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Malcolm's practice log

Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/3/18 4:15 PM
Less curious now, so time for a new practice log. 

I am adding back formal sits to support other practices (mindfulness, observing fluxing sensations, studying the dharma).  Sits are effortless, with mindfulness of breathing followed by lite jhana. No dullness at all, except a very brief moment of total dullness out of nowhere - maybe a cessation?  Only a few subtle distractions, and it has become easier to observe them, rather than engage with them. I am trying to stabilise bliss, but this is hard, and there seem to be different types at different times - dreamy bliss, bright single pointed bliss, spacious bliss.  

Now achieving some mild non-dual perceptions again, after first getting these last year.  This time they have overtones of joy rather than bliss.  They arrive, stay for a while, fade.  Sometimes they seem to just snap into focus.  I think their presence is due to my adding back formal sits.

Things seem to happen for me in half-awake and dream states.  As I was falling asleep I had the sense of being surrounded by other consciousnesses.  This could have been spooky, but wasn't, and I just welcomed them with metta.  I'm hoping they represent progress towards perceiving consciousness as being in the sensory field.  Then I had extensive mindfulness of flickering sensations, while dreaming.

Today, I am reflecting on this Sutta: "When I struggled, I was whirled about. When I stopped, I sank. And so I crossed over the flood without struggling, without stopping."

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/7/18 12:20 AM as a reply to curious.
Continuing to be mindful, reading the dharma, and encouraging open awareness. Only stting for an hour every third day, due to a virus and other interruptions. My mild non-dual perceptions have subsided, and the self has solidified a bit.  I am also working on the paramis.

Had a sit with excruciating itchiness from water drops on the ears. This was great for mindfully spotting the impulse to scratch, then tracing it back to grasping for relief, then to aversion, then to contact.

Had another sit with lots of dullness in the first 15 minutes, but somehow ithat didn't seem to be a problem. Then a sudden brief blackout, followed by some purple swirls and mild happiness. Then some vipassana that was very interesting.

I found that I could discriminate between narrative consciousness, a  kind of dreamy episodic consciousness, non-conceptual consciousness, energetic/touch consciousness and visual consciousness.  At one stage I could get dreamy episodic and narrative consciousness going simultaneously.  Then I saw that dullness would solidify if my attention got pulled into the dreamy episodic consciousness, and self would solidify if my attention got pulled into the narrative consciousness.  But if I kept my consciousness in the physical sense media (with non-conceptual overtones), then those other things could occur in the background withoput pulling me in.  Different combinations of consciousnesses also had very different feelings - so attention on touch plus nonconceptual felt quite different to attention on visual plus nonconceptual.  I wonder if the one taste, versus true self, versus other versions of higher paths reflect emphases on different combinations of consciousnesses? 
 
Feeling positive energy and happy, for now.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/7/18 9:38 PM as a reply to curious.
One hour sit.  Mindfulness of breathing, then exploring placing attention (dwelling) in different sense consciousnesses.

Found a new sense consciousness - prioperception. Dwelt in that for about 30 minutes.  Found it wasn't about location of objects so much as a sense of space, or dimensionality.  It had strong feelings of joy, but the flavour of the joy varied with whatever consciousness was next most obvious.  Then I explored other sense consciousnesses, and each seemed to have a different primary emotion.

Narrative - Worry
Non-perceptual - Bliss
Prioperception - Joy
Visual - Spaciousness
Audio - Openness
Taste - Striving
Smell - Didn't do this one.
Body - there seemed to be two - a solid earthy actual body that I couldn't quite analyse, and the energetic body with the thrill of piti.
Time - I tried to dwell in this, but without much success.

It was easy to spot distractions, as they came from a consciousness that was not the primary focus. Distactions did not have to be ignored or suppressed - all that was needed was to deepen attention to the consciousness of primary focus. 

At the end of the sit I briefly tried to perceive all the consciousnesses at once, and then did some metta.  I opened my eyes to strong feelings of happiness and joy, and really sharp perceptions.  Didn't want to stop sitting.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/9/18 7:16 PM as a reply to curious.
One hour sits, on each of the last two days.  Plus, trying to feel dimensionality and spaciousness in daily life.  Watched the John Butler videos, reading Eckhardt Tolle.  Some positive changes are occuring to mental and physical habits.

Sitting continues as before - very little effort required, and distractions are easily spotted and dealt with.  Sits are mindfulness of breath (briefly), then dwelling in different consciousnesses, then metta, and finally combining consciousnesses to finish feeling lithe and positive and engaged. The ability to dwell in the prioperception consciousness continues to be a major positive change.

Today, equanimity showed hints of being an emotion of clairty. I also had hints of a kind of external energy/occult consciousness, related to energy flows above the head and also above the shoulders.  Some of the different consciousnesses seem to be associated with different chakras.  So far I am feeling pretty confident about the following.

Piti/rapture - root chakra (energetic body consciousness)
Joy - heart chakra (prioperception consciousness)
Bliss - third eye chakra (non-conceptual consciousness)
Equanimity - crown chakra (clarity, but this may just be an effect of other consciousnesses being subdued)
And maybe imaginative narrative in the palm chakras

Different combinations continue to give different flavours of experience.  When I combined the external energy/occult consciousness with joy/bliss I got a kind of ecstasy, different from bodily rapture, joy or bliss on their own.  The various combinations are pretty obviously jhana-like, but are not strong jhanas, I think this is because other consciousnesses remain active, albeit at a subdued level, making it impossible to get into hard jhanas.   

I'm trying to be mindful of the dangers of too much conceptual thought. Instead, I will just keep working on perceiving these different consciousnesses and their combinations.

[Addendum: another small layer of self also seems to be peeling away]

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/10/18 3:22 PM as a reply to curious.
I have started to dwell in the joy of the dimensionality of space outside the formal sits, for an hour at a time if I can.  Some subtle aversions have fallen away, and I am losing interest in the old busy-mind habits.  All I really want to do is sit and experience, but life has other demands.

Investigating the multiple consciousness shows they are a bit malleable and fractal. So I will pull back from that rabbit hole to stabilise the primary states, particularly  the dimensionality of space with joy. The non-conceptual bliss is ok, but kind of inferior except as a quick way to counter the appearance of the narrative mind.

The field of visual sense consciousness arises separately from contact.  Part of this field is a dappled background I can perceive with my eyes open - I recognise this as the textured black grid I have seen before with my eyes closed.  Looking into the distance produces more joy, and looking closer produces more equanimity.  Dwelling in the visual and dimensionality consciousnesses seems neither dual, nor non-dual. It just is. But there is still a concrete sense of self somewhere.

I will work to stabilitise and maintain these experiences, but who knows how long they will last.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/13/18 7:19 PM as a reply to curious.
11 June:  40 minutes just drinking coffee and enjoying the dimensionality of space, and then a formal 30 minute sit later on.

12 June: One hour sit.  I realised that my concentration needed to be stronger to properly isolate the states of consciousness/perception, so I did more anapanasati at the start.  Then concentration built nicely and there was a very good bliss state at the end - quite pure and stable. And then some tantric visualisations arrived that seemed to hint at the dissolution of self into duality, and of duality into the field of perception.

13 June: Great links to Gil Fronsdal's anapanasati talks - thanks Tashi Tharpa. Replicated the first of his dharma practice days in full - a little retreat at home with his dharma talks and a total of 2 hours sitting.  Plus some times dwelling in dimensionality of space to keep the practice up.

14 June: Read Chris's comment to Noah - what about space?  WHOAH!

I suddenly saw that my perceptions of dimensionality were creating a new duality - me and it.  Then I realised that the joy, bliss and raptures of different consciousnesses were fetters, in that I thought of them as happening to ME.

Went out for a walk and concentrated on seeing how objects were contructed - from multiple consciousness of dimensions, colour, sound, concepts (forms).  Then concentrated on seeing how continuity was maintained - from fading echoes reinforced by new inputs of object elements.  Then concentrated on time - a combination of fading and movement in the dimensional field. Plus other complex things - an overlay of perceptual cycles (bodily, diurnal, seasonal, life stages) - and a sense of behind and in front. Cars driving from behind seemed to be arriving from the past and receding into the future, while cars driving from in front seemed to be arriving from the future and receding into the past. The future has a sense of things that are arising, or will arise, while the past has a sense of things passing, or having passed away.  Some sense of time is necessary to operate in the frame of reference, but much of it is just a hindrance.

Then I find I have a new frame of reference. Previously my glimpses of non-duality were that everything was just my mind.  Now I see non-duality as my mind is just everything.  I knew these things intellectually, but experiencing them as a frame of reference is different.  Joy, bliss and rapture are not fetters if they happen to the whole frame of reference.  The new frame of reference is both totally mundane and completely wonderful.

Then what is left?  I need to maintain the causes and conditions that give rise to this frame of reference.  I have no idea how stable it is or whether it will last.  And there is still a delusional sense of self at the center of it all.  Investigating this sense of self, it seems to be linked to becoming due to intentions that arise from negative mental objects - fears, resentments, need for approval, desire for deliverance.  These are much weaker now, but not completely gone. When aversion or attraction arises, these mental objects attach themselves to the object of aversion or attraction, and then generate post-hoc evaluation (or something, it's not exactly linear, but it is reinforcing).  So I think I need to cultivate mindfulness and equanimity, to attack these unskilful mind states at the level of aversion/attraction.  Then those base mental objects will not be reinforced and should slowly fade away.  After enough of that, I might be able to get rid of the illusory self at the centre of the whole frame of reference.

Corrections, suggestions and pointers very welcome.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/14/18 3:11 PM as a reply to curious.
It is now almost 24 hours. Things are pretty stable. The state seems to be about balance of perceptions - dwelling in all consciousnesses in balance. The exceptions are verbal narratives, which I am avoiding as they seem to bring me down, and visual narratives or imaginings which are just not presenting themselves much. I have not sat again, as just to be in the world seems like a meditation.  I may sit later just to maintain the causes and conditions of this state.

