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TOPIC: Flow vs meditation

Flow vs meditation 22 Dec 2013 12:15 #17556

Chris, the SUPERfluidity state in the article you post is what I describe above as "3 - In-the-Zone flow". It is exactly the 'state' of an awakened person, only the insight which is temporarily occurring ( "I'm not doing this...", "I'm not here" ) is not recognised as truth and integrated by a person in superflow - thus they then return to 'normal' after the flow experience.

If people in superflow were to recognise what was occuring to them as the Truth, the ways things are (as opposed to just considering it a strange temporary state), then that would be Advaita-style SE. This is the theme of the movement workshops I was telling you about. Really exciting.
Last Edit: 22 Dec 2013 12:16 by Sadalsuud.
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Flow vs meditation 22 Dec 2013 12:28 #17557

I think there are more facets to awakening than are evident in the state of flow but it seems clear that flow can provide a taste of absorption in a not-self, effortless experience. The ultimate question (is flow awakening?) becomes more complicated, I think, than a simple identity between these two things. However, I might be convinced with more evidence that experiencing a state of flow can lead to a different orientation to one's experience, leading to self-inquiry and investigation. That can then lead to awakening if pursued diligently.
Last Edit: 22 Dec 2013 12:44 by Chris Marti.
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Flow vs meditation 22 Dec 2013 21:04 #17559

what if the 'no self' insight as it's being discussed in this thread isn't as important in the big picture as it initially seems to be?

(i'm without laptop for a week, so if i'm less verbose than usual that's why)

eta: what other qualities, experiences etc are part, can they also be 'practiced'? why is flow more a teachable moment than love, generosity, silence or other stuff, for instance?
Last Edit: 22 Dec 2013 21:08 by Ona Kiser.
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Flow vs meditation 23 Dec 2013 07:27 #17568

hey Ona. I don't think anyone is particularly saying one aspect or way of doing human development is any better/more important than another.

I just happen to have had a lifetime's interest in superflow, and a current interest in the big No-Self Insight (the thing many people call awakening), so right now this is just one way of doing human development which I'm very interested in at the moment. Totally agree it's just one small part of the path. But everyone has interests which shift as time goes on I guess? Happy holidays, xx
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Flow vs meditation 23 Dec 2013 14:34 #17575

Put me squarely in the camp that asserts that there is more to awakening than not-self. We all have not-self moments, awakened or not, practicing meditation or not. It's a fairly common human experience. What's different about awakening is the depth of these experiences and all the other insights that produce a variety of views around the jewel of awakening, including insights about agency, non-duality of various kinds, compassion, and so on. Not-self is definitely part of waking up but it is by no means the only part.
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Flow vs meditation 23 Dec 2013 15:01 #17578

Chris Marti wrote:
Put me squarely in the camp that asserts that there is more to awakening than not-self. We all have not-self moments, awakened or not, practicing meditation or not. It's a fairly common human experience. What's different about awakening is the depth of these experiences and all the other insights that produce a variety of views around the jewel of awakening, including insights about agency, non-duality of various kinds, compassion, and so on. Not-self is definitely part of waking up but it is by no means the only part.

I'm a bit puzzled about your insistence on this point, because I thought the whole "no-self" thing was Gary Weber's major claim, and that you think well of him--? Or am I just not paying very good attention?
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Flow vs meditation 23 Dec 2013 15:09 #17579

... I thought the whole "no-self" thing was Gary Weber's major claim, and that you think well of him--? Or am I just not paying very good attention?

Kate, the answer (with two parts that follow), I hate to tell you, is "B."

1. Gary Weber's "major claim" is more like "no thought" than "no self." Although, to be thorough, he asserts both. His tag line is the former, however.

2. I like Gary Weber personally but I am not a follower of his teachings.

Can't we like and appreciate someone without agreeing entirely with their "way?"
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Flow vs meditation 24 Dec 2013 19:17 #17597

"Put me squarely in the camp that asserts that there is more to awakening than not-self."

I must be in the opposite camp. My view is that a not-self state is all I want. To be at peace with all that the world throws at me:to treat praise and blame, success and failure,joy and sorrow as the same-- to be in the world but not embedded in my reactions to it.
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Flow vs meditation 25 Dec 2013 16:11 #17607

Sadalsuud wrote:
If people in superflow were to recognise what was occuring to them as the Truth, the ways things are (as opposed to just considering it a strange temporary state), then that would be Advaita-style SE. This is the theme of the movement workshops I was telling you about. Really exciting.

