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TOPIC: WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life

WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 25 Feb 2020 10:08 #112103

I recently finished listening to the audio version of Ken McLeod's "Wake Up To Your Life", and found it to be pretty profound or, at least to me, highly relevant. I found it so relevant that I decided to buy the book and go through it again, and host a discussion here, chapter by chapter, with those that might want to jump in with me. Some of you (looking at you, shargrol) are very familiar with it already, and will no doubt be able to provide deeper guidance and insight to those of us that are newer to this. But I hope, like the previous "book club" discussion we had here, that this generates some interesting and useful discussion.

I'll "drop" the first topic thread next week, as I go through the first two introductory chapters, but my thinking is that each subsequent chapter will be about a month apart. That gives people time to read, absorb and ideally practice, the topics presented.

If you don't want to spring for the cost of the book, note that it is available in audio form for free on Spotify. It is broken up into three volumes:

Vol. 1 open.spotify.com/album/43FNMmQaX4Q9YEcJX...GLcsfSSRm88ii5QXW0ig
Vol. 2 open.spotify.com/album/1arPIRkaAJhZ3Vo2f...5uKO5yRx66v2LO_qVaKw
Vol. 3 open.spotify.com/album/6tuJ2N2oY4aAx4RFT...Rfca0pQZe5-wPb75juNA

By way of background, I was introduced to this book specifically for the "Six Realms" practices. I am generally quite allergic to Tibetan practices, but I was willing to give it a go. I didn't want to just read those out of context, however, and so I started from the beginning and was, frankly, hooked. Ken McLeod has a way of getting at the root of things without getting too "Tibetan" on you. That is, until he does. Frankly, I found some of the stuff in the middle of the book off-putting and dense. But just when I am about to give up, bright rays of clarity beam through and I am hooked again. Overall, the book was very thought-provoking and has given me a new toolset to work with. I am looking forward to re-reading with a keener eye now that I know how it all comes together, and also look forward to sharing the journey with some of you.

Please note that this discussion is on the public-facing side of AwakeNetwork. That means it is available to read by anyone, and will be indexed by Google. So if you are sharing personal stuff from your exploration of the practices, be aware that you are sharing to the world.

Index to topics:
1. The Mystery of Being
2. Buddhism in a Nutshell
3. Cultivating Attention
4. Dismantling Attachment to Success
5. Karma and Dismantling Belief
Last Edit: 14 May 2020 07:59 by Tom Otvos.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 25 Feb 2020 13:01 #112104

I have a Free Spotify with commercials.

I tried to listen but the narrator is not inspiring to listen to. :D I guess I would need the book.

If he is going too much into Tibetan dogma I would not be interested in purchasing one.

Could you give us a description of what this is about practice wise? Or would that be a spoiler alert :D
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 25 Feb 2020 13:50 #112106

Dusko, the book is way too broad to describe the "what" practice-wise. Yes, Ken McL can be a bit uninspiring to listen to, and sometimes goes off the deep end in terms of what I lovingly call "Tibetan mumbo jumbo". But there are dozens of practices, targeting different aspects of your spiritual development. What is it NOT is a simple MCTB "just do this over and over and you will get it done" approach. To my mind, it actually does a much better job of getting at the roots of personal suffering through your behaviours, perspectives, and "mental patterns" than a basic vipassana-style manual.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 25 Feb 2020 15:27 #112107

Please excuse me for trying to milk more info out of you :D

What I wonder is this; is he talking about the 6 Realms as being VERY REAL or is he using them as a Map of sorts, a Model. Im asking as Kenneth Folk also tried to present his own 6 Realms model to help me in Mapping my experience and then always finding the way back into the Human Realm. Honestly I was not impressed with it but it did shake me up at the very start of our working together so Im not entirelly turning my back to it.

We as meditators can more often than not fall into the "where am I on the Map" pondering without actually being aware of these very thogughts and sensations involved in such pondering and this can lead into all sorts of trouble :D

I wonder if pondering yet another Map like the 6 Realms would be the same.

I personally never lacthed my self on the Insight Map but rather once in a while when I feel something "unusual" happening in my perception/experience I open the MTCB1 and check out what it might say about it and how to proceed especially if its an ugly one. I seem never interested in stages that are beyond where I am as they are not actuality for me and hence for some reason not of any interest.

