Vibrations

Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 3/25/15 10:16 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/25/15 10:14 PM

Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Hope this is the right place for this. If not please relocate it to the appropriate forum.

Okay, so I've been reading MCTB. I've been purposely staying on the pages in the impermanenece portion of the Three Characteristics chapter. I've been re-reading pages 16 through 19 over and over. Making sure I'm getting all the details and meanings clear in my consciousness.

I'm having trouble with the sensations and mental impressions. Perhaps I'm over thinking and over analyzing this. I can get the sensation, no problem. Who can't, right? But that mental impression, which Daniel describes as "slippery" is just that, and then some. Here's what I seem to be experiencing. There's the sensation, the nervous system recognizing sensory input. Then there's an initial hit of wareness or apprehending the sensation, and then this sort of blooms into the normal everyday conscious awareness of a sound, feeling, etc. Another way to put it, is this: people not aware of this, not practicing these techniques wouldn't be aware of that hit of awareness that happens a mere milliseconds (it might be nanoseconds) after the nervous system receiving input.

So what exactly *IS* the mental impression? That echo or resonance? I feel like I'm missing it, despite having been working with it for a little while now. Am I looking for too much too soon? Is this something that requires persistent effort for a few months? That's fine, as long as I have some idea what I'm in for. I'm putting in the work, and will continue to do so, but I feel like my understanding is unclear or incomplete.

Thank you for the help, because someone always does. I'm grateful you people are here, willing to answer my many questions.
Echo 10, modified 8 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:19 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:19 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 18 Join Date: 3/25/15 Recent Posts
Hey Darrell,

So the goal of stream-entry is generally described as penetrating a sensation. Penetrating a sensation is generally described as seeing its true nature. The echo experience you're describing sounds like the disconnected experience of a meditator pre-first-path, first the sensation arises, and then the recognition of that sensation is experienced as another sensation.

This investigative moment is sometimes described as entry into the path, and rockets one into the cycle of insight. It seems as if you have the itch, generally speaking the self-introduction of the "itch" is knowledge enough to lead the meditator on the intuitive journey towards nibbana. The "itch" itself is panna.

Simply work with the itch, ferret out "not-rightness".

Once the ache is experienced, the meditator longs to experience the arising and passing away of sensations (not having to do with the stage called the A&P), if for some reason the meditator is unable to experience this, his goal is to eliminate obstructions to obtaining this knowledge.

Generally speaking the goal of noble eightfold path is to be able to perceive the arising and passing away of sensations, this moment is called stream-entry. The sensations themselves, are experienced AS the five aggregates, namely: form, feeling, perception, formations and consciousness.

And their nature is seen to be the samudaya, vaya (arising and passing away). If you hit this you're golden.

Otherwise if it is not possible at the time, then your goal is to remove all obstacles and work towards removing kinks.

If you're able to penetrate these elements, the rest will be opened up to you as well, e.g the four noble truths, the six sense bases etc.

Any chosen object is fine, as long as you generate momentum, the rising of the momentum is itself progress on the path.

Cheers.
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:31 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:31 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Echo,

I can't say I'm having the echo experience. And I only use this word as that is some of the language Daniel uses to describe the process of seeing these vibrations. I assume like most here, you've read MCTB. I mentioned pages 16 through 19 (it actually goes beyone page 19, but I've stayed on those pages to really try to understand the concept and the practice of the technique). Daniel describes the sensation and the mental impression. He describes the mental impression as an echo or resonance. I'm not feeling I'm getting the mental impression/echo/resonance. He describes this mental impression as slippery. Apparently so! I'm just not feeling I'm getting it, and that I'm not really understanding what I'm looking for when it comes to the post sensation mental impression. It seems that this occurence is so fine/subtle that it requires some real development of perceptual ability. Or I'm just missing the obvious due to lack of comprehension.
Echo 10, modified 8 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:54 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/25/15 11:54 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 18 Join Date: 3/25/15 Recent Posts
Ok I see what you're saying now. Just as a disclaimer I have very little experience with the noting technique (which I assume is what you're using), and I personally disagree with the notion of investigating reality (as a first start). Nevertheless here is my limited experience with the technique:

When I first started vipassana, I was not sure what to look for. Almost immediately after having registered that thought, I realized that the thought: "I don't know what to look for", was what I should be looking for.

