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TOPIC: maps and yogi tricks and intention

maps and yogi tricks and intention 20 May 2013 20:34 #11831

This is one of those pointless, wandering threads. Feel free to move it to another category. For now it's in the public section, FYI.

I was thinking outloud today about how lots of stuff happens ("weird experiences" for instance) during meditation practices, but we tend to ignore the things that don't mean much to us.

For instance, I've had something called the blue pearl arise sometimes: it's a vivid nebula like visual effect, hallucination like in intensity, usually blue in color, that seems to be somewhere between my eyes or in front of me. It's accompanied by blissy absorption. When it first happened I thought "that's kinda neat" and told a friend who has a background in a yoga tradition. She said in her tradition it was a really meaningful and profound experience, one much sought after and considered a sort of attainment when it started occurring. To me, it had no particular meaning. It was kind of fun, but not important.

On the other hand, when I've had dream-like visions full of angels and demons and such, those have held great meaning for me: I run to my journal and write down the details, consider how the symbolism reflects things I'm dealing with in practice, etc. Other people I know have occasional episodes of dream-like imagery during meditation, but don't much care. They just say "wow, that was some scary imagery today" or "funny thing happened last time I meditated" but it isn't considered that big a deal.

So it seems you can take 100 meditators, dump 100 stupid yogi experiences on their heads, and get 100 different stories about "what just happened" based on which of those experiences resonate with that person's culture, background, particular hangups, expectations, etc etc.

Which might be why there are 100s of "maps" (stories) about how these processes unfold. Not only because we do experience somewhat different things, but also because even if we experience the same things, we don't pay attention to the same parts.

Ponders? I'm considering this cocktail conversation, not aiming for some kind of problem-solving. Though feel free to head in that direction, of course.
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maps and yogi tricks and intention 20 May 2013 22:32 #11834

Weird-- I see a connection between this question and your account of your lucid dream. Ngak'chang Rinpoche always teaches that lucid dreams are important for doing something deliberate in the dream. What deliberate thing you do is completely irrelevant: it can be completely trivial-- counting the spoons in the drawer of the dream-house dining room. The point of the exercise is to discover the nature of your participation in perception, so anything is grist for the mill.

In the same way, meditation experiences are regarded as "things that happen because they can"-- the content is not what is significant. Experiencing the range of your own possibility-- that is significant. So you don't want to fixate on the pleasant, the unpleasant, the boring, or the weird. Content is always subject to change without notice.

Being lucid, waking and sleeping-- that's the thing.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Ona Kiser

maps and yogi tricks and intention 21 May 2013 10:12 #11842

I have probably too much to blab about maps and all that. However, like Chris said in his log, I am one of those techie/programmer types who likes/liked structure of some sort. Maybe a little too much. I don't think I would have gotten into this pragmatic dharma scene or maybe even continued to meditate without the Kenneth/Daniel/Mahasi 'maps' per say. However, on the contrary, it wasn't until I finally let go of what progress means and stopped 'trying to make something happen' that something happened. So, in my opinion the maps help, to a point, then you just have to let all of that go, which was difficult for me, but very important.

Pre-Stream Entry, I read a lot of practice journal and constantly thought that these people were scripting and that there was no way it could happen to me. Then it did, and quite quickly. I still didn't really believe it for a while, but just kept trodding along, no matter how confused I was trying so hard to figure out where I was on the path. Looking back, I am not sure why I struggled so much to 'place myself' or even why I worked so hard to cultivate Jhanas after 2nd path. None of it seems to matter in the long run. In retrospect, I can see how the many maps and models and styles of practice are doing some of the same thing and mostly lead to the same place in a way.

NOTE: The stuff below makes me somewhat uncomfortable because I don't like making any claims or attaching labels to things anymore, but this is just to illustrate some more mapping stuff.

Now, since January, I have hardly practiced formally, haven't looked at or minded any maps. I have been doing what feels right (mostly grounding type practices and a little self-inquiry during the day), then about 3 weeks ago I had what felt like another shift where emotional content changed drastically for me. You can look at my log for a little bit better explanation, but it felt significant enough to call it a shift. This came out of no where, and it had all the markers of a typical shift for me with a honeymoon period and then a very contracted period afterwards that I feel like I am coming out of the last couple of days. After wondering what the heck happened, I talked to Abre, Kenneth and some other teachers and it lines up with what Kenneth calls his 6th Stage. Now, at this point, I don't care what stage means what, or if this was another stage on another map, but I found it fascinating that something I experienced out of the blue was so clearly laid out already by others. On the other hand, like Ona said, I have talked to people who have gone through a similar shift but didn't even see it as a shift maybe because they didn't struggle with emotion the way I did.

The funny thing after all of this. I am in a place where I still don't care with the next stage or shift will be and I am not looking for it, just like I wasn't looking for this last one. But, one thing I do seem to know, is that this practice develops and deepens and changes as time goes on and some people are just really good at pinpointing significant changes in their practice and are not afraid to lay it out there no matter how much flack they get. Anyways, I find it neat to compare and notes when things like this happen, regardless of the tradition or background, because it's just so dang fascinating.
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maps and yogi tricks and intention 21 May 2013 10:27 #11843

I think this overlaps with a related conversation on Chris's thread, in that we are humans, and we construct meaning and stories and so forth. It seems like our relationship to these frameworks can vary a lot:

-At different phases of our process we may "need" to cling to a framework (because we working through something);
-at times we may cling to a framework quite rigidly (such as being very obsessed or dogmatic about the framework we are working in at that time);
-at times we may cling to a framework so rigidly that we get "stuck" in it, and it is unhealthy to the extent that it doesn't actually resolve the problems we are trying to resolve, but we are blind to that or afraid to try to let it go;
-at other times we may see that the framework that we are constructing is just a layer of concepts we generate around stuff that's happening and feel unattached to it and liberated by that recognition;
-at other times we may dump a previous framework that was working before but isn't any more and become very aversive to it, because we see how it was limiting or no longer applies;
-etc etc

It seems to me that these are all natural variations in our process, and not really good or bad, as such... just part of how we operate as human beings.

Thoughts?
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