cittanupassana (practice log)

cittanupassana (practice log) Adam . . 2/5/14 2:43 PM
RE: cittanupassana katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 12/17/13 7:49 AM
RE: cittanupassana Michael A. 12/19/13 8:37 AM
RE: cittanupassana Chris G 12/19/13 9:57 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 1/21/14 2:35 PM
RE: cittanupassana katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 1/21/14 5:08 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 1/25/14 6:03 PM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 1/25/14 7:43 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 1/26/14 1:11 PM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 1/28/14 3:49 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 1/28/14 5:03 PM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 1/28/14 5:41 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/5/14 12:44 AM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 2/10/14 6:11 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/10/14 7:09 PM
RE: cittanupassana Ian And 2/10/14 11:54 PM
RE: cittanupassana J C 2/11/14 6:04 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/11/14 11:26 AM
RE: cittanupassana Dream Walker 2/11/14 2:11 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/14/14 11:06 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/18/14 5:13 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/22/14 2:03 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/24/14 4:27 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/25/14 12:00 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/3/14 6:44 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/7/14 2:53 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/10/14 10:14 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/10/14 11:01 PM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 3/11/14 3:59 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/11/14 9:41 PM
RE: cittanupassana Brother Pussycat 3/11/14 12:24 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/12/14 7:09 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/13/14 5:50 PM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 3/14/14 4:46 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/14/14 10:56 PM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 3/15/14 6:54 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/15/14 7:58 AM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 3/16/14 6:06 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/17/14 6:18 AM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 3/17/14 5:34 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/23/14 12:20 AM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 3/23/14 5:08 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/23/14 11:06 AM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 3/23/14 4:29 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/23/14 4:44 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/24/14 8:24 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/29/14 6:30 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/31/14 12:03 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 3/31/14 9:50 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 4/2/14 10:36 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 4/3/14 10:07 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 4/4/14 5:30 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 4/7/14 1:09 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 4/7/14 6:43 PM
RE: cittanupassana John Power 4/9/14 11:07 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 4/9/14 1:11 PM
RE: cittanupassana Brother Pussycat 3/17/14 9:24 AM
RE: cittanupassana John Wilde 3/18/14 12:09 AM
RE: cittanupassana Brother Pussycat 3/11/14 4:38 AM
RE: cittanupassana Jack Hatfield 2/5/14 4:39 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/5/14 11:29 AM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/6/14 4:29 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/8/14 6:49 PM
RE: cittanupassana Bailey . 2/10/14 11:39 PM
RE: cittanupassana Adam . . 2/11/14 11:17 AM
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/5/14 2:43 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/17/13 12:51 AM

cittanupassana (practice log)

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Hey DhOers,

Yesterday morning I had a meditation experience which has altered my practice direction (a bit). Nothing too drastic, really just a different focus for mindfulness. Apparently drastic enough for me to decide to start a new practice log, but I think that such a log will be useful as I have definitely seen others report similar practices so they could probably help me with this one.

Anyway, the experience I had was one of "cittanupassana" or "contemplation of the mind." i.e. observing the one's mental state like so:

"And how does a monk remain focused on the mind in & of itself? There is the case where a monk, when the mind has passion, discerns that the mind has passion. When the mind is without passion, he discerns that the mind is without passion. When the mind has aversion, he discerns that the mind has aversion. When the mind is without aversion, he discerns that the mind is without aversion. When the mind has delusion, he discerns that the mind has delusion. When the mind is without delusion, he discerns that the mind is without delusion.

"When the mind is constricted, he discerns that the mind is constricted. When the mind is scattered, he discerns that the mind is scattered. When the mind is enlarged, he discerns that the mind is enlarged. When the mind is not enlarged, he discerns that the mind is not enlarged. When the mind is surpassed, he discerns that the mind is surpassed. When the mind is unsurpassed, he discerns that the mind is unsurpassed. When the mind is concentrated, he discerns that the mind is concentrated. When the mind is not concentrated, he discerns that the mind is not concentrated. When the mind is released, he discerns that the mind is released. When the mind is not released, he discerns that the mind is not released.

"In this way he remains focused internally on the mind in & of itself, or externally on the mind in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the mind in & of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the mind, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the mind, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the mind. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a mind' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the mind in & of itself.


satipatthana sutta

I was experiencing some practice doubt, i.e. thinking about how to practice, what constitutes "liberation" etc... Many times I have simply gone on and on, acting out the doubt in thought word and deed, spinning the topics around in my head and reading books and webpages in a never-ending cycle. Many other times I have attempted to suppress the doubt via focusing away from it or yelling at myself or whatever. Rarely do I take the standard mindfulness advice of just observing it without judgment, but also without "indulging" in it. That is what I did, and the doubt totally dissolved in seconds. I just felt all of the emotional sensations, noticed all the thoughts, considered how often I had gone down the doubt-road before and the effect it had on me and others. Rather than it feeling "disgusting" as it usually does when I realize I had fallen for the doubt again, this time it just felt empty, like a bad joke[1]. Like "ok man, we can just stop already."

Anyways, the doubt dissolved and I enjoyed the rest of the day in, I felt very well, very peaceful, friendly etc. I noticed that those around me were uplifted and there was an absence of the typical power struggles I normally feel with others, as well as an absence of discontent in general. What was really striking to me, more so than all the other stuff I just mentioned, was the sheer effortlessness of it. Once the anxiousness and doubt were wholeheartedly let go of, the good mood was just what naturally was reverted to, no intention to sustain it or keep attention firm or anything was necessary.

Anyway since that happened I have shifted my practice to simply keeping track of all the subtle mood shifts, catching them, and then... well that's it really, just letting them be there and standing next to them. It occurred to me with that big ceasing of doubt that left such an impression that the difference between this practice and others which have also aimed at eliminating unfortunate mind-states is that this one didn't try to rush the deal. It didn't try to speed the process up or get rid of the discomfort as fast as possible. It was a genuine listening, a receptive observation. A genuine "what is this? why is it here?". It wanted to understand the suffering rather than just kill it as fast as possible. It was a much more friendly approach to the emotion, and it led to that empty feeling of "wow, i genuinely don't need this any more, no part of me wants this to continue."

Normally one part really wants the emotion and I "split" myself by creating an ideal that says "that emotion shouldn't be there" and then try to use the ideal to crush the other part of me that wants the emotion to stay. I think maybe I had to do that 100,000 times before realizing how misguided and disingenuous it was. I am going to work on just going no farther than keeping track of my mind-state and being with it. My goal is to always consciously know what mood I am in, i.e. to practice cittanupassana, and then to be with the emotion and listen to it's story. I'll report on what happens.

-Adam

[1] you know how sometimes someone tells a joke in poor taste, trying to hard to be funny, and it is just so universally obvious to everyone that he or she just "fucked up"... it's so obvious that it was a bad joke that no one really has to say anything and it just feels awkward, and you kind of feel sorry for the poor guy because he is not gonna say anything else for the next hour... that's what this wholehearted disinterest in the doubt was like.
thumbnail
katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 10 Years ago at 12/17/13 7:49 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/17/13 7:49 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Thank you.
Michael A, modified 10 Years ago at 12/19/13 8:37 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/19/13 8:37 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 20 Join Date: 9/20/11 Recent Posts
This is where my practice has been going lately, after probably a year where I may inadvertently have been trying to suppress incessant thoughts and moods by drowning them out with sensory clarity. (It never works, does it??)

Your description was spot-on!

I will say that it seems like this is what the Trungpa types are talking about when they have people do Six Realms practices (right now you're in hell fighting things, then you're mindlessly shoveling in food like an animal, then for three seconds life goes absolutely right and you're a god, then you're lonely because there's nobody to share it with and nothing will ever fill the hole--hungry ghost,and then you pull yourself together and set some goals and try to reach out to old friends far away--human,, but you envy others' success and you're suddenly one of the jealous gods obsessed with proving yourself.) But those seem clunky compared to the detail and flexibility of that section of the Satipatthana Sutta.
thumbnail
Chris G, modified 10 Years ago at 12/19/13 9:57 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 12/19/13 9:57 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 118 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Adam . .:

Normally one part really wants the emotion and I "split" myself by creating an ideal that says "that emotion shouldn't be there" and then try to use the ideal to crush the other part of me that wants the emotion to stay.


This kind of experience is all too familiar to me. There was a time a couple of years ago when I suffered tremendously from this kind of internal conflict, particularly from suppressing/crushing emotional experiences. It was highly disorienting, and made it difficult to work. What really helped was verbally noting thoughts/ideas and feelings/impulses/emotions as clearly, accurately and quickly as I could. The more clearly I was able to observe the interaction of thoughts & feelings, the more my mind let go of what was going on.

Thanks for the great reminder.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 1/21/14 2:35 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/21/14 2:35 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
thanks for the comments guys

here's a practice update:

I have been noticing how "tangled" these emotions/mindstates are. They build on themselves and become really complicated.

For an example I have observed in myself: I start out observing the thought "They are assholes." Referring to some people I felt like were unkind to me. I then trace that back to "people shouldn't judge me" it's only because I believe I shouldn't be judged by them that I separate myself from them, judge them, and dislike them. I then notice that it is only because I myself have the belief "I am weird and unlikable" that I am so sensitive to apparent judgment. So "they are assholes" is really just the fear "I am weird and unlikable" wearing a mask.

If I then just allow "I am weird and unlikable" I allow the mind to generate all the images that are "evidence" for this idea, it brings up memories of awkward encounters and times where I did unkind things, it's job is simply to provide evidence for its belief. I then look at these situations, and imagine what they would have been like if I were incapable of thinking the thought "I am weird."[1]

This experiment of looking at life without the "first generation thinking" allows me to realize that it was only my beliefs that opposed reality which caused any suffering. Those events which my mind brought up as evidence are nothing, or are indeed wondrous and enjoyable, without my emotional reactions to them. Just doing this experiment lets me separate reality and my mind state, which causes me to be less invested in the mindstate.

When this practice is followed through life opens up and I can see all the effects of that mindstate, like how it made me avoid talking to people and dislike them. Suddenly life seems filled with many more possibilities, it would be totally possible for me to approach some random person I didn't know, or be friendly with someone who apparently judged me. All this because I recognized that it wasn't these people who were scary, but my beliefs and reactions to them that were problematic. Reality is totally fine, even friendly and amazing, and this can become obvious by recognizing that "problems" only arise when I oppose the way it is.

[1] this is a byron katie practice (thework.com)
thumbnail
katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 10 Years ago at 1/21/14 5:08 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/21/14 5:08 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Suddenly life seems filled with many more possibilities, it would be totally possible for me to approach some random person I didn't know, or be friendly with someone who apparently judged me. All this because I recognized that it wasn't these people who were scary, but my beliefs and reactions to them that were problematic.
: ) Thanks for sharing your practice, Adam.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 1/25/14 6:03 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/25/14 6:02 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Another brief update...


I realized that the person who I think I would be without the need for approval is someone I am really afraid of being. In my practice I often imagine who this person is and compare it to who I am with the need for approval and normally I just imagine the "spiritually correct" version of who I would be without that need. I imagine someone open, kind, friendly, relaxed, free etc. But when I let my inquiry be a bit more honest I realize that while I see someone with those attributes, I also see a "loser" a "fool" and someone "clueless" or "unaware." I see a carefree idiot oblivious to what is going on around me. Someone who is seen as harmless by others, but ultimately not part of the group.

