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Seasons of Practice

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Seasons of Practice Noah D 4/21/18 9:55 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice Bigbird 4/22/18 1:56 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 4/22/18 7:59 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Daniel M. Ingram 4/22/18 8:35 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 4/22/18 10:40 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Noah D 4/26/18 1:22 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice seth tapper 4/25/18 5:32 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice Andromeda 4/27/18 5:49 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 4/27/18 9:39 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Andromeda 4/28/18 6:09 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Yilun Ong 5/1/18 4:23 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 5/1/18 5:31 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice shargrol 5/1/18 7:00 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 5/1/18 7:56 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice shargrol 5/1/18 8:09 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Yilun Ong 5/1/18 10:42 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 5/2/18 5:17 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Yilun Ong 5/1/18 10:32 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 5/2/18 5:40 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Yilun Ong 5/2/18 7:21 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Andromeda 5/2/18 10:33 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Yilun Ong 5/2/18 5:09 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 5/2/18 8:49 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice Andromeda 5/3/18 8:47 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Chris Marti 5/4/18 12:44 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice Andromeda 5/4/18 8:28 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 5/2/18 8:48 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice Andromeda 5/1/18 9:09 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Bigbird 5/1/18 2:53 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Tashi Tharpa 5/1/18 5:04 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice terry 4/25/18 3:57 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice T DC 4/25/18 10:48 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice JohnM 4/25/18 11:59 PM
RE: Seasons of Practice Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/13/19 5:22 AM
RE: Seasons of Practice Noah D 1/14/19 9:07 PM
Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/21/18 9:55 PM
Prag dharm has the striving element.  When people get together to discuss it, that is inevitably present at one point or another.  Typically, members of the "mushroom culture" dismiss mapping, striving & the technical approach entirely, as missing the point.  That is a mistake.  Mapping is only a problem when it interferes with actual practice.  If one is following instructions on the cushion (or off the cushion if that's your thing), than mapping is not occuring at that time.  The practice time is what makes the difference.  These observations are all based on direct experiences.

So this striving, comparing mind inevitably shows itself when people gather for prag dharm.  It is typically present alongside comraderie, warmth, cheerleading, peer coaching, academic curiosity & lots of other great ingredients.  What I've come to see is that the antidote for striving is not overemphasizing individual practice sessions, weeks or months.  The following ideas, including the one I just mentioned, come from dharma friends, not from me.  But I am adding in my own understanding to this.  

Daily practice is like weather.  It goes up & down.  Weather doesn't matter.  You can't let the weather affect your decisions on a daily basis.  In many regions of Earth, that would render normal schedules impossible.  In the same way, you can't let the weather of your practice sway your determination.  

Monthly & yearly practice is like the seasons.  They are more predictable.  They come & go in much more of a regular pattern.  The seasons are reliable.  In the same way, you've never gotten worse at something you truly practiced.  If one is actually meditating, applying the technique repeatedly, it is literally impossible for there to not be progress.

This brings the question to mind: what about the rates of progress?  Some are making it faster than others.  This is where "right view" comes into play.  Karma is a thing, people are in there various positions with their characteristics.  If there is a true, heartfelt rejection of one's position, that will tend to interfere with the application of a meditation technique (not in all cases). 

One of the things that comes up is that some people don't go through the nanas.  Or they go through them in a way that's a lot different from everyone else who is talking about them.  Or a kundalini yoga person will not understand the language of the jhanas.  Yet when they describe their experiences to me, those strata of mind are obviously there.  This is where the seasonality comes in. 

Encouraging each other to tune into the meta-patterns of practice, talk about them, identify them, treasure them, is encouraging (in a group way) on this journey.  Some people may not have identifiable cessation experiences.  If the group is only every acknowledging cessations as the things which provide permanent relief from suffering, those people will be super alienated.  It's better to look for the map that is true to that person's experience.

However, this only applies to people who are really fucking practicing.  Serious, diligent application of technique, day over day, for years.  Otherwise, you do get "mushroom culture" or some vague, new-agey shit if you get a bunch of people in a room all spouting their own philosophy without actually describing their experience within individual meditation sessions over time.  However, the language people use to describe their direct experience might not be straight out of a Mahasi monastery.  It might be relational, intuitive, devotional, technical, mappy, energetic, etc.  All of those are valid in my opinion.

To conclude - applying the mindset of practice seasons & not of practice weather, is one possible antidote to the sense of jealousy or inadequecy that can arise when folks get together to discuss hardcore meditation.   Just wanted to throw that out there.

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/22/18 1:56 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Hi Noah,
             When i read Daniels explanation on the mushroom culture, to me this appeared as something about Daniels personality. I thought he was after conceptual understand and kept getting a Goenke type response which rubbed him up the wrong way. 
I know a Sri Lankan Monk he is the Abott of his monastery now. He is also the meditation teacher. He would take groups of monks over to the same teacher as Daniel, for many years. He doesn't talk maps. At EQ he has a small book. He is big on striving. Strict Forrest, 14 hours a day thats not retreat. His striving is perfecting the practice. Ive listened to the Sri Lankan lays ask hundreds of questions. His striving is clear, its perfection of morality, concentration, wisdom also metta. He expects the meditator to know the object, sense facility, contact, feeling and to break contact or stay with feeling or if they continue through the chain, discuss the experience working backwoods. He would rather striving for this level of mindfullness, or some other aspect-but not attainment. His words, prioritise the mindfullness. The direct experience, after direct experience, after direct experience using the conceptual mind to perform an analytical but non conceptual practice. People word this differently, but  Satipathana is not about collecting information, yet thats what people do. I was told to use wise attention to stop any conceptual knowledge creeping in. This monk would say if it has no value in the practice don't entertain it. So prioritise the mindfullness also mean't use wise attention to not entertain what is not for the practice. He would say you will be enlightend in this lifetime.

