Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd Dom Stone 9/28/17 4:17 PM
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Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/28/17 4:17 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/2/17 10:30 AM

Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
This is a bit of an experiment for me as I've never been particularly good at sticking to these sorts of endeavours.

Presumed MCTB 2nd path. 

In addition, I have historically been quite the self talker, and during this process of awakening, this hasn't changed as much as I would like it to have! However the interactions between different thoughts and behaviours with comparison to a self has changed significantly enough to 'reassure' such thoughts and behaviours that things are changing. Despite this, I get frustrated with the desire to share my experiences, and am hoping that simply putting a practice log will offload some of this subconscious responsibility to talk about my experiences.

Primarily however, my aim is to offer something tangible for people to assimilate as they wish, welcoming comments etc.

Before starting, I feel that it would be sensible to give some light background history, to put the present into context in terms of what historical events shape any perceptions I have now. It is intentionally vague as I don't want to solidify the experiences as a linear story so much, rather I wish to example themes and attitudes.

Diagnosed Tourettes, Bipolar and ADHD, I have had a complicated and unsettled childhood, primarily causing me to have a very low opinion of myself, masked by an outwardly grandiose sense of self. My mental health has hit a point of stability now however, and I don't take medication, and rely on a life crafted on good kammas which seems to be doing a much better job than any health service, however I believe it is a combination of attempted skillful living and the grace of circumstance that has got me to this situation, and while it's nice to believe I won't fall into a pit of self misery again, I seek to welcome future circumstances regardless of how profoundly earth shattering they may be...

I'm 30 now, and have been practicing Buddhism and Vipassana for over a year formally, however my spiritually inclined nature has been long winded, with the occasional long patch where the ways of the world intrigue me more. I discovered meditation and yoga as a child, but not knowing what they were, and being encouraged to be 'normal', I forgot about these experiences. In addition as a child, I refused to believe reality as it was. It was as if my mind was cycling different possible reality paradigms that could explain the no self experience which contradicted materialism, the primarly external philosophy I could comprehend around me at about 6-10. Noteably I believed I was the only real lifeform, and everything else was a manifestation, or that we were all the same manifestation, among other variations. I also used to get reoccuring dreams of some distant planet, being exiled and seperate etc. These were archetypally strong things for me. I became a Christian at 15 at a local church I joined because I had no friends at boarding school I trusted, possibly had my first A&P experience, but difficult to tell, though I clearly had a mystical way of viewing the world and not trusting the automatic presumptions of reality, during my breakdown especially at 18. Practicing psychic phenonema, but via inefficient methods. Lots of telekinetic movements etc which I am reluctant to put meaning upon.

I've lived in Norwich for 4 years, never visted before, just got all my stuff and stayed with a friend. The time here has been overwhelming, and has flipped all previous existance upside down. I became considerably addicted to drugs, notably Spice which I sold at the time to other homeless people, but a racy stimulant psychedelic called AMT was the main issue! Nothing in my life has yet topped the amount of intensity and kamma creating bullshit I got myself into, and after 6 months of being a demigod, the responsibility of delusions becomes too much to keep up! My mind was poisoned with storys of life, craving for happiness, being able to think at all was quite difficult really, and it all gave me the time and motivation I needed to get a little deeper and put some more effort into finding these insights that struck me so profoundly when high, and making them a part of everyday reality. A year and a half later, most of the damage has been healed, not quite ;)

I sometimes believe in Tarot, Astrology, I Ching etc. At times, such divination can produce really nice results that make little difference in the long run, but it's nice to think about.

My drug use is mostly gone now, and to quite a deep level I am aware how there is little to be gained from such experience, but the chains of cause and effect keep rolling, and my situation doesn't allow for easy coming off it. I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend who I met at the peak of my druggy days. We have both drastically improved our situation and self image, however I would be happy to quit cannabis once and for all. It's not the case with her at this time, and I am stuck with certain sankharas. There are still reactions when she smokes as I'm aware in detail now on it's affects on mind, and the thought immediately comes that we will be more distant as this happens, so sometimes I smoke with her. Nothing in this situation can be explained without going into strong specifics, which would then negate the other aspects of how this experience is important to me, but I believe that with further insight, some of the unspecifics will be clear enough to let go.

We live on a boat now, and my current material ambitions are to upgrade bits in life that will last, and return an investment of non materialism, or financial freedom. Such as solar panels, paying off debts etc. I'm currently in a very fortunate financial situation, which may end next month, but could continue for a year or so!

This time also allows me to commit a large amount of time to meditation practice which can be anything up to an hour to 4-5 hours a day with mindfulness the rest of the time.

Finally, I want to mention that as I write some of this, there are these nebulous no-self concepts of experience that take into account more than the specific information, but which I believe will be blown apart completely at 3rd path. I will be using the MCTB definitions for any experience to prevent confusion.

I will update this to include previous meditation history shortly.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/3/17 11:34 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/3/17 11:34 AM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Memory of past experience is inaccurate, so will keep it short.

Dark night had been oddly non problematic. I had assumed that I was going to be prone to a good ass kicking considering my previous life experiences, but at most, it was spooky and 'vibey', and more an affirmation that lesser travelled territory is being skillfully navigated. Dissolution phase of dark night was for me one of the most intriguing parts of my first path experience, as it was more obvious an experience for me than any other at the time. A&P felt like hypomania for me, and due to crazy experiences previous to my meditation practice, it failed to 'blow my mind', making me think my first A&P has already been assimilated by my mind pretty deep. This could have been during my Christian days, though it's possible those experiences weren't quite enough to put me in the dark night, not deeply anyway. I blame drug useage however!

First Path experience: 13th April 2017

Noticing different aspects of experience as my thinking mind would observe it. Higher equinamity here was similar to the dissolution experience in terms of head spaciness, but instead of disappearance, there seemed to be a low level of non specific awareness. As thoughts came, they disappeared again, with all the 3 characteristics showing up in possibly every observed mind moment, but this may not be the case. Experience flowed like a stream, and when I attempted to place my attention on what wasn't objectfiable experience (I.e. Myself), the concepts fell in on themselves, and my mind seemed to hover between conceptual experience, and what in retrospect feels like non conceptual experience, like a plane trying to land, but bouncing off the runway. Eventually, the balance was right, and something 'happened'.

This followed about 1 week abiding in equinamity, which for me was the most peaceful experience yet. As this happened, something felt lifted, reinforcing the present 'vibe', however I was too excited to continue for long, after 30 mins, it felt more safe to assume that this was the case.

My review phase wasn't necessarily the 'happiest' time of my life, however it was most certainly a VERY positive, relaxed and optimistic time. Things were starting to fit in well in my daily life, I felt like certain things were being lifted with increasingly clear awareness. It felt like I understood why so many things were a hinderance, but they didn't need to be anymore. (In retrospect, some of these things still happen to be hinderances, but they are no longer the centerpoint and the basis of reactivity. I had 3 fruitions, however my tendencies with concentration meant that these were difficult to mantain except one which may have been more like 5 mind moments!! (I don't know how long it really lasted, but it was slightly longer). These fruitions were kind of like a little catnap in terms of mental refreshment, and carried some kind of samatha into daily life more than if there was no fruition.

The review phase lasted for less than a week, and elements of the next path practice became evident only a couple of days after 1st path. Into next Mind and Body, it felt like I was back to square one, and getting concentration was difficult. My first A&P beyond this point happened under the influence of cannabis, which lead to some, at the time, profound insights, mostly forgotten, with a very peaky dark night! 

At this point I think it's important to mention my findings on how cannabis affects my practice, and may write a post about it in detail in the other subforum. This is because there appears to be little material on the subject, and like anything in this universe, unless it's an absolute truth, is limited in view only by the scope of the limited mind. Drugs do not make practice better, nor am I an existing independant entity that 'chooses' to take such substances. Obviously, it would be foolish to refute moral practices as that would represent a coloured understanding of this truth. Intention in this case is very important. I don't smoke to improve my practice, or 'have fun', so I am not bound into this. I also reflect strongly that I am trading unification of mind for a temporarily boosted concentration. Afterwards, providing I refuse to identify with the compulsive urge to label experience (which would carry more kammas into future, I would end up with less concentration,  quite dull for up to 4 days, but also an imprint of the experience which I can navigate at a later point when the conditions are right.

Other than that, the second cycle of insight was similar to the first. It required a fine tuning of morality, but despite various fears I would need to give certain things up before I was ready, this wasn't the case, and had another path moment just over a month later than the first. (27/05/2017) It was more ambiguous to define than the first, but I was more sure of it oddly. It felt at this point that something broke inside my head, and my thoughts appeared much.... Smaller/quieter/more periphery? This was most odd an experience which remains to this day. I guess at that point, thoughts got relegated to the same depth of experience as the other senses, and it was no longer superimposed on top of the other senses.

During the review phase, I had one fruition, and occasionally had perceptual shifts that are associated with 2.5 path, such as feeling like my awareness was outside of my body, or having a wide FOV with sights and sounds.

Starting on way to third had been difficult, because I didn't know what I was looking for. Intellectually I knew that the progress of insight as a map was no longer going to be a suitable place of solitude, but my mind was still clinging to states. I read The Mind Illuminated which was really good and helped me work my concentration up to level 7-8, however, switching to such a model (Which I found useful as it was no longer about completing the goal for me) caused a bit of confusion as to my progress. As my concentration became strong enough to start making progress in this path, I was filled with doubts with regards to my existing progress, wondering if I had ever experienced a path moment at all, and nearly wrote a forum post about being wrong about it all. As it turns out, it's the different paradigms, such as that which gives meaning or story to existance, which are the point of focus now. No self experiences increasingly take the place of such compartmentalising of reality.

Occasional sensory shifts have become apparent, and things that happen within this expanded awareness no longer act as the 'centerpoint of experience'.

It wasn't until I committed to 5 hours meditation a day when I was forced to confront certain beliefs, such as the inside/outside duality, sense of space as anything other than an object, and the philosophical framework that I had crafted from an early age.

My first true A&P experience during 2.5 was spent cycling around delivering food and meditating. This lasted for a few days and contained some nice insight experiences. The dukkha nanas that followed were the first ones that really posed a challenge, and satisfied the existential masochist in me, until even that side of me decided to give up.

Currently, practice seems to be about working up to a high level of concentration (I still have a long way to go in convincing the other me's that high concentration is the best thing ever!) and then trying to shift into non dual experiences as much as I can in daily life, practicing insight. There are a lot of changes happening that can't quite be worded, but generally there has become a significant amount of acceptance for the present moment, which is clearly seen as unsatisfactory once self comes into the picture.

Here goes my practice log from here on:
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/4/17 4:29 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/4/17 8:58 AM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Today consisted just of an hour and a half of sitting meditation at my usual sitting meditation spot, with some walking beforehand. The first half was not so peaceful due to builders erecting some prefab building nearby, but allowed for some basic insight practice. During this time, I practiced observing the silence underneath all sounds, which ended up making for a restful concentration object, with all the other sounds situated primarily in the periphery of my attention. During this time, I also noticed various processing algorithms that my attention paced around, further deepening the idea of the mind as a bundle of separate programs, with the sense of self occupying no particular area.