Realizing this, I see that I have sustained a lie in my mind that I want to be free of the need for approval, when really the thought is terrifying to me and almost unimaginable. Yet, having admitted to myself that I am scared of losing this need for approval, I have felt some of it slip away a bit more easily. I have felt a subtle fear in my gut almost continuously for the last couple days after doing this more honest inquiry, as well as a reduced need for approval. I continue to look at who I am with the need for approval and who I am without the need for approval as honestly and specifically as I can, and it seems I continue to move effortlessly towards the latter as it "resonates" for me at a deeper level more clearly. What is key here is honesty it seems.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 1/25/14 7:43 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/25/14 7:26 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
I realized that the person who I think I would be without the need for approval is someone I am really afraid of being. (...) What is key here is honesty it seems.


Recollection might help too. Can you remember times when you felt no need for approval? What were you actually like?

A lot of people fear that unless they're sufficiently self-conscious and other-conscious, they'll seem either goofy and gauche, or weird and potentially dangerous. But given half a chance to feel lucid, non-threatened and non-threatening, they don't seem anything of the sort.

Edit: Another aspect of this -- different kind of turnaround, if you haven't tried it already -- what happens if you give up approving and disapproving of others in habitual ways? Does that affect your own sense of being dis/approved of?
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 1/26/14 1:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/26/14 1:11 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
John Wilde:
Adam . .:
I realized that the person who I think I would be without the need for approval is someone I am really afraid of being. (...) What is key here is honesty it seems.


Recollection might help too. Can you remember times when you felt no need for approval? What were you actually like?

A lot of people fear that unless they're sufficiently self-conscious and other-conscious, they'll seem either goofy and gauche, or weird and potentially dangerous. But given half a chance to feel lucid, non-threatened and non-threatening, they don't seem anything of the sort.

Edit: Another aspect of this -- different kind of turnaround, if you haven't tried it already -- what happens if you give up approving and disapproving of others in habitual ways? Does that affect your own sense of being dis/approved of?


thanks for the questions and advice. Firstly, that "different kind of turnaround" has definitely been something I have used often and it is very good. When I am judging others and myself I feel judged always. It is a pretty ironclad thing. The way to use this I have found is by noticing that although my thoughts want others not to judge me, that would actually not really affect me, what would affect me is not judging myself and others.

As for recollection, I have tried to use that too. Kind of an Actualist approach to the "4th question" in BK's the work. As I said it can be unimaginable for me to think about what it would be like to not have a shred of "approval seeking" in a socially difficult situation, so I have resorted to recollecting times where I was "free" and imagining that state in the difficult situation.

The fact is, although seeking approval is pervasive and manifests as nearly-constant planning, facial expression holding, other-judging, false politeness, false confidence etc. There are even more times where I am not thinking about approval. In every moment that I am distracted by a thought about being hungry or whatever, or in moments where I am just happy and content, there is no approval seeking. It has been helpful to remember that as continuous and integral to life as approval-seeking seems, it is continually broken up by other thoughts and absences of thoughts.

Anyway the times where I had the least need for approval are probably some of the times in the past few days. Actually last night really stands out, I went to a club with my friends an hour away from our college and I said I would drive so I was sober the whole time which can make it difficult (for me) to not be self-conscious. I was surprised though at how open and natural I was. I found myself dancing freely and smiling at people, also I found my eyes flashing around to notice movement as it seems they naturally do when they aren't held in a position of "cool-boredom" or "cool-amusement" or something. It was as though a weight had been lifted off of me and my whole body could move naturally, compared to "normal" when it feels often as though I am paralyzed and every movement has to be made in spite of some fear.

I noticed myself being considerate, accepting, friendly, and happy. Though the moments in which this was noticed were actually moments in which these qualities decreased and self-consciousness, unkindness, heaviness, coldness, and fear increased. It seemed that the best moments were moments in which there was so little need for approval that it did not even occur to me to take an inventory of what I was like in that moment. Naturalness/openness can't be conscious I guess.

So yes, I agree with your observation about self-consciousness not having the vital importance we assume it does. At least, the part of me that wants to seem spiritual does ;). I have found however that when contemplating this fact, self-consciousness increases, what happens is that my mind picks up this idea about self-consciousness being a hindrance to being approved of, and then fakes confidence and freedom. My face changes, my posture relaxes, even my thoughts shape themselves into a "positive form." I feel excited, but it isn't freedom, and the feeling of excitement can easily become negative. It seems to me that freedom from the need for approval has to come through the happy-fool/open-child route rather than the happy, independent, relaxed, free, awesome guy route. As soon as I start reassuring myself that I will still be cool, or even cooler, without the need for approval, it all gets fake and the openness and wonder are as absent as if I was being transparently self-conscious.

Not that you were necessarily suggesting anything different, and I do think it is valuable to notice that our thoughts about how we need things don't help us much in getting them, but this is just reflection on a trap I have fallen into throughout my practice career.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 1/28/14 3:49 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/28/14 3:33 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:

(...) Naturalness/openness can't be conscious I guess.


I get what you mean by this, but I like to distinguish between self-awareness and self-consciousness. Self-awareness doesn't interfere with being natural and open, it's part of it. But there definitely is something that can add another layer to experience, and it's painful and crippling to varying degrees. Sometimes it's hard to separate the two, as if one necessarily entails the other, and this sometimes makes you think that the only relief lies in forgetfulness or distraction. (And then good luck chasing that, it's like trying to outrun your shadow). But it isn't true. I think even if relief isn't immediately at hand, it could still be useful to bear this in mind.

Perhaps one way to look at this: self-awareness is something that comes and goes, arises and subsides, and doesn't really mess with anything. It's a function. On the other hand, self-consciousness is a frame of mind that settles in and acts as a paradigm that you operate out of. And from within that paradigm you can't dislodge it; any attempt to do so is yet another expression of it.

Adam . .:

So yes, I agree with your observation about self-consciousness not having the vital importance we assume it does. At least, the part of me that wants to seem spiritual does ;). I have found however that when contemplating this fact, self-consciousness increases, what happens is that my mind picks up this idea about self-consciousness being a hindrance to being approved of, and then fakes confidence and freedom. My face changes, my posture relaxes, even my thoughts shape themselves into a "positive form." I feel excited, but it isn't freedom, and the feeling of excitement can easily become negative. It seems to me that freedom from the need for approval has to come through the happy-fool/open-child route rather than the happy, independent, relaxed, free, awesome guy route. As soon as I start reassuring myself that I will still be cool, or even cooler, without the need for approval, it all gets fake and the openness and wonder are as absent as if I was being transparently self-conscious.


Heh... I guess someone who's been there is allowed to laugh at this. (Not so much these days, but can remember what it's like well enough). The best I can suggest is the highlighted bit above.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 1/28/14 5:03 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/28/14 5:03 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I am having trouble grasping the difference between self awareness and self consciousness. I can find freedom in the moments in which I am so absorbed into the moment that my actions are unquestioned and my situation un-critiqued. this seems like an absence of both.

I don't see this as distraction because it comes directly from not perceiving whatever is normally be worried about as not really a problem. distraction would be something similar but coming through shifting attention rather than letting attention be naturally focused after recognizing its object of concern was not really concerning. I am using "attention" in a more every day sense here.

would you characterize unquestioned action and uncritiqued world as an absence of self awareness?
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 1/28/14 5:41 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/28/14 5:25 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
I am having trouble grasping the difference between self awareness and self consciousness.


Okay. See below.

Adam . .:

I can find freedom in the moments in which I am so absorbed into the moment that my actions are unquestioned and my situation un-critiqued. this seems like an absence of both.


Possibly, but not necessarily. It's certainly an absence of self-consciousness (as I mean it), but not necessarily an absence of self-awareness.

Adam . .:

I don't see this as distraction because it comes directly from not perceiving whatever is normally be worried about as not really a problem. distraction would be something similar but coming through shifting attention rather than letting attention be naturally focused after recognizing its object of concern was not really concerning.


Agreed.

Adam . .:

Would you characterize unquestioned action and uncritiqued world as an absence of self awareness?


Hard to say because being unquestioned / uncritiqued doesn't necessarily imply lack of self-awareness.

Let's say you're unreflectively immersed in something, then you become aware that it's happening. To me, there are two different flavours of this. The difference between self-awareness and self-consciousness is that self-consciousness has an extra layer, a feeling of slight embarrassment and awkwardness, a sense that you're trapped on the inside of something, and being looked at (even if only by some split-off notion of yourself).

That's not intrinsic to [what I mean by] self-awareness. Self-awareness is just knowing that this experience is happening as it's happening. Awareness of being aware, and awareness of doing. You know what's happening, you know your body and mind are potential objects-for-others, but you don't feel trapped on the 'inside' of that somehow. (That only comes from the extra layer that I'm calling self-consciousness).

I dunno if that makes any sense to you, but that's how I'd characterise the difference. (Could probably do better if I give it some more thought, but maybe that'll give an inkling of what I mean).
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/5/14 12:44 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/5/14 12:41 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Let's say you're unreflectively immersed in something, then you become aware that it's happening. To me, there are two different flavours of this. The difference between self-awareness and self-consciousness is that self-consciousness has an extra layer, a feeling of slight embarrassment and awkwardness, a sense that you're trapped on the inside of something, and being looked at (even if only by some split-off notion of yourself).

That's not intrinsic to [what I mean by] self-awareness. Self-awareness is just knowing that this experience is happening as it's happening. Awareness of being aware, and awareness of doing. You know what's happening, you know your body and mind are potential objects-for-others, but you don't feel trapped on the 'inside' of that somehow. (That only comes from the extra layer that I'm calling self-consciousness).


I wonder if self awareness is not simply a subtler form of self-consciousness. For me even when what you call self-awareness arises, there is that sense of being "trapped" on the "inside" of that. When I make any comment on what my experience is, or what my actions are like, there is inevitably comparison and discontentment.

Here is a relatively non-self-conscious comment which I think would fit into what you call self-awareness which I made to myself today. I was sitting in my room and had the thought "I am feeling bored now." In the instant before that, I had been looking out the window, and there was not apparently any dissatisfaction present. When I had that thought, which was an apparent "awareness" suddenly a problem was introduced into my perceptual universe. Within that very thought "I am feeling bored now" there was the knowledge that I have accumulated that boredom is an inferior state, that it means I am not practicing well enough, that it means I should be doing more meaningful and socially acceptable things. Similarly when it occurs to me that "I am feeling happy now" a problem is introduced which is "well why am I happy now?" "Why wasn't I happy yesterday?" "what do I do about maintaining this?" "what do I do to create happiness always?".

As soon as I am "aware" of anything it seems that there's a recognition/naming, then inevitably a judgment/comparison, then inevitably discontentment.

