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Chris André working towards 4th Path

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Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/30/18 4:41 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Yilun Ong 12/12/17 5:20 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/12/17 12:19 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 12/12/17 2:57 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Yilun Ong 12/12/17 9:42 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Dream Walker 12/22/17 1:17 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/24/17 8:42 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/13/17 11:44 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Jason Massie 12/13/17 1:21 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/13/17 8:51 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Yilun Ong 12/13/17 11:52 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/15/17 11:56 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 12/26/17 12:58 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/26/17 8:42 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 12/27/17 5:06 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/30/17 5:14 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 12/31/17 9:13 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Ben V. 12/27/17 9:34 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Dream Walker 12/27/17 12:13 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Ben V. 12/27/17 4:49 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 12/31/17 9:06 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/20/17 12:20 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Stirling Campbell 12/20/17 12:22 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 12/20/17 1:14 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 12/20/17 1:28 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path D. 12/20/17 1:46 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 12/20/17 2:59 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Stirling Campbell 12/20/17 3:28 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Stuie Charles Law 12/23/17 8:01 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Stirling Campbell 12/20/17 1:40 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 12/20/17 3:09 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Stirling Campbell 12/20/17 3:46 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 12/20/17 3:53 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Stirling Campbell 12/20/17 4:37 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 12/20/17 6:21 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/22/17 6:24 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Ben V. 12/22/17 6:33 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/23/17 8:01 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Ben V. 12/23/17 8:20 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/24/17 8:23 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path An Eternal Now 12/24/17 9:20 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/30/17 5:16 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/30/17 5:37 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 12/31/17 8:47 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 12/31/17 9:08 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 1/1/18 7:41 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 1/3/18 8:22 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path shargrol 1/3/18 11:52 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 1/9/18 8:52 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path shargrol 1/9/18 11:38 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 1/9/18 7:47 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 1/20/18 8:15 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path shargrol 1/21/18 6:33 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 1/21/18 10:58 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 1/21/18 3:56 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 1/21/18 6:59 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 1/26/18 10:45 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path shargrol 1/27/18 6:27 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 1/27/18 11:14 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 1/27/18 12:38 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Lars 1/27/18 4:46 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path shargrol 1/27/18 5:55 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Lars 1/29/18 3:14 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 1/28/18 9:17 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 2/3/18 12:36 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 2/3/18 12:55 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path shargrol 2/3/18 6:11 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 2/3/18 8:19 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 3/25/18 4:50 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path shargrol 3/25/18 5:44 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 5/8/18 8:18 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path JP 5/8/18 9:16 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 5/13/18 8:17 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path shargrol 5/13/18 11:20 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 5/22/18 5:37 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 5/13/18 8:38 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 5/22/18 6:12 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path seth tapper 5/22/18 8:04 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 6/23/18 1:19 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 6/23/18 1:25 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 6/25/18 8:02 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 6/27/18 1:10 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/4/18 6:00 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 7/4/18 9:41 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/7/18 10:12 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 7/8/18 9:25 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/11/18 5:40 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/8/18 2:32 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/11/18 6:18 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Nick O 7/11/18 9:05 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/18/18 4:43 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Nick O 7/20/18 9:37 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/12/18 6:53 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/14/18 2:45 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Daniel M. Ingram 7/14/18 7:24 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/17/18 7:28 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/18/18 4:38 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/19/18 9:38 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/20/18 6:48 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/22/18 11:35 AM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path ivory 7/22/18 12:31 PM
RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path Chris André 7/26/18 1:42 PM
Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/30/18 4:41 PM
So this is my thread where I start my journaling after having attained stream-entry: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/6344429

And this is going to be my thread where I reflect upon whether I have attained 4th Path or not, and the implications of that.

So far this seems like it, and for now the question is if it continues like this.

From what I understand about my arahant friend, and from Daniel Ingram, they felt done several times before they were actually done, and it seems from 3rd Path the "wisdom eye" of 4th Path will continue to open and close for some time before it finally stabilizes as open.

Whether or not it stays open, right now this feels like a great platform to continue to build my life from. I'm very enthusiastic to see how my personality will adapt to this problem finally after so many years being solved, and what kind of energy is now free to focus on other tasks, and what those other tasks will be.

The best description so far is that I feel whole and complete. There is nothing unusual about this. This is how life is meant to be. For some odd reason everything was totally out of whack before this, and there was a lot of frustration and pain because of that. But now I feel fine. Simple and easy.

It has been open for about a week now, there has been a few times where some kind of mild "what if this is not it" anxiety has been floating around in my system, but so far I seem able to penetrate that anxiety with my vipassana without the whole thing closing down. But I think there is some kind of "polishing the mirror" thing going on where I'm landing more and more in this, where the thing becomes clearer and clearer, and different kinds of mild doubt and anxiety about this thing not being this thing is being exposed and washed out.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/12/17 5:20 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Dear Chris,

I hear you are well and happy wherever you are. That is beautiful. It is great to look at every moment for what it is and savor whatever is there. The word reflect and its offshoots like reflection is a bad word. This means you have left the wonder of the present moment and went somewhere else, usually in the past - it could be a second ago but it sorely lacks the completeness and beauty of what is happening now.

I see that the great 'Wisdom Eye' is much praised and vaulted here and perhaps in the Western world. I used to see it that way but have let go, to the point that if I never have that perceptual shift, I will be more than fine with it. Over here in the East, my experience with this Wisdom Eye is that people do not bat an eyelid when talking about it. The wonder/awe that people here have are for those that exude the air of wisdom, of imperturbability, of compassion, of love, of being in the moment caring more than they should for people no one wants to care about, of having the wisdom to give impeccable advice to those who need it.

Right Speech. Right Action. <- This is the Wisdom Eye that others can see.

Being is Dukkha. 

Even as a monk. If I am upholding the image of being a monk, that will involve so much unnecessary suffering. I drop it like the hot coal it is. I behave myself not to Be a Monk but because it is natural goodness to behave. One problem with Being is the fall, the higher you Be, the greater the drop. 

You and I can enjoy the enlightenment we already have and that is the peace and contentment of whatever we have now. I am in a great place of the mind, thanks to the Noble Eightfold Path. Anything else is icing on the cake. Let nothing take that away from you. Let the illusion of Being someone, go. You are what you are now. Savor that...

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/12/17 12:19 PM as a reply to Chris André.
So this isn't me claiming 4th Path. As it says in the topic it is me "working towards 4th Path." So I would say an important element in this is a quality of me flirting with my concept and experience of what I believe is 4th Path. I might be wrong, but for now this is what it feels like. But I expect this thing to open and close some times before it becomes permanent. If it only took half a year, how could that be so? I think an important factor is two of my close friends claim 3rd Path and 4th Path. Each of us has over 15 years of practice, and we support each other massivly, guiding each other through the jhanas over phone, etc. Another important factor is my therapist and the therapist education I take part in. I think good therapy is a much better way to release ones dark night material than through dealing with it alone on the cushion. Or I mean, a combination of meditation and therapy is probably the best. Already today I had this thing fall apart through some identity with some kind of tension that made me feel something was still "wrong" with the present moment, but now it is open again. Regarding reflections taking oneself out of the present moment, I don't believe in attempting to glue oneself into the present moment once and for all. I want my mind to be able to roam around and do all the things the human mind is capable of. The nice thing about this thing it seems to be untouched by both daydreaming and going through difficulties (although some difficulties takes me into some kind of identification that makes it close down again, but only temporarily so far). Perhaps over time I'll discover even more suble kinds of self-identification, but this time this opening was triggered by my arahant friend suggesting there is possibility that fascination with the process at some point becomes an obstacle, ie, feeds into the notion that something needs to be done in order for the present moment to feel right. So I told myself: "What would it be like if I just told myself I'm done with this now, it is time for life to move on?" So this is a flirt also with the attempt to just say to myself "okei, enough of this, lets move on." I'm testing it out. So far it seems to work. But even if it works there are bound to be "karmic residual effects." Time will tell how it sorts out.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/12/17 2:57 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Who is anyone to judge your mind.  If you are happy, you are done.  If suffering arises in the future, just let it go.  If you can't let it go, practice.   

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/12/17 9:42 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
A song about awakening awareness. But she's wrong! You already have everything emoticon

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/13/17 11:44 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Still feels complete. If this continues to stay open I'm pretty sure it is 4th Path. Cycling through the progress of insight seems like something else than this. This is opening up to the present moment without anything else left to be done. With cycling through the progress of insight there is always a momentum building up leading on to release. The progress of insight moves through time. This is beyond time. This is just landing here with nothing left to fix in terms of something being wrong with the present moment.

Had some minor fear coming up earlier today saying something like "oh my god, I really hope it doesn't close down again, please let me stay like this forever," but it wasn't enough to bring this down.

Another day I was also getting pretty obsessed about "is this it or is this not it?" but that also seems to be washed out of my system now.

Seems like paying so much attention to the present moment creates some neurotic tendencies and now whatever remains of these neurotic tendencies are being fully exposed and dealt with.

This is sooo chill. Please let me stay like this forever, hehe..... ;-D

Walking around in my city filled with snow, looking at all the christmas-lights and effects, is intensely beautiful :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/13/17 1:21 PM as a reply to Chris André.
What was your practice? How much time a day? Did your practice change after SE? Who is your teacher?

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/13/17 8:51 PM as a reply to Jason Massie.
In the first post in this thread are the essentials about my practice up until stream-entry: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/6344429

I can also add that Noting Aloud, which I learned from Kenneth Folk, has been my main-practice. It is basically just saying the labels from the mahasi noting technique out loud. I find it helps a lot because concentration is automatically build into the technique because of the physical feedback.