This entrance is called Mind & Body, it is a sudden shift that occurs from awareness turning back on itself. Because I had the thought: "I don't know what to look for, is what I should be looking for", another feeling arose: joy, and the registering of "joy", was also a thought.

And then it sort of spiraled out of control, this is generally called Cause & Effect, this is what Daniel means by an echo (I think), once something is registered, that registering, is in and of itself a thought, or sensation.

I eventually stopped meditating because it became painful and too rapid and my practice was picked up years later as something entirely different.

Anyways I thought that anecdote might be relevant, once again not too experienced with vipassana. But I'm sure there are hundreds of other meditators here who could help you with your query!

Peace.
Echo 10, modified 8 Years ago at 3/26/15 12:00 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/26/15 12:00 AM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 18 Join Date: 3/25/15 Recent Posts
Think about it this way. Assuming you're sitting there, paying attention to sensations, and you're thinking:

"Gee, I'm paying attention to sensations, but I can't seem to get the echo!"

^That is your entrance right there. That thought that you're having, is unregistered. See what I'm saying?

Had I not spoiled it for you, you would have realized that your "subconscious" thought and/or frustration at being unable to get the echo, was in fact your meditation object.

Get my drift? Objectify the body-mind.

Best wishes.
Matt, modified 8 Years ago at 3/26/15 12:10 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/26/15 12:10 AM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 316 Join Date: 1/14/14 Recent Posts
Darrell:
I'm having trouble with the sensations and mental impressions. Perhaps I'm over thinking and over analyzing this. I can get the sensation, no problem. Who can't, right? But that mental impression, which Daniel describes as "slippery" is just that, and then some. Here's what I seem to be experiencing. There's the sensation, the nervous system recognizing sensory input. Then there's an initial hit of wareness or apprehending the sensation, and then this sort of blooms into the normal everyday conscious awareness of a sound, feeling, etc. Another way to put it, is this: people not aware of this, not practicing these techniques wouldn't be aware of that hit of awareness that happens a mere milliseconds (it might be nanoseconds) after the nervous system receiving input.

So what exactly *IS* the mental impression? That echo or resonance? I feel like I'm missing it, despite having been working with it for a little while now. Am I looking for too much too soon? Is this something that requires persistent effort for a few months? That's fine, as long as I have some idea what I'm in for. I'm putting in the work, and will continue to do so, but I feel like my understanding is unclear or incomplete.
I've had this experience of sound many times:
  • The sound happens, I'm aware of it, it's clearly outside of my head.
  • There is a gap, then a nervous system response deep in my brain.  It's waveform is the same as the sound, but this *feels* like something going on in the middle of  my head.  Maybe this is 'the echo'.
  • There is a gap, then thoughts/opinions/labels etc come up.

For example, I'm aware of a thump from the floor above me, I feel this nervous system thing in my head, finally I think, "sons water bottle hitting the floor".

I spent a long time pondering those pages of MCTB, I just think it's poorly worded.  I've talked to a few other people that catagorize their expeience of sound the same way I do.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 8 Years ago at 3/26/15 2:30 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/26/15 2:30 AM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Darrell:
Hope this is the right place for this. If not please relocate it to the appropriate forum.

Okay, so I've been reading MCTB. I've been purposely staying on the pages in the impermanenece portion of the Three Characteristics chapter. I've been re-reading pages 16 through 19 over and over. Making sure I'm getting all the details and meanings clear in my consciousness.

