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TOPIC: Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path?

Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 00:29 #99161

This is a slightly modified post from the one I posted to the Dho, where I have a practice log. I would be very grateful if some of the many 4th-pathers on AN would be willing to share personal experience/advice.

I e-mailed Ron (Crouch), but I think I should get other opinions/personal experiences as well. I did use google as well as the dho search and couldn't quite find an answer to my question in archived threads.

It seems that what I'm doing right now (conceptual play, asking questions, sort of "feeling it out" inside my head, dropping striving, noticing things as they are, noticing resistances, etc.) is necessary for me to deepen my practice. However, I am not doing what has worked for me from 0 to 3rd path (first-gear, mahasi-noting-with-mental-labels in daily life). Thus far, even up through 3rd, focusing on nanas and cycles has worked.

Am I right to be shifting towards this other, self-inquiry, type-thing? What would be the most effective way to use my attention to get 4th Path? In your experience, must the 4th Path-shift come at the end of a cycle, or can it come as a deeping at any time, independent of the cycles?

Please note that goal and map-oriented practice works really well for me, so I'm not just going to "drop the effort or the concepts" this late in the game (this type of response isn't at all a concern for me here, unlike the dho).

:) thanks in advance!
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 06:41 #99164

I'm starting to think that the transition from 3rd to 4th is a lot like the transition from one's first taste of EQ to SE. To get stream entry, you basically have to minimize your reactivity within the nanas to be able to let go and let the mind "see" nothing. As long as the "I" thinks it needs to do something major in the nanas, they aren't seen and allowed to be. If all the nanas haven't been seen for what they are, then there is a tendency in EQ to look for something to react about, almost like a bad habit, and the transition from EQ to high EQ to conformity doesn't happen. Instead, one gets returned to the nanas again for another look and we find new material to see. So it is a bit of a paradox, one has to experience the nanas so they can be let go in EQ and by having a moment of conformity the mind jumps to having the nothing experience.

It's similar for 4th path, except instead of looking at individual sensations, one looks at the entire bandwidth of experiencing, and then finally understands what it means to experience. As long as the "I" thinks it needs to investigate sensations in a narrow sense, the entire bandwidth is too elusive. The way we can actually approach "the entire bandwidth" is by understanding the components of how experience is created. If you don't understand the sub-bandwidths, then it's unlikely that one can be relaxed and open enough to experience the entire bandwidth. Fourth path is when someone is finally open to everything the way it is, in conformity with the way it is, which seems to let the mind jump and see what an experience is -- and then it's obvious that you never need to fight with experience. You finally understand what it means to experience.

So all of that is to say, you need to know where your weaknesses are in 3rd-to-4th-path and work on those. Of all the paths, it's probably the most individual and instinctive and frustrating. Being in 3rd path for a long time is like the dark night of the entire fourth path cycle. It's bad in a different way than the dark night nanas, less violently bad, more "essentially" bad but without the drama.

Noah, have you been working with someone for the three paths? Did someone diagnose you as third? What makes you think you are third path? Your answer will actually be helpful in coming up with suggestions. More importantly... What have you seen about reality? What is your experience of self?
Last Edit: 14 Jun 2015 07:30 by shargrol.
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 10:58 #99171

Hi Shargrol,

Thank you, these words have already helped a lot. Especially the idea that getting 3rd Path is like the pop into EQ, since I feel so much less reactive. Also, I did feel that what I am approaching mirrors aspects of approaching SE, since it is something totally new to me that I can not predict (unlike completing middle-path cycles).

I've been working with Ron Crouch since before stream entry. He's been wonderfully helpful. I was just curious about parallel opinions.

So my lens on the path and its fruits is heavily leaned towards the mental-health side-effects. I am delaying my entry into the job-market (graduated college in January) and other areas of life while I watch how this process is healing my bipolar disorder (which is actually happening and which has kept me behaviorally-imprisoned since I was 15). So its all very pragmatic and sort-of rushed (I want this ASAP), which has not been a hindrance, tbh. So, what I have seen about reality is that I am less reactive and more equanimous in dealing with it. No thing in reality bears any more significance than any other or deserves any special attention. The path feels like a dropping of the center-of-significance inside of me. My experience of self is that I do have a self but that this self is comprised of component parts and each of these parts is no more significant than any other naturally existent phenomenon.
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 11:15 #99172

Hi, Noah.

