Process oriented practice becomes almost untenable as the practice again changes. Deeper questions of metaphysics and related matters becomes more prominent. A focus on authenticity appears and settles in, along with the related feeling of “flow” and the notion of no agency. While cycling and a frustration with the practice continues, there is gold at the end of the rainbow in the form of fourth path realization.
Jan 30 2010, 10:03 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 30 2010, 10:04 AM EST
Flow. It’s real. There is a way all things work and flow, and if you can see that flow, feel that flow, know you are in that flow, then things seem so much more… livable? Not sure what the right word is. The flow is pretty much just another perspective on the Unity, the Oneness, of it all. I’m focusing on flow these days as I try to do integration work. I have this new thing happening that causes me me sit up, take notice and say, “Now what?” The “now what” is live by this, live in this, live as part of this, ALL THE TIME. This ain’t easy.
Suffering, in the Buddhist sense, is not seeing/feeling/being in the flow. Not suffering is being in, seeing, feeling the flow. Worst thing you can do? Ignore or fight the flow. The only sensible answer to absolutely everything life sends your way, the good, the bad, the ugly, is “let’s roll with that” or something very similar.
Jan 30 2010, 10:26 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 30 2010, 10:27 AM EST
Also — I’ve been thinking about self-image lately. I used to think I was a thing, separate, alone, unique, with complete freedom from everything and everyone. I had the power. It was in my hands. There was, in my head, a big me and a little universe. Big me was responsible for everything, pretty much. That sounds amazing, to have the power, right? In practice it meant fear. It was nightmarish. I was afraid almost all the time, and fear drove many of the bigger life decisions I would make. I wouldn’t have admitted that, and I might not even have known it consciously if you had asked me. But it was true. Absolutely true.
Today I see a woven tapestry of reality that doesn’t really have much of a me sticking out of it. Yes, there is still a me sense, and a subjective experience. That, I suspect, never really goes away entirely. But in the gut, the intuition, there isn’t a massive powerful singular separate always responsible me. I’m just not that, and it is a huge relief from the former burden. And the fear is almost entirely gone.
Yet I still don’t think I’m anywhere near being done. I’m not even sure there is such a thing. But I am… content… in a way I would have thought impossible not very long ago. So, just to reiterate one more time, when someone says to you something on the order of, “I don’t really know what good my practice does,” feel free to ignore that, or maybe you should tell them they’re full of it and just keep going, of course.
Jan 30 2010, 2:11 PM EST
Thanks, again, Chris for sharing all this. Flow: Krishnamurti used to talk about llife as a “movement,” and, I think, like you, he felt to not be moving with it was to create suffering. A work mate and I recently had a long talk about all this. Turns out he was a Zen/Krishnmurti enthusiast for years just like me. However, unlike me, he’d concluded that it was all “too hard.” That he thought it was possible to live “in the moment” but it was just, again, too hard. I told him that it I thought it actually was impossible to freeze a moment and live in it but it was relatively easy to ‘move with it’ and thus exist in the moment. I don’t think he believed me.
Jan 31 2010, 9:49 AM EST
Your friend is right about it being difficult. It’s very difficult. But the alternative is to be asleep. I sure as hell don’t want to do that any more.
Feb 6 2010, 12:26 PM EST
This is not an update
It’s been very busy for me. Too much work and travel, too little formal practice. I resolve to change things this week. I notice that when I don’t get to sit formally often enough there is a real world effect — I start to feel distance between me a the dharma. The truth. This is not a comfortable feeling.
Feb 8 2010, 6:25 PM EST
More notes on the effects of practice in the real world — I seem to have less and less tolerance for stories and inaccuracies. I can’t sit through or witness a situation and not address the root, the elephant in the room. I have not always been this way. I was, in the past, content to play along with the stories of others. There is a truth in every situation, and tuning in to that truth is the single most important thing you can do in that moment. To ignore that truth is to miss the real world, the actuality of experience… to live in a dream. Once the root is seen the next step is to address it in a way that does less harm than good. Sometimes this means just shutting up until later. Sometimes it means speaking up quickly. It never seems to mean shouting or getting angry, but rather the skillful use of one’s willingness to address those issues that others won’t, can’t, may or may not see.
This development is practice related, much like the idea of “flow” that I mentioned last week is practice related. So though I don’t believe in the limited emotional range models of enlightenment, I do now see how realization clues one in to previously unseen phenomena that clearly direct one’s attention, awareness and action in certain ways and not in others. This is another reason to practice with diligence and the faith that you can change your life thereby.
Feb 11 2010, 8:06 PM EST
The last few days, especially today, I’ve been slammed back into a Dark Night-type mode. Everything sucks, stinks, aggravates, angers and just plain makes me want to crawl back into bed and stay there all day. It’s nice to kow what this is but it’s really challenging to keep it outside and not take it as I/me/mine and literally piss everyone around me off.
Past such episodes have lasted anywhere from days to weeks. I have a lot of travel coming up next week and the week after so I hope this cycle ends by, oh, Monday. Another exacerbating problem: the lack of time to sit and meditate. Meditation does seem to help keep the edge off these things. Damn. Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water.
Feb 14 2010, 9:40 AM EST | Post edited: Feb 14 2010, 9:41 AM EST
Since about 6 PM yesterday an extreme form of lightheadedness has overtaken me. In the past this has meant jhana development. So… later today I will sit and see if a new one shows up. I’m kind of surprised it didn’t happen last night as that’s usually when these things occur. We’ll see!
Feb 15 2010, 7:57 PM EST
Still walking around light headed….
Feb 16 2010, 8:02 AM EST
Feb 16 2010, 12:07 PM EST
Feb 20 2010, 8:05 AM EST
Unable to practice much at all due to work obligations and a horrendous travel schedule. This is making me long for the cushion. It induces a guilty feeling and a subtle underlying anxiety.
Feb 20 2010, 5:02 PM EST
“This is making me long for the cushion. It induces a guilty feeling and a subtle underlying anxiety.” — lucky that the noticing ‘you have always with you’, eh?
Feb 21 2010, 10:17 AM EST
Roomy, can you please elaborate? I’m not sure I understand your comment. While most of what I experience is or can be objectified these days that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel those things. Practice has become a life habit, like brushing my teeth. Not brushing my teeth induces similar feelings.