I'm having trouble with the sensations and mental impressions. Perhaps I'm over thinking and over analyzing this. I can get the sensation, no problem. Who can't, right? But that mental impression, which Daniel describes as "slippery" is just that, and then some. Here's what I seem to be experiencing. There's the sensation, the nervous system recognizing sensory input. Then there's an initial hit of wareness or apprehending the sensation, and then this sort of blooms into the normal everyday conscious awareness of a sound, feeling, etc. Another way to put it, is this: people not aware of this, not practicing these techniques wouldn't be aware of that hit of awareness that happens a mere milliseconds (it might be nanoseconds) after the nervous system receiving input.

So what exactly *IS* the mental impression? That echo or resonance? I feel like I'm missing it, despite having been working with it for a little while now. Am I looking for too much too soon? Is this something that requires persistent effort for a few months? That's fine, as long as I have some idea what I'm in for. I'm putting in the work, and will continue to do so, but I feel like my understanding is unclear or incomplete.

Thank you for the help, because someone always does. I'm grateful you people are here, willing to answer my many questions.

Definitely overthinking it. Just keep practicing and notice what you are able to notice. Things will get clearer as you progress. 
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(D Z) Dhru Val, modified 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 1:08 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 1:07 AM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
Darrell:
 Daniel describes the sensation and the mental impression. He describes the mental impression as an echo or resonance. I'm not feeling I'm getting the mental impression/echo/resonance. He describes this mental impression as slippery. Apparently so! I'm just not feeling I'm getting it, and that I'm not really understanding what I'm looking for when it comes to the post sensation mental impression. It seems that this occurence is so fine/subtle that it requires some real development of perceptual ability. Or I'm just missing the obvious due to lack of comprehension.

You don't notice it because of habitual patterns of focus and awareneness.

Part of the noting processes is to loosen up these patterns or interfere with them. So this sensation - impression process can be noticed.

I don't think it would take a long time. Maybe a month or two. Less if you have some background in meditation. Do the beginner exercize in the MCTB, then try noting.
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 2:59 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 2:59 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
"^That is your entrance right there. That thought that you're having, is unregistered. See what I'm saying? Had I not spoiled it for you, you would have realized that your "subconscious" thought and/or frustration at being unable to get the echo, was in fact your meditation object." Get my drift? Objectify the body-mind."

I understand what you're saying, but the actual meaning is still a bit obscure. I was under the impression (no pun intended) that the non verbal awareness was the echo/resonance/impression Daniel is referring to.
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 3:03 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 3:03 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Matthew,

It's interesting that you choose to use auditory sensation as an example, as I've noticed sound has a peculiar effect, or my response to it is peculiar. It's different than using physical body sensations on the skin, or in the muscles. But yes, what you describe is incredibly close to what I'm experiencing. The difference of degree might simply be the result of the words we use to label these experiences.
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 3:06 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 3:06 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Right. I've been trying to do that, but conditioned mind keeps rushing in. I suspect that as my concentration improves (I'm hoping the Goenka retreat in June will accelerate this) that this will change.
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 3:08 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 3:08 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Dhru -

Which is the beginner exercise?

Thanks
Matt, modified 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 3:37 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 3/27/15 3:37 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 316 Join Date: 1/14/14 Recent Posts
Darrell:
Matthew,

It's interesting that you choose to use auditory sensation as an example, as I've noticed sound has a peculiar effect, or my response to it is peculiar. It's different than using physical body sensations on the skin, or in the muscles. But yes, what you describe is incredibly close to what I'm experiencing. The difference of degree might simply be the result of the words we use to label these experiences.
I think it's great to ponder this stuff *off* the cushion, that's part of the beneficial receive/analyse/experience loop.  But of course, on the cushion, it's always just notice whatever actually is happening then return awareness to the object.

In general, I do find the model: --nerve ending (near the outer body boundary) gets signal, brain reacts electrically, mind starts thinking about it-- is what I'm aware of when my concentration is good.  You can be aware of exactly this chain of events. This includes when the 'signal' is actually a thought. All that said, you don't have to have this awareness all of the time.  These details come and go, keep on sitting!

