Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/10/23 8:52 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole shargrol 1/11/23 6:52 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Adi Vader 1/11/23 8:51 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/11/23 4:22 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/12/23 7:47 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole shargrol 1/11/23 6:22 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Chris M 1/11/23 8:30 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/12/23 7:50 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole shargrol 1/12/23 5:58 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/12/23 4:18 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Chris M 1/12/23 8:06 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/12/23 8:28 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Kevin Andrew 1/14/23 12:13 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/15/23 9:45 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Kevin Andrew 1/28/23 4:33 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/30/23 6:55 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Kevin Andrew 1/31/23 9:10 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Griffin 1/12/23 3:19 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/15/23 9:40 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Chuck Kasmire 10/30/23 12:26 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Daniel M. Ingram 1/11/23 10:48 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/11/23 4:25 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole George S 1/11/23 1:30 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/11/23 4:34 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Dream Walker 1/12/23 6:42 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/12/23 8:32 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Chris M 1/12/23 9:07 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Asaf M 1/12/23 1:26 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Jazz Muzak 1/12/23 7:07 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Steph S 1/13/23 1:40 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/15/23 9:42 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Chris M 1/13/23 2:23 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Steph S 1/14/23 1:03 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/15/23 9:43 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole George S 1/16/23 5:32 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole A Allen 1/22/23 12:59 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Chris M 1/22/23 1:00 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole A Allen 1/22/23 1:40 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Chris M 1/22/23 1:53 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/23/23 5:21 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/23 11:42 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/30/23 7:04 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/31/23 5:46 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Smiling Stone 1/27/23 1:08 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 1/30/23 6:50 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Smiling Stone 2/9/23 7:10 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 2/12/23 8:18 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/18/23 10:29 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Smiling Stone 2/19/23 4:08 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 2/12/23 5:20 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Asaf M 2/13/23 5:30 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 2/19/23 10:58 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Smiling Stone 2/20/23 7:37 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Smiling Stone 7/28/23 4:55 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 8/5/23 6:49 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Papa Che Dusko 8/6/23 12:05 AM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Jinxed P 2/20/23 6:02 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Nikolai . 2/21/23 3:31 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole T DC 2/21/23 11:11 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Chris M 2/21/23 6:47 PM
RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole Jure K 10/1/23 12:28 AM
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/10/23 8:52 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/10/23 5:48 PM

Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hi all,

Edit: Warning, a flow of thought triggered this post and really has no purpose on second thought but to maybe trigger conversation. 

Long time reader, ancient poster,  just haven't posted anything in years. Which is sort of related to the purpose of this post. I find that this mind/body organism does not want to follow through in maintaining a presence in places like this (the Dharmaoverground and elsewhere), not a dislike, just a more complete absence of desire to share or comment on anything. This has been the case for the past 10 years, I think 10 years ago being when I was much more active. Having kids and living real life of course has taken much of my attention. But what I have observed now is that the drive to discuss everything insight / meditation/ dharma has dropped to zero. Why am I posting this thread? Probably to see if what I just said is still the case. I observe a continue flow of cause and effect, and somehow and trigger arose for me to sign in and post this. I keep getting the occasional email from budding yogis wanting guidance after they have read my articles on The Hamilton Project blogspot which I posted ages ago (and maybe have a different "view" on now). But an identity around guiding hasn't really gained any footing over the years. A complete absence of desire to forge an ongoing "Nikolai" around that activity is the case. In observing these fingers type furiously atm, the question arises, why am I typing this post? What is the goal? I think there still is a desire to engage and talk shop (Dharma), but it just never lasts long. I have all the access still, cessations can be called up in seconds, a weird ability to direct the mind to cessation territory (pre and post) where things get weird (and hard to explain), but it has become more prevalent over the past years, a strange cyclical occurrence of sankharic activity all bottled into a moment that occurs maybe once per week and clears out the mind as if a cessation has occurred (but somewhat different), and a greater space for that illusory "self" to dance about.  I'm now seeing less desire to continue typing this message, as the desire that spurred me to type has now dissipated. This is the problem. Not really a problem, but I probably won't post another message for years, unless I'm triggered by external forces (questions or comments). Now I am seeing the urge to delete this whole flurry of thought, but also curiosity to see what it may trigger. If nothing, see you in 10 + years...

​​​​​​​Much metta/good will. Nikolai of The Hamilton project for those who have no idea who I might be. 

P.s. Hi Daniel, Shargrol and Chris and co, nice to see you all still so active. 
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 6:52 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 6:10 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 2410 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
 Hi Nikolai!! 

It's been interesting to watch the dynamic of DhO change over the years.

At one point in time (~2007? could have been that long ago?) DhO was one of the only places on the internet talking about dedicated developmental practice and focused on developing a strong base for eventually going on and using residential retreats to further advance practice. I had been hungry for this kind of information and suspected there were serious practitioners out there (like yourself) I could talk to --- and I had always wondered if there was anything to my intuition that meditation did result in something more than just having an adult quiet time. emoticon Of course, MCTB (MCTB2 – MCTB.org) was the thing that brought it all together... honest talk about psychological / perceptual development, honest talk about the challenges, benefits, and limitations of this kind of practice... My feeling is that there was a "backlog" of dedicated but slightly frustrated meditators who were just not getting the kind of practical advice they needed to take their practice to the next level.  So the rarity of the DhO and the backlog of practioners wanting more information and who were ready to "do the work" made for a unique moment in time. The early years of DhO were quite amazing as all of these serious meditators' practices were catalyzed by MCTB and DhO conversations!

I've noticed that the general attitude toward online forums has changed... Back in the day, people were careful and slowly eased into conversations and slowly built up a forum identity. It was awkward and slow, but it was usually rewarded in time by people creating a true sense of community. I feel like these days it's much more standard to create "burner" accounts and log on, ask a superficial question, and then disappear... not a lot of personal investment, not a lot of mining the depth of expertise from fellow meditators. People are kinda getting their "hit" of attention and superficial information, but they are not sticking around long term so we don't really know how things worked out for them. 

I also admit that I've now lost track of the sites with real "practical dharma" communities. I suspect that DhO has been replaced by other sites, probably they are keeping themselves low profile to help ensure a close community and good conversations. For a while I attempted to help moderate a meditation Reddit site, but on Reddit the tendency to create burner accounts and drop in and out was especially pronounced. The signal to noise ratio was really low... and interestingly an attempt to create a more practical dharma conversation was kinda shut down by other moderators who wanted to keep it more Reddit-style open and loose... Anyway, I'm kinda curious if there are other sites who are the current-day DhOs? 

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to understand how/why Bill Hamilton once said "I've got a basketfull of gold that nobody wants." (or something like that). But I'm also realizing that meditation is like any other practice/art, there really aren't than many people who are truly interested in the kind of work and responsibility and true gentleness that is required to hone the craft. Heck, I really wasn't either until I was in my late 30's and 40's. Before then, I thought enlightenment was about being more clever than other people and "knowing" more than them about buddhism. (Ugh, I'd like to get those lost decades back! And I've appologized to all my friends who had to live with me through my buddhist years!)  

Another thing I've really really really learned over time is no one is "told how" to make progress. There is no path except for the person's own path and they need to do the exploring from where they actually are. Teachers/guides are very very helpful, but just as long as they are not telling or guiding! It's more like a meditator just needs another "conscience" to bounce ideas off of and get another view. But the student needs to own their own practice. If they don't, they are just basically "waiting for the teacher/guide to make awakening happen" --- which is doomed to fail. I guess nothing can replace the kind of inner desire to really want to figure this stuff out. Without that, people are just motivated by getting "acknowledgement" of what they know or have done --- which is already just a memory. It's an ego trip, not awakening. In contrast, when people have that true heart-felt inner desire, it becomes something transformational and is so deep that there is no worry about what other people might think. They just want to do the exploration... and they are open to ideas.


Anyway, I guess I'm saying all of this to say I'm really really glad you posted Nikolai (!)... but I also understand if you return to the void. emoticon emoticon  Hope you and your family are doing as well as they can. It's great that your website still exists as a resource for people. 

Here's Nikolai's website: The Hamilton Project


 
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 6:22 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 6:22 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 2410 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Ah, here's the bill hamilton quote: 

As Bill Hamilton put it, “I have a treasure of infinite value that nobody wants.”
40. More on the “Mushroom Factor” – MCTB.org
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 8:30 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 8:09 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Hi Daniel, Shargrol and Chris and co, nice to see you all still so active. 

Hi back at you, Nicolai! Nice to see you here again.

DhO was, back in the day, a very unique community. Today it's not at all like it was back then, but still worthwhile for enough folks that it continues to draw members. Honestly, and to agree with shargrol, the conversation in the late 2000's was elevated beyond what it is today - and I agree with shargrol on the main reasons for that. 
Adi Vader, modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 8:51 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 8:51 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 291 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
I personally categorize people who come to Awakening practices in three buckets or traits - The mystics, The devotional, and The Dukkha Gang.

1. The Mystics - surely there's something mysterious about life/the world/being alive that isnt really visible. I would like to explore and find out. I feel a 'pull'
2. The Devotional - My head has been bowed to Lord Krishna since childhood, It isnt working, let me try The Buddha
3. The Dukkha Gang - My experience of my life sucks, I have tried everything, now let me give a sincere and dedicated try to this meditation/awakening thing

This categorization is a bit of an artifice, because no human being can be only one of these. Most of us are a mix of these traits and therefore fall in two or all three of these buckets. Some of us are solidly in the 'Dukkha Gang'. It is usually people in this gang that have zero interest in things like tradition, religion, authority, what other people think, what they dont think etc etc. They have a dagger of dukkha stuck in their chest and they are tremendously interested in pulling it out. They are also desperate and typically this awakening thing is seen as just one possible solution/medicine. This doesnt mean that they are impolite, and rambunctious, and flippant. It just means that they have a clear idea of what they want and what they want does not include hits of attention or superficiality or politics or ego flexing.

Over the last 5 to 6 years that I have haunted the reddit community I have seen waves of the devotional and the mystics coming and going. But the dukkha gang has stayed firm and strong emoticon. They are few and they are often silently spectating on reddit, but they are there emoticon

I continue to write on reddit ... for them! ... and them only! ... kindred spirits I suppose emoticon

Anyways I was sad to see you leave the mod team sir.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 10:48 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 10:48 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 3268 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear Nikolai,

Hey, great to hear from you again! Yes, the DhO has changed, continued to change, and has gone through lots of different phases, true. Yes, it is hard not to have a bit of nostalgia for some of the previous phases, though I do appreciate the relative lack of alpha-domination-power-moves at the moment, but, yes, some of those were due to the amount of powerful practitioners and personalities around at points, and did sometimes add some spice and richness as well. Pros and cons... ;)

I pour a lot of my time, resources, and social capital these days into projects such as https://theeprc.org/ and https://ebenefactors.org/ and their global allies to make it so we don't actually necessarily need forums like the DhO as much as we did, making high-quality, data-driven information on the procesess we routinely discuss here more available to the public, clinical and mental health, and scientific mainstreams, so people get more normalization and support through broader systems through the highs, lows, weirds, and plateaus. However, clearly is a very slow, decades-long project (if we are lucky and diligent), so I think that, at least for the foreseeable future, forums and other venues like the DhO will still be a remarkable resource.

Until we have those much more advanced systems in place, let us lend a hand if we can to those coming up on the many and varied paths.

Best wishes, and thanks to all who have contributed to making the DhO be all it can be and help as many as it can,

Daniel
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 1:30 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 1:30 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 2722 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I haven’t been around as long and I’m probably representative of the more watered-down phase of the site, but I wonder if like anything else there are counter-cyclical dynamics in the supply/demand of dharma. In periods when it’s hard to find the dharma then the price of dharma will be high (requiring more commitment of time/resources) however the quality will also tend to be higher (the students are more discerning and there are fewer of them, so there is less incentive for incompetent or outright fraudulent teachers). Over time the success of the few students attracts others (more demand), while the high prices encourage less competent teachers (more supply). Since supply is more elastic than demand, prices and quality both fall, leading to a flood of watered-down dharma. Many higher quality teachers may even stop teaching, unwilling to provide the same service for fewer resources from less committed students (Gresham’s law – bad money drives out good). Eventually more students quit because they are not getting the same results and the market collapses, concluding the cycle. The traditional Buddhist cosmology of buddhas appearing in different kalpas does seem to hint at the cyclical nature of the dharma! Obviously the internet has led to a massive increase in the availability of the dharma, though it’s probably too early to tell where we are in the current cycle ...
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 7:47 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 3:57 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
shargrol
 Hi Nikolai!! 

Hi Shagrol! I think I need external triggers as my internal ones really are lacking.

It's been interesting to watch the dynamic of DhO change over the years.

I blame the baseline changes.

At one point in time (~2007? could have been that long ago?) DhO was one of the only places on the internet talking about dedicated developmental practice and focused on developing a strong base for eventually going on and using residential retreats to further advance practice.

For me I think 2009 was a happening year before all the..... schisms ;-)

I had been hungry for this kind of information and suspected there were serious practitioners out there (like yourself) I could talk to --- and I had always wondered if there was anything to my intuition that meditation did result in something more than just having an adult quiet time. emoticon Of course, MCTB (MCTB2 – MCTB.org) was the thing that brought it all together... honest talk about psychological / perceptual development, honest talk about the challenges, benefits, and limitations of this kind of practice... My feeling is that there was a "backlog" of dedicated but slightly frustrated meditators who were just not getting the kind of practical advice they needed to take their practice to the next level.  So the rarity of the DhO and the backlog of practioners wanting more information and who were ready to "do the work" made for a unique moment in time. The early years of DhO were quite amazing as all of these serious meditators' practices were catalyzed by MCTB and DhO conversations!

It definitely was pivotal for me in getting out of goenka vipassana practitioner induced dark night territory spinning wheels. 

I've noticed that the general attitude toward online forums has changed... Back in the day, people were careful and slowly eased into conversations and slowly built up a forum identity. It was awkward and slow, but it was usually rewarded in time by people creating a true sense of community. I feel like these days it's much more standard to create "burner" accounts and log on, ask a superficial question, and then disappear... not a lot of personal investment, not a lot of mining the depth of expertise from fellow meditators. People are kinda getting their "hit" of attention and superficial information, but they are not sticking around long term so we don't really know how things worked out for them. 

Hmm, I see this trend in everything now online. The quick tiktok / snapchat quick in and out seems to be the norm now. 

I also admit that I've now lost track of the sites with real "practical dharma" communities. I suspect that DhO has been replaced by other sites, probably they are keeping themselves low profile to help ensure a close community and good conversations. For a while I attempted to help moderate a meditation Reddit site, but on Reddit the tendency to create burner accounts and drop in and out was especially pronounced. The signal to noise ratio was really low... and interestingly an attempt to create a more practical dharma conversation was kinda shut down by other moderators who wanted to keep it more Reddit-style open and loose... Anyway, I'm kinda curious if there are other sites who are the current-day DhOs? 

I'm not familiar with any of them now.