From my perspective one of the questions that arises here is how we connect these experiences - for example, 'flow,' which is quite a modern buzzword - into the traditions. For example, I'm not sure about the concept of 'Advaita-style SE' - Stream Entry is a Pali canon Buddhist concept, whereas Advaita has a whole different perspective on what awakening is, how it comes about, etc [ETA: I see that the Advaita vs MCTB Stream Entry is being discussed in another thread]

Also, if the idea is that it's recognition that would turn that 'non-contemplative' flow state into a contemplative achievement for non-practitioners, doesn't that rely on the I's recognition

One of the things I've been noticing in my own practice recently is that desire for the flow states (among other things) which have been arising a bit on and off - the subtle idea that they are awakening or closer to it, and if they persist or can be made to persist that will be awakeness or closer to it - rather than states that, like others, arise and pass - the 'meta' perspective, so to speak. From my perspective at the moment (always subject to change), 'the way things are' is precisely the way things are, rather than one experience being a true 'the way things are' - because, how could things be otherwise than the way they are?

This is why I'm currently interested in Kashmir Shaivism rather than Advaita - because Advaita sees 'everyday experience' as illusion proper, to be discarded and seen through, whereas, though Kashmir Shaivism also sees 'everyday experience' as a non-recognition of Oneness, it sees this 'everyday experience' as one aspect of a vibration between oneness and multiplicity, oneness and separation, and as being as 'real' as anything is real.

This too is about the ultimately inexpressible paradox of the contemplative path, I think - somehow, it does change the experience of 'things as they are' and this is what we practitioners wanted it to do when starting out, yet what it involves is accepting things exactly as they are and seeing that experience has always been 'true'. What are 'things,' Heidegger might ask...

Anyway, that's not to say that flow states don't have a relationship to practice or progress in practice. Though of course any practitioner who experiences them (myself, for instance) has a vested interest in believing that.

I was once on retreat led by a Western Theravada-Mahasi monk who'd originally been a pro basketball player. He got into meditation through doing TM to calm down before games. Two interesting things he said in relation to this:

(1) That when people say that gardening or swimming or whatever is their meditation, he disagreed (I used to strongly agree with his perspective, whereas now I more or less reserve judgement on this point, but you can see how this relates to the 'flow' idea and the distinction between practitioners and non-practitioners)

(2) That he had experienced these states of flow when playing basketball - 'the hoop was a mile wide and the body just placed the ball in it' or similar. He thought that these were basically intense concentration states, but that they were being used for particular ends - in this case, putting a ball in a hoop - and wouldn't lead to insight or to anything further than putting a ball in a hoop very well unless a contemplative practice was developed. Of course, I don't want to dis the idea that putting a ball in a hoop very well can't be a source of happiness :)
Last Edit: 25 Dec 2013 16:18 by every3rdthought. Reason: noticed that Advaita/MCTB is being discussed in another thread
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Flow vs meditation 26 Dec 2013 15:07 #17623

This too is about the ultimately inexpressible paradox of the contemplative path, I think - somehow, it does change the experience of 'things as they are' and this is what we practitioners wanted it to do when starting out, yet what it involves is accepting things exactly as they are and seeing that experience has always been 'true'.

Yes, that's well said. This is the radical transformation that is so mundane. Things don't really change - they are what they are, as they always were. What changes is the way we perceive them and that, then, changes the relationship we maintain to our experience.
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Flow vs meditation 26 Dec 2013 15:31 #17625

To circle back (in a perhaps overly simple way) to the "flow" question-- the problem seems to be reifying "flow" or "meditation" or "insight" or "attainments" or developmental changes. Whereas the experience of flow is the being completely carried by the ongoing process of events-- that include oneself, but are neither generated nor controlled by oneself. For as long as one's experience is seen through this lens, everything changes, and IS change: oneself, one's actions, understanding, insight, emotional responses, sensory perceptions. There ARE no "things"-- or self, or expectations, or relationship as fixed by past experience.

What the sage Chris Marti calls "IS.'
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