After SE there was a whole new level of creativity and spontanity in my practice, and I could basically just do whatever I felt like, it all felt like practice suddenly, probably because the momentum was now so strong. Though I have to say I've been seeing a gestalttherapist weekly for almost 2 years (yeah, I was really messed up), and I'm also myself part of a gestalttherapy-education now (from september), where we focus a lot on getting in touch with awareness and our bodies, and releasing stored-up trauma from our bodies, so all the teachers on this education are also my teachers now, even though they don't talk about enlightenment, but they talk alot about the process towards becoming whole.

EVERYTHING changed after SE. I've been feeling so miserable practicing for 15 years without getting any real foothold in my practice (sliding back and forth between dark night and equanimity for at least 8 years), so finally when SE arrived I had something to show for all this effort. There is just basically some kind of re-programming of how ones whole being operates after stream-entry, because one is learning ones system to ride through the whole anxiety wave of the progress of insight, ie not getting stuck in aversion towards the unpleasentness of dark night, but not getting attached to the pleasure in A&P or Equanimity either, but learning to ride through the whole process, feel it through to the end until it pops, and after it pops you know how to cycle through again and again, no need to try to run away from unpleasent emotions anymore, you know that the only thing you can do is to feel it through. There is something very healthy in how one relates to ones emotions that comes from learning to ride through like that.

Impossible to say how much I've been practicing because of all these therapy-groups I'm part of in this education, etc, and the dividing-line between practice and non-practice have been totally blurred.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/13/17 11:52 PM as a reply to Chris André.
There is something very healthy in how one relates to ones emotions that comes from learning to ride through like that.

IMHO, that is the most important thing. How we are now better equipped to deal with "our world"... I wish this non-duality achievement sticks for you and signals the end of the chase. If it doesn't, it is good to let go of it being one, of it being something to show for. I really think how we have learned to observe attachment/suffering and LET GO is THE KEY - I would go as far to say that it is the whole point of this exercise.

Above all that, I wish you love...

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/15/17 11:56 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Sat for 1,5 hour this morning. My intention was to do "just sitting" and enjoy this experience of having "full circulation" going. Quickly the 4th jhana started to manifest, so I thought I might as well go with that. Haven't seen much to the jhanas since the combined 1st, 2nd & 3rd Path honeymoon (I think it happened in a succession where one honeymoon wasn't over before the next one kicked in), but now they seem easily available again. My mind just seemed to want to climb from there, so it quickly went up into the 8th jhana. I only remember the 8th one as really fragile, but now it was easy to stay there. After some time in the 8th jhana a pressure seeking release started to build up in my head. At first I didn't recognize this as the close to fruition pressure/momentum because I haven't tried to have fruitions intentionally for a while either, but when I did recognize it, I think I abandonded jhana practice (not sure if it happened inside or outside of jhana), and just focused on letting this pressure become the totality of my experience and applying vipassana (looking for flickerings/vibrations) to this total experience, and soon enough it popped. Sat awhile in 4th jhana enjoying the release that comes after fruitions, though it isn't so much a release as it used to be, probably because my body-mind system isn't as tense as it used to be so the contrast before and after fruition is not so noticeable any longer. Interesting that before fruition my mind wanted to climb as far up in the jhanas as it could get, but after there wasn't any drive to get anywhere else than just chill out in 4th. Then I ended my sit with a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation. Reflected afterwords upon the fact that 1 year ago I'd be really desperate to have experiences like these, but now I almost have indifference to the whole thing. Well, obviously I'm writing about this so it is still fun to some degree, but I think there is a parallell here to my bipolar tendencies that has been weakened as well. I used to really enjoy hypomania because of the contrast it gave to anxiety, shame and depression, but now as there is less of a need to get away from my daily experience, getting high doesn't seem as appealing as it used to.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 12:20 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Okei, so finally this thing closed. The self-contraction was clearly back, but when I became aware of it, I made it into my meditation object, had a new Fruition, and it seemed to be open again, but not quite the same way that it was, and now I feel halfway in between something I don't know what is.

But feels like I'm starting to get a grip on the logic behind this. When the knot of perception / self-contraction is operative, there is a dualistic split in the psyche between the observer and the observed, and because of that one doesn't feel whole and complete. By going into the self-contraction to such a degree that it is no longer an object, one becomes the contraction and therefore it ceases to be experienced as a contraction, and instead there is now wholeness and full circulation experienced. Said another way: By merging into the self-contraction, the dualistic split in the psyche disappears, and the psyche is whole and complete.

The self-contraction also seems to be some kind of nexus point for whatever kind of anxiety / therapeutic stuff etc is stored in ones being or is operative at the point, so by going into it, instead of running away from it as many people probably do, there is also some kind of exposure therapy going on. And also, the self-contraction seems to come back, again and again, ie it isn't possible to continue to stay merged with it endlessly, because of some kind of anxiety, karmic, or energetic charge still remaining.

My "psychologist arahant" friend who has a lot of interesting theories, likes to compare the progress of insight to a wave of anxiety that we need to learn to ride out completely. So with riding it out completely the first time, stream entry is attained, and so, it seems, one has to continue to ride it out, again and again, as some kind of exposure therapy, until the charge stored in the process is diffused to such a degree that there is no longer any need for the self-contraction to come into operation again. He also likes to compare "the observer" to some kind of psychological defense mechanism that we're uninstalling with insight practice. Makes sense that this mechanism has a lot of charge stored in it, and that it takes time to ride it out completely.

There probably was a reason why we started to split off from phenomena, and when we start to challenge that tendency, there is a lot of charge stored in that tendency we have to face, ie dark night stuff.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 12:22 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Chris André:

But feels like I'm starting to get a grip on the logic behind this. When the knot of perception / self-contraction is operative, there is a dualistic split in the psyche between the observer and the observed, and because of that one doesn't feel whole and complete. By going into the self-contraction to such a degree that it is no longer an object, one becomes the contraction and therefore it ceases to be experienced as a contraction, and instead there is now wholeness and full circulation experienced. Said another way: By merging into the self-contraction, the dualistic split in the psyche disappears, and the psyche is whole and complete.

The self-contraction also seems to be some kind of nexus point for whatever kind of anxiety / therapeutic stuff etc is stored in ones being or is operative at the point, so by going into it, instead of running away from it as many people probably do, there is also some kind of exposure therapy going on. And also, the self-contraction seems to come back, again and again, ie it isn't possible to continue to stay merged with it endlessly, because of some kind of anxiety, karmic, or energetic charge still remaining.


I'm in roughtly the same boat, and I think you might have something here, though I'm not sure what "merging in the the self-contraction" might look like. I seem to make slow progress (1 day+) out of dualistic split as I naturally beginning to just accept the break for what it is, but I KNOW it doesn't have to take any time at all to cycle, as the "snap" back into place is often instantaneous and as random as the "pebble on the pottery" Zen stories. I KNOW there is no doing, but the idea that there are conditions that could speed up this cycle are still interesting. 


Somewhere, something is hanging on to separateness.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 1:14 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
One thing that helps me is reminding myself that being in this state of mind or that state of mind is irrelevant.  No one cares but me.  When I stop caring, everything is perfect.  The game of chasing mind states is no fun.  Even when you are feeling in the flow and love is manifest, it is still just nonsense. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 1:28 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Another thing occurred to me.  I have spent a lot of time meditating inside the subconsious frame of somehow sharpening my tool to take out into the world.  I wanted to get enlightened so i could do good things, live happier, be clearer headed, etc.   Thing is, there is no self.  It is really just happening for no reason at all and with no consequences.  I am hurricaine not a being.  Rational hurricaines do not plan for the future because they have no control, no goal and no preferences.   The entire project of imagining and worrying about what will happen next is an evolutionary trick.  As I sat with this subconsious goal of getting to a better mind state, I developed narratives around it and became comfortable identifying as the Yogi Me.  This is a trap.  In my view, this is all just one undifferentiated being and identifying with any seperate self is a waste of time. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 1:40 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
One thing that helps me is reminding myself that being in this state of mind or that state of mind is irrelevant.  No one cares but me.  When I stop caring, everything is perfect.  The game of chasing mind states is no fun.  Even when you are feeling in the flow and love is manifest, it is still just nonsense. 

I agree. I am definitely right in your ballpark here. Perhaps being better at letting go (and trust/acceptance) of what "state" things are in would shift the speed of the percieved duality "cycling".


seth tapper:
Another thing occurred to me.  I have spent a lot of time meditating inside the subconsious frame of somehow sharpening my tool to take out into the world.  I wanted to get enlightened so i could do good things, live happier, be clearer headed, etc.   Thing is, there is no self.  It is really just happening for no reason at all and with no consequences.  I am hurricaine not a being.  Rational hurricaines do not plan for the future because they have no control, no goal and no preferences.   The entire project of imagining and worrying about what will happen next is an evolutionary trick.  As I sat with this subconsious goal of getting to a better mind state, I developed narratives around it and became comfortable identifying as the Yogi Me.  This is a trap.  In my view, this is all just one undifferentiated being and identifying with any seperate self is a waste of time. 

...and maybe I can return the favor...

It's more than that there is no-self. There is no-one ELSE with a self either. There is no one to save, and nothing to "do". There are no separate things acting on things, or forces acting on forces. What "this" is maintains it's OWN balance. It's not that there is no reason or consequences, it is that there is NOTHING HAPPENING. It's like the bowl of pudding. The pudding is just... pudding... in any direction. The illusion of separation is something we create with our thoughts. 

...this is all just one undifferentiated being and identifying with any separate self is a waste of time.

Exactly.