Best,

Matt
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CJMacie, modified 8 Years ago at 4/2/15 6:49 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/2/15 6:16 AM

RE: Vibrations

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re: Darrell (3/25/15 10:16 PM )

"I'm having trouble with the sensations and mental impressions. … But that mental impression, which Daniel describes as "slippery" is just that,… There's the sensation, the nervous system recognizing sensory input. Then there's an initial hit of wareness or apprehending the sensation, and then this sort of blooms into the normal everyday conscious awareness of a sound, feeling, etc. …people ….not practicing these techniques wouldn't be aware of that hit of awareness that happens a mere milliseconds (it might be nanoseconds) after the nervous system receiving input.”

I too struggled with the notion of "vibrations" in poring over MCTB2 (Part I). Then, after tracking down every use of the term and the contexts, I seem to have grasped it, tho would myself prefer a term like "pulsations" (which is also s/t used in MCTB2). *

Namely, the human nervous system pulses with continuous sampling of the sensory inputs (including external and internal propriceptive stimuli), and does so simultaneously at many different levels. Most of this is sub- or un-conscious, except for one who's unusually alert (and so trained, practiced). Most people would be normally consciously aware of a few stimuli / second, and most often just the one they happen to focus on (mostly via craving / clinging). But it's possible to be aware of (to "note") how continuously myriad light, sound, smell, taste, touch, and mental stimuli are arising-falling, are pulsing through the sensory apparatus and into the deeper nervous system.

The timing of single awareness-related neural events
is in a range from a few milleseconds up to 10s of ms, maybe up to 100 ms or so. (Nanoseconds would be more like the attention span of the typical DhO troller emoticon ). But these events, and myriad other neural events, happen in parallel – hundreds, even thousands going on all the time (during wakefulness). Conscious focus, attention, however, deals with only one at a time. As s/t mentioned here, "multi-tasking" is in fact an illusion created by very quick switching back and forth among various events (much like in multi-tasking digital systems).

Compared with current digital logic (events in nano- or pico-seconds), the basic events in the nervous system are very slow (in mss)**; but massively parallel – hundreds, thousands, millions of things happening at once and interconnected at umptine levels. At the level of awareness / consciousness, there's a range of perhaps a couple to tens of perceptible events per second.

The events Daniel describes, I believe, are experiential findings informed by the Theravadan Abhidhamma understanding of sensate experience. I'm not sure to what extent Daniel is aware of all the Abdhidhamma details, but Ven. Mahasi most certainly was. (Adbhidhamma is not something usually taught to yogis or devotees, but mastery of it is pre-requisite for anyone who earns the title Sayadaw.)

In the Abhidhamma scheme (as used, e.g., in the Visudhimagga), consciousness is deciphered into small chunks of a regular pattern (called "the cognitive series") with sub-parts ("moments") numbering ca. 11 to 16. These constantly occurring patterns (series) happen in maybe 10s to 100s of ms, and the component moments take probably a couple of ms each. Without going into all the details, there's an initial moment that triggers each series, called (in translation) a moment of "adverting" to some kind of "disturbance"; followed by a moment of sensory input ("seeing", "hearing", etc.); then a moment of "receiving", one of "investigating", and one of "determining". Then a sub-series of moments of "impulsion", or sort of processing (where kamma / karma happens), and the whole series concluding with a moment of "registration" (perhaps memory filing).

Now, gradually getting back to the issue in this thread, the adverting and sensing moments are the "bare awareness" event (and, in fact, THIS is what Nyanaponika was referring to when, ca. 1954, he first and famously used the term "bare"). And, I think, this is the "sensation" moment in Daniel's scheme. And the sub-series of receiving - investigating - determining, taken together, produce the mental "impression", i.e. something recognized, perhaps named, certainly "notable".

(A couple of months ago, in a dharma talk in retreat at TMC (San Jose Mahasi monastery), Ven U. Thuzana stated, along the way in discussing noting, that every pure (bare) sensory event is immediately followed by a mental recognition (which, by the way, at least he said, is then no longer really sensory). Thuzana is currently abbot at TMC, and any ranking Burmese monk is an Abdhidhamma ace.)