The absence of self-awareness as such is way harder to point out and pin down. I prefer to describe it to myself (when making comparisons, judgments, and discontentment) as "wonder." It is like being completely lost and having no reference point, none of the knowledge you have seems relevant, but it can be resorted to if necessary. There is no thought of how to act, nor of consequences of actions, nor of how good or bad something is. The image that comes to mind for "wonder" is like blurred panoramic scene with lots of movement, but not requiring me to do a thing about it (even though this body is part of the scene). This is the state I move towards when doing the work, particularly when asking "is it true" and "who would you be without that thought".
Jack Hatfield, modified 10 Years ago at 2/5/14 4:39 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/5/14 4:39 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 98 Join Date: 7/5/10 Recent Posts
Here is a quote from Gary Weber who tacks on The Sedona Method to Byron Katie's questions.

"As i used this process(Byron Katie's questions) myself and w/folk, it didn't feel "complete". In looking for something to use with Katie's process, the Sedona Method manifested, created in 1952 by Lester Levenson, a physician sent home by his doctors to die. In this dire state, Lester realized two great truths:

1. His own feelings were the cause of all his problems, not the world or the people in it as he had previously thought.
2. He had the ability to let go of those feelings.

Lester's "releasing method" that became the Sedona method is also simple:

1) Allow yourself to feel what you're feeling in this moment
2) Could you let it go?
3) Would you let it go?
4) When?
5) Repeat until you feel lighter, freer, happier, etc.

IME, put these simple questions after Byron Katie's, and the work is more compete. Byron Katie brings you into the feeling, now use Levenson's approach to let go of it.

you may find that with both processes, there are layers "underneath" that may be more fundamental, and more potent. Handle these the same way."
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/5/14 11:29 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/5/14 11:29 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
hey jack,

thank you for the suggestion. I find that asking is it true and who would I be without that thought can be effective for letting go. things are moving fast for me and the only barrier seems to be my own willingness to go deeper so I don't think any other methods are necessary though that method seems like it could very well be effective
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/6/14 4:29 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/6/14 2:47 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
So I have been working with the stressful thought "I need to get enlightened" or permutations of it such as: "I am not happy enough" "I need to become actually free" "I need to deal with my fear" "I need to eliminate my aggression" "I should be in harmony with everyone." These thoughts for me are recurrent and stressful.

I have done many "worksheets" with these thoughts:
I need to get enlightened, is it true?
How do I react when I believe i need to get enlightened?
Who would I be without that thought?
Is it just as true that "i dont need to get enlightened?"

But something about this inquiry has always been blocked for me. It's like the paradigm that I need to get enlightened is so pervasive in my life, and indeed it is the cause of the inquiry, that I can't get perspective on the thought enough to question it. This morning felt like the first time the inquiry made a genuine dent in the belief.

Usually when I ask "I need to get enlightened" is it true? It is almost like the syllables are just heard as sounds in my head and no meaning is given to them, whether it is true isn't actually considered. I try to sit with the thought for a while and let the meaning of what I am asking genuinely fill in the empty syllables. Yet it is like my mind is truly closed to even considering for a moment whether it is true. Often I resort to entering a sort of intellectual inquiry, where I make arguments as if to another person. This has never felt effective at an emotional level because it has just been me spitting up things I've heard people say about enlightenment. "I do need to get enlightened because it is wonderful" "I don't need to get enlightened because here I am, the ground is supporting me, my body is fine, everything is working great" Just spitting out these "dead" ideas I have heard from spiritual teachers and philosophers.

This morning, I asked "Is it true that I need to get enlightened?" And instead of defensively jumping into a pre-memorized argument or just refusing to actually ask the question and instead just hearing the sounds of the words, I really asked myself. I asked "seriously, is there any need for me to get enlightened?" And perhaps because I was feeling particularly happy with the world, I for a moment was able to genuinely consider a life without spirituality and the search for enlightenment. The "image"[1] of such a life arose in my mind, and lasted for a fraction of a second, and then "defense" started. A mental door slammed shut on the picture and I was bombarded with thoughts about how meaningless and "ordinary" my life would be without that seeking for enlightenment. Yet that cracking open of the door into the other "polarity" of mind which I left behind when i decided I needed to get enlightened seemed very significant. There were lots of energetic bodily phenomena, a rush of fear etc.

I am now apparently back squarely within the "polarity" where I am 100% closed to "no need to get enlightened." (here I am writing in a practice journal, trying to get enlightened) Yet, I now see it as possible to genuinely look into that thought, though my mind shies away from the inquiry and in this moment I am not willing to even make an effort to inquire again, though I see intellectually that I "should."

The very fact that I am so excited about this implies that I am still trying to get enlightened, and it still seems pretty much unimaginable that I could be someone who is (truly, not just as a trick to get enlightened) not trying to get enlightened...

Usually when I post stream of consciousness type posts like this one, I get no response. I wonder if this is due to unclear expression or just my stream of consciousness not being relatable. I am posting it though because it seems like it would be helpful (solely for me) to have this out there.

[1] for some reason, "images" as such have been really interesting to me lately. They are like a single frame taken from a dream, they include both a visual element as well as an inherent knowledge of the narrative of what's going on, what I have to do about it, and an emotional "feeling." I can find an "image" associated with lots of individual words or more complex ideas. This image of life without a spiritual "search" is seen as a "frame" of me walking to the campus center in the morning to get coffee before class. I notice that I have very little sense of a plan or desire for anything in particular. I notice that I am looking for absolutely nothing "deeper" from life, which is a confusing prospect. It seems like it could be shallow, but peaceful... as well as enjoyable but foolish. I see a happy and peaceful fool, someone beneath everyone else. This is just what I happen to see when imagine the notion of having absolutely no search for something spiritual in life. It is not necessarily what I would put my money on happening, nor is it something I am trying to achieve, it is just what my subconscious mind throws up at the prospect of having no spiritual search.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/8/14 6:49 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/8/14 6:49 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Felt bad today, a lot of confusion and unhappiness. It seemed to center around a problem I am having with a friend, but I have been finding that concepts are basically interchangeable as causes of stress. It could be just as true for me to say that I am stressed because I want to have a smoother relationship with this person as it would be if I said it was because I wanted to get enlightened. The beliefs at some level are all the same, they are the desire for things to be better than they are, and it isn't even really possible to separate the beliefs from "me." I am these beliefs, I am stress, stress is the desire that I become a better person/the world become a better place.

Every time I (sincerely) question whether I really need to find something "better" "deeper" "truer" in life or I question whether I really need to get enlightened, it is like I am firing arrow after arrow at myself. If this demand for something deeper was taken away and not replaced with anything then there would really be nothing left of me... so it seems.
John Wilde, modified 10 Years ago at 2/10/14 6:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/10/14 6:05 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:

I wonder if self awareness is not simply a subtler form of self-consciousness. For me even when what you call self-awareness arises, there is that sense of being "trapped" on the "inside" of that. When I make any comment on what my experience is, or what my actions are like, there is inevitably comparison and discontentment.


Can you remember ever being able to say "this is great!", "this is amazing!" without that reflective awareness having a dampening effect? No matter how rare those experiences might be, they at least show that reflective awareness (awareness that you're experiencing this) isn't inherently painful. That's something I'm certain of. That's why I make the distinction between self-awareness and self-consciousness. (Though I'm well familiar with the dampening effect of suddenly realising you're happy or carefree or whatever, and then, as a result, no longer being so).
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/10/14 7:09 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/10/14 7:09 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
John Wilde:
Adam . .:

I wonder if self awareness is not simply a subtler form of self-consciousness. For me even when what you call self-awareness arises, there is that sense of being "trapped" on the "inside" of that. When I make any comment on what my experience is, or what my actions are like, there is inevitably comparison and discontentment.


Can you remember ever being able to say "this is great!", "this is amazing!" without that reflective awareness having a dampening effect? No matter how rare those experiences might be, they at least show that reflective awareness (awareness that you're experiencing this) isn't inherently painful. That's something I'm certain of. That's why I make the distinction between self-awareness and self-consciousness. (Though I'm well familiar with the dampening effect of suddenly realising you're happy or carefree or whatever, and then, as a result, no longer being so).


You could be right, I am not sure. It always seem to create a very subtle division, but I am not ready to say that with total certainty.
thumbnail
Bailey , modified 10 Years ago at 2/10/14 11:39 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/10/14 11:39 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 267 Join Date: 7/14/11 Recent Posts
The very fact that I am so excited about this implies that I am still trying to get enlightened, and it still seems pretty much unimaginable that I could be someone who is (truly, not just as a trick to get enlightened) not trying to get enlightened...


Yeah, I don't like the archaic view of "you can't get enlightened if you want it". That's simply a cute idea that they like to idealize. If you notice yourself wanting enlightenment simply observe it like all other phenomena.
thumbnail
Ian And, modified 10 Years ago at 2/10/14 11:54 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/10/14 11:54 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
John Wilde:
Adam . .:

I wonder if self awareness is not simply a subtler form of self-consciousness. For me even when what you call self-awareness arises, there is that sense of being "trapped" on the "inside" of that. When I make any comment on what my experience is, or what my actions are like, there is inevitably comparison and discontentment....

As soon as I am "aware" of anything it seems that there's a recognition/naming, then inevitably a judgment/comparison, then inevitably discontentment.


Can you remember ever being able to say "this is great!", "this is amazing!" without that reflective awareness having a dampening effect? No matter how rare those experiences might be, they at least show that reflective awareness (awareness that you're experiencing this) isn't inherently painful.


You could be right, I am not sure. It always seem to create a very subtle division, but I am not ready to say that with total certainty.

Just a thought. . .

Have you ever considered contemplating what it might be like to change places with another creature, and imagined how that creature viewed the same world you are viewing in that moment?

For instance, you see a dog. You wonder, "What would it be like to change places with that dog? What if he had all the problems that I see myself as having — having to make a living, having to pay attention to social rules and regulations, all the crap that a human has to be saddled by but which a dog can just abandon because he only lives in THIS MOMENT! — and see things from his perspective." In other words, "Now, I'm a dog. I don't have any responsibilities. No rent to pay. No laws to obey. Just total freedom to be and do whatever I like in the moment." Just what is that perspective like? How does it affect how one perceives the world that one has constructed within one's mind?

Another way of looking at this might be: You hear a bird chirping in the midst of contemplating how realizing the five aggregates can lead to a sense of not-selfness. In a brief and fleeting moment, you see it (realization!) and then it's gone. Almost as though it had never occurred.

What just passed by? The realization that in the chirping, in that moment when you heard the chirping, there was no sense of "I and mine and myself" — no sense of a reaction arising — but only the bare presence of the chirping itself — as though it were outside of any sense of self !

Do this in conjunction with contemplation of the following quotation of the Buddha taken from the Bahiya Sutta in the Udana (translation and footnote by John D. Ireland), paying particular attention to the explanation of insight presented in the footnote:

Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: "In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized." In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen; in the heard is merely what is heard; in the sensed is merely what is sensed; in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be "with that." When, Bahiya, you are not "with that," then, Bahiya, you will not be "in that." When, Bahiya, you are not "in that," then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the ending of suffering.*

*footnote: This is a difficult passage. An explanation of it derived from the Commmentary would be something like this: "In the seen is merely what is seen" without adding one's own views, opinions, concepts, personal likes and dislikes, etc.: that is, just seeing what is there as it actually is. "You will not be with that," bound by that view, by attraction or repulsion, etc. "You will not be in that" situation of being deluded and led astray by views and emotions. "You will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two": neither in this world nor another world. This means the experience of Nibbana or enlightenment, which is a stepping out of the mundane world.