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to understand how/why Bill Hamilton once said "I've got a basketfull of gold that nobody wants." (or something like that). But I'm also realizing that meditation is like any other practice/art, there really aren't than many people who are truly interested in the kind of work and responsibility and true gentleness that is required to hone the craft. Heck, I really wasn't either until I was in my late 30's and 40's. Before then, I thought enlightenment was about being more clever than other people and "knowing" more than them about buddhism. (Ugh, I'd like to get those lost decades back! And I've appologized to all my friends who had to live with me through my buddhist years!)  

Yeh, I used to be better an spreading the word (see Hamilton Project) but these days, Im more selective with the info i share, making sure the person asking about it isn't just making conversation. I really need to see that "drive" to want to talk about it with anyone. Not many seem to show it anymore at least in my life. I mean I know countless Goenka tradition yogis who all know about what I've talked about but zero of them have attempted to ask about it. I think Im still on the naughty list there. 

Another thing I've really really really learned over time is no one is "told how" to make progress. There is no path except for the person's own path and they need to do the exploring from where they actually are. Teachers/guides are very very helpful, but just as long as they are not telling or guiding! It's more like a meditator just needs another "conscience" to bounce ideas off of and get another view. But the student needs to own their own practice.

Yep. I agree wholeheartedly. I heard Daniel talk on Buddhist Geeks with Vince, picked up the old copy of MTCTB and dived in by myself without any need for teachers. I did ask vital maybe one or two questions on the old DhO which was enough to get back to getting to "escape velocity".

If they don't, they are just basically "waiting for the teacher/guide to make awakening happen" --- which is doomed to fail. I guess nothing can replace the kind of inner desire to really want to figure this stuff out.

This.


Without that, people are just motivated by getting "acknowledgement" of what they know or have done --- which is already just a memory. It's an ego trip, not awakening. In contrast, when people have that true heart-felt inner desire, it becomes something transformational and is so deep that there is no worry about what other people might think. They just want to do the exploration... and they are open to ideas.

This. I kind of think the early DhO days were made up a lot of yogis who were full of that true hear-felt inner desire to attain to awakening. I know i was and being surrounded by other likeminded individuals was just magical back then after 8 years of being lost and clueless in my previous insight practice.


Anyway, I guess I'm saying all of this to say I'm really really glad you posted Nikolai (!)... but I also understand if you return to the void. emoticon emoticon  Hope you and your family are doing as well as they can. It's great that your website still exists as a resource for people. 

I'm glad you responded. These days, the internal triggers to keep a momentum in whatever "practice" might look like for me (very different to long ago) are rare. These exchages act as external triggers to get me looking and exploring territory again. I'm seeing the thought and desire to keep doing it, as it seems the right move for me atm. 

Here's Nikolai's website: The Hamilton Project

There it is. Somehow still getting people reading those old articles. The most popular still seems to be this one still with continuing hits. The Hamilton Project: Going For Stream Entry On A Goenka 10-Day Vipassana Course

Probably why Im still on the naughty list. 



 
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 7:50 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 4:19 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hi Chris,

Yeh, starting to feel my age thinking back to the old DhO days. Shargrol, that Bill Hamilton quote rings very true. No-one wants to know, but also I'm finding it very hard to put into words where I find myself anymore. I'm never satisfied with how I explain it, so that may have contributed to my lack of sharing these past years.

I am feeling triggered to share at the moment, so I'll run with it. Anyone have this development?

There is now an ability to move the mind towards something  (here is where I am very dissatisfied with my ability to explain it) that for lack of a better description I start by providing the inspiration for it: 

[Anuruddha & Sariputta discuss meditation]Anuruddha: “Brother Sariputta with the divine eye, which is clarified and supernormal, I am able to perceive a thousandfold world system. My energy is strong and inflexible; my remembrance is alert and unforgetful; my body is calmed and unexcited; my mind is collected and unified. Yet my mind is still not freed, without clinging, from the defiling taints (asava).”Thereupon Sariputta replied: “When you think, brother Anuruddha, that with your divine eye you can perceive a thousandfold world system, that is self-conceit in you. When you think of your strenuous energy, your alert mindfulness, your calmed body and your concentrated mind, that is agitation in you. When you think that your mind is still not liberated from the cankers, that makes for scruples in you. It will be good if the revered Anuruddha would discard these three things, would not pay attention to them and would instead direct his mind towards the Deathless-element (Nibbana).”Having heard Sariputta’s advice, Anuruddha again resorted to solitude and earnestly applied himself to the removal of those three obstructions within his mind (AN 3:128), more: Wheel 262, BPS

This  "deathless element", I don't know if it is or isn't in my own experience, but it has greatly inspired the mind to "look for" this element (ugh language again failing). Hard to explain well, but the development in my own ongoing experience is there. There is the ability now to direct the mind to what it perceives as this element (whether it is or isn't, no idea, but it works). There is everything else, all the movements of mind, the formations of "I" thoughts, desires and aversions all dancing about arising and passing, and then there is this other thing which isn't a thing, but shitty language explanation aside, I simply direct the mind to "that" and I find the mind goes into that very similar pre- / post-cessation territory where no formations are arising. It's been awhile since I've shared in words my own ongoing experience, so forgive the lack of practice. I also have an old Chuck (old DhOer I think) quote that also resonates a lot. To paraphrase him, it is like having your back turned to a pristine lake. You don't see it. But you sense it is there. This is how my mind perceives this idea of a "deathless element". Again, language failing. But it works. The mind rather than moving  towards all that dancing "I" nonsense, it turns it's back on all that and that all fades quickly leaving ...hmm...leaving an answer to all my problems. That is my "practice" atm. I don't sit in meditation postures these days. I just remember to do the above and plop. But also any desire I have to share this with anyone or talk about or write about, collapses with all that dancing nonsense. Thus my lack of communication these days. A slow descent down the rabbit hole continues without much effort. 

I'm definitely taking advantage of these triggers. Thanks guys!
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 4:22 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 4:22 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Adi Vader:
I personally categorize people who come to Awakening practices in three buckets or traits - The mystics, The devotional, and The Dukkha Gang. 1. The Mystics - surely there's something mysterious about life/the world/being alive that isnt really visible. I would like to explore and find out. I feel a 'pull' 2. The Devotional - My head has been bowed to Lord Krishna since childhood, It isnt working, let me try The Buddha 3. The Dukkha Gang - My experience of my life sucks, I have tried everything, now let me give a sincere and dedicated try to this meditation/awakening thing This categorization is a bit of an artifice, because no human being can be only one of these. Most of us are a mix of these traits and therefore fall in two or all three of these buckets. Some of us are solidly in the 'Dukkha Gang'. It is usually people in this gang that have zero interest in things like tradition, religion, authority, what other people think, what they dont think etc etc. They have a dagger of dukkha stuck in their chest and they are tremendously interested in pulling it out. They are also desperate and typically this awakening thing is seen as just one possible solution/medicine. This doesnt mean that they are impolite, and rambunctious, and flippant. It just means that they have a clear idea of what they want and what they want does not include hits of attention or superficiality or politics or ego flexing. Over the last 5 to 6 years that I have haunted the reddit community I have seen waves of the devotional and the mystics coming and going. But the dukkha gang has stayed firm and strong emoticon. They are few and they are often silently spectating on reddit, but they are there emoticon I continue to write on reddit ... for them! ... and them only! ... kindred spirits I suppose emoticon Anyways I was sad to see you leave the mod team sir.


I was definitely in the Dukkha Gang way back, Nothing like 15 Goenka courses within a short time to stir up some major dukkha within. 

​​​​​​​
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 4:25 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 4:25 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Dear Nikolai, Hey, great to hear from you again! Yes, the DhO has changed, continued to change, and has gone through lots of different phases, true. Yes, it is hard not to have a bit of nostalgia for some of the previous phases, though I do appreciate the relative lack of alpha-domination-power-moves at the moment, but, yes, some of those were due to the amount of powerful practitioners and personalities around at points, and did sometimes add some spice and richness as well. Pros and cons... ;) I pour a lot of my time, resources, and social capital these days into projects such as https://theeprc.org/ and https://ebenefactors.org/ and their global allies to make it so we don't actually necessarily need forums like the DhO as much as we did, making high-quality, data-driven information on the procesess we routinely discuss here more available to the public, clinical and mental health, and scientific mainstreams, so people get more normalization and support through broader systems through the highs, lows, weirds, and plateaus. However, clearly is a very slow, decades-long project (if we are lucky and diligent), so I think that, at least for the foreseeable future, forums and other venues like the DhO will still be a remarkable resource. Until we have those much more advanced systems in place, let us lend a hand if we can to those coming up on the many and varied paths. Best wishes, and thanks to all who have contributed to making the DhO be all it can be and help as many as it can, Daniel


Hi Daniel,

Alpha domination power moves were plenty back then, haha! Thanks for those links to what you are currently doing. 

​​​​​​​Kind regards
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 4:34 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/11/23 4:34 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
George S:
I haven’t been around as long and I’m probably representative of the more watered-down phase of the site, but I wonder if like anything else there are counter-cyclical dynamics in the supply/demand of dharma. In periods when it’s hard to find the dharma then the price of dharma will be high (requiring more commitment of time/resources) however the quality will also tend to be higher (the students are more discerning and there are fewer of them, so there is less incentive for incompetent or outright fraudulent teachers). Over time the success of the few students attracts others (more demand), while the high prices encourage less competent teachers (more supply). Since supply is more elastic than demand, prices and quality both fall, leading to a flood of watered-down dharma. Many higher quality teachers may even stop teaching, unwilling to provide the same service for fewer resources from less committed students (Gresham’s law – bad money drives out good). Eventually more students quit because they are not getting the same results and the market collapses, concluding the cycle. The traditional Buddhist cosmology of buddhas appearing in different kalpas does seem to hint at the cyclical nature of the dharma! Obviously the internet has led to a massive increase in the availability of the dharma, though it’s probably too early to tell where we are in the current cycle ...


Facts. Back in the day (2008-2009), there was so very little and I was starved for guidance coming out of 8 years of hardcore Goenka practice and no guidance to navigate the dukkha within (except to keep observing sensations) and no idea about the first stage of awakening being so close but so far at the same time with lack of instruction. Buddhist Geeks sort of brought talking about Dharma more to the forefront and led to many of us finding the DhO. Definitely a unique time back then. I know for a fact that all this development has caused quite a backlash in certain traditions, the Goenka one included. I think they had to retrain the assistant teachers to deal with questions about cessations etc that MCTB brought out into the open. 

Found this one yesterday: Ajahn Brahmali: Fake Stream-Entry - YouTube (note: my first cessation way back brought intense samadhi access, which is still the case even with lack of exploration)
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 5:58 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 5:46 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 2410 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Nikolai .  I simply direct the mind to "that" and I find the mind goes into that very similar pre- / post-cessation territory where no formations are arising. It's been awhile since I've shared in words my own ongoing experience, so forgive the lack of practice. I also have an old Chuck (old DhOer I think) quote that also resonates a lot. To paraphrase him, it is like having your back turned to a Pristine lake. You don't see it. But you sense it is there. This is how my mind perceives this idea of a "deathless element". Again, language failing. But it works. The mind rather than moves towards all that dancing "I" nonsense, it turns it's back on all that and that all faders quickly leaving ......leaving an answer to all my problems. That is my "practice" atm.


Just to riff on your language, the most pivitol insight for me was that arising is already passing. That really puts a damper on the personally ambitious spiritual quest, but it is also solves the problem of restlessness. Or using the nibbana word (a verb that means extinguishing), arising is already extinquishing. (I really credit Rob Burbea's "Seeing that Frees" for planting that seed.) And so this moment is as it is, and any "futuring" with the information is not belivable when the nibbana aspect is also acknowledged/felt. Of course, without any connection to the nibbana aspect, I'm in the normal human trance of an identity that seems to exist in these three linked worlds of past-present-future. But it just takes an inclining of the mind and all that being and becoming stops dead.  I think we're talking about the same thing here...

The knowing mind is fascinating to me these days... and ironically, what I continue to see and uncover is that what most people think of as knowing is being in a normal human trance (having an apparently identity centered around having a problem that has a past-present-and future) and real knowing is actually a kind of confusion. Really clear about what is happening, open and sensitive, but not really sure who I am or what is happening or where I really am. If my psyche was more solidified (I like defining samsara as "reinforced confusion") this open confusion and identitylessness would be horrific. And it still is at times, honestly. But these flashes of stark space is a reminder that part of my psyche is attempt to cling to something solid that ultimately causes more blindness and suffering. Better to be vulnerable and experience the full bandwidth than to narrow the mind, lock into an identity, solidify the world into a particular meaning, feel comfortable... and enevitably be slowly dragged down the stream and thrown over a waterfall! If that makes sense. emoticon So I'm trying to let myself be confused more often, so to speak. emoticon

I've been reading more and more about conventional psychology and treatment of really hard cases like chronic PTSD and the like. Lots of great nuggets of wisdom in those therapies. A key idea from the c-PTSD world for me was the idea of emotional flashback, which are body tones that arise without any narrative or visual component. The trick for people with c-PTSD is to recognize the flashback as a flashback, and not be drawn into believing that it (terror, fear, anxiety) is real in this moment. It can be tricky because the feeling, as a feeling, is closer than close, it feels like "I am _____". I've done a lot of work with using the 5 element framework to emotional reactivity, but it's really interesting to me to see micro emotional flashbacks and to also key into the "arising is extinguishing" aspect. Nothing really to be done when seen this way. These blips are much smalller than anything of the past, but it's the old "suffering less, noticing it more" paradox thing. Perfection remains elusive. emoticon

Anyway, that's the report from me. Been a long while since I've had this kind of conversation -- thank you!
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Dream Walker, modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 6:42 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 6:42 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1687 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Hi Nikolai! (waves)
The most interesting part is not so much nostalgia of DHo's past, but how advancement along the path has a tendency to make people drop out from the DHo and just work out life stuff instead. It always seemed like the the people working on 1st and second path did the heavy lifting whilst obsessed therein until third path territory. All the best of the best old posters then seemed to disappear then. I've done that myself and don't really know why my tolerence for BS has gone down or my sensitivity to it makes me less wanting to post unless there is a really great question.
Anyway, Good to hear from you.
​​​​​​​~D
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 8:06 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 7:57 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Nikolai --

There is the ability now to direct the mind to what it perceives as this element (whether it is or isn't, no idea, but it works). There is everything else, all the movements of mind, the formations of "I" thoughts, and desires and aversions all dancing about arising and passing, and then there is this other thing which isn't a thing, but shitty language explanation aside, I simply direct the mind to "that" and I find the mind goes into that very similar pre- / post-cessation territory where no formations are arising...