Maybe we need a 3rd path self-help group? emoticon

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 1:46 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Another thing occurred to me.  I have spent a lot of time meditating inside the subconsious frame of somehow sharpening my tool to take out into the world.  I wanted to get enlightened so i could do good things, live happier, be clearer headed, etc
Isn't that exactly what the Buddha did though? In the end, maybe shit just happens and that's it, but we likely wouldn't have got anywhere, or even be discussing this, if the Buddha sat on on his ass under the Bodhi tree and abided in bliss forever instead of going forth and spreading his teachings.

Conviction is one of the 7 factors of enlightenment after all.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 2:59 PM as a reply to D..
When the mind lets go of goals and narratives, love and compassion remain.  You do not need to pretend to be a seperate entity to act in the world.  It happens by itself, as it actually has been all along.  Sounds like some hippy trippy shit, but thats what it is. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 3:09 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
I agree on all the points.  My practice has taken me away from a model in which there is no one else.  I find that if I let other people be real but without free will and myself be just a process unfolding I can hold the model off cushion better.  When I was trying to accept the emptiness of others it made it difficult to interact normally in the world, so I just let that go.   My own lack of agency solves the problem of narratives about saving others and responsibilities, etc.  If I am not in control, why worry? Does that make any sense? 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 3:28 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
When the mind lets go of goals and narratives, love and compassion remain.  You do not need to pretend to be a seperate entity to act in the world.  It happens by itself, as it actually has been all along.  Sounds like some hippy trippy shit, but thats what it is. 

Precisely. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 3:46 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
I agree on all the points.  My practice has taken me away from a model in which there is no one else.  I find that if I let other people be real but without free will and myself be just a process unfolding I can hold the model off cushion better.  When I was trying to accept the emptiness of others it made it difficult to interact normally in the world, so I just let that go.   My own lack of agency solves the problem of narratives about saving others and responsibilities, etc.  If I am not in control, why worry? Does that make any sense? 

I can see how that could be true, yes, and work as a system, but I'd think it would eventually have to collapse. Seems like too much thinking maybe? Trying to "accept the emptiness" perhaps could be replaced by just resting in the nature of mind. Things can just be as they are without having to make sense. It all looks like a bunch of nonsense to me at this point - I can't really take any of it seriously.

From my perspective, I saw at SE that things/people were not separate in an utterly compelling way - I can't see ANYONE (including myself") as having any intrinsic reality so it's not a stumbling block for me.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 3:53 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
My principal hinderance is a sense of responsibility to my family and attachment to them.  I felt like I would heat my mind way up in meditation and then quench it trying to get back a functional model while interacting with them.   During meditation anxiety would arise that I was going too  far too fast to reconnect, etc.   I would find myself watching my interactions and "seeing through" people.  When I settled on this model, that all went away.  I am just an idiot who loves his kids and has a mind full of nonsense and is in no control.  This view is entirely stable in all circumstances.  It opens into oneness rather than oneness being seperate state. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 4:37 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
My principal hinderance is a sense of responsibility to my family and attachment to them.  I felt like I would heat my mind way up in meditation and then quench it trying to get back a functional model while interacting with them.   During meditation anxiety would arise that I was going too  far too fast to reconnect, etc.   I would find myself watching my interactions and "seeing through" people.  When I settled on this model, that all went away.  I am just an idiot who loves his kids and has a mind full of nonsense and is in no control.  This view is entirely stable in all circumstances.  It opens into oneness rather than oneness being seperate state. 

I get that, I really do. I feel my responsibility to ALL things is to get out of the way and to be present in this moment.

What I have found is that I "love" my family anyway - but in a much cleaner way. The love isn't about the conceptual/heirarchical love I feel I SHOULD have for them, but around a naturally arising gladness to see them, and a naturally arising, uncontrived, motivation to engage with them that is also OK with them doing what they need or would prefer to do. I don't have to "be" any "one" with them, but just be present and empty of "self". I don't think they notice the difference.

If I had any advice (if it's appropriate to suggest I could give you any) it would be not to overthink these things, and to trust/accept that it works out perfectly without your input... not that you have to change anything about what you are doing. Your approach is also perfect. emoticon

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/20/17 6:21 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
For me it is feeling less like plank length black holes and more like snuggling.   I was afraid that seeing how abstract and empty the concept "person" is would distance "me" from "them", but it aint so. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/22/17 6:24 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Sat for 2 hours this morning. The first 45 min I was doing "just sitting" and there was a lot of "issues" going on, so I used some of the gestalttherapy self-therapy techniques I know to release these things, and after that I was getting into 4th Jhana for the rest of the sit. Was so inspired by combining self-therapy techniques with sitting in meditation that I continued with this from the 4th Jhana, and that was pretty cool. Doing therapeutic work inside the jhanas seems to have a lot of potency. Also I'm starting to get the feeling that I can become a master of this. My mastery of the jhanas is still pretty poor, but it all starts to seem within reach and that is a really good feeling. So cool to therapeutically being able to release a lot of my emotional cycles that before has been extremly difficult for me, and then to be able to go into the 4th Jhana and continue from there on doing even deeper stuff. After the sit I felt really greatful for how much better my life has become after stream-entry. Stream-entry really feels like, as someone described it, "escaping velocity."

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/22/17 6:33 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Would you mind sharing the self-therapy technique you mention?
Thanks.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/22/17 1:17 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Chris André:
So this isn't me claiming 4th Path. As it says in the topic it is me "working towards 4th Path."

So I would say an important element in this is a quality of me flirting with my concept and experience of what I believe is 4th Path. I might be wrong, but for now this is what it feels like. But I expect this thing to open and close some times before it becomes permanent.
What definitions are you using for 3rd path?
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5800908#_19_message_5800939

and for fourth path?
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5800908#_19_message_5800955

I like Daniels descriptions but over time have mapped out slightly different descriptions that are perhaps in some ways more stringent/detailed.

I find that it is extreamly "pragmatic style" to overshoot claims and thats fine but it is also thru maturity/time/seasoning that we then question deeply these claims as we then continue to progress. Most who claim 3rd and 4th path; I personally would not map them to be beyond second plus with highly stringent definitions.
Just my 2 cents
Good Luck
~D

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/24/17 8:42 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I use Daniel Ingrams definitions as my reference. Thanks for your input. I guess only time will make it clear what is what, but the difference now is that I'm aiming for 4th Path. Before stream-entry, I was aiming for stream-entry, after stream-entry I was aiming for 2nd Path, at some point I was aiming for 3rd Path, and now it only makes sense for me to aim for 4th Path. I feel like being "almost done," and those episodes where I have felt completely done seems to me to be the thing, except I wasn't done because something subtle was still remaining, or I was done but was being thrown out of it because somehow there was more work to do. I keep checking my experience up against the notion of "being done," and whenever I don't feel done I keep searching for whatever subtle work still remains. This blog is my practice notes, how I make sense of my own experience, so that I can go back and sort it out when I'm actually done, and also I find it a meaningful way to keep myself motivated and make it more fun. Whether I'm 2nd Path or 3rd Path doesn't matter so much to me (although I do believe I'm 3rd Path), but what matters the most is that now my motivation is all about finishing up this thing.

EDIT: Hmmm...... I think I'll modify this to say that I simply have no idea whether I'm 2nd or 3rd Path. It seems pretty difficult to map the middle paths. Three times I have felt really done now. Well, the first time I could sense that I was probably not going to land in it, but the two last times it felt really totally like "done is what needs to be done," and "in the seen is only the seen," and "the wisdom eye has been opened," and those kind of things. However it doesn't feel like that right now, but whether I could shoot up into that territory from both 2nd and 3rd Path, I don't know. I took it as a sign of 3rd Path that feeling of going back and forth between feeling "almost done" and "done." What does hold true, however, is that before stream-entry I was aiming for stream-entry, and after stream-entry I was aiming for 2nd Path, and now, wherever I might be, it only makes sense to aim for getting totally done, however long that might take. Time will tell how this sorts out :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/23/17 8:01 PM as a reply to Ben V..
Sure :-)

First one is really simply. It is just saying out aloud whatever I'm feeling. It works much the same way as vipassana, although sometimes I find it more useful to get it out of my system by expressing it rather than pick it apart through vipassana. Also it is those things that are lurking in the background, like an itch on my experience, and often that I don't like to admit to myself, that I find it really good to get out this way. For instance if I'm really angry at someone, but ashamed of admitting it to myself, there is like a moment of honesty and authenticity when I do admit it this way. It works by just saying out aloud: "I'm really angry at so and so." Usually when I get a hold of an emotion like that, there is a moment of letting it sink in afterwards, and usually it causes an involuntary reaction where it sinks in with an extra deep breath. Afterwords I can feel it getting cleared out of my system, but not through me wanting it to go away, but through simply acknowledning directly what is going on. Sometimes I do drills of this, trying to acknowledge and express as many different feelings as possible. Often times when we have "issues" going on, we like to talk about them, but talking usually doesn't get oneself out of the loop, much better, I find, to simply express on an emotional leve exactly what is going on, instead of ruminating on the story around it. Was pretty cool to combine this with sitting in the meditation posture, because it created even more of a mindful space around this exercise.

The next one works much the same way, but is about trying to get a hold of whatever negative viewpoints I have about myself, and express it like this: "The truth that I have made for myself that I'm not worthy of love, I remove now and forever." or "The truth that I have made for myself that I'm in a great hurry to get where I want to be in life, I remove now and forever." or "The truth that I have made for myself that jhana-practice is stressful and difficult, I remove now and forever."

