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TOPIC: Inspiration and determination in everyday life

Inspiration and determination in everyday life 19 Feb 2019 08:27 #110494

Lately my practice has been going to the direction of integrating everything that's happening in everyday life to the view that's been becoming more and more clear on the cushion. It has to do with just trusting awareness to be present clearly at all times. I've noticed that reading books (for example dzogchen-literature at the moment) seems to boost my inspiration and make it easier to uphold the view without getting distracted. Or sometimes it's possible to boost my determination to cut through the possible obscurations or just make the view fresh.

I'm aware that there's probably a huge learning curve to fully stabilize the view of primordial awareness (or whatever you want to call it) and for me it's often impossible to keep this view during difficult situations at the moment. Sometimes there are easier periods and it does seem to vary randomly, but I sometimes wonder how much do these props like reading books etc. help in keeping off-the-cushion practice fresh? I would love to hear your experiences.
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 19 Feb 2019 08:52 #110497

In general I maintain a sense of connection to the seasonality of my own practice, while also not indulging in inconsistency. There are times when I feel inspired to read many dharma books, but when the inspiration is no there, I still force myself to consume a small amount of dharma reading. Similar to other supportive habits, such as health & self care routines. With regards to formal & informal meditation, I give myself leeway to not practice the same thing again for months or years. However, when I discover a blind spot, I do take days & weeks to repeatedly practice whatever examination or visualization is required to light up the dark. Usually a couple weeks of repeated emphasis will cause a permanent uncovering. Overall, I look for trends over months & years of progress & these are the aspects of personal practice that I trust more than fleeting moments of inspiration or context-dependent epiphanies or meditative experiences.

With regards to integrating the view with ordinary life. there seems to be the aspect of raw mindfulness power, which is essentially a dosage & consistency issue (how many situations & of what types am I centerlessly agencylessly mindful throughout & which scenarios cause a slight collapse into duality?). But there is also the aspect of psychology, behavior mod & ego development - how am I improving the vessel of this mind & body to be a more appropriate conduit for this mindfulness & it's expression in thought, speech & action?
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 19 Feb 2019 16:38 #110504

Kalle Ylitalo wrote:
I'm aware that there's probably a huge learning curve to fully stabilize the view of primordial awareness (or whatever you want to call it) and for me it's often impossible to keep this view during difficult situations at the moment.

This may be a bit of a distraction to your original intent here, but I'm curious about what the experience of primordial awareness is like for you.
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 20 Feb 2019 13:28 #110515

This may be a bit of a distraction to your original intent here, but I'm curious about what the experience of primordial awareness is like for you.

It's a view that's relaxed, alert, spacious and clear. Sometimes accompanied by a strong sense of being somehow really awake, maybe a bit like a lucid dream. What's lacking is this subtle, obsessive way to approach mental events (sights, sounds, thoughts) when they appear and there's a trust that no such engagement is needed to function in the best way possible in each situation. I'm more identified with the whole field of awareness than just my personal identity. The concepts of future and past are just that, concepts.

That's what came to mind now at least. :)
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 20 Feb 2019 16:05 #110519

Kalle Ylitalo wrote:
This may be a bit of a distraction to your original intent here, but I'm curious about what the experience of primordial awareness is like for you.

It's a view that's relaxed, alert, spacious and clear. Sometimes accompanied by a strong sense of being somehow really awake, maybe a bit like a lucid dream. What's lacking is this subtle, obsessive way to approach mental events (sights, sounds, thoughts) when they appear and there's a trust that no such engagement is needed to function in the best way possible in each situation. I'm more identified with the whole field of awareness than just my personal identity. The concepts of future and past are just that, concepts.

That's what came to mind now at least. :)

When this awareness is clear and evident, would you say that there's a stronger sense of knowing/clarity of experience as experience arises and releases? When this awareness is not clearly evident, can you recover that sense if you inquire, "What knows this experience?"

Are we talking about two different things?
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 20 Feb 2019 16:40 #110520

Andy wrote:
Kalle Ylitalo wrote:
This may be a bit of a distraction to your original intent here, but I'm curious about what the experience of primordial awareness is like for you.