Yes, this is an ongoing thing for me, too. I think of this "place" ("thing"?) of pure stillness as the mind's fundamental nature - quiet, ready to absorb whatever comes along but never be subsumed by any of it. It's the stillness of the mind's core. Time and space are not relevant. There is simply... an all-encompassing peace. Formal mediation is not required anymore, but I do still do it regularly. It's become a life habit.
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 4:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 8:09 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
shargrol
Nikolai .  I simply direct the mind to "that" and I find the mind goes into that very similar pre- / post-cessation territory where no formations are arising. It's been awhile since I've shared in words my own ongoing experience, so forgive the lack of practice. I also have an old Chuck (old DhOer I think) quote that also resonates a lot. To paraphrase him, it is like having your back turned to a Pristine lake. You don't see it. But you sense it is there. This is how my mind perceives this idea of a "deathless element". Again, language failing. But it works. The mind rather than moves towards all that dancing "I" nonsense, it turns it's back on all that and that all faders quickly leaving ......leaving an answer to all my problems. That is my "practice" atm.
Just to riff on your language, the most pivitol insight for me was that arising is already passing. That really puts a damper on the personally ambitious spiritual quest, but it is also solves the problem of restlessness. Or using the nibbana word (a verb that means extinguishing), arising is already extinquishing. (I really credit Rob Burbea's "Seeing that Frees" for planting that seed.) And so this moment is as it is, and any "futuring" with the information is not belivable when the nibbana aspect is also acknowledged/felt. Of course, without any connection to the nibbana aspect, I'm in the normal human trance of an identity that seems to exist in these three linked worlds of past-present-future. But it just takes an inclining of the mind and all that being and becoming stops dead.  I think we're talking about the same thing here... The knowing mind is fascinating to me these days... and ironically, what I continue to see and uncover is that what most people think of as knowing is being in a normal human trance (having an apparently identity centered around having a problem that has a past-present-and future) and real knowing is actually a kind of confusion. Really clear about what is happening, open and sensitive, but not really sure who I am or what is happening or where I really am. If my psyche was more solidified (I like defining samsara as "reinforced confusion") this open confusion and identitylessness would be horrific. And it still is at times, honestly. But these flashes of stark space is a reminder that part of my psyche is attempt to cling to something solid that ultimately causes more blindness and suffering. Better to be vulnerable and experience the full bandwidth than to narrow the mind, lock into an identity, solidify the world into a particular meaning, feel comfortable... and enevitably be slowly dragged down the stream and thrown over a waterfall! If that makes sense. emoticon So I'm trying to let myself be confused more often, so to speak. emoticon I've been reading more and more about conventional psychology and treatment of really hard cases like chronic PTSD and the like. Lots of great nuggets of wisdom in those therapies. A key idea from the c-PTSD world for me was the idea of emotional flashback, which are body tones that arise without any narrative or visual component. The trick for people with c-PTSD is to recognize the flashback as a flashback, and not be drawn into believing that it (terror, fear, anxiety) is real in this moment. It can be tricky because the feeling, as a feeling, is closer than close, it feels like "I am _____". I've done a lot of work with using the 5 element framework to emotional reactivity, but it's really interesting to me to see micro emotional flashbacks and to also key into the "arising is extinguishing" aspect. Nothing really to be done when seen this way. These blips are much smalller than anything of the past, but it's the old "suffering less, noticing it more" paradox thing. Perfection remains elusive. emoticon Anyway, that's the report from me. Been a long while since I've had this kind of conversation -- thank you!
QUOTE: And so this moment is as it is, and any "futuring" with the information is not belivable when the nibbana aspect is also acknowledged/felt. Of course, without any connection to the nibbana aspect, I'm in the normal human trance of an identity that seems to exist in these three linked worlds of past-present-future. But it just takes an inclining of the mind and all that being and becoming stops dead.; I think we're talking about the same thing here"..END QUOTE


This is exactly what I was trying to explain. You do a much better job. I find there are two aspects of living as myself:. The identity "Nikolai" who works and looks after children and loves his wife. The other one triggered by such exchanges, is much more absent of all that , more a very obvious flow of cause and effect, and inclined to let all that "I" "me", "my" drop away. It makes me wonder what the ongoing experience would be like if a renunciant without any triggers to be the current "me".

The ability you seem to hint to and seems pretty much the same one I was referring to, this ability has only gotten deeper and more prevalent as the days and years pass. I don't really sit to meditate at all. All "practice" is in any position at any time when there is a trigger to incline to what is perceived as that "deathless element".

This practice is somewhat to blame for the lack of desire to participate in this forum and other places. Perhaps because a lot of my last participation was based on identity building, the dedicated yogi posting his "expertise". That gets wiped away by this inclining. Of course, I don't think it could have been any other way.

I am having fun with this current volley of triggers, it is nice to know perhaps that this development is shared by others. I will keep riding this desire to communicate. Thanks again for responding. Arising to pass and so on and on.
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 8:28 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 8:22 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
And now I don't feel as alone. Thanks Chris, you also do a better job than I at explaining "that". Yes the core... words can't really ultimately do it justice , they approach it but it is the absence of words as well. I don't have any practice now thinking about it. The habit of sitting regularly dissipated long ago after having kids and I never got the urge to revisit it. But this "inclining" seems to be what we each are referring to and it is naturally what the mind inclines to when not pushed and pulled by life stuff for myself, which there is much of it where kids, wife and job are concerned.

one thing I observe...

Does anyone get a slight pressure somewhere in the middle of the brain when any of this occurs? Right smack bang in the middle somewhere?

I seem to and it seems more obvious as the mind turns away from all the movements, and at times after some time in this peace and absence of things, a cessation will occur and then even more prolonged peace.
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 8:32 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 8:31 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hi Dream Walker


I agree with what you say. I have to give credit to one poster here on the DhO who contacted me recently due to the Hamilton project to ask for guidance. He triggered interest and exploration in my own experience, and resulted in this exchange. Thank you budding yogi!

ps typing on this forum via iPhone is dukkha. 
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 9:07 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 9:02 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
My one comment about dharma message boards like DhO, Reddit, etc:

The biggest change has been the popular success of the dharma. More and more people know the basics. Information about the dharma is all over the net and in the media - ubiquitous. So more and more people dabble in it. They are not driven by a will to reduce their suffering, but by a will to join a popular movement. A fad, to be honest. So the average participant on the dharma forums isn't as invested in a long-term solution. This changes the nature of interaction in a fundamental way as it becomes less serious, and more prone to quick, short takes, shortcuts, more claims, and less real curiosity. There are still a number of very serious, long-term participants, but their signal is overshadowed by the noise, as shargrol said earlier.
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Asaf M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 1:26 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 1:24 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 47 Join Date: 12/9/22 Recent Posts
What an awesome thread! It is satisfying to read responses from exactly the people who posted here.
Given that I must be this 'budding yogi' that nikoai has mentioned, I gotta chime in here.

As Gandhi said,
Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it.
The ripple effects of things you share online can reach far

For me it went like this:
Stumbled across one of Danie's podcasts on youtube > read thorugh MCTB > searched about goenka and stream entry > found hamilton project > read the articles on engaging with other yogis & making a resolution > decided right then and there to my post my resoltuion and engage > joined DhO to post the resolution & to connect with other yogis ,  emailed  NIkolai > practice took on a life of its own, took over my dreams that same night  > a permanet baseline shift appears to have occured since then.
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Griffin, modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 3:19 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 3:18 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 271 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
This maybe misses your point, but the "deathless element" reminds me of Jung's Pleroma from Septem Sermones:
I begin with nothingness. Nothingness is the same as fullness. In infinity full is no better than empty. Nothingness is both empty and full. As well might ye say anything else of nothingness, as for instance, white is it, or black, or again, it is not, or it is. A thing that is infinite and eternal hath no qualities, since it hath all qualities. This nothingness or fullness we name the PLEROMA. Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and infinite possess no qualities. In it no being is, for he then would be distinct from the pleroma, and would possess qualities which would distinguish him as something distinct from the pleroma. In the pleroma there is nothing and everything. It is quite fruitless to think about the pleroma, for this would mean self-dissolution. CREATURA is not in the pleroma, but in itself. The pleroma is both beginning and end of created beings. It pervadeth them, as the light of the sun everywhere pervadeth the air.  Although the pleroma pervadeth altogether, yet hath created being no share thereof, just as a wholly transparent body becometh neither light nor dark through the light which pervadeth it. We are, however, the pleroma itself, for we are a part of the eternal and infinite. But we have no share thereof, as we are from the pleroma infinitely removed; not spiritually or temporally, but essentially, since we are distinguished from the pleroma in our essence as creatura, which is confined within time and space. Yet because we are parts of the pleroma, the pleroma is also in us. Even in the smallest point is the pleroma endless, eternal, and entire, since small and great are qualities which are contained in it. It is that nothingness which is everywhere whole and continuous. Only figuratively, therefore, do I speak of created being as a part of the pleroma. Because, actually, the pleroma is nowhere divided, since it is nothingness. We are also the whole pleroma, because, figuratively, the pleroma is the smallest point (assumed only, not existing) in us and the boundless firmament about us. But wherefore, then, do we speak of the pleroma at all, since it is thus everything and nothing? I speak of it to make a beginning somewhere, and also to free you from the delusion that somewhere, either without or within, there standeth something fixed, or in some way established, from the beginning. Every so-called fixed and certain thing is only relative. That alone is fixed and certain which is subject to change. What is changeable, however, is creatura. Therefore is it the one thing which is fixed and certain; because it hath qualities: it is even quality itself. (...) Distinctiveness is creatura. It is distinct. Distinctiveness is its essence, and therefore it distinguisheth. Therefore man discriminateth because his nature is distinctiveness. Wherefore also he distinguisheth qualities of the pleroma which are not. He distinguisheth them out of his own nature. Therefore must he speak of qualities of the pleroma which are not. What use, say ye, to speak of it? Saidst thou not thyself, there is no profit in thinking upon the pleroma? That said I unto you, to free you from the delusion that we are able to think about the pleroma. When we distinguish qualities of the pleroma, we are speaking from the ground of our own distinctiveness and concerning our own distinctiveness. But we have said nothing concerning the pleroma.
Jazz Muzak, modified 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 7:07 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/12/23 7:07 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 36 Join Date: 9/27/19 Recent Posts
Hello Nikolai!

We've never met but I've appreciated your posts over the years. Reading all the old DhO threads back in the day when I was really struggling in dukkha nana hell in the days before this stuff was more readily available was a tremendous help.

Thought I'd chime in on the state of the dharma spaces online these days. There are many sanghas of various quality out there floating around. Long gone is the heydey of the classic internet forum like the Dharma Overground, many have split off to reddit (the streamentry section was a favorite of mine for a long time before it was watered down and the quality diminished). Other find their place on Discord (I've seen Adi Vader and Linda in my circles on that one), although finding the right fit can be challenging. My personal favorite sangha is a place that's hard to get in to because of many strong personalities and admitted lack of direct focus on the dharma (bad signal to noise ratio as Shargrol might say), but I cherish the community there and there are many wise people with incredible practices.

In all, the people desperately wanting to dive in and learn are out there, and they're finding their communites. It is a bit sad that this particular space isn't the Mecca it once was, but as long as people are finding their personal Triple Gems and making good progress, I hope we can be satisfied.
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Steph S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/23 1:40 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/23 1:40 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 672 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Heya.

I also dropped off the face of the DhO planet a ways back. I've had my phases where I go away for a long time, then come back. I coincidentally checked this today as I'm starting off a new interesting phase of my life... and this place has been important in my development in lots of ways. So it's probably some inbuilt pattern of "somewhat big life change" > "dho was important through some of my big life changes" > "oh shit, dho. what's going on there now? it's been a long time." > "check dho."

I don't know if I have much of anything to add right now. But I do still find all this stuff interesting and have maintained my own piecemeal, do as I like/what works for me, mishmosh way of doing things, even if it doesn't seem very practice-y.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/13/23 2:23 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/13/23 2:23 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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It's a reunion!
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Steph S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/14/23 1:03 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/14/23 1:02 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 672 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Maybe we should get the band together & do a tour.

Even though I'm way too good-looking for the role, I'll be Keith Richards. 
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Kevin Andrew, modified 1 Year ago at 1/14/23 12:13 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/14/23 12:13 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 85 Join Date: 5/6/10 Recent Posts
I logged in to update my practise log and had to reply to this.
I remember you Nikolai from way back when I first signed up and began lurking. I found your Hamilton Project posts interesting. I didn't know at the time I would do my first Goenka retreat, I had only read the first iteration of MCTB.

To your question: yes, there is a pressure in my head. What I have been referring to as 'the thing on the side of my head' has been joined by a pervasive 'potential' throughout my body that has lately taken up residence in the centre of my head as well. In fact this was part of what I was going to update. Your statement about inclination is also interesting, as I noticed early on when beginning serious practise I would drop into what I believe was the precursor of my current state of experience, usually while driving or waiting in line.

I generally try to avoid giving too much attention to what others say about their experiences but it is encouraging to hear you associate it with cessation. I'll take it as a sign of progress. Be Well.
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 9:40 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 9:40 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Griffin:
This maybe misses your point, but the "deathless element" reminds me of Jung's Pleroma from Septem Sermones:
I begin with nothingness. Nothingness is the same as fullness. In infinity full is no better than empty. Nothingness is both empty and full. As well might ye say anything else of nothingness, as for instance, white is it, or black, or again, it is not, or it is. A thing that is infinite and eternal hath no qualities, since it hath all qualities. This nothingness or fullness we name the PLEROMA. Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and infinite possess no qualities. In it no being is, for he then would be distinct from the pleroma, and would possess qualities which would distinguish him as something distinct from the pleroma. In the pleroma there is nothing and everything. It is quite fruitless to think about the pleroma, for this would mean self-dissolution. CREATURA is not in the pleroma, but in itself. The pleroma is both beginning and end of created beings. It pervadeth them, as the light of the sun everywhere pervadeth the air.  Although the pleroma pervadeth altogether, yet hath created being no share thereof, just as a wholly transparent body becometh neither light nor dark through the light which pervadeth it. We are, however, the pleroma itself, for we are a part of the eternal and infinite. But we have no share thereof, as we are from the pleroma infinitely removed; not spiritually or temporally, but essentially, since we are distinguished from the pleroma in our essence as creatura, which is confined within time and space. Yet because we are parts of the pleroma, the pleroma is also in us. Even in the smallest point is the pleroma endless, eternal, and entire, since small and great are qualities which are contained in it. It is that nothingness which is everywhere whole and continuous. Only figuratively, therefore, do I speak of created being as a part of the pleroma. Because, actually, the pleroma is nowhere divided, since it is nothingness. We are also the whole pleroma, because, figuratively, the pleroma is the smallest point (assumed only, not existing) in us and the boundless firmament about us. But wherefore, then, do we speak of the pleroma at all, since it is thus everything and nothing? I speak of it to make a beginning somewhere, and also to free you from the delusion that somewhere, either without or within, there standeth something fixed, or in some way established, from the beginning. Every so-called fixed and certain thing is only relative. That alone is fixed and certain which is subject to change. What is changeable, however, is creatura. Therefore is it the one thing which is fixed and certain; because it hath qualities: it is even quality itself. (...) Distinctiveness is creatura. It is distinct. Distinctiveness is its essence, and therefore it distinguisheth. Therefore man discriminateth because his nature is distinctiveness. Wherefore also he distinguisheth qualities of the pleroma which are not. He distinguisheth them out of his own nature. Therefore must he speak of qualities of the pleroma which are not. What use, say ye, to speak of it? Saidst thou not thyself, there is no profit in thinking upon the pleroma? That said I unto you, to free you from the delusion that we are able to think about the pleroma. When we distinguish qualities of the pleroma, we are speaking from the ground of our own distinctiveness and concerning our own distinctiveness. But we have said nothing concerning the pleroma.


