associated perhaps with MDMA or LSD in the past -- felt like I was dropped deep into a seat that was on a swing that was plunging down into the earth & then swooshing back up again with some bouyancy but without too much control
Everything seems magical, like little cells are swimming everywhere, in me, through me, around me, as me at many different points.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/25/18 2:11 AM as a reply to Noah D.
8.24

Past life stuff coming up maybe?  Or I'm going nuts lol.

———-/

acceptance not enough .  There is still an imprint or shadow of trace of self criticism.  I hat subtle activity is narcissism 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/25/18 10:24 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
8.24

 I hat subtle activity is narcissism 

Not following you here—typo? Could you clarify? 

ETA: oh, and in what ways is your cheap but well-located apartment of poor quality? Are you, for example, dealing with insects, cigarette smoke from neighbors, or noise, and if so how do these affect practice? 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/25/18 10:17 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
@laurel 

i meant that trace bias towards slight self criticism is narcissistic.  The fact that self acceptance is needed to balance something else shows that self is center stage (for me).

My apartment has a small amount of mold & the washer/dryer are in the kitchen & no common area.  I think I mentioned the good stuff counterbalancing already.  It doesn’t affect my insight development in any way.  From a lifestyle/ 8fold path perspective I think I should just pay more for a nicer place & save slightly less each month.  Or I could try to convert more of my sub minds to the monk life.  Both options seem like forms of play to me.

@TDC

:-D

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/26/18 11:12 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Since the way these things get framed kinda matters... one way to look at both self-criticism and narcissism is they are just kinda "extra". No big whoopty-do, more like a thought fart.

Different typs of farts.
Blaaat....
Boooo....
or
Shooo... 

Judgement of self is just a thought fart.

The reason I say this is because if they are made into something bigger than they are, then that starts a whle new round of investigation, judgement, practice method, etc.  Which is fine if someone is at the stage of unearth the large-scale stuff that needs to be unearthed... but... at this subtle stage, self-criticism and narcissism is subtle, just something extra... 

And so the question becomes, just putting aside this critiquing, after having the thought fart, what is the self that is actually there? 

It's definitely not the judgement, so what is it?


























Maybe thought of self is a thought fart, too?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/26/18 11:42 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Hi Shargrol,

I looked just now & I couldn't find a self.

- [       ] 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/26/18 2:21 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Can you remember "what" looked? 


When you look now, what is you and what is the looking?



You could say that the self (the percieved sense of self) appears as the effort in views changing. It can be interesting to watch views change.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/26/18 2:47 PM as a reply to shargrol.
@shargrol

what looked was like a reflection in a hall of mirrors.  What is looking is a reference point, what is looked at is another reference point.  Both hold equal prominence, which is none.  I agree, it is fun to watch views change.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
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8/26/18 4:15 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Out of curiosity, ever get the "nothing looked" intuition?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/26/18 4:21 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Or maybe the, "looking already looked, what looked is beyond ever knowing. Not ever." intuition.?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/26/18 5:21 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Or maybe "people don't have ideas, ideas have people" intuition.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/27/18 11:25 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Shargrol:
Out of curiosity, ever get the "nothing looked" intuition?

Yeah.  But it also simultaneously intuits as "nothing is being looked at" & "the looking itself is nothing" & "all of this arises & passes back into nothing" & "there is no difference between these nothings."
Or maybe the, "looking already looked, what looked is beyond ever knowing. Not ever." intuition.?

I think so.  
Or maybe "people don't have ideas, ideas have people" intuition.

I guess "ideas", "people" & any relationship between the two is merely appearances.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/27/18 2:50 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Shargrol:
Out of curiosity, ever get the "nothing looked" intuition?

Yeah.  But it also simultaneously intuits as "nothing is being looked at" & "the looking itself is nothing" & "all of this arises & passes back into nothing" & "there is no difference between these nothings."
Or maybe the, "looking already looked, what looked is beyond ever knowing. Not ever." intuition.?

I think so.  
Or maybe "people don't have ideas, ideas have people" intuition.

I guess "ideas", "people" & any relationship between the two is merely appearances.

So for what it's worth, I'm kind of pointing toward something like "mind moments", so the idea that there is something "simultaneous" happening is a little bit of a confusion (fusing together) for this kind of pointing...

In general, there is a lot of value in getting the mind sensitive and clear enough to see the mind moments that happens when questions are asked that short-circuit duality. So with the "look at mind... what looks at mind?" question, when the mind looks at mind for a moment it sees not-a-thingness for a millisecond. There is a mind moment of "the looking itself is nothing" , which is followed by a self-freakout which usually manifests as blanking out or the mind moment of "nothing is being looked at", followed by a renormalization process or the mind moments of ""all of this arises & passes back into nothing" and "there is no difference between these nothings."

The point is to really have the impact of seeing not-a-thingness leave it's mark on the mind. You can't sustain the looking at nothingness (because the sense of self is threatened, freaks out and goes blank, then has a bunch of rationalizing thoughts), so the only approach is try to look more frequently.during practice.

Rock on! emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/27/18 11:26 AM as a reply to Noah D.
8.27

More past life stuff, various types of dissolutions at different levels of mind.  Successfully return to a state of rest, relaxation & grounding in the body.  Upon return, there is a greater sense of release than before - feels as if hard-to-reach pockets are 'being cleaned.'

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/28/18 9:43 AM as a reply to Noah D.
8.28

More PL stuff.  

Also sense of letting things "dissolve off of me", as if chunks of mind, body & energy were being spontaneously carried away by air currents & becoming dust.

Automatically arising perspective that this is all a game, a big play or practical joke.  The relative intensity of this perspective becoming bright & noisey enough to be registered even amidst the drama, bursting forth from the drama (& from all the other stuff too).  I feel as if I've played this pinball machine (another steal from DW) many times before & the lesson is always the same at it's foundation - no matter how serious, how dire, how extreme & "up close" & personal things seem, it's all light, clarity, dreamlike, unreal (yet I don't see it).  That lesson takes different forms in different situations & to different 'characters'.  But the basic, video-game-like structure of this singular place is the common thread.