The story of the lizard mound is guiding my mindfulness.  I feel as if fetters are no longer arising from five of the doors, but the sixth door - the internal mind door - is still giving rise to some aversion and evaluations that link to negative mental objects.  I am trying to spot these as they poke their nose out of the mound, and make sure they go back in, so that they will fade away over time.  Later, when these reactions have subsided, I will probably vipassinze the sense of body as a continuous object (which I can see how to do), and then the residual sense of self (which I can't yet see how to do). This could be months or years away.  Maybe some other approach will occur to me in the meantime.

I'm not sure how to motivate my work, which is conceptual and social.  My current plan is to identify the causes and conditions of good work, and to treat work periods as a form of analytic meditation.  I could also embody more - drink and think; maybe that will happen over time, but I want to avoid it for now.  However, all  this is for later.  Right now I am working on maintaining this state.

Assuming this state stabilises, it does seem different from its precursors. That is, there seems to be a state of working towards this (different again from the prior attainment), and then a state of achieving this. It now seems to me that a lot of mystic stuff, plus the sense of one self, or oneness with god, seems to be from the state of working towards this - that is, it is dwelling in some newly available consciousnesses, but without yet having all the sense consciousnesses in balance.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/16/18 9:15 PM as a reply to curious.
Just an update.  The balanced dwelling in all consciousnesses has attenuated a little. Embodiment is reappearing, especially due to social interaction.  Neither is really the default, they just arise according to the circumstances.  The more seclusion, the more the narrative mind fades and I just sit in a kind of mild serene joy. With a little concentration this gets stronger, or changes its characteristics to match the sense consciousness or chakras that are brought to the fore. I am doing a little bit of anapanasati, but mostly just taking time to sit in this new space - 5 minutes here, 30 minutes there.  I can now sit eyes-open with effortless concentration. 

Quite a few behavioural changes have developed over the last month, and culimated in the last few days.  Time wasting activities have been substantially attenuated (e.g. peering at the smartphone).  Mindfulness is much stronger in all aspects of life. Restleness is much reduced.  Newspaper headlines are now often recognised as trying to snare my consciousness with aversion and attraction. There is a sense of having completed something, and layer of clinging and self has definitely gone.  But there is more work required on ego-clinging.

All this could be related to Theravadan paths that have open, spacious, integrated fields of perceptions.  Or it could be related to Ultimate Bodhicitta, whose descriptions resonate quite a lot with this state (including emptiness, qualities, their simultaneous appearance, and their combination).  But the clearest accounts seem to be from my notes on The Mind Illuminated, with descriptions of pacifying the mind, shamatha off the cushion and the stuff around Stage 8 or 9.  It is not exact, as I don't get much in the way of nimitta, and my jhanas tend to be lite, or very lite for formless jhanas.  However, I do now have precise control over the presence and absence of rapture (root chakra), bliss (crown chakra), joy (heart chakra), and an emerging awareness of a kind of empty formlessness that pacifies bodily formations (behind the throat chakra).  

I will re-read TMI for pointers, but will probably just keep exploring the newly pacified mind, for now.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/17/18 7:48 PM as a reply to curious.
I am trying to be mindful of when the lizard pokes its snout out of the mound, so I can tell it to go back in.  To put it another way, I have been trying to spot the moment when a fetter arises from contact, leading to an intention to unskilfully react, and then cutting off the reaction before it leads to more becoming.  After a bit of this, while just driving along, part of the mind just unexpectedly relaxed.  Decongested.  It just suddenly felt more open and clear. Less noisy, less central to the whole framework of experience.  

Although I making some progress, I can still sense the old patterns of behaviour echoing around.  They seem like seaweed - some are free floating, brushing past as they drift out to sea to be eaten by crabs.  Others are still anchored deep below, waving back and forth. Later I will find the time to dive down, and detach them from the rocks on which they grow. 

I have found that the final chapters of The Mind Illuminated provide a good intepretive framework for the other changes I have experienced. I do not get much nimitta or the form of physical pliancy that causes bodily sensations to disappear.  But I am clearly experiencing a pretty stable and persistent samatha, as well as behavioural changes from ongoing unification of mind.  I can call up samatha by invoking "The Framework", my name for the current combined field of perception. Some minor insights have arisen during all this, but the process seems to be the latter stages of the Elephant Path, rather than major insight events.  Attention, mindfulness and joy seem most powerful when meditating on the dimensionality of space, with eyes open. If distractions arise, they are easily dealt with by expanding attention to include bliss, rapture, or the calming of bodily formations using a focus behind the neck. Tranquility and equanimity are pretty good, but have substantial scope for development.

Getting control of the arising of joy seems to have been the key to all this recent progress.  For now I will concentrate on strengthening samatha, and supporting this with anapanasati, meditation on the mind, and guarding the lizard mound.  Concentration and insight together.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/20/18 2:51 AM as a reply to curious.
Now settling back a bit more into the world.  I am busier at work and home, and practice has changed to shorter formal sits (20, 30, or 40 minutes, but totalling 40 - 60 minutes a day). Plus the ongoing informal practice of dwelling in the joyous dimensionality of space, for a few seconds to half an hour at a time.

To help me keep going in the right direction, I have re-analysed my understanding of various aspects of the dharma. This gave me some new intellectual understandings, but I'm trying not to keep thinking about those.  Instead, my aim is to keep the mind occupied with non-verbal and non-conceptual activities; in particular satipatthana, anapanasati (aspiring to all 16 practices), and renunciation of urges and evaluations (poking the lizard back in the hole).  There is a long way to go!  I only remember mindfulness and renunciation sometimes, but when I do it is strangely enjoyable.

Behavioural changes continue to consolidate - less aggressive driving, less reaction to 'disgusting' things, less listening to music, less time wasting, better organised, happier.  Just enjoying the process and in no rush.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/29/18 6:59 PM as a reply to curious.
23 June. Happy with the current routine.  40-60 minutes of formal sitting a day, plus similar amount of mindfulness/meditation in daily life.  Practice in order of frequency is anapanasati, dwelling in space, vipassana of mental formations and urges, mindfulness of action, metta.  Digging into lurking concepts and evaluations - amazing how much is there.

Had lucid dreaming or vision for a couple of minutes as I woke up.  No sense of body, but precise conscious observation of the dream that included colour and detail and movement.  Things seemed to be happening on their own in the dream and I couldn't direct them, except there was some corner of intention, just out of sight, that had a slight indirect lagged impact.  I seemed to be both awake and asleep at the same time.

24-26 June.  Practice continuing.  Did the second of Gil Fronsdal's anapanasati dharma days from audio dharma.  Carried on after his joy meditation and got some grade IV piti (not as strong as on two previous occasions, but still pretty out there). Things are generally settled back down, but with a much better baseline, more happiness, ease and joy in life.  Behavioral changes are persisting.

27 - 30 June.  Two missed days, due to illness and busyness, bracketed by two days with full one hour sits. Some mild insights into non-self of gross sensations and impermnence of subtle sensations. Worldly engagement is dragging me backwards a bit, but the default is definitely higher than before.  Striving brings me down and cues some old behavioural patterns, but when it reduces I seem to float out into ease, contentment, joy.  Sits, sunshine, forests and seclusion are factors that encourage this. 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
7/9/18 12:52 PM as a reply to curious.
Up to 10 July.  Things have evolved slightly.  Quiet times in the day have moved to a more subtle joy of the now.  Just Being Now.  Although occasionally this gets overlaid with a rapture or ecstasy.  I have cut down formal sits in favour of the Wim Hof method (breathing, stretching, micro-meditations), but still sit for between 20 and 40 minutes most days.

Was practicing mindfulness of ironing a week ago and after about 10 or 15 minutes a nice bliss wave appeared, grew and washed through me.  Only thought afterwards I should have tried to turn it into a hard jhana.  Have had some colourful visual phenomena - once during eyes open meditation I got textured blueness overlaying the visual field, closely spaced.  Then the other day during normal activities I got pale yellow spots overlaying the visual field, widely spaced.

Then last night, something a bit unusual.  I was in deep sleep when I suddenly had a sense of hurtling towards a vanishing point, and had a strong startle reflex that woke me right up.  Then immediately afterwards I had diffuse nimmitta (without meditating) such that when I closed my eyes it was noticeably brighter than the darkness of the room.  There was a huge sense of the unknown about vanishing point, which I think produced the startle reflex.  Maybe my subconscious is trying to show me how much I am still clinging to the known !

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
7/12/18 6:46 PM as a reply to curious.
Log up to 13 July.  On holiday at the beach, so opportunities for meditation have increased!  Currently 2 to 4 hours a day, plus the Wim Hof stuff.  I have  completed the third of Gil Fronsdal's anapanasati audio dharma days.  I'm really enjoying whole body breathing and have added 20 minutes of body scanning to help calm bodily formations.  But I am getting less out of the second anapanasati tetrad.  Working with Gil's recordings has improved my rupa jhanas, and it did lead to my body disappearing at one point; however, this is more familiar territory and my reaction to these events has become quite dispassionate.

The underlying joy of being, here and now, is still there. The duration and intensity oscillates a bit, so it is less continuous than when it first appeared.  But it can be just as strong.  It gets pushed into the background by any other activity, but pops back out whenever I become secluded and make the effort.  So this seems to be pretty stable new baseline, and wellbeing is way higher.  There is some agency and centredness, and delusion in perceptions, so I am guessing things will get better again if I keep at it.  I'm not getting non-duality at the moment, but more the Tibetan child of illusion thing - where the world is no longer real, but unfortunately I am.