Yeh, words fail at accurately describing at least what I experience (or not experience). You have certainly added 
"pleroma" to my vocabulary, though.

P.S. Like I insinuated further up, the urge to respond ebbs and flows, and "time" sometimes flies by without me realising ow much of it before responding in threads like this
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 9:42 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 9:42 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Steph S:
Heya. I also dropped off the face of the DhO planet a ways back. I've had my phases where I go away for a long time, then come back. I coincidentally checked this today as I'm starting off a new interesting phase of my life... and this place has been important in my development in lots of ways. So it's probably some inbuilt pattern of "somewhat big life change" > "dho was important through some of my big life changes" > "oh shit, dho. what's going on there now? it's been a long time." > "check dho." I don't know if I have much of anything to add right now. But I do still find all this stuff interesting and have maintained my own piecemeal, do as I like/what works for me, mishmosh way of doing things, even if it doesn't seem very practice-y.


Hey Steph, Long time no hear. Hope life is dandy. I'm currently riding the very rare urges to participate in online Dharma forums. I don't have anything that really looks like a "practice". It just occurs from time to time, that there is an inclination to move in the opposite direction to all this formations and fabrications of mind. Usually while I'm sitting on the toilet.  Lol. It is indeed a reunion!
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 9:43 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 9:43 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Steph S Maybe we should get the band together & do a tour. Even though I'm way too good-looking for the role, I'll be Keith Richards. 
I nominate "The Dukkha Nanas" as the band name.
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 9:45 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/15/23 9:45 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Kevin Andrew:
I logged in to update my practise log and had to reply to this. I remember you Nikolai from way back when I first signed up and began lurking. I found your Hamilton Project posts interesting. I didn't know at the time I would do my first Goenka retreat, I had only read the first iteration of MCTB. To your question: yes, there is a pressure in my head. What I have been referring to as 'the thing on the side of my head' has been joined by a pervasive 'potential' throughout my body that has lately taken up residence in the centre of my head as well. In fact this was part of what I was going to update. Your statement about inclination is also interesting, as I noticed early on when beginning serious practise I would drop into what I believe was the precursor of my current state of experience, usually while driving or waiting in line. I generally try to avoid giving too much attention to what others say about their experiences but it is encouraging to hear you associate it with cessation. I'll take it as a sign of progress. Be Well.
<br /><br />Hi Kevin,<br /><br />Glad it was helpful. Are you post-path concerning the pressure in head?
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 1/16/23 5:32 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/16/23 5:32 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 2722 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Some songs ...

I can’t get no sukhafaction
Stairway to jhana
Eight jhanas high
Knowing me, knowing me

​​​​​​​
A Allen, modified 1 Year ago at 1/22/23 12:59 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/22/23 5:37 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 2 Join Date: 7/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Nikolai,

There’s a lot in this thread that relates to both recent and past thoughts and interests of mine regarding the pragmatic dharma scene. I’ve been a long time follower of your HP site, and your posts there have been a primary source of practice tips and motivation for me – I still regularly dip into that site, and this post in particular I have read again and again, I could probably recite verbatim! I started following DhO back in the day just before Actualism came in on the scene, and always enjoyed reading posts from yourself and Chuck Kasmire as they provided fascinating and useful information on practice, and accounts of your experience as advanced practitioners. I much miss those posts, but I suppose people’s motivation and circumstances change which is reflected online. I notice the same thing having happened on the stream entry reddit. It was once a place for fascinating discussions between advanced practitioners (still the odd few lurking there), but the quality of discussion has noticeably diminished for a while now, and I find myself coming back to the DhO as of late.

I’m one of those yogi’s who was thinking of contacting you recently as an interest in Actualism had been rekindled due to my current focus on practices that I can easily take off cushion. I was interested to learn more of your perspective, as your experience and take was different from some other Actualist practitioners. I remember your DhO post comparing one of Richard’s writings to a passage from a mindfulness book, which were pretty much word for word if I remember but can’t find that post now. Whilst I’m intrigued by that path, the deathless equally intrigues me, and is what I would like to practice towards foremost right now. I’m sure I remember a post from Chuck talking about the deathless in a different way than the Mahasi meditators, and wondered if his Qi Gong practice enabled a different experience, even one that may have been closer to the Pali Canon Buddha who seemed to power his practice with a ton of Jhana (no speed-noting in sight).

Anyways, I didn’t contact in the end as family life takes over, and I went back to some of your other HP writings on noting, and along with one Noah’s posts, decided to make my practice more about off-cushion noting with Samadhi on-cushion. However, I’ve currently gravitated to more of an awareness just being aware of itself off-cushion which feels a lot nicer…not sure if this is the path to cessation though. Would love to see stuff on the HP site again but from what you said in the past that project has done its thing. What’s on there is a gold mine for more intermediate practitioners like myself though, and wouldn’t want to see it disappear. Hope we do see more of you again here, but go with what you feel. ​​​​​

Adrian
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/22/23 1:00 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/22/23 1:00 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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I've edited the above post by Adrian only to remove the formatting that was making the font size too small to read.

- Chris

ChrisM
DhO Moderator
A Allen, modified 1 Year ago at 1/22/23 1:40 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/22/23 1:40 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 2 Join Date: 7/1/11 Recent Posts
Thanks very much Chris, I tried editing to change this but had no success. Copying original message from Word might have caused issue.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 1/22/23 1:53 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/22/23 1:53 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Copying original message from Word might have caused issue.

Yes, absolutely. The best thing to do is create a post using Word, then save it as plain text, then copy and paste it here.
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/23/23 5:21 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/23/23 5:15 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
A Allen
Hi Nikolai,


Hi Adrian,


There’s a lot in this thread that relates to both recent and past thoughts and interests of mine regarding the pragmatic dharma scene. I’ve been a long time follower of your HP site, and your posts there have been a primary source of practice tips and motivation for me 


Glad it's been useful.


– I still regularly dip into that site, and this post in particular I have read again and again, I could probably recite verbatim! 

I read it again for the first time in a decade and I still agree that much of it is useful advice for budding yogis.

 
I started following DhO back in the day just before Actualism came in on the scene, and always enjoyed reading posts from yourself and Chuck Kasmire as they provided fascinating and useful information on practice, and accounts of your experience as advanced practitioners. 

I appreciated his wisdom and even now his words echo in my mind with whatever is occurring for this mind body organism atm. His "back to the serene lake" analogy for nirvana still informs my own approaches.


I much miss those posts, but I suppose people’s motivation and circumstances change which is reflected online. I notice the same thing having happened on the stream entry reddit. It was once a place for fascinating discussions between advanced practitioners (still the odd few lurking there), but the quality of discussion has noticeably diminished for a while now, and I find myself coming back to the DhO as of late. 

Yes, talking about dharma and practice has it's time and place but for myself the natural progression down god knows what rabbit hole this is, has resulted in a lack of desire to discuss it. Not an aversion, just no triggers to do so. Though your post has again triggered a response. Internal motivation is usually absent for me without these types of triggers.

I’m one of those yogi’s who was thinking of contacting you recently as an interest in Actualism had been rekindled due to my current focus on practices that I can easily take off cushion. I was interested to learn more of your perspective, as your experience and take was different from some other Actualist practitioners. I remember your DhO post comparing one of Richard’s writings to a passage from a mindfulness book, which were pretty much word for word if I remember but can’t find that post now. 

My view of actual freedom practice is nonexistent. Not much to comment on there. I just don't think about it. I wish those on that path  well.

Whilst I’m intrigued by that path, the deathless equally intrigues me, and is what I would like to practice towards foremost right now. 

It seems to be where my own intentions or triggers or karma lies atm. 

I’m sure I remember a post from Chuck talking about the deathless in a different way than the Mahasi meditators, and wondered if his Qi Gong practice enabled a different experience, even one that may have been closer to the Pali Canon Buddha who seemed to power his practice with a ton of Jhana (no speed-noting in sight). 

Yes I think he approached it quite unique to all the mahasi noting enthusiasts, I was one but can't imagine noting these days. Not really needed with current state of things.


Anyways, I didn’t contact in the end as family life takes over, and I went back to some of your other HP writings on noting, and along with one Noah’s posts, decided to make my practice more about off-cushion noting with Samadhi on-cushion. However, I’ve currently gravitated to more of an awareness just being aware of itself off-cushion which feels a lot nicer…not sure if this is the path to cessation though.

 If it leads to more happiness and relinquishing of that which does not then why not?

Would love to see stuff on the HP site again but from what you said in the past that project has done its thing.

 I am still a creature of habit and atm dharma posts are not being inspired within. Most of what I had to say about at least getting to 1st path was said here and at the HP or elsewhere. No need to repeat myself. And where I find myself isn't exactly easy to convey to someone who doesn't relate. So further posts aren't needed. 

​​​​​​​
What’s on there is a gold mine for more intermediate practitioners like myself though, and wouldn’t want to see it disappear. Hope we do see more of you again here, but go with what you feel. ​​​​​


​​​​​​​Glad again that is has been and still is useful. People still visit it to this day.I'm still open to engaging anyone who engages with me. So feel free to if that is what you'd  like. I'm open to that.  In fact it is needed for me to respond as without that engagement, the tendency is to not think about this place and dharma and I then go back to being a normal run of the mill human being which of course I have always been and continue to be... just seeing a slow continuous movement down a rabbit hole im not sure how to talk about anymore. 

Kind regards 

Nick 


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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 1/26/23 11:42 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/26/23 11:42 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
When you mention a continuous movement down a rabbit hole you're not sure how to talk about anymore, that spurs my curiosity. As you don't know how to talk about it and I don't know how to ask about it, I suppose I will just have to see for myself. I'll try to phrase some questions anyway, and you are free to respond or not respond, whatever comes to being. 

You say you are still a creature of habit AND you say that the rabbit hole continues. I find that combination hopeful, because from where I stand, habituation seems to be such a complex and multilayered phenomenon that there aren't really any quick fixes for it. I was thinking today that "pragmatic dharma" (not that there is any one such thing) can be a huge trap insofar as it is often neither renounciation nor Bodhisattva path. People keep engaging with the world with all its challenges, many of which are even deliberately designed to ensnare us with clinging and craving. Do you think there is a risk that people awaken and then "empty out" stuff instead of dealing with it? I mean, suffering can be a strong incentive to doing something about one's own patterns. Are there any risks that the obvious signs fall away resulting in new blind spots? I'm asking because for me personally I have found that I often need to get to know new more subtle signs as my practice develops. Some things stop bothering me, so I need to listen more carefully. 

Does it still happen for you that you notice something trigger habitual pathways that are at some level somehow still a bit of a trap? If so, how do you notice it? When you notice it, what happens next? Does it self-liberate, or is there some need of "manual" disentangling? What is the time frame? 

Can you say something about why you don't know how to talk about the current development down the rabbit hole? Have previous models turned out to be not applicable because of some fundamental change of figure-ground or something like that? Or is it just outside any of the maps you know of? 
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Smiling Stone, modified 1 Year ago at 1/27/23 1:08 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/27/23 1:08 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 341 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
Hello Nikolaï,
I was really happy to see you post a new thread, and engaging again on your own practice. To me you sounded quite articulate in what you were trying to convey. I interpreted the title as being slightly depressive, though, which does not show in your posts... anything here or was I dreaming?
I understand that you totally lost interest in formal practice and dhamma related matters (becoming a father is a path of its own, for sure) but that, around once a week, there is a deep dive in the deathless (sorry if I misrepresent you here) that nourishes the daily self for days on end afterwards... That this easy access is enough, that it fulfills your relationship to the dhamma...
So, it seems to me that you lost interest quite a few years ago already, but that something keeps happening on itself, something deep and unfathomable. I would be fascinated to have you expand on all this on your blog (here as well of course, but the hamilton project needs some new content -my belief of course-, even if it's not guiding content).
Well, I really wanted to answer something when I saw your first post, but my own relationship to forum participation comes and goes...
All the best with your path and metta your way
smiling stone
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Kevin Andrew, modified 1 Year ago at 1/28/23 4:33 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/28/23 4:33 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 85 Join Date: 5/6/10 Recent Posts
Hi Nikolai

No, I don't think so. It appears to be building toward something. For several weeks there has been daily progress and the pressure is a big part of it. Feels like walking toward a closed door...
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/23 7:04 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/30/23 6:38 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
[quote=]
 

Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö

hi Linda. 

When you mention a continuous movement down a rabbit hole you're not sure how to talk about anymore, that spurs my curiosity. As you don't know how to talk about it and I don't know how to ask about it, I suppose I will just have to see for myself. I'll try to phrase some questions anyway, and you are free to respond or not respond, whatever comes to being. 

Ok.

You say you are still a creature of habit AND you say that the rabbit hole continues. I find that combination hopeful, because from where I stand, habituation seems to be such a complex and multilayered phenomenon that there aren't really any quick fixes for it.

I certainly haven't found any quick fixes in that habitual patterns cease to continue bothering this mind body organism. However this inclination to move in a direction that I mentioned previously is there and when the mind inclines in does clear out the whole thing for a while. 

I was thinking today that "pragmatic dharma" (not that there is any one such thing) can be a huge trap insofar as it is often neither renounciation nor Bodhisattva path.

I see people choosing this or that "named" path. For myself, I used to be such a "Buddhist romantic" and loved the whole renunciant angle, was the hardcore Goenka practitioner who lived and studied pali at Dhamma Giri in India cleaning Goenkaji's  bedroom and library. But the rabbit hole has led me in a direction where a lot of that "identifying" as the hardcore this and that has dropped away. I just don't have the same urges anymore to be "anything" .

The habitual patterns , the thought loops, still continue, and they arise and pass and cause patterns of a dukkha flavour, and the mind recognises that dukkha. But that inclination is there and cures any incessant thought loop pretty quickly. In second when the mind inclines.  It doesn't always as there is also acceptance of living the family life with kids and wife and job. So, sometimes the mind doesn't incline as there is more urge to go with that role of father and husband and worker.

The rabbit hole has that being less and less now, more inclining to drop a lot of it. The inclining  has become naturally occurring more , a number of times per week I have found . 


 People keep engaging with the world with all its challenges, many of which are even deliberately designed to ensnare us with clinging and craving.

Most it seems.

Do you think there is a risk that people awaken and then "empty out" stuff instead of dealing with it?

I havent ever had the thought that this path and the "inclining" away from all the habitual tendencies that give rise  / co-arise as dukkha as "not dealing with it".

 I don't understand the difference. If emptying out means letting go of the causes, and inclining toward that which isn't dukkha, it IS dealing with it. I at least don't have the thought loop that there is a distinction to be made. It just doesn't arise. 


​​​​​​​ I mean, suffering can be a strong incentive to doing something about one's own patterns. Are there any risks that the obvious signs fall away resulting in new blind spots? I'm asking because for me personally I have found that I often need to get to know new more subtle signs as my practice develops. Some things stop bothering me, so I need to listen more carefully. 

I don't really have any desires to "progress". I mean I do have the occasional urge to look and explore. But more than not, I don't have a desire to be "anywhere"or be "anything".  Not a desire not to, just an absence of any desire related. I may still have blind spots of course. If I'm blind then I can't still see them. So maybe I still do have them. 