So, my current understanding is that the continuous pulsation of these tiny, minimal sensory-mental events, perhaps in the range of 10-20 ms each (a whole cognitive series maybe ca. 100+- ms) is what Daniel means by "vibrations". The timing factors match: he says at first one may be able to catch only a couple per second, but with practice, up to 10 or even faster.

My hit is that the Abhidhammikers (composers of that tradition) spent a lot of time training (meditating) and "reflecting" on their experience (I would venture to say phenomenologically deconstructing conscious processes), and, over the centuries, were able to forumlate this model that is still found to be pragmatically valid today. I would hypothesize further, joining Evan Thompson, that eventually, when material (i.e. neural) science and phenomenology get together on it, this model will be, if perhaps not in every detail, largely experimentally validated.

* "Vibration" brings to mind, for instance, a tuning-fork, where each oscillation of vibration is virtually identical, in content (wave-form) as well as form (periodicity), just repeating again and again, e.g. at 440 Hz. The recurring formal patterns in cognitive awareness, on the other hand, display a great deal of variety in content, though the formal pattern is one of regular repetition. Hence the preference for "puslations."

**To give an idea: individual events in fMRI scanning – which detects increased blood flow correlating with neural activation – ramp up in 2-3 ms, and in a complete cycle of up to about 8 ms.
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 4/2/15 1:24 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/2/15 1:24 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Chris,

Your timing is uncanny. I've just come back to this specific practice in the last few days, after letting it slip for a week or so, due to frustration. What's more, I'm doing the same thing you described in tracking down multiple descriptions and explanations of this insight and the concept that describes it.

Thank you for such a thoughtful a detailed response. I really thought I was over thinking it, but realized I wasn't when it occured to me that I couldn't tell if I was sensing the mental impressions, or just creating the perceived experience of such with my mind. I think folks around here call this scripting.

As an aside, what reinvigorated my practice with this was a talk by Ajahn Brahm, whom I've grown to like, despite my initial impression of him as popular fluff. He describes this *exact* same vibratory phenomenon. Independent corroboration is often helpful.

Anyhow, thank you again very much. Your post, while very technical, is also very helpful. So it requires some careful reading, but that's just what I needed. And the fact that you gave a solid renedering of your own personal experience also helps with insight into this. I'm now sinking my teeth into this and not giving up until I get it.
Scott Kinney, modified 8 Years ago at 4/30/15 3:46 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/30/15 3:46 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 112 Join Date: 4/7/15 Recent Posts
Darrell,

Sorry, I'm late to the party, and I've learned a lot from Matthew's and Chris' responses particularly. If you can stand a response from a rank beginner, I'll throw in what it's been like for me.

I use the breath as an object, so I'll start from there.  Once I had a decent handle on watching the sensations associated with the breath, then I started asking if the sensation was physical or mental. What's the difference? Here's one example; on the exhale I feel breath in the lungs, in the trachea, the pharynx, top of the nasal cavity, nostrils and then the crown of the head. The sensation at the crown of the head is a mental creation, because the air doesn't go there. Another one; I don't actually 'feel' the breath at every point in the trachea, I just have a sense that the breath is continuous, so I'll take the pinpoints of physical awareness as physical, and the feeling of continuity is a mental creation. Still another observation, could best be described as there being a core of physical breath surrounded or accompanied by a "jacket" of mental concept. That may not make sense to anyone but me.

Now, think about this. When Daniel talks about the 2-finger meditation, and talks about becoming very clear about which finger you were feeling at each instant, *because you don't really feel them both at the same instant*.  If you are working with the breath, that same concept applies to your nostrils, parts of the nostrils and the lungs themselves.

I love the concept of "pulses" over straight vibrations. At one rate of observation, you can be aware of the flickering pulses. Step up a little more, and you start to be aware of the pulse starting and the pulse stopping. It's kind of the difference between being generally aware of flickering lights (or twinkling stars) and being aware that specific lights went on and off.