I think it will take a couple of years to get from wherever I am now to whatever comes next. To keep myself occupied, my intention is to enjoy the current state and to renovate my dharma practice.  I will complete the audio dharma anapanasati study and maintain that practice, and then do the same for sattipathana (which I expect to have a big impact over time).  Then I might return to complete the last few stages of TMI, or likely work through MCTB2 and mahasi-style noting. I know there is a bit of restlessness there, but overall the goal is to keep strengthening the seven factors of liberation.  There is no realistic chance of getting away for a retreat before 2020 emoticon.

One thing I am missing is a good method to apply "The remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release & letting go of that very craving"  in daily life.  I can spot impulses and deny them, renounce them, see some of the formation behind them, and try to renouce that.  But I haven't got a very effective formula.  I hope to get some advice from a nearby Forest Path monastry, as letting go seems to be their thing.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
7/14/18 3:08 AM as a reply to curious.
Sat down to do 20 minues of anapanasati followed by 20 to 40 minutes of body scanning.  The body scanning blew out to an 1hr 40 minutes of virtually uninterrupted concentration, so 2 hours in total.  I didn't set out to vipassinize senations (I can already do that through energetic methods), but rather to build concentration and discrimination and to give the touch sensory system a workout.  I took a focus of about an inch diamterer, and wiped it over everything, and then into the respiratory cavities at the end. So for example, rather than 'ear' there would have been 15 to 20 points of focus around each ear, each fully felt.  Joints were the most difficult and time consuming!

At first I was jumping from one location to the next, but by the end the focus moved reasonably smoothly.  It was a challenge to discrimate between intention, imagination, and actual awareness of sensation at the location. But this also got better over the sit, with a clear physical sensation of each point of focus by the second half of the scan.  I noticed some blank areas, but these all succumbed to yield a sensation. I had some uplifting piti when scanning respiratory cavities. Then at the end I felt just great - like having had great massage, but without any dullness or tiredness.  I think I will do this another couple of times, then aim to work it down a shorter scan with a single in-out breath. The long body scan seems like a great workout, but it is peripheral to the main practice at this point.

Later, trying to vipassinize daily experience, I got hints that sensations are stuctured into the "world" by the space sense (giving them location) and by the imagination sense (filling in the blanks outside the sensory field) to enable contact.  I got hints that collapsing these two senses could plaster all sensations together into an immediate kaledioscope of mind. But I couldn't quite do that.  I tried, and got energetic shuddering of the mind, but it all fell short.

I am struggling with the three characteristics right now - I'm not sure if this is normal, due to my defective practice, or due to not being on the path of the body witness.  Impermanence now seems like a grosser simplification of the subtler 'is' or 'here and now'.  On suffering, I can't find any, except for the leftover mental firmware that occasionally flails in response to stimuli (and which I am trying to let go). And there isn't exactly a self, so much as an everything.  However, there is defintely a center, occasional thoughts about the future, and some goal directed action.  Most action seems intuitive or autonomic, or to arise from a more slowly cultivated intention.  However, I am still identifying with the action, rather than just being along for the ride.  So I am bit confused.  Although that doesn't really matter.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
7/14/18 9:10 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Impermanence now seems like a grosser simplification of the subtler 'is' or 'here and now'.


The key is in seeing that 'reality' isn't what you think it is. You're really going to have to question if 'reality' is 'real'. Stuff is just appearing and disappearing.

curious:
so much as an everything.  However, there is defintely a center


You sure about that? What is this center and what is it's function?

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
7/14/18 10:56 AM as a reply to curious.
I am struggling with the three characteristics right now - I'm not sure if this is normal, due to my defective practice, or due to not being on the path of the body witness.  Impermanence now seems like a grosser simplification of the subtler 'is' or 'here and now'.  On suffering, I can't find any, except for the leftover mental firmware that occasionally flails in response to stimuli (and which I am trying to let go). And there isn't exactly a self, so much as an everything.  However, there is defintely a center, occasional thoughts about the future, and some goal directed action.  Most action seems intuitive or autonomic, or to arise from a more slowly cultivated intention.  However, I am still identifying with the action, rather than just being along for the ride.  So I am bit confused.  Although that doesn't really matter.


Curious, I'm not dharma diagnosing you because I don't know anywhere near enough about you and your practice, but this reminds me of classic 2nd path "stuff." I recall being very confused about what I was supposed to be doing and how "things" appeared to me. It was like walking into a hall of mirrors and not having any clue as to what was real, what was imaginary, and even if there was a difference between the real and the imaginary. It was just by keeping the practice going and not getting bogged down in the endless weirdness that things eventually shook out.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
7/14/18 9:19 PM as a reply to curious.
ivory - Yes, I can't seem to stay focussed enough on what I should be doing ... I suppose I am skating around things a bit until I feel ready to confront them.  It's ok I guess, as long as there is some forward movement.  I'll just try to keep up momentum going until I feel ready to dig into the centre and the mental sensations at a much greater level of depth.  Sometimes those kinds of moments just appear unexpectedly.

Chris - Thanks.  No diagnoses assumed or clung to emoticon.  I read that as saying don't worry, we've seen it all before, just keep going and things will evolve.  That is really helpful.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
7/15/18 8:18 AM as a reply to curious.
... I suppose I am skating around things a bit until I feel ready to confront them.  It's ok I guess, as long as there is some forward movement.  I'll just try to keep up momentum going until I feel ready to dig into the centre and the mental sensations at a much greater level of depth.  Sometimes those kinds of moments just appear unexpectedly.

Yes. I think of the practice as similar to climbing a mountain. You can't just appear at the summit. You can't just appear on the ledge you see 3,000 feet up there. You can sometimes get a glimpse of what's up there, but you have to walk the path - traverse it all. There are no helicopters.

emoticon

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
7/25/18 10:02 PM as a reply to curious.
Just noting that after my holiday I have temporarily moved most of my practice to the Wim Hof method (Wim Hof breathing, cold exposure, stretching, commitment).  I am still doing a bit of anapansati on top of this, but the Wim Hof method includes a lot of meditative aspects.  I am currently going through his 10 week fundamentals course, and after that I will go back to the third tetrad of anapansati. I will also review the course for the DhO community once I have finished (unless somebody already has?).  Meanwhile, here are some preliminary observations.

1 - It can be seen as a form of anapansati, but with breath holding.

2 - It gives sensations that are similar to, but not exactly the same, as the whole body energetics I can experience.  So it is an easy route into observation of the whole body (not just the breath body, but the whole body).

3 - There is quite a focus on colourful and white nimitta, which are encouraged by techniques to ogygenate the brain. This has slightly changed and considerably strengthened my nimitta - today was a kind of multicoloured flourescing aurora.  I still can't get pure white circles though!

4 - There is also a focus on mindfulness, concentration and energy in the method.

5 - So far it is nothing like the descriptions I have read of Tummo.

My initial impressions are that it is quite good for strengthening all of the seven factors of liberation, and it is a good preliminary practice. After doing the breathing techniques, I am just about in access concetration, and find it really easy to get into quite good absorptions.  Once I have finished the course, I think that I will replace the first 20 minutes of my sits with Wim Hof breathing, as it seems to achieve the same things as those first 20 minutes, but with other benefits.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
9/2/18 2:37 PM as a reply to curious.
Continuing to practice the Wim Hof method - 40-60 minutes a day, with a rest day every three weeks or so.  Lots of interesting aspects - meditative and ottherwise which I will post on at the end of the Wim Hof fundamentals course.  It is very grounding in the body, and I have been in a long period of equanimity and tranquility with relatively little interest in absoprtion.

Then, recently, I decided to summon back that underlying joy of dwelling in space, here and now.  It is still easily available, but doesn't seem to have the same compelling vedana that it originally had - its like the joy is there, but the pleasant reaction to the joy is absent.  Around the same time I found I tipped out of equanimity/tranquility and into some mild cycling, although I seemed to be going backwards through the dukkha nanas, from reobservaton down to A&P/dissolution combined (but skipping fear). I am getting better at being conscious of the nanas, but there is still a long way to go. I also realised that I have been suppressing emotions to deal with high workloads, which I think is counterproductive, and may be the reason for the loss of the pleasant reaction to the spatial joy.  So I will try to be more open to emotions and let them play out naturally.

None of this is likely to lead to further insight, but my focus remains on preparatory work.  My hope is that this will enable me to take greater advantage of future insights, once I am ready to dive down the rabbit hole again - or to see through the duality.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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9/3/18 9:12 AM as a reply to curious.
Hey Malcolm, this all sounds really neat and I would love to hear more about the Wim Hof course after you've completed it. And yep, the preparatory work is so important for the deep dives.

Regarding emotions and high workloads, I've found that making a conscious effort to cultivate joy has made a huge difference, especially when working alongside stressed-out people. Rather than surpress my emotions, I get real goofy and cheerful in spite of the stress, and I've found that helpful in dissolving the toxic interactions others are putting out there or that I might be tempted to put out there myself. I think of a playful sense of humor as the atmosphere that burns up any asteroids coming by way (or any nuclear warheads I'm trying to send out).

Then I make my meditation and exercise time a space to work through feelings without the fear of my stuff bleeding out and negatively impacting others. Also I'm an extrovert, so making time to talk through feelings with buddies goes a long way too. Not sure what your style is, but that's what helps me.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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9/3/18 2:38 PM as a reply to Erin.
Thanks Erin, great suggestions!

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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10/7/18 2:45 PM as a reply to curious.
Finished the Wim Hof fundamentals course.  Daily practice is now a base of 20 minutes of anapansati (wim hof style), 10 minutes of yoga, cold showers, and occasional mindfulness of mental qualities and investgiation of phenomena.  This is just maintenance practice, and my intention is to do extra work as time permits (but no rush).