 This inclination towards the "serene lake at my back" talked about previously and the rate at which it is becoming more prevalent is what I refer to as going down the rabbit hole. I'm not running down it with the hope to get to its end. More like rolling down it without intention and direction. I just notice this inclination is getting more common an occurrence. I'm not helping it nor hindering it. It's just an inclination that arises more often now. 


Does it still happen for you that you notice something trigger habitual pathways that are at some level somehow still a bit of a trap?

Yes. At times the same habitual patterns (I'm a creature of habit) arise and pass. And sometimes, more often now, I find the mind naturally inclines to their cessation via the "serene lake" or simply seeing the dukkha or calling up a
cessation/reboot. 



If so, how do you notice it?

There is a natural remembering and actual seeing that it's all smoke and mirrors. I can call up cessation at will within seconds, and that will often be a normal reaction to clear out and reboot the hard drive. Usually seconds but not always. Sometimes minutes. I can't remember if I've been immersed in an emotion for hours. It usually gets cleared out sooner rather than later. 


When you notice it, what happens next? Does it self-liberate, or is there some need of "manual" disentangling? What is the time frame? 

Yeh, it can either  self-liberate due to a seeing that it is dukkha, or the mind inclines to cessation or it inclines to perhaps the territory right before or after a cessation which I just had the thought now that it reminds me of the serene lake inclination somewhat.

"Manual"?  no. It does itself . "Manual" has lost some of that meaning. It's all cause and effect. Even if it seems "manual". 


Can you say something about why you don't know how to talk about the current development down the rabbit hole? Have previous models turned out to be not applicable because of some fundamental change of figure-ground or something like that? Or is it just outside any of the maps you know of?

Because I'm using terms like "serene  lake with my back to it" and the mind inclines to that. This means it inclines to the opposite direction to all those mental movements so that those movements eventually collapse and leave something else which is not of the mental movement. And thus not of "words" which belong to those mental movements. So I don't have good enough words to describe it. If they arise, they fail to satisfy this mind. So thus I say that it is hard to describe. Yes, it seems outside of "words /maps". At least ones that I have in this brain of mine. 
There seems to be two of Nicks. One that just lives as everyone else does, mental movements here and there. Gets annoyed at his son for not listening. Worries about making money to support the family etc. and the other that takes that other Nick's place when the mind inclines to all this Dhamma. This one is much less "Nick" and more the purpose of this very life. An inclination to getting off the ride perhaps. 

Forgive me if their are typos. As I get older the more typos seem to spring up. And also rambling. If I didn't address your question, I do tend to ramble.
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/23 6:50 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/30/23 6:50 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Smiling Stone
Hello Nikolaï,

Hi there,

I was really happy to see you post a new thread, and engaging again on your own practice. To me you sounded quite articulate in what you were trying to convey.

Ok. 

I interpreted the title as being slightly depressive, though, which does not show in your posts... anything here or was I dreaming?

I believe you were interpreting as your mind wishes to. It wasn't written from a depressive viewpoint. 

I understand that you totally lost interest in formal practice and dhamma related matters (becoming a father is a path of its own, for sure) but that, around once a week, there is a deep dive in the deathless (sorry if I misrepresent you here) that nourishes the daily self for days on end afterwards...

something like this 

That this easy access is enough, that it fulfills your relationship to the dhamma...

Yes, atm this is enough. 


So, it seems to me that you lost interest quite a few years ago already, but that something keeps happening on itself, something deep and unfathomable. I would be fascinated to have you expand on all this on your blog (here as well of course, but the hamilton project needs some new content -my belief of course-, even if it's not guiding content).

I do not have any motivation to post this on the blog. It just isn't arising as an urge. It is what it is.  The HP is what it is. A somewhat historical document of my practice over a decade ago. Some of it may ring true if I read it now, some of it may not. If it still helps people progress  in their budding practices, it is still serving a purpose. 

the only reason to share this in the HP when I contemplate it would be to polish that sense of identity as a "strong practitioner" something  which when I dwell on it, it repulses.
So hopefully whatever I have typed up here in this thread doesn't come off as that. As that also triggers repulsion and a desire to share less.  I'm responding because triggers galore to explore is what I lack in life atm. 

Well, I really wanted to answer something when I saw your first post, but my own relationship to forum participation comes and goes...
All the best with your path and metta your way
smiling stone

No problem.
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 1/30/23 6:55 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/30/23 6:55 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Kevin Andrew
Hi Nikolai

No, I don't think so. It appears to be building toward something. For several weeks there has been daily progress and the pressure is a big part of it. Feels like walking toward a closed door...

Ok. Does the "pressure" accompany a feeling / thought of "something impending"? 
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Kevin Andrew, modified 1 Year ago at 1/31/23 9:10 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/31/23 9:10 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 85 Join Date: 5/6/10 Recent Posts
Hi Nikolai
That is what I was getting at. Then again every sit feels like something impending, but the 'flavour' changes. The one constant since I began is that everything evokes a feeling of 'oh yeah! i remember this...' 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 1/31/23 5:46 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 1/31/23 5:42 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Hi Nikolai!

Many thanks for your interesting and inspiring reply! I appreciate that you took the time to respond. 

The mind inclining to keep moving in a specific direction that clear things out, sounds great. But no quick fixes - gotcha. Yeah, it seems like that would be unrealistic. 

I apologize for sounding like I was labeling you as a pragmatic dharma guy. I probably did make some subconscious assumptions there, but I think I also was interested in your thoughts about it regardless of your own background. I'm not entirely sure how my thoughts lined up, actually. Anyway, I found your responses very helpful. Much appreciated!

First of all — wow, you have done some cool stuff! Watching what comes up for me when I read about it is humbling, because it illustrates clearly that I have a long way to go before I'm beyond identifications. I find myself wanting to be such a "real practicioner" too, even though I'm personally more inclined towards a tantric approach than the renunciate path. (And no, you don't come off as presenting yourself as a hardcore real practicioner — that's just my own projections because I'm not yet beyond that.)


The habitual patterns , the thought loops, still continue, and they arise and pass and cause patterns of a dukkha flavour, and the mind recognises that dukkha. But that inclination is there and cures any incessant thought loop pretty quickly. In second when the mind inclines. It doesn't always as there is also acceptance of living the family life with kids and wife and job. So, sometimes the mind doesn't incline as there is more urge to go with that role of father and husband and worker.

I rarely see this described as nuanced as this. Thankyou! It’s reassuring to hear that it can be possible to have any incessant thought loop cured quickly. In a second! I so look forward to that. I have had it happen on occasion even in the midst of being very upset, so I have some idea about what the inclination tastes like, but some situations still trigger me far too much and lead to loops of excessive contraction. It sounds like it will get better. Awesome! I appreciate the nuances re roles and inclining.

Good to hear that the inclining keeps happening more and more often. Congrats, and thankyou for inspiring hope!

Yeah, from what you describe, it sure sounds like you have been dealing with stuff for real. Thus, if there is any trap of spiritual bypassing, it seems like there are ways of not getting caught up in it. Happy to hear that! It seems like an awesome rabbit hole. Then again, as you mention, if there are blind spots, you wouldn’t see them, so in a way I guess I asked a rather impossible question. My view now is that I would wish to continue to clean up my shit, and that seeing no need for development in that regard for me could be a trap. But if more serenity just comes about anyway, on its own, I guess there is no need for personal urges. Maybe the urges just get in the way anyway. Interesting. Thanks!


At times the same habitual patterns (I'm a creature of habit) arise and pass. And sometimes, more often now, I find the mind naturally inclines to their cessation via the "serene lake" or simply seeing the dukkha or calling up a
cessation/reboot.

Great!


There is a natural remembering and actual seeing that it's all smoke and mirrors. I can call up cessation at will within seconds, and that will often be a normal reaction to clear out and reboot the hard drive. Usually seconds but not always. Sometimes minutes. I can't remember if I've been immersed in an emotion for hours. It usually gets cleared out sooner rather than later.

Awesome! Thanks for sharing! I’ve got to learn how to call up cessation at will like that.


Yeh, it can either self-liberate due to a seeing that it is dukkha, or the mind inclines to cessation or it inclines to perhaps the territory right before or after a cessation which I just had the thought now that it reminds me of the serene lake inclination somewhat.

"Manual"? no. It does itself . "Manual" has lost some of that meaning. It's all cause and effect. Even if it seems "manual".

I like the sound of this! Thankyou!


Because I'm using terms like "serene lake with my back to it" and the mind inclines to that. This means it inclines to the opposite direction to all those mental movements so that those movements eventually collapse and leave something else which is not of the mental movement. And thus not of "words" which belong to those mental movements. So I don't have good enough words to describe it. If they arise, they fail to satisfy this mind. So thus I say that it is hard to describe. Yes, it seems outside of "words /maps". At least ones that I have in this brain of mine.

That’s quite the pointer! Thankyou! Beautiful. I think your website readers would love this.


There seems to be two of Nicks. One that just lives as everyone else does, mental movements here and there. Gets annoyed at his son for not listening. Worries about making money to support the family etc. and the other that takes that other Nick's place when the mind inclines to all this Dhamma. This one is much less "Nick" and more the purpose of this very life. An inclination to getting off the ride perhaps.

Interesting.

I’m glad I made the attempt at asking questions. I’m more than pleased with what you managed to do with them. Thankyou so much! Be well! May your family be well!

All the best,
Linda
​​​​​​​
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Smiling Stone, modified 1 Year ago at 2/9/23 7:10 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/9/23 7:10 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 341 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts
Hey Nikolai,

Thanks for answering, I am sorry I asked you about writing on HP again as you had been quite clear about that already upthread. Plus, I can totally relate to the reluctance to feed the spiritual ego, I bow to that!

I also wanted to ask you what are your views on "purification" these days. From your post on another thread (I enjoyed your recalling dhamma anecdotes from your Goenka days), I gathered that you once ran into knots and managed to have them dissolved, and later found out that non-fashioning was the ultimate way of not forming knots in the mind. Does this mean that there is no need to attend to body anymore (in the way we do it in the Goenka gang, or in a more open fashion -what I would call practice, but also presence)? [For me, body awareness is still my anchor in the present/if I'm aware of body, I'm on the right track...as I'm not yet suffused with my surroundings (one with) yet... there has been a lightening of experience over the years which I associate with purification, although I don't like the word, loaded as it is].

Ok, I wanted to discuss this with you as well (excerpt from this thread), I talk about this quite a bit in the Goenka thread somewhere:
"In hindsight, 20 years later, I think I made the knots worse by paying all attention to them. I happened to come accross an old vipassana pamphlet while dusting Goenka's  personal library in his quarters at Dhamma Giri (I was a naughty pali student) with a story of Sayagi U Ba Khin telling Goenka as a student to centre all his attention in the chest area for entire sits. I read that and nothing could stop me doing that. But I think there is a reason for the 20 day instruction? to do this but not for very long., just  a few minutes at a time. I feel that prolonged attention is actually bringing it into existence. Later on post-SE, I discovered that peripheral awareness as opposed to hyper focused attention did a better job of dissolving such knots. 

Yes, some Thai ajahns recommend this as well (to lock on the heartbase), but I've found these few minutes on long courses -with very collected mind- extremely powerful (sufficiently so). More generally, I really took to Goenka's advice to alternate between concentrated attention and peripheral awareness (between "part by part" and "flow"), which hints to the fact that bypassing focused attention altogether does not allow us to work on certain aspects of our being. I know it's not a popular view in the pragmatic open awareness posse, but I lay it here nonetheless. There is no existence without tensions, so meditation should train us to deal with tensions, that's how it provides a true refuge, something like this...


Even later I discovered completely ignoring them worked even better. Not in a sense of "oh there is knot, let me pay attention to something else, but with the knot still being sensed in the background". but actually understanding that the knot seemed to co-arise with the directed attention towards it. The hand grasping out was actually giving rise to what it grasped. 
So, it is not interesting to learn to direct one's attention without creating knots, to hold without grasping? Instead of saying: "let's not direct our attention, because it generates knots"... Thoughts?

instead, I directed the mind to stop giving rise to it. Stop giving "shape" to the knot. Not ignore the knot as if it was an actual object to ignore. But cease giving "shape" and "name" to it. Giving the mind permission to cease giving shape and name to the knot seemed to automatically lead the mind to cease this very action. And with that, any knot just collapsed. I ceased directing attention to make it into an "object" to then react towards.  "
That's how you stop solidifying experience all right. In my experience, once there is no knots, no solidity (an absence which is not to be taken for granted!) the deconstruction of the concept of "flows", of "energy" in subtler and subtler perceptions, takes a while and is a worthwhile undertaking...

Ok, I stop here for now, I got carried away already...
I really enjoyed your answer to Linda as well, and your latest developments are inspiring, thanks!

with metta
smiling stone
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 8:18 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 2:53 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hey Nikolai,

Hi Smiling Stone, 

Thanks for answering, I am sorry I asked you about writing on HP again as you had been quite clear about that already upthread. Plus, I can totally relate to the reluctance to feed the spiritual ego, I bow to that!

No problem


I also wanted to ask you what are your views on "purification" these days. From your post on another thread (I enjoyed your recalling dhamma anecdotes from your Goenka days), I gathered that you once ran into knots and managed to have them dissolved, and later found out that non-fashioning was the ultimate way of not forming knots in the mind. Does this mean that there is no need to attend to body anymore (in the way we do it in the Goenka gang, or in a more open fashion -what I would call practice, but also presence)? [For me, body awareness is still my anchor in the present/if I'm aware of body, I'm on the right track...as I'm not yet suffused with my surroundings (one with) yet... there has been a lightening of experience over the years which I associate with purification, although I don't like the word, loaded as it is.

Id like to make this somewhat of a disclaimer here to inform how you/anyone read anything I've written. If it helps your practice in any given moment, then keep doing whatever approach /viewpoint works for you. If it helps, why assign importance to anyone else's view of it? We are all talking from different places/experiences anyway.

 "Attending to the body" is happening all the time. I'm not sure how it would be avoided. There is an awareness of the entire body at all times. From the touch of my socks and shoes on my feet to the wispy thoughts of "Nick" bouncing to and from a niggly throat sensation. The attention bounce with the mind giving shape and name to the objects it bounces to is there, but when the inclination arises, I see that I am be able to move towards territory where that ceases being a whole bunch of objectification.

 Do what you deem as helpful for your practice. I did the narrow focus for years and who am I to say it didn't lead me to where I find myself now. I just don't find it necessary now. It may well be what one needs to do in the moment. 

I don't really hold any views on what "purification" is or isn't. If I gave you an answer to your query it would just be me making up some view of it. But I'll play along. Tossing this "view" up in the air without much weight: perhaps the rabbit hole making sure "urges" to be this and that lose mental weight, is part of such a "purification"  process. I don't really know or have a well formed view of it. "Nick" is slowly dropping that which makes up "Nick". So there is that. 

Ok, I wanted to discuss this with you as well (excerpt from this thread), I talk about this quite a bit in the Goenka thread somewhere:
"In hindsight, 20 years later, I think I made the knots worse by paying all attention to them. I happened to come accross an old vipassana pamphlet while dusting Goenka's  personal library in his quarters at Dhamma Giri (I was a naughty pali student) with a story of Sayagi U Ba Khin telling Goenka as a student to centre all his attention in the chest area for entire sits. I read that and nothing could stop me doing that. But I think there is a reason for the 20 day instruction? to do this but not for very long., just  a few minutes at a time. I feel that prolonged attention is actually bringing it into existence. Later on post-SE, I discovered that peripheral awareness as opposed to hyper focused attention did a better job of dissolving such knots. 

