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TOPIC: everything we can experience, is an object

everything we can experience, is an object 10 Dec 2015 17:34 #101591

Chris Marti wrote:
My version of it is that everything, literally everything we can experience, is an object. Even our sense of impermanence, our sense of awareness, and how all of it fits together.
This got me thinking and I could not find the post where you chat about your contemplations on time so I just created a new post.
So the following is pretty much the beginning of Mahamudra. It deals with the emptiness of time/temporal experience.
In my opinion, Mahamudra is about deleting the artificial constraints put on awareness and getting back to the natural state of an unbound awareness.
Hope you get something interesting out of this. It's not meant to be a philosophical shift, but a real path like change in how awareness is experienced.
~D
From pointing out the great way....page 347
Ordinary temporal experience cannot lead to the generation of certain knowledge, because believing in the seeming reality of a succession of arising-and-passing-away events exemplifies the extreme view of eternal-ism, that is, the presumption that something occurs or exists in time. On the other hand, believing in the cessation of all mental formations dur-ing meditation exemplifies the extreme view of nihilism. Pema Karpo's root instructions together with Jampel Pawo's commentary are designed to refute both the eternalist affirmation and the nihilist negation of ordi-nary temporality so that Middle Path view directly comes forth. As the mind-moments neither arise nor not-arise, the correct Middle Path view of the mind-moments is captured in the technical phrase skye med( "unborn" or "always here")—a term chosen to negate the great karmic weight of the propensities by which time is taken to be an entity and events seem to arise. Nevertheless something seems to happen (dug pa):
Now, the way to do the analysis when coming under the influence of [a false, seeming] nature or entity is as follows: From where does the first mind-moment arise? Then, where does it stay? Finally, where does it go when it stops? Use the above sayings in such a way that all the appearing phenomena of samsara don't go into dissolution anywhere and are not artificially produced anywhere. Then there is no arising that depends on the past. There is no intention that depends on the future. There is no recognition that depends on the present. Then you understand it to be free from any beginning or end. When it is always here, what stops?
Last Edit: 10 Dec 2015 17:36 by DreamWalker.
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everything we can experience, is an object 10 Dec 2015 18:39 #101596

Thanks, DW.

What does that extended quote mean to you? I like the middle way posited in it. For me it says we live in the worlds of things and not-things. Also for me, the world of things is almost always where "I' am, and the world of not-things is cessation and/or death, into which I cannot see.
Last Edit: 10 Dec 2015 18:40 by Chris Marti.
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everything we can experience, is an object 10 Dec 2015 20:27 #101599

(nevermind)
Last Edit: 10 Dec 2015 20:57 by shargrol.
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everything we can experience, is an object 10 Dec 2015 20:29 #101600

Chris Marti wrote:
Thanks, DW.
What does that extended quote mean to you?

This is an explanation/exercise to attempt to modify the constrained way awareness is experienced. The attainment that occurs is a shift in how awareness is experienced.
We naturally tend to think of all experiences as objects and that they are strung together like beads on a string. The string being the arrow of time. The question to explore is if mindfulness/awareness is another extra bead between each object bead or is it a merged part of the object bead? I will posit that awareness is inseparable from the object and in fact the size of awareness is the size of the bead. This is an artificial constraint. Awareness is much larger than the size of the bead, it is actually the space that holds all beads. By doing the exercise of breaking the temporality of experience by merging all experiences together, or smearing the beads across the string into one tunnel like bead of infinity, this breaks the artificial constraint of time and awareness becomes boundless.

There are other attainments that follow this one that seriously modify perceptions not so subtle ways. Each time you delete a constraint upon awareness it gets more and more unbound. This seems to be the first integral attainment from which all the others can springboard from.....
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everything we can experience, is an object 11 Dec 2015 08:27 #101603

Well, in my experience all of the things people tend to take for granted as absolutes are aren't actually absolute, and are actually objects of awareness:

Awareness
Space
Time

:)

There are other attainments that follow this one that seriously modify perceptions not so subtle ways. Each time you delete a constraint upon awareness it gets more and more unbound. This seems to be the first integral attainment from which all the others can springboard from.....

