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Do I want this?
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4/9/18 9:51 PM
Hi folks,

This is my first post, so apologies it's a bit of an unstructured ramble. I wouldn't be surprised if this is of no interest to anyone but at least it will be therapeutic for myself. 

About a week ago I was walking home after an intense swimming session. I had finished up on my 2nd 10day Vipassana/Goenka meditation retreat about 2 days earlier.  I was listening to Sam Harris' 'The path and the Goal #4' with Joseph Goldstein. There were discussing the differences between Vipassana and Dzogchen. I was listening with much interest as I have dabbled in both. Mainly Vipassana on retreat and Dzogchen at home for about 1 hour a day.

Anyway, Sam mentioned that in Dzogchen there is more emphasis on looking for the lack of self, which leads to the discovery that there is no self. Sam mentioned that when you notice experience (i.e. sights, sounds, thoughts) coming in, the sense of self drops away. I had never heard it being described as 'dropping away' before. I started to focus on an open awareness/Dzogchen style walking meditation (I had never really done walking meditation before). I could feel my concentration was heightened but relaxed likely due to my recent retreat and exercise - so the walking meditation did not feel very effortful. My consciousness then folded into this awareness that I was either completely present with sensory experience or I was lost in thought. What was unique to my consciousness at this time was that there was clear viewing of being lost and identified in thought. This experience lasted about 30min on my walk home.

Towards the end of the walk I had Joseph Goldstein's words echoing in my mind about experience being neither good nor bad. I also had a Shakespeare quote in my mind which I was wrongly attributed to Viktor Frankl at the time, 'There is no good or bad, but thinking makes it so'. This is something I have known intellectually for years but at this time I could really understand it. It seemed obvious. There was sensory experience (how could this be intrinsically good or bad?) OR there was identification with thought (which is an illusion, therefore, has no say on what is good or bad). Upon coming to this understanding my thoughts become anxious in nature 'Oh shit, now anything you or anyone else does is not going to be good or bad'. I was able to recognise these anxieties as identification with thought initially but they soon overwhelmed my 'mindfulness'. I also began worrying because I had to work that evening (I work as a paramedic, a job where I didn't believe my newfound awareness would serve me or my patients e.g. persion is dying. If I did nothing, it would be as equally good/bad as helping them).

My concern at the time was that if I'm mindful in this way, then I wouldn't experience good or bad again. Firstly, this basically fucks up my whole world view on how I should behave/interact/live my life. Secondly, I would become apathetic and miss the joyful/good experience in my life. I'll be honest I found the experience incredible de-stabilising and I found my concerns bubbling into a question 'do I want to experience this again? Intellectually I say yes but my gut is not so certain. 

I'm not sure if that made sense to anyone (including myself). But, I have a lot of questions that I think I will answer in time but thought I'd get a 2nd opinion from the panel. 

What was this experience? Was this experience a glimpse of 'Anatta' or being 'Unborn' as J Golstein says?
How should I process this experience? are my doubts/concerns valid?
Where do I go from here? Should I be focussing my meditation practice in a way to replicate this experience?

Sorry for the rant, any help would be amazing.

cheers,
Miles

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/10/18 12:56 AM as a reply to Miles Allan.
As you deconstruct the mental reflexes that make up the self, you can sometimes feel confused by their loss. They might have been stupid and a cause of suffering, but you relied on them!

Don't worry, the confusion is temporary. Over time, your mind will settle down to a new way of operating that is much less tense. In the meantime keep practicing, and let compassion and love guide your actions. You will eventually find that you become much happier, and your relationships with loved ones will also improve.  At least, that was my experience.

Of course, there might be some hefty defence mechanisms hiding in those reflexes.  So be prepared to deal properly with any stuff you had been suppressing if you haven't done that already.

