WaterfallMachine

Beyond The Eternal : Into The Advanced Stages Of Meditation

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Yesterday, I was excited. And I was so excited that I wanted it to stop. 

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 I was excited yesterday. For the whole day. No kidding. I woke up at 6am and didn't feel tired enough to fall asleep till 12am.  And the effect didn't start on that day. It started the day before in my determination sitting, where I focused so deeply, I hallucinated.

There seems to be an odd increase of being ridiculously happy recently and this was by far the longest one. 

For all those people who might be saying, "Oh my gosh. But why get rid of something so amazing?"

It was nice in the beggining, but then it got tiring. I had so much energy I just wanted to do and do and do stuff. I was happy but I was  also getting agitated on trying to find things to do I can use up my energy on. I'm not particularly sure, but I get the sense that I get more impulsive. Not impulsive in that I lose focus quickly. Oh no no, that day might have been the most focused I've ever been. But in that when I focus so deeply, I might not think so hard about what's a good idea to focus on because of my need to use up my energy. Add to that that intense happiness has this idea of everything is possible! And well, stuff happens.

The ironic thing is that I woke up somewhat earlier than what usually is when I sleep this late. I'm still happy but not as intensely as last night where I literally felt like my body was exploding with joy that I literally went jumping and running around excited. Today is more. . . calm. How do I get something more calm? I'm calm enough right now that when I counted how many breaths I'm taking in a minute, it's only two times.

I'm pretty hesitant to start my meditation today. That was pretty exhausting. Maybe I'll wait a bit. I'm getting excited again that I'm taking breaths every 2 seconds and really, I'm getting tired. Help?

 

I bought the book The Mind Illimuninated and I found that yesterday, I was in stage 8 of the 10 Stages for much of the day. Maybe stage 7 or even stage 9. 

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STAGE EIGHT: MENTAL PLIANCY AND PACIFYING THE SENSES With mental pliancy, you can effortlessly sustain exclusive attention and mindfulness, but physical pain and discomfort still limit how long you can sit. The bizarre sensations and involuntary movements that began in Stage Seven not only continue, but may intensify.

Obstacles: The primary challenge is not to be distracted or distressed by the variety of extraordinary experiences during this Stage: unusual, and often unpleasant, sensations, involuntary movements, feelings of strong energy currents in the body, and intense joy. Simply let them be.

— The Mind Illuminated 

I remember going into this state before from time to time. I'd feel my body exploding with joy, a rush of sensations everywhere. And I have to stop the meditation because I can't help but get distracted by how extraordinary this is.

Sometimes I'd get a taste of it outside meditation. I remember programming once and I was suddenly enthralled by an intense joy. It was like being a volcano, but instead of anger, I erupted with joy. I got myself some really celebratory music and thought of how amazing life was. But when I chased after it, the farther it left me.

I became attached to it. I kept a story of myself in my mind about how I was "the success story". Managed to get myself from the depths of depression into now. But the thing about it is that I kept my sense of self. 

As Peter Ralston said, it's like associating yourself as a hard worker. It might be true most of the time. But often they'd associate the hard worker image even when they're tired and need to rest. And because of this challenge to their image, they get upset. They might associate with certain music, certain people, certain activities and more that they lose themselves farther and farther in a false identity. The thing is even if I'm generally "A success story" by that means, that doesn't mean the unconscious associations of perfection, the end of it all and similar ideas are true.

When people say Buddhism teaches to let go of desire, that's rather misleading. As if we're taught to become wide eyed happy people accomplishing nothing in life. But the deeper I go, the more I realize that what's really being taught is to remove rigid desire. And to achieve a desire of flowing in something, effortless, yet still powerful. It's like realizing that desire isn't a rigid metal bar no one can break, but like a clay you can form into whatever you want to.

When I let go of that image, I fell into what happened yesterday. It was tiring at the end, but it was still pretty amazing. 

Phabhaker told me to try Osho Kundalini Meditation for my problems with excess energy. And in the beggining, I was told to shake as my body wanted it. When I thought I'd use up enough energy, it still kept going later on. The next stage was to dance and while I imagined a kind of elegant fluid dance, my body found its way to do something pretty whacky in kicking and flailing arms randomly while throwing in some hip hop moving dance. I heard a joke before about breakdancing monks. I never thought there's a chance it could be real. Heh. I felt like natural geographic is making a nature documentary on the ceremonial human being's dance into nothingness complete with classical music. And here you see is the natural homosapien of meditative tendencies dancing the way of Kundalini. But I just told myself to keep focusing.

Then I was told to sit down or stand still but I was so tired, I just lied down. But when I lied down, I felt my arms needed to move. So I punched the air. And so did my legs. Kick. Kick. WATASHI KARATE MASTER. HARDCORE XXX! Motherfucker in the face! or whatever my bad Japanese is in a horribly done accent. But the deeper I went, the more I felt myself being absorbed.

By what? I don't know. It was as if I was wrapped by nothingness. Like water in a glass. But without the glass. What do you imagine when you hear the word nothing? Do you see an empty box? Pitch black? No, it's just nothing. And that can't be imagined, thought or felt. Just experienced. 