After 45 minutes or so, the builders went in for a lunch break making for some external quietitude. This allowed me to do some concentration practice, and make more apparent the restlessness that existed. 10 minutes in, there was some grade 1 and 2 piti with some waves, precluding sinking into 1st jhana but discursive thought prevented any full absorbtion.

At one point, there was a sense of boredom, which I placed my attention on. Upon reflection, it appeared due to knowledge of dukkha, which ego knew it had no answer for.

Finally, it has been apparent there has been some conceptual veneer overlaying experience. When this is seen for what it is, it is yet another thought stream in the mind. This sense of differentiation has allowed for a greater perception of calm throughout what is happening, and on a couple of occasions for a few seconds, mind seems to have transcended conceptual experience, but with a subtle watcher still remaining. This state cannot be held for long, but it seems to be able to switch with intention when the mind is peaceful.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/8/17 11:55 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/8/17 11:55 AM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Progress has been slow the last few days, primarily due to lack of meditation practice, it has also been nearly 2 weeks since I last properly did walking meditation, which worked extremely well for keeping concentration high when doing different tasks. I may do it tommorow, though will start doing it with shoes instead of without now it's getting wetter and colder outside.

1 hour of sitting with nearly 10 minutes of walking before and after. Mind is quite noisy, though there were no gross distractions of any kind, though keeping mind solely on the breath proved difficult for any extended period of time. The only way past this I believe is to ramp up my practice again and focus on my breath in my whole body for a longer period of time.

Interestingly, the mind is quite happy resting in the present moment, with a relatively subtle sense of self, however a sense of continuity of phenonema was disrupted, scattering this flow in different 'directions' based upon where my attention is placed.

As my concentration is not high right now, I'm not able to gain insight into certain aspects that I believe would come readily given the chance.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/10/17 10:19 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/10/17 10:19 AM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
The last few days have had quite the dark night twinge to them, regardless of the amount of time I put into meditation, and resultantly, have had a moderate aversion to meditation. Yesterday, I lasted 35 minutes, 30 minutes walking, and 5 minutes sitting, after which I stopped due to the gnat infestation.

Waking up today, I could have mistaken my mood for a typical bipolar depression, except it didn't have so much fatigue or torpor. However, the persisting sense of joylessness and apathy with the occasional self pity does run in line with bipolar depression. It may be that there are causal factors that link the both together somewhat, but I'm not sure it actually really matters. Insight is insight, and temporary situations don't define insight, though can defintely give hints and clues to the connections that are made by the mind.

I did my standard 10ish minutes walk slowly up the path to my spot and back, with approx 1 hours meditation in between. Meditating further is still difficult, and after spending time with a neighbour, and smoking cannabis, I had thought my attention would be worse than it has been, however, I believe that due to sensible inquiry, it didn't matter too much, but am definately resolving never to do it again. The existential malaise and fairly heavy tripping that accompanies such usage is showing signs that only apply to experience with mind altering substances, even if they are based upon the 3 Characteristics that are particularly clear at the time. 

At about 10 minutes in, for no apparent reason at the time, I felt like I was going to cry, which on reflection could have been a subconscious desire to release some blockages.

30 minutes in, I placed attention onto my heart chakra to see if I could make the situation less cold and separate. Starting with a hollow feeling, it felt like there were small energetics (Kind of like sparks) of warmth that came out from the center, so I used this as an object, during which time there became a steadily increase of warmth and pleasure. It spontaneously changed into Metta practice for a brief while. Once it became conceptual, the mind lost interest in the process and it was back to noting. Interestingly, as this was happening, clarity of the external environment became much clearer and it felt like I had bordered into equinamity territory, which was occasionally a relief, but fortunately, self wasn't too involved to seek relief.

Lately during times of equinamity, dependant origination becomes very clear, and there is very little self outside whatever is experiencing reality. As in, from this position of view, birth, aging, death, becomes especially clear. And it also becomes clear how craving can lead to this, but these states are rarely lasting. Whilst noting mind processes, it was apparent, that not only was there this constant noise that refused to stop, (occasionaly visual, but mainly auditory and conceptual), but that they were mainly web-like dependant on eachother, and for that reason, breaking free from a particular mental sensation, would have little affect on the others. The clear state of equinamity definitly would be a good place to start to break down many of these things, but getting past my 'stuff' is going to be a difficult road. 
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/23/17 6:07 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/23/17 6:06 PM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Been a while in replying due to being on holiday to Italy for 8 days. I found time to meditate for 2 of those days next to the beach but it felt more like maintainence than anything else. Despite this, the effects of my holiday have been profound, and my sense of self appears to take up much less of my awareness, and has led to at least one orofound shift in my awareness.

It was a family holiday (My mum was having her 25th wedding aniversary vow renewal), and it was an action packed time, with lots of new experiences, including being on top of Mount Baldo, (Which was the quietest most expansive place I have been to), accepting that my desire to be there longer than an hour was causing me suffering, and having what I can only assume to be a PCE among some loud youths at the cablecar station that I found irritating just before going down.

My family are quite conventional, despite the fact my mum is very out the box internally but doesn't show it, and it was frustrating to see how situations were handled, and a trip to Venice (The worlds biggest shopping plaza) really hammered home the futility of the human condition. All of these moments were used as insight material, and took me outside my usual way of thinking, as I had no safezone to retreat to.

On arriving back, it was apparent that my perception of everything was different, as if aspects of Italy were smeared onto current reality creating a different experience, and it seemed that it was easy to not let the story of the moment become the defining feature on the actual moment. This meant that binding moments were much less, and the self that is supposed to perceive such moments were also much less. This has become the basis of insight since I got back.

Currently, my resting state is that of awareness, as in most of the time, any perceivable sense of self is absent, though it doesn't feel permanently so just yet as there are subtleties that I cannot quite yet perceive, however the concentration boost this has given may make realising this a possible task. 

Meditating for the first time in a few days earlier tonight after work in a field was pure and simple. It was very present, and had I been less tired and had more time, it would have easily led to jhana. 

It feels like I have been in equinamity all day, however, that sentance is far too conceptual for my liking, and doesn't reflect how it actually felt! It will be interesting to see if this is a permanent shift, because it feels that practice is no longer about attaining paths, though I imagine there's a few latent thoughts waiting to spring out ready to challenge that, but nothing that some noting can't fix!
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/24/17 4:55 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/24/17 4:55 AM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
I was unsure as to whether to write this as a new post or to edit the existing one. As this is a seperate experience which has raised on significance after posting, I shall write it as a new post.

The last few nights, possibly synonymous with the few days of a lesser sense of identity, I have been waking up with what feels like a subtle dark night episode. The last time this happened was shortly after attaining second path (Likely in review), where I woke up one night in a very concentrated (Or at least destabilised) knowledge of fear. During this time, the symptoms were similar to previous initial dark night symptoms following inquiry based psychedelic usage which involved a sense of desynchronisation with the cosmos, the feeling I could die any second, powerlessness and the sense of all objects slipping out of my grasp. The second path experience was interesting in that there was still the same fear at a slightly more manageable degree, however it was like my mind was familiar enough to ignore the coarser aspects of the experience.

Interestingly, the recent experiences which have happened 3-4 nights in a row (Maybe skipping a night) have a similar ring to them, but the mind, due to processes outside my awareness, has ignored even more of them leading to a more subtle, but no less profound experience. There was still a sense of imminent doom, and loss of control, but there was no discernable sense of grasping. (Any sense of grasping could be considered on the same level as the sense of self not easily perceived as mentioned in the last post). It is as if the selfing process that has been dropped, no longer contributed to the suffering experienced in that episode, showing a direct link between suffering and self. I can imagine, that had that selfing process been reactionary like before, then it would have been quite a horrific experience like before.

It almost feels like a review phase for 3rd path, but I don't believe I am there yet, and I would be very hesitant to make any claims to the otherwise, as it would stop me noticing whatever it is that I could be missing. There is a sense that everything is almost as it 'should' be, however using the word should implies things need to be a specific way. Asides from the way it is, there is no other way.

I must note that I still don't have any particularly impressive concentration skills, and find it difficult placing labels on my experiences, and my only definite experience of the Jhana of Infinite Space was on LSD, so as such, what I'm writing in general shouldn't suggest any remarkable state. In fact, any bizarre experiences seem to be few and far between, making things like Jhanas and Cessations very difficult to achieve. I'm also starting to believe that high states of concentration aren't entirely necessary providing the 5 hinderances are left well alone! However the resolution required to notice increasingly subtle objects require a deeper level of baseline concentration proportional to the aspects of mind that are no longer using up valuble mind-space if that makes sense?? I'm also starting to believe that, rather than always being a place of absolute calm and clarity reached in deep meditation, Knowledge that Leads to Emergence may instead rely simply that conflicting mental processes no longer be the automatic points of reference illuminated by consciousness.

At this point, I would appreciate some feedback from people, not just from those that could help me make sense of things, but also to know if this journal is helping anyone. I understand that as unique repositories of information, we all have different experiences, and ways of imparting useful information.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/24/17 6:02 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/24/17 6:02 PM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Been posting a lot today, I hope it's acceptable! I feel like I've had some sort of breakthrough today with many fresh insights that I hope are digested as fully as possible. I wrote this on my phone while waiting at restaurants so it may not as concise as I would like it to be.

During my sit, in regards to a moving object, attention seemed to flux between sense of the observer arising and passing, and the familiar 'object in motion' paradigm. When awareness placed on its own arising and passing, the object was still accurately located in peripheral awareness, but motion was not perceived in the object at all.

High Equanimity with stop frame vibrations about 15-20hz (too quick for mind to cognise) with a small craving for path moment which disappeared quicky upon noting. No bliss wave, just a sense of peace not entirely distinct than before, but more pervasive. This seems like a side effect of higher concentration rather than a path moment.

Material desires sensed as dangerous but self does not obviously view it as "I like that", rather it is perceived as an object of desire, which does create feelings of 'good' in the self, but my awareness of this feels incomplete. There is still a sense of control as to whether they are 'allowed' or not. Perhaps this would be an interesting object of enquiry. Any desires for immaterial states seemed too subtle to discern properly, however there was no knowledge that they really didn't exist.There is no narrative unless prolonged attention is directed at object (As the object would otherwise appear as part of a larger frame, no interest would otherwise be had)Asides from the knowing, there is no solidity in objects. Seen is seen etc...  On a similar note, while I was waiting for a food order to deliver to a customer, the only thing to suggest that I was a physical being standing on a physical floor, were sensations of pressure located in feet. It took quite a bit of thinking to solidify as the sensation of pressure wasn't located in any particular point in space without the additional percept of proprioception that it could be bound within. Otherwise 'I' had no mass, it was the emptiness behind physicality, similar to the silence that all sounds appear.