So thats another way someone looks at it. There are many different views. This is not about better, this is a Mahasi variety, also. I find the mushroom culture idea has one aspect that is legitimate, one that is based on no understanding, and one that is a negative state of mind from the processor. If i had clear examples of what this mushroom has done, i would have a better understanding.

In the POI, the process of cycling through the nanas. Rather than the map. Rather than the name of the stage. Rather than the ceasation. Rather than A&P. Using Dissolution to the end of Reobservation. Whats happening? What part do the nanas play? When its rough and you can't get through. Whats causing it?When the nanas become a walk in the park. Why did that happen? Point it out?
This is not a challenge. I find this more interesting than the maps. Maps are just descriptions, this is an understanding. There may be many understandings or only one that is correct. So as i said this is not a challenge. I want to hear your opinion. If the dharma you discuss, doesnt have an opinion on this. Present you best idea.
                                                With Thanks.

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/22/18 7:59 AM as a reply to Noah D.
I like the weather and seasons analogy. Maybe we could also think of individual practioners as being a bit like geographies, which can help explain some of the variation in rates of progress and individual experience. 

Let's say you have a yogi whose parents were both abusive, narcissistic alcoholics. They alternated between ignoring the yogi and harshly criticizing him. An alcoholic himself in adulthood, he feels unworthy to the core, physically unattractive, and has never been on a date. This is a tough geography, right? A barren, Namibia desert. On the one hand, this intense pain is a great spur to practice. On the other, the tendency toward spiritual materialism, bypassing/escapism, striving, etc., could be a lot worse in a person like this. The world of jhanas, nyanas, nirodha, etc., could seem awfully attractive as a way to get out of the suffering he's experiencing. However, the tough reality is that the only way to nibbana is 'the way through.' Unconsciously, the yogi might be quite resistant to this. I mean, when the dam breaks it ain't going to be easy. So this person might have a lot of developmental work and healing to do, years and years of it perhaps, before the quenching rains can come.

On the other hand, it's not hard to imagine a tropical paradise type of geography: the St. Croix practitioner. Her parents were both developmental psychologists who were just awesome to her. She grew up in a peaceful, stimulating household full of love and safety. She's super-smart, sensitive and disciplined. She found mundane reality lacking at Stanford, discovered vipassana practice and hit the cushion in earnest. A person like this might find it much easier to relax, let go and embrace the Three Cs. She's not having to work through immense samskaric sludge and self-deception like Namibia guy.

I think this is why the personal stories of practitioners can actually matter when it come to rates of progress. I once talked to a guy who had done more than 20 Goenka retreats. That is great if you're more on the St. Croix end of things, but if the whole point is to escape the world and run, run, run from your own pain, it's possible that you could do that much practice and still be kind of be stuck in certain fundamental ways.  

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/22/18 8:35 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Nice points.

Just adding a link to the chapter “A Clear Goal

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/22/18 10:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"...if you understood your actual reality right now clearly enough to get to the root of why you were doing all of this and where all this motion of mind comes from, you would be highly realized. You would penetrate to the heart of compassion and suffering, of ignorance and emptiness, and be finally free."

Yes, it's all there in MCTB, laid out clearly and compassionately. 

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/25/18 3:57 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Prag dharm has the striving element.  When people get together to discuss it, that is inevitably present at one point or another.  Typically, members of the "mushroom culture" dismiss mapping, striving & the technical approach entirely, as missing the point.  That is a mistake.  Mapping is only a problem when it interferes with actual practice.  If one is following instructions on the cushion (or off the cushion if that's your thing), than mapping is not occuring at that time.  The practice time is what makes the difference.  These observations are all based on direct experiences.

So this striving, comparing mind inevitably shows itself when people gather for prag dharm.  It is typically present alongside comraderie, warmth, cheerleading, peer coaching, academic curiosity & lots of other great ingredients.  What I've come to see is that the antidote for striving is not overemphasizing individual practice sessions, weeks or months.  The following ideas, including the one I just mentioned, come from dharma friends, not from me.  But I am adding in my own understanding to this.  

snip


This brings the question to mind: what about the rates of progress?  Some are making it faster than others.  This is where "right view" comes into play.  Karma is a thing, people are in there various positions with their characteristics.  If there is a true, heartfelt rejection of one's position, that will tend to interfere with the application of a meditation technique (not in all cases). 

snip

Otherwise, you do get "mushroom culture" or some vague, new-agey shit if you get a bunch of people in a room all spouting their own philosophy without actually describing their experience within individual meditation sessions over time.  However, the language people use to describe their direct experience might not be straight out of a Mahasi monastery.  It might be relational, intuitive, devotional, technical, mappy, energetic, etc.  All of those are valid in my opinion.

To conclude - applying the mindset of practice seasons & not of practice weather, is one possible antidote to the sense of jealousy or inadequecy that can arise when folks get together to discuss hardcore meditation.   Just wanted to throw that out there.


aloha noah,

   I haven't checked out your pragmatic dharma sessions; you guys may play too rough for this child. I haven't taken a psychedelic in 40 years but I suspect I would be 'grandfathered in' to the ""mushroom culture"".

   You first opine that people should not emphasize their practice sessions over time, and then you say that they should.

   You ask about "rates of progess" and note that "some are making it faster than others." In the old days the masters spoke of "striving" in the sense of striving against one's own doubts. Now it seems many meditaters compare their results to those of others, and consider this competition "striving" in a positive sense. In this competition, I imagine that some gain personal satisfaction, while others feel depressed, like they are losers. My brother when a youth went to the dog track and won $800, when this was a lot of money. For the next couple of years he lost thousands trying to recoup that initial feeling of delight, of being a winner.

   When I enter the 1st or 2nd jhanas (all I will admit to), I feel great, I'm pleased and happy, but when it dissipates I don't regret it; it comes and goes in formal meditation and nothing I do will affect it. Meditate more, perhaps; but frankly it is not all that special, compared to the natural paradise I live in. The non-jhana portions of my meditation are just fine. I'm not competing with my former self, not striving to *be* something I am not. (According to the ttc, the greatest of diseases is wanting others to see you as more than you are.)

