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Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps

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Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Daniel M. Ingram 9/1/18 1:11 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Adam M 9/1/18 12:52 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Erin 9/1/18 2:17 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Daniel M. Ingram 9/1/18 2:54 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Erin 9/1/18 4:20 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps curious 9/1/18 4:00 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Ben V. 9/2/18 8:17 AM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps spatial 9/2/18 12:15 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Dream Walker 9/2/18 1:37 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Stirling Campbell 9/7/18 5:06 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Nick O 9/8/18 9:08 AM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Laurel Carrington 9/8/18 11:08 AM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Stirling Campbell 9/8/18 12:28 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Nick O 9/8/18 2:23 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Stirling Campbell 9/8/18 8:05 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Laurel Carrington 9/8/18 3:31 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Stirling Campbell 9/8/18 8:09 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Noah D 9/8/18 9:46 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Stirling Campbell 9/20/18 9:42 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Noah D 9/21/18 7:17 AM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Daniel M. Ingram 9/21/18 2:40 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps curious 9/21/18 4:37 PM
RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps Lars 9/22/18 1:22 AM
New essay on the very common problems related to map-based practice, as everyone who has hung out here much on the DhO knows all too well:

http://integrateddaniel.info/overcalling-attainments/


RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/1/18 12:52 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
50:1 misdiagosing stream entry? That's a bit disheartening. I remember when contacting teachers having to spend maybe 5 minutes discussing my experiences before they would accept I am where I think I am. I found it a little fustrating but it makes sense now. Thanks for that. A very interesting read.

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/1/18 2:17 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
This is great, thanks for writing this. The maps are still pretty new to me, so I'm trying to use them as a guide and avoid leaning on them to justify or validate my experiences. The reason why I find this approach to meditation so appealing is that it's very pragmatic, but there's this ironic trap I'm tempted to fall into where I could start labeling and chasing after certain experiences rather than doing the actual work of training my mind.

This morning my partner was talking about an audio gear message board he turned to for guidance on something, and the overall culture there favored disparaging people for using certain products and only granted validity to those who use other products. I pointed out that people have done amazing things with the most basic of setups, typically because they're willing to put in the time and effort to push what they've got to their limits.

So with my practice I'm trying to think of it as just that: practice. I want to put in the time and effort to push where I'm at to its limit rather than try to grasp at something I don't fully understand yet.

It's hard though, because I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was, ya know?

Yeah, I know about audiophile forums. I used to hand out on head-fi a lot, but would be unlikely to post that one of my favorite pairs of headphones is a pair of Koss KSC75's, which, while routinely praised as having nearly identical specs to some $900+ headphones, sounding awesome, being very easy to drive, being very portable, and costing only ~$25, and, as such, are routinely labeled "giant killers", still, one would be hesitant to mention that they are one of the primary headphones that one uses for fear of exactly the type of response you use.

So long as one can be meticulous about being with what is actually going on honestly and clearly rather than what one thinks is going on or should be going on, the maps can help normalize, explain, and allow much better navigation of weird stuff, so practice well, notice what is going on, and keep the Six Sense Doors and this moment as the basis of the path.

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/1/18 4:00 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks Daniel.  Really interesting and helpful essay.  Your comments about attaining 1st, 3rd and 4th, here and elsewhere, are really clear.  But can you shed any more light on the space between 1st and 3rd?  Most things I have read seem a bit vague about the mental phenomenology and progression of perceptual shifts from 1st through to the very end of 3rd path.  I imagine there are traps and confusions there too?  

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/1/18 4:20 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
So long as one can be meticulous about being with what is actually going on honestly and clearly rather than what one thinks is going on or should be going on, the maps can help normalize, explain, and allow much better navigation of weird stuff, so practice well, notice what is going on, and keep the Six Sense Doors and this moment as the basis of the path.
Heck yes. Really wish I had the maps years ago, but now that I'm aware of them it's amazing to see that people have had similar experiences for thousands of years. So I'm trying to hold onto the maps lightly, explore, and use them to better understand what I find.

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/2/18 8:17 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Very much appreciated article. I especially liked: "Luckily, at all stages of insight, careful, direct investigative comprehension of the Three Characteristics of the Six Sense Doors can further practice.

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/2/18 12:15 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I actually wrote a long reply arguing against this, but upon further reflection, I think Daniel's points are more compelling. Thanks for making me question myself!