It is, admittedly, a very subtle realization. But one that can be built upon, one brick at a time, until the full picture presents itself to the "observer."
J C, modified 10 Years ago at 2/11/14 6:04 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/11/14 6:03 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Ian And:

Do this in conjunction with contemplation of the following quotation of the Buddha taken from the Bahiya Sutta in the Udana (translation and footnote by John D. Ireland), paying particular attention to the explanation of insight presented in the footnote:

Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: "In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized." In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen; in the heard is merely what is heard; in the sensed is merely what is sensed; in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be "with that." When, Bahiya, you are not "with that," then, Bahiya, you will not be "in that." When, Bahiya, you are not "in that," then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the ending of suffering.*

*footnote: This is a difficult passage. An explanation of it derived from the Commmentary would be something like this: "In the seen is merely what is seen" without adding one's own views, opinions, concepts, personal likes and dislikes, etc.: that is, just seeing what is there as it actually is. "You will not be with that," bound by that view, by attraction or repulsion, etc. "You will not be in that" situation of being deluded and led astray by views and emotions. "You will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two": neither in this world nor another world. This means the experience of Nibbana or enlightenment, which is a stepping out of the mundane world.



That footnote sucks all the life out of the quote. I had thought it was a quote about nonduality: "in the seen just the seen" as in just the seen, no one to see it. The footnote makes it sound much less radical and much less anatta, as though we're still talking about duality with a seer and a seen, just very clear vision. And same thing with "you will not be with that" which has a clear non-dual, no-self meaning, but the footnote limits it to only not being attached to a view. It's not just that you won't be bound by that view, it's that you won't be there at all.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/11/14 11:17 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/11/14 11:17 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Yeah, I don't like the archaic view of "you can't get enlightened if you want it". That's simply a cute idea that they like to idealize. If you notice yourself wanting enlightenment simply observe it like all other phenomena.


I think that the desire for enlightenment is just a reified complexified version of other desires, i don't think it is special or sacred. It apparently causes me a lot of suffering. I am not sure what you think,, but I don't think it is just a cute idea that "you can't get enlightened if you want it." Enlightenment seems to me to be the absence of wanting and that includes all "wants."
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/11/14 11:26 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/11/14 11:22 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Those seem like useful contemplations ian. Of course it is speculation to assume I know what it is like for the dog, but it does seem that way to me - that they lack a lot of the suffering we have in many situations.

As for the sound of the bird chirping - this is something fleeting which i have noticed. I think I will continue to notice it because it seems intimately bound up with what I think freedom would be. In those moments it seems that there is not the arrogant separating from life which the self normally undergoes, there is just life going on as a single movement. Stimulus and response are unified and there is no thought of good and bad.

J C - I think that to be without opinions and beliefs and judgments is to be without an "opinionator" "believer" and "judger." Perhaps the shortfall of that footnote is that it might point towards "me" remaining but somehow stripped of judgments, beliefs, etc. I don't think that I can ever preside over an absence of judgments and beliefs, and I will never know what it is like to be without those things.

This is tied up with the desire to be enlightened. That desire is a desire for "I" to be around but without beliefs and judgments etc. It is an impossibility I think. Rather one has to let go of control, let go of the desire to understand, and then life just is allowed and moves on its own. It is a paradoxical effort leading to a paradoxical non state... I have to let go of effort and end up without an "experiencer."
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 10 Years ago at 2/11/14 2:11 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/11/14 2:11 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 1643 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
J C - I think that to be without opinions and beliefs and judgments is to be without an "opinionator" "believer" and "judger." Perhaps the shortfall of that footnote is that it might point towards "me" remaining but somehow stripped of judgments, beliefs, etc. I don't think that I can ever preside over an absence of judgments and beliefs, and I will never know what it is like to be without those things.

This is tied up with the desire to be enlightened. That desire is a desire for "I" to be around but without beliefs and judgments etc. It is an impossibility I think. Rather one has to let go of control, let go of the desire to understand, and then life just is allowed and moves on its own. It is a paradoxical effort leading to a paradoxical non state... I have to let go of effort and end up without an "experiencer."
Here are my musings...
Enlightenment is not an additive process...you don't "get" anything. Instead you get to certain receptive states that allow certain things that are not visible (I like the term subconscious processes) to shut down. You see the results of that change but never the actual process that was deleted.
The processes running in the background seems to be entangled with phenomenon as it is experienced. The aspects of the process seem to be some controlling, judgements, beliefs, etc, that creates a sense of permanency, self and stress. By applying the understanding of the three characteristics directly to phenomena as it occurs; while in the right mind state, the unneeded process is allowed to disembed, untangle, shut down.
In my experience it is not a total obliteration of all opinions, beliefs and judgements. It is very specific to the process that was running. The phenomena is now free of the things that once created a sense of self, permanency and stress but there are other processes entangled with other phenomena to tackle next.
Hope I'm not muddying the waters more...these are off the cushion musings...when on the cushion its note, get to EQ and apply the 3 C's. (and a little letting go)
Good Luck,
~D
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/14/14 11:06 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/14/14 11:05 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Here is an update:

So I have continued with that inquiry, "do I really need to get enlightened?" As I said earlier I was basically unable to even consider the question for a while, my mind was just shut down to it. Well, I tried to continue the investigation quite a few times since then (8 days ago), but I think just now was the first time the investigation was sincere (as opposed to intellectual game-playing).

In this case the question was phrased as "Is it really true that my life is not satisfying enough as it is?" I sat down and just tried to focus on the question and wait for an answer. After a while an image came to my mind of the "happiness directive" which has been my interpretation of a lot of actualist and Buddhist teachings. This image was like the image of a person telling me I wasn't happy enough. Just a non-specific authoritative voice telling me that my life could and should be better. The questioning turned to this image and I realized that this apparent authority could just be brushed aside by me, if that seemed the right thing to do. (often previously it didn't seem like a possibility that it could be brushed aside)

I think alot of the search came from the desire to be special, which extends into my past prior to spirituality. Am I willing to 100% give up on being special? Could I face a normal life? No extraordinary state or achievement? I find that I am at least more able to consider such a possibility. If I imagine life without the need to achieve some "true" (another word for "special"/"better than you") happiness, I see fewer moments of anxiety, less conflict with people, I would be simpler, and really just nothing special at all. The obsession would be over, but would i be missing out on something?
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/18/14 5:13 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/17/14 7:00 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
It seems that I am either moving through layers of identity (optimistic interpretation) or I am chasing my identity from one "hiding place" to another. I find that as I have questioned the need for people to think I am normal and the need to get enlightened, my "stress" has changed to being about other things.

Rather than thinking about getting enlightened so much, I have been worrying a bit about my future in terms of the rest of my time at college and whatever I do professionally. Rather than thinking about making people think I am cool, I have been more concerned about the friends I do have not being alienated by a recent surge of social confidence.

I note that it is not as if I never had these worries before, but I do think they represent progress of some sort, because they seem more "real" and a bit less "perverse" (to my mind.) Overall a reduction in stress has been apparent, but I will investigate the new hiding places for identity (and continue to investigate the old).

I will hopefully get a chance to see what happens when I am neither worried about people perceiving me as weird or inconsiderate, nor worried about getting enlightened nor worried about my "real world" future. It is harder to imagine being without all of that. Truly it would be like being no one i guess, stressed about nothing, if I consider it deeply there is a lot of fear of being like that, moving in that direction for now seems like a leap of faith I don't have the courage to make.
Adam , modified 10 Years ago at 2/22/14 2:03 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 2/22/14 2:03 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I was kind of down for a few days which made me a bit less willing to post about what was going on with me, funny how that is. The issue that was pretty confusing was the beginning of an illness which seemed to indicate a pattern of ill health which I thought could lead to a serious ongoing pattern of the same. It seemed really hard not to just obsess about my health during these few days and to google stuff about it and read really depressing things about it.

Every time I tried to question the emotions and perceptions I ran into a fear of death. It seemed like there was this idea that it was okay to die as long as it was sufficiently far in the future, there even seemed to be a sort of cultural cut off point that said it was okay to die as long as I was at least around 70, pretty funny. The illness resolved itself before I could resolve the emotions around the illness but it really took me down a few notches.

Today I have been looking into the idea that "I shouldn't feel sad," and I seem to have resolved it to some degree, though it is apparent that if I let my mind go down certain "thought tracks" the downness would come back. The notion of being honest with myself seems as important as ever. Apparently I have been getting a bit ahead of myself in terms of shooting for too high of a goal of feeling totally carefree when really that meant some "positive thinking" which is pretty pointless and unsustainable. This incident brought me back down to earth a bit, back into what is really going on with me. On the other hand, when I look at this "down" period it seems more like a joke than anything else... it just doesn't seem as serious and dire as it used to. Who knows though... I am kind of comfortable where I am for a bit, not going either to total positivity and crazy openness and naturalness nor to panic frustration or hopelessness. Ramble ramble ramble
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 2/24/14 4:27 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/24/14 4:25 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Turns out that little dip into the DN was just a precursor to a larger dip. Lots of negative emotions today and yesterday, content centering around my friends, my health, my school work, and my practice... Here is me doing "the work" on a stressful thought from today:

stressful thought
"I need to get out of the DN"

Is it true? No

How do you react when you believe that thought?

I feel desperate and hopeless. I separate myself from other people and then feel guilty about it. I avoid doing fun things. I obsessively think about it.

Who would you be without that thought?

Carefree, natural, feeling light

Turnaround:

"I need to stop worrying about getting out of the DN"

examples

- The worrying is the DN
- I can handle a bit of negative emotions
- The worry just is exhausting and confusing

Turnaround:

I need to stay in the DN

examples

- until i can learn that fearing it doesn't help
- until I can be comfortable with any thoughts, even DN thoughts
- so that I get a chance to see some ignored emotions

This made me feel a bit better.. still in it though it seems.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 2/25/14 12:00 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/25/14 11:57 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Thanks for the suggestion John, something to contemplate next time i am (apparently) in the DN

It seems that the last inquiry was what finally pulled me out of this "dip." It is interesting how when i did the inquiry I didn't think it worked, i just thought I had made a decent effort and that I would stay in the "dip" for a while longer. Actually though as I went on with my day everything "outside" seemed better. It seemed my friends were nicer, it seemed my health was better etc. I didn't really realize I was out of the DN at first, it just seemed like the world around me had gotten better. This compared to the other inquiries I did during this last "dip" after which I often thought "now I've got it" only to be sucked back down in an hour or so.

I think that this is the first DN where I totally avoided "committing" to or "believing in" the negativity. It was still intense but there was always the thought in the background that it was just a brief "dip" that I would take into negativity which was useful for learning purposes. This seems like the "turnaround" being perceived as the way things actually are. There was also the thought the whole time that I was just "visiting" a certain perspective, and outside of "me" things were continuing in their totally ok way. This made it very unserious, even when there were "catastrophizing" thoughts.

