Hunting down that dastardly sense of self

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7 years 11 months ago - 7 years 11 months ago #18641 by DreamWalker

shargrol wrote: what if I'm projecting all of this?

I like the holographic universe idea. I very may be doing exactly that.

shargrol wrote: Those approaches will keep revealing material. It's maddening, because there isn't any one universal "thing" that needs to be hunted down. Third path is more about opening, opening, opening and seeing what limitation seems to be felt and then opening to that. It can be physical sensations, emotional sensations, thoughts, thoughts about thoughts, thoughts about practice, boundaries, problems, etc. etc. Opening, opening, opening... without method or approach, just doing it by letting everything be and opening to it.

Step by step is the journey made...it is not the last step that was the ultimate step....or is it....hmmm....guess I'll have to find out.
I'll try to stay open and equanimous. Thanks

shargrol wrote: Working with a teacher helps a lot. I think on my practice thread I mentioned how my teacher basically said, this stage sucks at times.

I have not had a teacher, only the advice of the forums and what I read. Maybe I should talk to someone... do the google hangout thing if there are any takers :)
Last edit: 7 years 11 months ago by DreamWalker.

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7 years 11 months ago #18642 by DreamWalker

Chris Marti wrote: Yes. It's REALLY easy to over-analyze during third path, or whatever its equivalent in other traditions might be. I spent months and months pondering the intellectual, trying to figure out what others could see but I could not, agonizing over my lack of progress and my blindness to what seemed logically to be the one missing piece of the puzzle. Sounds like that's what might be going on for you. I soon found out that all my logic and thinking and analyzing didn't really help because I eventually just plain tripped over a figure-ground reversal kind of thing. Pop goes the weasel!

Have you tried just relaxing and feeling the flow of your experience as it occurs? I'd suggest gong to a park if it's warm where you are, and just sitting and grooving on the gestalt of now.

Thanks Chris, It is nice to know that I'm in the same boat you were in and that someone can commiserate. What practice were you doing? Just sitting and grooving on the gestalt of now? (I love the phrasing. hmmm...intellect says must add more now to the equation... ;)
Could you speak a little about the figure-ground reversal kind of thing. I find that there is very very little posted about it after the fact...people seem to not say anything and mostly disappear from the dho. (got mine, later suckers; or get very vague).
Thanks,
~D

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7 years 11 months ago #18643 by Ona Kiser

DreamWalker wrote: ...
Could you speak a little about the figure-ground reversal kind of thing. I find that there is very very little posted about it after the fact...people seem to not say anything and mostly disappear from the dho. (got mine, later suckers; or get very vague).
Thanks,
~D


You might check out the thread: awakenetwork.org/forum/103-general-dharm...ening-is-no-big-deal
In which there is a bunch of back and forth about what awakening is like, as well as the eventual scolding of the instigator of the thread for pondering instead of practicing. ;)

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7 years 11 months ago #18644 by DreamWalker

DreamWalker wrote: Could you speak a little about the figure-ground reversal kind of thing.

This is a nice description - The First Awakening

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7 years 11 months ago - 7 years 11 months ago #18687 by Chris Marti
I think if you read this it will be more efficient than for me to post it all over again:

awakenetwork.org/magazine/cmarti/101

You can skip down to April/May of 2010.
Last edit: 7 years 11 months ago by Chris Marti.

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7 years 11 months ago #18688 by Kate Gowen
Regarding the "figure-ground reversal"-- I think it's something that happens and surprises us (sometimes profoundly) and can be readily experienced in a trivial way by looking at those ambiguous pictures that pop up in discussions of perception/psychology. I doubt that "trying to practice it" is likely to achieve much.

(not sure that's the intention of the question…)

Something that seemed to provoke it for me (in retrospect: I certainly had no idea what I was doing) was becoming very interested in "boundaries", specifically the "boundary" between the opposites of a polarity: self/other; subject/object; inside/outside; the "line" defining the "form" and the "negative space" in which the object "appears." On an emotional level: "having" and "not-having;" knowing/not knowing; the question of, when touching, "my" sentient skin divides or joins me/other.

These were just little conceptual questions that popped into mind repeatedly, like self-generating koans.

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7 years 11 months ago - 7 years 11 months ago #18690 by Chris Marti
What I was referring to was not a little thing. It was a huge revelation that forever changed the way I perceive things from my last posted article, written on the dates seen below:


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.”

Last edit: 7 years 11 months ago by Chris Marti.

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7 years 11 months ago #18692 by Kate Gowen
I misrepresented the situation if I said that the EXPERIENCE, and the SHIFT were "little"-- it was the noodley, aimless questions that popped into mind that seemed little, until I popped into Otherland.