------

One other thing - there is this idea emerging (an inner narrative or concept) that 'what will happen in my life is what is meant to be.'  Something about confidence in the broader unfolding of my affairs/life events without my volitional, individual willpower & conscious intention consistently "herding" each member of the pack. 

I have cultivated the ability to move past phobia-panic & exercise willpower to do things like work, cook, clean, save, run errands, etc.  However, when this ability is more broadly applied to the arrangement of lifestyle & the wish to control that which need not be controlled (things beyond the basic needs), something is lost.  I can't quite put my finger on it...

It feels like there is a "sub-routine" in this brain machine which is required to "monitor" my life (as if it were sitting at a switchboard or in a cockpit) in order to do this.  And although I have learned to live happily within the context of this controlling attitude or stance, it may not be compatible with new insights that are emerging.  Specifically, that no particular life is worth controlling or can be controlled.  That the actually "final boss" of this video game level is the sticky delusion that there is a version of conventional-experience-pattern which is permanent, self-existent & satisfying.  

Even if I purified a lot of the fight-or-flight, the reptile brain, the psychodynamics, the false beliefs, the dualistic perceptions, etc - if there was still some sense of attempting to organize all of the different pieces in a singular manner, there would not be true harmony & alignment with the way the natural ebb & flow of the river of life pushes us forward.

I think of both Dhammarato & a teacher named Joshua Pollock who I've heard reference the nursery rhyme - 
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/28/18 10:32 AM as a reply to Noah D.
One way to think of the monitoring sub-routine is that it is Attention.
Awareness is bigger than Attention. Awareness can hold attention, but attention can't hold awareness. (Terminology is hard here, but maybe you get my poetry.)

You could almost say that Awakening is identifying with awareness, rather than attention. This is why I'm pointing toward the idea of mind moments where Awareness collapses into Attention. (or Seeing becomes looking, Hearing becomes listenting, if you get my poetry.)

Awareness is a mystery, non-locatable, emergent. Creativity is a mystery, non-predictable, emergent. 

Ultimately, the sense of self wants to anticipate, manipulate, control -- but that sucks the life out of living...  and it is fundamentally impossible, no one knows what happens tomorrow or even next now. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/28/18 10:53 AM as a reply to Noah D.
It feels like there is a "sub-routine" in this brain machine which is required to "monitor" my life (as if it were sitting at a switchboard or in a cockpit) in order to do this.  And although I have learned to live happily within the context of this controlling attitude or stance, it may not be compatible with new insights that are emerging.  Specifically, that no particular life is worth controlling or can be controlled.  That the actually "final boss" of this video game level is the sticky delusion that there is a version of conventional-experience-pattern which is permanent, self-existent & satisfying.  


You need to find this "thing!"

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/28/18 11:01 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
only 5 words and you said it better than me Chris! emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/30/18 11:52 PM as a reply to Noah D.
8.30

"the simulation"

modifying the simulation = exercising willpower/volition

everyone is always modifying the simulation (albeit unconsciously)
yet the dharma tends to portray "everyone" as dainty, wounded beings needing compassionate triage 
that hyper-compassionate view can obscure other truths

there are different types of modifications one can make
some occur quickly (i.e. siddhis)
other occur slowly (i.e. therapy, behavior mod)

some modify other people
some modify the environment
some modify nature

Mostly I am seeing that this reality is in some ways much "colder" & more "chaotic" than I thought
My practice of mental science/law of attraction has trained me to assume there are perfect templates emerging from spirit, filtering through into this realm
**To be clear, this is not about the obscuration of control & seeking satisfaction in conditioned phenomena**
Rather, even after that has been seen through, there may not be clarity on the fundamental elements which make up this VR we are in
Otherwise, we would all be Buddhas (not arahants)
Thus, there can be no suffering nor sense of individual control - yet still not be full perspective on exactly what is going on with regards to willpower

This is a chaotic system & humans are players in it with varying degrees of consciousness & that is a fact
There is no escape from the interaction between different intention-streams in real time

And, it is not about ethics in the relative sense
There are rule sets which don't cooperate with the human perspective 

I'll stop before I dig myself into a hole here emoticon  , but needless to say - being deeply OK with this chaos after confronting it is a deeper level of surrender than correcting dualistic perception & healing the attachment system

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/31/18 6:16 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I like the hole you are digging.

Sooner or later we need to see that there is truth to all three descriptions of experience as kayas. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trikaya). The chaos is the Nirmāṇakāya.

Squishy compassion doesn't work in the Nirmanakaya, we actually need to be warriors in the Nirmanakaya.
Warriors are uptight and petty children in the Sambhogakaya, we actually need to be able to enjoy and delight in the Sambhogakaya.

But both of those are limited/excluding views in isolation. Experience is fundamentally a mystery. Poetically speaking, to live in both Nirm. and Samb. is the Dharmakaya, which is compassion for all beings -- neither material nor immaterial living, nor separate from those expressions.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/1/18 1:50 AM as a reply to Noah D.
8.31

Do I have a slight phobia of sleep deprivation or do I just feel legitimately tired?

Is it OK to keep working hard when I'm tired, if doing so does not cause internal distress, or at least distress from a metacognitive perspective in which this is all a game?

Generosity holds power.  It can be great to save money, but it can be great to make donations.  The 'stuck' paradigms of routine hide pockets of mara.  The glued-tight way of organizing-life, in it's subtle stinginess, wears the mask of discipline & renunciation.  

Things do not need to follow easily identifiable patterns.  Behavior does not need to be consistent, day over day.  Responses are not required to meet an arbitrary standard of proposed value, in this wonderful, free world & age.  