There are a lot of threads here on Awakenetwork and in the archived KFD folders here that cold be very useful for you to read. Have you searched through the material here for them? I would suggest it. In my experience the process of getting from third to fourth path was like working with a koan. I think we are all different, though, and what flips one person may not work for the next person. In my case it was the mystery of figuring out what the 4th path folks in my circles "knew" but that I did not. They could't explain it, and when I got over thinking they were messing with me and just let the process play out, things eventually clicked. My practice thread, shargrol's, Ron Crouch's, nadav's, Russell's, Laurel's, Nick's and many others are waiting for you in the KFD archives.

EDIT: Read Nick's reply to you on the thread you created for this topic over on DhO. It matches my experience and describes the process. Spot on, IMHO.
Last Edit: 14 Jun 2015 11:20 by Chris Marti.
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 11:24 #99173

Sounds really great Noah. How cool that you've made such progress and mitigated bipolar disorder! Ron will have good suggestions since he knows your history, but basically it doesn't matter which method you use because at some point methods become exhausted and that's sort of the point.

In general, I think inquiry type practices probably work better for most people...Sitting becomes more about experiencing everything all at once without effort, since awareness takes no effort. Sometimes a question is asked to keep the looking/experiencing fresh, like "missing?" "effort?". There are just so many ways to explore, so you and Ron can just figure out what makes sense for you.

In the end, the snake eats its tail. With awareness methods, awareness is paradoxically aware of itself. If you were doing noting, the snake eating its tail would be like the essence of noting notes itself.

Good luck!
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 11:35 #99174

(deleted because I'm getting excited about how close Noah is after having looked at DhO. I shouldn't post when I'm excited :) )
Last Edit: 14 Jun 2015 11:39 by shargrol.
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 11:43 #99175

Ugh, I can't help myself. Noah, what is the difference between floating along, being at peace, or feeling done... and the experience of stress?
Last Edit: 14 Jun 2015 11:44 by shargrol.
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 11:55 #99176

Point.... point... point.

:cheer:
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 12:52 #99177

(I like your DhO point!)
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 13:20 #99179

shargrol wrote:
Ugh, I can't help myself. Noah, what is the difference between floating along, being at peace, or feeling done... and the experience of stress?

I'm not sure. But I took a walk outside (here in New Jersey), and it was hot as hell, and I found myself disliking it and writhing around inside, complaining, obsessing, etc. The negative reactions still felt sticky, I felt embedded in them, still, but way less so. I feel that my inner experience is simply different than my outer one, in terms of stickiness quality. Does that mean I haven't yet gotten the "one taste"? Or perhaps they are different tastes but there is an underlying commonality to them (the 3 c's).

@Chris: Thank you for your responses here and on the Dho. I have looked at the KFD archives a decent amount, but not specifically for 3rd to 4th path descriptions. I will do so now.
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 13:53 #99181

Noah, Remember a week ago or so where you said this on your log on DhO:

"I just wanna add some thoughts about the progress of insight as a whole. Nothing incredible is happening to me. It almost feels like I am just becoming more of my normal self within the context of my own life. Is this what you want?"

I still say you are much more on to something here than with all your speculation in you subsequent posts this week. Anything that you can speculate that this 4th path thing is, is not it. What do you think will be different than right now, if you suddenly had 4th path?

Point....prod....whack!
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 17:51 #99185

Noah wrote:
Please note that goal and map-oriented practice works really well for me, so I'm not just going to "drop the effort or the concepts" this late in the game (this type of response isn't at all a concern for me here, unlike the dho).

Hi Noah,

this is going to be that irritating type of comment, but as well as all the advice above, very much worth reflecting on this statement I think. There are various assumptions there which could usefully be deconstructed: about what you are like (an understanding of your self as static), what 'the game' is and how it works (and that there even is a game), what 'getting' 'fourth path' is, etc.