I read that before stage 8 are like horses going in different directions. Obviously, it's hard to move well and the direction they move will come from the strongest horses. Stage 8 is when the horses move into the same direction, but at different speeds. Some horses rush forward wanting more and the other horses resist to want a slower pace. If I want my focus to be more matured, I had to allow these horses to move as one.

One practice for stage 8 was focusing on nimitta. It was a picture of a luminous round object in someone's mind, appearing naturally. I was told to let it grow naturally and was told how to. As I practiced, I noticed the nimitta changing colors. Green. Yellow. Red. They never mentioned something about that. And I moved it around a bit back and forth. But I found I can only move it subtly. I felt a strange calmness. As if sitting inside an enormous temple, seeing the majesty of its heights and absorbing it all. This lasted for about 10 minutes.

They described "popping" when we got out of this Jhana state. When I got out, I felt like I heard all the sounds and saw all the sights. Nothing in particular. Just everything at once. With an expansion of awareness yet with a penetrating depth of detail. And in my mind, it was all nothing.

Take a book and you'll often have ideas of it in your mind. Cultural ideas. Spiritual ideas. Memories. Likes. Dislikes. Facts. Details. History. But if I saw a book in that state, I won't see that. I'd just see the colors, the lines and the shapes. And it's like that image of it in your mind but go farther to remove what certain colors and shapes and lines mean to you. And remove how these all come together to connect into something you see as an object because even that is an idea. And when everything is removed, there is only nothing. 

I tried a practiced that involving noticing stillness. It told me to imagine the universe around me first and contrasting that with my breath to gain a stillness. But I already felt it. I focused on this stillness, as if hearing the silence between sounds. 

As I type this, I feel pretty calm and tranquil. But I can be satisfied with it because I'm not chasing after that intense joy. Maybe to get nearer enlightenment, I have to be even satisfied without something luxurious as intense joy. Or maybe I'm losing focus and just getting bored.

Eh, who knows? Not that I need enlightenment right now, do I? 

Edited by WaterfallMachine
0

Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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It's an unsettling bliss.

Not for the entire day really, but for very long.

You ever watch those movies where for example, a family member of a character dies and they'd come into a room expecting they'd still be there, they're gone? And because of this, they feel distressed. Upset. Longing for the past. But they know they can never go back.

It's like that. But for my sense of self. 

I've spent my entire life with myself. I've criticized my identity. I've prided on my identity. I've shouted angry words at myself. I've gently told myself to hang in there. I was with myself in my highest and at my lowest. I've read books together with myself. I was with myself when I was with my friends and family.

But it's gone.

I always had been daydreaming a whole world since I was a kid. Where I'm the hero. Where I can be admired. Cherished. Become a success. Whether it's in the world of one of those samurai anime tv shows I used to watch or a world of my own creation. It's been an inner legend as if different variations of the same tale being spread throughout history. The history of my life. The idea of "The success story." 

Those times where I cheered on movies about a character who's caught by the enemy and put in great pain but manages to push through. Those stories of people stuck in poverty and managing to contribute millions to humanity in a business. Those stories of people who were absolute dicks but managed to become a humble Saint. And so on.

Its like my sense of self was organized and shaped into an ice cube. But it began to melt, and I try to cusp the water into my hands but I can't anymore. Because my real self is formless. And I'm trying to hold on whatever is left of the ice.

I don't think most people would understand if I told them. So all I have is a site like this.

I see flickers of pride and gratitude for who "I" am but then I realize this person doesn't exist. And it's not the same. 

There's bliss now.

And yet there's also an unsettling emptiness. A sadness.

In who?

I don't know anymore. I don't know.

Edited by WaterfallMachine
1

Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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 I'm in a calmer mood oddly. Well, calm's not that the best way to put it. Not that I don't feel pain. But I don't see it as "bad" or "good". It seems almost as neutral a feeling as touching a blank wall. 

Other weird stuff happened today too. I felt an odd feeling in my stomach and was confused. But I just ignored it. Later on I got dizzy, and I realized this was hunger. And what made me not realize it was how the feeling of it as something negative wasn't there. And if my past self would have experienced it, the hunger would be pretty intense and stressful. But I just went my day focusing intently on what I had to do. 

My sense of time has been growing faster and faster. A day first seemed like two days. Then it grew into a week. A month. Years. Later even longer than I lived. Today, it felt like time did not even move at all. When I think of memories from my childhood, it feels like it all happened a second ago. 

I heard of something called The Dark Night — basically how the mind can sink into extreme negative emotions after a seeing. I bought a book recently that had this and I read that it could last for years or it could be short. As well as the advice to start doing more basic insight practice. I awoke with the possibility that I could be depressed for a long long long time.

And how did I react?

Eh. Okay. I'll deal with that. Not like I need enlightenment that soon. 

And soon my sadness disappeared. Replaced by a relaxed satisfaction. 

And I went upon my day.

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Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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Yesterday night, the nimitta began rapidly and I mean RAPIDLY expanding.

It's as if a small orb the size of my pinky grew to be as big as a building in my mind. 