Generosity is freedom is fluidity is emptiness is clear light is willpower & manipulation is compassion is discipline & renunciation.  The path is the paths.  The paths are the path.  This life is like a sandcastle that we must continuously strive to rebuild, while holding no delusions of granduer that things should or could be any other way.  And in the beauty of that cascading rot, no harm befalls the lucid onlooker.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/3/18 10:59 PM as a reply to Noah D.
9/3

Getting a sense for what the way looks like moving forward.  In a way, the word "shift" or "path" or "permanent" does not do it justice.  The way awareness reflecting back on awareness layers itself, stabilizing increasing breadth & depth of lucid intensity until that becomes the new norm, only to have a renewed metacognitive recognition kick in & reinvigorate the process of finding the next new normal.  

There are "sexy" things like lucidity in sleep, the powers or central channel practices, but those could be considered side effects or at least ancilliary to the main point of the very fabric of reality coming to know itself with more & more familiarity & intimacy.  As the energy of consciousness soaks through this fabric, it eventually soaks into sleep, soaks into the cells of the body, soaks into external physical matter, etc.  Eventually, the human unit becomes so fully drenched in it that there is no part of the deep subconscious that is not acting wholly from the influence of that basic element.  And in the process of the subconscious becoming drenched, the stains of dualistic memory traces & afflictive emotions get washed away.

----------

The idea of discretely identiable levels, particularly ones that cover large amounts of territory (such as 'awareness') might not be ideal for realistic description (when really there might be many levels past the point when 'awareness' is uncovered/past the point when the main filters have been removed & the center drops away).  In other words, a centerless knowing can have many layers of maturation beyond its inception.

--------

do you have the guts, to not create meaning from pain?  even for a second? and then to live uninterruptedly from there?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/6/18 5:16 AM as a reply to Noah D.
9.4 - 9.6

Since 9.3 been working this new angle - the moment proliferation arises, can I stamp it out?  By "stamp" I don't mean suppress (definitely not repress), but rather take away the participation energy which is fueling the reaction.  That energy part is mine to remove, whereas the content of the reaction is not. 

The trouble with describing this stuff is that it sounds like much earlier work I've done..  It isn't any of the following:
-Learning to disidentify with sensations, see their impermanence & redirect attention
-Learning to collapse the field & the watcher temporarily
-Directly perceiving the collapsed field-watcher at all times
-Having no sense of watcher or sense that the non-watched field is limited *still working on this one
-Reifying background conceptual processes despite this directness

Even if these things are in place, there can be sublte inclings of "hope & fear" (common Tibetan Buddhist phrase). When waking up on the morning, going to work, thinking about the future, thinking about money, thinking about health, relating to others, thinking about the spiritual path - whatever the case may be.  A sense of real solid participation in this - the propping up of extra boundaries.  But also "boundarylessness" can be solidly participated in.  These are all opportunities to stamp out engagement as soon as it begins & continuously - day & night.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/7/18 10:51 PM as a reply to Noah D.
9.7

increasing sense of being able to be let go
literal feeling of a wind in a hollow room (the nature of the room isn't changing but my nonreactivity is deepening which may be revealing more parts of what the room is like)
not reacting. not reacting to not reacting.  heading towards the point of no possibility of even reacting for a split second.  sense that it would be possible to permanently seal the chamber which opens to pump reactive energy. to shut down the engine & let it rust & fall to dirt.  
when it is seen that nothing in this world is worth having the slightest sense of duality or limitation about.  the slightest sense of resistance to.  the tiniest bit of attachment.

-------

it would be cool to create a workshop for mushroom sanghas - teaching them how to describe their experiences using sensory adjectives

------

discipline is your ability to be small
entitlement is your ability to be big
a morality/psychology theme for me for awhile now has been the entitlement piece
its hard to have this expertise in an area that is so obscure (particularly since all my focus goes to it)
its hard to admit to myself that it does make me special, it does make me better then other people --- in the simple way that operating one's mind skillfully & accurately understanding the way it works is more preferable then not doing those things
its not that I NEED to feel special based on some sort of narcissistic wound -- its just a fact that seems to be difficult to recognize for some reason
it would be beneficial to embrace this expertise as a hard won feature of my life 
& be able to confidently explain that to others, or to silently embody it in a relative personality sense (not an ultimate shakti sense)
& then of course there is the possibility of simply not editing my social identity, which would be perfectly OK too --- although having an embodied sense of dharma that is appropriate to one's surroundings is objectively better than having an embodied sense of dharma that is inappropriate to one's surroundings (meaning if I was in a monastery or a cave, having less relative identity would probably be awesome)

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/9/18 8:17 AM as a reply to Noah D.
9.9 

My dream last night was what one of my friends would call a "level 1 lucidity" in that I dreamt I was dreaming & woke up.  I've been doing low effort for this: short dream journal every morning, dream reminder sticky notes in my home, office & car.

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

Telepathy disproves the inherent existence of people, as well as the barriers between them

Past life memories disprove the inherent existence of lifetimes as well as the barriers between them

Psychopomp work disproves the inherent existence of death, as well as any barrier between death & life

Lucidity disproves the inherent existence of sleep, as well as any barrier between waking, dream sleep & deep sleep

Body-heat & astral projection practices disprove the inherent existence of the physical body

Some esoteric shit that I don't know about yet disproves the inherent existence of the laws of physicality

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/10/18 6:04 PM as a reply to Noah D.
9.10

Sometimes now I really don't feel aversion.  But I still don't get tasks done.  I think that is ignorance, not aversion.  Dullness, laziness.  I am not *seeing* cause and effect.  Prioritization arises from clarity around that (assuming no emotional baggage).  Equanimity isn't enough without discernment.  This discernment doesn't relate to concepts.  It's pretty much just about the physical-external world patterns.

Even within a state of relaxed, nonreactiveness, openness, I can be not-seeing.  There can be a foggy-haze around the facts of material process.  Those facts are that daily consumption of nutrients & water, contracting & stretching muscle groups, cardiovascular exercise, dental health, are more important than maintaining a supply of 'good-mood' chemicals I associate with the perfect conditions (enough sleep, not-too-busy in work & life).  