I notice now as identity slips back into abeyance and things seem easy, interesting, and exciting that my mind tries to hold back by contemplating "worst case scenarios". I think what would be required for the identity to wander away completely would be the recognition that the purity/perfection of life is not touched by the "worst case scenarios." So my inquiry will focus on these for now.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/3/14 6:44 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/3/14 6:44 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Something which I have apparently discovered over the last few days is a place inside of myself that is childishly simple and wants nothing but to be happy regardless of any condition. I have been asking myself as sincerely and gently as possible "do I want to keep perpetuating this resentment/worry/whatever or do I want to just be happy?" As long as that question is directed to that simple and pure place (rather than to a complicated strategizing place), it seems to result in me moving towards being happy. It is a really simple practice, the only dangers to look out for are turning it into domination (telling myself that i should be happy) or keeping it superficial (asking the question to somewhere other than that pure simple place).
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/7/14 2:53 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/7/14 2:48 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
It is something a bit tricky to simultaneously avoid both relating to people defiantly and relating to them compliantly. the tendency is to either care what people think and then try to model your actions in a way that would please them (compliance), or to degrade them mentally and tell yourself you shouldn't care what they think (defiance).

Both of these are obviously putting yourself into a position of conflict. The way to avoid both is not to plan out a narrow course of action avoiding both extremes (because any planned action falls into one of these categories), but to escape the entire paradigm of planning and expecting and instead just confidently connect to the natural tendencies of that "purest" part of the self I mentioned in my last post, letting the body act without questioning it. It only wants to be happy and harmless and though it causes actions which could be seen as defiant or compliant, in reality it has no power relationship with other people whatsoever.

What hinders this is the fear that one will become uncaring and harmful to those around one (which is only scary because then they won't accept me), or that one will fail to stand up for one's rights. What works with this fear is to just ask whether one wants to be in a fearful state which could easily turn into harmfulness or whether one wants to simply continue on as happily and harmlessly as humanly possible. Yet "I" as this identity am clearly afraid of the uninhibited will of this body. It is a very small part of myself that genuinely wants to be happy and harmless, yet it is the most core aspect of me, and it is core to the universe itself.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/10/14 10:14 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/10/14 12:27 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I have started to make real progress with the desire for approval lately. I find that I spend perhaps only 20% as much time anxiously anticipating social interaction, feeling embarrassed after social interaction, and feeling hopeless and depressed about my social life. The success can be attributed to sincerely asking myself "do I want to be worried/upset/depressed/bored about xyz? or would I prefer to enjoy the purity of this moment, and place no demands on anyone for my happiness?"

Something that has apparently come out of this progress is a clarity about another big hindrance I have, which is what I have previously referred to as the desire for enlightenment. This usually manifests as me feeling depressed about a lack of progress, or as me excitedly fantasizing about enlightenment. The latter part usually looks like me describing insights in a really enlightened way to an abstract "audience" who think I am just awesome.

Prior to the aforementioned progress in letting go of the desire for approval, I didn't think of my desire for enlightenment in this way at all. I usually looked at it as noble and impressive and important. Perhaps only because I have softened my need for recognition by others, it has become possible for me to admit to myself the real substance of that desire for enlightenment.

That desire for enlightenment has all along just been a structured, strategized form of the simple desire for approval. It contains within it lots of justification and rationalization to make it seem really legitimate. It is the next obvious thing for a kid who always wanted to be seen as special to desire after he had given up on "superhero" and then "inventor" and then "philosopher."

Having gained some clarity on that "desire for enlightenment" which is really just "desire for admiration," it should just be a matter of comparing two ways of living, the first[1] with the desire for admiration, and the second[2] without it... which do I really want? Can I be naive enough to be open to another way of living?

[1] This looks like nervous, exhausting, and unfulfilling fantasy (which still seems pleasant sometimes). This looks like total depression and self-hatred when things aren't going according to plan. This looks like touchiness around certain topics of conversation. This looks like guilt about how I try to act special around others. This looks like feeling insulted and being ready to start a war when people suggest that I am not special or that I have some fault or another.

[2] This looks like thoroughly enjoying purity and wonder of sensate reality. This looks like being totally lost and absorbed in the present. This looks like going to bed at night with hardly a thought in mind. This looks like feeling refreshed and energized and engaged. This looks like feeling complete and content. This looks like effortlessly deciding what is best to do, doing it, and moving on. This looks like being open to whatever the moment brings. This looks like having no demands on anyone and having no reason to harm them. This looks like intimacy with everyone and everything.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/10/14 11:01 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/10/14 10:59 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
So in the day after that last post I have been contemplating this desire to be seen as special alot, and I have come to the tentative conclusion that I really am not seeing it clearly. I try to apply the practice of asking whether I would rather be

(a) in a reverie (positive or negative) about people admiring me or pointing out that I'm a fraud

or

(b) in a state of harmless appreciation

I don't really feel like I am making progress with this angle. It seems simply that "too much of me" wants to be seen as special. Seeing this tends to illicit a bit of a "recoil" of disgust about myself, which is indicative of the dominating/fragmenting approach. This is the very approach which this practice thread was started as a reaction to.

It is apparent that I have a lot of moral principles stacked against desiring approval (as indicated by the recoil) which brings fragmentation, self-blame, repression etc. But I don't have much autonomous reasoning or discernment about what is so foolish about the desire for approval (as it seems like approval would be so incredibly great). In the past what has been required for letting go into more peace has been a wholehearted recognition of the fact that it would be better to just be happy than to be whatever emotion... but it is not clear how to get there from here.

So perhaps an intermediate step prior to trying to see how foolish my desire for admiration is should be to make friends with it. Perhaps one way to do this is to notice that it is not evil, not fundamentally, and as such it does not need to be suppressed.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 3/11/14 3:59 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/11/14 1:56 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:

It seems simply that "too much of me" wants to be seen as special. Seeing this tends to illicit a bit of a "recoil" of disgust about myself, which is indicative of the dominating/fragmenting approach. This is the very approach which this practice thread was started as a reaction to.

It is apparent that I have a lot of moral principles stacked against desiring approval (as indicated by the recoil) which brings fragmentation, self-blame, repression etc. But I don't have much autonomous reasoning or discernment about what is so foolish about the desire for approval (as it seems like approval would be so incredibly great). In the past what has been required for letting go into more peace has been a wholehearted recognition of the fact that it would be better to just be happy than to be whatever emotion... but it is not clear how to get there from here.

So perhaps an intermediate step prior to trying to see how foolish my desire for admiration is should be to make friends with it. Perhaps one way to do this is to notice that it is not evil, not fundamentally, and as such it does not need to be suppressed.


It's a really tough one, isn't it?

It's in our blood to respond viscerally to approval/disapproval and acceptance/rejection. It was vitally important to all our ancestors (and ancestor species), and we're the living embodiment of what worked for them. Even the firmest resolution not to be enslaved by it or ruled by it in our actions doesn't switch off the associated feelings. They come from a level below / prior to conscious volition, and they're pretty good at bypassing high level reasoning -- or co-opting it and using high level reasoning as its instrument.

So what are the options? Work with your inheritance, sublimate it and channel it toward admirable and mutually beneficial ends, like living a life of genuine achievement and excellence? That's the traditional way; a hard way, but one that people of every society and generation have admired and respected for good reason. It makes use of powerful energies in ways that have proven useful. But it doesn't solve the problem at the roots.

[Edited to add: Cultivating feelings and attitudes consistent with the brahmaviharas could be one effective approach to the above. It could be an effective antidote (not cure, but antidote) -- in the sense that it brings out the potential win-win, the mutually beneficial qualities inherent in our nature. It can open up the tightly self-centred, narrow, fearful-aggressive, assertive-defensive, needy, greedy outlook that otherwise tends to prevail...]

Of the remaining alternatives, I know only three:

Struggle against your nature, bleeding away your youthful energy and vitality in neurotic inwardness and self-obsession, holding onto some idea of radical and final change that you dream about but can't pull off -- alternately beating yourself up and jerking off to "dharma porn", as you put it; alternating between hope and disillusionment, until you either see how futile this is, give it up, die, miraculously succeed, or go for one of the other options ;-)

Or, solve the problem at the roots. The only people I know who even claim to have done that are the AFT inner circle. The way I see it, either they have done that, or they've taken the will to primacy to the nth degree, placing themselves above anything and everyone who's ever been, and then portraying it as something outside the whole arena when in fact it's the acme of it. I've seen it both ways. Today, I honestly don't know.

The only thing I know for sure is that the second alternative above -- bleeding your energy away in neurotic inwardness and self-obsession, struggling ineffectually against something that is as powerful as 'you' are (surprise, surprise), without either harnessing its energy or overcoming it successfully, is a lousy choice.

And I think you're half way to knowing that by observing it blamelessly, as a first step. From that first step, you can go in any of the other directions.

Wish I had better advice, but don't.
Brother Pussycat, modified 9 Years ago at 3/11/14 4:38 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/11/14 4:38 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 77 Join Date: 12/21/11 Recent Posts
Have you tried the following?

Imagine yourself in a situation of extreme social disapproval - the most harrowing, painful, demeaning thing you can think of. Let every thought and sensation of that experience operate as it would normally. Do not vipassanize it, do not question it. If it feels like it's going to kill you, let it. Do, however, experience the whole thing with as much clarity as you can muster and as determination to let it do its thing.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/11/14 9:41 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/11/14 9:24 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
John
The only thing I know for sure is that the second alternative above -- bleeding your energy away in neurotic inwardness and self-obsession, struggling ineffectually against something that is as powerful as 'you' are (surprise, surprise), without either harnessing its energy or overcoming it successfully, is a lousy choice.


Agreed, I just stepped back from that cliff having jumped off of it 100 times before. (this is what I was referring to as what this thread was started to avoid)

I will keep exploring the ways which I have not discounted from experience. Actually there is really one way of that (which you listed) which is the AFT way. For me this means becoming intimate with the desire, letting it recognize me and letting myself hear it out, then together moving on with it. Perhaps hard to imagine from where I am but that is what I will go for.[1]

When I woke up this morning by the way, I decided that I would leave all this abstraction and speculation behind for now and just enjoy life. This is perhaps sweeping stuff under the rug, but it was apparent that nothing was moving from the position I was in before.

Brother:
Imagine yourself in a situation of extreme social disapproval - the most harrowing, painful, demeaning thing you can think of. Let every thought and sensation of that experience operate as it would normally. Do not vipassanize it, do not question it. If it feels like it's going to kill you, let it. Do, however, experience the whole thing with as much clarity as you can muster and as determination to let it do its thing.


I have tried this, and maybe I will try it again today. It seems like if some more groundwork was laid and I could get close enough to the door, this could be a key to turn the lock.

edited to add [1]:
Perhaps it would be an attitude like the following required for moving past the desire for approval, admiration etc.

The very fact of the propinquity of death became a pivotal element in taking the first step on the wide and wondrous path, back in 1981, when a neighbouring farmer’s fourteen-year old son was killed in a car crash. A woman from another farm, whilst telling me all about it, bemoaned the fact that his future as a potential concert-pianist was tragically cut short (quite a normal observation).

What struck me rigid for the nonce was the more valid fact that this boy had virtually missed-out on a normal childhood through being forced, by well-meaning parents of course, into endless hours of piano-practice while his siblings and peers were outside playing games (as children are wont to do). And now he was dead – it had all been for naught – and he would never, ever be able to come out and play.

From that moment on death was my constant companion; an ever-present reminder that to die without having ever lived fully – as in totally fulfilled, completely satisfied, utterly content – was such a waste of a life.
I would say to people, then, that were I to live that which the PCE’s had made apparent – as in an irrevocable permanency – for only five minutes I would then happily die.