Feb 21 2010, 2:52 PM EST
I just meant that anything– any sensation, emotion, thought– that presents itself in daily life is grist for the mill of awareness. Fairly early on I encountered a teaching story that made a vivid impression on me: The guru gathered his three disciples and gave each of them a chicken, saying, ‘Take this chicken where no one sees, and kill it; then bring it back to me.’ The disciples were shocked, but when they saw the guru wasn’t making some strange joke, they wandered off in their separate directions– the first into deep, deep, forest, beyond the fields and even the haunts of the herb-gatherers. The second went into a windowless, disused storeroom in an abandoned house. The third went walking far down the road, looking lost in thought. When they reconvened, the first two had their dead chickens; the third had his tucked under his arm, looking relatively placid. ‘Wherever I go,’ he explained, ‘the chicken sees.’
I couldn’t tell this story for ages without completely cracking myself up, because it was a kind of punchline to my discovery that ‘consciousness’/awareness is NEVER asleep: like the chicken, wherever I go, whatever I do, ‘it’ SEES. At the time, it was just hilarious and obvious. After some time, the usual frame story/excuse seeped back: the ‘content’ of my life is too trivial, or genuinely, intractably too difficult to admit of seeing my own mode of participation… so that there is my life, in which, at some times, under some circumstances, I can practice, in those comfortingly familiar ways that I have learned. And then there is the deep, deep forest; the disused storehouse of the abandoned estate. For all I know, other people who read that story thought it was about being a vegetarian. It wouldn’t be the first time I was weird that way!
Feb 21 2010, 3:19 PM EST
“‘Wherever I go,’ he explained, ‘the chicken sees.’”-roomy
LOL. Awesome. Who ‘dat chicken?
Feb 21 2010, 4:07 PM EST
Who dat chicken say ‘Who dat chicken?’ when dis chicken talk about dat chicken? (I think I’ve mentioned before here that I’m VERY easily amused– QED)
Feb 21 2010, 5:09 PM EST
“Who dat chicken say ‘Who dat chicken?’ when dis chicken talk about dat chicken? (I think I’ve mentioned before here that I’m VERY easily amused– QED)”
Nobody here but us chickens.
Feb 21 2010, 5:50 PM EST
Chicken herders, unite! (or should I say “untie”?
Feb 21 2010, 5:50 PM
EST Yes, indeed. Thanks for that great story, Roomy!
Feb 23 2010, 7:09 PM EST
I spoke to Kenneth on the phone today while waiting to board a plane to Chicago from Dayton, Ohio. He asked me how the practice of not being able to practice was going. Well, I said, it actually seems to be going pretty well. What I said, and what I feel, is that the inability to practice formally is itself now an interesting practice. This busy period of time has made me focus on objectifying experience as often as possible, avoiding a return to the comfort and familiarity of the narural human inclination to take ownership of things, of other people’s actions, of outcomes. Truth is, I’m developing a different set of habits. It seems that when the temptation to cocoon emotionally arises, there is now a “Whoa, Dude!” kind of thing that arises in response. It’s not you. It’s never you.
Feb 27 2010, 10:15 AM EST | Post edited: Feb 27 2010, 10:17 AM EST
is is is That’s all there really ever…. is. Outside of time, outside of space. Mind always has it. Mind then takes it and melds it, twists it, bends it and makes it livable in order to allow for a conceptual living space we call “universe.” IS
Mar 2 2010, 7:42 PM EST
I find myself more and more to be seeking genuineness. This applies across the board. During this busy period when I don’t have the time to practice as much as I want or should, and sometimes not practicing at all, I see the mind getting busier and busier with what I’ll call crap. Maybe there’s a crap threshold that meditation erects for us. Maybe adequate practice gives us a certain amount of quiet time the mind needs to calm itself, or arm itself, against its own silliness and over-activity. Whatever the cause, I perceive myself to be slowly but surely filling up with… crap.
Mar 2 2010, 9:05 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 2 2010, 9:10 PM EST
I know what you mean. More and more I find that greater happiness comes to me from anything simple and true. Less and less do I enjoy elaboration and artifice. So much of our social and work lives involves acting out roles to meet the expectations of others. Most of it is…what you said Chris…crap.
Mar 2 2010, 11:12 PM EST
What would happen, I wonder, if one applied the not-self contemplation/enquiry to ‘crap’…? It might be fun. Like those bad-Hemingway-imitation writing competitions. — the chicken out standing in left field
Mar 3 2010, 7:36 AM EST
Hey Roomy, I’ve actually done that. When I pay attention, even during those times when I’ve been practicing my little arse off, about 95% of what runs through my head is… crap.
Mar 6 2010, 12:22 PM EST
Been practicing on the fact that one can attach to so many things it’s frightening. Yes, there are all the usual suspects: sensations, sights, emotions, all the objects that abound in our experience. There are also other, less firm/more nebulous attachments, like the self. Then there’s attachment to the idea that we are awareness, are some essence of something timeless and eternal, are the present moment. Well… hogwash. Real non-attachment means baseline, non-nebulous, no holds barred, no bullcrap non-attachment. Attachment to NOTHING. NO THING.
The mind is an amazingly useful tool that is prone to just make stuff up, and if it is prevented from making up the simple stuff it will immediately go after more complicated stuff or, worse, stuff that is pretending to be enlightened stuff. So look deeply and very carefully at what you’re doing in your practice. Buried deep down in there you may find attachment pretending to be something else. When you believe you have uncovered it all, objectified all the stuff… then it’s time to look a lot deeper and a lot harder. My practice is about that. Float……… and be truly free. Thanks, once again, to Kenneth and his recently posted “How to Get Enlightened” commentary for the very appropriate pointing.
Mar 6 2010, 3:35 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 6 2010, 3:36 PM EST
“When you believe you have uncovered it all, objectified all the stuff… then it’s time to look a lot deeper and a lot harder.”
My practice is about that. “When anything arises, test it to see if it is conditioned by looking for the Three Characteristics. All “things” can be looked at and dismissed in this manner. When “what is not a thing” is recognized — when Awareness is without concern for objects — then you will know the Unconditioned.” Hold to nothing. The whole manifest world was born and must die and we want to hold on to it. In grasping the manifest we believe a lie. Before us is the majesty of the whole universe and we had no part in its appearance. There is such beauty we occasionally glimpse from our hell hole, we have believe a lie. We know we believe a lie; now may we know the truth!
Mar 6 2010, 3:55 PM EST
I’m not sure I can sign on to the “lie/must die” part, Gary. I think that might be one of those sneaky forms of attachment. I can say with all honesty and conviction that the sense of self must die, and I’ve even said that right here. But I have to live in the world. I can’t have just the unconditioned or just the conditioned. It’s not an either/or dichotomy. Both are required of existence, aren’t they? Inclusion is important, not just exclusion. My experience encompasses all of it, both objects and that which is not an object or subject to the three characteristics. There can be no attachment AT ALL, and thus we cannot attach to the unconditioned, either. That’s the beauty of the Middle Way. Both are true. Neither is true. Attach to nothing.