Yes, and are we separate from awareness? Is awareness some kind of absolute that we are only a part of and that looks down on us from "out there" somewhere, or is awareness something that our minds create and that is part of the process of perceiving? I think what happens (it happened to me) is that we tend to stop once we think awareness is the be all, end all, of practice. I'm saying it's not and that we have to keep investigating and deeply understand how that perception works just like we do any other perception like the self, or a rock, or time, or space.
Last Edit: 11 Dec 2015 13:25 by Chris Marti.
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everything we can experience, is an object 11 Dec 2015 10:32 #101605

I tend to say, "any experience is an experience and all we experience are experiences", which is another playful way to say "everything we can experience, is an object". But maybe it's most accurate to say that everything we can experience is a mind object --- to distinguish it from "object" in the material sense. I don't know... there is no way to say this stuff that truly makes sense otherwise all the genius awakened people in the past would have simply said it.

The awakening event is all about having an insight into what a mind object is. After gross psychological and existential kinds of hindrances are dealt with then dependent arising becomes more obvious and it's seen that experience is a singular event -- not needing self and object, but rather instantly creating subject and object in a single moment of experience. It's like the classic vase-face illusion. Metaphorically, experience itself is the picture on the left below. With training in mindfulness, we have the insight into the dependent nature of subject and object and we can understand how the right picture relates to the left.



So then the question becomes what is the awareness? What is experience? What is knowing?

This is the final koan. Basically attempting to be aware of awareness using awareness, or experience an experience as an experience, or know what knowing is so that we can know it. It's kind of obvious when it's said this way that what is trying to be done is very awkward and entangled with itself... a big mess. But our sense of self really wants to figure it out. It's universal among meditators who get this far.

But we can get lucky, see the struggle, have a clear perception of that struggle, wonder why we're struggling, feel the sense of loss that might happen if the struggle was over and we never got an answer and then...

"Oh!" Awareness is awareness, experience is experience, knowing is knowing? Is it that simple?

Done. And the insight is so tiny that it's almost like we never started. But it applies to every experience that has ever happened or ever will happen, so the insight it is shockingly universal and permanent.

Life is uncertain, without foundation, and subject to change in an instant. Nothing to depend on, no way to reject what is happening... Yet with the insight, not suffering because of some false hope of escape. And because of the insight, knowing that experiences are like dreams in a certain sense, so there is no need to defend or reject or get frustrated with them. Yet life goes on. It's time to eat, commute to work, fill out a form, sharpen a pencil... life goes on.



(It's stupid of me to write these words, but maybe it's stupid for me to say nothing, too.)
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everything we can experience, is an object 11 Dec 2015 12:36 #101606

Likely there will always be the temptation to try one last ingenious ploy to say something from both of the diametrical points of view of 'inside' (subject) and 'outside' (object). That it is inherently impossible doesn't necessarily make it 'stupid.' Failure may be a perfectly good-- and illuminating-- result. ;)

Maybe that is a 'meta' description of how a koan works... to bring us to a full stop.

Beyond that, most of the artful enterprises of human beings come from these attempts-- and I like your essay/ attempt above, Shargrol.
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everything we can experience, is an object 11 Dec 2015 15:21 #101608

Chris Marti wrote:
Well, in my experience all of the things people tend to take for granted as absolutes are aren't actually absolute, and are actually objects of awareness:

Awareness
Space
Time

:)

There are other attainments that follow this one that seriously modify perceptions not so subtle ways. Each time you delete a constraint upon awareness it gets more and more unbound. This seems to be the first integral attainment from which all the others can springboard from.....
Chris Marti wrote:
Yes, and are we separate from awareness?
No, we are not separate from awareness

Chris Marti wrote:
Is awareness some kind of absolute that we are only a part of and that looks down on us from "out there" somewhere, or is awareness something that our minds create and that is part of the process of perceiving?
I tend to think that one part of out brain is generating one kind of physical experience and another part is creating a knowing aspect of that. They both are experienced at the same time. Though you can shove a thought about awareness in between these moments and then see that as a separate experience but I wouldn't call that awareness.