   I see a lot of jealousy and inadequacy causing real pathologies in people conditioned to think they can earn enlightenment through specific efforts. In my view, the dhamma cannot be adapted to western-style competiton (though it is evident indian, tibetan, chinese and japanese practicioners all competed heavily and also suffered from it - too much testosterone, I expect).  I find myself emphasizing that "consciously doing the best you can" is all that can reasonably be required of anyone, and that any attempt to "give 110%" can only cause frustration. and unnecessary setbacks. Sometimes very little progress is made; sometimes we go backwards for a time. Any amount of anxiety or grief over a lack of progress is too much, and only makes it harder to get back on track, on the Way. All that is not utterly futile is to pick ourselves back up and press on in as close to conscious awareness as we can muster. Comparing our progress to that of others can only lead to aggression, deception and bad feelings. And worse, to the saddest sort of psychic self-mutilation and self-cauterization. Without careful guidance, specific instructions can lead to dismal results in those encoraged to expect complete mastery and the end of all unhappiness in short order, like baking a cake. (Such instructions might be better offered to a smaller group than the general public. The continuous feedback could help greatly.)

   The other comment in that significant paragraph was that a "heart-felt rejection of one's position" can tend to "interfere with the application of a meditation technique." People are attached to their positions, and this is where tact and skillful means come in. It often occurs that people are entrenched in "positions" that are stale if not actually rotten. Sticking to a technique in order to attain enlightenment is like polishing a tile thinking it will one day be a mirror. Even so, if someone is happy with their practice and they are shaken from their simple delight in it by authoratative mumbo jumbo, it is a pity and a shame. (Some people unconsciously know that they are in a rut and need to become more humble to break through, but will resent this being pointed out. Again, tact and skullful means tend to avoid outright confrontation, where everyone bleeds. It's a fine line. Razor's edge.

   In the end, the only *real* technique is the practice of the brahmaviharas in real life. The "real" (political, practical, socially active) practice is anarchic revolution, leading to a god-centered theocracy. The buddhas need no precepts, they neither keep them nor break them. Where there is no greed and aggression there is no fight and no blame. To practice in this "real" political sense is to "dare not to be ahead of others." To accept being insignificant. To speak little and say much. It is not the words we can say, the ideas we can generate, the attempts we make to teach and to lead others - it is not the "content" but the "medium" that "is the message." We need to concern ourselves with being the best person we can and give over trying to change the world - other beings - to suit us. "If you wear shoe leather, the whole earth is covered in leather." The attempts people make to teach each other are so ubiquitous that even casual observations made by casual observers are taken for "teachings" and revered or resented by turns. We read teachings that are all so directed as instructions that we tend to become instructional also when we parrot them, assuming for ourselves a status ("teacher") that can feel quite pleasant to the ego. Problems (attachments) arise when our words have been set in stone but our minds change and grow, so that we feel compelled to defend our former words despite the irresistable tendency of our minds to move on and find new words. If we can see people caught up in these difficulties with compassion, sometimes we may be able to help. At least we are assisted in recognizing these tendencies in our own practice.

   As long as each of us represents a unique view and thinks that their practice is the "one way" that will lead to enlightenment, we have the tower of babel, each speaking their own language only to their own partisans. Heraclitus says, "Listening to the Logos and not to me, it is wise to agree that all things are One." In the delusion of ego, each wants to teach the other, for praise and gain. The teachers claim if you follow their rules, you will attain; if you do not attain, you are to blame for not having worked hard enough, since the rules are perfect because I created them. The newbies see with open, innocent eyes. That is why I say the two cannot be distinguished: if anything the newbies are the more advanced. So heraclitus says, don't listen to me, the man like yourselves conditioned to speak thusly; listen to the Logos, the tao, the nature of everything hidden in all things, and know yourself to be one with all, not less and not more, not independent and not dependent, indistinguishable from Us.


terry


(tao te ching, trans gia fu feng)

Thirty-two

The Tao is forever undefined. 
Small though it is in the unformed state, it cannot be grasped. 
If kings and lords could harness it, 
The ten thousand things would come together 
And gentle rain fall. 
Men would need no more instruction and all things would take their course.

Once the whole is divided, the parts need names. 
There are already enough names. 
One must know when to stop. 
Knowing when to stop averts trouble. 
Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.

 




Sixty-seven

Everyone under heaven says that my Tao is great and beyond compare. 
Because it is great, it seems different. 
If it were not different, it would have vanished long ago.

I have three treasures which I hold and keep. 
The first is mercy; the second is economy; 
The third is daring not to be ahead of others. 
From mercy comes courage; from economy comes generosity; 
From humility comes leadership.

Nowadays men shun mercy, but try to be brave; 
They abandon economy, but try to be generous; 
They do not believe in humility, but always try to be first. 
This is certain death.

Mercy brings victory in battle and strength in defense. 
It is the means by which heaven saves and guards.

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/25/18 5:32 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
I think healing and therapy and other modalities can rightfully be called delusional bypassing.  These stories we are tangled in are simply untrue and trying to work through them will actually reify the sense of a distinct spirit driver self that lies at the root of all our drama. 

Some kind of Jhana practice or Yoga practice which allows the nervous system to unwind with out having to replay every single damn story and come to resolution on each one is probably needed for most people with the kind of muck I know I had when I started. 

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/25/18 10:48 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Gold post Noah!

I think the thing that is most important to me with pragmatic dharma is the idea that progress in meditation - decreased suffering, mental emotional and otherwise - really can occur, and that it occurs in a step by step fashion that, with hard work, is highly attainable. 

Maps really helped me to narrow down my practice objectives, but in pragmatic dharma there are sometimes so many different ideas I find genuinely cohesive discussion challenging to achieve, though it is interesing to see many different view points.  Frankly, what it comes down to is that mapping is often, inevitably, a highly personal experience.  