RE: Do I want this?
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4/10/18 4:25 AM as a reply to Miles Allan.
There is objectively what is almost universal good/bad - who would argue that love or compassion is bad? What would help us is in observing during the Contact phase (helped by noticing the activity e.g. seeing) our subjective judgements and how that leads to classifying like/dislike, leading to Crave/Cling issues. -> clinging aggregates [Contact-Feeling-Craving (Desire/Aversion)-Clinging] We focus on those specific (suffering) areas that leads to problems in our lives and be mindful of the rest, which is a very pleasurable habit as you see good conditionings lead to good things which reinforces them (not purposely for emergency purposes of course but I think at some point strong mindfulness/concentration in those times will occur more often - 'in the zone' feeling).

High effort does not always result in high concentration. You need to explore that balance. Your experience sounds like 'the Witness' - some say you can take that further (you can search) but I think it is best to drop hankering after experiences and trying too hard to shape your practice. I suffered through that and it wasn't necessary...

All the best to your practice and don't worry! emoticon

RE: Do I want this?
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4/10/18 6:19 AM as a reply to Miles Allan.
Miles Allan:
... My consciousness then folded into this awareness that I was either completely present with sensory experience or I was lost in thought. What was unique to my consciousness at this time was that there was clear viewing of being lost and identified in thought.

...I also began worrying because I had to work that evening (I work as a paramedic, a job where I didn't believe my newfound awareness would serve me or my patients e.g. persion is dying. If I did nothing, it would be as equally good/bad as helping them). My concern at the time was that if I'm mindful in this way, then I wouldn't experience good or bad again...

What was this experience? Was this experience a glimpse of 'Anatta' or being 'Unborn' as J Golstein says?
How should I process this experience? are my doubts/concerns valid?

Where do I go from here? Should I be focussing my meditation practice in a way to replicate this experience?


These are all good questions -- probably familiar to a lot of us with long-term meditation practice -- and I'm glad you choose to ask because it's the kind of thing that can needlessly worry someone.

Here's kind of a long answer, but I think it will help...

When we are growing up, sometime around age 4 or so, we start talking to ourselves. ALL THE TIME. If you listen to kids, at a certain point they start narrating their life "I put this block here. The doll goes here. I go get the crayon..." As you are watching the kid, you might be tempted to say "you don't need to say everything you are doing. Just do it." emoticon  But it's part of developing the verbal mind.

The weird thing is that this odd behavior becomes so ingrained and pervasive in adults --- it becomes the verbally thinking mind. And 99% of adults are so identified with the verbal mind that they think that is what I am. I am my thoughts.

Meditation is usually the first time an adult starts seeing the verbal mind as just another phenomonon of the body-mind. Like you said, you can acutally "watch" the mind be tumbling around in thought. Sometimes people call this "glimpsing the mindstream". The interesting thing about this state is you can't really "think" about what you are seeing, because that would be more thoughts, but the witnessing/awareness aspect of the mind can start to see thoughts as thoughts.

This can be shocking, but thoughts have always been thoughts, sensations have always been sensations. Without meditation, there really isn't much nuance in peoples mind. But the more you observe and understand your own mind, you will see how experience is made of a lot of component experiences subtle sensations, sensations, urges, subtle emotions, emotions, proto-thoughts, one-word thoughts, and full sentence thoughts... It will be obvious that experience always was this way, but you just didn't see it before.

There can be a crisis of confidence that "if I see my thoughts as thoughts they are unreal and will go away, leaving me without thoughts" That's not really true. There might be an adjustment period when you are thinking less and less compulsively, but it is more like you arrive at a new healthy balance for urges, emotions, and thoughts. Usually this is a lot less, a lot more calmer, a lot more "clear", than your life pre-mediation... but they don't really go away completely.

The last thing you will see is that "good/bad" is actually a full body experience. We might initially think "I need my thoughts to figure out good and bad", but really it's something that is part of every aspect of experience. It's actually very common to start navigating life more morally and responsibily by tuning into the "felt" sensation of the world. In other words, feelings and emotions can actually be more accurite than clunky word-thoughts for moment by moment navigation.

