Inevitable or unpredictable

4 years 7 months ago #104933 by matthew sexton
[sorry for bombing Chris' topic with this post, there seemed to be replies so I've re-posted it here:

I've been so chill about recent political evens, and so equanimous in response to others that I feel I've been adding stress to people. I realize that my sitting has imbued me with a sense that everything is either inevitable or unpredictable, so why get worked up about either? This attitude in the political realm does not lead to action... so I'm thinking about this. :)

Addition: a week before the election I realized that I felt positively sure that nothing that I said or did would change the election process or results, or even change anyones mind about the issues. It was a great relief, and that's kinda where the stress started around me. Not really a big deal, just one of those slices of life that seems related to vipassana.

I commented that 'where does the action come from?' when a equanimous. I think for things like this election, there truly is nothing to do, so inaction is probably the most skillful thing. Even though I'm pretty equanimous around home, I do act when something comes up, and that seems almost effortless, and *that* can be a bit stressful for the people around me sometimes.

I don't have a point, but I do thank those of you that answered in the middle of Chris' thread.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Elizabeth, Shaun Elstob

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 6 months ago #104969 by Shargrol
This thought came to me this morning... Although I never would wish this on anyone, it strikes me that pretty much everyone faces at least few "falls from grace" over the course of their practice. I was remembering a few examples in the past where people felt fairly immune to the world's turbulence due to practice...and then their world was shook up. This happened in the Actual Freedom circle of practioners, some of Kenneth's "3rd Gear" practioners, some of Dharma Overground's "Non-Dual" practioners...

Heck, it happens to me nearly continuously :). Even though I'm not a zen master, I can relate to the saying "a zen master's life is one mistake after another." :D

So just a heads up. Chill is good, but it might be a little disconnected. The "god realm" or "deva realm" is very close to the equanimity that comes with greater awakenings, but one of the key features of that domain is that it externalizes suffering, puts it on external situations and people. Then what tends to happen is the god/deva realizes that they might be a little impure, denies it and externalizes it again, and again and again, until the whole house of cards comes crashing down. Then they are "reborn" as Titans -- fighting against it. Then humans "desiring something else and coming up with plans". Then animal when they "keep following their plans uncriticallly". Hungry ghosts "when they can't get enough progress". And even hell beings if they start "lashing out".

The greater awakening feels less like the god realm and more like awakening back into the human realm, so to speak, with the four immeasurables as the "desires" (acceptance, friendliness, caring, and appreciation AKA equanimity, metta, compassion, mudita).

Okay, I'll stop here, but just thought some of those idea would be thought provoking. Let me know if it's worth saying anything more about any of it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chris Marti, Kacchapa, Elizabeth, Shaun Elstob, matthew sexton

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 6 months ago - 4 years 6 months ago #104970 by Chris Marti
Here's how I look a this "chill" phenomenon --

We are human beings. Human beings cannot escape their humanity. I don't care who we are or what our practice, how long, how intense, how deep. We can try, and we might succeed for short periods of time, to become a robot. Inevitably we will return to our humanity because that's what we are. When we do, it's typically a hard fall. It fucking hurts. And that is the most beautiful pain there is. Why? Because compassion comes from that. The ability to feel is absolutely necessary to the ability to help other beings. I have always seen it this way for whatever reason, was never tempted by any of the various ways folks have invented to leave their emotions behind because all of those practices just seemed so... unnatural. We are bound by our humanity to fail, to err, to fall down and then get back up, over and over and over and over -- sounds like a practice, doesn't it? Funny that.

(And yes, to beat shargrol to the punch, that is why there was a schism that led to the Dharma Refugee Camp Forum. Film at 10!)
Last edit: 4 years 6 months ago by Chris Marti.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Shargrol, Kacchapa, every3rdthought, Elizabeth, Shaun Elstob, matthew sexton

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 6 months ago #104971 by Chris Marti
[sorry for bombing Chris' topic with this post, there seemed to be replies so I've re-posted it here:

Mathew and everyone, I beg you never to feel this way. I would prefer it had you said this on my topic. See, it's not really my topic. It's our topic, at least as I see it. Conversation flows, which I like, and starting a new topic breaks that flow. So, post away!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Shargrol, Ona Kiser, every3rdthought, matthew sexton

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 6 months ago #105023 by Ona Kiser
Very related to a topic that came up with a friend today - I do think that there can be a tendency to hold specific states or experiences as emblematic, when they are transitory. This includes periods in which one is so exquisitely sensitive to other people's pain that little things move one to tears; and periods in which one feels profoundly unmoved by even the most tumultuous upheaval.

Holding on to them, perhaps inevitable. When, how, and for how long they may arise, definitely unpredictable.

Embrace of God's beautiful mystery, definitely worth it, also unpredictable.

Love your comment about allowing threads to flow, Chris.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Shargrol, Laurel Carrington, every3rdthought, Elizabeth, matthew sexton

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 6 months ago #105027 by matthew sexton
As a general reply to everybody that has chipped in here, thank you!