As you said, what really matters, what really drives the discussion foreward is people with serious practices who are open minded enough to question traitional ideals and engage in open discussion around some potentially pretty 'out there' subjects.  I agree, with a dedicated practice it is likely impossible to not progress, but to add, I think an open attitude that belives in the potential for genuine attainment and meditative progress can majorly open doors in meditation.

So enters the striving attitude, and for the better to some extent.  After all, we are here striving to geuinly overcome our suffering.  In meditation, techinique and diligence is 90% of the battle, but realistic striving for progress can majorly help to fuel the type of dilligent practice that creates results, and well trodden and discussed maps can help to clarify the realistic aspect, and inspire the striving.

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/25/18 11:59 PM as a reply to T DC.
How refreshing these perspectives are. As a "seasoned beginner" with decades of involvement with varieties of traditional and non-traditional orthodoxies (the latter often being the far more soul-crushing and toxic), every viewpoint and assertion that speaks to earned expertise freely shared, practical application of Dharma through reliance on systematic, consisistent effort, and delight in doing the work in a collegial atmosphere of co-adventurers is a gift beyond words.

Working and living these past decades in the doubly foreign-to-me cultures of Japan and entrepreneurship, I've had a chance to see first-hand what qualities I would like to see in Dharma communities. Expertise without elitism, mentorship without ownership, knowledge without hierarchies, respect for mastery free of master worship: that's just part of what draws me to the pragmatic Dharma scene. I have boundless respect for the best of what is represented here. Thank you all so much for sharing! The inspiration I feel from this community has uncorked my own fervor and enthusiasm for practice, both when it's fun and when it's fearsome.

Respect.

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/26/18 1:22 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi Tharpa:
"...if you understood your actual reality right now clearly enough to get to the root of why you were doing all of this and where all this motion of mind comes from, you would be highly realized. You would penetrate to the heart of compassion and suffering, of ignorance and emptiness, and be finally free."

Yes, it's all there in MCTB, laid out clearly and compassionately. 

Good point.  A part of what is useful on these forums is to repeat, again & again, what Daniel simply laid out in MCTB originally.  The re-emphasis of the cornerstone practice elements can be of great benefit.  Continuing a culture in which we, as peers, remind each other to wake up to the simple truth of causation, serviced towards waking up right now & gradually over time & hopefully in sudden bursts in future moments.

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/27/18 5:49 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
I love your description of the Namibia practitioner and can see that dynamic playing out. Your St. Croix description makes sense and I have met one person with that kind of background, although it was still something painful that led her to dharma.

However, the majority of successful practitioners I've gotten to know personally have significant trauma in their personal histories and often at least one parents with mental health/addiction problems. Maybe not quite Namibia level deprivation, but certainly no safe tropical paradise. Let's say they come from the Mekong Delta, where all the necessary elements to thrive are there but so are the many dangers of the jungle like tigers and venomous creatures and malaria.

I think the key is that some people learn to use that kind of pain as motivation to practice like a bat out of hell. It becomes fuel and fodder for posttraumatic growth. I am reading a great book along these lines called Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/27/18 9:39 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
I love your description of the Namibia practitioner and can see that dynamic playing out. Your St. Croix description makes sense and I have met one person with that kind of background, although it was still something painful that led her to dharma.

However, the majority of successful practitioners I've gotten to know personally have significant trauma in their personal histories and often at least one parents with mental health/addiction problems. Maybe not quite Namibia level deprivation, but certainly no safe tropical paradise. Let's say they come from the Mekong Delta, where all the necessary elements to thrive are there but so are the many dangers of the jungle like tigers and venomous creatures and malaria.

I think the key is that some people learn to use that kind of pain as motivation to practice like a bat out of hell. It becomes fuel and fodder for posttraumatic growth. I am reading a great book along these lines called Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

OK, first off, I pledge not to introduce or mix any other metaphors! :-D

The issue of suffering as a spur to practice is an interesting one. I know somebody who had alcoholic parents and became the most hardcore practitioner I know in terms of retreat time--like, multiple three-month retreats, dozens of weeklong or two-week retreats, global trips to sit at the feet of Krishnamurti, etc. There's no doubt that this person has made massive progress. At the same time, I'm able to see this person's shadow side pretty clearly--the things he disowns, refuses to see and unconsciously enacts, including some narcissistic behavior that was very likely imprinted on him by his parents. For this person, healing and development work could be beneficial post-enlightenment practice.

Incidentally, I also happen to know someone whose parents were both developmental psychologists and who excels at anything he tries. I have no doubt he would be a fantastic meditator, given his level of concentration in music, where he plays about 10 instruments extremely well.

It's really a both/and universe here, as usual. You definitely do have what Seth calls delusional bypassers--people who are basically fine but spend thousands of dollars and multiple decades chasing down relatively minor neuroses, kind of Woody Allen style.

On the other hand, people with really serious childhood trauma aren't just dealing with stories. There are very real and lasting physiological effects to severe-enough trauma, which is why people with high adverse childhood events scores have higher rates of autoimmune and other disorders. Their thought patterns and instinctive ways of relating to authority figures and other humans are skewed in ways that cause them and others a lot of suffering. They need to change that shit and also get to their suffering in a visceral, non-conceptual way, which is where practice, yoga, psychedelics, Rolfing and stuff like that can really help, it seems to me. 

Some people reach a point where they resolve to take an Antifragile-type approach, kind of on their own and without a lot of developmental work and study, but I think other people just never think to respond to adversity in this way. They may keep repeating destructive patterns even after meditating for years and years (see: teacher scandals). These are folks who might need to learn more about attachment theory, CBT, etc., as an additional tool to help them relate to people and situations more skillfully. 

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
4/28/18 6:09 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
[quote= They may keep repeating destructive patterns even after meditating for years and years (see: teacher scandals). These are folks who might need to learn more about attachment theory, CBT, etc., as an additional tool to help them relate to people and situations more skillfully. 
]I would argue that all sincere dharma students should study psychology no matter how psychologically healthy they are. As you point out, the dharma world is unfortunately rife with people who exploit others and if we cannot recognize them, we are more likely to fall prey to them or inadvertently enable or empower them to exploit others. And if we empower or enable people who exploit or abuse, we share some of that blame.

