watching it happen

Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 8:59 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 8:59 AM

watching it happen

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: zacharius
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

here's a little dilemma if anyone is up for it:

my girlfriend has been doing buddhist practices for about five years with me. she mostly does mindfullness in kind of loose, content oriented kind of way. contemplating thoughts, beliefs etc. she doesn't really glom onto the harder more austere bare sensate approaches, and her concentration is coming along, but I'm guessing she's mostly in acess, or maybe dipping into 1st most of the time.

for the last couple years at least, she's had all the signs of being stuck in mind and body, cuase and effect and whatnot. lots of neck and back pain, twisting or swaying motions while sitting. unpleasantness in general.

but anyway, here's the twist: she just got back from a short retreat doing some zen style sitting and some koan type practice, and now she's got all the wildly zealous features of someone who's crossed the A%PA. she almost seems scary in the level of changedness. she doesn't have this vocabulary, as our regular sangha practice is not of the vipassna type, so she doesn't know how to speak of it in those terms, but i can tell something has defintely flipped for her.

she's a bit more normal now, a couple days later, but she seems to be learning to dampen her intense impulses, but I wonder how to help smooth some of the rougher aspects of this for her, especially now that she's transiting into the dark night. she won't really get into the more intellectual models, so I'm wondering how to help her not get too tripped up.
Nathan I S, modified 15 Years ago at 9/5/08 5:45 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/5/08 5:45 AM

RE: watching it happen

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
Well there are plenty of less intellectual/specific models that make sense. Jack Kornfield's A Path with Heart presents these things in a way that's palatable even to the most soft-skinned types, not to imply that the lady mentioned is that sort.

That, and even something "nature-based" like the four-fold procession of elements from insubstantial to dense, or the seasons, or the means by which dreams unfold, could show this. I.e., initial entry/air energy/first vipassana jhana, then fire energy/dramatic energy/kundalini crap, then water/the cup/dreaded Dark Night/opening up to crap/sacrifice, then i'm assuming somehow earth but can't work that out. This is not that intellectualized.

my teacher has a very rough map where tranquility grows enough to allow stuff to come up, first as physical phenomena, then as emotional or mental phenomena, and most people can accept that very broad map. He's also said that sometimes it's necessary to back off during certain stages and to engage more with the rest of the world mindfully rather than just nose-to-the-grindstone through it all.

I'm also a fan of the laundry list here: not necessarily b/c it's helpful to do some spiritualized version of orienteering, but rather because it's brief and points out that side-effects ranging from diarreha to fogged-brains show up in a sort of progression.

I'm also keenly aware of proximity bias, I tend to think that people will listen to a third party more than they will those they are close to, to the extent that helps at all. I am not sure the extent to which, of course, any of this can help; it's one thing to write and read an theorize about something, it's another to get it to stick in others' heads in a wholesome, "skillful" and practical way
Vincent Horn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/5/08 5:54 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/5/08 5:54 AM

RE: watching it happen

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Yeah, "A Path With Heart" is a great choice. All of the ladies (and men as well) I've known that have gotten into this territory find Jack's presentation of the progress of insight very digestible and helpful. Chapters 9 & 10 are particularly helpful.

Best of luck to you and your partner. emoticon