I've always had this simplistic view of practice: you do the practice, then whether or not you're expecting it, some things that used to happen before the practice stop happening. And some things that were not happening before the practice start happening. I've felt that if you spend a *lot* of time thinking about what's suppose to start or stop happening, then I run a greater risk of scripting myself into fragile delusion. I'm not against 'fake it till you make it', as long as that does not turn into 'fake it and stop practicing'. :) So, keep on hiking, glance around for signposts every once in a while but spend most of the time watching my feet go up and down, avoid mud puddles and make noise to scare away the cougars, talk to a bystander every once in a while but avoid long conversations for the sake of conversation.

I've become a bit more open there, now I feel that someone naming something that is happening to me suddenly brings that into sharp awareness, as is practice suggestions specific to my symptoms, so that's a great assistance to have. With that, though, comes a slight suspicion that the practice necessarily must include another person providing the outside reporting and naming, thereby making me wonder if my fundamental theorem (above) is just wrong.

My 'chill' resulting in exporting suffering sounds pretty much like what I'm doing. I've been thinking about this, I'm not sure what I want to change, I mean it seems OK, understandable as something that follows from vipassana. So I'm kinda deep into this situation, recognizing that maybe it's not good is as far as I've gotten in thinking about changing my practices. I wonder if more 'for the benefit of all mankind' resolutions would fill in the gap, atune me more to the feelings of the people around me, roust me out of a chilling, let them be, mode. I don't want to slide right down to animal realm, I wanna stop at human, please.

I guess examples would be good. Checking out of Facebook conversations that seem to go nowhere, leaving friends and 'foes' wondering why I'm not responding. Just not even starting the conversation, even though I feel someone 'should' get a good talking-to. :) Going ahead and delivering some know-it-all "let me help you with your personality" type comments to my wife, certainly generating some stress there. At a mindfulness family forum today, clearly making a case for hardcore practice to a bunch of people that would be well served to simply breath for 5 minutes a day.... I mean, they are *never* going to go on a 10 day retreat, so why would I suggest it? Was that really skillful? I guess I do sweat that case a bit, I think that was about my 'meditation ego'... I realize I do have one of those.

I've been through phases where "acceptance, friendliness, caring, and appreciation AKA equanimity, metta, compassion, mudita)." seem more present in my life, for example dishing money/food out to homeless people, picking up some guy so he can pull weeds at my house. Not saying anything to my pre-tenure academic, inexperienced but trying hard mother of my son (my wife) because she is struggling to keep it together. But not now. I feel like I'm an action hero who has heard about the emergency, he has to strip down, grab the right tools and charge into action. Clutter around the house? move it into a box, ask wife to put it somewhere, even though I know that will be a hard thing do drop on her. Customers slow at returning emails? Drive over there and camp out in their lobby till they have to come out for lunch. Power line getting stretched by that huge tree branch that has been growing for the last 30 years? Well get a ladder and start cutting down that big limb that wifey loves. All of this feel refreshing... I'm moving on with life, man of action, getting sh*t done. But I have my doubts.

I write this stuff down as much just to work it out more while writing it, as it's to gain perspective from you-all.

So, additional comments welcome, if my additional reports warrant it. Please be gentle with me. :) And I really do appreciate the outside perspectives.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Elizabeth, Simon Redfern

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

4 years 6 months ago - 4 years 6 months ago #105028 by Shargrol
I can't provide any advice about Facebook -- I know myself well enough not to be on it! :) That's my choice and it has pluses and minuses...

The tricky thing is finding a balance between opening/feeling others and respecting healthy seclusion. For me, I had to do it in a structured way because historically I would get overwhelmed -- and then be inwardly depressed or be outwardly dismissive of others. A big help for me was doing practices such as 6 realms, 5 elements, and taking and sending. Each of those methods begin as visualization exercises on the cushion, basically providing some basic mental structure to think about this whole crazy world of human behavior and human neediness. Then you intuitively recognize their off cushion uses. I highly recommend 6 realms around 2nd path, 5 elements around 3rd path, and taking/sending around 4th path. It just seems to fit so naturally into practical practice. But the interesting thing is: people tend to be attracted to the practice that makes sense for where they are at -- and everyone is different. So ultimately, trust your instincts.

Beyond that, just be aware of how things feel when you are the center of the world, versus how you feel when you are the periphery of the world. There should be some flux between those two states. If you are always at the center, chances are things are a bit selfish. If you are always feeling like you're on the outside looking in, then chances are there isn't enough self-empowerment.

Hope that helps!

p.s. Ken McLeod's "wake up to your life" has a lot of good practices, including the ones I mentioned above. I happy to answer any questions about them, I really enjoy talking about that material.
Last edit: 4 years 6 months ago by Shargrol.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Elizabeth, matthew sexton, Simon Redfern

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Powered by Kunena Forum