6 Realms Map could be cool in a more "morality" orientated training. Lets say I notice me in the evening going to the frindge to get that beer and some more chips ... ah, ok, Im in the Hungry Ghoast realm. Do I want to commit to it?? No. Ok. Then lets find the way back into the Bardo and from there slip into the Human Realm and commit to it. Do this each time I notice my mind being in any other realm. "Oh no, I hate my job get me the hell out of here!" Ah, ok. Im in the Hell Realm. reapeat as above, find the way back into the Human Realm. or, "Ah this sweet absorbtion state, love the ay it feel so good so safe so stress free" Oh crap, Im in the Deva Realm! ... repeat as above, commit to the human realm. Or, Ah this Chris and Tom have no idea what Nirvana means, I will tell them from my own experience!!!" :D Oh crappola! Im in the Azura Realm! Get back into the Human Realm of Compassion, Altruisic Joy and Equanimity and commit to it.

Or is Ken McL presenting the 6 Realm Maps more traditionally? Its no biggy if you dont feel like replying and explaining. I can simply be patient and wait for others who have read to reply here and Im sure I will get the whole picture in time.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 25 Feb 2020 16:51 #112108

Dusko, consider taking a look at Ken's email newsletters for 2020, starting with this article: Vajrayana and Archetypal Imagery

He's doing a series on the Six Realms this year, and in this introduction, he address several of the questions you have.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 25 Feb 2020 19:12 #112109

I'm in.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 25 Feb 2020 19:23 #112110

To answer your realm question directly, the realms are not real places but a conceptual framework for observing your own patterns, and how they lead to momentary (or extended, I guess) suffering. That was a surprise to me, BTW, because I couldn't get past the wording when I was expose to realms before, even here when Shargrol talked about them. So I had totally written them off, without recognizing their potential value.

WUTYL is a manual for a wide variety of practices to help identify and deconstruct the patterns in your life. It is not about awakening, per se, nor does it have an end goal. But for me, after having practiced quite a few years with comparatively little to show for it, I found it a powerful guide for pointing out how I might improve my baseline contentment.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 26 Feb 2020 06:19 #112111

here's a good tidbit of 6 realms teaching: unfetteredmind.org/six-ways-not-to-approach-meditation/

(just a small comment: it is about awakening, afterall the book is called "wake up to your life" :) )
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 26 Feb 2020 11:32 #112112

Hi shargrol , I've read through it but could not see anyhting other than ; this realm is one such hindrance, the other one such hindrance, one with such a feeling, one with such a feeling, one with such thinking etc ...

All this can effectively be seen by Mahasi style noting. In case one is prone to dullness and hence dozing off into dream-thinking Noting Aloud worked beautifully for me. Actually all the hindrances were nothing more but a momentary experience that lasted no more than 1-3 times noting it just to be replaced by something else.

Even the thoughts about Attainments are to be noted/noticed and seen for what they are.

This link didnt introduce the Bardo, the intermediate state. I know Zen doesnt go there. Its a Tibetan thing.

I dont see how that text can in any way help me see the ultimate nature of my experience other than drag me into proliferating into the 6 Realm story.
Under each realm describtion he offers a solution but fails to tell how to do that. How to actually apply myself to see that aspect of that very realm. Am I to be mindful of it (like noting), or do I concentrate on it, or do I ignore it and just let it be, or is it something one repeats to oneself (mantra) and talks one self to a realisation of sorts?

Thank you :)

p.s. btw, sorry in case Im going off topic as this should be about this book. Tell me if you would prefer me to start a new thread on this subject.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 26 Feb 2020 11:47 #112113

Tom Otvos wrote:
To answer your realm question directly, the realms are not real places but a conceptual framework for observing your own patterns, and how they lead to momentary (or extended, I guess) suffering. That was a surprise to me, BTW, because I couldn't get past the wording when I was expose to realms before, even here when Shargrol talked about them. So I had totally written them off, without recognizing their potential value.

WUTYL is a manual for a wide variety of practices to help identify and deconstruct the patterns in your life. It is not about awakening, per se, nor does it have an end goal. But for me, after having practiced quite a few years with comparatively little to show for it, I found it a powerful guide for pointing out how I might improve my baseline contentment.