Chris Marti wrote:
I think what happens (it happened to me) is that we tend to stop once we think awareness is the be all, end all, of practice.
Think? As in a philosophical point of view? No, I'm pragmatic. Couldn't care less about the thoughts about awareness. What I want, and have found are brain hacks to delete constraints upon awareness that directly lead to perceptual shifts. Awareness is bigger than most people experience. Its totally hackable.

Chris Marti wrote:
I'm saying it's not and that we have to keep investigating and deeply understand how that perception works just like we do any other perception like the self, or a rock, or time, or space.
Yes, I agree we should keep investigating. Perhaps there is another way of looking at awareness that can have beneficial results though that might conflict with what your current perception convinces you of.

Awareness can be perceived as the larger container that objects/experiences are held in. Or awareness can be constrained down to the size of the object and never allowed to be anything more. We can choose.
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everything we can experience, is an object 11 Dec 2015 15:49 #101611

shargrol wrote:
So then the question becomes what is the awareness? What is experience? What is knowing?...

..."Oh!" Awareness is awareness, experience is experience, knowing is knowing? Is it that simple?
"Oh!" AND Awareness is not a separate mind moment, awareness has a size constraint, knowing has a locational aspect to it. Its all hackable! WOOT!
~D
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everything we can experience, is an object 11 Dec 2015 20:27 #101612

I sometimes get overly excited about meditation and want to share it....sometimes I find myself stuffing it down peoples throats....
Sorry about that...

Sigh
Back to work..
~D
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everything we can experience, is an object 12 Dec 2015 07:20 #101613

No worries! :) Me too. In fact, I suspect you already know all this stuff and you think you're getting preached to. I'm just adding to the thread in a generic way, because I know there are other people who are probably interested in the subject. (I tend to use the generic "you" and "we", but I'm realizing it sometimes gets interpreted too specifically or too vaguely... I need to figure out how to say things better.) Anyway... more babbling on this topic below...


Moments of awareness can definitely go from narrow to broad. Knowing is always a knowing "of" something, therefore locational. All of these aspects of experiencing are good to tease out.

Whenever we just sit and notice the way we look at the world, it alternates between a center or edge framing. As we "look out our eyes", if the mind goes into the midst of the view, then it seems like awareness is like a container that is holding all the individual objects within the view. If we notice the edges of the field of view, then it seems like the self/body is where awareness resides and all objects appear in "our" vision. Both of these views are created by "attention" which is a selective aspect of mind. You could say that it's driven by either a desire to "know" or "to exist". When we want to "know" the world then attention goes to the center of the field. When we want "to exist" the attention goes to the edge of the field.

If attention/control/manipulation is dropped (which usually requires work on momentary "surrendering" to what occurs) then both the center and the edge can be seen together, which is basically the desireless "rigpa" or non-dual experience. As soon as a desire comes to "have" the rigpa experience, attention comes on line and it becomes the center or edge view again.

The interesting thing is that "rigpa" or non-duality itself can be known, it can be recognized as an experience. People can substitute every day samsara (trying to chase pleasure, and avoid pain) with a kind of spiritual samsara (trying to chase non-duality, trying to avoid non-duality) --- which is fine if it is an intentional act, but it is also subject to reinforcing spiritual craving and ill will for the world.

The spiritual urge is driven by a sense of fundamental lacking in the moment. Spiritual progress gives a little fix of the pride of attainment, but there is always more experiences to have... so it can be just a fancy form of suffering.

By the time someone accesses the non-dual view, it can be a good time to search around for the fundamental sense of lacking, needing, and ill will. All beings have it, it's so subtle, but drives us all crazy. To find it requires just letting the "attention" of the mind do it's thing, so that we can notice it for what it is. It's a kind of momentary surrender practice that doesn't mean you give up having control in life, just that for the sit you don't try to change a thing.

So the challenge then becomes, what is this urge that tries to change things in the moment? It's a different kind of investigation than looking for events in awareness. It's looking at the intentional quality of attention. This is where the sense of self lies, as well. Self exists because there is a problem to fix, there is always a problem to fix it seems. But when the self is seen, that "there's always a problem to fix" compulsion is seen for what it is.