Anyway, that's what it's like for me. Again, just a beginner. More practice and I'll have more experience.(Oh, that, and re-reading the instructions every so often. as you gain experience, your interpretation will change)
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Dream Walker, modified 8 Years ago at 4/30/15 4:31 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 4/30/15 4:31 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 1643 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Darrell:
I'm having trouble with the sensations and mental impressions.
So what exactly *IS* the mental impression? That echo or resonance? I feel like I'm missing it, despite having been working with it for a little while now.

Am I looking for too much too soon?
Just my opinion here, as this is how it worked out for me.

Yes, you are looking for too much too soon

Work on the gross sensations for first path.
Work on the mental impression/echo second path.

The sensations are big fat easy objects to notice. It's like they are body sized objects. I took the heat upon my body in the sauna as object and it's as if it were 6 feet tall. The mental impression on the other hand is like a watermellon seed compared to the 6 feet tall object. It's hard to notice compared to the big thing and if you squeeze on it too much it slips away. Finding the seed in the first place is very difficult when the big object has not been "seen thru" yet. After first path it was a matter of adjusting to the new level of discernment needed and gently noticing subtler stuff.
Not that you might not be able to do both and land first and second path at the same time....but lets say that is a very rare occurance.
Good luck,
~D
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 5/1/15 12:18 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/1/15 12:18 AM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Hi Scott,

I think I too am a rank beginner, despite bathing. In all seriousness, ten years of directionless meditation, no matter how regular hasn't gotten me far.

I like the idea about seperating out the physical from the mental phenomena. That's helpful. I'll have to work with something other than the breath though. I've been listening to talks by Thinassaro Bhikkhu lately. He frequently mentions how the breath is connected to all parts of the body, so my thinking has been colored by that idea, even if I'm not fully experienced, or even sure of the idea.

I still struggle with the bit about not being able to feel two fingers/feet, etc at the same time. It really seems as if I can, although I suspect it's just an illusion created as a result of the mind processing so quickly, as I'm sure it must.

This flickering bit confuses me though. I'm with you on the idea of pulses. But if a pulse of reality is say, hearing a bird call out, how does rate of observation factor in? I heard the sound begin and end, and a brief moment of a sense of it in my mind after it has passed, not unlike colored lights you see after someone snaps a photo of you. Unless that's simply recall of what just passed. Anyway, I digress. Wouldn't the pulse simply be the sensory event? What do you mean by rate of observation, that is, what does that mean for you?

good idea about re-reading the instructions I'll take a look at that this evening.

Thanks for chiming in, and better late than never!
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 5/1/15 12:32 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/1/15 12:32 AM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Just my opinion here, as this is how it worked out for me.

Yes, you are looking for too much too soon

Work on the gross sensations for first path.
Work on the mental impression/echo second path.

The sensations are big fat easy objects to notice. It's like they are body sized objects. I took the heat upon my body in the sauna as object and it's as if it were 6 feet tall. The mental impression on the other hand is like a watermellon seed compared to the 6 feet tall object. It's hard to notice compared to the big thing and if you squeeze on it too much it slips away. Finding the seed in the first place is very difficult when the big object has not been "seen thru" yet. After first path it was a matter of adjusting to the new level of discernment needed and gently noticing subtler stuff.
Not that you might not be able to do both and land first and second path at the same time....but lets say that is a very rare occurance.
Good luck,
~D


Well, I've been at it for a while now, although I'm not fortunate enough to have hours to spare each day to work on it. I can carve out more time, and will simply have to do so.

So what is first path, and second path? I've seen those terms, but not an explanation.

Gross sensation - you mentioned hot water. I assume from this, we are talking about any ordinary physical sensation. Hot water, lights, sound, smell, taste, the sense doors in other words. Correct? Seems this would be kinda' hard to miss, and should be as easy to sense as simply paying attention. Am I missing something?