Mar 6 2010, 4:07 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 6 2010, 4:09 PM EST
Chris, I agree with what you have said, I do not know where you are getting that I wrote other than what you agree with. Please give me more detail and I will edit.  this could be an attachment you will reveal to me!
Mar 6 2010, 4:14 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 6 2010, 4:16 PM EST
“The whole manifest world was born and must die and we want to hold on to it.” Those are the words I was reacting to.
Mar 6 2010, 4:50 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 6 2010, 4:53 PM EST
The whole manifest world was born and must die and when we project onto the manifest, we want to hold on to it. Is this better?  it was not my intention to pit the manifest against the unmanifest.
Mar 6 2010, 5:02 PM EST
What do you mean by “manifest world?”
Mar 6 2010, 6:50 PM EST
That which is perceived by the senses and the conceptual mind.
Mar 7 2010, 9:18 AM EST
Okay. I don’t view the manifest world as having been born or that it must die. To me, it looks timeless. Concepts like “born” and “die” don’t fit the view. That said, I think we’re discussing semantics because we actually seem to agree, as you said before.
Mar 7 2010, 11:10 AM EST
I think we agree on the semantics of the word manifest. Along with others; “apparent to the senses, esp. that of sight, or to the mind;
If you think the view I have expressed is incorrect, can you say more on how have you concluded the manifest world is timeless? Time seems to be, most obviously part of this existence.
Mar 7 2010, 1:17 PM EST
Timelessness: because there is only this. Right here and right now. This just is. It appears with no end and no beginning. End and beginning are concepts of mind, and in non-dual awareness there are no concepts. This occurs the first time and every time I experience non-dual awareness. It is an awareness of just this. It’s what I have been calling “is” here on this thread. Like I said before, to say there is no manifest world is, I believe, a sneaky form of attachment. To say there is no such thing as the unconditioned is, I think, a sneaky form of attachment. Both are required. Both are true. Attach to nothing.
That’s the best I can do, Gary. I know it sounds contradictory and weird. That’s what happens when I try to shoehorn that which is not a concept into concepts to communicate it. If I were in front of you and you asked me “How have you concluded the manifest world is timeless?” I’d just poke you in the chest or tap you on the top of your head. I can’t explain it. I can only point.
Mar 7 2010, 2:59 PM EST
“Timelessness: because there is only this. Right here and right now. This just is. It appears with no end and no beginning. End and beginning are concepts of mind, and in non-dual awareness there are no concepts. This occurs the first time and every time I experience non-dual awareness. It is an awareness of just this. It’s what I have been calling “is” here on this thread. Like I said before, to say there is no manifest world is, I believe, a sneaky form of attachment. To say there is no such thing as the unconditioned is, I think, a sneaky form of attachment. Both are required. Both are true. Attach to nothing. That’s the best I can do, Gary. I know it sounds contradictory and weird. That’s what happens when I try to shoehorn that which is not a concept into concepts to communicate it. If I were in front of you and you asked me “How have you concluded the manifest world is timeless?” I’d just poke you in the chest or tap you on the top of your head. I can’t explain it. I can only point.-cmarti”
Wonderful! Thanks, Chris.
Mar 7 2010, 5:42 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 7 2010, 5:45 PM EST
As said earlier, the manifest world is that which is perceived by the senses or conceptual mind. That to which you are pointing to being timeless, is not perceived by the senses or conceptual mind and therefore the unmanifest. Anyway to summarize my original point which may have been lost in the discussion, the manifest world can only be compounded and the unborn or unconditioned only be recognized (and this statement about the unborn compounds and therefore is a pointer). We dig around in the manifest only to recognize it is all the same, it is all born and it all dies AND THAT THE UNBORN BE RECOGNIZED. In practice all detailed investigation of the manifest world should be to this end. cont.
Mar 7 2010, 5:42 PM EST
With this as the context I would like to repeat Gozen’s statement. “When anything arises, test it to see if it is conditioned by looking for the Three Characteristics. All “things” can be looked at and dismissed in this manner. When “what is not a thing” is recognized — when Awareness is without concern for objects — then you will know the Unconditioned.” Gozen
Mar 8 2010, 8:09 AM EST
Mar 8 2010, 8:35 AM EST
Oh crap, I have to be honest and true to what I see: Any object is only an object, a separate thing distinct from you (the subject), because your conceptual/dualistic mind makes it appear that way. I love Gozen’s quote, too, but what it points to is exactly what I have been saying — the timeless nature of non-dual awareness. Timeless. Not impermanent. Not subject to the three characteristics. Gozen was talking about non-dual awareness, not the universe – which we experience as both dual and non-dual, and we cannot say one is true and the other not true, as to do that causes untruth. Neither is true by itself. This came up because of my desire to eliminate all semblance of attachment, overt and sneaky, simple and complicated. That is what I mean to do. I believe that attaching to one view of the universe to the exclusion of the other in is a sneaky form of attachment.
So, when we abide in non-dual awareness it isn’t the universe that disappears (dies), what disappears is the mind’s separation of subject and object. What dies is duality — the I/me/mine and the idea/concept/construct that anything is or can be separated from anything else. Gary, I don’t want to have to keep disagreeing with you here. I really don’t want to argue this point because to me just isn’t arguable. However, if you want to continue to talk about this let’s please do so on another thread since this is my practice journal, okay?
Thanks, and Peace
Mar 8 2010, 12:20 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 8 2010, 12:28 PM EST
Chris, I am not wanting to use Gozens statement to support a view in an argument. although I can see now it might appear this way with what has been said in your last thread. Until then his statement was distinct from the finer points we discussed. In saying “The whole manifest world was born and must die and we want to hold on to it.”, I am referring to surrendering to its impermanent nature, not that we should enter a state without it. I thought this was self evident as later it was in contrast to my using the word “unborn”. So we are in agreement with all you have said in the last thread. Back to your thread, if I had known how long this discussion would go I would not have hijacked it.
Mar 8 2010, 1:40 PM EST
It’s okay. We should just carry on in another place.
Mar 10 2010, 7:34 AM EST
Brad Warner. I listened to a recent podcast from the Dharma Field Zen Center that featured Brad Warner. I always thought he was kind of a weird dude. I was wrong. I think he gets it and, as evidence, the title of his very first book: “Sit Down and Shut Up!” I also listened to an older podcast by Christopher Titmuss, in which he very carefully and thoughtfully makes the case that a laser-like focus on vipassana meditation, to the exclusion of noticing other things in our practice, can cause us to miss something very, very important. That podcast can be found on Dharamseed.com and it’s called “Liberation and Enlightenment.”