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

A friend just helped unpack this for me.  Laziness is unconscious anger.  When released it becomes clarity.  Thus it's both ignorance (non-clarity) & aversion (anger) in this case.  So there's still likely some underlying resentment of the task at hand.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/10/18 7:13 PM as a reply to Noah D.
You might like this cut and paste from AwakeNetwork:




(“No Separation” chapter of Wake Up to your Life, p442-444)

Transformation of Consciousness

Ordinarily, everything which arises at the level of sensory consciousness is taken as a real object. “Ordinary consciousness” is where the mind is like a stormy sky, where you take the storm to be you. Ordinary consciousness consists of:

1. Sensory Consciousness – the basic seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, thinking mind.

Thoughts and reactive emotions are also taken as our real sense of who we are. When mindfulness or “level of attention” is strong enough to experience sensory consciousness without being disturbed, (e.g. in equanimity) there will still be a clear sense of self. This self is deeper than emotions, more real than thoughts, feelings, or sensations.

2. Emotional Mind – which is not the superficial reactive thoughts/emotions, but rather the deeper felt sense of self.

When mindfulness/attention is strong enough to penetrate the projected sense of self, there is often intense fear because letting go the felt sense of self feels like a direct threat to survival.

The last aspect of Ordinary consciousness is:

3. Basis Consciousness (or “Basis of Everything Consciousness”) – this is where attention can be maintained without an explicit sense of self. But this is a passive state, emotional reactivity are not explicit but remain latent.

When the level of mindfulness/attention falls, basic consciousness falls into the dualism of emotional mind and the reactivity to sensory consciousness. (Sometimes this is called “store consciousness” because it stores the seeds of patterned existence.)

Basic consciousness is often confused with “original mind”. Original mind is where experience arises and releases itself, like figures drawn in water. When you know original mind, the essential stickiness of basic consciousness is washed away, further releasing original mind.

The transformation of ordinary consciousness into orginal mind can also be described as the aspects of pristine awareness they become:

Basic consciousness transforms into “mirror-like awareness”. Everything is right there and you meet it. Power.

Emotional Mind transforms into two aspects of awareness: Balanced awareness. Open to everything. Ecstasy. and Distinquishing awarenss. Seeing into things. Insight.

Sensory consciousness transforms into “effective awareness”. Our actions are intimate with the world. Compassion.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/13/18 6:08 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks Shargrol, really interesting post.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/13/18 9:03 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Thanks Shargrol, really interesting post.

That framework is very helpful to me... this short article too: http://unfetteredmind.org/a-light-in-the-dark/

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/14/18 10:42 PM as a reply to Noah D.
9.13

Yesterday - speaking with my dad, who mentioned something about his life, which deeply resonated with mine.  Felt a huge chunk of aversion drop away & the intimacy with everything was increased yet again.  When I woke up this morning, the effect is still here.  Sense of easeful fullness, in, through & out of the body - even while all are interpenetrating transparencies.  

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

Today - morality stuff: I tend to externalize the means of acheiving my goals, rather than unconsciously assuming that I already possess the inner resources to acheive them & don't need extra external support to act in accordance.  

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

codependency is what makes people want to change things about themelves.  what's natural is not needing to change things about yourself and not relying on others to validate things in yourself - just letting things be.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/16/18 11:25 PM as a reply to Noah D.
9.16

I have to change my relationship with my stuff
So overwhelming* to organize a home, to keep it clean
But the material world is an expression of the immaterial
The immaterial an expression of the material
Inner outer, outer inner

But my stuff just seems like so much work
It seems "bad" & this inner peace seems "good"

What am I not seeing?  That as long as this experience continues, there will be a need to relate with stuff
I'm too lazy to clear my shelves & dust them 
Not knowing directly.... that they won't dust themselves

*words for 1st person/ possessive pronouns & emotions are a convenient designator, that's all

The stuff is good
The material is a gift - abundance, fullness, openness <---- that has not been seen fully
and continuously -- when it does, I predict cleaning will not be exhausting

Seeing the intrinsically good nature of ...  domestic shit .... health shit ... whatever

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/17/18 6:59 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Just one suggestion: maybe a bit of focus on this could help --> Whose stuff is it?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/17/18 11:37 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Just one suggestion: maybe a bit of focus on this could help --> Whose stuff is it?


The interdependent universe aka causes & conditions

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/23/18 1:00 AM as a reply to Noah D.
9.22

9.17 session with newer mentor - we debated on whether blazing power of awareness could sufficiently heal & clean up psych & behavior - I say yes, they say no - sense of greater determination to make it work now

Following days - no replacement for willpower & executive functioning - must acknowledge that this is fundamental element of the system, perhaps even more basic than individual consciousness - and/or at least, must learn ownership of this for deeper letting go/unraveling 

friend sharing on "balancing or sweet spot" of metacognitive Knowing - that this develops & solidifies over time & special things happen when it does - due to increased speed (immediate continuous recognition throughout day - thought is a choice/tool) & increased referencelessness geospatially + self process-wise (in terms of identity structure) & self enjoyment - amplitude of recognition <---- this rings true as eventual future goal

re: the willpower peice - ingrain desire for 1st tier tasks (true 1st priority) + ingrain ownership that these are inside of me (rather than I am outside trying to rein them in by "training" or "conditioning" myself) 
----expand perspective such that these 1st tiers + current work + current path + current relationships are sufficient/only focus
----and that they are inside of my identity, in my wheelhouse (birds eye view on the mandala - don't be lost within it)

the mandala will expand naturally over time but not without getting above the current version

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/23/18 6:14 PM as a reply to Noah D.
9.23

Light therapy & melatonin microdose for sleep
Nootropics & pomodoro for chores

Long term is ownership mindset & new interval knowing practice

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/24/18 8:57 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Just ordered me a pomodoro. Wish I’d known about it 30 years ago! Are you willing to spill about which nootropics you use? 