These negative viewpoints that we sometimes have about ourselves, in my experience I find that they are like energy-blockages stored in our body, and when I really hit home with something like that, I can feel my body and mind open up more, like letting go of something that didn't serve any purpose that I've been carrying around way too long. It is like a powerful declaration to just drop this un-useful thing in life and move on with better things. I found it particularly interesting to do this last exercise when inside of 4th Jhana. Also with this exercise I sometimes do drills, trying to see how many I can find. Other times I just do it with the most nagging ones.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/23/17 8:01 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Aaahhh, seth, those few words resonate so very deeply......lightbulb moment.....

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/23/17 8:20 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Thanks a lot for sharing that Chris!

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/24/17 8:23 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Sat for 2 hours yesterday, and 1,5 hour today. Both sessions were dedicated to exploring the jhanas. Yesterday was smooth sailing all the way, going back and forth between 4th and 8th. Today some strong anger came up after one hour of exploring 4th, 5th and 6th jhana. It made me realize how quickly I get attached to the jhanas. Whenever my mind feel inclined towards the jhanas, it feels like that is how it is going to be forever from now on, but then of course it never does. Had to spend the last half hour of the sit working with the anger through vipassana, and when I surrendered to that (was a lot of resistance initially) it started to feel like I was doing some really good work. I think this dynamic of getting attached and then loosing access, has created a love/hate relationship for me towards the jhanas, but now it is time to develop a more mature relationship with these states :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/24/17 9:20 AM as a reply to Chris André.
You might want to contemplate on the two stanzas of anatta. Good luck!

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/26/17 12:58 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Chris André:
My mind just seemed to want to climb from there, so it quickly went up into the 8th jhana. I only remember the 8th one as really fragile, but now it was easy to stay there. After some time in the 8th jhana a pressure seeking release started to build up in my head.
Ok, wait, what? Tell me about your conception of the 8th jhana or how you judge that you are in the 8th jhana and about feeling your head in it, or anything specific for that matter.

As to feeling ok: how can you distinguish the various form of feeling ok or done or right or whatever from basic cyclic stages such as Equanimity ñana, the nice end of a Review phase, or some other nice, clean, clear mind state?

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/26/17 8:42 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Since I had periodically access to Equanimity for at least 8 years before I got Fruition, I find it pretty easy to solidify that into 4th Jhana, and after stream-entry, my mind started to get even more still, so that from the whole-body attention stillness of 4th jhana, the spacious quality of that experience began to stand out much more, so I could make spaciousness into my main focus, after some time, if my mind is inclined to even more stillness, it seems that I'm holding back my potential for even greater rest if I don't spread out as much consciousness throughout this space as I can, and when even that activity, as it is an activity, starts to annoy me, it is better to just let that go and enjoy nothingness - a quality of not trying to create anything at all, just letting it all go, it feels like it has a quality of going behind, perhaps going behind activity, and when my mind is even ready to leave that behind, it gets to a place where it doesn't need to have any focal point at all, what I think of as 8th jhana. My body usually seems to get more and more erect, and my breath gets very soft and still as I climb higher and higher trough these states. It's not that I don't feel my body, or hear sounds, or think thoughts, because I do, but I experience these states as formless, because the mind is now able to make formless qualities into its main-focus, and the world of form and all that goes far into the background. When this pressure in my head was building up, it was enough to pull me out of making formless qualities into my number one priority, though there is usually a momentum going so I can easily switch back to them, but then my attention will switch back and forth between states of stillness and engaging with some kind of other activity, and that will make it challenging or less natural to absorb into these potentials that are still there but not as potent as if my mind was inclined to just totally dive into them. For me, since I don't have fluency with the jhanas, it seems I can only go into them when my mind has a natural momentum and inclination towards them. If I try to force them, I quickly squeeze the juice out of them and my body-mind system will rebel and give me a mild sort of burn-out.

This feeling of being totally done has happened 3 times now after what I believe was attaining 2nd Path. It doesn't feel like that right now as now there is clearly more work to do, even when I have a nice clean, clear state going. I think of this practice as a kind of exposure therapy, and I could always feel the self-contraction very clearly. When I was working towards stream-entry, it felt when the momentum was getting strong that the distance between the observer and the observed was getting smaller and smaller, and there was like a push to see if I could get them to touch, how intimate was it possible to be with experience, because of the tension in the distance was frustrating, and that would make me like try to grasp the totality of my experience, and when that was grasped, fruition happened and the momentum of that push for release was dissolved. So I'm pretty used to chasing this dualistic tension, much of the time when my mind is not pre-occupied with anything else, I start searching for it and go into it like some exposure therapy where I just have to go into it as much as possible. It is there pretty much all the time, and now it is clearly back again, but during these 3 times that I have felt done, I haven't felt any trace of it, and that is why I have felt done. This inherent problem with the present moment was gone. So the difference between that and other nice, clean, clear states, is that that is my only experience of not feeling afflicted with this inherent tension in the present moment. When I think about it, and remembers back to how it was to feel that it was gone, I almost want to metaphorically scream and shout at existence for putting this strain on me, even if it is pretty mild and subtle compared to most other things. However, at the same time, paradoxically,  I'm glad that it is back, because it is motivating to have something to work on.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/27/17 5:06 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Alright, things with body still present that yet appreciate some of the formless elements of the fourth jhana would be classified by me by notation such as j4.j5, j4.j6, j4.j7 and j4.j8, meaning the formless aspects of the fourth jhana, rather than j5, j6, j7 and j8 proper, just FYI.

Using full-on formless realm terminology for states that have form can be confusing for those who might be thinking you were talking about the formless jhanas rather than some formless jhanic subaspects.

As to the feeling of "done", "this is it", etc., I probably had that a thousand or more times over 6 years as I cycled through something like 27 or so path cycles post 2nd path, and their review phases would be so impressive, so right-feeling, particularly during Review phases when I would get into Equanimity, but they didn't last, didn't hold up.

The real thing holds up equally across all jhanas, all ñanas, all emotions, all qualities of experience, pain, pleasure, all of them sing the same song of the perfect realization of the synchrony of attention and phenomena to the degree that one realizes that they are the same thing and always were. It is metaphorically bomb-proof in that regard as it naturally knows that whatever arises is exactly it.

Trying to make the dualistic gap smaller misses the main point: on what appears to be one side of the gap are sensations, and on the other side of the apparent gap are also sensations, and all those sensations are just fine right where they are doing exactly what they do however they are and know perfectly by themselves as themselves.

Practice well!

Daniel

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/27/17 9:34 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Hello Chris,

Please forgive my intruding here. I tried to PM for this you but somehow I can't find you when I type your name in the message section. Would you mind giving me a description in your own words of your experiences of the first four jhanas? I'm trying to figure these for myself. 

Thanks.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/27/17 12:13 PM as a reply to Ben V..
I tried to PM for this you but somehow I can't find you when I type your name in the message section.
The trick to find the persons PM name is to click of their name and then look at the top at the web address -
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/chrisandre/home
so try PMing - chrisandre
That should do it
~D

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/27/17 4:49 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Thanks for the explanation D!

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/30/17 5:14 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Second part is really great. I get it that probably I will feel "this is it" lots of times, and this is probably only the beginning of that. It is a bit confusing to feel it that strongly, but I guess I'll acclimatize to the overwhelming abundance of good experinces that has happened after stream-entry.

As for the formless jhanas, looking back on what I wrote it might sound as if I was saying that I experienced the formless qualities inside of attention on the body, but I'll have to say that when I go from 4th Jhana to the quality of spaciousness, that sense of spaciousness becomes like a panoramic state far bigger than what body awareness usually is, and the whole sense of the body gets pretty much obliterated by this larger and more simple and still state, meaning the body goes so far into the background of what my focus is (formlessness obliterates form like turning on the light so strongly that all details are lost) that functionally speaking there is no body awareness, but I could easily pick it up again. I can't imagine 5th Jhana being anything else than that, but I can imagine that there is quite a level of variation as to how far one absorbs into that. When I experience that state as fragile it is as if the absorbtion isn't strong enough to completely obliterate out the body, but the panoramic feeling is still much larger than the body, so when that happens it feels like a combination of 4th and 5th. And I think there is like a huge variation as to how I experience these states, sometimes I can fall in and out, sometimes they are really weak and it is a struggle to stay there, sometimes the inclination towards them is so strong it doesn't seem like I have any other choice, and everything in between. Also there is often the frustrating sense of trying to script what I remember from the day before as a really good jhanic state but not quite having the momentum to genuinly get or stay there. I'll check in with a friend who is really good with these states to see what he thinks :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/30/17 5:16 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Great article! Thank you :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/30/17 5:37 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Been going back to basic vipassana the last couple of days. I've been frustrated with both jhana-stuff and "this is it" stuff, as these great experiences are really intoxicating, so right now my desire is just to develop greater sensory-clarity, and I hope to stick with that for a little while.

Life is far better post stream-entry, but having "an overwhelming abundance of cool mystical experiences" can paradoxically be a bit confusing to sort through, especially when they so often give me the sense that from now on life is just going to be smooth sailing and then some sort of suffering hits and still knocks me off balance.

