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Insight and Wisdom

Guidance on early insight stages

Guidance on early insight stages
4/18/18 11:57 AM
I'm renewing my insight practice, focusing on noting. I'm looking for help in recognizing specific experiences as part of the early stages (specifically cause and effect, three characteristics, and A&P when it occurs without the fireworks).

I've listened to a number of interviews Daniel has done, and several comments that he's made have been very helpful to me in recognizing characteristics of the stages. For instance, he has said (paraphrasing):
  • When you have the experience of thoughts or emotions appearing, and can "step back" and see them as thought or emotions rather than being caught in the experience of them, that's a typical experience for mind and body.
  • When you have the experience of your attention "interfering with" the natural occurrence of the breath and you start to wonder, "how do I notice the breath without disrupting it?", that's a classic way that cause and effect can manifest.
I'm looking for similar descriptions in the early stages to help orient my practice. I've read through the descriptions in Daniel's blog as well as the Progress of Insight and MCTB, but I found those descriptions more theoretical and less mundane than the examples I cited above.

To set the context for this question, I would self-diagnose my practice as somewhere in the cause and effect/three characteristics territory. I've had moments in which I experienced odd twisting body sensations that seem to match the three characteristics descriptions, but I don't get to that experience in the majority of my sits. I have clearly gone up through A&P in a stage of practice many years ago (after learning about the corruptions of insight, I read through that list and it was almost a checklist of my experience, and I could clearly identify strong three characteristics elements immediately before the breakthrough as well), but I lost touch with my practice for several years and I'm pretty sure I've regressed back to the start rather than getting into the dark night.

RE: Guidance on early insight stages
4/18/18 12:27 PM as a reply to Colin.
Thanks Colin,

Great questions. I’m in much the same position and following this thread with interest.


RE: Guidance on early insight stages
4/19/18 4:16 AM as a reply to Colin.
Wecome Colin!

I am not the sharpest tool, you can call me dumb! Is your question related to mapping? If yes, first of all it is additional suffering that if anything, drags us back from progress. Note all these stuff as: Analysis, planning, mapping, etc. and go on and about. Reacting to them is unnecessary suffering.

BUT you should know where you are FROM solid practice. This means you have enough before/now/after information to be able to recollect and interpolate very accurately where you are on the maps during the very short reflection sessions that you will have. You have not revealed such information now from perhaps not having strong enough consistent practice for the maps to reveal themselves, most naturally. Striving to be mapped without such information is asking for it. Also, there is no comfort in resting in a mapped location. It is a fake refuge, not reality. Sorry!

The 3 characteristics are plain to be seen, there is no need to struggle to see them, they are everywhere. See them whenever you are dissatisfied, when you think you are a permanent self, debunk them where you have failed to debunk them in all day living. Ring an alarm to call for the dharma whenever you feel uneasy. Feel the ease of resting in the knowledge of the 3Cs. See that thoughts are subtle sensations in space, so treat them as equally as the sound you hear. Emotions are thoughts with a physical aspect, locate that. See that they are small when you place them in the totality of all experience in any given moment. 

Yes the instructions are so simple that one think that it cannot be so dumb. But it is. All we need is to stick our arses to it and keep going...

All the best! emoticon

RE: Guidance on early insight stages
4/19/18 4:19 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Thank you Yilun Ong. You really nailed it for me! Much appreciated.