I was in the middle of the night time leisurely reading and upon this, took this chance to enter a luminous Jhana. I closed my eyes and sat upright. And I no longer had to prepare for it to grow larger, it was already growing larger by itself. I began moving it back and forth in my head as fast as a sweat inducing high speed basketball game. And rather than moving only subtly, or growing smaller, it followered through.

I kept hearing my family members talk a bit beyond my eyes. And I felt as if I was seeing through my eyelids — having images in my mind of what I would see happening if I open my eyes. My mom on the couch hunching down talking to my mildly amused grandma. 

But I went deeper. The Mind Illuminated described it as like sinking into a pool of bliss. And it does. It feels "moist" somehow. Something soft as a cushion wouldn't describe it. A cushion would seem too "solid" to fully describe it. Flowing first and then fully submerging into it. 

It lasted for 15-20 minutes when I saw the time. But it felt like an eternity.

After it, I started to feel subtly disgusted. Disgusted with my meditation. Disgusted with my family. Disgusted with my room. Disgusted by weakness. Disgusted with life. 

I searched for Daniel Ingram's description of this stage in his book — it was called The Disgust Stage. And it was right. I did feel like my mind was expanding and contracting at the same time. Think of it like trying to close a bag full of so much stuff inside. Except the bag and the things inside feel as large as the radius of a nuclear bomb and the force to close in it as similar. And that was. . . frustrating.

The book described it as the inability to focus on the center of things. Deeper awareness is often described with big talk of calmness but deeper awareness here was just disgusting. I felt like my senses and mind were being intruded by all this information and it was frustrating.

Amongst that, I was still being bathed by bliss. I could feel the refreshing coldness of it. How wet it feels in my head. What a bizarre combination. Bliss and disgust at the same time.

I threw up that night. Yellow and pale brown looking moosh in the toilet and next to it. More than one time, you bet. I wonder if I ate too much to make up for my intense hunger earlier or it was the disgust acting in me. Maybe it's both.

After groaning at how terrible I felt while having a family member trying to comfort me by rubbing my back, I slept. When I woke up, it was gone.

I slept late from the stress and usually I'd be falling asleep in lectures at a time like that, but I felt alert the whole day. Things I expect to be embarrassed of distressed about didn't expect that way.

 I find I fell deeper in love with meditation and I've became wonderfully interested by how fascinating everything was. I often think a lot of absolutely terrifying shit to others is fascinating. A daredevil — not in extreme sports but in ideas. In changing beliefs, in changing viewpoints and especially in changing paradigms. What a ride, I bet. 

Or maybe all this joy juicing my system is making me overoptimistic. Texts seem to warn about that. I need more equanimity. 

Equanimity is a non reactivity of what's bad or good. It may seem like what's left is a feeling of emptiness, but far from it. Alan Watts talked about an old teaching in Buddhism — it's like the sky. There can be clouds covering it. Rain. Whirlwind. Storms about. But what's beneath is always the calmness of a blue sky. Once everything is cleared up, what's left is joy.

It doesn't mean wouldn't no goals in mind, especially with my interest in all this. But if I wasn't able to, there won't be such a large variation in my mood. If there's any change at all. It's just . . . calmness. 

I've heard enlightenment doesn't really make you 100% happy. It only changes your relationship with emotions.

They refer to the two types of emotions. The direct emotion and how you feel about that emotion which the second one is something you can control. Its like how people can listen to the same music and one can think it's horrible and the other can think it's amazing. Emotions — even what we call the negative emotions, don't actually have to be "negative". Same goes with positive. 

In Headspace, the author recounts talking to his guru, that even the positive view has to be removed. Because to have a positive view means that you have a negative contrast to compare it with. How could we know light without darkness? Life without death? 

If my judgement is right from what the book says, the Passing and Arising Stage where I experienced intense joy then intense calmness with pummeling insights of how time did not exist and how existence wasn't different non existence was about a week or two ago. The Fear Stage came quickly after that when I suffered intense terror at some crazy ass visions during a meditation. Misery Stage was two DAYS earlier and Disgust Stage was yesterday at the time I'm writing this.

Am I mistaken, or is everything coming a lot more faster than I expected it? Though, now that I think about it, when I think back, it looks like I experienced stages like these before. I just never actually had information at hand like this to know what it's called. 

I pick up my iPad and flick through pages of my ebook to read. 

I'm in stage 9, I realize. Is this really happening?

Haha, well whatever it is. 

This is going to be interesting.

 

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Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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Posted (edited)

I was panicking. Absolutely panicking.

 I was writing furiously on the identities I attached myself to. A failure. The terrified one. Someone who's angry at themselves. Some irrational and emotional baby. Some lazyass who isn't doing their work. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Whenever I removed one image of myself, even more came to emerge. 

I kept in mind Peter Ralston's exercise. Imagine there was a being with a blank slate who will become you if you explain who you are well. You can't say something vague "A lawyer" or "The funny one". Because other people are like that and they're not you. You can't say something your life principles or philosophies because it wouldn't understand how often you follow these and how well. And so on.

Just yesterday I was feeling bliss. No longer the uncomfortable feelings of joy in Stage 8 that can become "too much". More of the pleasant feelings of Stage 9. But the thing is — the amazing power of how blissful this state distracts the practitioner from their object of focus. To work on calming this state — I had to focus on everything. Every sound. Every thought. Every feeling. Every sight to focus. Taste. Smell. Touch. 