Reminds me that what I still desire most of all it just to feel grounded and at ease with a simple daily life.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/31/17 8:47 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Two days of 45 min with the noting aloud technique, and today I did 45 min with letting go of noting with labels altogether and just went for trying to see the vibrations in the objects of my field of experience and also trying to take the field of experience in its totality as an object. I have some experience of doing vipassana without noting with labels when in High Equanimity, but then it is usually targeted directly at that build up of tension that comes before Fruition. Now I look forward to getting more experience in getting it even wider and more inclusive. Some of the things that stood out as objects:

- that whole sense of trying to get somewhere, the assumption that if I can just grasp this solidly enough then something will happen
- trying to destroy unpleasent objects with the vipassana technique, so I guess there is some aversion in how I apply the technique and I looked deeper at that aversion
- the application of the technique itself, when is the decision to apply the technique made
- focus, where does the focus go and what chooses where it goes
- spaciousness
- aversion, just lots of aversion in general towards this whole field of experience and being part of that
- the desire for reality to become more vibratory, like trying to squeeze it into becoming more groovy
- in general all the squeezing for something to be other than it is going on
- fascination with how much larger the field of experience seems, and wanting it to be even larger
- fascination with the technique seemingly going on by itself effortlessly much of time as I was able to note much of the strain I was putting into it
- and when it wasn't effortless
- speculation and theories about what is going on
- various intentions, like the intention to get it as wide and as inclusive as possible

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/31/17 9:06 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
@DreamWalker: very hip tip about the PM portlet: this has been added above it to help people benefit from your advice.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/31/17 9:08 PM as a reply to Chris André.
@Chris André: When every one of those objects arising in practice and all the rest naturally and gently through direct clear experience give the deep and complete sense that they are intrinsically the answer to the question of insight and couldn't possibly be otherwise, that's the good stuff.

Happy New Year!

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
12/31/17 9:13 PM as a reply to Chris André.
@ Chris André: Formless-ish jhanas are common experiences both in the third and fourth jhanas. Actually, one can get even the first jhana to have formless aspects and even make one's body entirely vanish if one does is to an unusual degree, albeit still with the presence of the effort and the like that the first jhana is defined by. However, true formless realms with body entirely gone are definitely doable, so, again, consider using terminology that reflects that, such as j4.j5 or however you like to designate those, that's just my shorthand for them.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
1/1/18 7:41 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
@Chris André: When every one of those objects arising in practice and all the rest naturally and gently through direct clear experience give the deep and complete sense that they are intrinsically the answer to the question of insight and couldn't possibly be otherwise, that's the good stuff.

Happy New Year!


Thank you! That was a really cool way to put it. I will read it several times :-)

It made me apply vipassana even deeper on all these little impulses wanting to find something somewhere outside of my field of experience, and all the aversion and boredom with the field of experience.

Sat for 1,5 hour today. It is really nice to see that there is so much less fear and reactivity related to vipassananize all that stuff which questions my sense of agency, intention, choice, control and self, and today I just felt like my whole being was a glowing ball of chill vibrating healing-light.

From a Qi Gong perspective, and from Shinzen Youngs perspective on Flow, it seems like even agency, intention, choice, control, self, etc are just "frozen material" that I through vipassana can turn into flowing Qi-energy by tuning into its vibratory qualities. I've been really scaring the shit out of myself because of all these no-self teachings and not wanting to loose my identity and control, but more and more it just feels great to give myself over to these vibrations.

Happy New Year! :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
1/3/18 8:22 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Okei, new year has started, and this strong "this is it" experience has been integrated and I feel more grounded about my practice again. Feels like going back to work after the holidays are over.... :-)

I don't claim 3rd Path anymore. But I do claim 2nd Path. 2nd Path was a pretty quick and simple repetition of 1st Path. But after that things got complex.

For now I'm settling into a daily practice of 45 min straight vipassana per day. Less experimentation with everything else. If I can do vipassana without using labels, I'll continue with that, but if I loose momentum I'll downshift to noting aloud to sharpen things up again.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/3/18 11:52 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Good plan!

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
1/9/18 8:52 AM as a reply to Chris André.
So having a steady practice of 30-45 min per day, alternating between noting aloud and vipassana as choiceless awareness without labels when the momentum is strong enough.

I have been thinking more about why I've been doing this practice for so long, and much of the time, especially when my focus is not immersed within the modern buddhist world and I don't think much about abstract concepts such as enlightenment, it just boils down to this:

Almost every day I experience some sort of emotional pain that is pretty challenging, and it has been like this for as long as I can remember, and the best way I've found to deal with this is to sit down on my meditation cushion and go into the pain, instead of trying to solve it with some kind of external adjustment.

Sort of the same lesson over and over, but in my case, and probably in many others, it needs to be applied as a daily discipline.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
1/9/18 11:38 AM as a reply to Chris André.
It seems like just doing something simple really allowed you to figure out what you want out of practice. Given that intention...


The fact that you can access "the wound" without freaking out means that you have accomplished the first main challenge of meditation that of sensory clarity/equanimity. In my own experience, I really benefitted from slightly more complex meditation frameworks to really tease apart all the different stuff that contributes to the wound. I highly recommend Ken McLeod's "Wake up to your life". That book is full of really powerful exercises. (Or just check out unfetteredmind.org). 

In particular, I would recommend getting really good at the 6 Realms practice, being able to diagnose which realm you are in in real-time and the main motivation behind how the wound shows up at any given time (anger, greed, survival, desire, achieve, maintain - in one way of speaking about it).

Then the 5 Element practice is good for investigating/appreciating/disssolving the pre-verbal reactive urges that "spark" the wound (territorialism, aggression, obsession, paranoia, depression - in one way of speaking about it). 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
1/9/18 7:47 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Transcending Madness, by Trungpa, is a very good book on the six realms, but then it could just be a very simple yet powerful exercise also without all that theory.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/20/18 8:15 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Thank you both for the book-recommandations, sounds like great books. I'm getting so many tools to work with this through the therapist education that I'm doing, so will save them for later, but yeah this stuff about accessing "the wound" without freaking out, that is a way of phrasing it that resonates.

For now I can only say that "the wound" opened up really heavily again, so it is kind of funny to go from such a strong "this is it" experience straight back to good old suffering.

I think at some point one just gets so fed up with all those old strategies of trying to run away from "the wound," so that is where freaking out stops, and a deeper willingness to ride out the processes comes in. Of course there is still freaking out happening, but I see it much more as just some kind of resistance towards seeing the process through.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
1/21/18 6:33 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Totally normal pattern (openness then woundedness/suffering)... it can be depressing, so it's good to remember how far you have come. 

Yeah, it's funny... the running away is so exhausting that at a certain point we just turn around and face it. Basically curiousity and welcoming seems to make the whole thing go better. "I'm so tired of freaking out and yet I don't really know what I'm freaking out about... I'm curious what this really is...."

We basically need all of the negative sensations/urges/emotional as feedback that informs our living, but when they consolidate into a reactive pattern, then it ceases to be helpful. A lot of these habits/patterns formed quite early in life, they seem like who/what we are. But they limit us. So the work of opening up and being present to the wound is unknotting the simplistic/automatic patterns of negative sensations/urges/emotions... and releasing them to be much more nuanced feedback. All throughout practice we develop less all-or-nothing freak out, more nuanced perception and information. 

But doing this means building our capacity to sit with those sensations/urges/emotions. This is basically working at the level of primal repression...  basically the fear of not existing. The basic core feeling of this deep wound is "I can't experience this or I will die."

In the end, it's very much like someone who has grabbed on to a handful of broken glass and sliced up their palm. Obviously the hand is going to squeeze and protect itself, but obviously there is glass in there... and so there is this conflict -- open the hand and bleed to death or keep the hand closed and never let go of the glass.

So (metaphorically) this person goes through life carrying around glass and a damaged hand for their entire life... until they learn to go into the fear of opening the hand... They learn to look at the hand and not freak out. They learn to wiggle the fingers and not freak out. They learn to slightly weaken the grip.... Of course, throughout this whole process, there are mini-freak outs and maybe complete freak outs where the hand squeezes tight again... For example, maybe the person feels circulation returning to the hand and seems like pain, not healing, so the squeeze. Totally normal. But eventually the person opens their hand.... and they see that the glass has been "digested" and the hand has been healed and the thing that was lodged in the hand was actually just the fear of opening the hand itself.

Seeing through the knot of self is very personal, which is why everyone's path is so different. But there is enough of a similarity to the process that guidance can be shared... not specifically of what to do 1, 2, 3... but more like "I can see you strong but afraid, why don't you investigate your wound a little?" and "you seem to be overwhelmed, why don't you close your wound a little and get a little stronger." It's really the person themselves that directs their path. The methods and the intensity of effort follows what they need in the moment, day, week, year. 

Hope this helps in some way!

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
1/21/18 10:58 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Yes, thank you, I like your reflections on this :-)

As I've said before I sometimes wonder if the progress of insight is just some kind of ancient system describing a modern trauma release cycle.

It has been like this for as long as I can remember - openness and expansion releasing new layers of difficult emotions.

Seems like whenever I have managed to process a layer of difficult emotions I'm rewarded by somehow getting high or expansive or anything related to feeling on top of life, and from this openness, which can only be enjoyed for so long, a new layer of difficult emotions is released because somehow my psychological defense system keeping those things suppressed is cancelled out by this openness.

The funny thing is almost always it feels like that openness is going to last forever. Like finally I feel on top of life and there is an unconscious assumption that that is going to last. So that is what I find intoxicating by it.

I think I even used meditation as a way of escaping "the wound," like ok, just drill me solidly into the pain and then I will be rewarded with openness. Might sound skilful in some way, but there was something about the addiction towards expansion I think was unhealthy. Probably it was the lack of willingness to see the suffering also in openness/expansion that made it problematic.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/21/18 3:56 PM as a reply to Chris André.
In my experience, the process of releasing worries and emotional hang ups feels like it is the meat of the enlightenment project.  Each release produces a calmer more blissfull mind and it seems like - ok this is the thing.  Actually, I think the project is to undertsand the nature of reality and the mind and the releasing and bliss and stuff are just side effects of realizing there is nothing to worry about or get hung up on.  Things are perfect right now, even if it feels like shit in your mind and nervous system.  It is a giant hoard of false alarms. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
1/21/18 6:59 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
In my experience, the process of releasing worries and emotional hang ups feels like it is the meat of the enlightenment project.  Each release produces a calmer more blissfull mind and it seems like - ok this is the thing.  Actually, I think the project is to undertsand the nature of reality and the mind and the releasing and bliss and stuff are just side effects of realizing there is nothing to worry about or get hung up on.  Things are perfect right now, even if it feels like shit in your mind and nervous system.  It is a giant hoard of false alarms. 