It's a view that's relaxed, alert, spacious and clear. Sometimes accompanied by a strong sense of being somehow really awake, maybe a bit like a lucid dream. What's lacking is this subtle, obsessive way to approach mental events (sights, sounds, thoughts) when they appear and there's a trust that no such engagement is needed to function in the best way possible in each situation. I'm more identified with the whole field of awareness than just my personal identity. The concepts of future and past are just that, concepts.

That's what came to mind now at least. :)

When this awareness is clear and evident, would you say that there's a stronger sense of knowing/clarity of experience as experience arises and releases? When this awareness is not clearly evident, can you recover that sense if you inquire, "What knows this experience?"

Are we talking about two different things?

Yes and yes. I think we're very much on the same page.

The manner of releasing seems to vary, some things become more tangible and some stuff just seems to be happening but I wouldn't be able to verbally describe what is being released. The essential point seems to be to trust that effortless way of releasing.
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 21 Feb 2019 02:57 #110524

Noah wrote:
In general I maintain a sense of connection to the seasonality of my own practice, while also not indulging in inconsistency. There are times when I feel inspired to read many dharma books, but when the inspiration is no there, I still force myself to consume a small amount of dharma reading. Similar to other supportive habits, such as health & self care routines. With regards to formal & informal meditation, I give myself leeway to not practice the same thing again for months or years. However, when I discover a blind spot, I do take days & weeks to repeatedly practice whatever examination or visualization is required to light up the dark. Usually a couple weeks of repeated emphasis will cause a permanent uncovering. Overall, I look for trends over months & years of progress & these are the aspects of personal practice that I trust more than fleeting moments of inspiration or context-dependent epiphanies or meditative experiences.

With regards to integrating the view with ordinary life. there seems to be the aspect of raw mindfulness power, which is essentially a dosage & consistency issue (how many situations & of what types am I centerlessly agencylessly mindful throughout & which scenarios cause a slight collapse into duality?). But there is also the aspect of psychology, behavior mod & ego development - how am I improving the vessel of this mind & body to be a more appropriate conduit for this mindfulness & it's expression in thought, speech & action?

Nice stuff Noah! Loved "centerlessly agencylessly mindful", very nicely put. To me it's a nice synonym for "alertly relaxed" or "stark wakefulness" both of which I picked up from some dzogchen books.

The main reason why I started this topic was that I'm interested in what influences that "raw mindfulness power" or maybe you could call it intention and how to cultivate it so that it's continuous and effortless. For example reading dharma books seems to inspire me sometimes in a way that there's "more" of that raw power available, which makes holding the view really easy. Also physical exercise seems to be a good support for stark wakefulness. :)
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 21 Feb 2019 03:12 #110525

More on determination:

Determination seems to be closely connected to intention which in turn seems to be essential for sustaining the view of primordial awareness or spacious, boundless, centerless, clear awareness. If you set the intention right, it's a direct path to this view and there's nothing more that needs to be done. With determination I mean a strong intention or dedication to hold the view or stay in centerlessly agencylessly mindful -mode as Noah put it.

It seems that the best kind of determination is at the same time strong and one-pointed but also extremely light with no effort or grasping at all. Based on some limited experience on lucid dreaming, it's a similar intention that works best to become lucid in dreams. You really have to give it your all, but at the same time use no force at all. I'm not even sure if intention is the best term here.

Does this sound familiar? It would be interesting to hear if people here have come across some "training wheels" for this kind of intention in difficult (or easy) life situations? :)
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 21 Feb 2019 09:53 #110538

Kalle Ylitalo wrote:
More on determination:

Determination seems to be closely connected to intention which in turn seems to be essential for sustaining the view of primordial awareness or spacious, boundless, centerless, clear awareness. If you set the intention right, it's a direct path to this view and there's nothing more that needs to be done. With determination I mean a strong intention or dedication to hold the view or stay in centerlessly agencylessly mindful -mode as Noah put it.

It seems that the best kind of determination is at the same time strong and one-pointed but also extremely light with no effort or grasping at all. Based on some limited experience on lucid dreaming, it's a similar intention that works best to become lucid in dreams. You really have to give it your all, but at the same time use no force at all. I'm not even sure if intention is the best term here.