There are several issues here, and thinking about them individually helped to clarify a lot:

- The effects that labeling your progress on a map may have on you
- The effects that labeling your progress on a map may have on others
- The pros and cons of disclosing maps to students
- The pros and cons of discouraging speaking about attainments
- The specific natures of common misdiagnoses

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/2/18 1:37 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Mapping is not meditation, don't map while sitting; very much.
Try to know where you are as an exercise of discernment, but don’t go gaga over it.  The ocean o sits are one drip at a time.
Try to have a clear goal, a clear recipe to get it, and clear results to judge.
Don't jump ahead if you can help it, steady progress is the fast path
If you didn't get the package deal at first or second path, third path is the grab bag to get it all, tons of shifts that are perceptual in nature and fun, enjoy it.
Good luck
~D

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/7/18 5:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Really fantastic, Daniel, especially the section on "Technical 4th". There seems to be a lot suffering around pride of attainment using this illusory structure. I hope this gets crossposted on r/streamentry. 

Deep Bows.

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/8/18 9:08 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Good stuff.

Thought I was enlightened during my first sudden A&P.
Thought I was in the dark night when I was in 3C's.
Thought I was in EQ when I was in A&P.
Thought I was "done" during EQ (took a whole month off).
Thought an A&P event occuring within EQ was first path fruition.

Then first path happens and its like "ooohhhh....ok...." 

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/8/18 11:08 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
So what do you think about an experience where the center of self just drops out? This happened to me after a first-path experience that, comparing it to your essay, sounds a lot like A&P during high equanimity. That sit occurred in the evening; the next day this Laurel person was gone, gone, gone, and a witness person was alternately laughing hysterically and panicking. Also, when I next sat I experienced features of review. 

I guess I’m looking at the possibility that some path attainments are diagnosed not by what happens during the shift, but by what happens afterward. Which is what you’re saying here, but also there’s the fact that the moment itself was different from a path moment. Not sure what to do with any of that other than keep practicing! And that, I believe, is the answer to pretty much all of it, along with not getting a big head over stuff on or off the cushion. Or when the big head happens, see it for what it is. 

BTW, I was told I had second path after a lights-gone-out blip that didn’t seem to be anything special. I was bewildered by it. 

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/8/18 12:28 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel Carrington:

I guess I’m looking at the possibility that some path attainments are diagnosed not by what happens during the shift, but by what happens afterward. 

Exactly. An experience is just an experience... it's the INSIGHT that you take with you that lasts, or matters. How "enlightened" or "awakened" are you in this moment, now that the experience is not happening NOW? This is where a teacher can be of real service in verifying the depth or understanding you now feel you have.

Of the few "stream-enterers" I know, most of whom are from a variety of non-Theravada traditions, none describe the "blip". It seems more like that moment is somehow more smeared into a longer "moment" in most of their accounts, and I wonder if this doesn't cause confusion for those who approached that moment from different vantages.

BTW Laurel, your "centerlessness" no-self experience sounds like a milder version of Suzanne Segal's. Check out her account here, if you haven't read it. 

https://realization.org/p/suzanne-segal/segal.collision.html

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/8/18 2:23 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell :

Of the few "stream-enterers" I know, most of whom are from a variety of non-Theravada traditions, none describe the "blip". It seems more like that moment is somehow more smeared into a longer "moment" in most of their accounts, and I wonder if this doesn't cause confusion for those who approached that moment from different vantages.



This is exactly how I would describe the sudden thing that happened to me years ago. I was reading a book on Zen and then a longer moment appeared and in that moment I knew life moving forward would never be the same. Fast forward years later to now, I'm doing the insight work and first path fruition wasn't a "blip" but a long closing and opening (or dissapearance and reappearance) over a second or two. Fruitions since in Review have been more of a "blip".

It really goes to show that the path models seem to be built upon or within something grander, something quite impossible to map between traditions. And as you say, the models are bust anyways when it comes to the myriad of insights one can have at any point.

Within the popular model given on DhO, my sudden event was "just the A&P" but I would say that was when I really woke up (in my current use of the term). First path just seems to be an adjustment.    

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/8/18 3:31 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Thanks, Stirling, and yes, I have heard of Suzanne Segal’s book, but I haven’t actually read it. I should add that my own centerless state was temporary. Hers was not, I gather. 

Nick O:

Fast forward years later to now, I'm doing the insight work and first path fruition wasn't a "blip" but a long closing and opening (or dissapearance and reappearance) over a second or two.    

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...the models are bust anyways when it comes to the myriad of insights one can have at any point.
Right. I had been studying Dzogchen, which, as a meditation style is VERY similar to Zazen, and my "blip" was I don't know HOW long. I was at a traffic light, so something less than the time it takes for a light to change, but other than that I don't know.

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Can't see the quote creation butom up there, or a way to view the code, so I'm fudging the quote format here:

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As things progressed I have found that while I'm not sure the 4 path model BUNDLES always come together as described, the FETTERS make COMPLETE sense, though I initially doubted some of it. I think they are accurate, but just don't mean what you might think they mean at first glance, IMHO, but make sense as they drop in retrospect.

