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Claims to Attainments

No freakin' claim at all.

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No freakin' claim at all.
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7/14/18 7:33 PM
Hello everyone on the Overground:

It is my sincere hope that this bolded text is not violating some contrived concept of "internet ettiquitte", but it seems that my Acer won't allow any text to display here in the main body unless I click one of the options, such as bold. Perhaps this is due to my neophyte status as a user here, as well as my lack of being a forum 'power user' in the first place. I'm 43, and have been using the internet since prior to 1993, but still don't know what a "bump" is. In any case, I was much more savvy back in the days of BBS's in the 80's so I apologize, for what that might be worth.

So about the practice here... 

First some background about how the history of this life may have led to first an interest in science and science philosophy, and then subsequently mystical practice. I learned to read quite fluently at age 3 and by age 4, I was reading my World Book Encyclopedias and any and every book about Science I could get my hands on. Back then I was an introverted personality...quite, and with my nose in books about 24/7 when conscious, and probably auto-contemplating said books while asleep.  emoticon  I hated school right off the bat because what and when I learned was dictated by others -- authority no less, and also the speed and depth of learning was outside the user's purvey as well. College was really no different. Every day I got excited for the bell to ring because it meant I could return home to the laboratory I had created in what was formerly my parents' guest room, via their grudging permission. You'd think they'd been glad I wasn't a football jock, but maybe it would have been better. By 3rd grade it was quite clear to me a priori, that all Western education provides is a conduit for conditioning people about what it just wouldn't do to think say and be, and what would be more condusive to self-serving profit motivated insular existence.

At around 10 years of age I started having severe panic attacks, which would appear for no known reason/catylist, and the message was "death is imminent", and in addition it was intuitively clear that this soon coming death would be preceeded by insanity." Unfortunately the tactic I used as a kid to combat these experiences was to start repeating my own name and address over and over again rapidly like a mantra to ward of the Anatta/no-self feeling that was ever deepening, and creating the crescendo of panic which would perpetuate the feedback loop.

At 11 I picked up a self-help book by Robert Handley, modeled after some 12 step group tactics, which was of superficial relief, save for one or two chapters that described somes relaxation techniques centering around "letting go" and a few mentions of things like alpha state, theta waves, eeg, a few tales of the amazing feats of yogis...and an awkward testimonial of some kind of "awakening" the author had where he belived he had gotten in touch with his "spiritual self." At the time, I had not heard of Vedanta, or anything of that nature, but I did begin dabbling with the TM style practice of objectless relaxation espoused in the book, and at the time, would get stints of relief from at least the aftermath of these "fear episodes" as I then viewed them, and the low-level anxiety that would often remain for weeks. I even missed the last 1/2 of sixth grade due to this, and had to make up much of the work to maintain my (generally high) grades at the time. I almost saved up mowng lawns to buy a 350.00 biofeedback machine, but meditation was helping, so for the sake of later skillset building, it may have been fortunate that I did not take the tech route in this area.

As I got older, I mimicked my peers and tried to develop a sense of humor and become more outgoing, assuming the rainbarrel theory of repression had created the ground for these fear episodes. Gone was any need to worry about getting homework done, or correctly. I was largely successful and mastered basic socialization, dating, etc. and panic attacks bacame rarer in my experience. Around age 18 I was smoking about 1/2 a pack a day of cigarettes, and fearing health detriments, I utilized what I knew as "meditation" from my childhood in order to quit, via visualization and other techniques, such as imagining what I would now refer to as grasping future "becomings" where I was happy and a non-smoker. It helped, because I did quit for a few years. I later started back during my 20's in early marriage/binge drinking stint and wasn't able to permenantly quit cigs until my wife and I managed to do so simultaneously "cold turkey" in the early 2000's.

Of course, all the personality that was "added on" was just junk and not true transformation. At least I got to go out and grow the first real roots of Samvega, and there is no doubt now, at age 43, that there is no comprehensive solution for life waiting "out there" somewhere.

Over the years I have experienced some pround "mystical experience" and altered states via entheogens, knowing intuitively somehow, that a few of these were not delusive, but deep seeings into the mind [whatever your definition and view] and Reality's own nature. Many of them occured during the night, and included experiences of "the body" walking around the house with no free will at all, yet crystal clear lucidity but no thoughts.