There is an awakening to no-self or true-self, which has a sense of "Oh, this is it. The world is this." And the tiniest form of suffering is dropped, but it seems to make a big difference, even if it's equally true that nothing really changes.


(Again, my stupidity continues! :) )
Last Edit: 12 Dec 2015 07:23 by shargrol.
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everything we can experience, is an object 12 Dec 2015 11:43 #101616

This is just my opinion, so take it as you will, even with a grain of salt. It is not directed at anyone in particular. Think of it as fodder for more discussion if you're interested since this topic was started with a mention of time as non-absolute, with which I agree. I added that there are other things in that same vein, like space, and awareness. This is really about western buddhism as I see it and the tendency for western buddhists to invest in hidden absolutes. The concept of awareness tends to be one such thing. So does the experience people call "rigpa" or non-duality, and the idea that we can eliminate all self-referential thoughts and then be "done." We can continue to pursue safety and security in absolutes, and thus reify beliefs. There may be more aspects to how things are presented as mind objects that help us sort out more and more or our experience and how it's built. I think it's important to keep working, keep investigating, because we otherwise tend to rest on awkward beliefs in things that are as confusing in their own sphere as the belief in a permanent self is in its sphere.

YMMV -- but I think we owe it to ourselves to think about this in the context of our own practice, in the context of how buddhism plays out here in the west, and how it has somewhat unconsciously adopted strains of belief which in some cases hijack further exploration that might remove more of the veils that cloud our vision of what we are.
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everything we can experience, is an object 12 Dec 2015 13:24 #101619

adding on to the sentiment... the "further" exploration doesn't even have to be into new domains of making distinctions, etc., further exploration can also be going back to the basics and looking at what aspects of basic psyche might have been missed or under-investigated the first time through.
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everything we can experience, is an object 12 Dec 2015 13:40 #101620

Yes, absolutely, that's certainly an axis of continuing exploration. My point, though, is that western buddhism has sort of sneakily adopted some of the absolutes that come along with what we think of as typically western philosophy.
Last Edit: 13 Dec 2015 12:12 by Chris Marti.
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everything we can experience, is an object 13 Dec 2015 07:05 #101630

Daniel's writing is really good about the "false summits" of buddhism.

I was searching on awareness in MCTB...


"There is also “awareness”, but awareness is not a thing or localized
in a particular place, so to even say “there is also awareness” is already a
tremendous problem, as it implies separateness and existence where
none can be found."

"It is also said that,
“All things arise from it, and all things return to it,” though again this
implies a false certainty about something which is actually impenetrably
mysterious and mixing the concept of infinite potential with awareness is
a notoriously dangerous business. We could call it “God,” “Nirvana,”
“The Tao,” “The Void,” “Allah,” “Krishna,” “Intrinsic Luminosity,”
“Buddha Nature,” “Buddha,” “Bubba” or just “awareness” as long as we
realize the above caveats, especially that it is not a thing or localized in
any particular place and has no definable qualities. Awareness is
sometimes conceptualized as pervading all of this while not being all of
this, and sometimes conceptualized as being inherent in all of this while
not being anything in particular. Neither is quite true, though both
perspectives can be useful.

If you find yourself adopting any fixed idea about what we are calling
“awareness” here, try also adopting its logical opposite to try to achieve
some sense of direct inquisitive paradoxical imbalance that shakes fixed
views about this stuff and points to something beyond these limited
concepts. This is incredibly useful advice for dealing with all teachings
about “Ultimate Reality.” I would also recommend looking into the true
nature of the sensations that make up philosophical speculation and all
sensations of questioning."
Last Edit: 13 Dec 2015 07:06 by shargrol.
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everything we can experience, is an object 13 Dec 2015 11:23 #101633

My inference: "ultimate Reality/ View" is Mara's ultimate trick.

It's always going to look MUCH more shiny than that invisible "mind that abides nowhere." No credit to be given, no recognition, for invisibility. One really has to have exhausted every last residual hankering for reward, to have the least interest in invisibility.
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everything we can experience, is an object 13 Dec 2015 12:21 #101635

Daniel's writing is really good about the "false summits" of buddhism.