Yes, some Thai ajahns recommend this as well (to lock on the heartbase), but I've found these few minutes on long courses -with very collected mind- extremely powerful (sufficiently so). More generally, I really took to Goenka's advice to alternate between concentrated attention and peripheral awareness (between "part by part" and "flow"), which hints to the fact that bypassing focused attention altogether does not allow us to work on certain aspects of our being. I know it's not a popular view in the pragmatic open awareness posse, but I lay it here nonetheless. There is no existence without tensions, so meditation should train us to deal with tensions, that's how it provides a true refuge, something like this...

Have you tried doing "concentrated practice" at the same time as including "the periphery"? Please see the culadasa quote in the comment section here to see further explanation: 

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2012/04/yogi-experiment-peripherycentre.html?m=1

I did this at one stage post-1st. Then now it seems pretty much part of the default state atm to include the periphery. Can't seem to turn it off if I wanted to.  I did not have this ability when practicing the Goenka scanning technique so can't really talk to that. 

A view based on own practice currently arising: "Tensions" remain "tensions" when I allow the mind to jump again and again on the "tensions". Giving those same "tensions" a space to exist as "tensions". One can miss the bouncing around of attention onto other aspects of experience if all focus is on the "tension". What of the subtle sense of bouncing on a sense of "me-ness/ self" that seems to happen at Lightning fast speed? Hard to catch it without being aware of the periphery in my experience. 

My experience currently: ok, there is a "tension" arising in the throat area. The mind is lunging with the attention all in it automatically, but due to the peripheral awareness, there is also awareness of the attention bounce. The mind is quickly jumping from a  sense of subtle "self" in head area coupled with a subtle sense of aversion and wanting "tension" to not be there. That is cognised quickly and at the same time as the "tension". As soon as that is cognised, there is a movement away from making it all into objects to react towards, the "serene lake at my back"  comes into play. 

What I used to do before having this "serene lake" ability, was to simply pay attention to the "tension" AND wherever the mind bounced to back and forth from sense of self/thoughts and tension sensations, and subtle mental aversion and let it be part of awareness all at the same time. The whole shebang, the tension, the subtle reactions and the sense of "me" exisiting as an observer /reactor/ sufferer/the one that needs to be "equanimous".

That was enough to see it eventually collapse.
 I think allowing the subtle mental movement of  "aversion" be a part of observing the tension and understanding that even "being equanimous" was propping up a sense of "equanimous identity" , was enough for it to cease making the "tension" into something to avoid. 


Even later I discovered completely ignoring them worked even better. Not in a sense of "oh there is knot, let me pay attention to something else, but with the knot still being sensed in the background". but actually understanding that the knot seemed to co-arise with the directed attention towards it. The hand grasping out was actually giving rise to what it grasped. 

So, it is not interesting to learn to direct one's attention without creating knots, to hold without grasping? Instead of saying: "let's not direct our attention, because it generates knots"... Thoughts?

If it helps your practice, why do you need me to validate it? What works for you may not work for me and viceversa. I did the whole heart centred thing for years. The emotional turmoil that came up because of it most probably, was gnarly to say the least.  However, it may well have primed me for when I switched for noting gunning for stream entry.

I am not sure how one can put attention onto and thus create an "object" and have it not be automatically read as either neutral, unpleasant or pleasant for the mind to then either blindly react towards, or have that sense of "me-ness" be equanimous with it. I'd much rather not create the objects to the react towards to begin with. Id rather deal with it all a little further up the casual dependent origination chain. 

My one tip which I wish I'd followed myself ages ago is not to get too attached to "approaches" and "viewpoints" on them. Too many times I was proved wrong in practice. These days I hold everything lightly by default of the rabbit hole. Once a hardcore dharma nut, since mellowed and simply not interested in holding any viewpoint/approach in general. The old urges to be this and that, do this and that, have waned,  to link it back to the main theme of this thread. The rabbit hole has stripped quite a bit away. 

instead, I directed the mind to stop giving rise to it. Stop giving "shape" to the knot. Not ignore the knot as if it was an actual object to ignore. But cease giving "shape" and "name" to it. Giving the mind permission to cease giving shape and name to the knot seemed to automatically lead the mind to cease this very action. And with that, any knot just collapsed. I ceased directing attention to make it into an "object" to then react towards.  "
That's how you stop solidifying experience all right. In my experience, once there is no knots, no solidity (an absence which is not to be taken for granted!) the deconstruction of the concept of "flows", of "energy" in subtler and subtler perceptions, takes a while and is a worthwhile undertaking... 

I think so. 

Ok, I stop here for now, I got carried away already... 
I really enjoyed your answer to Linda as well, and your latest developments are inspiring, thanks!

No problem. 

with metta
smiling stone

All good. Thanks for triggering a response
​​​​​​​

Note: In rereading my answers I'd like to say that no ill feeling informed/tinged/ spurred the answers if they are read in that way. 

Edit: I incessantly edit due to habitual patterns, so I have edited more info in as I ponder further. Ok , haha I've edited to my hearts content. Done



​​​​​​​
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 5:20 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/12/23 5:18 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Here is the Culadasa Quote for ease of access. It was taken from an old reddit thread that seems to no longer exist. The "Daniel" he refers to was an experienced practitioner who used to post very good practice videos on Youtube, but his rabbit hole took him offline eventually. 

START OF QUOTE: We have two different ways of "knowing" things that usually go on simultaneously - attention, and peripheral awareness. Mindfulness really means using peripheral awareness to be introspectively aware of what is going on in our own minds, and also the larger context of the situation we're in. Attention focuses in on details, so it can't observe the mind in an ongoing way, and it can't provide context. In conversations, intellectual tasks, and any kind of emotionally intense situation, attention becomes hyper-focused and peripheral awareness disappears. That is what causes us to lose mindfulness!

The second instruction Daniel gave you is all about this. It is quite possible to be observing your own mind in peripheral awareness at the same time that attention is focused on something else, like a conversation. When you do this, it gives you the feeling of "watching the mind" even while the mind is engaged in carrying on the conversation, or whatever else it is that attention happens to be engaged in. In other words, two ways of knowing, happening at the same time, provide the "mirror". It allows the mind's activities to be illuminated from "behind", or "within" or "above", or however you might like to describe it.

It takes practice to get good at doing this. And being grounded in body awareness is a great way to get into this place. But no amount of practice and skill will get you very far in intense emotional situations, because attention sucks up all of your capacity for consciousness, leaving none behind for peripheral awareness. This is where meditation really helps. The mind becomes more powerful, so, providing you have developed the habit of introspective peripheral awareness, you are able to mindful even in situations where you might otherwise not be.

The reason that some of us have acquired this skill at sustaining peripheral awareness and this enhanced conscious power of the mind is that we have been using it all along to help us succeed in our meditation. Early on, we noticed that when we became too focused, we either forgot what we were doing or we got dull and dozy. So we learned to avoid becoming hyper-focused by sustaining peripheral awareness while we focused. Then, the way we ultimately overcame dullness and distractions was by recognizing them as soon as they arose so that we could correct for them. And we did this by converting our peripheral awareness into introspective awareness so that we always knew what was happening in our minds. Eventually, not only introspective peripheral awareness, but the correcting process itself became automatic, and we were good meditators as a result. But sustained introspective peripheral awareness as a habit spills over into daily life as well. So we also found ourselves being much more mindful, even while working and talking to people and fighting with our partners. This was, of course, a tremendous bonus, and actually leads to Insight.

Those of us who have acquired this skill and ability have done it largely by accident. I know that my own successes in both meditation and life would have come about much more quickly if someone had explained these details to me. So that is why I am so happy to pass it along to you. Cultivate peripheral awareness both on and off the cushion. learn to sustain peripheral awareness even when you are focusing very closely. Transmute peripheral awareness from being all about what is happening outside of the mind to being about what is happening inside the mind as well. END OF QUOTE
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Asaf M, modified 1 Year ago at 2/13/23 5:30 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/13/23 5:30 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 47 Join Date: 12/9/22 Recent Posts
This priciple of combining awareness with attention keeps popping up in various places. It evidently is a key aspect to sucessful practice.
I was just listenign to it this morning in Adi Vader's excellent jhana instuction audio recordings, mentioned in this thread.

Sititng in the living room, I've experimented with looking flowers on the dining table while also kepeing the peripheral vision one or more of the following elements:
the the room,
the scenery behind the glass door,
the distance/space between my head and the flowers, the sort fo round trip between the two, the trajectory of vision.

This has had the beneficial effects in heighteneing , steadying the minds concentration/energy levels. Once When I susteined this for an extended session, it manifested  knowlege of arising/passing/dissolution, as  elements in the room, the chairs near the table disoolved into black and white vibrating patterns. 

In sititng meditation, I had one session where keeping the peripheral awareness on 'cat and mouse' game waiting for thoughts to pop up, while maintianing attention on the breath, keps the concentration going continually smooth without  veering off track, keept the mind alert rather than sinking into sloth/topror/dulness.

For years, I tried doing contentration only with attention, no peripleral awareness and the usual result was that  I would fail due to mind sinking into low energy sleepy mode.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 2/18/23 10:29 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/18/23 10:29 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Some awesome pointers here. Thanks! 
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Smiling Stone, modified 1 Year ago at 2/19/23 4:08 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/19/23 4:03 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 341 Join Date: 5/10/16 Recent Posts

Hi Smiling Stone,
Hey Nikolai

All good. Thanks for triggering a response
​​​​​​​Thanks for responding generously to my triggers.


Edit: I incessantly edit due to habitual patterns, so I have edited more info in as I ponder further. Ok , haha I've edited to my hearts content. Done
No worries, I enjoyed seeing that you had added some more interesting content (didn't notice if you trimmed anything, did not cross my mind).

Note: In rereading my answers I'd like to say that no ill feeling informed/tinged/ spurred the answers if they are read in that way.
Me, on the other hand, have to acknowledge that I wanted to have you admit something akin to "I've not reached the end of the path of purification" (I do believe the end is far away for us mortals anyway, so it was nothing personal). I do agree, though, that I'm genuinely curious about your path, that's why I'm here.


my articles on The Hamilton Project blogspot which I posted ages ago (and maybe have a different "view" on now) (from first post)
I would be curious (well, I think it would be interesting to some readers) to know more how your current views (or no-views) differ now from what you developed on the Hamilton Project.

I was talking today to a dedicated dhamma friend who's deep into his practice, and he stated what an inspiration you were and still are to many, and how engaging your unexpected interventions here now are. I concur with this and wonder how my posts might trigger you some more...
I remember Bikkhu Analayo talking about nibbana and how practice move our center of gravity from worldly matters towards unworldly ones, until one gets attracted towards the unconditioned (probably misrepresenting here), and your testimony here seems to echo that development. I do feel a strange attractor towards the unworldly when I sit, and more and more when I do nothing, but it's not default yet and doesn't lead to cessation (need a reference for going further). So your experience is promising.

My one tip which I wish I'd followed myself ages ago is not to get too attached to "approaches" and "viewpoints" on them. Too many times I was proved wrong in practice. These days I hold everything lightly by default of the rabbit hole. Once a hardcore dharma nut, since mellowed and simply not interested in holding any viewpoint/approach in general. The old urges to be this and that, do this and that, have waned,  to link it back to the main theme of this thread. The rabbit hole has stripped quite a bit away. 
Long live the rabbit hole! I understand the paradox in trying to have you express something that is not there to start with... for the benefit of many?

Have you tried doing "concentrated practice" at the same time as including "the periphery"? Please see the culadasa quote in the comment section here to see further explanation: 

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2012/04/yogi-experiment-peripherycentre.html?m=1

I did this at one stage post-1st. Then now it seems pretty much part of the default state atm to include the periphery. Can't seem to turn it off if I wanted to.  I did not have this ability when practicing the Goenka scanning technique so can't really talk to that.
That's been my default state for years as well. I liked to express that by stating I was "open". It was a relief at the time discovering Culadasa (read the book and saw your quote at the time) and finding out it was progress (actually the ATs will say "let awareness do its thing, your job is to maintain your attention on the zone"). At first, I did not understand the point of narrowing the focus on retreat during the anapana days (beginner's stuff?). After a while it dawned on me that, at a certain depth of quiet and collectedness (which becomes more extreme as practice deepens), the rest of the body disappears and the whole of attention gathers around the zone effortlessly (it acts as an attractor). The deeper we get during this period, the more dramatic is the switch to the bodyscan, and we get deeper into the Goenka cycle of "purification" as I understand it. Well, it's obviously a specificity of the Goenka tradition (and of Pa-Auk ... and certain Theravada schools?)
A view based on own practice currently arising: "Tensions" remain "tensions" when I allow the mind to jump again and again on the "tensions". Giving those same "tensions" a space to exist as "tensions". One can miss the bouncing around of attention onto other aspects of experience if all focus is on the "tension". What of the subtle sense of bouncing on a sense of "me-ness/ self" that seems to happen at Lightning fast speed? Hard to catch it without being aware of the periphery in my experience.
Yep. I usually try not to objectify sensations as "tensions" and rather discern the underlying qualities of my perceptions... And sometimes pain solidifies in the mind! an opportunity for practice... Thanks for the pointer about the "bouncing of attention" concept that you often use. I obsessed over it at some point (probably after reading you years ago, or MCTB, I think Daniel is also keen on observing the bouncing from self to object and back), but not so these days. And I did not get to the superfast back and forth -I have no stroboscopic mind yet-, so I will resume noticing that, see what comes out...

My experience currently: ok, there is a "tension" arising in the throat area. The mind is lunging with the attention all in it automatically, but due to the peripheral awareness, there is also awareness of the attention bounce. The mind is quickly jumping from a  sense of subtle "self" in head area coupled with a subtle sense of aversion and wanting "tension" to not be there. That is cognised quickly and at the same time as the "tension". As soon as that is cognised, there is a movement away from making it all into objects to react towards, the "serene lake at my back"  comes into play. 
Well, looks like you're done on that front, then.



What I used to do before having this "serene lake" ability, was to simply pay attention to the "tension" AND wherever the mind bounced to back and forth from sense of self/thoughts and tension sensations, and subtle mental aversion and let it be part of awareness all at the same time. The whole shebang, the tension, the subtle reactions and the sense of "me" exisiting as an observer /reactor/ sufferer/the one that needs to be "equanimous".
I guess this paragraph is worth pondering for where I'm at...

That was enough to see it eventually collapse. I think allowing the subtle mental movement of  "aversion" be a part of observing the tension and understanding that even "being equanimous" was propping up a sense of "equanimous identity", was enough for it to cease making the "tension" into something to avoid.
Ditto... I do cultivate space around thoughts, so I can relate...


If it helps your practice, why do you need me to validate it?
It's your assumption that I seek validation, I don't believe I do, thanks. I was trying to foster discussion (and I admitted to some subconscious agenda upstream), but you say that several times and I find that the most offending in your answer... not that bad, really, no hard feelings.