Amen! :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/26/18 10:45 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Holy moly, this Dark Night stuff, or whatever it is, sometimes hits so strongly it feels like being hit by lightening, or like being burned from the inside out.

The only satisfaction I have right now is making up metaphors for how bad it actually feels.

It is like a total internal freak-out. Everything about my life is perceived as absolutely wrong, has always been, and will always be. My life feels like the doomed wasteland after a nuclear war.

And what an extreme paradox it is that I've been feeling like this the whole day, and when hanging out with friends in the evening I was contributing with alot of positive energy and had a good time externally while feeling like this internally.

I'm like utterly resisting this experience continously trying to force surrender upon it to make it go away.

Helps a bit to write this down.

It makes it possible to admit to myself how totally and utterly I'm resisting whatever is going on right now.


EDIT:

So writing about this helped.

There is my mind only producing "lost and hopeless" type of future-scenarios, and interpreting my whole life through this lense, and then there is the panic I'm feeling based upon this creating some kind of freaked-out search for a desperate solution somewhere, really going everywhere the mind can possibly go, but only being able to find "lost and hopeless" scenarios, so nowhere to find any hope to cling on to, but desperately trying to find something to cling on to.

Was lying in my bed after writing the first part, and it was easier to just let it burn.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/27/18 6:27 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Nice. Yeah, unfortunately the only way we learn to see our clinging is by buying into the drama and then seeing our mistake. Same thing with releasing, the only way we learn to allow impermenance is to resist/fight it and then see our mistake. There is nothing better at showing us the non-tangibility of our thoughts than catastrophizing, believing it, freakingout, and then realizing what we've been doing (and hopefully finding the cosmic humor in it too. It helps to laugh at ourself! emoticon )

It's rough, but it shows us where we need to look and understand.

Best wishes!

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/27/18 11:14 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Thank you :-) Great feedback :-D

Funny when the mind goes into "catastrophe mode."

Today I feel inspired again. My mind often goes into "catastrophe mode," and this is so far the most successful time where I've been able to pick apart what is going on in that mode.

Scrambling around for a solution while still being in panic is what is blocking the experience from being processed.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/27/18 12:38 PM as a reply to Chris André.
I find that anchoring equanimity to something concrete helps to pull me out of panic modes.  So, for instance, if you determine that in a universe where gravity exists then all the stuff that is occuring is just mental churn - no matter how terrifying and painful - then when in the midst of fear or discomfort or panic, you can check to see if gravity exists, and if it does you know to just let the mental churn churn on and you dont have to get wrapped up in it.  I think the Buddha may have used the earth for similiar reasons, if you are still riding the earth through space, then it is all just drama in your head. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/27/18 4:46 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Chris André:
Funny when the mind goes into "catastrophe mode."


When this happens it's amusing to see the so called catastrophe as bait. The mind just loves creating drama so it can be heroic and smart and useful etc, so it creates drama that it can save itself from. But of course it never stops, the princess is always in another castle, a new catastrophe is generated as soon as the last one is resolved (for as long as you continue buying into the drama). Sometimes it feels like someone pushing you in front of a bus, so they can feel heroic and helpful by "coming to your rescue" afterwards and taking you to the hospital.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/27/18 5:55 PM as a reply to Lars.
Ha! Well said Lars emoticon

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/28/18 9:17 PM as a reply to Chris André.
The Pema Chödron books are worthwhile.

My favorite new book: You Are A Badass

Daniel

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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1/29/18 3:14 PM as a reply to Lars.
Angra Mainyu:
Since when you believe in advices given by talking shrooms?


Wait, Terence McKenna was wrong?

Daniel M. Ingram:
The Pema Chödron books are worthwhile.


Agreed, i've only read "When Things Fall Apart", but it helped a lot when I was going through a significant amount of self imposed catastrophe a few years ago. emoticon

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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2/3/18 12:36 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


My favorite new book: You Are A Badass


Cool book. I'm reading it now. Thanks for the recommendation :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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2/3/18 12:55 PM as a reply to Chris André.
So this thread is like an extreme of going from thinking I had attained full enlightenment (which was meant to be explored as an open question, and not as a claim) to some pretty hardcore existential suffering again.

It is funny how extreme these polarities can be. How utterly complete and done I felt when I started this thread, and then just *wham* existential anxiety hit really hard again.

Lost my daily practice during the worst of this, but now I'm back with that again.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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2/3/18 6:11 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Really really really normal, honestly. emoticon

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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2/3/18 8:19 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Hehe, thank you for the support :-)

Yeah, I guess it is pretty normal.

This is the biggest "it feels like I'm totally done" so far.

Perhaps the polarity of it is also more integrated now, and I'm sort of back somewhere in between, but who knows what the next turn will be..... :-)

Anyways, back to work, as always :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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3/25/18 4:50 AM as a reply to Chris André.
So my latest explorations are into loving-kindness meditation. I like the phrases in Jack Kornfields book A Path with Heart very much:

May I be filled with loving-kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.

And then to gradually expand that into "May all living beings be..."

No doubt there has been a lot of pain and suffering on my path, and I think my attitude of "going into the pain" has been beneficial a lot of times, but I also think now I will benefit from cultivating more of a softer and kinder climate in my mind/body.

May all living beings be happy :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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3/25/18 5:44 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Good approach!

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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5/8/18 8:18 AM as a reply to Chris André.
So whatever it was that I felt was being done when I started this thread was being interrupted by me finding out a girl I had a strong crush on had gotten into a relationship, and all the sorrow and grief that was triggered by that (which I think is sorrow and grief stored in my body from much longer back in my history that I just project onto this new episode).

I think I have identified that as my "core wound," some kind of lack of love / unavailabiliy from my mother during childhood, that I somehow was chasing / trying very hard to get, and very often when I like someone in the romantic sense, I project that sort of old pattern over on her, and often they are only partly available due to some sort of emotional stress they are going through themselves, so I end up trying to, or wanting to, find a cure to fix them. Fix them in order to make them able to love me as if my life depended on it. So I keep chasing, and it gets pretty obsessive, and I think it simply just boils down to lack of self-love. So that is my interest these days, giving myself more self-love through meditation, and grieving out whatever is left of that old grief from not receiving enough love and support during childhood.

In the therapy-method I study, gestalttherapy, I think they see this feeling of not feeling "good enough" as the core wound for most people. I can see how that in so many ways have created this "false self" in my own life, some kind of persona I create in my mind that I'm trying to be in order to get acknowledged and loved. It comes in many shapes and forms - the meditator,  the artist, the cool dude, the interesting one, and blablabla. So tired of this stuff. Fritz Peals used to call this self image actualization as opposed to self actualization. It is now fortunately easy to see that all these obsessive tendencies comes from lack of self-love. Even the quest for enlightenment has been largely driven by this obsessive force.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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5/8/18 9:16 AM as a reply to Chris André.
I'm still very much in the middle of working through this stuff myself, but I wanted to share this post by Shargrol that I keep coming back to when dealing with it:

* Ultimately, meditation will point out our very very very basic sense of "woundedness and lack" and shine a big spotlight on it. It will never heal that wound or fill that lack, but rather point out how we were confused in the first place about being wounded and lacking. It's a very strange process to describe, but by going deep into how we relate to the world as self and object, interior and exterior, we eventually see that there is a very basic coping mechanism of trying to put the world "over there" so it can't really hurt us, and me "over here" so I'm in control. The end result is the boundaries become much more porous and flip-floppy and there is a greater clarity and intimacy with what is experienced. It is a bit like waking up from a dream, waking up to the obvious.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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5/13/18 8:17 AM as a reply to JP.
Intereresting and useful quote, thank you!! :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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5/13/18 8:38 AM as a reply to Chris André.
I do all sorts of practices as usual. Now the need for a daily sitting practice has arisen again. Been sitting 30 min per day for 4-5 days now, and will continue with that. Suddenly, something I was totally obsessed with before, but then abandoned, sitting for extended periods in full lotus has now become available. That is pretty rewarding when it comes to working with body, posture and how yoga pratice translates into sitting meditation and vice versa.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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5/13/18 11:20 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Chris André:
...
In the therapy-method I study, gestalttherapy, I think they see this feeling of not feeling "good enough" as the core wound for most people. ...