(Notice that you mostly don't "verbally think" how to catheritize a vein. By now you probably look and "feel" like a nice straight surficial vein would make a good target. Your body knows that the "sensation" of having a relaxed but calm hand sensations means you are ready to start the needle moving. You "feel" for the pop, you "notice" the flash, you withdraw the needle along the path of least resistance, you feel the right pressure under your thumb which stops the blood as you tug off the tourniquet, you know in your gut if you have a patent IV, but you hook up the line and then see, and you watch your feelings as part of deciding are they getting a good flow...)

It's true that we all talk to ourselves while doing job stuff... but it's also true that the real skill shows up in a non-verbal way. It's just we don't notice it very often.

So basically, you are starting to "see" thoughts. You could say you are seeing the not-self aspect of thoughts and are starting to identify with awareness more than the content of awareness. 

A big trap at this stage is thinking "oh I'm awareness. and when I'm awareness everything is nice and no problem... therefore contents of mind are the problem!" NO no no! emoticon Contents of mind are just fine, no problem. The point is to learn to see everything as it is. See  sensations as sensations, urges as urges, emotions as emotions, thoughts as thoughts, states as states. You don't need to do this verbally (e.g. labelling everything with words) but it can be good practice at first, like the 4 year old that learns to label their actions. A meditator learns to label their inner experience. But ultimately, you can just "notice" rather than note, like you did on your 30minute walk home.

So good job! Sounds like you are seeing your own experience more clearly. No need to panic or push practice into one direction or another, just continue to explore and ask questions. Slow down if it is too intense, go on retreats when it seems right, etc. 

One thing I will caution: it's almost ALWAYS the case that we get a "glimpse" of new stuff and then it takes days, weeks, months before another glimpse. That's just normal, it doesn't mean anything is wrong. Also, the mature version of what we glimpse is usually less extreme/profound over time... it becomes kind of normal. So be on the lookout for trying to make experiences into "very special things that show how very special I am" emoticon Of course, it's totally okay to get excited about new developments in our practice, but just don't buy into the hype about different spiritual states. 

It sounds like you are getting to stages where having a teacher and sangha would be helpful --- I highly recommend establishing a support group of some sort. (DhO can be kinda random, not necessarily dependable.) 

Hope this helps in some way!

RE: Do I want this?
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4/11/18 1:13 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I'm really loving Shargol's post here, beautifully written! I second everything he says, too.

In my own practice I've noticed increased sensitivity. Event processing through thinking is not happening that much although it's not like I've lost my ability to think, on the contrary (in the traditional meaning of the word too, ie. analytical word-based thinking). It's more like the process that one usually uses thinking for is made better by applying "feeling it out" and then progressing from there. The Bhumi mapping system of our sangha is also based on this, feeling it out, instead of  thinking and analyzing in the traditional sense these words are used. It has been amazing for me how much I have been able to fine tune my ability to catch the smallest vibes in objects and situations. This is happening without thinking, naturally. And once you see beautifully the world as it is laid out, proper acting comes naturally. While in a certain sense it is neither good nor bad if you administer the drug or not, or of the patient lives or dies, in actuality you will do what the situation requires if you follow the flow of things and simply feel, instead of philosophizing about wether it makes any sense to help this person. You will help if it is in your ability to do so. I'm obviously struggling with these explanations here, because they are by no means easy to translate into text in any satisfactory manner. However, this has been my experience so far, and I've been through similar experiences as Miles described.

RE: Do I want this?
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4/11/18 5:19 AM as a reply to Miles Allan.
Nice insight. It might help to note/notice mind states in a moment like this. You were noticing that certain thoughts were triggering anxieties, which is great. From there, you could pay even closer attention to what was happening. For example, if you had a flash of imagination in which you saw yourself moving through life with a flat affect, unmoved by anything, you could note 'imagining' or 'future thought,' maybe pay attention to the vedana ('unpleasant'), and then go right to the body sensations that were part of the chain: 'tightness' (in the throat, say), 'unpleasant' and then you could keep watching to see what was happening in real time. Does the process intensify, stay the same or fade?