As I did the last of Wim's guided meditations for about the 7th time, I had mental interruption (cessation, blackout, falling asleep - who knows).  After this I tipped into strong concentration and further deconstruction of sensations.  So many sensations!  Earlier this year I had discovered the space sense (associated with joy).  In this session I saw through the space sense and started to experience everything immediately and just right there - there was no sense of distance or space.  Also, the sensations became more primal, so that there was less object recognition and clinging linked to them - this was particularly noticeable for the ear sense, but also applied to all the others.  Previously I have had the experience of my body just being another object in the frame of reference.  This time it seemed to go further, and my body was just a set of sensations being observed by the other sets of sensations.  (That is not quite right - but I am trying to describe how all the sensations were equal and just there). 

As part of this session I saw through the dharma - the three characteristics, anapanasati, and so on are all just empty.  They are just sensations generated by the mind to organise other sensations into recognisable objects. There is a deeper truth of just humming along of being.  It's like we are the universe, and the universe is us, and that is all there is - there is nothing external or internal, just sensations.  (A useless explanation, but all I can manage for now).  

Anyway, it all faded, and life continues.  Another layer of the onion has been peeled off, but plenty remain.  I interpret this as a nice glimpse of where to go.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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10/19/18 5:18 PM as a reply to curious.
Continuing Wim Hof breathing, and finding that the retention breath can converge with the states described in the The Mind Illuminated.  Living in the moment, but continuing to cycle a bit.

I have found an interesting side-effect of abandoning most past and future oriented thought.  The ironing basket is always full !  As I no longer perceive the passage of time in the same way, when I run out of shirts and look at the ironing pile I think "Hang on, didn't I iron everything just a day or two ago?"

This should definitely be added to the small print warnings on the dharma tin. emoticon 

I know, I know, I should zap my residual ironing karma - but these weird perceptual things are kind of fun.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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1/8/19 2:38 AM as a reply to curious.
A few notes to maintain the narrative.  My pratice continues as: 20 minutes of wim hof breathing, 10-15 minutes of anapanasati (seems like stage six of TMI), and 5 to 10 minutes of yoga and some additional breathing and movement.  This is pretty consistent at 40 to 50 minutes each morning. Then I had a beach holiday so took the opportunity for detailed body scan, taking two hours for a full external and internal scan.

Then I fell really ill (eight day fever) which threw out the routine for a month. However!  During the first three days the sensations were very present. So I spent about three days and nights hardly moving at all and completely focussed on mindfulness of bodily sensations (plus some transient dukkha nanas). This mindfulness of bodily sensations even continued while I was asleep. After three days of this half a dozen residual minor habits just unexpectedly and totally evaporated. After a month these habits reconsolidated a little, but as ghosts of their former selves, without the same compulsion.

Anyway, I got better and returned to my routine. But right now I feel kind of stuck. My routine is just for maintenance as I am pretty busy and occupied right now. But even so, I don't feel motivated for more progress - I saw through jhanas last year, and now I have lost interest in non-dual experiences and spatial shamantha as well.  Things seem pretty good and I am just enjoying life, and enjoying mild embodiment and mild duality (with a few minor ups and downs). My thinking is more about enjoying the moment (without clinging) and this going on for some time, fate permitting.

Any advice on changing my perspective to gently move forward?  Or should I bother?  Fetters definitely remain, but it doesn't seem to matter.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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1/8/19 6:21 AM as a reply to curious.
Good stuff. It can be nice to enjoy the fruits of practice for a while. Constant striving, even when well intentioned like a meditation practice, can still cause suffering.

One thing I would say is it sounds like a good time to do "not practicing" for a while. Simply sit and be Malcolm for 30 minutes a day. I'm sure that if you do that, the next direction will become obvious or you will become fully awake -- one or the other! emoticon 

In all seriousness, this is really an advanced practice and not many people can simply "be" for a half hour. 



Anyway, congrats on the progress you are making!

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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1/8/19 11:20 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks Shargol.  Really helpful.  Simply sitting and being resonates on a number of levels, and I will aim to build that in to my daily practice. 

Metta and gratitude.

Malcolm 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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1/11/19 7:23 PM as a reply to curious.
Following Shargol's advice. The 30 minutes of just being me works in nicely as a second sit for my daily routine. I am using an insight timer, but with eyes open, and seated casually in a chair, just being Malcolm. 

11 Jan - Only managed 20 minutes due to other commitments. Easy to sit and quickly found myself reflecting on Malcolm as the five aggregates of clinging. Then I started moving my attention from the mind sense and mental formations into the other aggregates. I drifted off into a strong formless jhana at one stage (very rare for me) but rejected that and returned to being Malcolm. I had a variety of subtle distractions, but finally understood that the key was not to try to suppress or ignore the distractions, but rather just to make sure they didn't grab at me. So I allowed subtle distractions to arise and pass away in the periphery as they wished, without grabbing.

12 Jan - Found time for the full 30 minutes. A solid sit with no subtle distractions other than a few stray thoughts about the dharma. As I contemplated Malcolm, I moved my attention and sense of self around the aggregates. This included briefly playing with the spatial field that separates sensations, moving my consciousness on to other objects, and then completely relocating my sense of self into the warm breeze on my skin. As the sit went on I rebalanced Malcolm to be much more out in the sensations, and less within the mind.

This rebalanced Malcolm carried on strongly for an hour afterwards, and continues more weakly as I write. I notice a baseline positive feeling that is somewhere between joy and bliss, but mostly quite mild. The mind is quiet. When I act (talking to somebody, doing housework) I just exist happily and quietly in that moment of action. Also, it is very easy to spot and deny the unskilful habits that grab at my voiltion, and I can trace the residual restlessness and worry to a few bits of karmic anxiety bubbling just beneath the surface. This doesn't seem like other non-dual insights I have had. Nor would I quite call it centrelessness. It seems like a rebalancing of the self into the field of perceptions, thereby reducing the power of the mind to grab at formations.

I will sit again tomorrow.

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1/24/19 3:17 AM as a reply to curious.
I never resonated with the idea of getting 'big'. But tonight I finally got it. It's not that I am big, but rather the world has got small, and intense, and luminous, and it is present all at once.

Now I understand what I have done, and what I have not done. I finally understand the four frames of reference.  I have seen through pleasure, seen through pain, and seen through the dharma. When I am mindful, perceptual existence automatically comes with mild joy and little surges of bliss.

But I haven't fully seen through ignorance. Mindfulness has not yet extended to all the sensations. Consciousness still rests in the middle of the field. The mind still has a subtle ego craving that opens the door to restlessness, worry, evaluation and subtle fear. 

I think I know what I need to do. Wish me luck!

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1/24/19 5:19 AM as a reply to curious.
Nice. Good luck!

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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2/4/19 11:22 PM as a reply to curious.
Cross posting to keep a record

AEN - I agree with all of that.  :-)  There isn't a witness. There isn't even emptiness. There is no-thing, no self, and no suffering. Words cannot easily describe it because words immediately introduce evaluation - the grammar of existence.  Even saying it just IS adds a concept that isn't quite right.  No witness, no world, no emptiness, no form.  But extreme clarity, with a calmness and emotion that is hard to describe - joy without a subject or an object.  I like the translation of the Culavedalla Sutta that describes it as clear knowing (although that doesn't quite capture the spacious luminous quality),


Also, this phrase from the Culavedalla sutta has become very important to me in understanding how the experience arises "Neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling is pleasant in occurring together with knowledge, and painful in occurring without knowledge."  It is so easy to miss the deeply profound nature of this statement - how it describes the stress of even neutral existence, and how to release that stress.

So one route is as as the Culavedalla sutta recomments - have an MCTB cessation, then later see through pain, then see through pleasure. Then finally see through ignorance. After that, the equanimious state of clear knowing becomes established with a pervading 'pleasant' feeling, and the stress of existence fades.

A couple of additional comments

Boromir from Lord of the Rings:  "It is not a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing?  So small a thing!"

I used to get strong contracting thigles, like shrinking irises with colours of royal blue, burgundy and purple. They seem to have stopped.

Now when I read the dharma I see a deeper level. The four noble truths seem as profound and precise as any book or sutta.  It's like they have a third meaning that was hiding in plain sight all along.  The first meaning is seeing the overall path, the second meaning is what to do to follow the path, and the third meaning is a precise set of practice instructions for release. 

Anyway, this state is growing and stabilising, so I am just going with that.

Cross Posting to keep a record


Dear AEN, I am overwhelmed by your generosity in sharing so much of your time and insight with me.  Thank you.

On the vagueness of clear knowing and what is meant by luminousity.  Yes I had glimpses of luminosity on a few occasions before any liberating insight.  These were moments of beauty and intense clarity, where some things were shining with the light of their own existence.  But these were brief, and I was appreciating THEM.  Then after some liberating insights, as I started to traverse territory of emptiness and nonduality, I briefly had a different kind of clarity in which even the stain on the gutter in the road was luminous and joyous and fascinating. But I was appreciting IT. Then I progressed from seeing everything-as-my-mind, to briefly knowing that my-mind-was-just-everything.

But the clear knowing I refer to is none of these. It has the same beauty and intense clarity, and luminosity, but now without the subject/object distinction. There is only experience, and vividness, and mild joy. Also, instead of being a glimpse, it has recently become the baseline. It disappears with social interaction, but then pops right back. If I have an extra glass of wine at night or have to resolve a conflict during the day, it takes a bit more effort to re-establish. But 60 minutes of daily practice maintains it. Although from another point of view the whole thing is a kind of continuous practice, as it is ongoing mindful attention/awareness of existence.

On nihilism, you are dead right, I was flirting with nihilism until shargol gently pushed me back in the right direction late last year. Something you said in your post finally made it clear to me. It is not non-existence, but non-arising. That was really helpful, thank you.  Your other excerpts are also really useful - emphasising the conditioned/fabrciated nature of phenomena does not stop them being phenomena.

So ...  trying to understand this territory

1. The erasure of the fetters seems pretty ok to me, given the fetters are properly understood (e.g. not that it is no sex, but no grabbing at sex, and no arising from sex, so to speak).  Having almost no grabbing at phenomena and generating almost no new karma, and eliminating suffering all seem ok to me too. These all seem achievable at MCTB fourth path, albeit with karmic residues still to be dealt with.