Thoughts occasionally assumed ownership when they were not in field of attention, but these were seen to pass away immediately upon noticing them. They weren't given the opportunity to have a sense of self attached to them for a discernable period. This suggests mindfulness of the whole sense fields (formations) leave less blind spots for self to hide.Things and decisions happened on their own without a sense of agency to them. It was as if they already happened before 'I' could do anything about it and somewhere down the line, mind forgot to put the 'I' into the awareness of things to bind these moments together. However, this 'I' still managed to claim a subtle ownership of the stream of consciousness that all of this appeared as. This self owned thoughts in the same way a personality might own the view out of their window. As such, there was still a sense of ownership over the decisions and a sense that I could change the outcome of a situation even though 'I' wasn't making them.

It felt like the Arising and Passing stage without loss of clarity from low equinamity that preceeded. It felt like baseline shift with the defilements eradicated, however in hindsight, it may have been a fractal cycle, with A&P happening within equanimity.

Lines of enquiry:

Vedana with sense objects, why is it still  not fully discerned? Is there a subtle aversion in committing full awareness?
Who is it that craved the attainment mentioned earlier.
Time and motion as subject arising and passing, not object.What creates sense of physicality, touch etc and how does this connection get made.
Sense of self happening AFTER things happen subconsciously. Try note fast when this happens.

Unfortunately, while writing this down, I was unaware of the ego once again taking center state, it wasn't until I was concerned that I might be 'losing the state', that I knew I couldn't have reached third path. Dependant Origination and the following situation:
I feel like I'm ghost hunting, but I'm the ghost inside of myself. I keep disappearing as soon as light is shined on me, because I was never the ghost to begin with. It's a paradox from the ghosts point of view but not from the view of direct awareness.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/25/17 3:49 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/25/17 3:49 PM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
For some reason, since coming back from holiday, the last couple of days have seem such a massive gain to my concentration that it's odd to think what my practice was like only a week ago. However there was some pretty strong dark nighting going on.

Today, I've been taking it easy as I've been feeling ill the last few days. In early afternoon, I spent about an hour and a half meditating. 30 minutes walking, and an hour sitting. It was very easy to settle in, and there was some vague nimitta from the start. I tend not to get too many lights etc, rather it's patches of lighter colour. As I settled in to some watching the breath, there were peculiar shapes that had a sort of 3 dimensional edge to them, twisting in on themselves, which happens occasionally, but not to such a resolution. Also, there was the odd bluish spark. I tried to not put too much attention on them and continued with breath watching. Things got calm, and after a brief moment of access concentration, I gradually settled (I think) into a stable 4th Jhana. It was definately an absorption, accessed through Equinamity, that didn't contain any rapturous feelings associated with the earlier jhanas. As the jhana stabilised, the only parts of my body that were percieved were the parts that had pressure on them, such as my back and my fingertips that were touching eachother. Amusingly, the fingertips touching gave the impression that my arms had disappeared and half of my hands were floating in front of my body. I tried to see if I could enter the immaterial jhanas but wasn't able to let go of the objects of form well enough, however there could have been some sort of spacious element to it, but it's difficult to make out. At this point, I decided to vipassanise the sensations for a few minutes, then practice choiceless awareness in the hope of settling into what felt like a very crisp and present state of existence. I reached the cutting edge of my practice here and noticed that I really needed to drop all desires for enlightenment due to the state of becoming that it created. I switched to noting in order to catch out any subtle sensations, but I was unable to pull the rug out from under the self that wanted progress.

Feeling optimistic, about 7:30pm I tried again to sit for about an hour and 20 minutes, it was dark this time and there was much less noise, which I find helps greatly for concentration. Due to the fact I was tired, it was more difficult to stabilise the mind and I nearly gave up, however I managed to settle into jhana, which I believe was 4th again. I once again tried to focus on quieting the objects of form to the point of just perceiving the background (I'm not entirely sure this is an appropriate way, but it feels intuitive to me.) It got to the point where my mind reached an unprecedented level of calm, and while there was no solidified sense of spaciousness, it was like there were moments something SEEMED to stretch out intermittantly and my sense of body was almost non existant at moments, but due to my lack of experience with the arupa jhanas, it's still difficult to understand what is actually going on. I did try locate 'the witness' at this point, and something was there (Though I may have misunderstood the whole thing), then it was gone. Realising I wasn't going to get much deeper in concentration, I once again decided to notice the characteristics with vipassana, back to cutting edge. This time however, there was some sort of release of clutching as deeper sankharas were perceived, then what happened next was something that felt remarkable to me, and obviously was something the self wanted to own! I no longer held a fixed position in space, and everything happened by itself, where it was. I believe the correct definition of what happened on this site is luminousity. It was like a subtle shift, that encompassed all previous knowledges, without the added distortion of being a separate watcher. I was just awareness, and the trees were as much me as anything else I could notice. (That's except for the occasional thought tree with it's thought branches that wanted to take hold, but I was able to flip it back quite easily, consistently for the whole time I was sitting.) This has to be the most profound shift to have taken place so far, and I think it'll take a little while to fully open up. However, interestingly, it felt like a final piece of the puzzle, and while it isn't something that has permanently opened up so far, I feel like once it is totally uprooted, that may signify third path. This is because it felt like a coarse perception compared to the very subtle sensations that underpinned awareness and luminosity. There was this large gap of freedom in between that I can imagine, once the barrier is lifted, would become a huge relief for whatever sense of self is left.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/27/17 6:12 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/27/17 10:51 AM

RE: Dom's stream

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Yesterday I did approx 2 and a half hours formal meditation, primary focus was accessing jhanas to concentrate mind enough to make clearer the subtle sensations that otherwise mainly slip by without being acknowledged properly. Despite the fact it was easy to settle down, there was some mild aversion to sensations, which has led me to the following conclusion:

After a peak experience during where ones awareness is somehow able to bypass various subconcious limitations (A&P), one is then acutely aware of these limitations that come up for inspection. I believe that this is because now that the mind seeks to lock onto a clearer more natural reality, thoughts and sankharas etc that once seemed relevant, are now seen as a problem due to their illusory nature. This can seem especially frustrating as at this point, this particular level of self has to move out of it's 'own way' (Obviously it's not moving out of it's own way as that would be a logical fallacy, but it looks that way to the self. To the observer, it is merely a clearer way of seeing

Today I spent 2 hours sitting in my usual spot. As I recovered a bit from my cold, the amount of physical and mental energy was much higher, and I believe this translated well. I will write about this to the best of my experience, however, as it is an exploration of more subtle material, remembering it fully now it seems more like a dream. It may be the case, that I touched upon sensations to be uprooted at 4th path, but it may be that third goes much deeper than expected. It feels like the individual sensations noticed weren't very important yet, especially as they were so subtle I have no idea what they were!

I started by watching my breath until thoughts came up that hindered clear seeing. I noted these thoughts and other competing sensations and continued as my mind gradually became calm enough to enter some sort of vipassana jhana. Hard jhana seemed out of the question for some reason and I wasn't paying close attention to what jhana factors were present. I placed my attention on attention itself, and how it liked to jump about, which created some sort of negative feedback loop and stilled the mind immediately. After about 10 minutes of this focused, I almost lost consciousness of my body completely, and whenever mind was directed to the body, it was like a soft warm subtle awareness. At this point, trying to enter absorption was possible, and it made for a strong 4th jhana with elements of 5th. I again noted sensations (With just awareness), and at one point I believe it was a 5th vipassana jhana with elements of 6, but at this point, things just generally got rather wierd so can't really suggest what was going on due to my lack of knowledge/experience. What I did feel was physical sensations becoming a single object that felt immovable in space and time, my sense of space twisting in on itself, and very subtle mind objects that made up the less subtle objects such as spaciousness. It's hard to tell what was what, which doesn't make for a very pragmatic viewpoint, but it was the deepest I have been so far. Everything became sensations, I noticed sensations that were pinned with a belief that they noticed other sensations, and as I became aware of external sensations, everything was very overwhelming. It was like 30+ sensations a second were bombarding my awareness at such a rate, it was amazing I could in some way, keep up with everything without putting it back together in larger easier to digest pieces. I decided to specifically look for the Characteristic of impermanence in these formations, and I got a strong vibrating in my head for a couple of seconds, then blink, fruition.

It had been such a long time since I recognised a fruition (It may have happened before, but due to the fact it didn't feel so profound, I never labelled it as such if it happened). Then after a nice bliss wave, I was back in the A&P, with the edginess of mind to accompany it. The whole fruition thing seemed more comprehensible, and it may have changed some things, but I won't know yet. The edginess was irritating as the resolution of material dropped, though I did feel pretty high! I kept practicing for a while, and got back to a strong level of concentration, but not quite to the level of before.

Now, reality seems very 'close', and sharp. It's making it easy to detect sensations that otherwise eluded my grasp. 

EDIT: for the last few hours I've been cycling strong noticing fear, misery, and disgust to some degree, with desire for deliverance showing up as wanting to move away, but not wanting to move anywhere, while being intuitively aware it's the mindstate, not the content. I've also noticed EQ and A&P as well as another dark night. There's been this constant feeling of pressure in my third eye area and a certain centerlessness to experience. Thinking about myself is also hard to pinpoint the same way as before. Something is definitely different and consistently so. It may well be that earlier, I'd picked up the clarity to notice just what I needed to for the mind to drop some of its reactive patterns and hit 3rd path. Time will tell as it's been an exhausting evening and not particularly blissful, but finding an entity that's actually suffering from it isn't what it used to be.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/28/17 4:38 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/28/17 4:38 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
It has been difficult to find enough time to practice today for various reasons. 50 minutes this morning and about 10 minutes this evening. Neither were particularly spectacular but they did illuminate one thing. That I can't have reached third. While things feel a lot like 3rd (Waking life feels quite strongly like 3rd Jhana, I was walking around with somebody yesterday who I've not seen for a while which could have been quite awkward, and everything was very strange, like I'd taken some wierd research chemical with odd effects), I think it may be that my thought category has opened up and are seen as they are. There are still sensations that have an element of self to them, but they are quite subtle and I can't find them unless I'm really looking for them. There is this impression that since starting meditating properly last year, it has been about deidentifying with and bringing light to increasingly subtle sensations, and that I'm running out of sensations to 'discover'. Placing my attention tonight on what I believe to be the remaining sense of 2.5 pathness quite quickly led to a pressure in the head, so I will investigate this tommorow.
Alesh Vyhnal, modified 6 Years ago at 9/29/17 2:45 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/29/17 2:45 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 130 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
Wow, you live on a boat? I have a question. My wife also suffers from bipolar disorder. When she was 14 she had the first depressive episode and since then she "cycles" between depressive and manic episodes. I hesitate to encourage her to meditate. In your experience, is your "cycling" caused by your bipolar disease or by your meditation practice? Do you think the "cycles" mentioned in MCTB are attainable only for people with some such underlying psychiatric condition? 
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/29/17 5:26 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/29/17 5:23 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Hi Alesh. I do indeed! Initially moved onto one ending a patch of homelessness and have lived on the river ever since as it feels like the right thing to do.

I'm sorry to hear that your wife also suffers from bipolar and hope that she has learned to live with it.