Also, without making an active study of human psychology and all its variations, how can one even begin to truly develop an appreciation for the difficulties of others who are different from us? Or understand what is going on in society at the various collective levels of tribe?

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
5/1/18 2:53 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Hi Tashi,

A barren, Namibia desert. On the one hand, this intense pain is a great spur to practice. On the other, the tendency toward spiritual materialism, bypassing/escapism, striving, etc., could be a lot worse in a person like this. The world of jhanas, nyanas, nirodha, etc., could seem awfully attractive as a way to get out of the suffering he's experiencing. However, the tough reality is that the only way to nibbana is 'the way through.'



If your in the situation above and also in Namibia. Then karma has smiled upon you. You have the opportunity to ride one of natures greatest examples of impermanance on the planet, on the way through to nibbana.

https://youtu.be/BgTYKH4x_cg               

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
5/1/18 4:23 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I would argue that all sincere dharma students should study psychology no matter how psychologically healthy they are. As you point out, the dharma world is unfortunately rife with people who exploit others and if we cannot recognize them, we are more likely to fall prey to them or inadvertently enable or empower them to exploit others. And if we empower or enable people who exploit or abuse, we share some of that blame.
Trying to create more saints to counter psychopaths? Such a heavy load on dharma peeps! I think the world is fine as it is, we tend to blow up these few cases and repeat saying them like they occur often? Until we are enlightened, it seems to be best to treat all dharma as my dharma to see/learn/apply, often that simply means I am lacking compassion if I am judging someone/something else. See that my judgement is a form of skewed justice and then rest that compassion onto myself. Such a comforting place...

Post-enlightenment, yes if the calling is there, the world could certainly use more Culadasa/Shinzen Young's!

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
5/1/18 5:04 AM as a reply to Bigbird.
Nice! Sorry to diss you, Namibia. Typical American ignorance! :-D 

RE: Seasons of Practice
Answer
5/1/18 5:31 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Here's Daniel on the topic of addressing emotional and psychological suffering. This is from "The Imperfect Buddha Podcast." I agree with Daniel here. The questioner asks Daniel for straightforward steps to awakening. He says:

"...There are two totally different ways to look at this question, I'm going to start with the safe way, which is not the way I usually start. Usually I start with the dangerous way. The safe way is get a solid grounding in ethics, in moral behavior, in basic Buddhist dharma theory and psychological training--the realistic, helpful end of that theory and training rather than the perfectionistic end of that training. Get your psychological trip moderately together, have a reasonable set of coping skills, mature coping mechanisms, and relatively strong sense of ego strength in the classic sense--meaning have the ability to look at your issues, have the ability to look at who you are and who you are not without freaking out about it.

"The reason I say this first is because I have seen too many examples of people who didn't have that who then plunged hard into intensive retreats and just totally lost it. Or it didn't go well, or crashed so hard into their poorly developed minds or their not very accepting hearts or whatever it was that things just went really badly. And so I would say work as much as you can to try to figure out how to be just a good person, like a reasonable person, to be kind to yourself, to be kind to others, to be accepting of things and again cultivate reasonably strong psychological coping skills, whether it takes CBT or whatever you like. Or do it in a Buddhist framework or something, but something that's realistic and human and honest that helps you deal with personality quirks and traits and neuroses and all that stuff."

In the same podcast, Daniel says:

"...I actually think it takes all three trainings, and I think it takes the lifetime--good luck with that being a finished project, while you are still born and while there are still conflicts and while we are still in this very material, clearly imperfect, from a sort of ideological point of view, world. Imperfect from any sort of relative, aesthetic kind of way.

So I think it actually takes all three trainings. I think when people say just 'Wake up and that will end all of my emotional suffering,' I actually consider that incredibly naive. It just doesn't hold up to real-world reality testing ... "

So, in this I see Daniel making a case for a reasonable amount of work on the relative plane both before and after awakening. He's not saying that you need to get a PhD in psychology here, but he is saying that this is potentially valuable work for practitioners of all levels, right? 

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/1/18 7:00 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi, I liked your mention of attachment theory earlier. I just wanted to riff on that... In retrospect, this post seems kind of out of place, but oh well...

Even thought I wasn't aware of all of this during most of my practice, I would say the short list of ideas to be aware of would be:

AttachmentTheory - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory
Psychological Trauma - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_trauma
Defense mechanisms - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanisms
Immortality Projects/Denial of Death - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Denial_of_Death

The point here is not to become a psychologist, but to recognize psychological patterns of how a self is percieved/identified with and "protected". Just knowing things at the "wiki" level is helpful, but of course people can study more in depth if they are drawn to it.

Then it can be useful to think about the traditional "fetter" model and how these might be related. For example, how do advanced stages of practice resemble immortality projects (clinging to immaterial jhanas, etc.)?
Fetters -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetter_(Buddhism)

The goal here is to be able to see thoughts AS thoughts and sometimes having a psychological framework can help meditators do that. In other words, people can be so close to their thoughts that they are not seen as thoughts, unless a framework is applied.

Of course there are other frameworks in buddhism (6 realms, 5 elements, etc. etc.) but sometimes using a framework from western culture is more intuitive.  

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/1/18 7:56 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Great resources, Shargol. 
Yes, attachment theory has helped me understand some of my own impulses. I had a harsly critical and unpredictable caregiver. I'm certain this is part of the reason I tend to be so incredibly distrustful of authority figures of all kinds, including dharma teachers and lineages. When DN kicks in and you're ready to go on the attack against your teachers/teachings, it's helpful to see that there might be some additional psychological/emotional heft to that process as a result your own particular attachment style. Clearly, another way to go is to look for Mommy or Daddy in a teacher, which is obviously part of what we see sometimes in dysfunctional, guru-type teacher-student relationships. 

I know nothing at all about defense mechanisms and will read. Terror management--yeah, that's pretty universal as well, no? 