So, to tie those two things together, I think you can easily not practice enough, and by practice I mean meditation, not thinking about practice, reading about practice or talking about practice. By contrast, you can practice too much or, better said, you can get too focused on certain elements of your practice to the potentially harmful exclusion of other important things.
Finally, to tie this message to the last several on this thread, I think it’s critical to pay attention to what I would call our “meta practice,” by which I mean the way we approach our practice. As in all things, there seems to be a middle way. That, I think, is a theme from the Buddha we should pay attention to. Bye for now.
Mar 10 2010, 10:33 AM EST
Chris, I’ve been following Brad Warner for a while now. I’ve read his books and follow his blog and have heard lectures. Correction, his first book was “Hardcore Zen.” “Sit Down” — a study of Dogen’s teaching — was the second. My impression is that he is the real deal as far as Soto Zen goes. But, he IS also a weird dude, which is good, I think, because he helps to shatter the models for enlightened behavior which is great. Thus, there are a lot of things he says and does that I don’t agree with or that just seem odd and wrong but he is always AUTHENTIC.
Obviously I may not really know what you are talking about in this post, but — what I’ve been seeing and thinking about a lot lately is how myself and many others can seem so into practicing so that they can get certain results from their practice or master certain states and be very focused on that. Nothing wrong with that really but it’s like one is in a huge field and and in front of you are several doors. The doors look fascinating and beckoning. You can open any of the doors and go in and have interesting, wonderful experiences. Or, you could walk around the doors and enter this huge vast empty space that contains nothing but a joy that makes what is behind the doors look so small and clunky.
10, 12:21 PM EST
Hi Mike, I’m picking up what you’re laying down here
I think what you’re describing here is a kind of developmental process. When we first start to practice, it’s actually quite helpful to become fascinated with the states, stages, and so forth because it causes these skills to get developed. After a while, though, it is only natural to expand one’s horizons to include areas of experiences which were previously overlooked. So, I think what you’re describing is a landmark in spiritual maturity – one of many. It is yet another step in the right direction, and it arises naturally in its own time. This is all continuing to open up for me as well, and I’m glad that it’s an experience we share.
Mar 10 2010, 2:24 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 10 2010, 2:55 PM EST
“Or, you could walk around the doors and enter this huge vast empty space that contains nothing but a joy that makes what is behind the doors look so small and clunky. ”
I relate to the “walking behind the doors” as an insight or a realization. Opening and closing doors are experiences that we can get weary of and therefore it can cause us to loose interest, and when we loose interest we are more likely to walk behind the doors and be blown away. An insight can be like the we look at the doors where there were no walls, we were just captivated by doors! The walls or that which to which we think were bound did not exist and we knew it, we just did not believe it.
Mar 11 2010, 7:25 PM EST | Post edited: Mar 11 2010, 7:26 PM EST
Led Zeppelin. Authentic.
Mar 14 2010, 11:21 AM EDT
Without the realization that comes with deep practice some of the crap we live with would be, frankly, intolerable. Practice widens and clears the vision. Practice pulls away the veils, sharpens the perception, objectifies the world and the people around us. Practice provides us with an ability to see what is authentic and what is BS. Practice allows us to address the problems we face with a level of objectivity, honesty and directness that is otherwise unattainable. These things come not from the parts of practice that focus on the mind but from the practice that focuses on the heart. Your mind can see, hear, touch, taste, feel and think, but your mind simply cannot know TRUTH in a way that is even close to what your heart can do. One more reason to practice.
Mar 21 2010, 7:02 PM EDT | Post edited: Mar 21 2010, 7:03 PM EDT
I’ve been busy lately. I’ve used this busy-ness as an excuse not to sit as regularly as I used to. I also found it tempting to think I don’t need to practice as much, for several reasons (more on that in another post). Those two things are a seriously bad idea even when considered separately, let alone combined into some kind of bad karma cocktail. I’ve learned a lot during this period, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad for just a short time, assuming I can learn from it. The most important lesson is not to drop a very regular sitting schedule.
By not sitting regularly I could feel myself slowly, slowly, slowly sinking back into an old perspective, a smaller perspective, a closed perspective…. and that’s what we call ignorance.
I don’t recommend it.
Mar 30 2010, 11:03 AM EDT
On vacation one gets a cleaner, less hectic view of things. It occurred to me last night that there is a very interesting set of parallels between Kenneth’s 20 strata of mind/3 speed transmission and the layers of the subject/object duality/non-duality. I’ve always been fascinated by the subject/object experiences we observe as we encounter and traverse various parts of meditation practice.
I’ll post more later but I want to leave this as a reminder to me to do that
Apr 4 2010, 10:46 AM EDT | Post edited: Apr 4 2010, 10:47 AM EDT
Someone just asked me about an old comment I made here. The question was about what we were at one time calling “rigpa,” and how did I practice that? Well…. I don’t have a very good answer, if I have an answer at all. I had to tell them this: it just happened. I don’t know that I did anything that could be called “practice” that brought it on. I was sitting on a plane somewhere over the U.S. just listening to some music and the universe just decided to reveal itself. I posted about that very moment on the old Dharma Overground message boards because I took notes on my iPhone shortly after the thing occurred.
This thing, the universe revealing itself, changed everything about my practice and my life. So, what is it and how do you practice it? I don’t really quite know. It reveals itself if I just let go, fully, radically and completely let go of everything. But that’s like having a muscle I didn’t have before, and using it appears to me to be instinctual and cannot be explained as a process with a bunch of steps to follow. It just is. Timeless, locationless, me-less knowing. I’ve seen really good explanations of it but they tend to sound like gibberish to most people. Dogen is, to my taste, the best at describing it, so I suggest a reading of the book “Moon in a Dewdrop.”
I’m at a loss for words when people ask about this. It’s very humbling and that’s usually a good thing.
Apr 4 2010, 2:09 PM EDT
“I’m at a loss for words when people ask about this. It’s very humbling and that’s usually a good thing.”
Hey Chris, I am also finding that only recently in the past number of days, I am starting to have experiences of just ¨letting go¨ of evrything, of the technique, of ¨me¨, of any hold the mind has on something and letting it be. Suffice to say, I think i am starting to get an idea about what you guys all driving in 3rd gear are talking about. It is very unexplainable in a way. At least the moments of ¨letting go¨ for me. They seem extremely potent when I am outside , the sky is clear , sunn and with eyes open, I just let everything go and ….aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I think having strong concentration helps with the letting go for me. …At times when I am in the Witness state, i just ¨let go¨ and it fades away to reveal an endless open space and it actually made me chuckle to myself the first time I did it .
I am still kind of trying to work out if it is what you mean by rigpa. All the same it certainly makes sense why a lot of people are praising it as the place to be.