I believe that the cycling is purely a phenomenological state of mind that is subject to the right conditions. During the early stages (eg pre path and 1st), the causes seemed different, but now I'm not so sure as the cycles are beginning to feel less of a big deal.

I believe that meditation will affect people differently and each case needs to be approached seperately. Ihave type 2 bipolar which is mainly periods of depression with bursts of hypomania, and have used meditation to achieve similar effects of antipsychotics (meditate each day and periods of (hypo)mania are much less pronounced or likely to kindle, saving valuable energy and preserving a sensible baseline for reality, however prior to insight practice I have put myself in a stable environment (very nutritious food, adequate sleep, peaceful environment etc). This seems to have prevented many environmental factors from triggering episodes.

Cycles triggered by bipolar may well be the same strata of mind, however I believe there are differences between the 2. Depression with bipolar can sometimes feel like being smothered by an uncomfortable cushion and any motivation to think, let alone do anything productive is not there. There is also a tendancy to feel sorry for myself and not want to meditate. In addition it's possible to have a mixed state episode which I can't really relate well to meditation.

Cycling in meditation doesn't seem to have those additional processes in action suggesting maybe a more direct mechanism of action, whereas to enter a similar state of mind in bipolar may go through different mental channels.

So it can be difficult to point the finger on what may happen and why, especially with the little people actually know about bipolar.

What I can say is that my bipolar has given me a LOT of experiences with dealing with such mindstates, so for me, I've hardly had any difficulty with cycling and emotions (leading me to believe that bipolar may causes cycling, but skillful meditation doesn't necessarily cause bipolar). In addition, the permanent mental shifts that I have experienced are making this bipolar a smaller beast to work with. There was a time when it really trashed my life and relationships, and now it manifests as a certain type of restlessness and some existential malaise, but nothing I haven't been able to handle yet.

I haven't got any reason to see why a light meditation practice is harmful for someone who has their condition under control, but maybe avoid intensive retreats etc as the more time one puts into practice, the more directly we encounter our demons! This could well trigger something off.

Noah on this forum also has bipolar (which could be more deeper impacting than my own), and has written about it, so you may be able to find helpful information with him. emoticon
Alesh Vyhnal, modified 6 Years ago at 9/29/17 9:38 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/29/17 9:38 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 130 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
Hi Dom, thank you for the answer. My wife may have quite a bit more serious form. She has been in hospital more than 20 times. One year she had 26 electroshocks (ECT). I am mainly affraid that meditation could induce a mania in her. I also suffer from a brain disease. I am home bound. Meditation helps me very much. It is better than clonazepam (Klonopin) emoticon 
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 9/29/17 11:15 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/29/17 11:15 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Yes that is indeed a more serious form! The potential highs of the Arising and Passing stage could be an issue there! Maybe some samatha practice would be beneficial? I know from experience that it may be the last thing you want to do during mania, but if it is conditioned in that elevated mood = calming practice, it may have more effect than just treatment alone. It's unlikely any unusual states will be entered, however it can serve somewhat to lessen the erratic mind activity. Perhaps with some exploration yourself you can empirically perceive the effects and have an idea on the best course of action?
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 10/1/17 5:52 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 10/1/17 5:52 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Things seem to have taken a leap, though it's hard to say how. Part of me is wondering whether my fruition was actually a third path moment that is still solidifying in my experience, though all this talk of paths and progress is starting to sound uselessly conceptual, and serve only to take me out of present experience. (Creating another 'me' to analyse the other 'me's progress. I feel that I should instead be concerned about seeing clearly things as they are, and maintaining a healthy calm clear mind. It is very difficult to find a sense of self now in the first person. It is viewed more as a proxy self, sort of like 3rd person, but that would admit a lasting entity. Recently, I've had some moments where things just happen, and most of this time there has seemed no need to reference a self in the process, and about half of the time a self is referred to, it is seen in the sense of an illusion, and totally needless. This is becoming more apparent each time I sit, and quite possibly when I don't as well.

Had an interesting meditate yesterday. Whilst on route, I took a big sniff to clear my nose and got loads of air pressure in my eustachian tube. This caused me to get seriously dizzy and was unable to stand, holding onto my bike for support. I thought I was going to pass out and it felt like I was going to die (always got to assume the worst lol). My mind spontaneously entered 3rd Jhana as I desperatrly tried to equalise the pressure. Despite the fearful situation, I had a very profound sense of calm that continued afterwards. My sit before that, I believe I touched upon 7th Jhana, but I kept getting thrown out. My level of absorption was nothing what it should be to get something out of that particular jhana, but otherwise it felt like my mind was a soundproof box. It was ridiculously still, which made for some good Insight practice. Chipped more of the sense of self.

I've found when I'm delivering food after an hour into my shift, I can abide in 2nd jhana on fast downhill runs and there is a lot of joy felt (not from the cycling though, that just makes a nice view). Before this was something I only had the concentration for on something like cannabis.
I can't do this long as I typically get hypomania by the end of such intensive sessions. 
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 11/13/17 4:38 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/13/17 4:38 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Once again dipped into peer pressure... Cannabis is no good for a consistent insight practice! Addiction to nicotine makes things hard to deal with, and things have been quite turbulent with my home life as a result. There are too many ego programs that find excuse to give in. I say this with a spliff my girlfriend has made right next to me, currently noting any unwanted thoughts, so far, so good. However, it all represents a part of my life, I wish I could drop, but my aversion has been just as much as a problem as my desire. Despite the fact there are times this is all seen through clearly, sometimes thoughts slip through and lead to dependant origination becoming/desire feedback loop. Personal problems, only slightly relevant to this log...

A day after my last post, I was sitting in what I thought was low then high equanimity, feeling bodily bliss and calm mind, then BAM, a profound colourful dark night fear nana, which led to me seeing "ME" sensations in all of experience for about an hour.

A few days without smoking and clarity and calmness is back. Today, meditation is at cutting edge to my surprise. Not much to say with regards to awe struck experiences as the feeling is very mundane, but the illusion of self is consistently seen through, following through into the rest of the day. Thoughts, decisions, vedanas mostly seem to be happening on their own, but more close examination is needed as some sensations still slip through the net. I have had a couple of conversations without remembering any reference to my self, even if I mention something "I" have done.

Writing about this stuff is getting very difficult, there is little motivation, perhaps this is because I haven't wrote in a while.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 11/14/17 7:53 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/14/17 7:53 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Practice has started to lose it's goal oriented nature, and have been recently simply sitting. Just sitting down and settling on the breath quickly leads to a blissful equinamity. I seem to lack creativity with what to do, and hard jhanas feel like a lot of effort, though it feels like my mind has been naturally abiding in a 4th jhana style headspace. The sense of "I" has been absent for most of the time throughout the day, mainly showing itself to see if it's still there. Upon noting thoughts, there has occasionally been a self arise, but being watched from elsewhere. This can't be explained as 1st, 2nd or 3rd party. Things are progressing but it's starting to become more obvious that I'm not doing any of this.
alguidar, modified 6 Years ago at 11/16/17 5:43 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/16/17 5:43 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 106 Join Date: 6/4/17 Recent Posts
hey dome, great to read you log.

i´m a begginer at this meditation game, but i can relate to "  Practice has started to lose it's goal oriented nature, and have been recently simply sitting" 

to me any kind of effort in meditation feels wrong because it brings the sense of I back.

did you experience this aversion to effort in your first years in meditation?
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 11/17/17 5:21 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/17/17 5:21 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Hey, thanks for your kind words.  I practiced almost solely Vipassana for the first year of formal mediation, so for me, a considerable amount of effort was placed on labelling, and due to conditioning, compulsively mapped progress until a few months ago. I believe that effort doesn't need to involve this sense of I, but 'I' certainly likes to think he's in control of any action being made. *Notes grasping of control lol*.

For me, more specifically, my aversion was mainly directed towards discursive thinking and being unable to realise on more than an intellectual level that these thoughts are separate sensations that disappear on their own without me needing to be there to make sure they are gone! Ironically, this aversion serves only to keep hooked on the story. I would definitely recommend being neutral and note this aversion, eventually these sensations lessen and lose their stickiness.

Good luck in your practice emoticon
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 11/22/17 6:18 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 11/22/17 6:18 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Sitting has been hit and miss lately, and my Bipolar seems to be more prominent lately. I've not had full blown mania or severe depression, but there have been moods that have heavily impacted meditation. There are feelings of responsibility to this, but they are a byproduct of an edgy mind, rather than a deep rooted belief that it's "My fault". I have noticed that the cycling of the Bipolar don't need to be in sync with the stages of insight, however, being cognizant of them is very difficult when hypomanic due to the needless amount of awareness being taken up by irrelevant thoughts and concepts. It's also hard to encourage myself to meditate when high or low. The A&P stage can mimic (hypo)mania, and due to this, can be perfectly legitimate thought fodder to kindle into bona fide (hypo)mania. The Dark Night stage of Misery and Reobservation are the closest that I can experientially relate to Bipolar, however, it is only when unaware of the stages there is potential to actually be depressed by this.
Interestingly, I've noticed that there is a significant reduction (About 80%) of suffering with bipolar depression, but due to an elevated state of mindfulness and less mental numbing, there is more perceived suffering with mania. Perhaps this is due to the fact I can now see through the stories unlike before, and the stress that was previously believed to be pleasure is seen for what it is. Both of these effects are helpful to my path as they level my moods as well as any antipsychotic, but without the nasty side effects.
I wrote this topic to outline issues I have had with being aloof, even aversive to things in my life that needn't have such a reaction, and have come to the conclusion that I need to almost stop Vipassana (Except the odd cheeky 'note' when I'm trying to fool myself), take up Mahamudra in it's place, and practice in the Brama Viharas, including Metta.

Today I meditated for an hour or 2 which calmed down my mind from overly active to Access Concentration. It was a relief.

Tonight, I went to the meditation spot for some Mahamudra. As I have used the same spot almost ritualistically for about a year, my mind automatically calms down when I'm there and assumes 'meditation pose'. Closing my eyes, I alternated from watching my breath from body, and listening to the wind roaring in the trees. After 20 minutes, due to being slightly tired, dullness started to settle in, and there was mild hypnogogia. Out of curiosity, instead of sitting more upright and opening my eyes to wake up, I decided to allow the hypnogogic haze to continue but wrap it in a container of mindfulness. Surprisingly, this actually worked, and there remained a level of mental clarity, despite there being another percieved part of the mind falling asleep! Eventually, I opened my eyes as it took a lot of effort to maintain and it wasn't particularly beneficial.... Resting in wind... Peace... Minimal thoughts that ended where they begin. Then, out of nowhere, there was an uneasy sound that caught my attention, and a light that was obscured by the trees triggered a sudden wave of fear through my body. I put my attention on the feeling of fear, and anything else that may have been freaky. I discerned that this was just a manifestation of fear nana, and apart from being mildly exciting, was of no particular interest, and I tried to maintain bare awareness of all of this, accepting of the selfing process that attached itself to some of the phenonema, and to the selfing process attaching itself to that. Watching the breath, for about 30 minutes, things became very calm and 4th Jhana like. Resting in this state, there were thoughts occasionally piercing the web, so I turned my attention upon itself, noticing that the sensations were of the same nature, despite looking at "Me". My primary object was the "I am" feeling, trying to use this as a jhana object. At this point the occasional smokey blue and jazzy ochre waves of light started to swirl and become more complex and detailed, taking on a 3 dimensional effect with a sense of spaciousness poking through at undiscernable parts of my mind's eye space. (halfway between 4th and 5th jhana).
Is this known as Rising up the Jhanic Arc as the Witness as metioned in Yogi Toolbox? I'm not sure there was any 6th going on.