Thank you Tom. It seems to me that 6 realms focus only on the Mental States if Im not mistaken. All of them work with whatever takes place AFTER objects have entered the Mind (6th sense). They fall a bit short on the 5 Sense Doors of Seeing, Smelling, Hearing, Tasting and Tactile sensations which are the very thing our 6th Sense the Mind racts to and creates content of suffering/joy/bliss/...

I still can only see a Morality leasson here rather than to "Wake up to My Life". I can relate to Kenneth Folk's 6 Realms teaching where one recognises during the day where one's mind is embeded and then finding the way out of it to commit to the Human Realm as that would be the only realm one can actually do Vipassana to awaken to the moment to moment xperienceces. Its more about commiting or not commiting one self to any of those realms. I commited my self to the Human Realm from the very first time Kenneth tols me about this.
Does my mind slip into other realms daily. Sure. Is it helpful to think in this 6 Realms way. Sure.
That which does not help is thining of the Human Realm as the realm of Desire in a negative way. Much better to see it as Desire like Chanda aka Desire to Act towards awakening. Doing what needs to be Done. None of the other realms can do this.

One could say Jhanas of the Deva Realms can be used for awakening but still not in the Deva way of getting lost (embeded, absorbed) in the Bliss and Joy of it all. One still needs to shake that Sleeping Buddha's ars, so to speak, and ask him/her to look how it all feels, if it moves, if it flickers anyway, is it really solid etc ... This seems to be a human treat.

I hope Im not being over the top here as Im really looking forward to see if anything in this thread can be of benefit to me too. Im just introducing some questions and ideas of my own.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 26 Feb 2020 12:02 #112114

Andy wrote:
Dusko, consider taking a look at Ken's email newsletters for 2020, starting with this article: Vajrayana and Archetypal Imagery

He's doing a series on the Six Realms this year, and in this introduction, he address several of the questions you have.

He lost me right there when he described the visualtisation of Manjushri Deva :D "I let the sense of being Manjushri, being completely at peace and present, soak into me"

I did join the Copenhagen Tibetan community 2 years ago and they lost me after they led a visual meditation of the Karmapa (same as with Manjshri above). Probably not something Im good at but might be of benefit to personalities with strong visualisation abilities.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 26 Feb 2020 12:12 #112115

I find visualization to be one of the major blockers for me and Tibetan practices. So the parts that WUTYL I resonate most with are the ones that get at the root of patterns and behaviours, and not those that require visualization.

Per your comment:
I hope Im not being over the top here as Im really looking forward to see if anything in this thread can be of benefit to me too. Im just introducing some questions and ideas of my own.

I would suggest that you might get more out of this discussion by reading the book. It sounds like you would have a lot to contribute.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 26 Feb 2020 12:29 #112116

Ok in that case I might give it a go. I will need to check online prices (I think UK Book Depository has cheapest books and free wordl wide delievery)

p.s. btw, I followed the soundcloud link in you profile (you play piano? I will sub to it my Sound Cloud name is Che Guebuddha Sound) this song played after yours and is a very fine song. soundcloud.com/helenaruthmusic/the-devil-is-the-same-as-me-1
Last Edit: 26 Feb 2020 12:30 by Dusko.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 26 Feb 2020 15:40 #112119

Book "Wake up to your Life" by Ken McLoed ordered from Amazon and should be in my hands on Monday.

Tom, just out of curiosity what was your past primary practice? My very first one was Shamatha aka Calm-Abiding. Got me all the way up to Dark Night and there I've got into deep sh.t not knowing what happened :D It was not until reading the MCTB (was only online read at that time I think) that I've got to know what the hell was going on. Only last year have I mastered enough courage and contact Kenneth Folk to do a practice I always found very little respect for, the oh so dumbell Noting meditation :D Still it was worth it and eventhough Im not out of the grip of suffering some heavy and confusing stuff has lifted and with this new clarity I do feel there is a need of some sort of inegration into the life as it unfolds as Im not just amongst people but also a father and partner to my lovely woman.

Im hoping this book might offer something in this Integral way rather than directly looking at the Objects non-stop as we do in Noting. really not sure what Im hoping for but its ordered now and I will be lovingly joining this thread :D Thank you Tom!
Last Edit: 26 Feb 2020 15:42 by Dusko.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 27 Feb 2020 17:28 #112128

Dusko wrote:
Andy wrote:
Dusko, consider taking a look at Ken's email newsletters for 2020, starting with this article: Vajrayana and Archetypal Imagery

He's doing a series on the Six Realms this year, and in this introduction, he address several of the questions you have.