Does this sound familiar? It would be interesting to hear if people here have come across some "training wheels" for this kind of intention in difficult (or easy) life situations? :)

It does sound familiar, though I didn't work exactly in that tradition.

I think that the exercise of sustaining is in itself a 'training wheels' - one can use verbal pointers and so one to reorient if the sustaining seems to get lost.

It can be interesting to reflect on why the arising of some sensations or feelings or events is "not okay" (ie interrupts the sustaining of the view) but the natural occurrence of other kinds of sensations, feelings, thoughts, events, etc. do not disturb or interrupt. Why are there two kinds of situations?
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 21 Feb 2019 10:30 #110541

It can be interesting to reflect on why the arising of some sensations or feelings or events is "not okay" (ie interrupts the sustaining of the view) but the natural occurrence of other kinds of sensations, feelings, thoughts, events, etc. do not disturb or interrupt. Why are there two kinds of situations?

Thanks Ona. This is a very good inquiry indeed. I think it points towards the subtle habits of the mind/the individual to see some events as unacceptable. I do see a process of integration in my own practice. Some events/feelings/sensations that were totally unacceptable in this way earlier are now more a part of the same flow, nothing special and not that conditioning either on the level of actions.
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 21 Feb 2019 16:44 #110553

Kalle Ylitalo wrote:
The main reason why I started this topic was that I'm interested in what influences that "raw mindfulness power" or maybe you could call it intention and how to cultivate it so that it's continuous and effortless. For example reading dharma books seems to inspire me sometimes in a way that there's "more" of that raw power available, which makes holding the view really easy. Also physical exercise seems to be a good support for stark wakefulness. :)

Early on for me, raw mindfulness power came from a desire to escape suffering. Now it is fueled by bodhicitta + the joy of evolution.
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 21 Feb 2019 17:38 #110556

Noah wrote:
Kalle Ylitalo wrote:
The main reason why I started this topic was that I'm interested in what influences that "raw mindfulness power" or maybe you could call it intention and how to cultivate it so that it's continuous and effortless. For example reading dharma books seems to inspire me sometimes in a way that there's "more" of that raw power available, which makes holding the view really easy. Also physical exercise seems to be a good support for stark wakefulness. :)

Early on for me, raw mindfulness power came from a desire to escape suffering. Now it is fueled by bodhicitta + the joy of evolution.

Kalle, I'm curious what would be accomplished if you were able to maintain this state/condition/view all the time? Also, I'm curious if you have a sense that, in a way, that awareness is there all the time and maybe more real than passing experience?
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 21 Feb 2019 18:42 #110558

In Dzogchen texts it's said that when the natural state is maintained throughout the day, present phenomena & past memories arise & self-liberate (rang shar rang drol?) leading to the clearing of all past patterning (cho nyi zepa ?).
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 21 Feb 2019 21:06 #110561

www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Three_modes_of_liberation
The three modes of liberation (Tib. གྲོལ་ལུགས་གསུམ་, Wyl. grol lugs gsum) describe degrees of increasing naturalness in the liberation of thoughts and emotions through the mastery of Dzogchen practice.

The three modes of liberation that are specifically mentioned are:

Liberation through recognition of thoughts (Tib. ཤར་གྲོལ་, Wyl. shar grol) :unsure: :dry: , like recognizing an old friend in a crowd
Liberation where the thought frees itself, or self-liberation (Tib. རང་གྲོལ་ , Wyl. rang grol), like a snake uncoiling and unwinding its own knots
Liberation of thoughts as dharmakaya, without their bringing either benefit or harm (Tib. ཕན་མེད་གནོད་མེད་དུ་གྲོལ་བ་ , Wyl. phan med gnod med du grol ba), like a thief entering an empty house
Last Edit: 21 Feb 2019 21:07 by shargrol.
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 22 Feb 2019 04:27 #110563

Andy wrote:
Noah wrote:
Kalle Ylitalo wrote:
The main reason why I started this topic was that I'm interested in what influences that "raw mindfulness power" or maybe you could call it intention and how to cultivate it so that it's continuous and effortless. For example reading dharma books seems to inspire me sometimes in a way that there's "more" of that raw power available, which makes holding the view really easy. Also physical exercise seems to be a good support for stark wakefulness. :)

Early on for me, raw mindfulness power came from a desire to escape suffering. Now it is fueled by bodhicitta + the joy of evolution.