My point had more to do with "trying to produce x effect" than the experiential texture of the effect.

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7 years 11 months ago #18706 by Tina

Kate Gowen wrote: I misrepresented the situation if I said that the EXPERIENCE, and the SHIFT were "little"-- it was the noodley, aimless questions that popped into mind that seemed little, until I popped into Otherland.

My point had more to do with "trying to produce x effect" than the experiential texture of the effect.


Hi Kate,

As someone who is pre-path, maybe I'm stepping in deep doo-doo here, but, I just can't resist the temptation to ask: what is Otherland? :huh:

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7 years 11 months ago #18707 by Kate Gowen
No doo-doo around-- just me being "funny" about this side of the "shift," or life after the change in perspective.

Did you know that "Alice in Wonderland" was originally "Alice in Underland?" I was making a (to me) logical extension...

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7 years 11 months ago #18708 by DreamWalker
Thanks a bunch Chris. This is just what I was looking for. A post enlightenment recap captured while it was fresh. I read it and started vibrating. nice. I think I have my practice now off the cushion. Notice reality as it is as often as possible. If anything obscures it notice what it is and stop it. Just stop it - Bob Newhart - STOP IT! .
What do you recommend I do on the cushion? Just get to EQ and hang out? Did noting help in any way? Ride the jhanic arc? Play with Nirodha?
Thanks,
~D

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7 years 10 months ago #18713 by Andy

DreamWalker wrote: What do you recommend I do on the cushion? Just get to EQ and hang out? Did noting help in any way? Ride the jhanic arc? Play with Nirodha?


Consider taking a complete and utter break from practice for 2-3 weeks. No on-cushion work, no off-cushion work, no nothing. If states come up, or you find yourself getting concentration, grit your teeth and watch TV or get lost in your thoughts.

Relax, play, eat, sleep, get back into life.

Then, gently, tentatively, start exploring again.

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7 years 10 months ago #18714 by DreamWalker
I already took my break, enjoyed the honeymoon so to speak. followed by obsessing over what is next. I've almost finished with that phase and almost ready for diligent and skillful practice. Unless you have a really good reason to not be diligent and skillful I'm afraid your advise makes no sense to me.
Thanks though,
~D

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7 years 10 months ago #18715 by Shargrol
I wrote something up, but then I realized, in all honesty: It's time to check with a teacher. That's your answer, I think.

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7 years 10 months ago #18716 by Ona Kiser
Andy's suggestion can be very effective in some situations - not as a "break" but as a "renunciation" - a way to deliberately recognize and undermine the tendency to support the "doer" who wants to do something. But I think Shargrol's advice is ideal - working in a dedicated way with a single teacher is a very effective way both to develop a skillful practice and to get called on your self-deceptions by someone who knows you consistently over time, and thus has the best knack for knowing when something that comes up is skillful and when it is evasive. We are - even at advanced levels - very often blind to our own weaknesses.

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7 years 10 months ago #18717 by Chris Marti

What do you recommend I do on the cushion?


I'm sorry but I have no suggestions. I don't know what to tell you. I don't know that I did anything special, or different. I just wondered about what I was not seeing. I have no idea what caused me to see it. No clue. It just happened. I may as well have been struck by lightning.

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7 years 10 months ago #18718 by Nikolai

Chris Marti wrote:

What do you recommend I do on the cushion?


I'm sorry but I have no suggestions. I don't know what to tell you. I don't know that I did anything special, or different. I just wondered about what I was not seeing. I have no idea what caused me to see it. No clue. It just happened. I may as well have been struck by lightning.


Here is what pushed me over the edge. It was Chris' advice as well.

Nick, I feel you, man. I'm not sure there's any one thing you "should" be doing or not doing at this point. One important thing that will sound silly to you right now is that this is not happening to "you" and there is nothing that "you" need to do, or can do for that matter. It will just happen, sort of like lightning striking a tree out of a clear blue sky. I recall being absolutely overwhelmed by the thought that there was something I was missing, and being so focused on that. I tried to drop it, to let go of it, but even if it wasn't being fretted over by conscious mind it percolated somewhere unseen. I was certain there was something I was missing. What did other people see that I didn't see???

Turns out there was a "something" but it wasn't something I needed to add. It was something I was doing that made it seem like something was missing, sort of. The last few thoughts I had before the blip were about the not-sacred nature of everything. THE NOT SACRED NATURE OF EVERY PHENOMENON. So what do you think you're looking for? Is there anything that special?


Nick

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7 years 10 months ago #18720 by Chris Marti
Obviously, I was much smarter back then :-)

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7 years 10 months ago #18722 by Ona Kiser

Chris Marti wrote: Obviously, I was much smarter back then :-)


You used more words, at least. :P

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2 weeks 5 days ago - 2 weeks 5 days ago #115213 by Mike

If we do not begin with anatta, the mind will ask questions and devise techniques that seem to address the resolution of its pain, but actually compound the problem.