The Mind Illuminated compared it to a narrow wild river. Its restriction makes it more intense, wild and overflowing. But once it settles into a much wider pond, it becomes calmer. 

But it made me feel overwhelmed — I remember a character who had the power to mind read, but they could never turn it off. So he always grew into a panic just by the sheer number of thoughts he can hear in a crowd. It was like this — but for more than just thoughts.

I went to find the quietest place I could find, and continued there. 

I was so pissed. I got attached to enlightenment. I wanted it now. NOW. NOW. NOW. I had fallen so deeply in love with all that pleasure — and next day, I lost it all replaced with all this pain. 

The Stage of the Desire for Deliverance as called by Daniel Ingram. 

Next was Reobservation where I saw life with greater clarity. A painful clarity.

Ingram explains that sometimes people here experience a frustration for "worldly" responsibilities such as life, job, relationships, moral codes and sex. 

I was suddenly frustrated with my own powerlessness to do much for this world. I didn't know enough. I didn't accomplish enough. I didn't have much of an ability to influence. I was just some normal guy. How the hell could I do anything? 

And more than that ; I was mediocre in my eyes. Just some ordinary teenage student — nah. Nah. Nah. Sure, I've been meditating and doing personal development since I was a kid and managed to surpass being depressed for years —but fuck — I want more than that. 

The thing I found most important during my depression back then was truth. Know the truth objectively and you'll somehow get out of this. If I had more understanding and information — I could solve everything. Wisdom is my highest value. And how was I reacting to all this? By freaking out.

I was so angry at myself for not realizing the truth earlier. I thought I was just some pathetic bastard.

But I remember what Ingram said — just keep meditating.

So I gathered myself and meditated on my breath. Trying to muster the focus from my frustrations to my self. My embarrassment. My fear. My anger. All lost in my breath.

And as time passed, it was gone. 

And I felt a calmness. A strange awareness of everything surrounding me. What seemed quiet to others before seemed unbearably loud to me. Now the noise of the crowd seemed as peaceful as hearing a soft rainfall. I could listen to every voice in the crowd as I talked with a friend. I felt the air around me. My own thoughts just trying to understand this. And I did all at once. 

My negative emotions seem unjustified and strange. Why would that bother me so much? I learned from Osho that most of ourselves is from comparisons. What if everyone else on Earth disappeared? There would be no one smart because there would be no one to be smarter too. No one good looking because there would be no one to be more good looking to. Who would you be? And for the first time — I seemed to experience that clearly. 

Did I just pass 3 stages in a day? Reading on, the extreme manifestations in this stage are rare but worth warning about. But some people just pass the Dark Night in a few minutes, hours or days. 

It was also introduced that Equanimity is when people start to feel that their spiritual practice is no big deal. I'll keep doing it — but it seems as ordinary yet important as taking a bath. 

Ingram mentions that if practitioners don't become well aware of new qualities such as peacefulness and ease, then they'll fall back to the stage before.

Eh, I'm not phased much. 

Besides, I have a test tomorrow. 

See you.

Edited by WaterfallMachine
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Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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Remember when I mentioned about possibly falling back into the dark night if I'm not careful? 

Well, yeah.

Everything seemed new.

But I wanted to go back to the familiar, but there was nothing familiar. I wanted that bliss back after all. And it was gone. I was blissful and sad at the same time. But the bliss didn't seem enough.

Then it disappeared somehow.

And the day went by rather normally. 

And from all these previous months of meditation — these seemed to be the most normal day I ever met. I've gotten used to having out of the ordinary situations ever since the beggining of enlightenment experiences and I just felt. . . neutral. Yet strangely even without the luxury of pleasure and joy, it was more satisfying than those two.

Even the pain above seemed to be more normal somehow — more easy to accept and cope with. Sometimes the feeling just seemed more like a neutral texture than something "bad". 

Ingram explained the equanimity stage as something like a quiet awe after the storm or a return to simpler times in childhood. Yes, this describes it perfectly.

It's a funny feeling. Somewhere in my self inquiry and enlightenment practice, I've realized why they made so much emphasis on how the senses were connected. Because the divide of senses is another illusion of language. 

And that's how this experience is like. The senses blend together into one whole experience. Think of how a baby might see the world — would they categorize things cleanly like "teddy bear" or "mommy". They wouldn't hear sounds as "A piano" or wouldn't hear smells as an "apple."

I remember the neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks wrote a piece on a man who was blind for his entire life and had a surgery on which he could see again. When he saw for the first time, he didn't start pointing out random objects. 

When objects turn and move, they weren't the same objects to him anymore. He didn't see colors as "red" or "blue", he simply saw them as the different shades that can't be described with words. He would in awe sit near the window seeing cars pass by and he wouldn't know what they were. 

I remember a story of a person who was deaf too. And the thing about the deaf is that they need to learn sigh language early or they will pass through a critical stage that allows them to learn a language. And another boy told by Oliver Sacks find it amazing how the different trees he saw could all be summarized into just the word tree. 