Kalle, I'm curious what would be accomplished if you were able to maintain this state/condition/view all the time? Also, I'm curious if you have a sense that, in a way, that awareness is there all the time and maybe more real than passing experience?

Well what is accomplished remains to be seen I guess. :D But Noah gave the traditional theory nicely in a nutshell there. When pondering on this topic one day a wish/intention/decision to not take myself too seriously and do things that feel important in life arose. (Maybe fueled by the Bill Murray -topic :D )

When the view is there this awareness is evidently always there, but paradoxically it's not that evident when the mind is clouded. :) But I would say that it's getting more and more evidently always there on some level at least. During the past year I've been noticing a change in the way dreams present themselves. Even the scary ones are met with sympathy and a slight amusement, a bit like watching a show. But I'm not lucid, I don't realize it's a dream, it's just not absolutely real either. Pretty similar to waking state actually.

I'm not sure if I feel that this awareness is more real than what arises and passes. Maybe it's because it doesn't seem separate from anything in any way.
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 22 Feb 2019 04:28 #110564

shargrol wrote:
www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Three_modes_of_liberation
The three modes of liberation (Tib. གྲོལ་ལུགས་གསུམ་, Wyl. grol lugs gsum) describe degrees of increasing naturalness in the liberation of thoughts and emotions through the mastery of Dzogchen practice.

The three modes of liberation that are specifically mentioned are:

Liberation through recognition of thoughts (Tib. ཤར་གྲོལ་, Wyl. shar grol) :unsure: :dry: , like recognizing an old friend in a crowd
Liberation where the thought frees itself, or self-liberation (Tib. རང་གྲོལ་ , Wyl. rang grol), like a snake uncoiling and unwinding its own knots
Liberation of thoughts as dharmakaya, without their bringing either benefit or harm (Tib. ཕན་མེད་གནོད་མེད་དུ་གྲོལ་བ་ , Wyl. phan med gnod med du grol ba), like a thief entering an empty house

I remember coming across shar grol for the first time and smiling. The description of the term applied to that situation as well. :D
Last Edit: 22 Feb 2019 05:25 by Kalle Ylitalo. Reason: star grol, thanks autocorrect
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 22 Feb 2019 04:32 #110565

Why are there two kinds of situations?

I want to thank you Ona again for that question. Excellent training wheels during daily life. :)
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 22 Feb 2019 10:37 #110571

Passenger in a car on a a long trip but want to respond while I can.

For me, awareness came as a result of a realization and not directly through explicit work. It always seems to be present. But different aspects of it present more or less strongly at times. Knowing/clarity/luminosity seems most prevalent. If I rest in that, experience becomes more intense and interesting and fascinating. If I rest in Impersonality/no-one-at-the-wheel/let-go-let-God it becomes much more noticeable that there is no one doing. There is also an aspect of larger awareness not distinct from experience which is fainter, but can also be rested in as well.

By resting I mean a no-work/no-interference/letting-go/nothing-needing-doing kind of thing.

There are also some experiences of the above in non-dual flavors, but these are experiences only, and not realizations.

So I’m also curious about exploring these things in ways that lead to realizations.

Comments, questions, rude noises?
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Inspiration and determination in everyday life 22 Feb 2019 15:37 #110580

Thanks for sharing your experience Andy. Interesting to hear about your three aspect -version!

The variation in emphasis is a familiar phenomenon. I would say that I have/had a strong tendency of clarity-emphasis as well, but after the latest developments in practice there seems to be more balance in this emptiness/clarity -variation. The thing that changed was that I kind of finally took it for real that there's absolutely nothing that needs to be done to thoughts when resting in this awareness. I had heard it many times, but I guess it was after reading "The Cycle of Day and Night" by Namkhai Norbu that I really went for it and tried for myself how it is. Very strange, but for some reason it was then that I really started to trust non-meditation (or resting as you put it). Thoughts really did self-liberate when I did nothing. :) I just didn't believe in it 100 % earlier and I still forget now and again.
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