My 17-year-old son, who has had substance abuse problems, wants to start vaping. He also has attention problems, and smokes a bit. I have told him that a nicotine addiction is a crap idea for him, but is there any upside to a very small amount? He’s just starting a drug treatment program, so I’d say the answer is most likely no. 

Oh, and how are you using light therapy? We have a light box, but I haven’t done anything with it for 20 years. My son is sleeping better with melatonin. I on the other hand rely on gabapentin. I would love to quit, but that’s not happening any time soon, I’m afraid. 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/21/18 2:03 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel - I'm sorry I missed your post!  Just seeing it.
Are you willing to spill about which nootropics you use? 

I misused the term nootropic.  I just use amino acids: 5htp, tyrosine, theanine, NAC.
My 17-year-old son, who has had substance abuse problems, wants to start vaping. He also has attention problems, and smokes a bit. I have told him that a nicotine addiction is a crap idea for him, but is there any upside to a very small amount? He’s just starting a drug treatment program, so I’d say the answer is most likely no. 

I'm sure in other cultural contexts people have used small doses of tobacco in some medicinal or spiritual capacity, but that probably doesn't apply here.
Oh, and how are you using light therapy? We have a light box, but I haven’t done anything with it for 20 years. My son is sleeping better with melatonin. I on the other hand rely on gabapentin. I would love to quit, but that’s not happening any time soon, I’m afraid. 

I use a light box for 1 hour when waking up in the morning after waking.  I also use a dawn simulator alarm clock before waking.  Also a full spectrum lamp at my desk that I put on around 3pm or 4pm to prevent melatonin production early in the day.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/30/18 4:23 AM as a reply to Noah D.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyprXhvGVYk

I'd like to explain to Will MacAskill how classical enlightenment is possible (meaning the full enchilada of 3 trainings)... without any potential shadowsides of pragmatic dharma hyperskepticism/compartmentalization & creeping nihilism & overemphasis on the dark night & without any potential shadow sides of mushroom culture postmodern liberal hyperegalitarianism & emotionally flooded thinking.  

How things could be improved even faster if people who already had high levels of ego development, good parenting, good brain chemistry started to do mindfulness to reduce their reactivity, vipassana to increase their sensory clarity, concentration to further hone their attention, choiceless awareness to speed the entire process up & the brahma viharas to rewire the emotions.

It would be good if pragmatic dharma could improve effective altruism.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/30/18 8:59 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I'd say that the seeds for cross-pollination between Pragmatic Dharma and Effective Altruism have already been sown -- there's a lot of interest in TMI/MCTB in the "rationalist" community (e.g. Less Wrong, Slate Star Codex, /r/slatestarcodex), which overlaps closely with the Effective Altruism community.  I don't know him personally, but Kaj Sotala seems to be one of the more prominent people with a TMI-based practice.  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/30/18 7:10 PM as a reply to JP.
Wonderful, so it is already happening.  I had heard of the Slate Star Codex MCTB review, but not the other linkages.  This is a very positive convergence.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
11/1/18 10:07 AM as a reply to Noah D.
11.1.18

Past couple days exemplar has been spontaneously transforming from wrathful to peaceful.  More vajrasattvaish & lesh vajrakilayaish.  This is continuation since October retreat which highlighted importance of overall service & systems thinking in ego development.  Something beyond generosity as means to create space in one's own mind.  Taking one's positive impact on the greater system as primary & the benefits of that to oneself as secondary.

Very a&p'ish sit.  The new figure is glowing/wearing white, beautific smile, younger.  Characteristics of simplicity, well-wishing, but also subtler toughness & wrath are present.  In meditation felt as if work was being done on my chakras & nadis, particularly around the 2nd chakra with regards to energy flow & allowing more "irrigation" from that whole area into the broader system within & around my body.  

Also in sit was sense of potential seeing future events.  Also within the intense mindfulness portion there was a few moments of cognizance before basic omnidirectional knowing is formed (which later becomes particularized as the six directions).  Something before basic spatial knowing is formed.  Within this, the inquiry arose "how can this coexist with form?"  This gave rise to various kriyas & a lingering mood of mystery.  Finally, there was a few moments of inner-narrative-transformation from ther personal to the systemic (i.e. instead of "I am hungry" it would be "this body requires food & is part of a larger system that supplies it & contains other organisms that require food", etc).

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
11/2/18 8:22 AM as a reply to Noah D.
11.2.18

Morning sit - Spontaneous thoughts around limiting beliefs & how these are likely 'tied up' in lower chakras.  Thought that I need to pull these lingering masses up to integrate with what I already know to be true in the middle & upper dan tiens. Sense that exemplar can offer assistance with this.  Kriyas.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/24/18 8:58 AM as a reply to Noah D.
9.24

Mindfulness with no center vs Very intense mindfulness with no center 

Practicing intervals of the second one during ordinary activity
1st few sessions of this reminiscient of "uppers" experiences
Slowly becoming more integrated, slightly more normal seeming
Rather than a lightswitch effect from delusion to opened-up to opened-up + nondual
These things are blending together
That blending melts into glue, which is more solid & continuous
Thus these various consciousness are all the dance of one spirit

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/27/18 10:56 PM as a reply to Noah D.
9.27

stay in orbit
orbit means living the life I actually want to live
even if there are asteroids & space storms that slow my satellite down
ultimately don't leave orbit
& the more you're in it, the more life you want to live happens
2 steps forward, 1 step back

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/29/18 3:25 PM as a reply to Noah D.
9.29

thoughts

-blending communicated pride towards desired interpersonal outcomes with a prosocial heartflow of human connection with a desire to advance the culture of radical empowerment, inclusion & collective awakening in all of my activites & relationships

-redefining work & play to scale hygeine, self care, housekeeping, healthy habits, work, commuting, meditation & social life... specifically such that "taking a break" need not be "stopping to watch netflix for 20 minutes to recharge my battery" and rather might involve the mixing of work & play such that the battery always stays charged.