The whole experience has been blissful, but there was non attachment to this. Even the raptuous fear spot was quite interesting, but not exactly blissful.

I did some physical yoga, with the very few poses I know, with my nose conscious briefly taking on the pungent leafy soil as an object! emoticon Moving my body mindfully led to some very naughty blissful bodily sensations in my entire body. This gave me a sense of wellness that kept me interesting in meditation for another 45 mins or so.

More mindfulness of breathing for a while, listening to trees etc. I told myself I didn't need to do ANYTHING, and my vision that was slightly mottled with colour started to get a lot lighter and whiter. This was a point of release my mind hadn't dealt with before, so it came right back with the ownership rubbish. I spent 10 minutes trying to condition release. When I opened my eyes each time, everything looked really bright for about a 5th of a second before going back to normal. This phenonema ended as the level of stillness dropped.

Then after 2 and a half hours of meditation, I decided to go back in case my other half missed me, but I could have stayed there another 2 and a half hours. The walk back was so quiet, and I didn't subconsciously punish myself for any selfing process that may have happened on the way back.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 12/6/17 5:42 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 6:39 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Upon speaking with Dreamwalker with regards to the true meaning of Luminosity, it is apparent that my definition of luminosity is not consistent with the correct term, however it may reflect a perceptual shift that is needed to perceive in that way in future. I believe that there are moments when it has been perceived as so, but currently lack the insight to put context into experience.

Practice has lately centered around seeing *luminosity* in things, though it is more subtle than expected and started without me realising it. It is like a default centerless awareness on phenonema that is occasionally interrupted by a particular perspective which arises upon the notion of a self. The aversive thoughts mentioned before were perhaps evidence of a progressive mind, hindered by challenges it hadn't been aware of before. On relaxing into these thoughts and trying to remain equanimous to them, various insights achieved by slightly higher concentration states have been migrated into day to day reality. They are not spectacular in the slightest, but it is reassuring. This has made things in life much easier to deal with too, as things are seen from a less observer > observed point of view.

Sitting down to meditate has been inconsistent lately, and not for any good reason. Trying to make my home life match up with maintaining any decent concentration is very difficult and demotivation, however I am going to set the intention to get some more hours in.

Also, sometimes I've been seeing people (And other animals) in a similar way, that they are arranged objects of matter, associated with some type of enlightened awareness, that for reasons of world, cause, effect, samsara, history etc, simplify and rationalise their experience to a self centered point of view. What a tiring place to be! I see people that appear to have fun while I am cycling around delivering food, and despite their raptuous excitement, or humour and friendship, they seem to be in a lower plane of existance with different energetics that can't be seen (And don't really exist), but can be percieved nonetheless.
Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 1:14 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 1:14 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 1643 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Dom Stone:

Finally, I want to mention that as I write some of this, there are these nebulous no-self concepts of experience that take into account more than the specific information, but which I believe will be blown apart completely at 3rd path. I will be using the MCTB definitions for any experience to prevent confusion.

I will update this to include previous meditation history shortly.
Could you please define path 2.5?
Could you please define path 3?
Could you define Luminosity?

Are you using some of these definitions? 

A Framework of Awakening

That thread is mostly not Daniels definitions and most do not occur in MCTB. Please feel free to define your paths however you wish but lets all get on the same page of what your saying.
Also, what permenent shifts have occured from attaining whatever it is you define?
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 3:31 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 3:31 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Hi DW. Thank you for your questions, I appreciate being able to run things by people so I can be sure myself on these things. I will try to the best of my ability answer them.

Do you mean my definitions don't occur in MCTB, or the ones from your Framework of Awakening? Admittedly, I read MCTB maybe a year ago, and have read new things since, including from this forum, so it may be that I'm using definitions that aren't in there.
I've read your Framework of Awakening probably about 10 times now, being one of my most read threads, so this thread may smell somewhat of your inferred conceptual background.

For me, 2.5 is a state between 2nd and 3rd, where aspects of 3rd may possibly, but not necessarily show in 2nd Path. For this to happen, certain perceptual shifts must be present such as the spatial aspects of phenonema and how they don't actually rely any self to be experienced. Repeated observation means it gradually becomes more clear, and the mind is more willing to accept such a reality can exist without having to change it. These perceptual shifts were just not possible before 2nd path as they were automatically being redefined as the self that was changing. Without a perspective that doesn't change with the very phenonema that it is observing, it is not possible to have an adequately objective, or even realistic viewpoint to assimilate events that threaten the mental processes that arise because of them. Does that even make sense?? 

I believe that, once enough of these more subtle aspects of reality have been opened up, the absurdity of the story becomes too obvious for the mind at a deep enough level that there is just no need to identify with the factors that solidify the limitations in the perceptual field. This means that the mind can let go of all such limitations simultaneously. It is like a jigsaw puzzle, once enough pieces are present, the mind can assume knowledge of the picture. Or being able to guess a written word, despite missing some of the letters in the middle. In my belief, this release is 3rd path.

Luminosity MAY be a concept I haven't properly grasped, and maybe I should have made my questions known as I mentioned it the first time, so hopefully if I am mistaken, we can iron out some antiknowledge!

Does luminosity refer to a somewhat mystical object, where it feels like there is a separate awareness observing? As this implies a separation which must involve identifying with a self, I don't believe this is the case, but I have considered it, hence me asking.

I BELIEVE, that once phenonema that occur are allowed to arise without there being a centerpoint, or a divide between subject or object, there is a sense that things are just happening without occupying any specific place in space or time or reason. If I've got this wrong, then that's pretty crap, but would be nice to be more open to genuine experiences of luminosity to make up for it!

The visual field is one of the most obvious permanent shifts which opened up sometimes shortly after 2nd path and solidifying a few months later by itself. I didn't have to encourage that one, it just happened.

The spatial field (Sense of where objects, even thoughts appear in awareness). Not only does it feel like everything is much more intimate and higher clarity, but it also includes what space 'I' take up. This is one that may undergo further shifts, but no longer takes up room in my body, even my head. I just now listened to a song and took up the space of the music within an indeterminate frame of reference. Is that luminosity?? Lol.

There is also one temporary perceptual shift that is the most obvious overall, which can be activated any time I put my mind to it, but it requires effort to sustain. That is to percieve all sense objects directly which makes things very bland (No vedana).

I hope this helps. Do you find reason to question that my definition of 2.5 path hasn't been attained?

Thanks emoticon
Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 10:38 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 10:38 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Dom Stone:
For me, 2.5 is a state between 2nd and 3rd, where aspects of 3rd may possibly, but not necessarily show in 2nd Path. For this to happen, certain perceptual shifts must be present such as the spatial aspects of phenonema and how they don't actually rely any self to be experienced. Repeated observation means it gradually becomes more clear, and the mind is more willing to accept such a reality can exist without having to change it. These perceptual shifts were just not possible before 2nd path as they were automatically being redefined as the self that was changing. Without a perspective that doesn't change with the very phenonema that it is observing, it is not possible to have an adequately objective, or even realistic viewpoint to assimilate events that threaten the mental processes that arise because of them. Does that even make sense?? 

 Do you find reason to question that my definition of 2.5 path hasn't been attained?

Thanks emoticon

ugggg...I just read my framework stuff, and though still useful it has gotten so much clearer thru time that I cringe a bit at my descriptions...

From the flowchart -

Path 2.5 - Loci-ception/proprioception shifts - This is still in the second path realm of vipassana vs 3rd path going beyond the speed of vipassana.

 4) Minor center point - deletion of this creates a internal quiteness that allows the forfront of the mind to become quieter as well as thought like spaciousness. (This is NOT the the Major center point that is spoken of at 4th path.) This may be done earlier with some package deals at first or second path.

5) Body Boundary - Resting right above the skin is a boundary between your "special body space" and not you. When the boundary is deleted th"specialness of your body goes away and it is the same as that wall over there. Your hand is not your hand as you wave it around, its just like the wall....not special.

6) Personal Bubble - The outside bubble that you can feel when someone invades your space. It is anything within your grasping area. When this is deleted the bubble expands out to a new limit and/or becomes boundless. This is a more physical spaciousness.

In my opinion, for what it is worth, you need to have these things done to some extent to get luminosity going and especially to finish 3rd path.
You will have to judge for yourself if this is true or not. You can get some of the other permanent perceptual shifts without all of 2.5 done such as vision and hearing.

Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 10:52 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/4/17 10:52 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Dom Stone:

The visual field is one of the most obvious permanent shifts which opened up sometimes shortly after 2nd path and solidifying a few months later by itself. I didn't have to encourage that one, it just happened.
Soooo, What all did you get with your visual shift?

Dom Stone:

Luminosity MAY be a concept I haven't properly grasped, and maybe I should have made my questions known as I mentioned it the first time, so hopefully if I am mistaken, we can iron out some antiknowledge!

Does luminosity refer to a somewhat mystical object, where it feels like there is a separate awareness observing? As this implies a separation which must involve identifying with a self, I don't believe this is the case, but I have considered it, hence me asking.

I BELIEVE, that once phenonema that occur are allowed to arise without there being a centerpoint, or a divide between subject or object, there is a sense that things are just happening without occupying any specific place in space or time or reason. If I've got this wrong, then that's pretty crap, but would be nice to be more open to genuine experiences of luminosity to make up for it!

Luminosity is probably one of the most difficult things to grasp until you have experienced it yourself. The problem with the term and with the description is the package deal issue. If you have not gotten all the visual perceptual changes until luminosity, the you get them all WITH luminosity, your desciption will be a bit confusing.

Luminosity is simply this - the thing that makes a subject a subject, THAT moves out to the objects. Nothing is taking credit for the stuff of visual perception anymore. Things arise clearer and cleaner this way.

When you experience this first hand, chat live with someone who has it and they can tell you if you got it or not with less confusion than a text conversation.
Message me if you want to chat
Good luck!
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 12/5/17 4:44 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/5/17 4:27 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Thanks for the clarification, I'm going to add an edit to my previous posts to account for this misunderstanding of terms!

It would be great to see what you have to add to your thread, especially with your increased clarity on things. Got to love checking old posts, much paridoxical humour to be had at it's own expense emoticon

Your perception shift pointers are really useful with 4 and 5 permanently open. Referring to your framework, my minor centerpoint got deleted at 2nd path, leading to the "Broken" feeling I mentioned at the beginning of my log. I wasn't aware that this wasn't something directly related to this path moment, though I guess it's not important to know exactly when! It was the lack of apparent spatiousness of thoughts that surprised me more than anything.