And it seemed to me as if I could turn on and off "knowing" and "not knowing" what I see. And hear. And touch. And taste. And smell. Not that I didn't know the concepts. Like how you can't just forget the ending of a movie you just watched — I can't forget the concepts — but when I sense things without dividing, I can still understand what it was like before the movie. 

I've read somewhere that this is what the fourth visappana Jhana is like — maybe that was what happened in my last post. 

-------

Ingram said that people in this stage can sometimes make very odd yet profound realizations, and this was mine.

I don't really see myself as having a personality anymore. I like learning new and difficult things but I don't see myself as an intellectual person. I like hanging out alone but I don't see myself as a solitary person. 

I've continued learning poetry yesterday because I see things as ever changing now. I don't see myself as the same person in the past who think poetry is just "overcomplicatiing emotions you can summarize in categorizations and number graphs to rate how well you're doing".( Yeah, I tended to be overdetached from my emotions. ) It's another different but valuable perspective.

I wanted some affirmation that I knew many things others didn't. It wasn't overtly obvious but still there. Somewhere in there I thought if I could just know more, I could solve my fear of the unknown. Of my own fear that my skills weren't enough.

But really — what is enough? We define things in ways that are useful to us. A chair could be used to sit. A chair could be used to stand on to reach high places. But do the ways we use them really provide their essence? How does this mean to ourselves? And what we define as enough or too much? 

I wanted to be admired. I unconsciously thought enlightenment would allow that. Not that I am enlightened though. 

I imagined people coming to talk to me. Quick successes. Quick admiration. Quick praise. But in reality as I progressed, not many people emphasized it much. I was just an ordinary person — no skills of genius and no visible major achievements. More of an everyday ingenuity with ideas, curiosity and a simple warmth. 

No more shitting about being remembered in history. I'd already passed down my influence. Where?

When I share information, time and resources, other people hear and it transfers to more and more people. Which transfers to more and more people in return. 

Did you think the big ass names are the ones that change history? Take Hitler. He was the one who led. But who gave him advice? Who carried out his orders? Who spread his ideas? Who gave him clothes? Take Elon Musk? Who managed things without him? Who taught him the original ideas he had? And so on. And so on.

History tends to give credit to all the leaders. The pioneers. The originals. The revolutionaries. But who allowed those leaders to become leaders in the first place? 

We remember the lives of leaders that we forget how we are the leaders in our own lives. That history isn't just made by the leaders, but the everyday people. It seemed as if when I see the world without cultural assumptions, the influence is divided equally when estimated between people. Whether that influence is bringing humanity down or bringing it up. Whether it comes from effort or lack of effort. 

My old self would think it was hippie bullshit. But we're all connected. We are already being a part of the things going around us — just by being alive.

And I look around in my familiar home. The same old green couch. The same old collection of my dad's elephant figurines. The same old books I'm reading laying over the table. 

When the cultural assumptions are lost, it seemed to me everyone had primarily equal value. They were equally oridinary. Equally extraordinary.

I either thought of myself as some boring, wimpy and stupid bastard who wouldn't amount to anything or tell myself some story about how awesome life is, how I'm special especially in how much I know and how I'm going to make it big someday.

No. Haha.

 I don't know anything just like how every human being is bad with something. I know some things just like how every human being is good with something.

And for some reason I'm fine with that.

I'm just someone with an extraordinarily ordinary life. 

And it truly is the quiet awe after the storm.

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Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm surprised I can still feel terrible.

But it's still different.

It's as if my negative emotions have become much less of a burden then it is like listening to amazing music. The music expresses it genuinely whether it's good or bad, and somehow either way, it's still beautiful.

Beautiful.

I don't use that word a lot. I left that to the artists. The poets. The musicians. The actors and actresses. There are more interesting and useful words like accurate, objective, true, false and logic isn't there? 

It's as if by removing my preconceptions of what my self is, another side of me emerges. Why for all these past months I've been moving from superficial warmth to genuine warmth. It  came to me that maybe this is what I should dedicate my life to — find a way for logic and emotion to mix. Something in technology or a program that's as accurate as much as it gives off warmth. 

I don't know how I'll do it but if I can get this far, I bet I'll figure it out.

It seemed to me that to find what I truly wanted and cared for, I had to strip off all the assumptions I had in life. I thought I was open minded. I thought I was rational enough. I thought I questioned society.

I questioned people. But I didn't question the questioners. I didn't question that I questioned the questioners. 

Somehow like how Leo does with his videos. The atheists science people question the fundamentalists theist. Then Leo questions both of them and finds an alternative that goes further than that in idealism. To think beyond our time is to think beyond the people who you think is beyond our time.

Do you know Leo's guided meditation on No Self? It was basically stripping off your cultural beliefs, spiritual beliefs, religious beliefs, scientific beliefs,beliefs about what you own, beliefs about the world, beleifs about your life philosophies and values, beliefs about your emotions and about your thoughts. Then imagining what it's like to be in a world where those don't exist.

The only thing you can be sure of the most is first hand experiences. And notice how much that cuts off. The many stories you hear of global issues. Even the little stories you hear from friends. The different hobbies and experts. The different stuff you see online.

