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The Middle Paths (2nd and 3rd)

Possibility of hitting third but not realising

I have been hesitant to write this due to wondering about reaching third path previously and it not being the case, and do not want to make any claims that lower the quality of attainment diagnosis, so discussion is encouraged, if just to maintain the high standard of dharma currently on this site.

I feel like there's not much to say here, experience tends to show for itself, however my map hungry intellectual mind bears onward.

I don't remember any fruition. In fact I merely remember a direct realization of clinging to experience, or lack of. Things were allowed to happen as they are. Not sure how this felt especially profound. It just was, however there wasn't any wierd states except a simple no self. Still happening.

My centerpoint is gone by default. I didn't realise it until putting my mind on it, but there is little natural boundary defining inside and out, there is a sense of me, but it is exactly the same sense that one would attribute to experience itself. Out of curiosity and maybe habit, there is intellectual inquiry on this matter,  (path or no path) which when done seems to artificially invoke an inherently stressful sensation that COULD appear to encapsulate this idea, but doesn't. It just happens.

It's not that there is this weird transcendent vibe of no self, with myself or others, it's just that it doesn't need to happen. I'm having conversations with people, but there is just the experience of conversion, no need to create more information than needed, though it does happen sometimes out of habit, and the stress is seen almost immediately.

Last night I had a trip to the beach  with my girlfriend, we had some weed (naughty, just bought some CBD oil for her though), and as the customary dark night experience happened, there was an initial struggle, but somehow, for once it didn't matter. A transcendent level of equinamity instead of what would be just"bearing" strong chaotic vibrations. Shortly after, during driving, I hit 4th jhana with formless aspect spontaneously Arising (weird and very unnerving when driving due to lack of control!). Letting go of certain aspects of experience have just become more natural. There's an intuition that all my constructs of reality are just that, constructs. everything is a lot less personal, impersonal except for the personal aspect that it is being experienced.

It feels like a review phase in the sense that there is some sense of completeness to ou. While I'm not sure what,. There is a sense of more work to be done, not including the fetters.

Descriptions of luminosity continue to elude me, however there is little more to the current experiences of the senses other than that they are known, with an observer ghosting in when logic calls for it. This observer is both me and not me. The sense is intangible, and effort to grasp.

There are still emotional feelings, and also anxiety when trying to conceptualise phenomenologically, along with clothes of"self" that don't fit properly, but it feels like a Dependant Origination to nowhere.

Finally, this morning, I woke up feeling worse for wear from last night's late night weed antics, guilt was briefly present, but not owned, but there was a much greater ability to get on with the day, and not be so self absorbed as I would be normally.

I've read through all the third path threads countless times, but yea, they don't quite answer my own experience. What do people think? It followed a period of meditational hopelessness, where I felt no amount of practice or bearing with this was going to get anywhere.

I was unsure whether to put this in claim to attainments or not. Sorry if it's in the wrong pleas, thanks!

RE: Possibility of hitting third but not realising
2/17/18 12:39 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
I will just pick up the clues now with no garantue emoticon
Centerpoint nearly gone - sounds like 3rd.
Spontanious jhanas with formless quality - also more likely after 3rd, I think.
sense of completeness - I can relate to this for 3rd as well. Feeling of coming back to "normal", more settled, ground.

What can you find when looking for a "dualistic split"?

RE: Possibility of hitting third but not realising
2/17/18 3:39 PM as a reply to streamsurfer.
Thank you for replying. I tend to be cautious with pointers whilst high as they are a poor reflection on my mind's typical properties, however, peak level of insight and how insight material is approached make it useful at times in negotiating future territory. The act of taking my body of homeostasis, and being selective to reality is definitely not helpful though lol. Being selective didn't quite happen this time. 

I'm also hesitent to take my claims seriously due to the amount I've read on the matter, however, there does seem to be a deepening to the moment. I'm assuming it can take the mind a while to settle into this. In fact it's quite a wild feeling at times when it sinks into new conceptual parts of mind. Wierd and slightly rapturous off the cushion experience. I've experienced this before, but fleeting, this is more of a direct baseline equivalent.

In answer to your question, I find the mind seeking (which is still vaguely seen as self in the fact I happen to be experiencing it, but it is arising of its own nature). In response there are sensations that imply a dualistic split the same as before, but they are seen as sensations arising where they are, then disappearing naturally by themselves. Normally there are more fabrications that continue by themselves including discursive thoughts.

I'm in some joyous awe right now, quite confused, it just makes no sense, but I'm aware that's the point, and maybe that is one reason why it can be so hard to accept.

What I don't understand is why I didn't notice any blip.

There are thoughts like "now what", which normally happens in review for me, which I believe are the result of hyped up delusions on what path might be. But I clearly see how any idea on how things could or should be are delusion, and this confusion, lack of tangible self is ''love" and it could probably be the most permanent thing that has suffused my experience, this time I don't want to run. (Minus the 31 years momentum and karma that has accumulated thus far.

EDIT: definitely the feeling of coming back to normal. Like it doesn't matter where I am, practice is simply a karmic desire to calm down the delusions a bit. Like an inevitable "enough is enough" on the mind front. And there is no need to be scared of things like"not doing the right things in life" etc

EDIT 2: Been cycling today. Whilst on my bicycle ironically ;) it smells of doubt and uncertainty, a cloud of many thoughts dependent on one another undermining any attempt to concretise what is happening. It has probably arisen due to this too.

This may get put in the practice log after a bit as it's the most I've wrote on my practice the last 2 weeks. 