Mind states are tricky because it's so easy to be embedded in them. A teacher once asked me to note mind states aloud in real time over Skype. I said that I couldn't notice anything. He said, how about 'looking, investigating' and, sure enough, yes, that's of course what I'd been doing--a mind state. And then he said, 'How about frustration or consternation about not being able to see any mind states?' Yes, that was there. And then I was like, 'OK, right, and there's worry about looking like a dullard to the teacher, and fear about not being good enough,' and so forth. 

I was in the middle of a garden of mind states but unable to see them until I started understanding the process for spotting them and disembedding. The key, I think, if you're going to be noting things like 'worrying, worrying,' 'doubting,' 'frustration,' etc., is to be sure to go to the feeling in the body and really be with everything associated with the phenomena; otherwise, there's a risk of using vipassana techniques as a way to get away from or raze unpleasant phenomena as they come up. 

RE: Do I want this?
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4/13/18 8:36 PM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Vipassana clearly can get a shadow side of blasting, cutting, destroying, disembodying, depersonalizing in some unskillful way. This is a feature becoming a bug, really. It can become indifference, become aversion, become life-denying, become too future-oriented. It was never meant to do that, but often people take it that way anyway and practice that way.

If one reads something like the Greater Discourse on Mindfulness, one will see that it is very broadly accepting, straightforwardly accepting. One recognizes what is going on as it occurs. One recognizes skillful and unskillful mind states as they are. One walks. One breathes. One sees what is there. One is mindful of it. This, done properly, has a very different feel than poorly done Vipassana.

As to Dzogchen and not-self vs Vipassana and not-self, both emphasize not-self. Both point directly to not-self. One cannot practice Vipassana properly without some skillful view of not-self, as it is one of the Three Characteristics, and perceiving the Three Characteristics of whatever sensations arise is the essence of Vipassana. Dzogchen often emphasizes a wider field of attention than some Vipassana practitioners take. Adopting a wider field of attention is part of the normal progression of attention as we rise up the stages of insight, but some practitioners have this notion they should stay very narrow despite the higher stages of attentional development naturally becoming wider and more inclusive, so instead they force these stages to be something they are not naturally, and thus miss opportunities for insight. Some Vipassana practitioners will stay investigating objects outwardly away from their sense of self, not investing the sensations that seem to be them, but this is an error also. Some Vipassana practitioners will stay very effortful and future-oriented, thus missing the key insight instructions to be mindful of this moment and what arises naturally in this moment, and in this way they may fail to make progress.

For these practitioners who have somehow unfortunately misinterpreted the instructions of Vipassana, or taken very early instructions to be the more advanced instructions, or failed to understand what Mindfulness and Investigation are about, or failed to develop adequate Tranquility and Equanimity, then they may do better when they encounter the Dzogchen teachings, which may counter their misinterpretations and errors. However, often they will fail to realize that the errors were theirs, and attribute their new success with Dzogchen to Dzogchen itself over Vipassana, not recognizing that Vipassana, done properly, ends up looking like Dzogchen, in that it is wide, all-embracing, complete, settled into the moment, clear about not-self.

Thus, it is true that Dzogchen teachings have helped a lot of poorly-instructed or confused Vipassana practitioners. It is also true that Dzogchen has confused a lot of people.

The downsides of Dzogchen are basically the opposite set of shadow sides to those commonly found in poorly done Vipassana, but they can be just as problematic. By taking a wide view, precision is lost, and without precision, many sensations arise and vanish without being clearly perceived or investigated. By settling for this moment being however it is, many will greatly lower their own standards, becoming accepting of a dull, vague, spaced-out mind that lacks the delusion-cutting power and sharp clarity of Vipassana. By taking on the Dzogchen teachings prematurely, before meeting the standard minimum requisites often advocated in the original tradition for rectiving those instructions, many practitioners will simply attempt to leap too high, beyond their abilities, into wide territory that they can't simultaneously be very clear about, and then either get frustrated or begin to rationalize that weak, premature, spacy practice is actually great practice. Basically, they develop too much Tranquility and Equanimity without enough Mindfulness, Energy, and Investigation, and also perhaps without enough Concentration.