Every so often, I rewatch this talk just to kind of remind me of the "good enough" idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw3NyUMLh7Y

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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5/22/18 5:37 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thank you! Looks like great stuff!! I will see it when I get my faster connection back :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
5/22/18 6:12 PM as a reply to Chris André.
So I'm working on self-love. My therapist taught me a meditation where I visualize a yellow healing light that fills up my being with love and good stuff. I'm combining this with what I know about jhana-practice, and working with the breath and the qi energies in the body. Focus is on creating well-being for myself and softening up all these rough edges of worthlessness, loneliness, disconnection, desperation, frustration, meaninglessness, bitterness, depression, cynicism, etc. The deeper I go into concentration, there is usually a brightness behind my closed eyelids by itself I don't have to visualize. I try to make this brightness blend together with the breath and qi energies all over the body and make it into one whole thing of self-love, well-being and ease. I've done this lots of times before, but I guess the difference now I've realized the depths and extent to how deep this worthlessness and emptiness I've been carrying around has been, and how much some sort of escapism has been built into my personality structure because of this pain at the core of my being. Well, self-love through this type of meditation seems to do good stuff :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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5/22/18 8:04 PM as a reply to Chris André.
I have found that I could move through deep nasty stuff in my pysche easier the less I "owned it".  It sounds like bypassing, but it is just being rational and buddhist.  All the shit I carried around was conditioned into me, none of it is useful or mine or real.  The more firmly I am in the present moment and non identifying with some Seth character, the easier it is to let the mind go to harder and harder places and just sit with the pain and the thought streams.  If you can face the pain all the way to the end, it never comes back.  Unfortunately, for me, there was a huge huge huge store house of it, and I have had a pretty easy lucky life.  That said, I have gotten through most of it and it feels good to have a mind unafraid of deeply buried emotional mines.  I can hardly explain how much wider my consciousness is and how much more at ease, just from releasing all the delusional baggage I carried - forget being one with anything.   I think this may have been more a note to myself, so sorry for barging in. 

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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6/23/18 1:19 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
Thanks for sharing, I'm glad you did, it was great to read :-D

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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6/23/18 1:25 AM as a reply to Chris André.
So daily practice is still going well. Latest update on the dharma for me is that I've made an increased dharma dedication by quitting alcohol for 3 months (for the whole of june, july and august). I think I want to quit that shit for good, but lets start with 3 months. I don't do any other drugs anymore (I was a psychedelic psychonaut before), and the thought of living a life dedicated to meditation and being completely drug and alcohol free seems more and more appealing.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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6/25/18 8:02 PM as a reply to Chris André.
So feels like it always goes back to vipassana, ie. seeing the vibrations of phenomena. At some point I was particularly inspired by Shinzen Youngs view about the correalations between Qi energy and how the seeing of vibrations through vipassana sort of melts "frozen material" ie phenomena that appears to be solid but isn't, into flowing Qi energy. If I see white light filling up my visual space behind my closed eyelids, or have like comfortable flowing feelings in my body, etc, it all seems related to solid material starting to flow, so I'm back at looking at all this from at vipassana point of view.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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6/27/18 1:10 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Been working night-shift tonight, and there wasn't much to do, so I've had a lot of time to explore vipassana vibrations. I've been particularly interested in vipassanizing whatever sort of resistance I could find towards unpleasant sensations. And also the feeling of momentum, that feeling of "wow, now practice is getting groovy again." The feeling of too much strain in the practice is also interesting to vipassanize. And whatever sense of simply existing being somewhat unpleasent. There is some kind of tension that goes along by simply existing which I like to digg deeper into.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/4/18 6:00 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Meditated for 2,5 hours this morning doing vipassana. Holy moly, there is really some edge to my suffering that goes out when I get a solid enough dose of meditation. There is almost always some painful mental/emotional processing going on (stuck/frozen material that has not yet turned into flow), and by increasing the dose of meditation I get it processed much faster and I get my upper hand back, instead of always lagging behind. Kenneth Folk used to call this "staying in the flow of experience." The way I interpret that is that if I can get all the mental and emotional junk cleared out, then I won't be stuck in old material but instead I'll be ready to meet the present moment with fresh eyes, spontanity and ready to invest in what is going on right here, right now, instead of just struggling to keep my head above water because of so much junk accumlated in my system. Always when I have my meditation practice established as my number one priority I feel at my most powerful potential as a human being. Things are like "I'm fine, I'm OK, I'm catching up with life, I'm at the right place at the right time, I'm developing, I'm having extra mental and emotional capacity for dealing with the ups and downs of life, etc."

It is strange I can still get hijacked, and by that I mean my value system can get hijacked so that the Dharma is not my number one priority but just something I touch by every now and then. Makes me remember something else Kenneth Folk either said himself or he was quoting Bill Hamilton having said:

"Enlightenment is still the best gig in town."

Deciding to give up on alcohol for three months (and most likely for good after that) was really about time. Will I have 1, 2 or 3 drinks 3-4 times a week (and sometimes also getting drunk) to relieve my stress, or will I be forced to cultivate my meditation practice because of not having that substance to rely on? That one was really re-establising what my true values are.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/4/18 9:41 PM as a reply to Chris André.
When you say "lagging behind", what do you mean?

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/7/18 10:12 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
When you say "lagging behind", what do you mean?


Being pre-occupied with challenging mental and emotional processes that takes the focus away from the present moment external situation, like chronic existential crises or processing some difficult situation from the past, and all that. And when I get to some equanimous state it feels like I'm syncing up with whatever is going on in the present moment, not lagging behind anymore. Sometimes it feels like some live-stream video on the internet with too low bandwith, so it starts lagging, but then, when vipassana is dissolving "frozen material" and things starts to flow, things seem to sync up again.

EDIT: Another way I think about it is that these past experiences wasn't dealt with / processed fully while they were happening, so I have to deal with them now at the same time that I deal with new experiences happening in the present moment. And then when I have processed like a good chunk of something, it seems like I temporarily get a pause so I'm free to only deal with new present moment experiences and that feels like syncing up with the present moment, before a new layer of something old comes to the surface again.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/8/18 2:32 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Sat for one hour this morning. I often have a theme going along with my practice, a sentence that I "groove" on. These days it is vipassana as exposure therapy. Just trying to really dig into what is painful right now, whether subtle or gross, and see if I can see the object vibrate. It is an interesting experince when I can get the mind to really stay with something I normally would avoid, or usually only stay with a little while, it is like that painful thing turns into a nexus that I feed on in the sense that staying with that thing turns into something pleasurable.

I could also see before I sat down that I almost didn't sit down today, because now the groove is back in my practice, and then I will typically start to search for something else that brings some kind of newness into my life. But even that feeling/scenario can be penetrated with vipassana, which I intend to do from now on. This ties in with the first part today - this frustrated search for something, anything. It is so exciting to turn that search around on itself and instead try to trace it back to its roots and then to see the frustation turn into something pleasureable.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/8/18 9:25 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Lagging behind is an illusion. Everything is happening now. However, until you realize that whatever sensations that imply "lagging behind" are actually occurring now, they might be able to fool you into believing that such a thing is possible. Thus, investigate carefully the sensations that imply "lagging behind", as you will realize they are always immediate and that they themselves are the thing happening, and they are as valid a thing to happen now as anything else from a vipassana point of view. Best wishes. D

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/11/18 5:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thank you! I love the uncompromising vipassana point of view in that :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/11/18 6:18 AM as a reply to Chris André.
So I'm sitting 45 min per day now. I've been feeling very in the groove lately with vipassana, and the sit today started of as boring and disappointing but I was able to note those feelings and things quickly gained momentum again. One thing I've been thinking these days is that if you want to have enlightenment as your goal in life can you really pursue other things? Like of course I can pick up my guitar every now and then, and now I also need to do some martial arts lessons because of my job, but I'm unsure as to whether I can pursue those things like really dedicately, like that would substitute and get in the way for what I'm really after. BUT, as my typical tendency is to think in extremes like this, I rather just do vipassana on the whole frustration behind the drive trying to figure out such a thing.

Anyways, before I would make this giant mental scenario out of "going for enlightenment" and project all sorts of stuff about what my life would look like if I made that into my mission, and then that would have some crazy swingback creating equally intense projections about the more balanced ordinary life I would rather live, so now it is nice to see that those scenarios doesn't have to spin out of control like they used to. Noting stuff during daily life like this:

"thinking in extremes"
"either / or thinking"
"future scenario spinning"
"searching for some new project"
"dharma people VS. "ordinary" people"
"want to reach a point in life where everything is settled"
"figure out my future"
"figure out anything"

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/11/18 9:05 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Hey Chris,

Resonating here with your last few posts. I think you can absolutely pursue other things as long as they are in harmony with your practice. For instance, recording and performing music was my entire life's purpose, identity, ego, etc. for a dozen or so years. Then the Dharma came knocking on my door. After a few years of pursuing the path, I have recently almost entirely stopped working on music. I began to see the fine impurities in my desire for self-expression and the resulting dissapointment and suffering. Eventually, I know I'll return to creating when it can come from a mindful place that isn't infected with ego-inflation.  

As for the pursuits you mention:  Turn playing the guitar into a meditation. Martial arts is definitely a meditation. I think everyone realizes at some point actually how much traction off-cushion practice can produce. 

Also, I completely understand what you mean by "lagging behind" except I would call it "getting pulled under". As Daniel says "everything happens now". It's not that you are lagging behind, its that your mind is preoccupied fighting the current of ignorance than perceiving how things really are. I just went through about 10 days of this while in a bit of a drinking rut. Thoughts like "what am I doing with my life?", "I'm not good enough" or "shoulda, woulda, coulda's". I very, very rarely think this way when in sober stretches. Alcohol continues to prove, time and time again, that it's detrimental to my happiness and its only recently beginning to really get through to me. I'm happy to hear that you are quitting drinking. Turn those 3 months into a lifetime. Best wishes!  