Body boundary opened up later on. Possibly encouraged with elemental meditation which drew more focused attention upon the similarities of matter outside the boundary and within. This shift has allowed a more direct manner where these sensations are divided into smaller bits of information. eg. If I move my arm, first there is intention (This is percieved more in moments of increased mindfulness, eg, during meditation, not so much with daily activities), followed by sensations of pressure in the arm mixed up with sensations of location, but by themselves, have no solidity. It is as if the sensations of pressure are there first, perhaps because location is an additional fabrication that is followed by a coarser binding moment that incorporates the both of them.

With regards to a personal bubble, there have been a couple of times where this has happened, most notably it's transcendental appearance. (I'm thinking of mystical statements that refer to one experiencing "Oneness with the world". On me describing my "Visual field" being the most obvious permanent shift, this could be attributed due to the high level of brain matter assigned to the visual sense as a whole, so there appears to be more bandwidth in recalling or creating concepts in this paradigm (Sometimes I read what I've wrote, and think to myself "What on earth have you written you pretentious git!"). Anyway, in terms of how such shifts affect my interactions, or perceptions on a more deep level, this is one that I've associated with more tranquil and clear states, due to the amount of preconscious noise that has subsided. This has almost exclusively been associated with higher levels of equinamity post 2nd path. Perhaps this is because problem areas in my psyche have temporarily been bypassed due to tranquility and right view. This is somewhat frustrating because it feels like I haven't come any closer to solving this, but as that would be assumping a solid point within an idea of my mind, enquiry in this path would prevent proper apprehension of the 3 Characteristic and not lead to right view. It would be good to set intentions to experience objects that break the solidity of this so called bubble! I'm sure I've been going through quite a lengthy dark night (months) right now with fractal cycles occasionally offering a respite not superior to fostering equinamity to these particular formations. My lack of dedication to a disciplined samatha practice is blocking the level of concentration required to Vipassana this dark night and disembed from unskillful views.

The main aspects to my visual field that I can think of right now is:

1) Higher range of view, rather than awareness being located directly at an object of narrow concentration, it tends to arise as part of a larger field of awareness.

2) Slightly improved eyesight. This may have been due to a change in diet and lifestyle, however as the eyes are used in a softer, less strain of attention manner, this means the actual eye has more headroom to work with. Maybe not correct but I would rather believe that than attribute it to any supernatural attributes that ego's so love to obtain!

3) Effects of concentration upon visual field far more pronounced than normal. For instance, I have a rough but reliable estimation of my levels of concentration purely by the amount of conscious percepts tied with water ripples as a visual object. (I live on the river and cross over the river by dinghy from the road). There is always a sense of A&P beauty associated with high clarity, percieving a line of appearing and disappearing water drops from the oar. This also accounts for lighting like the sunset etc. Before, these may have been percieved, but the fact it is more directly intergrated with my sense field suggests the minds lack of interest in anything that doesn't discern the 3 Characteristics.

I think I understand what you mean with Luminosity, and feel like I can percieve why the other fields need to be opened first.  I mentioned hearing music earlier, but feel that this is one example of it, perhaps... I was listening to it, after reading your reply (So understand that this may be a sinister ego grab), and for about half a second, experienced the music just happening (Which bears relations to the personal bubble as these sensations are no longer percieved 'outside' or 'other'.) However what made this different, was that I became the music, and because I was the music, I was not me, and consequently couldn't possibly be me as music either. This was accompanied by some mental synesthesia which made perceving any other consciousness (Like sight beyond perception of colour), not happen. 

Seriously, am I just talking crap?? Haha, I believe all this, but it's diffuclt to gauge my more subtle aspects of experiences with others, especially at later paths and my unrefined levels of concentration.

I must apologise for how long this post has been, I've just driven 250 miles for a friend, and am not top form. However, all the sustained attention on the road has led to some interesting concentration effects that I will use in my meditation now hehe. Hope I don't fall asleep!

Thank you for the offer, I'm actually quite shy, but may take you up on that at some point emoticon
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 1/11/18 6:23 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/11/18 6:23 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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9th December 2017

After a couple of weeks of seemingly no progress, it seems that I was gradually becoming acquainted with subtle aversions, which became clarified yesterday. Woke up in the morning in quite a good mood, but in a couple of hours, I was in a very clear Disgust ñana. This is one of the ñanas I find most difficult as it triggers off edgy aversions to pretty much all phenomena (Especially noises like dishes which sound like some dissonant quality clanging that is very bare). Things also weren't going right in day to day life, so it was easier to get worked up, but I remained mindful and tried to keep suffering to a minimum. I ended up going to work early so I could meditate for an hour first as previously, I had been repressing any opportunities for this material to surface, and I didn't want it to go to waste or bleed through into my home life.

The vibrations were constant and edgy at around 15hz on my walk there with its clarity coming in waves. Just being in the woods made this easier and I sat down, with all the chaotic vibes, very 3rs Jhana like with synesthetic TV static of a indigo and lighter colours. This image wasn't actually seen as if it truly existed, or was even visible, but more like a knowing of sensations that are easier to recall to memory than any conceptual ideas my mind used to make sense of reality. Using my breath as an anchor, I placed bare awareness to all objects that contribute to the feelings of suffering. This process welcomed an immediate enquiry which allowed 'me' to 'become' the insight material as efficiently and deeply as possible. There was a constant noise of anxiety, that failed to take up form in any objects around me. This is due to the minds aversion to all phenomena, however there was equinamity to all 3 characteristics when seen as they are due to the lack of self identifying to them.

This was about issues with craving anything impermanent, and how grasping onto these things provided a temporary relief, but exaggerating the very shadow side that fears the actual reality of the moment.

Re-Observation was the most painful deep down and not easy to understand, but it was simply letting me know that I cannot avoid them, and that desiring anything other than the moment right now is creating time: The plane where all this is supposed to happen...

Past. Present. Future. Past and future is where the story exists, not the bare present. Nothing is wrong with stories, they turn very existence into pure magic, but magic cannot be grabbed, just played around gently with intention. The more mindful I am to the present moment, the less likely I am to grab to something, and call it something else. If I live right now, I can create any realistic story about the situation that is right for the moment. But if I believe in 'Me' doing this, time and space make shape to this story before I even realise it. When does a dream become lucid....

Wow. Just writing that and suddenly my mind did summersaults and ridiculously powerful Re-Observation waves that sliced reality up into a potent trip! Mind clearly not holding onto anything. Tried to remain equinaminous, which made it more intense, Felt like a fruition one point via the suffering door, head spinning up, all objects disappearing, then back.

Anyway, Yesterday, eventually, equinamity ñana started competing with Re-Observation. And there was finally an acceptance to which point these vibrations have probably been well observed.

Today, I had a lot more Metta and ease in accepting situations where I might have been difficult in accepting at the time.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 1/11/18 6:46 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/11/18 6:46 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Maintaining consistent practice has been difficult yet again, and after weeks of little to no formal sits, I'm getting back in a routine where my concentration is getting to a point where sensations can be seen as they are.

Interestingly, even though it feels like nothing is being done, there has been a boredom to all the games and expectations that yield no results except complications and distortions. 

My previous writing about "seeing the luminosity in things" actually refers to clarity, (which I'm aware some refer to as 'luminous knowing'). I noticed earlier today that I never have felt anything, or had any experience that is as tangible as what we commonly believe our experience tells us. This gave me a massive creepout, as a direct realisation of emptiness, after which point, my mind seemed able to rest in itself to a deeper level. I then woke up suddenly to a dog barking quarter of a mile away. Wierdly, there was no indication that I was about to fall asleep, it just happened completely without my knowing. I believe that perceiving both clarity and emptiness has made the whole thing more clear due to them being 2 sides of the same coin.

Applied meditation is mostly centerless for me now, with all the sense fields clearly distinct from eachother to the point that I cannot 'possess' such separate things, though they do still define the view I have upon myself.

Dukkha is apparent in almost every aspect of experience, except in the perceived emptiness (though can emptiness itself be experienced, or is it just inferentially witnessed'

My practice is becoming more mundane but magical, with discovered expectations dropped like a hot coal, they are too jagged and narrow.
I feel that I need to intercept every thought with mindfulness so I no longer believe the stories.

As for fruitions, I am lacking the concentration to get any of this, though when the weather warms up, I will do a solo retreat with the intention of achieving some deep concentration states and opening up some new insight material and cycles.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 1/12/18 5:25 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/12/18 5:25 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Sat for about an hour tonight at the tree in the woods. (Where I do it most of the time). Things started pretty slow, so over half of the time was spent being aware of any expectations. I watched the breath for 20 mins to boost concentration. After this, I noticed a layer of vibrations that I have been aware of before, but lacked the ability to see into. They were clearer now than they have been before. There was an element of control, as if the mind was autobalancing each time there was a letting go of sensation. I began to see how that there was nothing I could do to avoid this feeling and, not wanting to be ignorant to them, included them in my attention, but not in a way that felt like I was in control of it. It started to feel like I was lowering into water with the ability to breathe, but not having done it before. As I settled into this, there was a bright light upon my eyelids and experienced a strong A&P moment that continued as I went for a wee and sat down. There was a strong distortion of bodily awareness and reality felt very broken, which despite feeling very lost at sea, was blissful anyway.

I get the feeling that these subtle feelings need to be investigated further. Are they Vedana percepts?
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 1/13/18 8:02 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/13/18 7:59 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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I increased my sitting time to 2:20 hours today and did it 2 hours after waking to take advantage of increased morning clarity. It is all about letting go of acceptance. Acceptance still indicates some sort of personal intention to achieve something, but that something is not it. My current method now is to identify resistance as a distortion within the larger sense field, make an intention to drop resistance, and 'forget' to  do anything about it. Combining this with a gentle but persistent mindfulness of breathing (at the diaphragm) leads to some interesting effects. These layers of self could be thought of as peeling like an onion, but that would be delusional as that suggests that self is a lasting entity, rather than a momentary process that is an impersonal reaction to whatever came beforehand.