So, it is largely a question of identifying imbalances, misinterpretations, and poor practice and then correcting these. Pragmatically, if one goes into another tradition and this accomplishes those goals, all is well. If, on the other hand, one attributes to the new tradition a salvation and efficacy not found in the other tradition, this is really missing something about that tradition and style, as both traditions, performed properly and by the right practitioner at the right phase of practice, can be extremely profound and very liberating.

RE: Do I want this?
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4/14/18 6:34 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel, thank you for those extremely thoughtful and lucid comments. May I ask a follow up question - what is the best remedial practice?  

The instructions for most traditions seem to assume that you must start from the beginning.  But what if you are not at the beginning?  Is it really skilful to return to that point?  Or is it possible to adopt intermediate or advanced practices, depending on the insights gained so far (in my own case, from concentration practices, study of the dharma, and reflection on the nature of the mind including perception, rather than close study of bodily sensations).

In asking this question I am mindful of the Greater Discourse to Malunkyaputta. This sutta suggests that the method of concentration and insight helps to abandon the five lower fetters only, which begs the question of how practice should evolve. It also notes that some monks are said to gain deliverance of mind and some to gain deliverance by wisdom, which Siddharta attributes to differences in their faculties. I don't know what this means, but it seems to suggest that different practices will be more or less skillful for different people. So going back to the begining of the wrong type of practice could be very unskilful. I also suspect that different traditions converge (or at least become disconnected from their original practices) before third path, rather than after third path as the Sutta translation suggests. But this is just an intution.

All this makes me wonder whether remedial practice should differ for people who have reached 2nd path, compared to 1st path, compared to A&P, if we can use those terms without too much provocation!

Very happy to hear any answer. Just trying to cut through the confusion to understand whether I should go back, or go forward.

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/15/18 1:30 AM as a reply to curious.
I am not further ahead than you are. I'm just a monk struggling with too much solitude. emoticon I don't have a teacher other than from the most kind teachers here. Absolute honesty in self-diagnosis is the only way forward...

Sharing my experience - maybe it could be useful. I write down all things that show where I am not there yet after discovering them through mindfulness in all day living. It's a huge list that shows how much more work is left to be done. The resistance to work on those that are difficult and uncomfortable shows where I need to go back to basics to unravel their stickiness. Those remaining crave/cling/fetters/defilements - they have to be faced and worked on. I think they point out to practice direction clear enough if I am honest and brave enough...

If Daniel or anyone else can enlighten further, it will be most delightful of course!

All the best to your practice...

RE: Do I want this?
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4/15/18 3:06 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Thank you Yilun. That sounds like great advice.

It's a funny forum, the way we post occasionally in slightly intersecting conversations, rather than really talking.  Just wanted to say I enjoy your observations and wish you all the best with the kundalini challenges you are experiencing.  I think lots of us are sitting beside you, offering silent support.

Not sure I'll get any more advice.  Maybe those who have finished think my questions are a classic symptom of the path, and I should work it out for myself.  I'll try to do that, and I guess verbalising it here is part of that process.  Strangely enough, I also just had a classic intermediate vipassana experience - with piti building until my whole body was twinkling - despite not practicing in that way!

RE: Do I want this?
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4/16/18 11:31 PM as a reply to curious.
Same here mate! I think it is very difficult for even arhats to advise correctly when the propensity for yogis to not describe their actual issues in a very detailed and accurate manner, it also has to come from deep-felt honesty with the self-diagnosed issues and not some ego overlayed version of what we face. Try being more specific to garner better advice, I am sure they are more than happy to help!