----the culture of self-care has arisen as a backlash against capitalist industrialist materialism & has evolved a belief that "we need breaks & rest to take of ourselves" .... somewhere along the line I took this to heart & adopted a break-taking strategy which made all of the above 'high-functioning' things not possible to fit into a 24 hour day... its time to change that

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/30/18 6:40 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Interesting. I see some parallels here.

I find myself wanting to spend more time investing in myself by developing new skills for work, having real relationships instead of internet-based relationships, taking care of my health with exercise, and adding more play to my life (all while mantaining a formal meditation practice). I'd also like to scale back on youtube and netflix to make room for the above.

I suspect that the above fits into the "morality" aspect of the three trainings.

This has been more challenging than I thought. I've become attached to comfort (read: lazy). My motivation has been zapped. My excuse is often, "Nothing lasts, so what's the point?"

Curious if what I said resonates with you at all and how important you think it is to spend your time on a day to day basis. Personally, I feel that it's important to be engaged with life authentically in order to feel content on a personal level. I also believe this to be an important part of practice.

What do you think?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
9/30/18 11:48 PM as a reply to ivory.
Thanks for sharing.  What you said does resonate with me & it is indeed sila in my opinion.  Not in the sense of the sila that comes before concentration, but the type that is an expression of wisdom once attained.

morality -> concentration -> wisdom -> morality -> concentration

Not being an asshole allows one to develop their mind which allows them to see through reification & clarify the nature of experience which in turn has ramifications for the decisions one makes in their life which in turn allows for a great overarching sense of ease, harmony & alignment.  I believe this is the "10 fetter path."
Curious if what I said resonates with you at all and how important you think it is to spend your time on a day to day basis. Personally, I feel that it's important to be engaged with life authentically in order to feel content on a personal level. I also believe this to be an important part of practice.

100%

The development of capacities to be of benefit to oneself & others allows the perceptual shifts to grow in breadth & depth.  The recognition of interconnectedness at ultimate & relative levels (bodhicitta) fuels altruistic intent.  But this only happens when wisdom is very high & deep emotional healing/shadow work is done & the realities of the physical body & world are dealt with, etc.  Then one can begin to access previously walled-off subsets of information such as consciousness in sleep or psychic powers, which perpetuate the notion that all of it is taking place, right here, right now.  The prerequisite for this is peircing through all opaqueness & referencing in the immediate sensorium.  

Then taking care of business in the world becomes the impetus of the field as if one's body-mind were a neuron receiving electrical signals from a larger nervous system.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/3/18 1:31 AM as a reply to Noah D.
10.2 

Busy as f*** at work... 2 steps forward 1 step back

go off medication - complete
cure insomnia - complete
get #4/AA stabilized - complete
be able to do healthy habits/self care/life organization - likely complete
get over certain interpersonal traps - still pending
get on the path to financial independence - still pending
get all the other openings - still pending (long ways)

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/6/18 7:23 PM as a reply to Noah D.
10.6

formal sits:
motivation
perfect parent
concentration
vipassana
choiceless awareness
very intense choiceless awareness
very intense choiceless awareness with distractions

the last 2 part go back & forth in intervals
there is a sense of bubbliness to all sense doors fusing & emerging
effulgent light phosphoressence
euphoria in the body - lines of bliss & physical goosebumps
I have been able to replicate this experience for a couple weeks now - across moods, physical energy levels, times of day & varying environmental stressors
sense of being on a drug & oozing love into & through the fact that everything is made of cotton candy awareness 

morality/off cushion:
sexual energy & love energy merging
shadow self & light self merging
feeling & enjoying relative sense of connection with others more greatly
understanding that unlimited-personal-love is the way to go, not formless-impersonal-love

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/16/18 10:55 AM as a reply to Noah D.
12/16/18

From a certain perspective, once the context of experience has been observed & the attending muscle relaxed & that observation non-point has been made stable, all it takes is the soft, continuous pressure of mindfulness to unravel the storehouse.  

From another perspective, there are certain esoteric techniques which speed up this unraveling by “tinkering” with one’s visual apparatus or nervous system/physical body or sleep habits, etc.  

There is also the tendency for the very subtle lingering, limited forms of self-rejection to creep into the desire to engage in these advanced practices.  There is no replacement for being a chill, relaxed, accepting person who is ultimately celebratory of imperfection in all of it’s manifestations & open to things being a different way from that presented by past learnings which have fostered certainty & confidence.  There are no singular practices which substitute for well rounded development which includes continuing mindfulness, ego development, service-love, discipline, somatic integration & magick. The clearest understanding I can muster at this time is that any of these singular & secret pathways are necessarily adjuncts to the core lines of development which progressively take one from being a centerless perceiver to being a “hollow bone” (ala shamanism) to fully stepping outside of what is known.  The time to practice these adjuncts is when those core lines of development appear to slow down (as far as conventional time & space go)... then it can be good to stir things up.

In Runaway Realization, A.H.Almaas posits that the totality of reality includes dual, subtle,  nondual, centerless, fully expanded & unilocal experience in a nonheirarchical inclusion. My experience does not match this, because everything that has progressed so far has been nested inside successive realization.  For instance, dualistic perception is contained within the vantage point of vipassana-impermanence. Nondual-centered perception contains the vibratory & solid-dualistic layers within it. Etc.

I suspect this will continue but I can’t be sure.  Right now I am working on fully maturing the centerlessness to always saturate to the edges of sensory experience, in & out.  I do find that it there are times when the inner GPS of physicality (depth, volume, weight, height, etc) tether me into this body.  To be clear - this has nothing to do with being “ungrounded” - I feel more healthy, alive & fully in my body than ever before. I’m talking about multiple simultaneous wavelengths.

Of course all of this ignores the relative patterns which can be stabilized across perceptual experiences of dual, nondual & centerless, etc.  For instance, behavioral discipline or interpersonal openness or service-orientation or magickal capacities or personality-flexibility can & should be made consistent regardless of one’s sensory baseline & are very important elements of this path.    