Apr 4 2010, 8:00 PM EDT
Rigpa isn’t the word I’d prefer to use, Nikolai. I think western terminology is better here because it has less baggage. I like “the simplest thing.” Or, as I keep saying, “is.” IS says it all for me
Apr 8 2010, 6:57 PM EDT | Post edited: Apr 8 2010, 6:58 PM EDT
At some point mediation morphed or phase shifted into a different mode altogether. It’s very quiet. I’ve been working on bringing this peace into my life at work. Not easy. Not happening as well as I’d like. Fear. Jealousy. Anger. That stuff just happens in the working world. The key is to hold it all in the same huge container that holds the entire universe. That’s the container I use while I sit. Everything happens inside of that, but that awareness shrinks into the old tangled, shriveled up heap of crap, simply out of habit. I see no end to practice. I will have to practice forever because I will forever have fear, anger, jealousy, and all that other junk spouting up in awareness. That stream has no end. The peace comes in the understanding of what it is, in the size of the container that holds it and in how much it is believed. Stream of consciousness? Ha! Stream of nonsense and diatribe. If you supress it, you lose. If you fight it, you lose. If you engage with it, you lose.
Its true nature is that of the clouds, the flowers, the grass, the clothes I’m wearing, the cars passing by the window where I now sit, the dog sighing in the background. I must learn to bring that to work with me.
Wow. Beautiful. True. Authentic.
Apr 8 2010, 10:18 PM EDT
Chris– how about this scenario: this is the initiation of actual practice, the ‘practice’ of enlightened living. The practice(s) that one does to get here are like ‘tuning up’ the instrument of mind and body, understanding and capacity. It’s a delicate and crucial juncture: as you have noticed– trying to manipulate things in any way is a losing proposition. You soon sense that you’ve put WAY too much ‘English’ on them and they ricochet into chaos, taking your emotions with them. I guess that’s why this is the point that there is a lot said about ‘surrender.’ ‘Faith in mind’ is my own preferred term– a kind of relaxed, non-assertive confidence in one’s relationship to ALL phenomena.
My own experience is that– sometimes in visible ‘leaps forward’, sometimes in a long, almost imperceptible arc– the ‘bad’, troublemaking impulses that we all have become habituated to, DO become more transparent and ghostly, rendered more or less void of force. And when I experience this in a situation that’s REALLY been challenging– at work, since all my kids have left the nest and my cat is Enlightened– that’s pretty mind-blowing. And humbling, because I can see that it has always been possible.
Apr 9 2010, 8:06 AM EDT
Roomy, yes, it’s clearly surrender, all the way down.
Apr 9 2010, 6:41 PM EDT
“You soon sense that you’ve put WAY too much ‘English’ on them and they ricochet into chaos, taking your emotions with them.”
For anyone questioning the value of their practice, listen up! “… I can see that it has always been possible.” And that’s the kicker. It HAS always been there. Practice is like the orbit of a comet. You start out near the sun and that’s pretty much all you can see – this bright, all-obscuring, all-encompassing mass. Slowly, with practice, you move out along a vast elliptical orbit and eek out a longer view, a deeper perspective. It’s painful. It presents some nasty stuff. You see yourself with some more objectivity, maybe as others might, and it’s ugly and it hurts.
That perspective continues to evolve as the orbit lengthens and all the while you are getting to see more and more of the universe and your existence as it really is. It’s just like Kenneth lays it out — objectifying more and more of your experience is the stretching of that orbit. At some point you get far enough out there that you can see the whole thing and it changes you, puts some kind of permanent mark on you so that when you orbit back in it’s not quite the same you and not quite the same sun anymore. You get the closed in and the deeper, wide angle perspective at the same time, and it all kinda makes sense.
And you really do sit in wonder and amazement that, damn, it was really that way all along and you somehow just didn’t see it. Then you laugh or cry and make dinner for the kids. Weird beautiful.
Apr 9 2010, 7:18 PM EDT | Post edited: Apr 9 2010, 7:22 PM EDT
Perspective. Palabra. Post gave me chills and goosebumps.
Apr 18 2010, 10:03 AM EDT | Post edited: Apr 18 2010, 10:05 AM EDT
No matter how hard you try you cannot get a direct look at basic awareness. You can see its effects. You can infer its nature from secondary evidence. You can dwell in it but you cannot look primordial awareness in the eye. It resists becoming an object. It’s not an object. It’s not you, either. It’s everything, and everything is it. It’s the strangest thing, the simplest thing, the truest thing, the only thing that never changes, and it just doesn’t care.
But… and the goofy part is this — it always induces love and compassion. This, to me, says that love and compassion have a special place in our minds and especially in our hearts. Love and compassion seem to burst forth naturally from that place. I used to read the popular Buddhist magazines (Tricycle, Buddhadharma, etc.) and some of the, ahem, more smarmy Buddhist books and see all the talk about love and compassion and kind of ignore it. But, dammit, IT’S TRUE.
Apr 18 2010, 10:15 AM EDT
For anyone interested in Zen I recommend Steve Hagen. His Dharma Field Zen Center in Minnesota has a free podcast available and he’s written a few nice books on Zen, focusing on the process of being right here, right now, and waking up. It’s not earth shattering, sexy Zen. It’s down to earth, effective Zen. Until Kenneth finishes his book I think Steve Hagen’s are great books to use to introduce people to Buddhism.
Apr 18 2010, 10:32 AM EDT
My sitting process typically takes one of two paths these days. Path one is to follow the jhanic arc up and then down again. Path two is to do what is basically Soto Zen Shikantaza – I just sit and whatever arises, arises. I do not investigate what arises. I do, however, pretty quickly notice the witness and then soon after pass through that, too.
If I had to choose, I’d most often choose path two. It leads to the most basic thing and that seems to have lasting, consequential effects. It’s not that the jhanas aren’t nice. They’re blisssful, especially post-eighth jhana. But they seem now to be much less important than they were when I was fullly on that crazy treadmill called the progress of insight. I think I’m still on that path but I’m not quite sure where on it I am any more, and it just doesn’t seem to matter that much now.
I’m sure Kenneth can speak to this better than me, and probably should. I used to want Arahat-ship. Now it doesn’t matter that much because, I believe, there is something more important to be had. This awareness has suddenly made the thing, the process, feel complete in a way that I have never before been able to feel. It feels like I can expand on it, learn to dwell in it more often, more or less abide there. But that’s embellishing, not continuing. That’s horizontal movement, not vertical like the progress of insight is.
I’m not sure any of that makes sense, so maybe Kenneth will magically appear and help me put it together.