That is how precious an actual freedom from the human condition is.

Regards, Richard.


http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listdcorrespondence/listd07.htm#16Nov09

edit2: a quote on belonging:

The main characteristic of the identity is its need, its must, to belong to the group. The group is the dominant authority, each member being forced into a role within the group according to the already existing hierarchical structure, which is common to all groups. Once the member has established its place – be it leadership or subservience – it feels ‘safe’, appreciated ... even loved. In order to preserve this ‘safety’, this belonging, this love, the member will not only defend and assert the group against other groups, but also its own role within the group. The moment this ‘safety’ is threatened, be it the individual’s position or the whole group’s, the identification with both the role and the group manifests itself as a matter of life and death. ‘I’ am at stake and ‘I’ will defend that ‘safety’ to the death if necessary. Conflict or war is the inevitable result.

However, the eternal cry of each group-member, each identity, is: ‘But what about me? You only love me for what I do, for what role I play, for my looks, for my bank-balance ... or for whatever attribute that has secured my place. I want to be loved for me, a unique individual!’ Yet this ‘unique individual’ only knows itself as a group-member. It defends itself as being part of the whole. All that area of ‘myself’ which cannot be displayed publicly must be kept secret. ‘My’ deepest feelings, ‘my’ objections, ‘my’ goals, must be suppressed in order not to upset the status-quo of the group ... and therefore, ‘my’ precious ‘safety’. Their love for ‘me’, their acceptance, is paramount. ‘I’ must sell-out me as-I-am in order to belong. This is ‘my’ uneasy perversion. ‘I’ would rather carry on being corrupted – and corrupting others – than risk the dreaded loneliness resulting from the loss of love and its implied security through alienation from the group to which ‘I’ belong.

The esteemed goal within each group is to reach for the leadership. There lies, seemingly, more power, more love, more acceptance and more individuality. There, it appears, ‘I’ can finally be myself. Supremacy, be it found in Spiritual Enlightenment, Religious Illumination, Mystical Union, or Philosophical Truth, is the Ultimate goal of the largest group within humankind: the Metaphysical Group. The Master, the Saint, and the Sage have all achieved the rewards of leadership: power over others, loving worship, fame and adulation ... and, quite often, wealth. Their sense of identity has fully expanded into identifying as a Divine Self. It is all at the expense of being me, however, for it is also lonely at the top. Loneliness may seem to diminish by belonging to the group, but it actually does not. Rather, it becomes more and more poignant the higher one climbs. The identity is alone and seeks Union with the Divine, thereby becoming a Universal Self.

The cause of loneliness and aloneness is not, as is commonly believed, alienation from others. The single reason for being alone and lonely is from not being me as-I-am. By not being me, but being, instead, an identity, ‘I’ am doomed to perpetual loneliness and aloneness. ‘I’ am fated to ever pursue an elusive Someone or Something that will fill that aching void. When I am me, there is no void. By being me as-I-am, I have no need for others; hence I also have no need to place the burden upon them to fulfil that what was lacking. Not only do I free myself from that perpetual pursuit, but I also free others in my company from the task ‘I’ impose upon them. Being me is actual fulfilment, each moment again. Nevermore will I be needy, greedy and grasping. Nevermore will I plot and plan and manipulate others. Nevermore will I have to prostitute myself to others to assuage those main attributes of the identity: being lost, lonely, frightened and cunning. Not only am I free, but I set all others free of ‘my’ grace-less demands. Being me is to be free-flowing, spontaneous, delightful ... and it is fun.

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedwriting/sw-humancondition.htm
Brother Pussycat, modified 9 Years ago at 3/11/14 12:24 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/11/14 12:24 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 77 Join Date: 12/21/11 Recent Posts
Brother:
Imagine yourself in a situation of extreme social disapproval - the most harrowing, painful, demeaning thing you can think of. Let every thought and sensation of that experience operate as it would normally. Do not vipassanize it, do not question it. If it feels like it's going to kill you, let it. Do, however, experience the whole thing with as much clarity as you can muster and as determination to let it do its thing.


I have tried this, and maybe I will try it again today. It seems like if some more groundwork was laid and I could get close enough to the door, this could be a key to turn the lock.

Good luck. It's funny that John Wilde refers to this need for approval as visceral: a result of this practice for me was a very clear release of tensions in the gut.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/12/14 7:09 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/12/14 7:09 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
sigh! just had a one hour skype chat with a "free person" I'll call him

Basically he blew my mind and I am reeling... lol. I kept trying to draw him in to discussing things at an abstract/ideal level and he just kept "shutting me down" though obviously with no intention to do so. It is just that the way he lives/sees things likely has no room for abstraction and ideal, so my bullshit just didn't even compute with him.

At one point towards the end of the call we were discussing the actualism method and I said to him that I was feeling a bit anxious about flying later today (as an example of an emotion to practice with). He said "as you fly more it will be less scary." I explained to him that I have flown plenty of times and he asked "did something bad happen to you on an airplane or something?" Totally missing my intention to talk about anxiety at the subtlest level.

I made perfectly clear this point that I wanted to talk about subtle levels of anxiety... he said "would you rather just sit in your room all day? that would probably be really boring. Don't let being a little uncomfortable stop you."

He was still "missing my point" which looking back now I see is due to the fact that I was being totally indirect and unclear, and really he was just answering unassumingly. What I really wanted to ask was "but if I am trying to be actually free shouldn't I have no anxiety?" So then, trying to sneak my way into asking that question (without showing my cards and admitting that I was all about this ideal non-reality) I asked him, "do you feel anxiety when you do things out of the norm?"

He paused to think about it for a a few seconds, repeated the question to himself allowed, and said "Yea I guess I just figure nothing bad will happen. It seems like it (the non-normal situation) will be all good." At this point I tried to look and feel shocked and amazed at the spiritual depth I had witnessed, which was really just a totally normal down-to-earth statement... He didn't really seem to notice my planned "deep stare of reflection" and just asked me where I was going to be flying to... lol. Not what I had planned, but a totally sensible simple question right? We had some more small talk and when I felt courageous enough I asked him "about flying though, I really do aspire to actual freedom, and I feel like I should be able to be free in any situation"

He said something along the lines of "well aspire is a funny word isn't it? it's something not actual, anything you say about "should" is just irrelevant."

Anyway I have the urge to keep writing more about this encounter, but I think the most sensible thing to do would be to take his words as literally as possible... (rather than twisting them into some sort of mega-insight he had into my psyche) and just deal with my actual life situation being as happy/harmless as possible... which he said was all that had to be done.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/13/14 5:50 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/13/14 5:50 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I have been feeling dark night symptoms coming on for the last couple days. I notice that the melancholy arises and lingers, then I ask myself if I want it to keep going or if I just want to feel good with enough sincerity and I'm back to well being. But after a while I have the thought that the happiness was fake or a trick and I go back to melancholy. I linger in it for a while and the process repeats.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 3/14/14 4:46 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/14/14 4:46 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
I have been feeling dark night symptoms coming on for the last couple days. I notice that the melancholy arises and lingers, then I ask myself if I want it to keep going or if I just want to feel good with enough sincerity and I'm back to well being. But after a while I have the thought that the happiness was fake or a trick and I go back to melancholy. I linger in it for a while and the process repeats.


Has trying to feel good ever worked at a rate better than chance?

In my experience, it usually resulted in me feeling worse than I otherwise would. Why? Firstly because, when happiness arose, the extra layer of self-conscious appreciation made it feel artificial.... less good, less enjoyable, more vulnerable to upsets. Secondly, when good feelings weren't arising and I wanted them to, I felt worse than if I'd just done something/anything else... because it was adding feelings of failure and fruitless effort to whatever was already there.

If that doesn't accurately reflect your own experience, forget it. If it does.... you're not the only one... and maybe you need to try something different (but that's still consistent with your overall aim).
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/14/14 10:56 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/14/14 10:55 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I actually think it is because I am missing something. I could describe that thing but tarin does it better. Note his posts on the relationship between my feelings and me

http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/642745

I guess this is what I'll work with and I will continue to share about it.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 3/15/14 6:54 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/14/14 11:47 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
[Fixed link in quote below]

Adam . .:
I actually think it is because I am missing something. I could describe that thing but tarin does it better. Note his posts on the relationship between my feelings and me

http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/642745

I guess this is what I'll work with and I will continue to share about it.


Did you know that Neil Hughes was me in a previous life? It's interesting to re-read that stuff from a time when I was still very keen on actual freedom, but despite trying it many times over many years, I couldn't get a handle on how to apply the official method with long term success. I tried hard, tried repeatedly, understood it all in principle, but in practice I was just spinning my wheels.

With the benefit of hindsight, I know how to apply the understanding that 'Neil Hughes' could not. And if you want to go down that path but can relate to the problems that 'Neil' was having, what I'd suggest is [as well as contemplating what Tarin said to Neil] re-read what Felipe and I were talking about in this thread, and maybe talk to Felipe about it in more depth.

http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5223267

Having said that, I'll stay out of your hair when it comes to actualism, unless you ask for my input for some reason.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/15/14 7:58 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/15/14 7:58 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Ok I am going to keep trying. Btw since you have the understanding now that Neil didn't perhaps you could help me next time I run into the same situation
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 3/16/14 6:06 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/15/14 4:40 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
Ok I am going to keep trying. Btw since you have the understanding now that Neil didn't perhaps you could help me next time I run into the same situation


If I can help you, you won't run into the same situation :-)

That was pretty much the point, but perhaps it didn't come across too well.

If you want the essay and the autobiography, let me know. Meanwhile here's a nutshell version of what I'd suggest if you want to pursue actualism but haven't had great results so far:

- Don't try to feel good, just be willing to.

- Find a way to know yourself in action, without blame regarding your feelings.

- Be in control of your actions, act with restraint, but let your feelings be there blamelessly. Take the lid off.

- Have an attitude of open curiosity with regard to your feelings; don't wrestle to make them conform to an ideal.

- Understand that this 'you' in action, and it's not your fault for being this way. Get used to seeing yourself that way.

- Get used to seeing other people that way too, with a similarly open, blameless and curious attitude.

- Seeing yourself this way reduces any secondary and tertiary agitations: division, confusion, fruitless attempts to manipulate.

- Seeing other people this way reduces the tendency to compete, dominate, submit, collude, put your best foot forward, cover up your weaknesses, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

- It reduces the sense of ownership, defensiveness, self-assertiveness, and secret fear/doubt that comes with investing a certain identity / being a certain way.

- Be curious about this combination of human feelings and human traits that is 'you'. Understand that you're not uniquely oppressed, not uniquely blessed, and somehow it makes you less inclined to personalise these traits -- but at the same time, you're not denying or dissociating from them. They're there. They're 'you'. As a first step, you can harmlessly contain them all.

- Letting it be as it is, and being curious about it, puts you in the driver's seat better than trying to take control and force the issue. But don't let that -- (being in the driver's seat) -- be the aim, let it be a welcome side effect.

- Don't try to generate feelings of a certain kind.

- Don't try to override feelings of a certain kind.