Thanks for mentioning the bit about squeezing too much. Or trying too hard, as I've thought of it. A sort of hyper vigilant leaning into it. Somehow I intuitively sensed that was only working against me. It helps to have that confirmed.

so what do you mean by seeing through the big object? How did you do it? And your seed analogy - you are simply using this as something to give a sense of relative "size" as it were, correct? Seed to me always has a connotation of a progenitor or source of, although that doesn't seem to be what you're saying.

I appreciate your input, every bit helps as I keep chipping away at this.

Scott Kinney, modified 8 Years ago at 5/1/15 12:56 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/1/15 12:56 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 112 Join Date: 4/7/15 Recent Posts
Darrell:
[snip]

I still struggle with the bit about not being able to feel two fingers/feet, etc at the same time. It really seems as if I can, although I suspect it's just an illusion created as a result of the mind processing so quickly, as I'm sure it must.

This flickering bit confuses me though. I'm with you on the idea of pulses. But if a pulse of reality is say, hearing a bird call out, how does rate of observation factor in? I heard the sound begin and end, and a brief moment of a sense of it in my mind after it has passed, not unlike colored lights you see after someone snaps a photo of you. Unless that's simply recall of what just passed. Anyway, I digress. Wouldn't the pulse simply be the sensory event? What do you mean by rate of observation, that is, what does that mean for you?

[snip]
with the 2 fingers thing, the concept of vibrations might work better than pulses, YMMV. A couple of things to play with; when observing the feelings of the two fingers try to ask "in this instant which one do I feel?", or start with feeling the fingers vibrating, get used to the vibrations, and then you'll start to refine which finger is observed when.  It really is like watching a high-level ping pong game. At first the ball is just a blur across the table, after watching a little while, you see where the ball is more clearly, where it hits the table, when the player hits it and so on.

'rate of observation' = how many times per second (say) you can notice things. or how many distinct sensations can you pick out during inhalation?  (say a normal inhale is 3 - 4 seconds and you can identify 8 distinct sensations, your rate of observation is about 2 times per second.)

Chris' phrase 'sampling rate' is a really good way to think about it as well. I actually printed out his entry in this thread so I can read it in context with MCTB, and Practical Insight Meditation. (Thanks Chris!)

The reason to care about the rate at all? If you are going to do noting, rate of observation is the difference between missing things entirely (that "Where did I go just then?" feeling), noting them after they occur (and are gone, which I refer to as 'getting rolled' by an transient thought or sensation), noting them while they are occurring, and noting them as they begin to occur.
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CJMacie, modified 8 Years ago at 5/2/15 8:16 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/2/15 7:44 AM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
Scott Kinney:
Darrell:

... But if a pulse of reality is say, hearing a bird call out, how does rate of observation factor in? I heard the sound begin and end, and a brief moment of a sense of it in my mind after it has passed, ...
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The reason to care about the rate at all? If you are going to do noting, rate of observation is the difference between missing things entirely (that "Where did I go just then?" feeling), noting them after they occur (and are gone, which I refer to as 'getting rolled' by an transient thought or sensation), noting them while they are occurring, and noting them as they begin to occur.

Looking again as 'vibration', note that sound is what our mind (and corelated brain stuff) constructs as an experiencial impression from aural sensations that are compression waves of air molecules. At 440 hz (the pitch 'A' below middle 'C') the waves 'hit' the eardrum 440 times per second, but the neural apparatus can't discern individual pulses/waves at that speed -- evolution has resulted in the 'perception' of a tone having a pitch.

Now, a tone at a pitch also has a wave-length -- the higher the pitch the shorter the wave-length. In pipe-organs (I played church and concert pipe-organ in high-school and college days) the highest pitches come from pipes (essetially tiny whistles) down to about 3/8 inch long, up at above 10 kHz or so. The lowest pitches come from pipes up to 32 feet (16hz), even 64 feet long (8hz). The interesting thing is that somewhere at about 16 feet (32hz) the pitch begins to be perceived as no longer a pitch, per se, but as vibration, as a series of separate beats. That shows us an instance of the "sampling rate" of the human nervous system. (A 32-foot pipe by itself sounds like rapid thumping, even s/w vulgar (like farting or the "rasberry"); but when added underneath "full organ" (all the stops) it adds a magnificent depth and power that shakes the building.)