RE: Possibility of hitting third but not realising
2/18/18 1:04 AM as a reply to Dom Stone.
The path models can scale to measure varying scopes of development.  One person's 3rd path will be another ones first.  The center point is an onion with many layers.  The subject can seem to drop out yet there are many more unseen filters.  There are myriad nondualities which need to be stabilized if one wants to meet the strictest criteria for insight attainments.  Then nonduality alone is not enough.  Even in that realization there is an experience of space.  At some point space collapses & all points know all other points equally, from a unified fulcrum of information.  

This doesn't begin to discuss cleaning up emotions & conduct.  To me, all of this begs the question - what's 3rd path? 

RE: Possibility of hitting third but not realising
2/18/18 3:26 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Interesting. Well path models are increasingly being seen as a crutch, a rather pervasive duality that itself needs to be shed, though I'm guessing that eventually as this all becomes integrated properly, the sensation of something being 'shed' refers to yet more duality. Once my mind gets sick of this perpetual game of whackamole, there is obviously stress in this, it will simply begin to stop caring whether emptiness is seen or not which I'm assuming is the road to 4th.

I read a thread made years ago, and it mentions how some people haven't had a cessation and how it was more of a 'aha that's how it is, and I can relate to this. It was a matter I have been approaching off and on for a while now, it just so happened that something clicked that time.

The biggest part for me is the concentration boost and mindfulness being much easier to maintain. It is like the resolution that has been turned up through practice now stays with me. My stories still exist but they have little hold over me unless I am in a stimulating position, but I now have the opportunity to see it as a welcome blockage to be overcome (though in reality, there is still a considerable amount of resistance).

Good question. "What is 3rd path" feels like a koan to me. I could provide you my interpretation on what I believe it is, and it will be recognised as based upon MTCB with the intentional exclusion of the fetters for simplification, though I get the feeling this means nothing and your question means more as a koan!

Right now I am just grateful I have such a wonderful opportunity to lessen my suffering in such a way and hope to be more incremental in helping others lessen theirs when or how I am able.

RE: Possibility of hitting third but not realising
2/18/18 1:55 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Wow Pawel that is very lucid thank you and drew my awareness to possibilities unthought of. The immediacy of Jhana of cool and totally comprehendible. My mind is quite blown right now and it all needs time to sink in! ItsI like there's so many possibilities and up until now, I've spent my life putting them into boxes so they can be conceptualised and called upon, and it is like God had just come along and rooted up all the boxes and the contents are everywhere, right where I can see them. I don't need to find words for all this thank goodness because if I did, I would be generating so much suffering! Your first paragraph really resonates. It renders the fetters impersonal. I guess that's why there's no longer a 'need' to get pleasure this way. And the lack of piti is almost strange, but cool. My head is hollow now! Hehe.

Experimenting with bliss on different parts of my body.. it's interesting how the bliss is clearly not in the body, but just a feature of awareness that happens to manifest as the body at the time.

RE: Possibility of hitting third but not realising
2/18/18 4:32 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Oh right! Oops. I get it intellectually, and have been fascinated by your descriptions in the past, despite it being very far from the knowledge I have been used to. I can see how, being brought up with western science, I could still widely misunderstand these factors and guess it pays to never take any belief for granted in case I am limited by them.

It will be nice when this mind has integrated all the recent insight material to save any wasted energy and to continue the good path. Will practice just absorptions tomorrow. Thank you very much for your advice =)

RE: Possibility of hitting third but not realising
2/19/18 5:47 AM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Models vary in how helpful they are for various people and various circumstances. They often work better in the traditional practice contexts for which they were designed and in which they were tested. The farther one gets from those, the more it can be tricky to see how they apply.

Still, there are various axes of development that can be developed.

Imagine an axis that represents the degree to which all sensations naturally self-liberate, meaning that the recognition of their true nature co-arises automatically as part of their immediate occurrence, meaning that they are naturally known to be known where they are, by themselves, to arise perfectly causally without any agent, doer, controller, or separate knower of them or in them.

We can try to place marks along this axis and label them as paths, and there is some utility in doing this in the right context and regarding the right practitioner, but, for those that are coming up outside of an intensive training situation or by some alternate path, some of the standard marks might not be as useful.

Using a path model when there isn't even recognition of such things as Fruition and the like might not be as useful.

Stll, the general direction of development and that it can be developed all the way to 100% perfection of the direct knowledge of all sensations being the answer to the question of vipassana are worth considering as a guide to recognizing what might need additional clarity and to motivate one to realize that it is possible and doable in this lifetime.

In all map endeavors, watch for the standard mimics, Equanimity ñana for high paths, the A&P for Equanimity or Stream Entry, Formless Realms for Fruitions, etc., as these are so commonly misdiagnosed that this misdiagnosis should be considered normal.



RE: Possibility of hitting third but not realising
2/19/18 1:25 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Yes actually, thank you. I guess with goal oriented practice, such models provide motivation at the start, followed by reassurance during the middle paths when there is still a lot of resistance to emptiness. It can be easy to overlook the 3 characteristics of something that is viewed as a source of comfort, especially when it defines a sense of progress. This means they eventually need to be shed similar to how the significance of the ñanas need to be shed in order to separate from the mental sensations that arise with them. 

This doesn't explain how such a dramatic change in the relationship with 'self' can be radically altered in a moment, though I assume a lot of time is spent priming the mind until a change of lineage moment can occur. In reflection, I can identify with all 3 characteristics during this 'more profound' moment that has closely resembled previous experiences, but with total acceptance of them rather than clinging on to fabrications outside the scope of my awareness. At this point of total impermanence, mind can come to the unmistakable conclusion that there is no ground here to root itself in anymore, so such distortions can be deleted.

I wonder if it's possible to have a change of lineage moment not followed by a cessation moment.