After one of these, around 4 years ago, I started classic "bookstore and net seeking"...watching YouTube videos, the usual Westerner stuff. 
At some point I picked up Leigh Brasington's book, Right Concentration and had already been reading Pema Chodron's "Heart Advise...", "Places that Scare You", "Wisdom of no Escape", etc. Even backtraced her lineage and bought Trungpa books. I started trying a lot of various techniques...sitting and studying my thoughts. Trying to stop them, and noticing that doesn't work so well...and the rest. I would sit with eyes open, eyes closed, even started doing determination sits and noticing my mind trying to quasi "astral project" into some imaginary becoming anywhere but "here". A small but significant insight in and of itself for a beginner. Eventually I had my daily sits up to 45 minutes and didn't miss for 3 full months, either doing my best understanding of Anapanasati or Zazen. When I was shocked by my first experience of piti-sukka I had no idea that such a thing was coming and it was really my first taste of magic. I cracked down and used Leigh's book and read it with deep attention about 10 times while maintaining devoted daily ardent meditation. Eventually, what was then an impressive version of J1 arose, and almost broke my face with a smile that remained even after jumping up post bell and looking in the mirror. 

Soon I was fortunate enough to find a lineaged Dhamma teacher who was willing to (if I waited for the Jhana factors to subside) train me in Mahasi's Method/Dry Insight, and that is basically what I have been doing daily for 3 years as a married Householder Yogi. My Venerable teacher and I feel like hard work has been done, in spite of my having taken only one 10 day retreat (Dharma Treasury near Tucson), and the Insights I have seen have been freeing without a doubt. However, there will be no "Attainment Claim" today. Maybe never. I don't have a lot of attachment left for much of anything in life and perhaps due to a high and yet growing level of Samvega, abiding practice in lay life seems to advance the Nyanas almost as effectively as days of contiguous formal sitting. The way I look at formal sits these days (working largely as a hospice volunteer in the home of my father-in-law) is that they are a massive luxury in life! -- A life which I take less seriously every day, while still endeavoring to treat others with authenticity and honesty...my main bastian for Sila at the moment.

I live in the deep South, where there doesn't seem to be a lot of Sangha. Actually, to my knowledge I've never met a real "yogi" outside of my one retreat at Culadasa's place, and I was so busy walking and sitting that I forgot to actually knock on the door and meet Yates, although I was treated with the utmost kindness and Compassion by Nancy. I'll never forget the kindness of everyone at the Treasury (especially my beloved teacher) -- Thanks!

The whole attainment claim business has seemed to "rub my eyes" in an irritating way. It's gotta be "me", I understand...but it is perplexing. You'd think we could talk freely and get "peer review" but no. Some kind of auspicious paranoia seems to insue if someone even insinuates a claim, much less makes one. I recently asked someone who has a pretty big claim themself for a simple book recommendation, and this person assumed I was getting up on stage and screaming "I am a Sotapanna!" I still take responsibility for not being the best communicator and it seems like writing calls up some mind state that has the mind wanting to go even more tangential than the speech can sometimes go.

Yet, I owe a lot of gratittude to the DhO, as I lurked here during the first pass through the Dukkha Nyanas, and probably read a lot of testimony which made me realize that my experiences on the cushion were parallel to many of you folks, and due to this escaped many a spiral into Nikanti and probably full decomp, which luckily never happened over the last 3 years.

Daniel Ingram also, was very kind in several personal replies over the last year, and gave me a couple of great tips via ReObservation, which I was handling quite poorly. I still don't always ace that one.

Thanks everyone, and forgive the papancha. I guess we can all decide if the bolded text constitutes "harsh speech" -- put that in the humor section unless you are offended.       :o

One thing becomes clear when some of the bigger Insights start to stack up:  Corruption and agenda abound in the dhamma/dharma, including within those who are empowered to teach. Not making a schism here...just warning that there are those who will teach, but will hold a few cards back, or keep some lights turned off. I do so like the simile of the mushroom garden -- If there are no lights on in the room, don't forget to note "smelling smelling" "manure manure" every now and then, if you want to shave decades off of sticky, trappy, forays in the darkness.

But it's been worth it. Yes, well worth every nanosecond. Besides, where do the potent psilocybens grow?

Upekkha!!!

RE: No freakin' claim at all.
Answer
7/14/18 9:13 PM as a reply to I Dream of Jnani.
Addendum:

Also, DhO friends, I would like to mention as an addendum to the biographical "life-story" stuff up there, that Peter Ralston's triology of books starting with The Book of Not Knowing, through his Genius of Being, was extremely supportive to my wily left-brain driven monkey, who incessantly is addicted to reading. I don't know Peter Personally, nor have I taken any of his pricey "Ontology" workshops, but the books helped, even while I was often practicing 3 hours + daily dry Vipassana under the weekly supervision of a lineaged master. Why?

It is my humble opinion that Ralston's books do a masterful job pointing out how a sense of self-survival is engendered both through imaginary/delusive means and those encouraged through every step of natural selection, which made human/animal behavior what it is. Knowing these principles is being free from them, IMHO. I've read far too many spiritual books, hundreds at this point, although it seems I rarely read anything new anymore, as it simply isn't needed. 

Again. Please don't interpret this as a claim of anything other than one who knows the techniques that are doing the good damage.

Metta.