Apr 18 2010, 12:45 PM EDT
“This awareness has suddenly made the thing, the process, feel complete in a way that I have never before been able to feel. It feels like I can expand on it, learn to dwell in it more often, more or less abide there. But that’s embellishing, not continuing. That’s horizontal movement, not vertical like the progress of insight is. I’m not sure any of that makes sense, so maybe Kenneth will magicaly appear and help me put it together.”
[Chris, it ain't Kenneth, but here's something I read yesterday, about the further reaches of practice, from "Dragon's Play"] “The bubbling up of events in the field of time is not an alarming external thing, as it was in the early stages. It’s just a little tickle, enlivening our play as each bubble pops open and a new situation is revealed. We become free in all this, but not necessarily efficient. Our real expertise is in relaxing into things as they are, without narrow notions of control. So we’re not burdened by technical efficiency or by the expectations that come from thinking of ourselves as experts.”
Apr 20 2010, 7:43 PM EDT
Roomy, thanks. I’m pretty clearly in some transitional place, but then we’re all always in transition. I think what got me going over the last week or so was being hit in the face with the realization that we hold some very deep, deep, deep, deep assumptions about stuff that turn out to be just more relative things, so I ate that and digested it. Feels better now.
Apr 20 2010, 10:46 PM EDT
– maybe THAT’S what the old yogis meant, about ‘swallowing the river Ganges’…
Apr 21 2010, 9:05 AM EDT
Digestive metaphor has its place. I once heard a friend, a long time Dzogchen practitioner, tell someone that awakening is like taking a big, satisfying dump. (Sorry for the language, but….)
Apr 21 2010, 5:03 PM EDT | Post edited: Apr 21 2010, 5:05 PM EDT
“Awakening is like taking a big, satisfying dump”
Hahahahah That line belongs in the Humour on the Path thread too. Brilliant and I agree! LOL!
Apr 29 2010, 5:00 AM EDT
A pebble tossed into the pond rests on the sandy bottom
The battle rages and the battlefield is still
The windows are open and the wind howls through a quiet room
There is observation and participation
There is action and stillness
Self and no one
Separated by everything and nothing
The same but different
Back to bed
Apr 30 2010, 7:09 AM EDT
I believe I’m getting a good lesson in why and how koans work.
If your mind is presented with what appears to be an intractable, weird, illogical or otherwise impossible unknown, it’ll settle in and sit there, all the time, and percolate. This kind of thing has happened a number of times in my practice. There are discrete steps: the conundrum is created or otherwise recognized, it is then distilled and formulated as a koan-like question or problem in a conscious way, it is then tossed into the lower sea of mind-stuff and sloshes around to show up in dreams, when you wake up at 3:00 AM, and as fodder for daily life as situations arise that somehow relate or provide clues.
Then, at some point…. BAM!
Or in other cases….. click
Apr 30 2010, 7:25 AM EDT
It’s amazing and wonderful how things can be hidden for so long by only the thinnest of veils. Truths can light years away and yet live in the house right next door. The universe is fundamentally arranged in this manner as I now perceive it. Things are what they appear to be and yet they are dreams.
I am, and I am not.
Objects are solid, but they do not exist separately.
It’s all intertwined all the time. ALL THE TIME. And a great beauty in the world is found in these paradoxical realities. Sadness can be wonderful. Happiness can be hell. Time is, yet there is timelessness.
And when I think of these things, and I do quite a bit these days, my eyes tend to tear up and I’m filled with gratitude to be able to experience this, if only for the briefest of moments. Images and phrases come to mind that represent these paradoxes and sort of explain them in terms I wouldn’t be able to use otherwise. I was never a fan of poetry but now I grok poetry.
There is something very basic, fundamental and wonderful that flows through everything all the time and, oddly, it’s not the simplest thing but the recognition of the way the simplest thing and the real/dreams are actually one and the same, all the time. It’s all put together that way.
Everything IS that way.
Apr 30 2010, 7:46 AM EDT | Post edited: Apr 30 2010, 7:49 AM EDT
The Dance is always going on. The issue at hand is how to tune in to the music. Every moment is dancing and if you don’t hear the music you’ll probably miss the dancing and it will seem all too serious and not dance-like — more like an old black and white television show, like Perry Mason.
Apr 30 2010, 2:46 PM EDT
“It’s amazing and wonderful how things can be hidden for so long by only the thinnest of veils. Truths can light years away and yet live in the house right next door. The universe is fundamentally arranged in this manner as I now perceive it. Things are what they appear to be and yet they are dreams. I am, and I am not. Objects are solid, but they do not exist separately. It’s all intertwined all the time. ALL THE TIME. And a great beauty in the world is found in these paradoxical realities. Sadness can be wonderful. Happiness can be hell. Time is, yet there is timelessness. And when I think of these things, and I do quite a bit these days, my eyes tend to tear up and I’m filled with gratitude to be able to experience this, if only for the briefest of moments. Images and phrases come to mind that represent these paradoxes and sort of explain them in terms I wouldn’t be able to use otherwise. I was never a fan of poetry but now I grok poetry.
There is something very basic, fundamental and wonderful that flows through everything all the time and, oddly, it’s not the simplest thing but the recognition of the way the simplest thing and the real/dreams are actually one and the same, all the time. It’s all put together that way.
Everything IS that way.”
Chris — You expressed this so beautifully. All of it. For me, though, the most essential part of what you wrote is this: “There is something very basic, fundamental and wonderful that flows through everything all the time and, oddly, it’s not the simplest thing but the recognition of the way the simplest thing and the real/dreams are actually one and the same, all the time. It’s all put together that way.”
All I can say is “YES, IT IS!”
Apr 30 2010, 9:47 PM EDT | Post edited: Apr 30 2010, 9:55 PM EDT
Thank you, Gozen.
What seems to be resolving is how what used to be pieces intertwine, meld, synthesize and otherwise work together as One. I told Kenneth today that the word “synthesize” had meaning for me but there’s a much better word: GRACE.
Apr 30 2010, 10:33 PM EDT
I’m 200% with you here, Chris, especially about the poetry. There’s a great passage in ‘The Great Gatsby’ about the first Europeans landing on these shores and finding themselves in view for the first time of a landscape ‘commensurate with their capacity for wonder.’
I’ve always found the best poetry to be that use of language ‘commensurate with our capacity for wonder.’ Or any of our human responses that draw on the entirety of our being– wonder, awe, reverence, tenderness, fierce resolve… the whole spectrum. And, yes, ‘grace’ is the poet’s word; ‘synthesize’, the technician’s.