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/1/18 8:09 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Yes, and intererstingly in the "5 Dakini/Elements" practice, the same ground is covered in the buddhist context. Basically there are 5 general ways that we react/defend ourselves against the terror of emptiness in this system: roughly defensiveness, aggression, drama, activity, and depression, which corresponds to the 5 elements of earth, water, fire, air, and void. 

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/1/18 9:09 AM as a reply to shargrol.
That's a good list, shargrol. I'm glad you put Ernest Becker on there -- his explanation of immortality projects in Denial of Death was a huge eye opener for me. So was his final book, Escape from Evil, which was really an extension of Denial of Death. Not easy to read, but definitely worth the effort. 

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/1/18 10:42 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi Tharpa:
Great resources, Shargol. 
Yes, attachment theory has helped me understand some of my own impulses. I had a harsly critical and unpredictable caregiver. I'm certain this is part of the reason I tend to be so incredibly distrustful of authority figures of all kinds, including dharma teachers and lineages. When DN kicks in and you're ready to go on the attack against your teachers/teachings, it's helpful to see that there might be some additional psychological/emotional heft to that process as a result your own particular attachment style. Clearly, another way to go is to look for Mommy or Daddy in a teacher, which is obviously part of what we see sometimes in dysfunctional, guru-type teacher-student relationships. 

I know nothing at all about defense mechanisms and will read. Terror management--yeah, that's pretty universal as well, no? 
Thanks again Shargrol! This deserves a thread on its own where people can discuss how they dealt with the specific issues and seen through them.

Tashi, I have the same childhood (more actually, see below) and hence grown up issues now! Would you like to start by talking about the above and how you overcame it? emoticon

I get beaten up and am often blamed for stuff that wasn't my fault. I grew up judgemental and have a deep fear of being judged yet extremely self-judgemental. Similarly, very afraid of being 'abused' by authority. The defense mechanisms I need to let go off are thus related. I am only observing and unsure if that alone will suffice.

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/2/18 5:17 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
Tashi, I have the same childhood (more actually, see below) and hence grown up issues now! Would you like to start by talking about the above and how you overcame it? emoticon

I get beaten up and am often blamed for stuff that wasn't my fault. I grew up judgemental and have a deep fear of being judged yet extremely self-judgemental. Similarly, very afraid of being 'abused' by authority. The defense mechanisms I need to let go off are thus related. I am only observing and unsure if that alone will suffice.
You know, 'overcame' would be a bit too optimistic. I guess what I'd say is that I've made a lot of progress, but that it was hard won. When I'm judging myself, if I don't catch it early on, at the level of vedana and then 'judging, judging,' then I'm cool with looking at the content and saying 'That's him!' 'Him' is my vicious and unrelenting self-critic. In that moment, I can disembed from the criticism and see it for what it is--basically bullshit, plus a re-enactment of a parental voice, plus some sincere but misguided wanting to be (better, OK, loved, safe, whatever). I now see some of the roots of the judgment and how I can turn it on others like a destructive laser beam. I try not to do that.

One thing that I think helps: If you sit down and write out the type of person you find the most detestable, irritating, unpleasant, triggering, etc., in the world, that's actually a list of your own repressed and disowned characteristics! LOL. Seeing that is huge. Almost without fail, when we're attacking someone else, we're actually attacking our own projections. Sometimes the criticism of the other person is accurate and also an accurate reflection of our disowned shadow material as well. (Byron Katie is pretty good, too.)   

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/1/18 10:32 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Thanks Tashi! We need to be more compassionate towards ourselves. I am definitely being too hard on myself with spiritual bypassing... All the best to your practice, I think you have a fantastic precise thing going with high clarity!

MCTB:
Actively reflecting along these lines, sit with this compassionate wish, acknowledge it, and feel the compassionate aspect of it. Allow the actual sensations that seem to be fundamental to wanting to be directly understood as and where they are. Remember that this same quality of compassion is in all beings, in all their unskillful and confused attempts to find happiness and the end of suffering

Shargrol:
At a certain point, all the gross impurities burn off, and you are left with a feeling/experiencing organism which still feels tension and discomfort but it becomes clear, in time, that this tension and discomfort isn't "wrong" or "not spiritual", rather it reflects the reality of this meat computer needing to navigate a changing world. There is a wise sense that we will always be a work in progress. There can be a tendency to avoid this idea and the normal living aspect of tension/discomfort/pain feelings etc. --- which is basically spiritual bypassing. This is really really really common up to 3rd path, so to speak. It can take a lot to let go of this idea of perfection and find the humility in being a lump of red flesh after all. But there is also a huge relief associated with this realization, as you can imagine when a perfectionist finally really does r...e...l...a...x.  Perfection is not required for awakening, wow! And yet the habitual mindfulness/release continues. For me it was like watching my body/mind doing spiritual practice on it's own, while realizing that all of that activity was sort of beside the point. I could let go when practice itself, the intensity of seeking, was indulgent. I saw the futility in the ignorance of spiritual bypassing mentality (i.e., pretending I was any different that I was.) Hard to explain, but the result is a big drop in tension. Practice was basically doing itself and I could trust it and if I was imperfect, no big deal. 

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/2/18 5:40 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I love both of those quotes. You know, this issue of psychology and its proper place is an interesting one. By the principle of the shadow, if I look at what I've been doing on the DhO lately, some of it is pushing back against the idea that psychology is horse shit and that sensations are all that matter. So, why am I focused on this issue and not another? Am I too afraid to kill the leprechaun? Very important to look into, methinks.

Just a thought about the relationship between psychology and practice:
 
When you’re doing a more mechanical noting practice, the basic idea is to take phenomena as object: aching, unpleasant, wanting to shift, intending to shift, shifting, shifting. As Kenneth Folk puts it, if 'you' are over here taking pressure or tingling as an object, then that means those phenomena are, by definition, ‘not me.’ 

You’ll routinely hear in the instructions something like: “Don’t worry too much about the actual word you use. Put 90 percent of your attention on the actual sensation.”
 