Whether it is Samatha or Vipassana Jhana, I don't know, and it doesn't really matter, but consistent diligent effort shut deeper and deeper layers of mind down. Upon opening my eyes, the view was beautiful (like yesterday but more persistent). Looking at the floor, it was impossible to tell which way up everything was (my body felt upside down at one point), and everything looked alive and vibrant with a buzzing hum you would expect from a healthy dose of psychedelics (without the inaccuracies). Sense of self did keep attempting to steal the show, but these were seen as impermanent vibrations upon their arising, which prevented any causality between that one and the next. Such positive experiences lead me to want to replicate this in future, so I occasionally have to remind myself that the past isn't now. Today was about EQ and accepting vibrations where they stand, whereas previously A&P was prominent with its more catchy and less impartial vibe. Walking back was wierd, and if somebody saw me, they would probably have thought I'd taken drugs, but the colours were beautiful, the ripples on the water were too.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 1/20/18 4:59 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/20/18 4:59 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Concentration has increased dramatically the last few days and practice has worked in averaging around 3 hours a day. It has been a lot more efficient too.The first 20-40 minutes are spent watching the breath for concentration and tranquility. Rise up to 4th Jhana, and from here, some distortions are easier to see through. If I have had an active day with busy thoughts, then there is more nimitta, but they have never got to the point where they are fully visible, just flickers and movements. I flirt with the spacious element of 4th, but am still quite rooted in form, so success is limited. I can imagine that 5th would make seeing through sensations like body bubble awareness much easier. One trick I have learned for this without developing this fully is to experience internal, body boundary and external sensations on the same backdrop of awareness. It is hard to catch all of these sensations as they arise without it being twisted in some way but there is at least some recognition.Referring to Dream Walkers "A Framework of Awakening", I believe the thought space has almost been permanently seen from the larger state of awareness, but not quite. It is now easy to flick back, and most thoughts when not thinking about it, don't carry the same weight anymore. It is such a useful shift and makes it easy to disembed from most triggers, at least in a personal way.The ñanas at the moment are so slight as to be barely recognisable, and they have lost their importance to me now. As long as my mind is tranquil, there is an even acceptance of recognisable phenomena.Sleep has been a bit disturbed, but the plus side is I need about an hour or 2 less a night. A couple of times I have woken up with the peculiar feeling that I was already dead, lamenting the loss, realising all my actions were futile. Maybe this was a direct understanding of impermanence of self (fear/misery) ñana, but conceptualised in a way my mind can understand.My mind tends to go in waves of progress, which may be typical for everyone. I am wondering however if it's at all linked to bipolar. Even with all this improvement, it is not possible yet for me to hold a course indefinitely. Something does destabilise me. Usually it's the presence of cannabis, however I have never been so strong in resisting it and it has much less weight over me. As such, it's been a few weeks now, despite the possible triggers. However this time, after a (for me) ridiculously peaceful sit, I came home and as my girlfriend dug down at me, something from the surface had obviously come up some that I had no idea of, which led to the origination of some very regressive and repressed behaviour. This has destabilised me a little though I may be getting it back now after 2 days.Over all, things are changing, and I keep feeling like 3rd is around the corner. I know what needs to be aimed for now, just struggle occasionally with finding enough adequate material to reach a cessation.
shargrol, modified 6 Years ago at 1/20/18 6:40 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/20/18 6:38 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Sounds good Dom. I agree that for the kind of domain you're in the nana tend to be less tangible and even a bit irrelevant. It seems like contemplation of emptiness might be more fruitful. It can be that slightly freakout-y feeling of things not being tangible (like you had during the meditation where you heard the dog bark from far away)... but it is also more directly the experience of "internal, body boundary and external sensations on the same backdrop of awareness".

This latter idea is one that I would recommend exploring more. The thing that allows experiences to be on the same backdrop, the thing that allows one experience to be superceeded by another seamlessly... is the emptiness of experience. Even the most vivid or rich experience has this non-resisting aspect of emptiness. So just continuing your sits and noticing the way experience changes and flows without collisions is a good approach.

The next level of this practice is noticing that even the collisions, when they occur, will occur on the same backdrop and be seamlessly superceeded by another experience... so even things that seem very unenlightened or samsaric have the same empty nature (as soon as you notice it). This can be the beginning of opening up to the gritty, shadowy stuff in our experience that tends to put us into a trance and manipulate us. We simply can't imagine being able to clear minded when a buffet of drugs or an immediately willing girlfriend is in front of us. But we can look into those chaotic urges with the same clarity that we can look into the calm experience of wind on our face as we sit outside in the forest. 

This is the power of emptiness. Knowing it allows you to see the limits of temptations and face the things that would make you go unconscious. 

In the beginning of practice, we're not calm unless our body is calm.
In the middle of practice, we're not calm unless our mind is calm.
Towards the end of practice, calmness and disturbance are simply calmness and disturbance within the same awareness.
Each progression gives us more space for our actions, more range of options.

Hope this helps!
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 1/21/18 10:42 AM
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RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Thanks, yea that is helpful. I'm interested in paying attention to the perceived seamlessness of experience, however as this is new to me, I'm not too sure what to look out for, and can only inferentially know what you mean by this. I'm not sure what a collision would actually manifest as either. Fortunately, I'm still aware of areas that get in the way so perhaps it will become more clear in time!

Also, not that it makes a difference at all lol, but I mean she dug at me argumentatively but I'm just splitting hairs here :p
shargrol, modified 6 Years ago at 1/22/18 8:12 AM
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RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 1/22/18 4:12 PM
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RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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Having quite a few difficulties with meditation the last couple of days. Concentration is mainly no there, but with the occasional burst. Failing to see the 3C's in experience for significant chunks, with the odd perception of emptiness spaced thinly between unconsciousness. Certain habitual tendencies are leading a good proportion of the day. 

Find it hard to sit longer than 20 mins. In my last sit, I became overwhelmed with unwanted sexual thoughts and feelings and couldn't handle it and stopped the meditation. There was also feelings of guilt passing quicker than the ability to note them. I don't think this has happened before, so I hope there is something come out of all of this, not more samsaric phenomena.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 2/18/18 12:41 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/18/18 12:41 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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I hadn't got around to uploading this previously, this was around a week and a half to 2 weeks ago. Second (recent) post coming shortly.

Everything is emptiness, and so is the perception of mind trying to make sense of it. All it can grab is dukkha, or some fluxing point of balance that upon inspection didn't hold my weight anyway.

My life seems to swing between ardent practice (gathering insight, jhanas, moral development etc), and then resting in hinderances etc, smoking cannabis sometimes. While on the surface this kills lots of positive routine, there is a somewhat complex relationship with it, and so it still forms a valuable part of development. There is often new material that gets brought up including some sarcastically powerful dark nights that work well as exposure therapy lol. These aren't enabling thoughts, rather an acceptance of cycles with which I have no control. This bypasses guilt and opens space for me to be compassionate to all beings (This includes myself without the self attached). Without this metta, there is little for my thinking mind to hold onto when it comes to the reason to do or not do something.

Having some deep dark night where I haven't got a reliable sense of self to hold onto, and this idea is empty too. During one moment after some cannabis, there were 2 simultaneous realities happening at the same time. (Shifting very fast), which really broke things up a bit. 

I've stopped smoking again, though life is feeling very pointless at the moment, even without various home stuff going on.

I will work up to 4th jhana the next few days and explore anything that's coming up.

This perception of emptiness isn't constant, it's usually just random chaotic vibrations, but nothing is consistent or reliable. It is like looking in the mirror and instead of seeing myself, if there is thought, it is a jumble of different paradigms sticking to no particular point of view.
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 2/20/18 6:56 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/20/18 6:51 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

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After losing my last post, I’ve had to try motivate myself to write this out again. Given my level of tiredness, this is rather tedious!As the days go by, I am becoming more sure on reaching third path. The whole concept is clearly abstract, and no longer has the solidity it once did, but mapping has defined my progress this far, now it’s clear for all intents and purposes that dropping the mapping is the way forward, at least until I’m able to get by without grasping it.
I will try describe the moment to the best of my ability, though please understand that this is written from a subjective point of view, so may not accurately represent what actually goes on from a strictly phenonomological point of view.

On Friday 16th, I sat down in my usual place, this time there was lots of noise from some diggers, so I used this as an opportunity to see my aversions to the noises whilst as concentrated as possible. I was getting a lot of clarity with sensations with the mind and body, and there was a growing equinamity to the external noise. Then, out of nowhere, the mind was not interested in holding onto this phenomena, and let it go. Instead of ‘Self’, there was a void, illuminated by impermanence elsewhere. There was no discernible cessation, however there was an experience where my mind grabbed onto nothing, letting all conditioned phenomena pass by. It was the culmination of a practice that has recently involved a Mahamudra “Do nothing” style, noticing progressively deeper sensations and letting them be without doing anything. There was always resistance, until this moment. Strangely, I have had similar experiences, but the letting go made this feel more profound than any previous experience. After this I went back to A&P.

Walking back, I was unaware much has changed. This is due to the fact that after some meditation sessions, I experience a lot of clarity, and some degree of centerlessness, however, it wasn’t until 2 days later when I realised that the centerlessness had become more of a default state, rather than a byproduct of meditation. Secondly, I was expecting third to be something quite different to what it was. I was expecting something a little less mundane. Finally, I had pretty much given up the idea of trying for paths as it clearly wasn’t getting the results I desired, rather it was limiting me into favouring some experiences over others. In the end I had resorted to Mahamudra and absorptions with as little session ambition as I could muster.

The next day, I visited my girlfriend who has been away for 2 weeks so we can sort out our ‘stuff’. Dropped her off at work, then took her back again. Instead of going straight back, we went out in the car, went to the beach, and had some quality time. We smoked weed. The first clue that I may have got third was as we smoked the first spliff. I have a love/hate relationship with the stuff (Mainly hate, but find it hard to say no). Before I had it, I had noticed I was increasingly accepting of things, and interactions with people, however it wasn’t until the predictable strong dark night that I always get when high when something changed. The vibrations came up, fear, anxiety etc, and I had become well versed in accepting what arises, however on a deeper level there is some resistance leading to suffering. By willing it, there was some transcendent moment where it all passed but no longer hurt me. I smoked enough to give me a stoneover the next day, I was also sleep deprived.

Somehow, despite this, by midday, my mind power seemed to be increasing. In fact for the next 3 days, it felt like it was gaining more and more strength. It was as if lots of energy had been wasted on sticky things, and the glue had become unstuck. There was this joy in being alive, and I had a smile on my face for about 3 days, interspersed with some rapid cycling and feelings of fear and anxiety in day to day life, however there was an acute ability to pinpoint where this was happening. The happiness started to become irritating, like it was colouring things a bit too much and took my mind to places it just didn’t need to go, I couldn’t sit for long, but it didn’t seem to matter. Just sitting to meditate with eyes open, with the intent to rest led me spontaneously into Jhana, and after 30 minutes, I was in 4th Jhana with many fresh insights that didn’t have a chance to embed. It was like an ADHD kid in a candy store, lots of insights to choose from, but can’t settle for anything. There were fears and expectations as to what 3rd path is “supposed” to entail, and anxiety when I believed it wasn’t going right, but these feelings didn’t stick. It was as if centerlessness of experience not only worked spatially, but from a temporal perspective too. The solidity of self is based upon a stream of assumptions that are dependently arisen, but the continuity is broken.
At times there is a self arise based upon a deeply engrained habit, but the mind has no interest in fabricating these when it knows they are untrue. As such, there is now a ‘spider sense’ for delusion. Whereas before, my mind could be stuck in delusional thought until such a time when it is seen from another perspective, now there is a sense of a nebulous cloud of unconsciousness. The mind feels uneasy and disoriented in here and cannot abide here for too long without feeling unnecessarily stressed out. Not that it cannot handle the stress, but the mind goes for what is practical and serves it. Fantasies, even the strong ones have lost their stick, and so have bad moments. It is very hard to know where to go next, but as this is a review phase, I will continue just being aware and see what happens while waiting for my mind to calm. It has calmed somewhat.