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/8/18 8:09 PM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
Laurel Carrington:
I should add that my own centerless state was temporary. Hers was not, I gather. 
Right. I had something similar in that "I" was centerless sort of, but it was more like I was consciousness as Indra's Net:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra%27s_net

...present and aware at every point in the universe, and with all other points holographically reflected in each one, but without "self" being seen from. 

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/8/18 9:46 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Laurel Carrington:
I should add that my own centerless state was temporary. Hers was not, I gather. 
Right. I had something similar in that "I" was centerless sort of, but it was more like I was consciousness as Indra's Net:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra%27s_net

...present and aware at every point in the universe, and with all other points holographically reflected in each one, but without "self" being seen from. 

So that last description is particularly advanced (if we're talking about the same thing)... it's beyond centerlessness.  A.H. Almaas calls it unilocality: https://www.diamondapproach.org/glossary/refinery_phrases/unilocality 
Unilocality is neither dual nor nondual. We are not talking here about an ocean of consciousness that unites all forms as they arise within it [...] Unilocality is the view of reality related to a nothingness that has no sense of space, extension or distance. [...] In unilocality, all forms exist within one another.

In my opinion, it is useful to make this distinction between centerless nondual perception & unilocal perception.

Noah D:

So that last description is particularly advanced (if we're talking about the same thing)... it's beyond centerlessness.  A.H. Almaas calls it unilocality: https://www.diamondapproach.org/glossary/refinery_phrases/unilocality 
Unilocality is neither dual nor nondual. We are not talking here about an ocean of consciousness that unites all forms as they arise within it [...] Unilocality is the view of reality related to a nothingness that has no sense of space, extension or distance. [...] In unilocality, all forms exist within one another.

In my opinion, it is useful to make this distinction between centerless nondual perception & unilocal perception.
Hello Noah - I appreciate our input. Sorry about this taking so long to reply - life has been... interesting. emoticon

I'm not aware of it being advanced necessarily, as I don't think Indra's Net has any particular heirarchical realization level attached to it, but it WAS my understanding on stream entry, and I saw from that "perspective" at that "time". It doesn't correspond to any of the various levels of emptiness as detailed by Khenpo Tusltrim Gyamtso Rinpoche in "Progressive Stages of Meditation of Emptiness" which is probably the most detailed (and credible?) book on emptiness I am aware of. 

I DO know that emptiness presents in different ways. I confess that I haven't read any of Mr. Almaas' material, but didn't feel compelled to after hearing his Deconstructing Yourself podcast some time ago. Do you feel he has someting in particular to add to this topic? Are there other sources you base the idea of this perspectives "level" on?  

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/21/18 7:17 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
There are some Dzogchen texts which start to hint at the idea that once space is completely maxed out it starts to collapse back in on itself, but this is the kind of thing they keep secret unfortunately.  All of these traditions can be viewed through a nonheirarchical lens where they are just different “flavors” , but they way they were actually practiced was not like that.  In Burma some degree of holding the precepts would be expected before attaining some degree of samatha, before doing vipassana. Likewise with Rinzai Zen in terms of breath counting before koans.  Certainly the clearest example comes from the Tibetan Rime tradition, in which it was acknowledged by some that Mahamudra ends where Trekcho starts, Trekcho ends where others start, etc.  So any sense of hierarchy of emptiness would have to be deduced from various descriptions of texts of these practices & how they differ from one another.

The simple, first tier, opening, beginner teachings about anatta, meaning that all of experiential reality is lacking or empty of a self, are actually profound to a degree that is hard to appreciate.

Still, to debate "flavors of emptiness" is to reify an "emptiness" that may have "flavors", as if emptiness was like icecream, like it was some new quality or set of qualities, some new substance, some specific set of "flavors", some additional factor or special set of variable factors, something negotiable, something created by specific practices or only uncovered by specific practices, rather than something that is simply an intrinsic aspect of every single aspect of experience.

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/21/18 4:37 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"Still, to debate "flavors of emptiness" is to reify an "emptiness" that may have "flavors", as if emptiness was like icecream, like it was some new quality or set of qualities, some new substance, some specific set of "flavors", some additional factor or special set of variable factors, something negotiable, something created by specific practices or only uncovered by specific practices, rather than something that is simply an intrinsic aspect of every single aspect of experience."

Yes, almost a hindrance. Or maybe a temporary crutch that may eventually become a hindrance, if not cast away at the right time?

RE: Overcalling and Misdiagnosing Experiences, A Shadow Side of the Maps
Answer
9/22/18 1:22 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Still, to debate "flavors of emptiness" is to reify an "emptiness" that may have "flavors", as if emptiness was like icecream, like it was some new quality or set of qualities, some new substance, some specific set of "flavors", some additional factor or special set of variable factors, something negotiable, something created by specific practices or only uncovered by specific practices, rather than something that is simply an intrinsic aspect of every single aspect of experience.


So emptiness is empty? emoticon