- Don't worry about feeling happy. Let feelings of happiness arise naturally -- and they will -- from clearer understanding, more clarity, less confusion, less futile effort, having less to promote, less to hide, more transparency, less opaqueness of 'being'. (Only then -- in my experience, anyway -- does it really make sense to talk about choosing to be felicitous, rather than some of the other ways of 'being'. Prior to that, it's just one fragment of personality trying to rule the others or reason them into cooperating, which doesn't work very well for very long, no matter how sensible the reasons are).
- ...
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/17/14 6:18 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/17/14 6:18 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Thanks john

When I get to a computer I'll write some more
Brother Pussycat, modified 9 Years ago at 3/17/14 9:24 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/17/14 9:24 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 77 Join Date: 12/21/11 Recent Posts
- Don't try to generate feelings of a certain kind.

- Don't try to override feelings of a certain kind.


I'd say don't try to forcefully do either of these things. However, if you find your feelings cooperative in that regard, go for it. Not sure if that's in accordance with actualism (and I don't really care) but it tends to work for me.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 3/17/14 5:34 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/17/14 5:34 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:
Thanks john

When I get to a computer I'll write some more


Sure. I'm likely to have sporadic access myself for the next few weeks, but will catch up eventually. Good luck with it all.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 3/18/14 12:09 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/17/14 11:57 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Brother Pussycat:

I'd say don't try to forcefully do either of these things. However, if you find your feelings cooperative in that regard, go for it. Not sure if that's in accordance with actualism (and I don't really care) but it tends to work for me.


But what if you're happy in the wrong way, and for all the wrong reasons? What then?

Just fooling around. These are only meant to be suggestions for anyone who's trying to use 'feeling good' as a modus operandi, and failing. If that doesn't apply, so much the better.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 12:20 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 12:17 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Ok, i've gotten back to a computer so here is an account of what has been up:

The night I wrote about the "melancholy" arising and ceasing in cycles was the first night of my spring break vacation... after that post I spent the first couple days in a pretty strong resentment, which oscillated between being resentful and impatient with friends and being resentful and impatient with myself and being resentful and impatient with my experience of the world. I would spend my alone time largely obsessively reading through the AFT website and through DhO posts. I would spend my time with my friends mostly by being reserved and withdrawn, then a bit irritated when provoked in some way. I would sometimes express the same irritation by being "playful" in a passive aggressive way or by just avoiding talking to my friends and just go sulk or something like that.

The one "beacon of hope" was the sincere question (directed to this resentment with enough understanding to see that it was just "misguided well-wishing" and thus seeing that it really was me) "do I want to keep perpetuating this resentment or do I want to just feel good and enjoy myself?" This question when asked with the requisite sincerity and "friendliness" eventually pulled me out of the slump.

During the period of resentment I would ask this question to myself with as much sincerity and friendliness as possible, and would then usually see it as a failed effort then obsess for about how to free myself from this mess for a while before realizing that the energy behind this inquiry was the very same resentment just wearing a clever justification. I kept trying to "get behind" the energy but found that my efforts were are part and parcel of the same resentment. In other words I was just being resentful and telling myself in a resentful way that I wanted to be peaceful.

So what did finally snap me out of it was an interaction with a friend, I was reading some AFT page on my phone and he came over and sat down and tried to talk to me... my initial reaction was "fuck you I am trying to be peaceful" but the absurdity of that really caught me and the justification for the resentment just fell away. Then it was clear that I had been this resentment all along. I was able to drop that and spent the rest of my vacation in PCEs and EEs, occasionally falling back to some level of resentment before eventually applying the same understanding.

Last night I got back from vacation, and today I found the resentment arising again. I see a very similar pattern with it. All day I have been trying to really forge that same connection with pure intent. Asking myself the above question (or some equivalent when it becomes mantra like) with as much sincerity and naivete and friendliness as possible. It is obvious that it has not really fully worked yet, and this time it has been obvious that the resentment is actually all coming from me, it is my modus operandi, and it has been obvious that what will eventually be required will be a certain self-sacrifice (rather than me killing the resentment). I hope I can find the pure intent that will be required to have the confidence for this self-sacrifice (and self-exposure, when the justification is shown to be the pathetic fascade it is to all the world). Being free will require being "wrong."
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 5:08 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 5:05 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Do you know why the resentment is there?

(Not asking you why, just whether you know why...)
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 11:06 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 11:06 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
For those reasons above pretty much. People do things I don't want them to, I do things I don't want me to, I feel things I don't want to... basically I have to deal with all this stuff and the resentment comes from the notion that it is unfair, and I didn't ask for all this stuff to be "put on my plate."

I am not necessarily trying to find any reasons deeper than this, but if something became obvious it would probably be useful. I am more just attempting an attitude adjustment in general.
John Wilde, modified 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 4:29 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 3:13 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 501 Join Date: 10/26/10 Recent Posts
Adam . .:

I am not necessarily trying to find any reasons deeper than this, but if something became obvious it would probably be useful. I am more just attempting an attitude adjustment in general.


This isn't a 'deeper' reason, more of a simple mechanical one... but a valid one, I think:

In general, the busier you are, the more likely you are to resent and resist interruptions. In psychological and emotional terms, same thing. The harder you're working on yourself, the greater the likelihood of finding ordinary events an unwelcome distraction... even when the very thing you're working on is being happier, less resentful and less irritable ;-)

From the outside you're not necessarily doing much, but on the inside you're working damn hard, and this makes it easier for life to press your buttons. The answer obviously isn't to give up psychological work, but if you understand how the work itself can make you more self-absorbed, self-enclosed, irritable and resentful through its own activity at times, it's better than.... well, having that effect without understanding it. (I did a lot of that).

Also, when you're dealing with feelings, it seems to me that there's a bit of an elastic pull back toward the centre of gravity. If you try to stretch your feelings in one direction, they tend to snap back with a swing in the other direction before settling again in equilibrium. I never found a way out of that system.... partly because I lost confidence in wanting to.... but it does seem to be a general pattern in the psyche.... that a movement in one direction sets up an opposing/compensatory force, which results in a lot of back and forth. (Which is another reason why psychological efforts sometimes seem to be counter-productive... at least at first).

Aside from that: My own experience is that efforts not to suffer in minor ways only lowered my threshold and led to more of it, whereas embracing some physical and emotional discomfort led to less of either. (It's frustrating, because everything I want to say to you will sound contrary.... but that's how it's been for me. So, while ever your approach is actualism, it's probably best that I STFU, wish you the best, and leave you to it, and maybe compare notes in a couple of years).
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 4:44 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/23/14 4:44 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Yea we definitely diverge in places but I still find your input useful sometimes. It is definitely hard, it definitely makes me more irritable (when the investigation is driven by the same irritated energy as what I am trying to work on) and i do find myself snapping back to the center of gravity. Yet I am gonna keep going because to be effortlessly enjoying the moment, and to be harmless in that is worth some struggle.

Today I had a major success with a sense of resentment that has lasted for a few hours (a strong sincere asking of "am I willing to enjoy this moment?" did the trick). Trying to build a bit of resolve to come out the resentment more quickly next time/avoid it if possible.

I will be interested to see where we are a bit down the road, though my notes will be here pretty frequently because I am finding this helpful.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/24/14 8:24 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/24/14 8:19 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Today, after yesterday's "major success with resentment" which resulted in it disappearing without a trace leaving enjoyment and appreciation, I have been experiencing a great deal of "positive feelings" in the actualism sense usurping that enjoyment, namely hope.

I found, as I have found many times before with hope, that my investigation into it, and my attempts to change it into enjoyment and appreciation of what is already here now have basically failed. In the past, I have usually not been overly concerned with this, as hope can be tremendously pleasant, but this time due to some recognition of the fact that maintaining hope will maintain my general condition of malice and sorrow, I have decided to take the investigation a bit deeper. I expect that what follows in this post will be lengthy and perhaps a bit convoluted, as I am mostly trying to clarify my own ideas on this subject and get the thoughts about it out of my head.

It has occurred to me that my apparent relationship to emotions[1] especially to hope is frequently moralistic and controlling. A moralistic controlling relationship between oneself and one's emotions can easily be likened to a moralistic and controlling relationship of a parent to a child over the issue of playing video games instead of doing homework. (i know this relationship very well from the side of the child)

Let's say that the child wants to play video games (wants to be in a state of hope) and the moralistic and controlling parent wants the child to do homework (be in a state of felicity). The parent, by virtue of being moralistic and controlling, wants the child to do homework because the parent has picked up the idea from others that this is what children should do.

The nature of an action based on a "picked up idea" not reflecting autonomous reasoning, is that the action is insecure and half-hearted. The parent accepts that children should do homework rather than play video games, but doesn't really, wholeheartedly believe this, the idea comes from the outside and not from deep within. This insecurity is reflected in overcompensation, such as disgust and aggression[2] as well as speculative (not based on experience) justification. Because the dangers of playing video games are not genuinely, clearly known through experience, then, projected into that unknown and apparently fearful space is a lot of highly dramatic fantasy, which can up the intensity of the insecurity; we are far more afraid of what we don't know than of what we know. To summarize, the moralistic controlling parent is coming from a place of insecurity and overcompensating for it with force.

The child intuitively senses this (this is even more true when the "child" is actually you and the "parent" is actually you). It knows that what is present is a great deal of force without a great deal of conviction behind it. The child knows that if he puts up enough resistance, then the parent's insecurity will eventually be too great for the parent to compensate for, and the parent will relent. The parent senses that the child knows this, and the parent becomes willing to fight even harder (though the parent's force may disguised in many ways). Thus, locked in a battle of force versus force, neither side willing to relent but neither having enough confidence to succeed, there is deadlock, and nothing really changes.

The parent fights because he has picked up that fighting the child to do his homework is what he should do. The child fights back because he knows that ultimately, the parent will be happy with just fighting (as fighting will allow the parent to feel comfortable that she is doing the right thing). The fight is a play fight, and deep down both sides know this. Yet, the name of the game is who can pretend to believe the most, and so the fight is made to seem goal oriented, which makes it terribly unpleasant.

Ultimately, given a lack of a serendipitous resolution (for example the child randomly noticing the value of doing homework), the solution comes from the parent, and honesty is the essence of the solution. The parent admits their insecurity (which takes courage), which radically disarms both sides, then the parent contemplates the situation autonomously rather than by picking up whatever ideas are floating around. The parent sincerely and naively (with minimal assumptions) considers the dangers of video games, as well as the benefits of doing homework. The parent then arrives autonomously at the decision that yes, doing homework is genuinely better, though nothing terribly drastic will happen as the result of a bit of video games.

This sensible and confident parent, who is now genuinely fighting for the child's welfare rather than fighting for fighting's sake because that is the "right thing to do," is capable of winning the child over. Once the child's welfare is a genuine concern (this can't be faked) the relationship no longer needs deception and force. It becomes possible for the child to relent and do the homework, because it trusts the parent's intentions and insight in telling it what to do.

In light of this analogy, what will be required for me is to admit the situation, i.e. admit that I can't always see that hope is better (it just seems so pleasant sometimes). From that point it will be possible for me to contemplate the situation, and arrive at a genuine understanding of the drawbacks and allures of hope such that I can confidently abandon hope and enjoy the moment.

Here is some initial contemplation about whether hope or enjoyment is a preferable state of being:

-Both are pleasant in their own ways, but enjoyment (as an attitude) is not based on circumstance and so it is not so easily shakeable.