2. Non-agency also seems ok to me, with JC's definition of centrelessness being "any sense of free will, any sense of the possibility of multiple possible futures that you could freely choose between, any sense that there's a 'you' doing things or taking actions separate from the flow of cause and effect?" That also seems achievable at MCTB fourth. In contrast automaticity (being a passenger in your own body) looks dualistic and undesirable to me.

3. But the flavours of non-duality and emptiness are still confusing. I'm not sure why Daniel requires centrelessnees to be consciousness residing in the objects (unilocality?) as a criteria for the permanent release of suffering? I've glimpsed this phenomena, but it seems jhana-like and unimaginable to maintain in real time over the whole field of perception. For what matter, why promote the achievement of ongoing higher Bhumis/Thusness states, if suffering has already been eliminated?

Maybe it is just terminology, in that non-arising, non labelled, immediate luminous cognition is what Daniel means, as opposed to a more intense shift of consciousness into the entire field.  Or maybe unilocality is representative of Arhats who are released both ways.  Or maybe achieving unilocality is the way Arhats work through their remaining karmic residue.  

So there seem to be a series of states that may or may not be nearly the same.

1. Higher anagami with no grabbing, but residue of self belief that fuels a little bit of karma 
2. Arhat released one way, with residue of karma (same as self belief really, but seen for what it is so it no longer fuels karma) 
3. Arhat released both ways, with residue of karma, maybe a HUGE residue from racing through with dry insight and arupajhana
4. Arhat who has worked through all residues of karma (could this be Daniel's MCTB fourth path, with unilocality)?
5. Post-arhat development, being access to nicer states of transcendental existence, per the upper bhumi/thusness stages, but with suffering already having been fully eliminated. I guess these were not mentioned by Buddha because he didn't want to distract people.

Any thoughts on whether your stages align with any of this, or whether it makes any kind of sense?

Much gratitude,

Malcolm

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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2/23/19 4:08 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:

Something you said in your post finally made it clear to me. It is not non-existence, but non-arising. That was really helpful, thank you.


Can you elaborate on this or provide a link to that post?

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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2/23/19 4:45 PM as a reply to Lars.
Lars - lots of discussion on the DhO thread: 'RE: Pristine Mind by Orgyen Chowang (Dzogchen)' particularly around the second page.

This should be the hotlink - but if it doesn't work just google the thread.  

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/11679786?_19_delta=20&_19_keywords=&_19_advancedSearch=false&_19_andOperator=true&_19_resetCur=false&_19_cur=1


RE: Malcolm's practice log
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2/23/19 8:39 PM as a reply to curious.
Thanks, that was quite the read. I don't usually like mirror analogies because of the reflector/reflection duality, but this was great:

In the path of Buddhadharma, since we understand dependencies, we do not attempt to
get rid of afflictive emotions by hard will, or by dissociation (which
strengthens the fundamental delusion of an inherently existing subject
and an inherently existing object), or other ways based on the view of
inherent existence - which is akin to punching the mirror to get rid of
the reflection. At the same time, we are not saying "they are purely an
illusion, nothing to work on" (let's try that tactic when your clothes
catch fire!). What we're saying is that by directly penetrating the
dependent origination and emptiness of taints, precisely because they
are illusory and not inherently existing, we can understand the
necessity to apply the right remedy which cuts the basis for suffering
(the 12 links from ignorance... to death). What path? The engagement in
right view and right practice, in which integral conduct allows the
arising of integral samadhi which allows the arising of integral wisdom,
which results in the cessation of ignorance and the chains. With the
arising of wisdom, the chain of afflictive dependent origination is
released.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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2/5/19 12:50 PM as a reply to curious.
A little cycle appeared, all over in under two hours.

I now use my commute as a time of seclusion, for mindfulness of clear and joyful existence.  Today I had an A&P while driving.

First the world lost some vividness, then there was a build up of energy around the eyes, then some minor visual strobing and pulsing energy surges in the body, like grade IV piti but without the rapture. The energy moved to the back of my head, then to the nose and mouth. After that a tiny bit of stuff came up, and in the next twenty minutes I had four to six moments of minor commute irritation. I let go of each in about a second, but not instantly, so there was a tiny bit of grabbing.

A small sense of presence/angst waxed and waned. I arrived home and went for a walk, and spotted momentary fear, desire for deliverance, reobservation. The point of perspective seemed to move around the chakras a little  So I did some Buddha guru yoga, and then I was back in equanimity as before. The joy is slightly dimished, but happiness and perception seems if anything deeper. I continue to get a bit of pressure on the crown.

Edit/Update: That night I went to bed and pulled on my eye mask, and the dappled grid appeared in my visual field.  Then it burst into a more widely spaced set of lights.  These were precisely on a somewhat larger grid, maybe a 100 lights or so in total. They were like bright stars, maybe the magnitude of Sirius. This just lasted for a few seconds.

  

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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2/23/19 3:10 PM as a reply to curious.
Some stuff came up so a short dark night and also mild illness. Then had mindfulness of physical sensations while sleeping.  Some of the physical sensations seemed to be observing each other, or observing theselves. This is a bit different from prior experiences where sensations were shaken up by crowding them all in at once, or by removal of the sense of space, or by making consciosuness mobile, or through general non-duality.  So just noting this to keep a record.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/1/19 2:36 PM as a reply to curious.
The 'nada' sound seems to have moved from between the ears to somewhere around the brain stem. 

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3/7/19 1:33 PM as a reply to curious.
Earlier in the week I was thinking to myself, what is the point of siddhis?  After all, experiencing the sensate reality is the greatest most amazing siddhi of all. Then I had a busy and engaged week, a tiny bit of duality crept in, and later I experienced my first full siddhi.

I was able, in a small way, to restruture a part of my reality to merge different concepts into a completely new and unique experience.  It was like making imagination real - but not in the way I would have imagined!  Very very interesting, but also clearly not a mystical thing. I see it as an artefact of loosening up the arising pscho-physical being, so that I could fuse the conceptual and sensory minds in a new way.  It has only happened once, so far.  Good fun, but definitely with dualistic overtones.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/10/19 3:57 PM as a reply to curious.
Lots of happiness and joy bubbling up today.  Like a spring welling up inside of me, suffusing everything.  Not in a manic way, although I do feel like dancing.  I am trying to be mindful of the emptiness and joy as I go to sleep, and as I first wake up. This gives some small progess.

I can snap quickly into empty non-dual joy through attention to either vivid clarity of the visual field or the flux of body sensations. I also made a tentative discovery about what can pull me out of non-dual joy - I don't think it is social interaction or difficult problems per se, but rather verbal formations.  Specifically, applied deliberative thought.  So that is interesting, and I wonder whether I will eventually be able to integrate verbal formations into the field of empty non-dual joy as well.

Also trying to reply on Awakenetwork, but it seems to be down.  As usual Chris's questions help to crystallise things.  emoticon

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/11/19 1:00 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
I can snap quickly into empty non-dual joy through attention to either vivid clarity of the visual field or the flux of body sensations. I also made a tentative discovery about what can pull me out of non-dual joy - I don't think it is social interaction or difficult problems per se, but rather verbal formations.  Specifically, applied deliberative thought.  So that is interesting, and I wonder whether I will eventually be able to integrate verbal formations into the field of empty non-dual joy as well.

That’s interesting. Being autistic I often find that having to be verbally responsive drains a lot of energy. I need to get into a less conceptualizing state now and then to sort of regenerate. If I get to do this out in the nature, I feel like I merge with it. I share that with many autistic friends.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/11/19 7:09 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This is really interesting. Is it all applied deliberate thought? Or does this only happen in certain situations? E.g. where there is a specific narrative/cognition/emotion associated with “having to think”?

I also have experienced what you describe, but under investigation it turned out that it wasn’t the verbal formations that were the problem as such, it was the narratives that were subtlety attached to various verbal formations in particular situations.

I used to just describe it as “feeling contracted” (similar to losing that lovely non-dual feeling) but now if I investigate really closely there’s always some “story” attached to this contracted feeling, and this story can be investigated and dismantled. Of course, these stories are always duality-reinforcing, hence the loss of non-conceptual non-dual joy.

Hope that makes sense (see, great example of an immediate sense of contraction occurring as I worry that you won’t understand what I’ve just written!) ;)

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3/11/19 9:39 AM as a reply to Anna L.
Anna L:
This is really interesting. Is it all applied deliberate thought? Or does this only happen in certain situations? E.g. where there is a specific narrative/cognition/emotion associated with “having to think”?

I also have experienced what you describe, but under investigation it turned out that it wasn’t the verbal formations that were the problem as such, it was the narratives that were subtlety attached to various verbal formations in particular situations.

I used to just describe it as “feeling contracted” (similar to losing that lovely non-dual feeling) but now if I investigate really closely there’s always some “story” attached to this contracted feeling, and this story can be investigated and dismantled. Of course, these stories are always duality-reinforcing, hence the loss of non-conceptual non-dual joy.

Hope that makes sense (see, great example of an immediate sense of contraction occurring as I worry that you won’t understand what I’ve just written!) ;)


That’s an interesting question. I think there can be more than one cause and they may overlap. Sometimes I’m fine with written language on a forum because it doesn’t require me to be in synch with somebody else, but I can take my time. Direct social interaction is more demanding. I do struggle a lot with writing too, though, which is ironic since I write for a living. I’m actually writing a paper on this very topic right now together with some other autistic researchers. We had a workshop last summer, discussing it, and did a data collection among the participants. It seems that what we all had in common was that we felt that it was draining to translate our way of thinking into a conceptual and category-based and very generalized language. That translation process seemed to differ a lot, because our perception differed as well, but the experience of having to translate ourselves all the time was a common trait.