Another, more refined musical example: Karl-Heinz Stockhausen (master composer of electronic music in the mid-late 20th century) created a passage (in a piece named "Kontakte" / English "Contacts", ca. 1960*) where he used a high pitch sound that wound down in pitch, continuously rather that by discreet pitches or notes, like a siren, for instance; he continued to decelerate it, lower the pitch until it went through the threshhold at the lowest "pitches" we can hear, and became perceptible as rapid beats; then slower and slower to slow beats, and eventually so slow that a single beat (now beats however at a pitch) went on continuously -- he had demonstrated a continuum from audible pitches down through more tangible vibrations and through to continuous pitch again. Kind of a conceptual and musical tour-de-force.

The point is, you can clearly notice the threshhold where the brain+sensory system can discern individual vibrations, on the low side, and continuous tones, on the higher side. And it's -- probably varying s/w between individuals -- somewhere in the range of 20-30 hz, i.e. 20-30 vibrations or pulses per second.

And we all know about the cinematic and TV property that rapidly paced individual static frames or pictures become perceived as continuous "moving pictures" also at about 15-25 hz; I believe a frame or refresh rate of about 30/second is considered fast enough to fully mask the discreet nature from the sensory-neurological perception. AND this range of "vibration" rates appears to correspond to what Daniel describes in MCTB -- easily discernable up to about 10hz, and possibly to 20, 30 (I think he mentions up to 40?).


* The composition (35+ minutes) can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhdEUbj0mgQ, which includes percussion instruments in dialog with the electronic sound -- hence the title 'contacts'. The passage I describe occurs at about 17 minutes into it (at about the exact mid-point of the piece).
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 5/5/15 5:36 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/5/15 5:36 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
Sitting still, feeling the fingers, without any other sensation present in the fingers I only feel the subtle energy of the life in the fingers. I can't say I feel vibrations.
Darrell, modified 8 Years ago at 5/5/15 8:10 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 5/5/15 8:10 PM

RE: Vibrations

Posts: 143 Join Date: 2/22/15 Recent Posts
The point is, you can clearly notice the threshhold where the brain+sensory system can discern individual vibrations, on the low side, and continuous tones, on the higher side. And it's -- probably varying s/w between individuals -- somewhere in the range of 20-30 hz, i.e. 20-30 vibrations or pulses per second. 

And we all know about the cinematic and TV property that rapidly paced individual static frames or pictures become perceived as continuous "moving pictures" also at about 15-25 hz; I believe a frame or refresh rate of about 30/second is considered fast enough to fully mask the discreet nature from the sensory-neurological perception. AND this range of "vibration" rates appears to correspond to what Daniel describes in MCTB -- easily discernable up to about 10hz, and possibly to 20, 30 (I think he mentions up to 40?).

As with your previous post, Chris, this is excellent, well written information that corners the subject matter using a nicely technical net. The question is, where is the 'vibration' produced? Is it the back and forth of the brain working to perceive and process to different, non simultaneous sensations at different locations? Or does the initial 'bare' sensation as opposed to the mental impression factor in somehow.

Here's what I've begun to experience here in the last two weeks as a result of continuing to work with this practice. I barely catch, or see the initial 'hit' of perception, which you referred to as "bare awareness" ala Nayanaponika. It happens ridiculously fast. The mental impression I can catch every now and then. Usually what I get is the recall of these immediately after the two events just described. When I do catch the mental impression, it has a diffusion effect. It reminds me of reverb. Particularly digital reverbs that use a short pre-delay. So there's the note, then the reverb (equivalent to the mental impression) and it trails off slowly, albeit briefly over a second, maybe two or three even. While I think Mr. Ingram's description of the mental impression as being slippery, so is the inital sensory event. Even if I'm looking for it, the moment of perception before the brain recognizes it, and begins to process with labeling/identifying, and associating to memories is so fast that it's over by the time I see it.