The point there is to use the noting process to dis-embed and get some space around what is happening. 
 
It occurs to me that psychological ideas might function in a similar way. You find yourself doubting your teachers/teachings intensely and then remember that you’ve never trusted any authority figures in your life and tie the doubting back to the notion that you had an unreliable, untrustworthy caregiver. Is this idea really true? What if it's bullshit? In a sense, it doesn't matter, just as it doesn't matter whether you use the label 'weight' or 'pressure.' So long as you're actually sinking into the direct experience itself--in this case, the entire process around being intensely doubtful--you're doing what needs to be done.
 
So psychological ideas can be a bit like verbal notes in that they can give you some space around macro, recurring patterns of reactive behavior in your life. We know that stories never capture “the truth,” in the same way as no verbal label, like “tingling,” is ever really the same thing as the actual fizzy, bubbling, energetic, kinetic sensations that we call tingling.
 
Krishnamurti: “The word ‘tree’ is not the actual thing.” 
 
So it makes sense to have some misgivings about both verbal labels and psychological theories and to want people to go right to the bare sensate experience. The recognition here is that there’s a danger that people will mistake the words for the things in ways that reinforce the sense of a separate self. Words are rooted in the past conditioning of language and are post-processing; meditation can get us closer and closer to silent reality itself in all its vividness and timelessness.
 
However, if held in the right way, both mechanical, verbal noting and theory-based insights into your own psychology can be useful to help disembed. For me, the challenge is to make sure I'm able to drop both of these skillful means when they no longer seem useful.  

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/2/18 7:21 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
I think they are necessary as long as aversion or negative reactions are still existent. The mind/body needs to be shown and somehow reassured that things such as pressure should not be taken as bad and is not necessary to be reacted to (may be necessary to acknowledge its compassionate attempt and not push that away - e.g. with a knowing smile), other than being mindfully aware, so that it can drop its natural defense mechanisms. IME, this has to be repeated enough for change to occur. I do notice that my system has dropped a bunch of stuff and is now non-reacting to them - naturally there won't be a need to parrot the noting or apply any balm. 

It's a fantastic basic idea to : Tune in to Channel Suffering. All my insight work comes from there. The 1st Noble Truth. 

What do you think? emoticon

Add: I am taking the shortcut to the psychological stuff if I apply them - I basically acknowledge the whole chunk of old unwanted reactions as compassionate attempts and smile them away. Seems to work but not sure if this is the most efficient though!

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/2/18 10:33 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I think from the perspective of vipassana practice, using psychological ideas and models as chunking/pattern recognition/noting is exactly the way to go. It doesn't matter why or how we came to have these reactive patterns, just that we can recognize them in real time when they begin to occur and harness the energy fueling them. But that's still just step one of utilizing them for meditation practice.

For example, I used to hate small talk because it seemed pointless and a waste of energy. When avoidance wasn't possible I'd just do it badly, getting irritable and resentful, planning ways to escape, thinking the person was stupid because they wanted to talk about dumb things, etc. Obviously, that said a lot more about me than the other person! A psychologist could spend a long time getting to the roots of that, but none of that really matters. So to turn it into practice when faced with the dreaded small talk I learned to:

1. Flip to mindfulness of the body and breath, observing the sensations associated with the reactive patterns starting to arise (usually tension in the neck/jaw/shoulders), focus on maintaining a good relaxed posture instead, taking slow and deep breaths rather than allowing the breath to quicken. Basically, observing the 3C with a little fiddling to make myself relax. This was interesting and thus rewarding and so over time small talk situations didn't bring up those reactive patterns anymore. I was still bad at small talk, though, so on to step 2.

2. Once it was easy to focus on relaxed straight posture and mindful breathing, I observed the 3C of perceptions associated with the other person: their voice, facial expressions, posture. (Small talk has little content, so it really doesn't matter if you miss most of it.) And kind of shifted back and forth between that and pattern recognition mode--what was going on beneath the person's scripted small talk? Lo and behold, most of them just wanted some sort of emotional engagement and apparently small talk isn't just about the pointless transmission of useless verbal data (probably shocking only to me). By weaving back and forth between curiously observing the 3C and saying something to keep the person talking (basically, being a good listener), the small talk turned into something mutually beneficial. 

3. But adding brahma viharas practice really turned small talk into interesting practice. (Most people seem to grow up just knowing that small talk is for tribal bonding purposes and it's just slow people like me that have to meditate for thousands of hours to figure out such a basic thing, but hey.) Place the attention on the body/breath, find/generate sensations of metta around the heart, and stick with that while curiously observing the rest of the perceptions as they flicker. Is the other person happy? Tune into mudita. Etc. Lots to play around with here especially when working with a higher baseline of concentration, weaving samatha and vipassana elements together.

So I think one major benefit of studying psychology (not as a career, but as Shargrol puts it at the Wiki level) is that it gives you the opportunity to gamify your meditation practice in daily life. It can provide tools for us to go on a search and destroy mission for all that is fragile or brittle within us. Identifying our reactive patterns becomes something that's fun to do because it gives us the opportunity to practice successfully which is immediately rewarding. And then we can intentionally put ourselves in progressively more triggering situations to increase the level of difficulty, or challenge ourselves to respond ever more skillfully. Getting really good at flipping that switch and just observing sensations as they are is the all-important step 1 that opens the door and frees us up to act creatively, but there's lots more you can do. 

I'm not sure if any of this makes sense or not... I think my main point is really just that psychology can be approached more like a video game than a "let's talk about our feelings" kind of thing and that makes it much more interesting and practical, in my experience.

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/2/18 5:09 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Wow. I think you nailed it. And thanks for the detailed instructions (saved it) on dealing with pesky small talk - I need that too!!! emoticon

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/2/18 8:49 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
I'm not sure if any of this makes sense or not... I think my main point is really just that psychology can be approached more like a video game than a "let's talk about our feelings" kind of thing and that makes it much more interesting and practical, in my experience.