I wouldn’t say that thinking is draining per se, or maybe that depends on what counts as thinking. I’m a very intuitive person. Communicating with cats is not draining at all and I’m pretty sure that they think.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/11/19 2:01 PM as a reply to curious.
Anna L - contraction. Yes of course. D'oh!  I had been thinking of the other state as the mind being expanded, but somehow hadn't quite managed to name the phenomena of being pulled in as contraction. That will be really helpul for mindfulness of the mind, thank you.  But I will also investigate the presence of the underlying narratives and see what I find. My intuition is that they need not be mutually exclusive causes - contraction could be a factor that does or doesn't arise along with other factors, such as narratives. But I'll see if I can find out for myself. emoticon

Linda - so interesting!  Something else you might find intriguing is that I went through a long period without conscious verbal formations (prior to serious practice).  This was because I had a super-high workload in complex social environment, so I cultivated a kind of intuitive flow state as a way of managing all that.  It was almost exactly like unconscious competence in driving a car, except I was applying it to dealing with people, meetings, writing and even complex ideas. Cutting out verbal formations and letting my subconscious do the work supported very high levels of productivity. But I would add that it had nothing to do with insight, nanas still arose, and if anything it prevented progress. For example, when I decided to try to note thoughts, I couldn't find any!  Anyway, I stopped that eventually and verbal formations are back. But that history might be why I have tended to work more with emotions and intuitions, rather than traditional noting practices.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/11/19 3:11 PM as a reply to curious.
That actually sounds like exactly what I may have done. My work environment is probably much less socially complex most days now that I rarely teach, with the exception of conferences and workshops, but as an autistic person that is complex enough for me. And my job is to study complex social interaction between people with dementia diseases in groups (I chose my profession before knowing that I’m not supposed to understand social interaction, hehe). It’s fascinating, but also very non-linear despite the linearity of language, and multi-layered, with so many different processes going on at the same time and so many ways to be or not be in synch. Language is really not the best tool to grasp what is essential in those interactions, although these persons are still very verbal and competent in compensating for their difficulties. Language doesn’t do justice to the high level of coordination that goes on when these persons are engaged in meaningmaking, sensemaking and worldmaking. So the ideas for my articles come to me sort of as an entangled cloud. I know that there’s something intriguing going on there, but I don’t know quite what. The cloud must disentangle itself first. Tentacles start to come out from the cloud. I know that they are connected to each other through the core of the idea, and I know that it will fall into place eventually, but in the beginning, the connection between the tentacles is very fuzzy. Communicating the idea to others is impossible at that stage. There are too many dimensions involved and I lack the concepts. As what I’m doing is academic research and not poetry, I must connect this fuzzy idea to previous research, so I start guessing what other people might have called this intersection of dimensions that I’m interested in. There is never (so far) anyone who has done something quite like that, so I always need to relate to a number of different research traditions and disciplines that have very little in common. I usually end up inventing my own concepts or tweaking some concepts that have been used for entirely different purposes. If I would have started out with concepts, I would never had seen what I have seen.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/12/19 2:42 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
... So the ideas ... come to me sort of as an entangled cloud. I know that there’s something intriguing going on there, but I don’t know quite what. The cloud must disentangle itself first. Tentacles start to come out from the cloud. I know that they are connected to each other through the core of the idea, and I know that it will fall into place eventually, but in the beginning, the connection between the tentacles is very fuzzy. 

Amazing.  You have just described my current (sporadic) self enquiry process.  Karmic clingings bundle together into a residual cloud of knots and tentatcles. I perceive no self other than those few remaining knots, but they combine to have some illusory solidity and will eventually have to be reduced.  Rather than untangle them, I am just trying to make them irrelevant through rigpa, so that they slowly shrivel up of their own accord.  

Also, loved the fire kasina recordings, and binged on them all today.  Won't be long .... 

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3/12/19 5:08 PM as a reply to curious.
Okay! Cool! That’s a fascinating process (albeit frustrating when one has to do it fast or risk losing one’s job, and thereby all the access to the research data, which I fear more than losing my income because I am a nerd and need things to be nerdy about, plus I think I could make a difference and feel obligated to do so since I owe my informants that, but I guess awakening is a more patient boss - thankfully). Then I actually understand what it is that you are doing now. Very very interesting.

And oh yeah... The fire kasina recordings tipped over the balance for me so now I’m hooked.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/13/19 12:38 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks Linda.  I also do 25 minutes of anapanasati each morning, almost without fail, and 10 minutes of yoga, dynamic breathing and kicks about four times a week, plus sporadic mindfulness.  That's all just maintenance stuff though, and no longer leads to progress.

And as of this week - Fire Kasina!

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/13/19 1:17 PM as a reply to curious.
So I have started candle flame Fire Kasina, with 40 minute sits last night and the night before. Here is was I have found so far.

I am amazed at how quickly the red dot pops out. For me it is very small but very clear, with a white centre, candyfloss pink inner ring, and scarlet outer ring.  Then it can get a dark forest green border, and maybe one more colour.  I feel that I can make it grow from a couple of pixels to the full dot, and stabilise for a second or two (but it might actually just be doing that on its own). Despite growing, it is still very small, and tends to a fat diamond shape. It drifts down towards the right, but I can slow that down by looking just to the above left. I don't see rotation, but the border flickers, and sometimes the white centre is in two or three chunks. I can't keep it for more than about five seconds. On the first night that was frustrating, but on the second night I was learning to appreciate it arising and passing away.  I could bring it back (or it would come back on its own) three or four times.  

After that, I would often get a grey dot with a black ring and then green or purple outside. This was otherwise simliar to the red dot but didn't last long. It would be there just once or twice. Then the black dot would appear with an intense flickering purple boundary and maybe some other boundary colour. This was smaller than the red dot, and didn't seem to move as much. This would come back three or four times.  Sometimes there would be a purple dot before the black dot.

From there, the murk seems like familiar territory as I used to watch lots of contracting thigles and colour washes with eyes closed.  These phenomena stopped last year, but the murk still seems like a friend. So I would be in it, and nothing much seems to happen, except lines and colours faintly appear after a while, but almost as if I am seeing them but not seeing them. On the first night I managed to get a Casper-The-Friendly-Ghost grey face in the murk - like those toys that have a thousand nails in a frame that show the impression of whatever you put underneath them.

After 30 to 35 minutes of practice, when I refresh, the red dot is different. It becomes lumpy and fuzzy with no colours other than red, although on one occasion this turned into a precise little cone and rotated 90 degrees.  When the red dot gets fuzzy I think, okay I done, but then on the second night at that point I started getting photorealistic images popping up. One I remember was the back of a car, pastel blue and a large number plate. Others were people. They would just come and go. None had any particular meaning or special interest, but they were very vivid and had a hypnogogic quality. I started to realise that dullness was a phase, rather than a problem.

My takeaways so far ... it seemed like a easy practice to do, because it was so varied and interesting. It is also seems to work really well - I was amazed to get a clear white/candyfloss/scarlet red dot on my very first attempt, and to get this continually repeated over two nights. It is also really interesting so see how you have to get the mind to lay off, and not grab, and just accept whatever comes up, and to work with subtle intention not direction. It feels like a great practice.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
3/16/19 1:00 AM as a reply to curious.
3rd consecutive day of Fire Kasina.  Forty minutes.  The dot seemed more indistinct today, so I tried different concentration states to see how they affected the presentation of the dot. Nothing much had an impact except straight intensity of concentration on the flame. Got a few colours shifting under the murk, and the odd non-vivid photo image, but I was mainly working on the dot.  Once I could produce it cleanly I found I could double the length that the dot stayed around - to about 6 to 10 seconds - and I had quite a lot of success getting the dot to change colour between white, pink and red. I could maybe grow the dot slightly, but couldn't move it around.  Also had some fun effects with interior colours becoming helixes: a crumpled black helix within green dot; a shimmering white helix within a red dot.  Also, at one stage one of the red dots turned inside out.  Great fun and very cleansing shamatha.

4th day - took a break.  Getting more colours behind my eyelids, and some contractions of the nearby visual field when resting.

5th day - 19 minutes, then interrupted.  The dot was paler with a wide green border today, overwise similar to last time, with some colours and images in the murk, a few signs of complex geometry inside, and the dot coming back to the red/pink/white a few times.  Got some more colours and images in the murk.  But the main thing was that the dot was much more stable in location, and could persist for around 30 seconds at a time. I know this is not the main practice, but I will keep on working on the dot to try to get really good control over it.  One thing I noticed was that concentrating on the flame until the interior started to turn light green produced larger effects. 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/16/19 3:58 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
 One thing I noticed was that concentrating on the flame until the interior started to turn light green produced larger effects. 


I find a similar effect but for me the colour is blue. I can tell when I have achieved "enough" concentration as the blue in the interior of the candle flame really seems to "pop out", take on a life of its own, and become the main object of concentration. For me this feels like the 1st jhana. Once this has been reached then I can comfortably close my eyes and know that I should get a nice light show happening for the rest of the sit until the murk hits emoticon 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/16/19 7:04 AM as a reply to Anna L.
Anna L:
curious:
 One thing I noticed was that concentrating on the flame until the interior started to turn light green produced larger effects. 


I find a similar effect but for me the colour is blue. I can tell when I have achieved "enough" concentration as the blue in the interior of the candle flame really seems to "pop out", take on a life of its own, and become the main object of concentration. For me this feels like the 1st jhana. Once this has been reached then I can comfortably close my eyes and know that I should get a nice light show happening for the rest of the sit until the murk hits emoticon 



Yup, that’s what I do too. For me the color varies, but it’s different shades of green and blue and bluegreen.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/16/19 5:36 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Nice! It’s interesting to cross reference and notice that we are getting similar effects and intuitively working with those effects in the same way. 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/16/19 7:35 PM as a reply to Anna L.
Sure is interesting.  Such a robust, predictable, immediately effetive practice.  Quite amazing really.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/20/19 5:22 PM as a reply to curious.
Big shift. Found the biggest remaining knot of self and cut through it. It was right in front of my face all the time, but all I did was externalise it.  I laughed for 20 minutes when I realised what I had been doing.