He lost me right there when he described the visualtisation of Manjushri Deva :D "I let the sense of being Manjushri, being completely at peace and present, soak into me"

I did join the Copenhagen Tibetan community 2 years ago and they lost me after they led a visual meditation of the Karmapa (same as with Manjshri above). Probably not something Im good at but might be of benefit to personalities with strong visualisation abilities.

Hey everyone, I am happy for this discussion. I have been trying to digest WUTYL for the past six months or more. The thing I like about Ken is that he has a strong emphasis on cultivating attention for the primary purpose of exposing and breaking the habit of reactive emotions. Most of his meditations (6 realms or otherwise) are very specifically designed to conjure these reactive patterns and throw them in your face so you can apply the practice to it. This is not new to Buddhism, I just like his packaging. Sometimes you need to cut through the Tibetan stuff, but as I mention below, he often attempts to explain things in secular ways as well.

Regarding the topic of visualization practices and Vajrayana in general, check out this article written by KM: unfetteredmind.org/imagine-youre-enlightened/

Here (it takes a while to get to the point) Ken acknowledges the difficulties that Westerners have with wrapping their head around Tibetan practices and/or committing to the whole deity concept. He proposes a secular version of this, which turned on a light bulb for me, helping to understanding the real purpose behind these techniques... namely to be awake and expose our reactive emotions through forcing them to the surface (personality visualization).

Additionally, from this book, I have really benefited from the diagrams and discussions on balancing the 4 divine abodes. But I will wait until the thread gets to those chapters to dive in. I still haven't finished the book anyways.

-Anthony
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 28 Feb 2020 03:52 #112129

Hi Anthony.

I think the main reason for me not clicking well with visualization is my Noting/Noticing auto-response to objects.

Here I demonstrate on the subject of visualizing a Deva;

Imagining, imagining, hearing, comprehending (car just passed by), imagining, imagining, hearing, comprehending (my dog just decided to walk about), imagining, imagining, itching, pressure, hearing, comprehending (another car), ... and so on.

I have same experience with concentration practice on breath or whatever. Vipassana takes over it as an auto-mode. I tend to let it do it’s thing.

But I do see a possibility to play around with perspectives and perceptions within the daily life and all its activities. Here is where 6 Realms could prove to be of practical use to me , especially in aiding with habits, aiding with some deep aversions, as you say those reactive emotions we all know too well and yet fall short on stopping them from arising in the first place or better yet letting them arise but not act on them. Same as not liking rainy cloudy weather. We don’t jump up into the sky to remove all the clouds so to get Sunshine again. We simply wait for the rain to stop eventually.
I like the way Irish say; “if you don’t like the Irish weather just wait for 15 minutes” :D

Book arriving this coming Monday.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 28 Feb 2020 07:06 #112130

Regarding finding visualizing hard, I suspect it's like other practices in that we imagine that other people must be having these amazing vivid visualizations, perfectly following the guided instructions, with uninterrupted concentration...and it's just miserable crap me who can't seem to generate a vivid stable image and add all the details and stuff and keeps getting sidetracked. When in fact honest conversations* (which don't always happen) with others reveal that perhaps a few people have a particular knack for it, but certainly not all, nor even many.

(*One can see this tendency even on a general practice forum of any type where people often stop posting when they are having difficulties that are too ego-painful, and come back later to start posting again once they are getting a handle on things. I've done it myself.)

I don't know this particular practice, but I've often done practices I wasn't very good at and that seemed 'not my thing', only to discover that they often lead to self-knowledge, insight, and new ways of seeing that I wasn't anticipating...in part because they are efficacious even when not done perfectly (the effort itself is a physically-expressed intention) and in part because the engagement with something that is difficult or uncomfortable is sometimes very fruitful.
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 28 Feb 2020 07:29 #112131

Where there is gain, there is pain.

:)
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WUTYL: Wake Up To Your Life 02 Mar 2020 10:17 #112139

Book arrived. In my hands now. I guess I will first read the Chapter 1: The Mystery of Being and Chapter 2: Buddhism in a Nutshell. Then we come to the meat of it, Chapter 3: Cultivating Attention. I guess thats were the discussion will start.
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