What works for you may not work for me and viceversa. I did the whole heart centred thing for years. The emotional turmoil that came up because of it most probably, was gnarly to say the least.  However, it may well have primed me for when I switched for noting gunning for stream entry.
I'm quite convinced it did, based on my limited experience. Your testimony is (again) so interesting: I gather that after doing this a lot for a while, you went in a strong dark night where you more or less stopped practicing for years (2005-6 to 8-9?). Maybe you assess that you were already dark-nighting when you started this? It's strange to me that you are so dismissive of the Goenka thing after misusing the technique to that extent...

I am not sure how one can put attention onto and thus create an "object" and have it not be automatically read as either neutral, unpleasant or pleasant for the mind to then either blindly react towards, or have that sense of "me-ness" be equanimous with it. I'd much rather not create the objects to the react towards to begin with. Id rather deal with it all a little further up the casual dependent origination chain.
Thanks for reminding us of the risk of objectifying equanimity. It is a useful pointer.
I would think that the chain of DO is more intertwined than sequential. For sure, if you don't solidify the naming, less problems arise (you walk toward liberation in the moment). Also if you don't feel, don't react, don't viñanize (oups, the english eludes me)....

---
Id like to make this somewhat of a disclaimer here to inform how you/anyone read anything I've written. If it helps your practice in any given moment, then keep doing whatever approach /viewpoint works for you. If it helps, why assign importance to anyone else's view of it? We are all talking from different places/experiences anyway.
Looking for validation, assigning importance to your views... Hum... You're legend, that's why!

 "Attending to the body" is happening all the time. I'm not sure how it would be avoided. There is an awareness of the entire body at all times. From the touch of my socks and shoes on my feet to the wispy thoughts of "Nick" bouncing to and from a niggly throat sensation. The attention bounce with the mind giving shape and name to the objects it bounces to is there, but when the inclination arises, I see that I am be able to move towards territory where that ceases being a whole bunch of objectification.
Thanks for that clarification. It's important for me. I might have assumed that you forgot about body when going for more subtle inquiries (about the self and whatnot).
Yeah, the bouncing! Process vs object, I'm with you there!

 Do what you deem as helpful for your practice. I did the narrow focus for years and who am I to say it didn't lead me to where I find myself now. I just don't find it necessary now. It may well be what one needs to do in the moment. 
Fair enough !


I don't really hold any views on what "purification" is or isn't. If I gave you an answer to your query it would just be me making up some view of it. But I'll play along. Tossing this "view" up in the air without much weight: perhaps the rabbit hole making sure "urges" to be this and that lose mental weight, is part of such a "purification"  process. I don't really know or have a well formed view of it. "Nick" is slowly dropping that which makes up "Nick". So there is that. 

Yes, thanks for the tossing in the air... I agree that the end of objectification and of selfing is a valid path of purification... just wondering about the substances (or qualities) of the flows, if they fit in the process (as they fit in mine).

Your answer certainly deserved better than my poor attempts at triggering you again, but here it is...
I sure hope I was not rude (or arrogant)! I truly appreciate your presence here.

again, with much metta
smiling stone

Edited syntax
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 2/19/23 10:58 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/19/23 10:58 PM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 1677 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hey Nikolai

All good. Thanks for triggering a response

Thanks for responding generously to my triggers.

All good.

Edit: I incessantly edit due to habitual patterns, so I have edited more info in as I ponder further. Ok , haha I've edited to my hearts content. DoneNo worries, I enjoyed seeing that you had added some more interesting content (didn't notice if you trimmed anything, did not cross my mind).

Ok.

Note: In rereading my answers I'd like to say that no ill feeling informed/tinged/ spurred the answers if they are read in that way.
Me, on the other hand, have to acknowledge that I wanted to have you admit something akin to "I've not reached the end of the path of purification" (I do believe the end is far away for us mortals anyway, so it was nothing personal). I do agree, though, that I'm genuinely curious about your path, that's why I'm here.

I have no idea where I am on any "path". I never really have.  I know I had major perceptual baseline shifts. But I have no idea what conceptual overlay would be apt for wherever I find myself. I still do like this explanation still from the Vimuttimaga. I'm on Plane 2 probably maybe meh!

There are two kinds of planes: plane of seeing and plane of volition. Here, the Path of Stream-entrance is the plane of seeing. The other three Paths and the four Fruits of the recluse are the plane of volition. Not having seen before, one sees now. This is the plane of seeing. One sees thus and attends to it. This is called the plane of volition. And again, there are two planes: the plane of the learner and the plane of the learning- ender. Here, the four Paths and the three Fruits of the recluse are of the plane of the learner. Arahatship is learning-ender's plane.



my articles on The Hamilton Project blogspot which I posted ages ago (and maybe have a different "view" on now) (from first post)

I would be curious (well, I think it would be interesting to some readers) to know more how your current views (or no-views) differ now from what you developed on the Hamilton Project.

I don't know particularly what I'd disagree with, as I haven't re-read the articles in a while. Perhaps anything that sounds "absolute". Much of the concepts and viewpoints I may have stood behind previously have now taken on a "mystery" flavour. I have no idea, and also I just don't feel inclined to reify nor solidify any viewpoint to be "the one" "Nick" assigns all value to. My viewpoints keep getting squashed, questioned, and fall apart with ongoing experience. I guess lifeboats come in all shapes and sizes and when they cease functioning as lifeboats to get to wherever you are going, you leave them behind. Whatever viewpoint or practice I may have written about, I wrote from the experience of using them at the time and so saw value in them then to write about them.   I don't want to go back and reread. I would like to avoid my incessant need to edit. 

I was talking today to a dedicated dhamma friend who's deep into his practice, and he stated what an inspiration you were and still are to many, and how engaging your unexpected interventions here now are. I concur with this and wonder how my posts might trigger you some more...
I remember Bikkhu Analayo talking about nibbana and how practice move our center of gravity from worldly matters towards unworldly ones, until one gets attracted towards the unconditioned (probably misrepresenting here), and your testimony here seems to echo that development. I do feel a strange attractor towards the unworldly when I sit, and more and more when I do nothing, but it's not default yet and doesn't lead to cessation (need a reference for going further). So your experience is promising.
Ok.

My one tip which I wish I'd followed myself ages ago is not to get too attached to "approaches" and "viewpoints" on them. Too many times I was proved wrong in practice. These days I hold everything lightly by default of the rabbit hole. Once a hardcore dharma nut, since mellowed and simply not interested in holding any viewpoint/approach in general. The old urges to be this and that, do this and that, have waned,  to link it back to the main theme of this thread. The rabbit hole has stripped quite a bit away. 

Long live the rabbit hole! I understand the paradox in trying to have you express something that is not there to start with... for the benefit of many?

I wrote a lot on the blog with this romantic ideal too: for the benefit of all. And yes, it appears many benefited. But also I probably wrote from a bit of ego too. Look at me and my supposed "knowledge!" 

I get a little 9th nana-ish  disgust when I read some of it. In fact, in re-reading much of what I wrote in this very thread, I get the same reaction. Hard to separate that incessant urge to prop one's "self" up or give it "purpose" or make it feel good about "itself" or reap the pleasantness of such actions from the altruistic angle of "for the benefit of the many". We are often self-serving beings at the core. At least that is what I find myself exploring at the moment. And why I may need another break eventually.  

Have you tried doing "concentrated practice" at the same time as including "the periphery"? Please see the culadasa quote in the comment section here to see further explanation: 

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2012/04/yogi-experiment-peripherycentre.html?m=1

I did this at one stage post-1st. Then now it seems pretty much part of the default state atm to include the periphery. Can't seem to turn it off if I wanted to.  I did not have this ability when practicing the Goenka scanning technique so can't really talk to that.

That's been my default state for years as well. I liked to express that by stating I was "open". It was a relief at the time discovering Culadasa (read the book and saw your quote at the time) and finding out it was progress (actually the ATs will say "let awareness do its thing, your job is to maintain your attention on the zone"). At first, I did not understand the point of narrowing the focus on retreat during the anapana days (beginner's stuff?). After a while it dawned on me that, at a certain depth of quiet and collectedness (which becomes more extreme as practice deepens), the rest of the body disappears and the whole of attention gathers around the zone effortlessly (it acts as an attractor). The deeper we get during this period, the more dramatic is the switch to the bodyscan, and we get deeper into the Goenka cycle of "purification" as I understand it. Well, it's obviously a specificity of the Goenka tradition (and of Pa-Auk ... and certain Theravada schools?)

 Ok.

A view based on own practice currently arising: "Tensions" remain "tensions" when I allow the mind to jump again and again on the "tensions". Giving those same "tensions" a space to exist as "tensions". One can miss the bouncing around of attention onto other aspects of experience if all focus is on the "tension". What of the subtle sense of bouncing on a sense of "me-ness/ self" that seems to happen at Lightning fast speed? Hard to catch it without being aware of the periphery in my experience.

Yep. I usually try not to objectify sensations as "tensions" and rather discern the underlying qualities of my perceptions... And sometimes pain solidifies in the mind! an opportunity for practice... Thanks for the pointer about the "bouncing of attention" concept that you often use. I obsessed over it at some point (probably after reading you years ago, or MCTB, I think Daniel is also keen on observing the bouncing from self to object and back), but not so these days. And I did not get to the superfast back and forth -I have no stroboscopic mind yet-, so I will resume noticing that, see what comes out...

I do recall this being the key territory to explore when I had the first cessation on a 10 day. I was exploring that same bounce. i just didnt call it that. Much easier to see in high equanimity when everything was automatically more panoramic. http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/06/yogis-journal-from-chronic-dark-night.html

Day 5 (January 1st, 2010) 4.30am to 6.30am: So I begin to practice and its back to high equanimity because I am relaxed and I will the mind up to what I believe was the 4th Jhana and start observing "Self". I have breakfast noting all the way:tasting, tasting, feeling, swallowing. It really was non-stop noting.I am quite relaxed now as I seemed to have stopped craving path.8am - 10.49am: I continue to work as above and the blipping in and out of the sensations of the illusory "Self" starts getting slower (or rather they are not being read as "Self") and about 4 seconds are seen of the "Self" as just a dance of sensations along with those sensations in the head that are in between blips, so it seems the subject is joining the object and just becoming one massive bare sensate experience. Then at about 10.50, something clicks and that massive bare sensate experience of the sensations, previously known and seen as "Self", as "Nick", is seen so clearly. This simple insight felt so profound that this amazing feeling of happiness and pleasantness descended throughout the body. Nothing happens at this stage and the gong for lunch is sounded and I leave my cell to walk to the dining hall. All the while thinking of this mind-blowing insight which has been staring me in the face all along. I get there at about 11.05, sitting on a bench waiting to enter the dining hall.....and then the mind turns in on itself again onto that massive bare sensate experience of all these sensations just dancing about. No "Self" anymore. Then it just appears naturally. The knowing of the Anatta/Non-self characteristic. The thoughts...."Holy crap, this is just fluff. The "Self" is just so substanceless. Just fluff!". Then the knowing of Anicca/Impermanence characteristic arises directly after it and the thought, "Wow, it's just the sum of sensations dancing about, as soon as they arise they stop dead." When I think back to this moment, it felt like the actual written words appeared in the mind. With these two characteristics known fully, immediately the Dukkha/Unsatisfactoriness characteristic just made complete sense!!!!!! And then...I felt my head being pulled up slightly at the crown of the head and I felt like something "big" was about to happen. There was a mental reaction of anticipation and I managed to start noting it, but as it all happened so fast I only managed to note it with the word "noted"......and I felt sucked up into something unknown and spat out....... and with my eyes closed it looked like the sun was right in front of my eyes. I opened them and just thought..."What the hell! What was that....?". I really just felt massively stunned for several moments. And then started asking myself "Was that it?" 
My experience currently: ok, there is a "tension" arising in the throat area. The mind is lunging with the attention all in it automatically, but due to the peripheral awareness, there is also awareness of the attention bounceThe mind is quickly jumping from a  sense of subtle "self" in head area coupled with a subtle sense of aversion and wanting "tension" to not be there. That is cognised quickly and at the same time as the "tension". As soon as that is cognised, there is a movement away from making it all into objects to react towards, the "serene lake at my back"  comes into play. 

Well, looks like you're done on that front, then.

Dunno.


What I used to do before having this "serene lake" ability, was to simply pay attention to the "tension" AND wherever the mind bounced to back and forth from sense of self/thoughts and tension sensations, and subtle mental aversion and let it be part of awareness all at the same time. The whole shebang, the tension, the subtle reactions and the sense of "me" exisiting as an observer /reactor/ sufferer/the one that needs to be "equanimous".

I guess this paragraph is worth pondering for where I'm at...

If there is one thing that I wish I'd done while in the Goenka tradition, is to be more panoramic in my scanning practice. I did have access to free flow all the time, so it would have been easier a time probably, maybe, dunno. 


That was enough to see it eventually collapse. I think allowing the subtle mental movement of  "aversion" be a part of observing the tension and understanding that even "being equanimous" was propping up a sense of "equanimous identity", was enough for it to cease making the "tension" into something to avoid.

Ditto... I do cultivate space around thoughts, so I can relate...

Ok

If it helps your practice, why do you need me to validate it?

It's your assumption that I seek validation, I don't believe I do, thanks. I was trying to foster discussion (and I admitted to some subconscious agenda upstream), but you say that several times and I find that the most offending in your answer... not that bad, really, no hard feelings.
Ok.

What works for you may not work for me and viceversa. I did the whole heart centred thing for years. The emotional turmoil that came up because of it most probably, was gnarly to say the least.  However, it may well have primed me for when I switched for noting gunning for stream entry.

I'm quite convinced it did, based on my limited experience. Your testimony is (again) so interesting: I gather that after doing this a lot for a while, you went in a strong dark night where you more or less stopped practicing for years (2005-6 to 8-9?). Maybe you assess that you were already dark-nighting when you started this? It's strange to me that you are so dismissive of the Goenka thing after misusing the technique to that extent...
I was dark nighting from my first course. I'd probably say even before it from childhood in retrospect. I was miserable  for years before and had done some exploring with unintentional weird results long before vipassana. Only speculating though. 

I'm trying to remember when I was dismissive? 

I have never been the best proponent of the Goenka tradition. I certainly don't feel any desire to "look down on it". It just doesn't factor in currently, and my own path through it was what it was. And yes, I did it my way. I was never one to follow the rules. Dismissive is the opposite of me saying "do what works for you" as  I see it. 

These days, I am so very far from the hardcore naughty old student, who along with another fellow naughty old pali student dusted down Goenka's personal library, cleaned  the supposed Buddha relics on display in his office placing our foreheads on them as well as read all the obscure Burmese published books with crazy Sayagi U Ba Khin and Goenka stories of shadow beings causing meditators to vomit that they now don't share freely due to how out-there they were.  I'm probably still on the naughty banned list to be honest. I don't have any shame about not following the "rules".  It is what it is & was what it was. I don't think I had much choice in how it all panned out anyway. No pedestals for me, I probably fall in the "use and abuse" school of thought. Shameless!
 And how can I be dismissive with a pic like this of me and the big G? Look how serious I was as an old student....haha! 