Reminds me of a parallel notion in fiction writing. In "Creating Character Arcs" by K.M. Weiland, they outline:

1. The Lie Your Character Believes

2. The Thing Your Character Wants vs. the Thing Your Character Needs
...
Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley, once again:  "…we know that characters often work not toward the real solution but to a perceived solution. And characters frequently grapple with a problem that is ultimately recognized as only a symptom of the real problem."

The Lie plays out in your character’s life, and your story, through the conflict between the Thing He Needs (the Truth) and the Thing He Wants (the perceived cure for the symptoms of the Lie).

Last edit: 2 weeks 5 days ago by Mike .

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2 weeks 5 days ago #115215 by Kacchapa
Wow, this is a great thread. Thanks Mike for recalling it and pointing out Creating Character Arcs.  

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2 weeks 4 days ago #115232 by Kacchapa

Mike wrote:

If we do not begin with anatta, the mind will ask questions and devise techniques that seem to address the resolution of its pain, but actually compound the problem.

Reminds me of a parallel notion in fiction writing. In "Creating Character Arcs" by K.M. Weiland, they outline:

1. The Lie Your Character Believes

2. The Thing Your Character Wants vs. the Thing Your Character Needs
...
Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley, once again:  "…we know that characters often work not toward the real solution but to a perceived solution. And characters frequently grapple with a problem that is ultimately recognized as only a symptom of the real problem."

The Lie plays out in your character’s life, and your story, through the conflict between the Thing He Needs (the Truth) and the Thing He Wants (the perceived cure for the symptoms of the Lie).


This keeps coming back to me.  

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2 weeks 4 days ago - 2 weeks 3 days ago #115249 by Mike
Adds some narrative color to the presentation of dukkha in mctb:

The lie:

This is the illusion of duality, and the illusion of duality is inherently painful. There is just something disconcerting about the way
the mind must hold itself and the information it must work to ignore or deny to maintain the sense that there is a permanent and continuous
self. Maintaining it is painful, and its consequences for reactive mind states are also painful. It is a subtle, chronic pain, like a vague
nausea, like a mild headache. It is a distortion of perspective that we have grown so used to or embedded within that we hardly ever notice it.
The suffering caused by continually trying to prop up the illusion of duality is “fundamental suffering”. This definition of suffering or
dissatisfactoriness is the one that is most useful for insight practices.

The things we want:

This misperception of reality, called ignorance, then leads to the mind inclining towards pleasant sensations (“attraction”), away from negative ones (“aversion”), and regularly tuning out in general (another meaning of the word “ignorance”). These three basic types of reactions are generally known as the kilesas in Pali (kleshas in Sanskrit), or, somewhat dramatically, the three defilements, corruptions, or mental poisons. In terms of relative reality, they can manifest in various emotional “flavors” of greed, hatred, and delusion. More formally, and following the classification found in the Abhidhamma, we find ten or fourteen kilesas emphasized as being the most dangerous for us, with a more complete list being: greed, wrong view, delusion, hatred, doubt, conceit, restlessness, sloth, worry, torpor, shamelessness, fearlessness (of wrongdoing), envy, and avarice. [See A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, p. 270, table 7.1.] This list bears a remarkable resemblance to the Seven Deadly Sins listed by Pope Gregory I (and later Dante) as lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. However, the more fundamental, non-story-based and even non-emotion-based sensations of attraction, aversion, and ignorance can be found to some degree in every instant, regardless of whether that instant is overtly pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, and regardless of the presence of or lack of the states of mind listed as defilements.

"Nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch."  -- Leon Kowalski

Edit:

No spoilers -- which add a good bit to the scene as it relates to the above -- but this is a pretty vivid illustration, "What is this?":



The Truth: the neutralizing agent
Last edit: 2 weeks 3 days ago by Mike .

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2 weeks 3 days ago #115251 by Dusko
I dont believe one can start with Anatta first. 

I remember back in 2010 when for the first time, while in sitting meditation, my thinking mind dropped far away into the background, still rumbling about stuff like a mad man. 

I was so shocked by this as I always believed I was this very chit chatting mind, with all the views and cleaver-ness. 

I was more this body sitting here , this awareness, this observing, this stillness. 

However as soon this session ended, to this day (now is 2022) that thinking mind is still in the forefront of all activities. I did have that insight and I know I’m not this mind thanks to the ability to remember (memory) that vivid insight experience but that chattering mind is still in charge so to speak. 

I think Dukkha as a motivator to look at Anicca is a good way to go towards seeing all that which is Anatta 

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