I really enjoy reading your stuff too! An advice to me was "keep spouting nonsense if it helps". I think it does hahaha....

RE: Do I want this?
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4/17/18 5:53 AM as a reply to Miles Allan.
Miles Allan:
Hi folks,

This is my first post...

And maybe last post.  emoticon

RE: Do I want this?
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4/17/18 3:45 PM as a reply to curious.
I like the knot metaphor for the nervous system.  We are just trying to let the knot of our own "false" identity unwind.  If you are untying a knot, there are millions of ways to go about it and posting on a message board asking for advice is pretty tough.  No one can feel or see your knot and we are not sure what will work for you or wont work.  Try something, if you feel more relaxed and less connected to the myth of Curious you have been carrying around like a load on your back - then it probably is working.   

Alternately, find a real in the flesh teacher who is trained to train people in a particular system and follow it.  There are not a lot of people running around trying to teach themselves neuro surgery and this actually isnt that much easier. 

RE: Do I want this?
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4/17/18 8:47 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Miles Allan:
Hi folks,

This is my first post...

And maybe last post.  emoticon

Hey Shargol, that comment seems like casual bullying (although not to Miles).  Maybe you could reflect on that?

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/18/18 12:43 PM as a reply to curious.
Just curious where Miles is, that's all.  emoticon

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/18/18 12:47 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Just curious where Miles is, that's all.  emoticon

I thought we'd get more "Mileage" out of him too, honestly. ;)

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/18/18 1:09 PM as a reply to Miles Allan.
Miles Allan:
 'There is no good or bad, but thinking makes it so'. This is something I have known intellectually for years but at this time I could really understand it. It seemed obvious. There was sensory experience.. 

My concern at the time was that if I'm mindful in this way, then I wouldn't experience good or bad again. Firstly, this basically fucks up my whole world view on how I should behave/interact/live my life. Secondly, I would become apathetic and miss the joyful/good experience in my life. 

What was this experience? Was this experience a glimpse of 'Anatta' or being 'Unborn' as J Golstein says?
How should I process this experience? are my doubts/concerns valid?
Where do I go from here? Should I be focussing my meditation practice in a way to replicate this experience?


Hi Miles!

Sometimes these glimpses happen in meditation.  It 's hard to know what exactly it was, but as you said it was a glimpse of experiential understanding.  

As far as your concerns, I really wouldn't worry about the path having a negative effect on your life.  One of my main rules of thumb is that, on the path, we never lose anything we don't truly want to get rid of - no tricks involved.  The path is about overcoming suffering, and it's rare that it truly creates more beyond some temporary issues like the dark night.

Where should you go from here?  It sounds like you already have a dedicated practice and are familiar with several different meditative traditions.  I would say to just go with what seems to be working for you.  In my experience, chasing these types of temporary experiences can become a bit of a rabbit hole, but you can certainly allow it to guide or inform your practice as seems appropriate.

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/22/18 9:33 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Hi Shargrol,

Thankyou. I appreciate you for taking the time to reply. Your words here were super helpful at a time when my practice has been a little shaky. I resonated with so many things you mentioned but never has seen them articulated quite so nicely - especially the idea of noticing urges vs word thoughts. I agree that its probably I seek a teacher or network where I can get help working through different stages. 

P.S sorry for the late reply - I've trying to hide from my laptop but I have read your reply on several occasions emoticon 

cheers,
Miles

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/22/18 9:39 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
As you deconstruct the mental reflexes that make up the self, you can sometimes feel confused by their loss. They might have been stupid and a cause of suffering, but you relied on them!

Don't worry, the confusion is temporary. Over time, your mind will settle down to a new way of operating that is much less tense. In the meantime keep practicing, and let compassion and love guide your actions. You will eventually find that you become much happier, and your relationships with loved ones will also improve.  At least, that was my experience.