That makes perfect sense and is totally awesome. What a post! Right. Like if you're an extrovert who never stops talking, you could do the same kind of thing: Get into a social situation and then just watch as you stay mum and desperately want to fill that space. You're starting to remind me a bit of the Vajrayana stuff--walking around pretending you're some kind of deity in order to play around with the constructed sense of self. Very interesting! 

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/2/18 8:48 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:


It's a fantastic basic idea to : Tune in to Channel Suffering. All my insight work comes from there. The 1st Noble Truth. 

What do you think? emoticon


Yeah, I think I know what you mean by channel suffering--it's like an alarm clock that wakes you up, right?! :-D

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/3/18 8:47 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Oh yeah, there's so many ways applications. And so many systems that have tools/models for working in this way--Vajrayana, Western occultism, martial arts, yoga, etc. Western psychology can be an efficient if brutal way to go but you can pick your flavor. Personally, I like to take an a la carte approach utilizing multiple disciplines. Back to the game analogy: get too entrenched in one system and you're playing someone else's game. Why not be your own game designer? 

I think what's most important is that we routinely subject ourselves and our lives to a ruthless examination and cultivate friendships with people strong in ethics who can help us see our blind spots (as we all have them and if we could see them ourselves then they wouldn't be blind spots). That kind of introspection is often painful and there's definitely a learning curve but I think it's critical to healthy, sustained development and it does get easier over time.

And Yilun--I like your Channel Suffering. emoticon

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/4/18 12:44 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Would it be a fair statement to call this use of psychology-in-practice "developing self-awareness?" If you talk to psychologists and psychiatrists they wil tell you self-awareness is by far the most difficult thing a human being can try to develop. We often fail at it, it being so hard to do. It has always struck me that developing self-awareness is a very beneficial part of meditation practice, especially if it's done from the synergy of meditation and psychology.

RE: Seasons of Practice
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5/4/18 8:28 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Would it be a fair statement to call this use of psychology-in-practice "developing self-awareness?" If you talk to psychologists and psychiatrists they wil tell you self-awareness is bar far the most difficult thing a human being can try to develop. We often fail at it, it being so hard to do. It has always struck me that sdeveloping self-awreness is a very beneficial part of meditation practice, especially if it's done from the synergy of meditation and psychology.

I think that's a very fair statement and a good point about synergy, Chris. Why would we not want to take advantage of that synergy? Without it, stagnation seems much more likely.

And then of course you have the lopsided practitioners: on one hand, plenty of meditation skills but huge unacknowledged and unaddressed shadow sides, still an asshole off the cushion because their practice has not been transformative. On the other, people with knowledge of psychology who may recognize some of their dysfunctional patterns but fail to change them or use them to fuel deeper skill development in meditation, who may be just wallowing in content or distracting themselves with stories and social contact. Self awareness and synergy would go a long way here.

RE: Seasons of Practice
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1/13/19 5:22 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
Prag dharm has the striving element.  When people get together to discuss it, that is inevitably present at one point or another.  Typically, members of the "mushroom culture" dismiss mapping, striving & the technical approach entirely, as missing the point.  That is a mistake.  Mapping is only a problem when it interferes with actual practice.  If one is following instructions on the cushion (or off the cushion if that's your thing), than mapping is not occuring at that time.  The practice time is what makes the difference.  These observations are all based on direct experiences.

So this striving, comparing mind inevitably shows itself when people gather for prag dharm.  It is typically present alongside comraderie, warmth, cheerleading, peer coaching, academic curiosity & lots of other great ingredients.  What I've come to see is that the antidote for striving is not overemphasizing individual practice sessions, weeks or months.  The following ideas, including the one I just mentioned, come from dharma friends, not from me.  But I am adding in my own understanding to this.  

Daily practice is like weather.  It goes up & down.  Weather doesn't matter.  You can't let the weather affect your decisions on a daily basis.  In many regions of Earth, that would render normal schedules impossible.  In the same way, you can't let the weather of your practice sway your determination.  

Monthly & yearly practice is like the seasons.  They are more predictable.  They come & go in much more of a regular pattern.  The seasons are reliable.  In the same way, you've never gotten worse at something you truly practiced.  If one is actually meditating, applying the technique repeatedly, it is literally impossible for there to not be progress.

This brings the question to mind: what about the rates of progress?  Some are making it faster than others.  This is where "right view" comes into play.  Karma is a thing, people are in there various positions with their characteristics.  If there is a true, heartfelt rejection of one's position, that will tend to interfere with the application of a meditation technique (not in all cases). 

One of the things that comes up is that some people don't go through the nanas.  Or they go through them in a way that's a lot different from everyone else who is talking about them.  Or a kundalini yoga person will not understand the language of the jhanas.  Yet when they describe their experiences to me, those strata of mind are obviously there.  This is where the seasonality comes in. 

Encouraging each other to tune into the meta-patterns of practice, talk about them, identify them, treasure them, is encouraging (in a group way) on this journey.  Some people may not have identifiable cessation experiences.  If the group is only every acknowledging cessations as the things which provide permanent relief from suffering, those people will be super alienated.  It's better to look for the map that is true to that person's experience.

However, this only applies to people who are really fucking practicing.  Serious, diligent application of technique, day over day, for years.  Otherwise, you do get "mushroom culture" or some vague, new-agey shit if you get a bunch of people in a room all spouting their own philosophy without actually describing their experience within individual meditation sessions over time.  However, the language people use to describe their direct experience might not be straight out of a Mahasi monastery.  It might be relational, intuitive, devotional, technical, mappy, energetic, etc.  All of those are valid in my opinion.

To conclude - applying the mindset of practice seasons & not of practice weather, is one possible antidote to the sense of jealousy or inadequecy that can arise when folks get together to discuss hardcore meditation.   Just wanted to throw that out there.


What a lovely post, Noah! Seasons instead of weather. I’ll remember that.

RE: Seasons of Practice
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1/14/19 9:07 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
_/ \_