If, as you write elsewhere in this thread, this is something totally new and unpredictable, it's worth asking yourself how can you (or anyone) know any of these things?
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 20:27 #99196

And Noah, take a deep breath and continue working with Ron. He's great and knows the territory. Best wishes!
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 14 Jun 2015 20:52 #99200

shargrol wrote:
And Noah, take a deep breath and continue working with Ron. He's great and knows the territory. Best wishes!

Truth!!
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 16 Jun 2015 08:00 #99224

Thanks for the replies.

Russell: I do feel that normalcy even more now. I just tend to want to talk and type a lot, sometimes in an almost histrionic manner. But when I get down to the nitty, gritty, yeah everything is just real.

Every3rdthought: Framing the path as a game with an endpoint gives me a sense of stability and security that I believe is healthy. I am reluctant to deconstruct it because my bottom line is that I need to heal a mood disorder, and meditation is working for that. Is that not the pragmatic spirit?

Shargrol: Deep breaths being taken **
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 16 Jun 2015 09:16 #99228

It's important to give up completely, but not too early! :)

(p.s. I think that's a loose quote from MCTB)
Last Edit: 16 Jun 2015 09:48 by shargrol.
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 16 Jun 2015 11:09 #99230

Noah, I have a song for you ;) . There's also my practice thread here, which details my transition at 4th path. Ground zero is #15363. You'll notice, if you read very far after the fact, that I still had a lot of stuff going on (still do). Plus there are questions about what this is all about. That has to be inevitable.

In your case, there seems to be some doubt happening, which you express over on DhO. (That's the Judas Iscariot figure in the song breaking into Mary Magdalene's patter.) Whatever; keep practicing, give it some time. And BTW, Daniel's standard, which Nikolai posted, is not my experience at this point. For one thing, there are lots of changes. But one thing that eventually stops is the neurotic need to take one's own pulse over and over.

Good luck!
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 18 Jun 2015 12:07 #99264

Noah, one more data point from me...

My third path wasn't diagnosed by a teacher, but from my experiential perspective two major things happened which were a quantum leap from past insights: I had an insight that the nanas/cycling/reviews weren't significant in a big sense because they were all simply different flavors of experiences, and I also was really confused about what more could possibly be involved with waking up. Everything was obviously luminous and empty, even stickiness was luminous and empty stickiness... so what could possibly be missing from that insight? I was stuck for a while -- was I done or not? -- for maybe a year, until I started working with a teacher again.

The teacher kept me investigating different flavors of that question "what could possibly be missing?" 4th path seemed to answer both the "what is missing?" question and also "why am I even feeling this way and asking this question?".

Hope that helps. Everyone is different so don't worry about any of this if it doesn't inform your situation. There are lots of different styles in the progression to awakening.
Last Edit: 18 Jun 2015 12:10 by shargrol.
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 18 Jun 2015 15:08 #99266

@Shargrol: Also, there seems to be some skill & complexity to 'giving up' anyway, so I couldn't do it until I'm ready even if I wanted to (paradox?).

@Laurel: Cool song, thank you. It did relax me. I have never seen any version of Jesus Christ Superstar. Is there deeper symbolism to your song recommendation, related to my situation? Haha. Perhaps I will watch the movie soon. Interesting in your practice log how 4th Path occurs when "the seeker is gone." This seems to be a common pattern that everyone is stressing to me. I'm doing some of my own intellectualizing and philosophizing over at the dho, which is probably necessary given the nature of my particular mind. thank you. And I can't wait to stop taking my pulse. This is the end of insight disease, no?
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 18 Jun 2015 18:24 #99267

"And I can't wait to stop taking my pulse. This is the end of insight disease, no? "

Likely true. Also perfectly possible that you don't even notice until sometime later-- "Hey, wait a minute! When was the last time the dog barked in the night?"

Reality has this peculiar automatic over-write feature. :huh:
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Should I Change My Technique To Get 4th Path? 23 Jul 2015 10:18 #99764

Noah, I just saw your post on DhO, sounds like congratulations is in order! :)
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