Of course, there might be some hefty defence mechanisms hiding in those reflexes.  So be prepared to deal properly with any stuff you had been suppressing if you haven't done that already.
Thanks for the reply. Self-compassion and love is only a skill I've prioritized recently. I agree its importance in meditation is paramount - this was something that has been largely missing from my practice/life until recently (i.e 1 month ago). You, of course, are correct that confusion is temporary. I was stuck in a sort of negative thought loop which has passed like everything else (it's fascinating how easy we can get caught up in certain mindstates).

cheers,
miles 

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/22/18 9:40 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Wise words. Thankyou. 

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
4/22/18 9:45 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
Tashi Tharpa:
you could pay even closer attention to what was happening. For example, if you had a flash of imagination in which you saw yourself moving through life with a flat affect, unmoved by anything, you could note 'imagining' or 'future thought,' maybe pay attention to the vedana ('unpleasant'), and then go right to the body sensations that were part of the chain: 'tightness' (in the throat, say), 'unpleasant' and then you could keep watching to see what was happening in real time. Does the process intensify, stay the same or fade?



Hi Tashi,

thank you for taking the time to reply. I love this going into the body during strong emotions and mentally noting the sensations arising in parts of the body (i find the belly is the epicenter of anxiety and stress in my body). This is something I've only begun recently thanks to self compassion/guided meditations. I've recently benefited from Tara broch's guided RAIN meditations which I found extremely cringy initially but my most important practice at the moment.  

cheers,
Miles

RE: Do I want this?
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4/22/18 10:03 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

Thank you for your insight. I have been recently aware that mindfulness/concentration is not enough in my practice. There is a need for study/wisdom/compassion when it comes to meditation. I agree that vipassana misinterpreted or rather poorly taught can lead on a shaky path - because I've experienced it. I can see that I've succumbed to both of these in my practice. It is a challenging process especially in a western culture where meditation and practice is such an acute deviation from the cultural norms, at least this has been my experience as a young male growing up in Australia. It seems clear that I need teachings/wisdom to steady myself on a path that has become a bit of a mismatch of meditative types and expectations. 

cheers,
Miles 

RE: Do I want this?
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4/27/18 7:16 AM as a reply to Miles Allan.
Thank you Miles for posting this and thank you all for your responses. This post helped me since I am in a similar place. I am practising mindfulness in my daily life right now what I find (similar experience to you Miles i think) is that there is no inherent goodness or badness in experience. This confuses me because I thought that there was something inherently good in the world and that this is what the buddha is teaching with compassion and loving-kindness.

This is also weird because some time ago I had several weeks of seeing interconnectedness and when I observed it with mindfullness if filled me with joy and I was connected with this joyful-interconnected observing for weeks. Now it feels like my mind has reverted back to a intellectual understanding of interconnectedness and now my mind is like a teenager saying "So what, everything is connected, it still does not change the fact that there is no reason for existance or reason to do anything...." Like my mind is angry or annoyed or something similar.

Now I'm thinking that I must create the loving-kindness myself to fill this inherent lack of good-badness in everything. But I am not sure that this is what the buddha was teaching. I don't have a spiritual teacher and would love any input someone has regarding my thoughts and feelings.

For background I had a daily meditation sitting pracise for 14 months or so and then moved over to a 4-5 times per week sitting pracise but more constant mindfullness pracise during my daily life.

RE: Do I want this?
Answer
5/4/18 12:31 PM as a reply to Miles Allan.
"My concern at the time was that if I'm mindful in this way, then I wouldn't experience good or bad again."

One thing that has helped me is to reframe “good and evil” in terms of “light and darkness.” This correlates well with mental health versus mental un-wellness. In other words, a dedication to reality at all costs versus clinging to delusion. Ancient Greece in the West promoted the axioms “Know yourself” and “Nothing to excess” that affirmed what Buddhism in the East taught around mindfulness and the Middle Way. A natural morality may flow out of achieving these goals.