Not that I'm telling you everything you believe is wrong, but it does leave room for some alternate possiblites. 

From being that person who used to be the kid who kept reading science books and sites with the "Question everything?", even science doesn't match how much they question everything here. 

So everything feels new to me. And that's what I feel unsettled about.

Here's some stuff that I questioned.

Everyday morality. Remember that history lesson about gladiators being forced to fight? And of course, modern people's horror about it? Imagine what it might be like in the future. Is there something now that people would be disgusted about or look as "too naively nice"?

Views on genders.

Views on politics.

Views on life.

Blogs, comics, comments and videos about other people's lives.

What my hobbies standards are for what makes a talented person in its particular field?

Views on education.

Views on metaphysics or the nature of reality.

Views on humor.

Views on what is naivety. 

Views on what is wisdom.

Views on good food.

Views on good music.

Views on friends and family.

Views on everyday objects.

Views on everyday science. 

Views of Actualized.org.

Views on health. You know they used to think smoking didn't cause cancer? Fun.

Views on fun.

Views on traveling.

Views on places.

Views on art.

Views on religion.

Views on who I am.

Views on history.

Views on the past of my life.

Views on the future of my life.

Views on the past of humanity.

Views on the future of humanity.

Views on personal development.

Even more. 

So pretty much everything.

If I hadn't had existenstial depression that started and ended when I was 12 and another one when I was 15 as well as someone who'd made the effort to see other people's side of view more often than normal, it'd be less of a soft sadness than it is sheer panic. 

Not that I haven't been in terror over all this before — 

but that's a story for another day.

Besides, I was mostly relaxed for the whole day.

 

 

Edited by WaterfallMachine
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Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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I never really introduced myself properly haven't I? Maybe it's time I tell you what's life been like with meditation even before.

 

Rewind to 2012 or 2013, where I was about 11 or 12.

I remember sitting in a car, the sun sitting in the sky, the trees and the cars shifting by. I was listening to a guided meditation. And I noticed they kept moving off to the next thing without me. I was too slow in focusing. I kept daydreaming about being some hero in a virtual reality game. And with fear, I wondered if I could really do all this.

I was worried back then. Worried about what? Everything. I worried about my health. I worried about my future. I worried about my grades. I worried about being loved. I worried about being watched. I worried about being irrational. Worrying, worrying and worrying to the point of terror sometimes. 

Pretty early for a kid to be worrying about life like that, huh?

Someday I realized that I had the whole internet full of advice and I found meditation. After all, the greatest lost I had back then was the lost of curiosity. 

I was the bright eyed kid who was somehow both the class nerd and the class clown. Often sitting upon pillows in the library. Often relaxing as I flip pages and other times running away laughing from pranks. 

I read things from fun facts about animals to machines. I read about the history of the Greeks to the daring lives of real life spies. I made origamis and I often drew from art books. I read stories upon stories. I was interested in about every part of the children's library.

And I hoped in my heart that this sense of wonder would come back. 

One of the things I've often read were question and answer advice sites online — my first taste of the personal development world. I read but I never really acted on them. I even prided on just knowing them — but this was when I had to actually do them. 

For years along with other practices I'd meditate everyday. Or at least try to. I'd always do so in the bus to school in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon. I researched what I could on this subject and I'd practice focusing through the day and through the night. 

Around 14, sometimes I would lose the ability to read. All my worrying had consumed all of my brain power and what was left for me to do the thing I loved most disappeared. I remember sitting on the couch pouring over a book and desperately glaring at it to read ; but I . . . I couldn't focus. And the tears would start to come.

This would add in my life an even greater obsession with the practice. There were days when I meditated 2-3 hours a day. By 15, I'd stop repeating the old practices and begin with newer ones.

The closest thing to the idea of enlightenment I had was an existential depression I had when I was 15. In one of Leo's infinity videos, he'd mention that Georg Canter was able to conceptualize infinity or non duality but because he did not experience it directly, it drew him to madness. I might have experienced something similar.

I asked myself one day : Why do I believe this exists? Take any object. Why do I believe this chair exists? Because I see it. Why do I think what I see exists? Because other people have always told me. Why do I believe that? And I understood — there was nothing to add foundation to that.

I've read in history books before that people could experience dangerous things because humanity was ignorant. Doctors didn't use to know that washing their hands before surgery was needed. They used to have wallpaper that was radioactive. They used to think sugar was healthy. 

I was on too doubting much of reality here — if I had Leo's videos, it would allow me to be more open minded in ways that can help me. But without the grounding of direct experience — this experience of nothingness enligtenment wasn't calming — it was strikingly, absolutely and fucking terrifying. 

Somewhere I decided that there really nothing else to it. Beliefs have to start with faith somewhere. Every belief does. And after reading some online advice, I spent more time in my life doing to answer questions than just theorizing. And realizing and acting upon slowly that my time spent alone too much was one of the major reasons I was suffering. 

All the time spent in mindfulness would add up — and soon I can focus on something I find interesting for hours. As well as make goofy and overdramatic jokes with other people like I did as a kid — heh.