Waiting to see if the last few flailing urges coalesce around a new, smaller, knot, or subside altogether. The Rigpa has morphed into something else, less compelling, but more ... something.  I don't have the words.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/20/19 8:03 PM as a reply to curious.
What happens when you let yourself sit on the cushion for a while, eyes open, letting the busy mind of the day weaken and dwindle away, until you are really there on the seat sitting there? Just plainly sitting there? What happens look around for a few moments and ask "what is all of this?" ?

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/20/19 9:06 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
What happens when you let yourself sit on the cushion for a while, eyes open, letting the busy mind of the day weaken and dwindle away, until you are really there on the seat sitting there? Just plainly sitting there? What happens look around for a few moments and ask "what is all of this?" ?

Doing this for 30 minutes, and I feel utter contentment.  Some purifications still running a little bit in the background. Undertones of happiness and joy, but contentment predominates. I look around and I see the world. Just the world. It is still vivd and high definition, but doesn't shine quite the way it did before. Instead everything seems more real, more solid somehow.  Not just sight, but sound, feelings. And time, and space and movement.  It is as if everything has acquired an extra dimension - like seeing ball pushed into a rubber sheet and you see the sheet distended with the shape in 2 dimensions, but you know there is something more solid and 3-dimensional behind it.  Everything is just really where it is, deep with its own existence, made solid and real by the extra dimensions that are pushing it into the world, into consciousness.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 5:38 AM as a reply to curious.
Nice.

Does it sort of feel like you used to be looking at a fish tank through the clear glass and now you are within the water and looking around -- nothing changed except a rich sense of depth?

Any access to this new "view" as you are walking? Are you able to notice a new kind of three-dimensionality where things close by slowly slide past things far away (parallax)?

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 1:11 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Nice.

Does it sort of feel like you used to be looking at a fish tank through the clear glass and now you are within the water and looking around -- nothing changed except a rich sense of depth?

Any access to this new "view" as you are walking? Are you able to notice a new kind of three-dimensionality where things close by slowly slide past things far away (parallax)?

Yes, although I had been thinking of a different analogy. Remember I had been talking about cleaning mud off the windscreen? Well it is like  the windscreen just got removed. And the car. And maybe even my eyelids. There is nothing between me and the world anymore.

And yes on the parrallax.  I actually had that after the last shift.  When I look for it, the world moves up and down as a walk, and different parts of the visual field move in different directions.  When this first happened I looked at it more often, but I look at it a bit less now. 

[Edit: Sorry Shargrol - there are two parts to your question.  Parallax, yes. Access to the new view as I walk ... yes, seems to be, but I will check that out in more detail today.]

I'll give a few more details in reply to Chris below.  :-) 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 2:07 PM as a reply to curious.
Okay, windshield off and nothing between you and the world now -- perfect.

For what it's worth, there are two things that my teacher said to me at this point. The first was to say that this was usually a promising sign, in his tradition it was called natural mind.

The second thing was a bit of a caution and encouragement and a warning all wrapped together: That this natural mind should be recognized as yet another state of mind, because it is recognizable, has a quality, feels a certain way. And yet it is as high as you can go on the mountain, which means the next step isn't onto more mountain, it's a step into space, into nothing. And finally, he said that the step often involves realizing what was at the heart of your motivation, your seeking. For some people it is a search to feel safe, in which case we have to give up hope for ever being safe (because we truly never are safe). For me, my seeking was to "know what I need to do" and I had to give up hope of ever being certain that I knew what to do (because we never truly know what to do). For someone else it might be being special, knowing something transcendent, becoming fully embodied, always being clear, never feeling fear, really there are infinite possibilities --- and really it isn't these words but rather a pre-verbal intuition or feeling. But the last step off the mountain usually means jumping into the possibility of not getting what you sought. It sort of feels like having your last breath leave your body at death. There is a reason some traditions call this "dying before you die". And you can imagine-act that out a little: inhale an extra 20%, hold an extra 20% longer, and then let it leave... there is silence, life is DONE.

And you imagine-act your way there... or you might accidently fall into that void... It happened to me as I was doing simple metta on a weekend retreat, very relaxed. May I be well, may all beings be well. In breath, out breath... and then a primal terror and then going into that terror...

And then you are done. Everything is unchanged, yet totally different, because you are not trying to get something you could never get in the first place. 


Best wishes, may you have a gentle landing.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 2:52 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Shargrol, that is some really powerful and deeply shocking stuff you laid on me there. Thank you.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 3:57 PM as a reply to curious.
Wow, it is fascinating to read about your ongoing journey. The advice you get from other experienced practitioners is a treasure, too. No need to be bored ever again. Yay!

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 7:58 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Wow, it is fascinating to read about your ongoing journey. The advice you get from other experienced practitioners is a treasure, too. No need to be bored ever again. Yay!
Thanks Linda, it is a great forum neh?  More soon. 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 5:58 AM as a reply to curious.
Keeping fingers crossed - sounds good!

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 12:41 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Keeping fingers crossed - sounds good!

Thanks Chris!

So far the residual urges seem to be subsiding rather than coalescing around something else, but some kind of process is still running. There have been pressures moving around the head, sometimes quite strong, and sometimes even moving in to nearby nerves in the eyes, ears.  These pressures feel as if they are slowly but steadily draining into the spine.

The head is spacious and clear now, aside from these residual pressures.  And I just feel really ordinary, in a very contented, clear kind of way.  There was a buzziness with the rigpa (or whatever it was) that I didn't really notice it until it stopped.

I don't get a sense of done, so much as a sense of there is nothing I need to do. 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/21/19 9:15 PM as a reply to curious.
So after Shargol's comment I quickly saw exactly what had propelled me on the path, and had been propelling me before that. Fear. Deep, deep in my subconscious a very solid and real little homonculous of fear that motivated all sorts of achievement orientation. I realised that while I had purified my perceptions and my consciousness, I had not purified my subconscious. When I saw this fact some purifications immediately started running, with strobing and twitching, and an emotional outpouring as I saw the huge fear at the heart of things. Then I ran out of time to do more.

Later, I had an opportunity to sit for thirty minutes, and I resolved to take the next step. First I looked at the fear, and A&P/strobing/purifications arose in many senses. I investigated the fear, and learned to know it. I thought to myself perhaps that is the real me and the conscious me is just a paper tiger the fear holds up to the world - but then I immediately saw through that as a wrong view. I concentrated hard on the three characteristics of the fear - not self, impermanent, unsatisfactory (and all together), and then again hard in the opposite order unsatisfactory, impermanent, not self (and all together). Somewhere in that the brain folded in on the characteristics and wigged out a couple of times, but no bliss wave. Then I decided to purify the whole body of fear, and called in massive amounts of spiritual plasma, and then turned the dial up, and up again.  And turned it up again.  And then turned dial up to max, calling spiritual lightning from the whole cosmos. I gave the fear what it wanted - huge searing shocks, thick purifying blasts of spirit. To an observer, it would have looked as if I was fitting for a few minutes. Then I looked at the fear, translucent now, but still there.  And I embraced it.  I held on to it tight - I am it and it is me, light and dark, two sides of acceptance. With a few false starts, I took the run up and leapt into space holding on to the translucent shape of the fear, and I fell into space, and floated.

After, I was dreamy from the purifications, walking through honey. That slowed down, and the fear arises and I just go yep, you are right, that’ll probably happen, no way to stop it if it does. <smile>   Now everything feels normal - more normal than ever. The head is completely clear except a little pressure behind the ears, and the body feels strangely earthy. And the fear is just another aggregate - hello brother!  Acceptance.

Anyway, I am a little flat in the aftermath of all the energy burns. For now, I feel as if I am right back where I first started, except without the unsatisfactoriness. The body feels strangley earthy, and all the mental states are gone for now (shamatha of space, rigpa, the natural mind). Happiness is slowly stirring. I don't know whether I have done enough or not, and will have to wait for my energy system to recover to be able to tell, I think.  But if I have not, I will just keep working on the seven factors of awakening while relying on the dharma to carry me along.

I am very tempted to say that I have done my best to bring balance to the force.  emoticon

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 5:43 AM as a reply to curious.
"
Then I looked at the fear, translucent now, but still there.  And I embraced it.  I held on to it tight - I am it and it is me, light and dark, two sides of acceptance. ]
After, I was dreamy from the purifications, walking through honey......

- hello brother!  Acceptance......

I am very tempted to say that I have done my best to bring balance to the force.  emoticon "


Thanks for sharing Malcolm, inspiring.....

Gives me hope that breakthrough's through difficult covering root emotions are possible.....

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 3:48 AM as a reply to curious.
Ok, the body has rebooted. And that was not it.  It was a step - a necessary purification.  So not wasted.

And I think I know what I need to do know - to fall into that last letting go, that last release of effort, that last full moment of acceptance. Striving after it is a contradiction, as the striving makes it recede.

So this afternoon I have meandered back up from the earthiness to the luminosity.  From there I will come back to the elimination of grasper and grasped, and then move back in to the six immediate cognitions. And I will dwell there a bit, and practice, and let that last letting go germinate beneath the surface, to flower when it is ready.

Meanwhile, I have to say I am pretty darn happy and content.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 5:54 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Ok, the body has rebooted. And that was not it.  It was a step - a necessary purification.  So not wasted.

And I think I know what I need to do know - to fall into that last letting go, that last release of effort, that last full moment of acceptance. Striving after it is a contradiction, as the striving makes it recede.

So this afternoon I have meandered back up from the earthiness to the luminosity.  From there I will come back to the elimination of grasper and grasped, and then move back in to the six immediate cognitions. And I will dwell there a bit, and practice, and let that last letting go germinate beneath the surface, to flower when it is ready.