Yes. As time passes and I practice more I find myself more in sync with Daniel Ingram's take on the dharma. He's been consistent over time. It reminds me that i was once enamored with absolutes like "rigpa" and when Daniel questioned that tendency I ran off from DhO in a spin to help to form other message boards. Now here I am singing Daniel's praises and agreeing with what he said, and pointing others to the same things I now see that I didn't see back then. That was 2009.

The lessons. I think, are to be more open to experience, to keep exploring and, most of all, not to take sides in battles over beliefs. Assuming one recognizes their beliefs. Back then I don't think I did. I took others' versions of things and went with them.

:ohmy:
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everything we can experience, is an object 13 Dec 2015 13:30 #101636

" Yes, absolutely, that's certainly an axis of continuing exploration. My point, though, is that western buddhism has sort of sneakily adopted some of the absolutes that come along with what we think of as typically western philosophy. " Chris Marti

That is a big clue, I think. As someone interested in Dao and Dzogchen (and Ch'an and Zen) I find the imposition of Western religio-philosophical views on those other approaches really depressing. As if Disney studios had taken over producing religious art.

I never regarded either rigpa or dao as some sort of absolute equivalent to (True) Self, God, Jesus, or whatever-- but as pointers to the possibility of just STAWPING with the reification, already.
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everything we can experience, is an object 17 Dec 2015 14:00 #101666

Dreamwalker wrote:
What I want, and have found are brain hacks to delete constraints upon awareness that directly lead to perceptual shifts. Awareness is bigger than most people experience. Its totally hackable.
shargrol wrote:
Moments of awareness can definitely go from narrow to broad. Knowing is always a knowing "of" something, therefore locational. All of these aspects of experiencing are good to tease out.

Whenever we just sit and notice the way we look at the world, it alternates between a center or edge framing. As we "look out our eyes", if the mind goes into the midst of the view, then it seems like awareness is like a container that is holding all the individual objects within the view. If we notice the edges of the field of view, then it seems like the self/body is where awareness resides and all objects appear in "our" vision. Both of these views are created by "attention" which is a selective aspect of mind. You could say that it's driven by either a desire to "know" or "to exist". When we want to "know" the world then attention goes to the center of the field. When we want "to exist" the attention goes to the edge of the field.

If attention/control/manipulation is dropped (which usually requires work on momentary "surrendering" to what occurs) then both the center and the edge can be seen together, which is basically the desireless "rigpa" or non-dual experience. As soon as a desire comes to "have" the rigpa experience, attention comes on line and it becomes the center or edge view again.
Shargrol, This is exactly the brain hack I found that changes perception to vision. Noticing the center and noticing the edges of the visual field and then putting them together for a totality....then holding this totality til it does not shift back. It stays open though of course you still can narrow your focus like before, it just is selecting from the larger thing now. The visual upgrade that comes with this is quite evident, though the strange thing is that I never ever hear anyone talking about this shift. So I scratch my head and wonder if no one has this shift or no one talks about it. I used to assume that people experienced the same things as me but just didn't mention it....I no longer assume this.
So my question to anyone, have they experienced what I am talking about? Is this just me? Or is this some kind of secret?
Thanks,
~D

Edit : Oh, and hearing has the same type hack, and I just read from Ken Mcleod that the tactile has the same type hack (actually he talks about vision hearing and tactile, I just never heard of the tactile) - www.unfetteredmind.org/retreat-teachings...uctions-mahamudra-8/
Last Edit: 17 Dec 2015 14:10 by DreamWalker.
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everything we can experience, is an object 17 Dec 2015 16:21 #101669

DreamWalker wrote:
The visual upgrade that comes with this is quite evident, though the strange thing is that I never ever hear anyone talking about this shift. So I scratch my head and wonder if no one has this shift or no one talks about it. I used to assume that people experienced the same things as me but just didn't mention it....I no longer assume this.
So my question to anyone, have they experienced what I am talking about? Is this just me? Or is this some kind of secret?