But in all seriousness, I have only spoken from experience and how this mind interprets it. I have no idea how beneficial the scanning technique is in getting to Stream Entry for those doing it as I know of so few who have professed to its efficacy in acheiving this goal, seeing as that is all I talked about back in the day. Not "purification". I have never been a proponent of any purification inspired approach. 

I am not sure how one can put attention onto and thus create an "object" and have it not be automatically read as either neutral, unpleasant or pleasant for the mind to then either blindly react towards, or have that sense of "me-ness" be equanimous with it. I'd much rather not create the objects to the react towards to begin with. Id rather deal with it all a little further up the casual dependent origination chain.

Thanks for reminding us of the risk of objectifying equanimity. It is a useful pointer.
I would think that the chain of DO is more intertwined than sequential. For sure, if you don't solidify the naming, less problems arise (you walk toward liberation in the moment). Also if you don't feel, don't react, don't viñanize (oups, the english eludes me)....

---

Credit to Tarin for that pointer, to avoid forever polishing and solidifying an ongoing "equanimous" sense of identity. 

Id like to make this somewhat of a disclaimer here to inform how you/anyone read anything I've written. If it helps your practice in any given moment, then keep doing whatever approach /viewpoint works for you. If it helps, why assign importance to anyone else's view of it? We are all talking from different places/experiences anyway.
Looking for validation, assigning importance to your views... Hum... You're legend, that's why!

Disclaimers all round, I may change my view of my ongoing experience at the drop of a hat. Please avoid assigning any "legendary" status to any of it. 

 "Attending to the body" is happening all the time. I'm not sure how it would be avoided. There is an awareness of the entire body at all times. From the touch of my socks and shoes on my feet to the wispy thoughts of "Nick" bouncing to and from a niggly throat sensationThe attention bounce with the mind giving shape and name to the objects it bounces to is there, but when the inclination arises, I see that I am be able to move towards territory where that ceases being a whole bunch of objectification.

Thanks for that clarification. It's important for me. I might have assumed that you forgot about body when going for more subtle inquiries (about the self and whatnot).
Yeah, the bouncing! Process vs object, I'm with you there!

Mind and body are seen to be very intertwined in my experience. At times, there seems no point in distinguishing the two concepts. At times just a soupy mix of sensate. 

 Do what you deem as helpful for your practice. I did the narrow focus for years and who am I to say it didn't lead me to where I find myself now. I just don't find it necessary now. It may well be what one needs to do in the moment. 
Fair enough !

you=everyone reading

I don't really hold any views on what "purification" is or isn't. If I gave you an answer to your query it would just be me making up some view of it. But I'll play along. Tossing this "view" up in the air without much weight: perhaps the rabbit hole making sure "urges" to be this and that lose mental weight, is part of such a "purification"  process. I don't really know or have a well formed view of it. "Nick" is slowly dropping that which makes up "Nick". So there is that. 

Yes, thanks for the tossing in the air... I agree that the end of objectification and of selfing is a valid path of purification... just wondering about the substances (or qualities) of the flows, if they fit in the process (as they fit in mine).

Who knows? Temporary lifeboats and mysteries.... 

I am reminded of one Goenka story. It went around Dhamma Giri at the time when i was there that he had said this to old students on a special course he conducted, that everyone there was most probably following him from life to life and would be reborn with him in some future life to aid him on his quest for Buddhahood renouncing any paths for this lifetime. But if you felt the need to attain to path in this lifetime, that you do so. This "quote" along with what the head teacher of in Australia once said to me (that he wished to attain to full awakening as soon as possible) has stuck with me and may explain why the passionate old school old students within the tradition didn't care enough to discuss how to get to 1st path. 

Your answer certainly deserved better than my poor attempts at triggering you again, but here it is...
I sure hope I was not rude (or arrogant)! I truly appreciate your presence here.

All good. 

Disclaimer: No intentions to offend arose during the typing of these replies.

Strong adhitthana: I will not edit.


again, with much metta
smiling stone

Edited syntax


This is where I am currently at: Questioning everything I myself do.  When I put the word "metta" at the end of a dharma message, I don't actually send any or think those benevolent thoughts. I use it as a nicety to influence how the readers take my message. Pretty f-ed up. I'm not insinuating on your part (as how would I know your intention?), but I find these days I question everything I do in my communications.  This is the strong intention/habit I see within myself, maybe due to rabbit hole territory. These habitual formations are what I wish to uproot in their entirety, so I will refrain from using that word for the moment, and instead thank you for triggering more fertile exploration.

Nick
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Smiling Stone, modified 1 Year ago at 2/20/23 7:37 AM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Thanks Nik, for the beautiful reply!
I'm short on time to answer now, but I will come back asap as your post triggered more comments on my part.
I really enjoy any anecdote you got on your Goenka days, thanks for providing! (sorry about the "dismissive" which was a bit unskilful and not exactly what I had in mind anyway...)
About
I am reminded of one Goenka story. It went around Dhamma Giri at the time when i was there that he had said this to old students on a special course he conducted, that everyone there was most probably following him from life to life and would be reborn with him in some future life to aid him on his quest for Buddhahood renouncing any paths for this lifetime. But if you felt the need to attain to path in this lifetime, that you do so. This "quote" along with what the head teacher of in Australia once said to me (that he wished to attain to full awakening as soon as possible) has stuck with me and may explain why the passionate old school old students within the tradition didn't care enough to discuss how to get to 1st path.


Thanks for that, I did strongly suspect something of this kind. I copy here a post from the Goenka thread which relates to this (have a look at the links!) :
Hello everybody,
I will paste here a post that came as a joke on another thread, because it is somehow strangely relevant here... Here it goes:
"I am a Bodhisattva!
You guy-irls, are pronouncing powerful vows, but it seems that all of you are somewhere AFTER first path, meaning you have at most seven more lives to serve ignorant mankind, having partly escaped the wheel yourself already.
Me, I have chosen a technique that guarantees that I will not go through the gate, however long I contemplate the scenery outside. Here is the quote from my journal (Day 21, meaning april 8th) :
"Another interesting thought popped up when he was talking about Buddhahood and Bodhisattvas. If you bring back this Bodhisattva ideal to moment to moment awareness (innumerable moments of existence vs innumerable lives), which we do without hesitation when we contemplate dependent origination, then the scanning could appear as the way of the Bodhisattva: We willingly stay in the cycle of existence (at the level of sensate experience) instead of escaping into extinction (by total letting go of the object)... The only thing, is: of course, we are supposed to volunteer for the way of the Bodhisattva, it is a vow, and here we are lured into thinking we will get liberated... Here, I am trying to make sense of my reluctance at taking that last step (pointed to me many times by Shargrol, Paul, Jason Massie and others in the other thread), and recognize that I know some kind of liberation from suffering already...
Because actually I am sure that I have got something really precious from my practice, though it lies below the attainments advertised on this forum. It has to do with the "purification" of the energetic field (ok, that word "purification" seems so wrong to me, I usually try to avoid it... I mean "repeated disembeding from the perceptions of feelings on the body, which leads to change") and it seems not to be always completed (well, to lack) in the reports from some of those who witnessed a drastic change in perception (that "purification"). "
You see what I mean. Contrary to you, I did not have to take any vow, which has only ONE possible explanation: I took a vow in a past life, where I was already part of that crew (that's why I am so good at that particular technique). And Goenka is quite clear: He says we are aiming for final liberation, not for some half-baked realization, hence the endless purification. There is absolutely no risk that we reach the end of our materiality, we might have glimpses but something will always remain.
I quote a small passage of this video about this very subject:
" People said U Bah Kin was a Bodhisattva, and what did that mean exactly? He (Goenka) told me: in the experience of meditation, you go deeper and deeper and deeper, and you come up to the gate. And you can peer through the bars of the gate, and you know that behind the gate is a pool of pure water, and you can even feel the coolness, but the gate does not open for you. And, this happens once, and then it happens repeatedly. And you don't go through that gate! Then you know, at some time, you took a vow, to wait for the experience of nibbana until such time as another Buddha arises or some time you have taken a vow of some kind that, in this life, you won't experience it, you will meditate as fully and as completely as possible, serve, and that's what you are doing in this life, so, that was how he explained it to me. We were talking about U Bah Kin but I am very very sure he was talking about his own experience." William Hart (the first teacher appointed by Goenka and the author of "the art of living")
(Brings water to my mill, doesn't it? Or maybe he just did not have the right key for that gate, and made sense of it that way...)Actually, we've been wandering around since the beginning of time and we will 'til the end of time... Since we are all "One", we have to spiritualize all matter as in the "yoga of the cells" of Sri Aurobindo, where the Supermind has to go down in the deepest recesses of the obscurity of matter.
With your attainments, you are jumping off the wagon, whatever vows you sign for. And you will be caught up by the universal karmic debt. Liberating "yourself" is an illusion, your karmic bundle will not be hold together by your self "illusion" and it will just dive back in the primordial soup and get all mixed up again in the suffering at the root of existence. Because it has not been fully purified before your realization. That's why the Tibetans go for Rigpa and not for cessation. They keep control of their rebirth. In the Goenka tradition, that's what sila is for: so you are sure to get a good quality human life in the next one.

Hmmm... Looks like I have been channeling the collective subconscious of the Goenka gang. Make of it what you will. I was joking but I'm quite impressed with what came out... (and that typing the Bill Hart bit! It gives some credit to my rambling, no?)"

And...
When it comes to living up to this ideal of Bodhisattva, Goenka comes as a fair candidate, whatever his flaws.
I met a woman who was ironing his shirts in the eighties, and she told me : "I quit because I found it very hard. He did not let anything personal come into his relation with people. There was nothing personal about him." I find it is an interesting take on anatta as well, to really endorse a function to the point of sacrificing the ego for it. Amma comes to mind in this regard. Obviously quite a few monks of every tradition qualify (that's what you do when you are a monk), but these two had (have) a kind of special siddhi to move things on a large scale, which I would link to the Bodhisattva ideal (I am not talking about the outcome here)...

All this is just more food for thought
with metta
smiling stone

(About the metta signature : I try to mean it as deeply as possible in the current state of affairs , but yes it's a tradition among Goenkaites, and no I don't ALWAYS use it -but most of the time for sure as cultivating metta and other wholesome qualities is an important part of the path (and not a given for me)-)

​​​​​​​Edited irrelevant content (I enjoy your edits, as I said before...)
Jinxed P, modified 1 Year ago at 2/20/23 6:02 PM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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What's it like having kids with your attainments? How do you deal with attachment to family? Do you get nervous for their well-being/safety? Desire for  their success and development? 
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Nikolai , modified 1 Year ago at 2/21/23 3:31 PM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Jinxed P What's it like having kids with your attainments? How do you deal with attachment to family? Do you get nervous for their well-being/safety? Desire for  their success and development?
  Interesting questions which I'm ignoring on purpose. Life would be much less stressful without kids. Nuff said. 
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 2/21/23 6:47 PM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Having and raising children creates opportunities to practice. Painful, happy, confusing, rewarding opportunities. I had four of them.
T DC, modified 1 Year ago at 2/21/23 11:11 PM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Jinxed P
What's it like having kids with your attainments? How do you deal with attachment to family? Do you get nervous for their well-being/safety? Desire for  their success and development? 

​​​​​​​Attachment to our loved ones is not necesarily a bad thing, particularly regarding their safety, well being, success, and development.  If attainment truly were to make us less invested in those aspects of life it would be a net failure IMO.  Hopefully, as a result of attainment we can love our families more fully, and with less grasping and neurosis.  The goal after all is not to escape from our lives, but to overcome our repressive and false mental structures to allow for a fuller and more direct experience of life in all of it's pains and pleasures alike.  
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Smiling Stone, modified 8 Months ago at 7/28/23 4:55 AM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Hello Nikolaï,

Re: "but I will come back asap"...
hum, it's good that time is a construct because I certainly took my time here... Life moved on and I stopped interacting here for a while, so I can relate to your comings and goings... 
I had one more question, though, concerning the feeding of your ego while helping others : if your posts are really of help to some, why not forsake your own salvation for the good of others ? The  infamous bodhissatva ideal again...
You argue that your silence protects you from feeding your ego, and while I think it's wise to notice that, it's a pretty weak reason not to interact (although it seems that you still do sometimes, so it's more of a rhetorical question maybe)...
Anyway I would be delighted to hear about your -non- practice these days, about your questioning or absence thereof, and about the lake in the deep of the rabbit hole of course..

cheers... and much metta !
smiling stone
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Nikolai , modified 8 Months ago at 8/5/23 6:49 PM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Smiling Stone Hello Nikolaï, Re: "but I will come back asap"... hum, it's good that time is a construct because I certainly took my time here... Life moved on and I stopped interacting here for a while, so I can relate to your comings and goings...  I had one more question, though, concerning the feeding of your ego while helping others : if your posts are really of help to some, why not forsake your own salvation for the good of others ? The  infamous bodhissatva ideal again... You argue that your silence protects you from feeding your ego, and while I think it's wise to notice that, it's a pretty weak reason not to interact (although it seems that you still do sometimes, so it's more of a rhetorical question maybe)... Anyway I would be delighted to hear about your -non- practice these days, about your questioning or absence thereof, and about the lake in the deep of the rabbit hole of course.. cheers... and much metta ! smiling stone
​​​​​​​ Hey there, A voice in my head said to check the DhO. I usual don't do that anymore.  I'm refraining from sharing much of what I am doing now here and elsehwhere as it would  potentially act as a hindrance to doing what I wish to do. I've shared enough on the Hamilton Project blog for anyone to get any advice on whatever I professed to have done. And what I currently am putting into practice carries a lot of baggage with it that may trigger resistance, and that does not appeal to me at the moment. I'll leave it at that.  Nice try trying to get me to share though. haha! 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 8 Months ago at 8/6/23 12:05 AM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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My apologies Nikolai emoticon I did think about you yesterday and then a loud order "Nikolai Report!" arose in my mind emoticon 

At ease soldier! emoticon 
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Jure K, modified 6 Months ago at 10/1/23 12:28 AM
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RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

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Hey Nikolai, Jurica here, i dont know if you remember me, im a fellow aussie. I was going to send you an email the other day but thought maybe I leave you alone because you didn't reply to my last one, not that I was upset. I remember years ago in some of the last entries of your practice logs you didn't feel inclined to post any more and I gathered you just still felt that way. I think I'm actually starting to feel that way inclined myself, I'm on a couple of Facebook groups and the amount of "stuff" that gets thrown around on there is eye opening. Some people thinking that intentionally under going intense psychological trauma as a way of realising enlightenment is honestly alarming. How do you get through to these people I don't know, maybe let karma do all the heavy lifting!

​​​​​​​All the best friend and thanks for yours and everyone else's help on here, I've still got a long way to go!
Chuck Kasmire, modified 5 Months ago at 10/30/23 12:26 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 10/30/23 12:24 AM

RE: Slow decade old descent down the rabbit hole

Posts: 560 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
" I also have an old Chuck (old DhOer I think) quote that also resonates a lot. "
Older but still on this rock. Came upon this thread while checking the site for some old stuff. Am glad to hear that something I posted resonated with you. I can be reached at ckasmire3694 at gmail if someone wants to reach me. I don't see myself as a teacher just a witness to strange transformations I guess. Only get by this site once a year or so. Take care, all.

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