-When I am hopeful I tend to ignore people and just focus on the positive outcome I am imagining, when I am enjoying the moment I can be deliciously intimate with people and I can be free to listen to and help them however I can.

-When I am hopeful I am lost in images and dreams and don't stop to notice the pristine sensate world here and now

-Every time I hope for something I set myself up for disappointment, whereas pure enjoyment of this moment as it is just leads to more of the same

-When I am hopeful I set myself up to act in unethical ways to people who get in the way of my dream (which i then feel really guilty about), appreciation of things as they are does not require anything from anyone

-When I am hopeful I set hope as an example to others who are in the same situation as I am, and thus I help keep them perpetuating their own misery.

-Hope requires constant mental effort, as such it is easily interrupted by distractions and intrusions while enjoyment is so light and carries over from one situation to another effortlessly

-Enjoyment is based on things as they are, hope is living in what might be

-Being in a state of hope renders me absent minded and less able to competently deal with my situation in life, whereas enjoyment is easy presence, stronger short term memory, and a focus on what I am actually doing

-Hope causes despair, which causes hope, which causes despair, forever spinning around and going nowhere, like a big circle. Enjoyment leads to incrementally increasing enjoyment which leads to better and better things.

[1] I say apparent because when investigated I actually find that I am that relationship and that relationship is the emotion.

[2] I have noticed that whenever I find that I am disgusted with myself for feeling a certain way, it is a telltale sign that I am coming at the feeling without much pure intent.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/29/14 6:30 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/29/14 6:30 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Today I had a clear, conscious, and apparently reproducible "victory" over more DN type symptoms. Maybe it wasn't DN, but it is the same as the previously mentioned melancholy, resentment, etc.

After last night going to bed a bit sad, lonely, resentful of anyone who seemed to be having fun, I woke up with more of the same resentfulness and hatefulness. Subtly took it out on a friend at lunch then resolved to not do anything else until I had changed my attitude.

What it seemed to take was this:

a. connecting with the desire to happy and peaceful in its purest form (soul searching)
b. catching hold of the resentfulness/anxiety/hopelessness in purest form (being the negativity)
c. make the "self-sacrifice" of dropping the bad attitude (closing my eyes, counting to three, and just doing it)
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/31/14 12:03 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/31/14 12:02 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Just came back from an hour long night walk. I don't think I've ever been so consistently with little to no "selfing" for such a long period of time. Most of today I was really peaceful having dropped a bit of resistance and frustration. It peaked though when I went for a walk and found myself dancing around the edge of "existence".

It would kind of go like this, I would notice something compelling and unexpected in my surroundings, a gale of wind, a drop of rain, a star in the sky, a construction vehicle etc. Then with that direct pure experience of the actual I would notice my self slipping out of experience. Noticing that, fear would arise. Noticing the fear I understood that it (the fear) was pure fantasy and called for no action. Not adding any momentum to it in this way it would instantly evaporate and I would be pulled into the actual world again only to notice another resistance, only to add no resistance to the resistance and repeat the cycle.

Never has it been so clear how to evince a selfless peaceful state of mind - simply by not getting in the way of it (by acting on or resisting an emotional perception) as it automatically happens in any given moment. The wakeful mind is totally natural and though daydreams arise, simply noticing that they are dreams brings one back to wakefulness (and out-from-controlness).

Now for example there is an emotional perception that "things are back to ordinary," no practice is called for, no action is called for, this perception is just a joke.

I write this for myself expecting that I will forget the difference between fantasy and reality shortly.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 3/31/14 9:50 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/31/14 9:50 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
This morning I note several things are very strange. Perception of time is really off, past and future seem to have only a shadow of reality. Also I am having the same experiences of being drawn towards the sensate world, like things are trying to pull themselves away from my control. Thoughts and emotions all fade as soon as they are noticed, not solidifying into coherent mind-states. When I rode my longboard I noticed that I was feeling all the sensations in my feet and I wasn't controlling the movement of the board. Every thought about what this state is or what to do is immediately allowed to fade on its own, such thoughts are still clearly perceived as fantasy, and "the now" quickly comes into focus. The same cycle of pulling towards non-existence followed by a jolt of fear or something, followed by the understanding that the fear should just be allowed to pass keeps playing out. I don't have the courage to let control slide away completely, although it seems like it is either that or "back to normal."
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 4/2/14 10:36 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/2/14 5:32 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Setbacks of today have made me a bit less optimistic about how well things were going. I find myself in conflict with my friends, and feeling bad, and it all happens under this self-conscious microscope that plays the game of "wanting to be free" while creating all the things it wants to be free from. What is missing is sincerity. When sincerity is there the other steps practically happen of their own accord with just a little nudging, yet right now sincerity is mostly absent.

I am pretty tired of the cycles of up and down, being aimed towards peace then being aimed towards resistance and self-justification. Maybe this tiredness can help lead to sincerity? Maybe I should attempt to contemplate times where I was peaceful to build a genuine desire for that. I am going to go take a walk and contemplate the negatives of resistance and the positives of peace till that desire returns.

edit after walk: seems to have worked for now

edit2: now (same night) feelings so strong that there were physical symptoms like shortness of breath and physical shakiness despite simply sitting alone in my room with no stimulation. strongest feelings i've ever felt perhaps. in the back of my mind something says that they are fantasies. the content of them is scary though. approach for now is "neither express nor repress."

I am wondering if I am literally just imagining all this. like I am just telling myself that terrible shit is going down and believing it really strongly. Even now is this just a game I'm playing with myself? When will something "real" happen?
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 4/3/14 10:07 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/3/14 5:52 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Now and for the last few hours I have been feeling really intense anger. What the actual fuck lol.

Not much of a journal entry but oh well. I guess anger and fear are really seductive. Having a hard time recognizing the feelings as being created by me right now. They seem to just be coming out of nowhere.

I can see a hint of release out of the corner of my eye so to speak. Every now and again amidst the rage is the image of me relating to the world peacefully and it seems nice. That attraction is what I know to have brought release in the past.

edit: the intense feelings have now transformed from fear to frustration to despair and now to a gentle ennui. I notice how I tell myself that "I wish I could be free of these feelings but it's just impossible *dramatic sigh*" I tell myself this so fervently, yet I know that I am playing a game with myself. Every time I tell myself that I want my feelings to be other than they are I am playing this game.

What do I gain from being sad? It seems to be all about righteousness in a way. I want to tell myself "I missed my chance to be happy" or something like that, for a strange reason. It feels like if I tell myself that, I will be so harmless and sad that I will "deserve" some reward. Like how in Disney movies it is always the girl who doesn't feel like she deserves it who turns out to be princess. Maybe I can give myself the reward? Is it possible that my fate is in my hands?
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 4/4/14 5:30 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/4/14 5:30 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I realize that I have been worrying so much about practice, how to get it to work, why it isn't working, why I am not working etc. I realize that it is a simple matter of not worrying about it at all. I notice how every time I have almost let myself stop worrying something has stopped me which is the idea that I will miss the final goal or wander off the path.

Is it true that worrying and analyzing will help me in my goal to be happy+harmless?
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 4/7/14 1:09 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/7/14 1:09 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Wow, looking on the past week I think it will really be one for the record books. I started out last Sunday in the clearest absence of suffering and self and effort I have ever experienced, then went on to flop around in anger, depression, fear, and doubt, powerful enough to cause physical symptoms like shaking and shortness of breath like I mentioned. Now, it is Sunday again and I've been back in stable PCE-territory for about 2 hours.

Let me share what seemed to be the cause of moving WAY out of PCE in the intervening week. I think the thing that caused such intense confusion was the extremely compelling nature of the experience of that first PCE which drove me to be willing to give 100% of my effort non-stop, with no fear nor backing down. The problem was all that full-on intensity was misguided, because it failed to understand a certain point. So, with a great deal of confidence and effort I hammered away in the opposite direction of PCE, building vast amounts of emotion to the point of causing myself to pass out from exhaustion a few times and experience the beginnings of a panic attack.

So what was the misunderstood point? It was missing this: "Thus the answer to your query – what the answer is to asking how one is experiencing this moment of being alive – is dependent upon, on each occasion again, just exactly what the way or manner it is that one is personally participating in the occurrences which are currently happening."

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/thismomentofbeingalive.htm

One has to look to how one is participating personally (i.e. at the most conscious level) and one has to be looking at how one is doing that in this very instant (not in a general abstraction of "the present"). In clearer terms, one can't just look at one's general mindstate in "the present" and attempt to change it. One has to look at how one is relating to life ("life" includes any chemicals released by stress, including any thoughts) in this instant.

If one practices by trying to change the feelings one is having in the body, or by trying to change the thoughts one is having "in the head" then one is literally practicing the opposite of the actualism method, one is practicing participating in this moment via resistance, fear, and anger. If "I" am trying to get rid of a "something" other than that very same "I", then one's participation in this moment is a participation of fear and aggression.

One always has to be looking instead to change "me" and "my feelings" in the sense of the word feeling refers to the attitude which I take towards life (life being that which is immediate, that which is actual.) In short, if one is frustratedly trying to change one's experience into a PCE, then the only way to PCE is for the changer (myself) to change.

So what is the answer then? It is for me to enjoy this moment and to take up a total investigation into the things that prevent me from such enjoyment (including the notion that certain thoughts and bodily sensations are wrong and "shouldn't" be here). If I am participating in life through the lens of "this feeling shouldn't be here" "i should be experiencing PCE" "i need to figure this out," then "I" am the problem. PCE is totally the opposite of "this shouldn't be here" no matter what "this" is. It is totally the opposite of "I need to figure this out" no matter what "this" is.

In shorter, what needs to happen is an enjoyment of the actual, which includes thoughts and hormone-induced sensations. If one demands that hormone induced sensations and thoughts disappear before one gives oneself permission to be ok with life, then one will never stop waiting.
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 4/7/14 6:43 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/7/14 6:37 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Putting into practice that understanding went like this today: I started doubting my insight from the night before and began attempting to "figure it out" through obsessive thinking, reading etc. Then I decided re-establish the intention to enjoy this moment *come what may*. The thought came that I can't enjoy this moment until I figure out the correct path, and figure out the right advice to follow etc.

I noticed that it would be better to just enjoy the moment despite the apparent inadequacy of the situation, i.e. the lack of certainty, as worrying didn't help anything. So then, despite the apparent inadequacy of the situation, I just enjoyed things as they were (including tension in the body, chemical residues from emotions, and panicky thoughts). As I started to participate in the moment via enjoyment - that inadequacy seemed really insignificant and secondary, nothing that was so serious that it couldn't be enjoyed. Seeing this the body and mind quieted down but this wasn't even seen as particularly important.
John Power, modified 9 Years ago at 4/9/14 11:07 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/9/14 11:07 AM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 95 Join Date: 3/16/14 Recent Posts
I think the teachings of Sayadaw U Tejaniya can help you. He also puts the emphases on cittanupassana.
I struggled with too much effort and because of that became tense and stiff. His teachings made me realize what a good attitude towards meditation is and that because of this good attitude you can see clearer.
If you want, you can look at his website: http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/

All the best,
Metta,
John Power
Adam , modified 9 Years ago at 4/9/14 1:11 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/9/14 1:11 PM

RE: cittanupassana

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Thanks john

Breadcrumb