May 1 2010, 8:49 AM EDT
I have a lot to say about what I’ll call “wiring” this morning but I can’t right now as I’m working a big event.. It’s about how experience flows in the mind. Short version: it flows through “you” and it flows through. When it flows through “you” everything appears solid and you tend to get stuck on things. When it flows “through” you everything is luminous. You can choose which circuit to pay more attention to but both are always in use, and that’s the grace part.
May 8 2010, 11:01 AM EDT
So we all hold a bunch of assumptions in our minds, all the time. Practice for me has become the process of pulling these assumptions out into the light. It started with space, then time. Yesterday, last night and this morning it’s about the unstated and quietly assumed privileged nature of some metal processes.
I think this is a major big deal.
The assumption is that some thoughts, proto-thoughts and perceptions have some kind of preferential place, some kind of governing ability, some kind of ownership over our experience. These are baseline, fundamental things. Things that you think govern your experience, things that occur in that weird emptiness that starts right behind your eyes and passes through the very center of your head and then down your brainstem. There’s a weird gap, a hole, a space there within which this stuff happens and into which we just don’t go. We must eventually GO THERE.
There is no privileged process. Everything you experience is on exactly the same playing field as everything else, adheres to the same rules, abides by the same laws. No matter what that thing is, no matter what the hidden hierarchy assumed, THERE IS NO HIERARCHY.
And yeah, I’m shouting. It’s important. I’m convinced this is the last mile.
May 8 2010, 11:11 AM EDT
And you won’t know what’s really going on (that phrase we hear all the time that describes the ultimate objective we aspire to)… you won’t know what’s really going on until you go to that place and see what’s happening there, all the time. Then, and only then, does it become clear that, in the modern vernacular, what you see is exactly what you get. There’s no special stuff, no secret sauce, no God or gods, no kings, no luminous, miraculous or special experiences.
Stuff just IS and…. that’s that.
There is, amazingly, absolutely nowhere else to go and thus nowhere else to aspire to go (critical point, that one, about aspiring, wanting, thinking there’s something more to find). Simple, simple, simple…. but enormously important and life changing. Another one of those things I’ve found that hid in plain sight right next to me until I was ready to see it.
May 8 2010, 1:40 PM EDT | Post edited: May 8 2010, 1:43 PM EDT
Interesting what you are talking about, Chris. There is another interview up on Buddhist Geeks with Vince and Daniel talking about the simple model of enlightenment. And what you are talking about is kind of exactly what the anagami has to figure out in order to walk that last mile. I’m not there yet but I love that this is being talked about because it means a lot of us wont be wasting too much time figuring out what to look and not look for and do or not do when we get to that stage. Thanks for the heads up!
Thanks as always for your updates Chris… best wishes as you continue on the path. Thanks a lot Nick for that, great read…
May 8 2010, 7:27 PM EDT
I dunno. The picture is … different than what is said in that essay. I like the Three Gears. My experience is that they all speak to very important aspects of the thing. They all have to be present and integrated. The first is about “do,” the second about “see,” and the third about “be.” We need them all.
May 8 2010, 7:43 PM EDT | Post edited: May 9 2010, 11:12 AM EDT
On an afternoon sit today, one that featured the jhanic arc, I discovered I have access to another jhana. First gear just keeps on keepin’ on, driven as it always is by some unknown but inexorable force, like a spiritual conveyor belt.
May 9 2010, 10:25 AM EDT
In the end this is about finding out what it is to be human. Funny, because that’s sort of why I started. “Why do I suffer?” Is just another way of asking that question.
May 9 2010, 11:30 AM EDT
“The first is about ‘do,’ the second about ‘see,’ and the third about ‘be.’”-cmarti
Brilliant! May I quote you?
May 9 2010, 11:35 AM EDT
Of course you can, Kenneth.
May 9 2010, 1:33 PM EDT
“This is the way it is. You detach. You let go. Whenever there is any feeling of clinging, we detach from it, because we know that that very feeling is just as it is. It didn’t come along especially to annoy us. We might think that it did, but in truth it just is that way. If we start to think and consider it further, that, too, is just as it is. If we let go, then form is merely form, sound is merely sound, odour is merely odour, taste is merely taste, touch is merely touch and the heart is merely the heart. It’s similar to oil and water. If you put the two together in a bottle, they won’t mix because of the difference of their nature… Oil and water are different in the same way that a wise person and an ignorant person are different. The Buddha lived with form, sound, odor, taste, touch and thought. He was an arahant (Enlightened One), so he turned away from rather than toward these things. He turned away and detached little by little since he understood that the heart is just the heart and thought is just thought. He didn’t confuse and mix them together. The heart is just the heart; thoughts and feelings are just thoughts and feelings. Let things be just as they are! Let form be just form, let sound be just sound, let thought be just thought. Why should we bother to attach to them? If we think and feel in this way, then there is detachment and separateness. Our thoughts and feelings will be on one side and our heart will be on the other. Just like oil and water—they are in the same bottle but they are separate.” ~ Ajahn Chah, “The Training of the Heart” in Food for the Heart
May 9 2010, 2:30 PM EDT
That gap, that hole, that seemingly privileged space I mentioned the other day… it’s just a space. It appears to be different because that’s where our eyes are located, where our brain is. You can’t see your own eyes. So maybe because we can’t see in there we reify it, make it out to be something special, turn it into a mystery and then that clouds our perception. Well, what happens in there is what happens everywhere. Stuff. Just stuff. It’s all just stuff, all the way down.
May 9 2010, 2:44 PM EDT
“That gap, that hole, that seemingly privileged space I mentioned the other day… it’s just a space. It appears to be different because that’s where our eyes are located, where our brain is. You can’t see your own eyes. So maybe because we can’t see in there we reify it, make it out to be something special, turn it into a mystery and then that clouds our perception. Well, what happens in there is what happens everywhere. Stuff. Just stuff. It’s all just stuff, all the way down.”
What is the material we create by the belief that all the “just stuff” is “me” (we quickly take in perceptions of the stuff and create this “me” feeling and “me” image and have “me” thoughts and do things then as “me” that other “me” s react to etc.) is this just more “just stuff?” or is it in a different category? (my guess: just “stuff)
May 9 2010, 2:51 PM EDT
For context to Chris’ “stuff all the way down” comment, here’s an entry from Wikipedia: William James, father of American psychology, tells of meeting an old lady who told him the Earth rested on the back of a huge turtle. “But, my dear lady”, Professor James asked, as politely as possible, “what holds up the turtle?” “Ah”, she said, “that’s easy. He is standing on the back of another turtle.” “Oh, I see”, said Professor James, still being polite. “But would you be so good as to tell me what holds up the second turtle?” “It’s no use, Professor”, said the old lady, realizing he was trying to lead her into a logical trap. “It’s turtles-turtles-turtles, all the way!”