I had a favorite Buddhist concept after all. That was beginner's mind — it is to act as you know nothing about the subject. And be open to observe what else could happen. To see the subtle change of breath. Its movements. The small changes in the mind, thoughts and emotions that happened every second.

It was impermeance. And if things were always changing, then there was always something interesting to learn every second. But also the idea that truth changes because the world is changing. . .  And so beliefs had to be change as well.

My awareness would grow exponentially. Growing and growing and growing to the forefront of everyday life. I've never been so amazed and awed by the smallest things — when you see everything as if for the first time.

I used this in meditation. . . but it also became a way of life.. 

 

1

Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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Yesterday, I had become a deity.

Kind of.

It was called deity Yoga — a practice that involves imagining yourself as a Buddhist Saint. Deity in this sense doesn't mean a god or goddess. But simply an enlightened being. 

 It's not just the Buddhist version of western ideas of "role models". The idea is to not just become similar to them — but to change your sense of "I" to become them.

After all, if there is no self, then you are everyone. And that includes those people right?

It came to me when I tried to find an alternate for determination sitting  — a meditation focused on developing your concentration by not moving. I often gave up somewhere along the line and had to find another meditation to fill in the rest of the time. 

For some reason, I could get in a luminous Jhana — the deepest type of Jhana but not finish determination sitting for an hour. I could focus ridiculously well in comfortable quiet or even loud places. A lot less when I'm tired or stressed. This was why I was training on this practice. 

I began as Milarepa. He was a famous Tibetan who was known for his songs and poems of enlightenment. When he was younger, his father died and his uncle and aunt took his family's wealth. As revenge, he is said to have used black sorcery to make the house they were in to collapse.

In his grave guilt upon this, he seeked a teacher. His name was Marpa and he was a teacher that casted him many difficult challenges for years to come. Even telling him to build three houses and to destroy each of them.

He used a forgery of a recommendation letter to seek another teacher named Chudor but upon his eventual lack of progress, he confessed to this. He was told that without the acceptance of his previous master, he wouldn't gain the wisdom he sought.

When he came back to Marpa, he would train over a decade with him in meditation. And when he became enlightened, his skin would turn into a greenish color and would travel around the land — singing songs of enlightenment and wisdom.

I don't know if it's true. I'm open to either conclusion. But I bet it'll still be useful as something metaphorical. 

Je Mila Shepa Dorjela Solwa Deb So

This was supposed to be the chant for Milarepa. I had no idea what it meant. Until a voice came into my head, chanting the same chant over and over. Happily calling me over to join him.

The voice felt involuntary. It's like turning on the television. You can choose whether to turn it on or off but you can't choose what television show would be on it. It wasn't the first time this happened but what I know is that these voices tend to give some good advice.

"Do you know what those chants might mean?" He said so in a gentle manner. In another accent of some kind. Maybe Indian, but not so.

"What do you think it means?"

"Well, Milarepa obviously wanted to make up over his guilt. Maybe I chose him because I used to be that way — not to the point of murder though. Maybe it has to do with that?"

"What is more important? The words or the meaning to you?"

"The meaning of course."

"Then what else do you think it means? Do you understand a person most by their actions or their intentions? You are trying to become this person. But to become them you must understand beyond their behavior."

And I read the stories of him. His lessons. His pain. His view of life.

"Good. Now return to determination sitting while "becoming" him. You'll find something. . . interesting. Take care. Remember. You are not trying to be like him. But to become him."

And I sensed his presence disappear like smoke released into the air.

I noticed when trying not to move in determination sitting, when I thought of myself as him I stayed in stillness. When I thought this was crazy and stupid, I started jerking into movement again. 

I was taught to question the polarity of good and bad. But I questioned less the neutral aspects of what makes me "me".

While sitting on my good ol' couch cross legged, I fought over my own hesitation to believe something this crazy. I remembered memories of myself. What happened yesterday. My childhood. They were all me weren't they?

Then how could this man's memories become mine?

At the end of how far I could go — the last minute was when I reached a point. I felt like I was him. And strangely this allowed me to potentially feel like everyone else. It was a peacefulness. It was a warmth. It was a hope.

We interpret the world only through our thoughts and feelings. I wasn't becoming them in what people might think — I was becoming the thought of them. Because after all — all you can ever know about a person is the thought and ideas of them. Even our senses are subjective to human beings — a bat happens to be blind. Certain insects can see more colors than human beings.

Even what we see is an idea. When you draw — often most people can't draw it exactly as if it was a photograph taken by a camera. You're only seeing the sensory "idea" of what you see. Same with your other senses. Hearing. Touch. Taste. Smell. 

My legs and arms would jerk back in pain — and that would be the end of my session.

Edited by WaterfallMachine
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Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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19 hours ago, Alex K said:

@WaterfallMachine Hi, can you advice some books on meditation/enlightenment?

I wouldn't call myself much of a good source of advice for this. I had trouble getting my credit card to work once on Amazon and gave up for years trying to buy anything there. In this country, about the only spiritual books around are about Christianity. I could occasionally get books from my local bookstore but it would take a long long long time until it got here. It's only in the recent months when I tried fixing things up with Amazon again could I get access to all the books worldwide with Kindle. 