Meanwhile, I have to say I am pretty darn happy and content.
Nice work going into the fear, totally necessary to "try" -- that shows you are a serious practioner. And yet for most people waking up means something falls away, is shed, a letting go, that last breath of a dying person leaving because there is nothing to hold it...

It will probably be a subtle thing, a little moment of >something<, like the plant breaking through the surface and looking around --- and realizing what it thought was "self" was really just a small runner growing off the side of a much bigger plant and that plant was already above ground. So you are growing right back into where you, in a sense, already are. 

The enlightened Malcolm is almost identical to the prior-to-enlightened Malcolm.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 7:36 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Just to emphasize the thing shargrol raises - this change for me was a tiny blip and then shortly thereafter all of it became clear. This is not a cosmic energy conversion or an explosion. It's one of those little changes that has immense import. Sort of like in chaos theory - it's the butterfly's wing flap that causes the hurricane five thousand miles away days later.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 8:31 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
+1 a tiny blip

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 10:05 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
When you say that it was a blip, do you mean it literally? Can a fruition seem like a blip, and sound like one, literally? Like a very short beep?

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 11:14 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It's an insight that occurs in a moment. (not joking)

And then this song plays (joking): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZlfbep2LdU

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 2:35 PM as a reply to shargrol.
The reason for my asking is that I have had two blips that actually sounded blip.

(I’ll listen/watch later, when I can, so that I can appreciate the joke fully. :-) )

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 3:17 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
The reason for my asking is that I have had two blips that actually sounded blip.

(I’ll listen/watch later, when I can, so that I can appreciate the joke fully. :-) )

Linda, are you getting bliss waves?

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 7:34 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
The reason for my asking is that I have had two blips that actually sounded blip.

(I’ll listen/watch later, when I can, so that I can appreciate the joke fully. :-) )

Linda, are you getting bliss waves?


Yup. And my social awkwardness/anxiety is gone, just like that, as is also my performance anxiety, which was a tremendous burden giving rise to huge avoidance issues. I don’t know how much of this will last, but the timing for this mercy was excellent.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 11:53 AM as a reply to curious.
Jyet - yes.  You can do it.  But be patient and lay the groundwork.
Linda - find something in retrospecct?  How do you feel?

Shargrol, Chris - thank you.  I mean really really thank you.  I don't think I missed it, but I don't think it is very far away.  Well see.  I have to travel now for a couple of days, so will check back in later this week.

Also, thank you for the earworm Shargrol!  My life to date, without having had the opportunity to listen to that song, now seems strangely wasted ....emoticon

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 1:48 PM as a reply to curious.
Just a quick update from the road. About 15 minutes after my last post I got the tiny blip, as we were driving down the hill. A small but quite warm bliss wave followed straight away, and then some ... kind of
growth into myself. And now I feel like I am back on dry land. Very ordinary and human and happy ... I would say fulfilled but that is way too strong a word.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 2:27 PM as a reply to curious.
I’ll write some more at a later point, as I’m at a workshop this weekend and it’s very intense, but I just felt that I need to ask this question even though it propably sounds stupid. I have been thinking about ot a lot, with surprise. Do you mean that normal people don’t see the world bouncing up and down when walking? And not closer objects moving faster than those that are far away either? Really? No wonder that other people are not overwhelmed by their senses all the time. Everything is simplified. How weird! Didn’t you see it at all, or do you just see more of it now?

Oh, I feel great, thankyou for asking. I feel a great relief.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 3:14 PM as a reply to curious.
Just a quick update from the road. About 15 minutes after my last post I got the tiny blip, as we were driving down the hill. A small but quite warm bliss wave followed straight away, and then some ... kind of
growth into myself. And now I feel like I am back on dry land. Very ordinary and human and happy ... I would say fulfilled but that is way too strong a word.


Wow. So do you feel the center now?

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/22/19 4:45 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris, I hadn’t thought about it until you asked, but no it’s not there anymore. 

(Edit) having trouble with coverage and mobile version. So will try to add:

It’s like a missing tooth. There are still some residual sensations in the head, but they are like bees buzzing around looking for a lost hive. I can now really clearly see the three characteristics of all the perceptual and meditative states. Fine if they arise, but a trap if you get absorbed in them and think they are the complete answer. Even Rigpa and the Natural mind still have a subtle centre.

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/24/19 6:34 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
I can now really clearly see the three characteristics of all the perceptual and meditative states. Fine if they arise, but a trap if you get absorbed in them and think they are the complete answer. Even Rigpa and the Natural mind still have a subtle centre.

Yeah a subtle center or a sense of pride associated with "having" them. And it's funny how obvious it is in youself and others once you see this pride. 

This is what makes the whole path so humbling. You have to keep moving beyond all the things you "get"... and that doesn't mean getting something more besides a kind of basic sanity. Ah, but sanity, how refreshing! emoticon

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/24/19 12:33 AM as a reply to curious.
So, back in range of data now, and caught up.

The bees have buzzed off. The headaches have subsided.  Some pains in top of the spine, eyes, ears and nose have gone.  My state is now quite different from previously (because it is no longer a state). Emptiness is also inside the head now, and the borders of the 'mind' container have broken down. When I pay attention to each individual sense consciousness, I can see it running on its own, independently. I thought I was centreless before, but it is quite different having no clinging ball of fabrications subtly tying everything together. There is actually less clarity and joy than before, because I am no longer absorbed in those states, and now realise they are a taint. The process of reaching this state hasn't quite finished running, but I feel very human and very liberated. I now see the Bahiya sutta as practice, and the Heart sutta as outcome. I didn't understand that before.  Although of course my insights have arrived in their own idiosyncractic manner, slightly differently from the heart sutta ... so here's my take on it (with apologies to Avalokiteshvara)

Listen Shargrol, listen Chris, the mind sense is empty, and emptiness forms the mind. The mind is none other than emptiness, and emptiness is none other than the mind. The same is true of sight, hearing, feeling, taste and smell.  Experience arises from the interplay of senses while senses are fabricated from the flow of emptiness. Yet even that emptiness is itself none other than a fabrication, so emptiness itself bears the marks of existence. All conceptual objects have these three characteristics - they are not self, they are not permanent and they are not satisfying. Yet the actual phenomena do not bear these characteristics - they neither arise nor cease, they don't exist and don't not exist, they are not born, and do not die. Whoever can see this can stop ignorantly seeking self in the interplay of form and emptiness. Whoever can see this has no object to grasp at and no self to do the grasping. Whoever can see this may step from the raft, arrive at the other shore, and be content to dwell in the miracle of experience. Gone, gone, gone beyond. Gone utterly beyond. Liberated. Yeah!

Funnily enough, yesterday I went for a walk in the country, and a wild eyed cattle beast was loose on the road and came trotting towards me, chased by a couple of mountain bikers.  So you better believe I took extra care at that point!  Although later I saw it was a steer, not a cow, so perhaps I was needlessly worried. 

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/24/19 6:05 AM as a reply to curious.
Whew, yeah look out for those bovine!!

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3/24/19 12:19 PM as a reply to curious.
Welcome to the chicken coop, where there's nobody here - just us chickens.

emoticon

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3/24/19 1:25 PM as a reply to curious.
Thanks Guys - would not be here without you (same goes for Daniel). I think it is obligatory at this point to comment - all those years, all that effort, and what did I get for it?  Nothing!  emoticonemoticon

Anyway, I don't want to go on about it, but I would just make a couple of observations. It is not at all what I expected, but it is exactly what was promised.  And I finally undestand how appropriate it is to talk about the 'other shore'.

*squawk

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3/24/19 5:21 PM as a reply to curious.
emoticon

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3/24/19 5:36 PM as a reply to curious.
I’m happy for you. Woohoo!

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/24/19 6:44 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thank you Linda.  emoticon

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3/28/19 4:28 AM as a reply to curious.
Signing off for a whlie - a few weeks, a few months.  Not too sure, but I am intending to be back at some stage.

Meanwhile - smiling at you Polly.  If you get into heavy weather - remember it is impermanent and not self.  Work with skilful intention, compassion to yourself and others, and get grounded.  But other than that, go for it! emoticon

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/28/19 7:16 AM as a reply to curious.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us these last few weeks! It has been fascinating reading and beneficial for the rest of us. Congrats on your break-through!

Would like to see you back on here sometime down the line. Your perspective & advice is always appreciated emoticon

RE: Malcolm's practice log
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3/28/19 8:36 AM as a reply to curious.
Thank you again for everything! And yeah, I’ll do that.

Your presence here is much appreciated, but it’s good to see you listening to your own needs (or however one puts it when it concerns somebody who realizes that there is no self). I’ll miss you but I’ll be happy for you, and I’ll be okay. I hope that I’ll get to hear about the rest of the journey eventually, because it’s a fascinating one and a great inspiration. Take care and practice well! The process knows the way.

*sending a virtual hug*

RE: Malcolm's practice log
Answer
6/26/19 6:08 AM as a reply to curious.
Just two ongoing self-observations.

One is that, as others have observed, the sense of humanity and emotion took a while to switch back on.  Another is that, after giving up clinging to states, I realised there was still a ... habit ... of subtle clinging to frames of reference. Recognising that habit just blows away a few cobwebs, so I can more happily flip between frames of reference as they arise and pass away. Sometimes the frames of reference concern the foundations of mindfulness. Sometimes they concern non-self versions of selfing (like the organism boundary, or a narrow or broad social group, or atman/brahmin). Sometimes they are versions of pure dualistic or non-dualistic perceptual experience. Sometimes they are flashes of the six realms. It is an interesting insight to watch them arise and pass away without clinging or aversion.  It is liberating to note and then release the subtle drive to find the illusory 'true' frame of reference. There is no 'true' frame of reference. It is nice to realise that I don't have to cling to or resist any of these frames of reference. Just as I don't have to cling to or resist any of the emotions. 

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