May 9 2010, 3:15 PM EDT
“what is the material we create by the belief that all the “just stuff” is “me” (we quickly take in perceptions of the stuff and create this “me” feeling and “me” image and have “me” thoughts and do things then as “me” that other “me” s react to etc.) is this just more “just stuff?” or is it in a different category? (my guess: just “stuff) ”
I actually am just guessing here. At my exact stage of insight I can see the “just stuff” but I can also see the insidious and irresistible and compelling and relentless force that turns it all into “me.” And from here that force is so huge that it seems like it’s own entity released upon birth from chains of DNA. Of course I’m very curious how it will look when or if I gain more insight. (back to your regularly scheduled program)
May 9 2010, 4:18 PM EDT
I sometimes wonder about this. Am I seeing something now that was not here before? No, I don’t think so. What I am seeing now was here the whole time. I was just discounting it. I don’t see anything new. I’ve just lost the need to see something other than this. At least that’s one perspective.
I remember feeling very strongly in 2004 that I had wasted 22 years of seeking because I couldn’t now see anything that had not been here the whole time and yet what I could see now was good enough. I even based my teaching for several years on just asking people to directly see what I was seeing. It worked, too, for some people, for a few minutes, as long as I was with them. Then, they went back to suffering. I guess that’s when I went back to emphasizing the whole package, with a scaffolded approach and techniques that people could use. Whether it was a coincidence or not I couldn’t say, but I could see in so many yogis a correlation between decades of practice and the ability or willingness to see and accept what had been here the whole time. It is a wonderment.
May 9 2010, 9:27 PM EDT | Post edited: May 9 2010, 9:28 PM EDT
What prompted Kenneth’s last comment was this private message from me:
“Kenneth, I’ve become somehow laser beamed in on the nature of experience and I thus realized that it has to be only what it is, just what it is, and that somehow the seeking of some “it” factor, some nebulously defined desire to find a “thing” that would allow me to get the thing is ridiculous and a complete waste of time.
This little tiny realization – why is this realization so oddly powerful? It has always, always been a part of my presumption about experience and what is going on — that there is something I wasn’t seeing.
It’s NOT TRUE.
I’m seeing what there is to see, and the dropping of that unstated assumption about what is going on makes such a major difference.
How odd! WTF???
It is as though the trying, the wishing, the assuming, is what gets in the way of just seeing. Over the past few days it has become more obvious that what happens is just plainly what happens. This is a such a weird little change to the thing. Is this possibly the result of the fact that I have been absolutely and relentlessly focused on this stuff for a few weeks now?
When this began happening on Friday it was absolutely and abundantly clear, much like in non-dual awareness, that there is nothing simpler, though this is not like non-dual awareness but is its phenomenological cousin. Stop looking. Stop seeking, and just see. Of course, now that I type this it seems trite and silly and obvious. But it was not that way before and now it is.”
So, that’s the exchange, between us, but posted here in reverse order.
May 9 2010, 9:35 PM EDT
So somehow seeking is that which obscures finding.
May 9 2010, 10:01 PM EDT
“It is a wonderment”
The simplicity and unremarkable nature of this is what makes for wonderment. Not a mystery now that there is a circle in the ten ox herding pictures.
Wow Chris, you and Kenneth’s interaction was inspiring. Thanks for keeping us up to date…
May 10 2010, 9:08 AM EDT
BTW, I’ve asked Kenneth to freeze and lock this thread. I may one day start another but for now it feels right to end this one and spend my time trying my best to enjoy all the stuff that flows by in that unending stream.
May 19 2010, 1:42 PM EDT | Post edited: May 19 2010, 1:50 PM EDT
Okay, back in the saddle…. I ended my last thread very abruptly. Here’s why: I spent nine days on the road in late April and early May. This was business travel full of running around producing stuff and meeting people and managing things. At the end of those nine days I was bone tired. So I got on a plane at Dulles in Washington DC and flew home. This was Thursday May 6th. Window seat. I really like window seats because I like the sensation of flying and I like the view, which heightens that sensation. I was decompressing. I was listening to music. I looked out the window and saw some clouds floating by below me, and then …… **click ** Before that click I was what I have been all my life and throughout my practice: – out of sync with my experience – wondering what magical thing I could find to help me see what was really going on – driven by a process that seemed energetic, biological, inexorable, a dharma conveyor belt After that click I was: – in sync with experience, all of it. I mean ALL of it. – not wondering or seeking, knowing beyond any doubt that what I had been looking for all these years was right in front of me and always had been – off the energetic, biological conveyor belt What struck me then (and now) is that I had suddenly, somehow, managed to get out of my own way, phenomenologically speaking. No more need to seek, no need to see anything but what is right here, right now.
The import was thus — awareness became a part of perception. All the time, always on, real time, any time perception. Perception is wrapped in awareness, so to speak. This was not an event. I don’t know what happened. I don’t recall a fruition. I know those and how they feel, event the little ones. This was…. not that. But it did and still has immense consequences. TBC….
May 19 2010, 1:47 PM EDT
Some pieces of a what I e-mailed to Kenneth a day later:
The tipping point, if there really is any one thing I can point to that seems to have caused “this” whatever-it-is, is the notion that the seeking is hiding the sought. That, weirdly, is everything in a nutshell. This is a cosmic joke. When this happened, I laughed out loud. I’m still laughing out loud when I think of this. It’s just funny. I seem to have taken a walk, aiming for the nearest corner but ended up going all the way around the city just to travel a few feet. The seeking, the urge and the act, are done. There is nothing to go out and find because it’s all right here, right in front of me. It always has been. Recognizing this and the utter simplicity of it clicked in my head as if a switch had been thrown. A void exists where the seeking was. The conveyor belt that has driven me to seek, to believe there was something I could or would find, has been turned off.
So… now what? There is a leveled experiential playing field. There is a deeply felt removal of an innate, heretofore unexamined hierarchy of experiential existence. All things, all processes, all experiences, are absolute equals. There are no experiences or processes that are in control, bigger, better, or somehow more import, than other processes and experiences. I see, more clearly than ever, that “I” am a collection of little things that only seem to add up to a bigger thing. These little things are always scurrying around and they each have their own problems, concerns, delights and interests. Taken as a whole they appear to the world as “Chris.” Do not be fooled! I’ve been staying awake at night a lot, right after I go to bed. Not upset. Not worrying. Just in awe of “this.” Whatever has occurred has opened a universe to me. It’s huge. HUGE. It echoes with curiosity and wonder. And it brings energy.
May 19 2010, 1:48 PM EDT
That’s it. I’ll keep updating as time goes by.