I did manage to get some really useful apps for it though. Headspace and Buddhify allowed the most growth for me. As I'm starting to get into the books more, it really struck me how much I've learned in those two apps that were in these books. Not that these offered everything — but still a wonder to look at.

In my early meditation days, I was really interested in those books that set up specific meditations for each week with explanations each. Ones that allowed a lot of practical exercises in it. Stuff like Mindfulness Based Stress ReductionFinding Peace in a Frantic World and The Mindful Way (for depression). From my more recent choices I found The Mind Illuminated to allow better insight in practical exercises for each level of meditation — I could only imagine how far I could've gotten if that book was given to me earlier. 

Because of Leo and this forum I've been looking into the theory side of this more. Though note — I've literally just been on this stage since April. I was especially new to the idea of a self not existing — I got better introduced in that with Peter Ralston's The Book of Not Knowing and Daniel Ingram's Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha as recommended by Leo. Though upon some reflection, some of the meditations that had to do with no self were in Headspace and Buddhify apps had meditations on this without directly talking about that the point was to get to an experience of no self. And here I was wondering how the hell I got a Non Dual experience within the first 1-2 weeks of self inquiry.

In my earlier days, I learned a lot from the author Jon Zabatt Kin though — especially his Wherever You Go, There You Are. From what I remember, I found the most insightful were the particular attitudes for mindfulness.

Another thing I've realized is how mindfulness is not just about the meditation practices but the idea of self awareness in general. Whatever self awareness of myself in knowing my thoughts, feelings, desires, goals, personality and cravings — it made me much more able to concentrate more in meditation and day to day life. Maybe the most important thing I've ever learned here was that to direct your attention, you had to be aware. And so I looked for all kinds of different things to be aware of in every area of my life. 

(I recommend this article for a start : https://scottjeffrey.com/self-awareness-activities-exercises/)

Well, good luck.

 

 

Edited by WaterfallMachine
1

Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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Sometimes I wondered why I got depressed when I was younger.

This determination sitting has given me a lead on that. I observed why I kept fidgeting all day. And it led me to something that could change my life.

My parents didn't seem all that bad. They weren't perfect saintlike parents but they showed they tried their best to show that they loved me.

Many other students bullied me as a kid. They'd steal my things and run around with them. They'd call me names and some people would turn away when I approached them. While the others liked me because of my optimistic looking persona and sense of humor — the bullies still frustrated me terribly. But eventually my teachers came around to stop them.

It could also have to do with the fidgeting. I thought to stop my movement I had to see how it begins as an intention inside my mind. I looked for my impatience to keep my legs jumping. I watched for the restlessness to rock back and forth. I zeroed in rubbing my fingers off each other. My faster breathing and blinking at certain times.

I thought it was just a habit. People fidget when they're nervous but I just happen to fidget just because, right? But no — sometimes I was actually nervous. It just happened so often I thought it was normal. 

I fidget a bit faster when something too cold passes my way. I fidget even faster in a crowd. I fidget more when my eyes are exposed to something too bright. I fidget more when I can't walk around.

It was shocking at first but being aware of my body made all this nervous energy become more calming. Like how athletes talk of feeling joy in the most grueling parts of their workout. But the feeling wouldn't always last.

I've known for a long time that my senses were sensitive. But not like this — I didn't know it was this often. Maybe it was less recognizable because it was more being subtly uncomfortable than outright stressful. Though, at times, it could be so stressful that I'd break down in tears — which is why the teachers don't stop me when I walk out of the classroom when I want to. 

But as I passed my day — I noticed that my other more deeper stresses were deeply impacted by my sensitivities. I grew more anxious, insecure and self criticizing in overstimulating environments. Especially when what's background noise for other students in a classroom is to me like the roar of an army.

All this time — was I sensitive as a kid to now — because of my senses? Why I easily cried as a kid? That the bullies didn't only cause my sensitivities. Did my sensitivity attract the bullies too?

That could be why even at my level determination sitting is hard and I'm barely making progress — the fidgeting was vital to keep me coping with my nervous energy all day. That's why I start panicking if I stop moving when doing determination sitting during or just after somewhere loud.

I found something called Sensory Processing Disorder. I tried answering the symptoms checklist and got a huge amount of them. I always thought my sensory sensitivies were because of my fears — but could it be the other way around too? So many of my fears are gone now — but busy environments clearly affect me still.

How many days have I walked pass the door at my home tired from the noise? How many classes have I skipped from the noise? How much tension has been in my body for this?

I looked the treatment up. Occupational therapy.

Maybe it didn't affect my entire life. Maybe I can deal with it alone I thought. But now I can't deny that it affects much of my life outside my nice quiet home. 

I asked my guidance counselor. She said it was already discussed over a year ago. Even recently she said. But it was decided not to due to my refusal to try any therapy at the time.

Well, goddamn. 

Now I know what to do. 

 

 

 

 

0

Journal : What Stages 8 and Beyond of the 10 Meditation Stages from the book The Mind Illuminated is like. After 5 years of meditation.

https://www.actualized.org/forum/topic/12952-beyond-the-eternal-into-the-advanced-stages-of-meditation/

 

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