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/12/18 6:53 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Sat for 1,5 hour this morning. So interesting to sit these days. Well, it started off as not so interesting, but I investigated those not so interesting phenomena, and more importantly, I investigated the resistance towards those phenomena. I think there is much more honesty in my psyche now. Before I would have tried to vipassanize the discomfort away, but now it is much more interesting to look at the aversion to whatever is going on. Also there are many unpleasant memories coming up still, but it is much easier to just allow them to be there and to investigate whatever resistance I have towards them, instead of trying to accept them with an hidden agenda to accept them in order to make them go away. That is like a refinement in my vipassana technique going on, when I can easily turn solid phenomena into vibrations, I also have to vipassanize whatever hidden aversion there is that is part of the drive to vipassanize phenomena. Even though I'm doing a choiceless awareness technique, it still seems driven by some kind of intelligence, a curriosity to catch whatever is escaping under the radar or reveal whatever is my current level of stuckness, like "what am I stuck on right now that I don't see?" Also it seems there is less cathastrophe-thinking going on, and related to that less "heroic dharma warrior on a sacred mission" stuff. Well, it is easier to investigate the phenomena that gives fuel to mental obsessions. Perhaps all mental obsessions are some kind of panic? Painful feelings in the body that one tries to get away from by escaping into mental obsessions? And also related to that is controll. Seems there is less trying to controll my reality, or my identity, to be a certain way, and it is easier to have a more laid-back attitude saying "lets just see what happens." And under all this I have a hidden assumption that says "yes, finally, now I'm getting into balance here," which might not be true at all, or perhaps it is only a temporarily little equanimous phase before I'm shaken up again :-) So that is certainly some kind of fixation I have. Whenever things feel OK I automatically assume I have finally nailed it. Must be some kind of clinging, some kind of fearful voice inside of me saying "Please, Dear Existence, let things stay this way for forever."

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/14/18 2:45 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Sat for 45 min yesterday and 45 min today. Exploring aversion/resistance towards experience a lot, and also aversion and anger in general. Related to the questions in last post "What is flying under the radar right now?" and "What am I stuck on right now?" this question "How does suffering manifest right now?" is also guiding my vipassana technique. Also been studying the "spacing out" phenomena that happens when I loose interest in meditation and starts to drift away into day-dreaming. It seems to happen primarily when I expect my meditation to be something else than what it is right now, so if I can just get a grip on that expectation or resistance or whatever it is, present moment usually becomes interesting again. This has been carrying over to what seems to be less spacing out in daily life as well. Also thinking that now I have a period where I'm "cleaning up" my vipassana technique because my practice has been all over the place.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/14/18 7:24 PM as a reply to Chris André.
Turing attention to the sensations of questioning itself as a felt experience in the body and space can be useful. Keep tracking it back a little longer than you think you should.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/17/18 7:28 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thank you! Great clue :-)

Been sitting for 45 min per day the three last days. Started applying this advice while at work and I started to notice that I was going beyond a lot of this mental activity that I've been focusing on lately and that perhaps a new Equanimity phase was coming up. All of these last three sits has been conforming that, and today during the last sit I was noticing there is still some harshness in my investigation (like I push it too hard), and I made the intention to soften up, and then things started to solidify into 4th jhana again. I forget all about what Equanimity and 4th jhana is during all this mental noise that fills in the majority of time in between the few periods of mental rest I sometimes get in these states. However, I didn't just sit there and enjoyed the concentration, but I continued to investigate and it had a really nice soothing effect on my tendency to investigate too harshly.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/18/18 4:38 PM as a reply to Chris André.
45 min today. Same thing today as usual. First I'm disappointed with the groove not being the same as yesterday, and then I struggle for a little bit trying to get my experience to allign with the memory of how it was yesterday, and then I give up on that and look closer at the disappointment and etc. Today in particular there was a sense of slipperiness that I needed to objectify before my concentration would go deeper. And then gradually I went into Equanimity. Strange thing now is there isn't that sense of a pressure building up that is seeking some kind of release that would lead to the fruitions from 1st and 2nd Path. With 1st and 2nd Path there was like a craving for it to pop, but now it is not quite as obvious that there is anything that needs to pop. Also it is much less easy to get any sense of there being a problem with some split between the observer and the observed, and like I can't really get a hold of such a split. It is like the landscape is much broader, but also like I have more time to explore what is really going on here without there being much of a problem really but still something is not quite right. Anyways, was really nice how quiet my mind would get today as well, and it seems much easier to challenge my sense of agency / controller / observer without becoming very afraid, like it is much more comfortable to look into it.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/18/18 4:43 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Hey Nick,

Thanks for your comment! I'm glad it resonates for you, and a lot of what you write here resonates with me. I was thinking: Why don't you give 3 months without alcohol a try as well? :-) I'm almost 2 months into this now and I enjoy it more and more :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
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7/19/18 9:38 AM as a reply to Chris André.
Sat for 1,5 hour today. Got to Equanimity again, and now this pressure seeking release thing was there, and suddenly it got released. I was wondering if it was fruition but I wasn't sure. Perhaps the effect of fruitions has been a bit washed out. With stream-entry they were a great deal, but now I hardly notice them anymore. Anyways, I also did an hour of yoga today, and I feel great :-) Hurrah for spiritual practice :-)

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/20/18 6:48 PM as a reply to Chris André.
1 hour sit today. Experienced fruition again today (pretty sure now that's what I experienced yesterday). Was a nice effect afterwards, but not sure if there was any baseline change, probably not.

However the most interesting thing today was the extreme resistance I had towards meditation before I sat down. I'm pretty extreme when it comes to changing around with my spiritual practice, and also with many other things in my life, always going in phases where my interests change around all over the place. Fortunately I've had enough experince with vipassana to get a solid foothold with this technique, but still this tendency carries on, and now even though I've decided I want to get really good with this technique, I start to fantasize about other techniques, all kinds of, like maybe I should get really good with the guitar and become a devotional mantra-singer and I start to fantasize about how my life will center around that type of spiritual practice, or what is most recent, as I also do a lot of yoga these days, is that I start to fantasize about basing my practice around physical yoga instead, or maybe I should go back to drinking ayahuasca and build a life around that and blablablabla. Well, probably sounds funny, but this tendency for my mind to go on and on and on and on about this stuff in all kinds of new and creative and ever evolving directions is pretty extreme. So now it is like, fuck, I'm really tired of that shit, and it seems never-ending, so now I really have to seriously like stick with one practice for an extended period of time, and vipassana is what has given me the best results so far, so yeah, I think my primary motivation to write about this process this time is to go beyond this tendency to get pushed around by my impulses like that. So I try to see through this and just note it in daily life like:

"dreaming of some other life-style"
"escapism"
"resistance"
"romantisizing some other practice and/or lifestyle"
"there is something wrong with my life as it is right now" (in whatever flavour that message comes in)
"something is wrong with me"
"something is inherently wrong with me and someone somewhere out there that I haven't found yet knows the answer or can help me"
"I need to get to some kind of finish-line where all my issues are settled"
"I'm fucked"
"dreaming of becoming some kind of multi-artistic multi-talented multi-spiritual genius kind of thing."
"rejecting my life"
"rejecting myself"
"should have / could have / would have"
"if only this or that"
"etc...."

So I've been very grateful for the fact that I actually sat down today even though my mind tried to fool me, and the strenght and focus I've had throughout this whole day has been pretty awesome. When this practice is good, it really feels like I'm living my highest purpose just by walking around being a completely ordinary dude. Why I would sabotage such a cool thing is a mystery to me, but it is fascinating how easy it is to forget how cool it actually is, and here is my attempt to pick that tendency apart.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/20/18 9:37 PM as a reply to Chris André.
I did three months last winter and have taken numerous other one to two month trips on the wagon. I've been drinking less and less over the last few years and realize that if the trend continues, I'll eventually be alcohol free. I've been taking a gentle approach to the whole thing, letting the negative side effects of drinking imprint those experiences on the subconcious mind. This has in turn, made alcohol less and less appealing without having to make forced resolutions that I'll potentially break and feel guilty about later.

It's working because after seeing samadhi and sila backslide due to aformentioned drinking bout, I finally really feel like I've quit for good.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/22/18 11:35 AM as a reply to Chris André.
1,5 hour sit yesterday, and 45 min today. Just continuing to investigate the impermance of the totality of the field of experience. Especially investigating anything that is waiting for some kind of break-through or something else than what is here right now.

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/22/18 12:31 PM as a reply to Chris André.
This may be a silly question but I'm new to Buddhism and haven't made it all the way through MCTB. What is 1st path vs 4th path? Is that stream entry vs. enlightenment?

RE: Chris André working towards 4th Path
Answer
7/26/18 1:42 PM as a reply to ivory.
Yes, stream-entry VS. full enlightenment :-)

I thought perhaps I was experiencing full enlightenment or something close to that, hence the name of this thread, but now I only consider myself 2nd Path. Perhaps it was a preview of what full enlightenment is like, I'm not sure anymore, the landscape after stream-entry (or really after 2nd Path) was as complex as I read about but couldn't quite imagine, but probably it is time to update the name of this thread soon.

On a side-note to that I would say I'm getting to a place where these concepts matter less and less. Stream-entry was totally worth it and was really a big deal, but more and more I'm still just a suffering human being using these techniques to deal with my various forms of everyday stress. Hard to see that anything has really changed, except I have gotten more ordinary and my suffering seems to have gotten more ordinary (at least sometimes, when I'm not in the middle of a new dark night cycle of some kind), so thanks to meditation and psychotherapy I'm more of an ordinary kind of suffering human being instead of some total freaked-out intense spiritual seeker always in panic-mode about pretty much everything except for brief periods of some kind of manic inspiration on some kind of new spiritual, creative or social project.

So things are more ordinary, so perhaps I'm just turning into some normal Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction dude and all of this wasn't really any big deal, except for reducing stress a little bit :-)

Ok, just realized not long ago I wrote this practice makes me feel I'm living my highest purpose just walking around being an ordinary guy and that sounds like more than ordinary, I remember it felt like the ordinary was extra-ordinary simply by the fact that whatever is going on is whatever is going on, so really I have no clue about what is going on here :-)