Also, patience is a virtue.  It is equanimity with regards to time.  There should be the celebration of the fact that this may take a long time or just as much time as it needs to take.  But within that, the game can be played to help spur things along. As long as the background is marked by deep patience & kind acceptance.  The
re will be a continuous maturation on many axes concurrently, from seemingly “beginner” ones to the most complex or mystical.  That seems to be a characteristic of this path. There is no graduating from any arena of training. But there ARE ways that things can go faster or slower.  And either way is just fine.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
12/20/18 10:28 PM as a reply to Noah D.
12.20

Just had a 'hit' of truth on the maps.  Essentially there's conventional human development to normal adulthood, then there are all the things which get one to tech 1st path (introductory morality, concentraton, etc), then completing cycles of insight until the nanas are seen clearly in their phenomenological version & eventually also their interrelationships (the cycles) - which stabilizes a peripheral intuitive sense of "doneness."  At some point along here there may need to be some robust, intermediate morality stuff - habit formation, behavior mod, working with attitudes, beliefs, etc.  Then there is the path of immediate perception of the various types of unfixated qualia which takes a long time & deeper morality & concentration.  Then there's the slicing into the heart of the center point, so that muscles stays relaxed.  Then stabilizing that initial relaxation.  Then there's a bunch more advanced morality stuff (somatic integration, deep psychotherapy, integration of social relationships, integration of lifestyle, lingering behavior mod, ego development aka integration of worldview).  Then expanding it (open perception) to include more & more of the field.  The reintegrating the monkey mind to be seen as an expression of that relaxed expanse.  Then further expansion until space is completely maxed out while simultaneously *knowing* consciously that this is what is happening.  Then extending that conscious self-reflective capacity through waking hours.  Then really continuing that process of advanced morality stuff until all of these various axes have their own full momentum & none of the main stones of have been left unturned... so that in one sense all of those software programs will run themselves...  Once all of that has been accomplished, stuff get's weird & it's hard to talk about practice more without going into the metaphysical (so that depends on whether you believe in it, which I'm not saying I do).  But if we were to talk about it, we could say that all of the space which has been expanded now needs to be collapsed.  There are a few main ways of doing this which include: seeing through the solidity of the physical body via bliss cultivation - leading to astral travel;  mixing the dream & dreamless sleep states with waking hours to collapse the space between them; examining the basic visual structures which comprise space & matter to correct the sense of an empty but still existent world; cultivating metaphysical powers, potentially through working with a diety (magick); further refining perception to directly collapse space...

The blue line above, parsed out - from what I can see, these are the categories of advanced integration:
-deep somatic
-connection with nature
-inclusion/diversity/empowerment/pluralism training
-discipline (housekeeping, bookkeeping, career, healthy habits, self care)
-consumption - using money & products wisely (a subcategory of discipline that I'm focused on)
-social relationships (family, friends)
-ego development (perspective-fluidity, fund of knowledge, integrating with dharma)
-pyschotherapy/shadow work/sexuality
-creativity
-service/generosity

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/7/18 2:39 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
10.2 

cure insomnia - complete


If you don't mind my asking, how did you cure that issue?

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/7/18 2:46 PM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
Noah D:
10.2 

cure insomnia - complete


If you don't mind my asking, how did you cure that issue?
I don't know exactly what caused what.  The things I've added in in the past few months are more nutritious diet & accupuncture + various spiritual insights.  But one night in bed this image popped in my mind: that to get to sleep I have to pass through the 'temple gates' of my subconscious.  The deeper part of my mind is something much bigger than waking experience, therefore more powerful, more important.  I've gone with the assumption that good sleep helps to optimize life, when really it should be the opposite: the land of sleeping & dreaming is the land of the unconscious, which is of much great significance that anything I know during the day.  I imagined myself bowing down before these temple gates & said "will you please let me in?"  The doors opened & I went to sleep.  This has been working every night for about 6 weeks now.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/7/18 8:09 PM as a reply to Noah D.
10.7

thought during formal meditation - I'm now at the point where I'm tapping into something more basic than my individual consciousness...
changed from 'being' the eye of knowing to sensing what is already here
extreme speed & vividness... much crisper than I could have imagined.  No longer euphoric, just crystalline & continuous.

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/9/18 7:57 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:

thought during formal meditation - I'm now at the point where I'm tapping into something more basic than my individual consciousness...
changed from 'being' the eye of knowing to sensing what is already here
extreme speed & vividness... much crisper than I could have imagined.  No longer euphoric, just crystalline & continuous.

Hi Noah,
nicely described. I think I've experienced the same. It is wonderful in that it is not euphoric in the least, yet it is the best thing you could imagine.Sometimes I'm able to tap into the same stream while doing ordinary stuff. Like just now.

Best wishes,
 Jehanne

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/19/18 8:32 AM as a reply to Noah D.
10.12 to 10.19 (Retreat Notes)

-thought expression of attention expression of display expression of void
-each one has optimal formation

-thought's is developed ego: conceptual identity with ever-increasing scope beyond individual + palpable sense of collective human-nature-world personal-love-relationship & identity at multiple scales; sufficiently healed/integrated shadow/trauma is prerequisite
-attention's is healthy early-childhood-preverbal-security which allows for continuity & stability of consciousness beam
-display's is that which is known for it's simultaneous transparency & luminessence with dynamism & omnidirectionally/omnitemporily; all of the perceptual shifts are a prerequisite
-void is merely the non-sense-based recognition that there is an insubstantial 'presence' which holds & gives rise to all of the above

-These layers are all a part of 1 realization of the basic architecture of human experience ... awakening is the convergence point of them, rather than a specific one of them (even though they can be trained as separate axes)
-The actions of the practice now are not the same as they were when working up to recognizing the above.  Now, thought & attention are still to be actively developed, but to the extent that they are directly informed by the higher levels.  Display & void are to be recognized for what they already are seen as in my consciousness on a moment-by-moment basis (active deconstruction of vipassana & feeling into choiceless awareness both no longer being necessary).  