Physical pain has also profoundly changed it’s flavour, in the same way that fantasies and other aversions have. These phenomena are not self and never have been, and I’m starting to realise this now. Suffering has taken a serious hit.

My mind likes to stay quiet now, it still rambles about some useless things (Like path moments lol), but typically anything that isn’t covered by the immediate situation grabs little interest.
There is a deeper understanding on how our mind shapes the reality as we see it now there is a greater acceptance of the raw data.

While there is a strong sense of clarity, luminosity evades me. I get flashes after enquiry which I believe may be it, but they could also be tricks of the mind!

I will update this log as I go through review, and also amend earlier posts where I have wrote things in error from a lack of understanding (I will keep the original legible however to give a sense on how I have hyped things up and got it wrong).
Dom Stone, modified 6 Years ago at 2/21/18 3:18 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 2/21/18 2:34 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
I think I am gaining insight into the nature of Luminosity. This particular state or perception has happened before, however constant distraction has made all but the most fleeting experiences possible. Upon making my mind quiet, with Mahamudra, noting has too narrow a focus and fails to capture the essence here. With the absence of thought frees the space to flip the visual sense field into a single field of eye-consciousness. I am observing it, however there is no separation from what is being observed, it simply happens. Rather than it being a pure sense of knowing, it is the relationship to which it is known. If this is the case, then I had become mislead with the phrase "objects containing their own awareness" as this suggests to me that this awareness is something separate to the supposed awareness (me) looking at the awareness. However, as there is no dualistic split, the sense is just that awareness is awareness, which objects can be part of/made of/not separate to etc awareness itself. I'm going to keep flipping this and hopefully it'll stick, though it seems to be easier the more it is done already. Objects tend to have this quality that mind grabs onto and pulls away from this state as it tries to control the experience. This gets in the way however I'm sure that familiarity and tranquility will progressively reduce the amount of time I am 'kicked out' of this mode of perception.

I'm not sure if this is related, but previously, during a well focused sit, I can see my not owned body in front of me, and the ground and trees, all just as separate, but without the assumption I am looking from behind my eyes, it is as if I can't (or can't be bothered) judge where I am looking from, like it doesn't matter. It is an intangible feeling.

Things have quietened down now and I feel like I am moving out of this phase of review, which is a welcome moving on as it was too stimulating to get any sensible practice done. Sitting for short periods and often, but lacking the motivation to attempt going deeper in absorption.

At this point in my log I should mention that since starting my practice 2 or so years ago, I've reduced at least 90% of my suffering, my bipolar no longer ruins my life and my neurotic behaviour is limited now to almost nothing. (Except relating to practice and when things go significantly wrong there's the small amount of thinking). Things are just so.
Dom Stone, modified 5 Years ago at 2/24/18 7:29 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 2/24/18 7:29 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
The last couple of days I've done less practice as I've been intent on getting a lot of things cleared up in time for my girlfriend to come back from her 2 weeks away. She came back yesterday, and as it is common for me, I shared some spliffs with her, with the intention not to do it for a while, and the curiosity to see how that sticks. Most notably, I have been able to prevent it from lowering my consciousness too much (Mindfulness goes right down, but there is less propensity to engage in heedless behaviour which tends to create a bias towards selfish, and and egocentric level of identification with things. That's not to say that there is no egocentric behaviour, because that would be false, and there is also a sense of trying to control it somewhat, though I think the only thing that "I" should really be controlling, is how much to invest in this current dream.

There is this fluxing suchness which is often not always seen this way due to the fetters and remaining ignorance, however I feel like I am able to go lucid in all these dreams on command which lessens or stops the flow of unconscious behaviour, at least in reference to a view of reality at that particular point in time. This has allowed me to remain impartial to the inevitable psychological stuff that has arisen. It really is a dream. However, dreams are real to the person experiencing the dream, so to become lucid offers a much less linear cause/effect style relationship to reality. Rather than using this as a means to block out emotion as I'm freely allowing my girlfirends stuff to merge, I have used it to prevent automatic reactions like anger or disassociation creating artificial barriers between us, and feel at one with this sense of dying and helplessness. I cried hard, but it did not matter because I knew that the want/not want paradigm is what makes us unwilling to wake up. I stopped crying soon after, and it had passed through me as naturally as it came in it's own time. Unfortunately there is a lot of psychological stuff for us to work through, and I'm not sure if she is willing to change, however, to the best of my ability, I will trust in love and allow the process to unfold as it will with no resistance as a goal. Of course, out of compassion to myself, I will not tolerate somebody else's looping dream to overwhelm me for any long period as it will change me and make things harder to work through, so good judgement must be used whether to stay and feel this pain and work it through together, or to say enough is enough, and letting my mind relax and balance. I have no desire in breaking up at this time as on the surface, she does want to change, which with enough intention and support, will hopefully work it's way to deeper levels, but with her inability to accept much of this at face value, it is an uncertain and difficult process. For now however, I feel fulfilled in my own dealings with life, but will maintain mindfulness on this space.

It will be interesting to see how difficult it will be to say no to weed now I have the intention not to, with the knowledge of it's illusory dreamness. 
Dom Stone, modified 5 Years ago at 2/26/18 8:31 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 2/26/18 8:31 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
I ended up smoking again. It was deliberate, and I blamed nobody, not even myself. The sense of continuity of life is being challenged, who "I" am is constantly dissolving and arising again to create a new scenario. There is a sense of continuity between these different stories, but that is all this is, a sensation that is arising. It doesn't matter the reasons I was planning in my head during the time, what happened was all that could have happened. I grab, then let go. Grab then let go. Trying to gain understanding upon a process that is independent of the manifestations that rise because of it. 

As Shargrol mentioned with regards to collisions of experience, it is one muddy pool of collisions, with currents and overtones, all disguised as one big pool.

I don't specifically meditate with weed, however accept contemplative states that give rise to it. Feeling the currents of energy, letting go, feeling more intense and direct sensations, letting them pass. Suddenly, as I was lying on the floor, I entered a strong 4th Vipassana Vhana as my periphery was as sharp, clear, lucid as the center. All sensations were clearly added after, so allowed to pass. This was an incredibly unitive experience as a perceived backdrop interspersed by sensations not yet allowed to rest in the light of conscious experience. The sensations started tearing away at me, every shred of existence I had become a product of, ripped away from the supposed center that was no longer a center outside of the sensations that made it. Every fear and possible sense of distortion being a resistance to the truth that the one that was dying, was never alive to begin with. Even that idea was allowed to die. "I" had died and was a formless void that had temporarily and completely abandoned the fetters that experience should illuminate itself, and being a localised force in this cosmic dance, my projections will surely emerge and keep me searching for enlightenment. Some things don't get forgotten however, despite being under the influence, and I believe this experience has somewhat become integrated.

Afterwards, I was sitting, and had the feeling that simply looking at the wall was absolutely everything I needed to be doing at that time, which was very settling.

On a personal front, it is confusing when arguments are a form of doing that is so fixed upon 3rd and below chakra energies, that there is a desire to control my experience and raise myself back to "higher consciousness". There is a desire to keep things as they are, even though it is against the apparent cosmic order of causality. Then there is this underpinning deeper knowledge that I am already doing what I can, and couldn't do any more or less. It is very tempting for my mind to create a quick resolution that doesn't cause weeks or months of unnecessary suffering, but being completely at odds to the position of circumstance, it accepts polar opposites with great impartiality, but at different times, which I believe may cause more suffering than needed.
Dom Stone, modified 5 Years ago at 2/27/18 4:51 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 2/27/18 4:51 PM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
My reasons for meditating are under question, my reasons for self are under question. My psyche is under question, and I have no choice but to accept myself as part of this uncertainty. There are many things pushing me forward, things that 'appear' larger than any narrative my thoughts could come up with. They just lack that sentience that give care to reality as it is. It doesn't matter what is going on, whether I'm high or sober, manic or relaxed, depressed. There are different levels of mind that is a luminous understanding of the universe in it's own way, relating well to the chakras. Awareness gives rise to this, though consciousness (I) see it, and do not NEED to project myself onto, though habitual patterns of different levels of consciousness, are the fetters that bind me to Samsaric planes, including higher 'Realms of existance' which is starting to become apparent in normal life. Such as the ability to find subtle patterns in mind when viewed OUTSIDE thesee patterns that give rise to becoming. At my point in my development, I have complex karmic bonds with certain 'inefficient' trends towards awakening. Lower consciousness sees less patterns and is therefore limited in having any creative potential. I feel the lesson for me here is to see the background (Although it isn't a background, but some type of space/emptiness) upon which these many different potentials arise, and keep bringing myself to the fluxing dance of my own energy, and in a sense, be my own friend, lover, everything.

I am willingly exploring periods of lower consciousness due to bonds with relationships, but also my own karmic bonds to different variables in my reality. This is a great opportunity to see the equinimity in here, and I believe 'fucking up' any quasi monastic tendancies for a period of time longer than (I, Me, My) is comfortable with, can really help me appreciate the lack of speciality in any mindspace, jhana (Vipassana or otherwise), and let them ALL go, again, and again, and again. This is going to be a long and unfathomably twisted road.

It feels like there is more solidity in objects like I'm coming up to "Mind and Body" towards 4th path, but it is knowing the difference between lower consciousness mindfulness, or catching the subtle things behind the supposed solidity of it all, and really fully wiping that centerpoint clear that full understanding can skillfully navigate in higher realms without getting caught by harsh mindstuff on the way.
Dom Stone, modified 5 Years ago at 3/1/18 7:10 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 3/1/18 7:10 AM

RE: Dom's stream - From 2.5 towards 3rd

Posts: 118 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Practice feels like a long dark night, and there seems to be more solidity. I think review has been ending for the last few days, and I'm settling into a reality that needs skillful tweaking to fully open up to any potential that I could be repressing in however many creative ways. It is like there is perception of many strands of reality at once, and that there are different levels of consciousness that we react upon at a given length of time. I am no longer grossly distracted by the different ways represented by chakras. Everything is starting to feel energy based in terms of not taking fabrications of solidity or conceptualisation seriously, which opens up a need to view life in a much broader manner, otherwise I would be resisting a lot of insight material.

This invites a lot of new deep archetypal possibilities that I could work with, but this is not my field of study and I may find these difficult integrating. There is this constant feeling of doubt in terms of my perceptions, and this doubt is sinking into areas of my psyche that were not obvious before. I used to mention to my girlfriend that my "sense of self was taking a beating" during my first and second progress of insight, but this is on a fundamentally new level that is deeper than thoughts of sense of agency, and more challenging into the illegitimate and out of control slideshow of my direct perception.

It would be nice if somebody has the time run through some things with me as I'm not really too sure where this next part is going to leave me but it feels a little bit like Alice down a rabbit hole.

This does mark the end of my updates as I have agreed with myself to finish something for a change, but I may make a new thread to reflect ideas but I'm not sure yet. Peace.

P.S. Should a time come that I learn that I have deluded myself into any progress 'attainments', I will immediately update this to reflect that and show how easy it is to go off track.