I often wonder the same thing. Ultimately, I think that there are probably a lot of different ways to "see" this edge/center,frame-picture kind of distinction... it doesn't have to be by vision, it could be sound, like you said, touch, maybe even taste and thought? Probably lots of different ways to see how a limited sense of self is created by taking one piece of experience and contrasting it against another piece.
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everything we can experience, is an object 17 Dec 2015 16:22 #101670

Hey DW, the fact that you're posting means you're recovering well, I hope! Still wishing you good mojo throughout any recovery!
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everything we can experience, is an object 17 Dec 2015 16:52 #101671

shargrol wrote:
DreamWalker wrote:
The visual upgrade that comes with this is quite evident, though the strange thing is that I never ever hear anyone talking about this shift. So I scratch my head and wonder if no one has this shift or no one talks about it. I used to assume that people experienced the same things as me but just didn't mention it....I no longer assume this.
So my question to anyone, have they experienced what I am talking about? Is this just me? Or is this some kind of secret?

I often wonder the same thing. Ultimately, I think that there are probably a lot of different ways to "see" this edge/center,frame-picture kind of distinction... it doesn't have to be by vision, it could be sound, like you said, touch, maybe even taste and thought? Probably lots of different ways to see how a limited sense of self is created by taking one piece of experience and contrasting it against another piece.
So far my understanding is if you have not deleted all these constraints, and do not have the perceptual shifts that go along with each one, you are still slicing "awareness" up into smaller pieces and taking these small pieces as to be the whole of it.
The variety of what is still constrained vs not seems to be one way of explaining the variety of awakenings that seem to be different between practitioners.

The sticky one seems to be "thought". If you pop open thoughts to be unconstrained, its natural for you to "think" everything is done, as it is true from the though perspective. Everything that is a thought, is done, and what from that perspective is not a thought?

At this point, I am past my direct experience and am speculating.
So I'll just stop.
~D
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everything we can experience, is an object 17 Dec 2015 16:56 #101672

shargrol wrote:
Hey DW, the fact that you're posting means you're recovering well, I hope! Still wishing you good mojo throughout any recovery!
Thanks, I am doing ok, the angiogram was merely diagnostic as one look at the mess made him back off and say we need surgical consult....so thats no good. But I'm going to Hawaii so until I get back I'm gonna try to ignore it all. and take it easy as the doc said.
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everything we can experience, is an object 17 Dec 2015 17:32 #101673

The "thought" one is about seeing how, at various times, we believe we are "the thinker" (these thoughts about things are coming >from me<) or "the knower" (the raw unthought "qualia" of experience is know >to me<) and we constrain ourselves to one or the other in a given moment. If both of those are seen clearly, it opens up the thinking sense. We don't need to hold onto a string of thoughts, nor do we need to hold onto body sensations. Then the mind almost becomes united with the whole body, as if the whole body thinks and experiences.

Your "constraints" model is pretty good, although I think some people jump to awakening without having completely gotten rid of their knots. It seems like a lot of the work, post initial awakening, is dealing with residual knots of all different sorts.

The last insight, the awakening insight, is of a completely different kind than opening up constraints of awareness. It doesn't have anything to do with the "how" of experience. It doesn't have anything to do with the "what" of experience. It just has to do with the fact "that experience happens". In a way, it's like Stream Entry/cessation but for the idea of enlightenment itself.

The general area of exploration is thinking about.... If awakening is experienced, how could be different than any other momentary experience? If awakening is known, how could it be different than any other momentary knowing? Even if we had the most perfect blissy awakening experience, after the buzz wore off, how could we not keep searching for the next perfect experience just like every other time in our life we had a great experience? How would I know I was awakened instead of just... this?

A lot of people report that the final area of questioning goes to the spiritual heart/mind itself and awakening occurs within the heart/mind. What is the actually thing that has to cease in order to be done?

(edits made to change heart to heart/mind and to be clearer about how thinking implies "from me" and knowing implies "to me")
Last Edit: 18 Dec 2015 05:53 by shargrol.
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everything we can experience, is an object 17 Dec 2015 17:33 #101674

Hawaii sounds like the perfect place to take it easy! Enjoy!!
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