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/20/18 2:28 PM as a reply to Noah D.
10.20

*to add to previous notes from retreat*

-My current phase of journey requires higher index of trust/confidence in immediate experience than any prior chapters.  Metaphor of 'made man' in mafia or someone who has already achieved a goal they were working towards - the sane/accurate move is to celebrate & feel good about it with the joy of wholeness in each moment (not to delude oneself into thinking there is more to do).  
----For me this means recognizing the warmth, softness & 'unpositioned' nature of my ongoing senses.  Seeing that body, mind & world are all a continuum of these attributes in an easy flow.    Times when this is farther away are equally clear expressions of this as there are no exceptions.  

-Discussion on retreat focused on Buddhist heroic-activist archetype.  The traits of this character included intelligence, empathy, perserverance, discipline, etc.  I already have many of these but my paradigm has been one of balanced recipe within the arena of my personal practice.  The paradigm of this archetype (in contrast) is the arena of the broader system with the personal recipe being honed in service of it.

-Concentration (elephant path) is the off cushion operating system which allows the 'small mind' to serve efficiently without leaks.  This specifically entails more sub minds to be committed to the present moment (immediate space, body, people, tasks) in a relative-conventional sense.  This ongoing commitment is then channelled through an attention which is able to point at things without wavering to other things & also to engage with interest in the details of those things.  
---Although there is no ultimate difference, this pattern could be said to have 'mental' & 'emotional' components.  The emotional components provide the scaffolding & support to the mental.  Emotions give background motivation & ongoing power (akin to electricity or caloric energy) to the mental.  The mental in turn is the primary actor, stabily engaging the intellect with the present moment details.  Without the emotional component, there may be 'energy leaks' which cause exhaustion that gets stored on the body and/or an overall sense of dryness to the engagement.
---In this way, concentration is an expression of both love & understanding.

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

concentration requires courage - trust that this moment contains everything I need
the willingness to put all my eggs in this basket (to invest in the now)
the assumption that the resources of this occurence are sufficient to work within it, as it is

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
10/21/18 3:17 PM as a reply to Noah D.
10.21

Concentration requires courage: trusting that this moment contains everything one needs.  There is always a broad scope of sensory information present & the nature of conscious experience is to process all of it.  The basic human delusion is that individual mental unit must be consciously invested in picking & choosing subsets of this information to ensure happiness & functioning.  When this is disproven through insight practice, the option arises to broaden one's surveillance to a naturally larger portion of the field.  This improves the prior mode of slicing things up because it also includes that function.  Rather than becoming bogged down by more information, this widening makes everything lighter, since stress is based on tension between parts of the gestalt.  Lighter conditions are easier to work within.  Next is living as this panoramic lightness not just in single moments, but as a continuous flow of moments.  Then the flow can be subsumed within a larger sense of ease & well-being.

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

5-sense nonreactivity around percepts & echoes; 5-sense nonduality of spaciousness-vibrancy fusion; whole-field knowing (initial & expanded); 5-sense integration with whole-field knowing; nonreactive-trusting of knowing

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/26/18 2:49 PM as a reply to Noah D.
8.26

A sense of purpose & basic self image is a useful construction.  It's more work to have a weak self image than a strong one, though they are both equally empty, as are the sensations of effort.

=========

emptying the body , emptying the mind 
muscle tension is a hold out to the light 
agitation is a hold out 
resistance & impatience are hold outs 
they don’t require a center to filter the light 
they don’t require suffering

(stealing DW’s vocab above) 

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
8/25/18 12:00 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
8.23

So there was only the thrill of sensing the non-solidity of all without border - at a deeper level 
then I felt a type of ecstatic "high" that I've associated perhaps with MDMA or LSD in the past -- felt like I was dropped deep into a seat that was on a swing that was plunging down into the earth & then swooshing back up again with some bouyancy but without too much control
Everything seems magical, like little cells are swimming everywhere, in me, through me, around me, as me at many different points.

Noah D:
8.24

Past life stuff coming up maybe?  Or I'm going nuts lol.



You're killing it Noah - getting it done! emoticon

RE: Noah's_Conceptual_Sandbox
Answer
6/12/18 6:06 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Fwiw, I am no longer practicing to resolve a deep-rooted sense of dissatisfaction inside.  I consider that done. However, outside of there being a problem, there are lots of interesting questions to ask one's nature, so that's a good point.

No need to assume a deep-rooted sense of dissatisfaction is there. Sometime honestly >not finding< problemness in actual experience pulls the rug right out from under what we think is our self. Once flavors of natural mind/rigpa start showing up, it's important to connect to the not-problem-and-not-problemless-ness of experience, but not as another state to identify with (i.e., it's not about "problem" or "not-problem"). It's certainly not about assuming a deep-rooted sense of dissatisfaction and projecting that on the world.

Practice at this point is about seeing the >profound< simplicity of what is, which is higher than any mind-identified "state", and which will cut quite deep unless we continue to identify with one polarity and turn experience into a state. So seeing experience without the view of problem or not-problem, spaciousness or concentration, ease or intensity... 

It's fine to look around and see where a problem is (unease, ill will, resistance) and have it self liberate by putting attention on it. Or even to work on it through a method. It's also okay to recognize when there is no problem and have that experience open up into uncertainty, fear, and confusion because we don't know how to deal with radical no-problemness. But the only way is to let non-resistance to the lack of problem happen.  

The classic symptom at this stage is we sense something but don't see it or see something but quickly move past it, discount it. We certainly can't rest in it because it is way too edgy (not the big kind of edgy that is dark night/reobservation like, but rather that very very small kind of edgy that can't even be grasped it's so subtle, like that self-conscious feeling that we have body odor that we can't smell but other people can.) It can feel a little bit like dying. Like an exhale without a guarantee that there will be another inhale.

The classic poem for this stage is:

Too close -- you can't see it.
Too profound - you can't appreciate it.
Too simple - you can't believe it.
Too good - you can't accept it.



(Great post on intimacy!)

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
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
4/13/18 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 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
4/20/18 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
4/13/18 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 bud