abstract question

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

abstract question

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:08 pm

Bit of an abstract thing, just throwing it out there for comment:

When doing insight meditation alot of times I can find the "root" of an emotion or sensation, and see the layers of it, most of it plays out sort of visually for me. Sometimes with severe emotions like anger and fear I can see a sort of "ego projection" - basically a false "I" that is attached to, and interacts with whatever i'm experiencing at the time. A couple of times I have spent a long time following an emotion or sensation, and the ego projection I found was not me! Of course I know there is really no such thing as me anyway, what I mean is the ego projection I "see" is not identifiable or familiar to me.

Does anyone have similar experiences, or opinions on the subject?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: abstract question

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:49 am

Thanks for putting this into words.
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Re: abstract question

Postby duckfiasco » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:44 am

Isn't everything just utterly bizarre? I can't believe half the stuff we do to ourselves and accept it as solid fact.

It sounds like what you're seeing is the things we usually identify with too closely to have any perspective on. That is, thoughts and emotions that not only arise from who the hell knows where, but then seem to have a life of their own, then disappear. It's kind of spooky sometimes, the thoughts without a thinker, feelings without a feeler. When you see this bizarre display, I've read that you shouldn't get too caught up in it unless you're practicing mindfulness of feelings or something, and instead let it pass and see what happens next. Always see what happens next.

I still have a supremely difficult time with monkey mind, so I haven't had as vivid of an experience as you :) I swear, in 20 years from now I'll be an expert on how not to pay attention :rolling:

Keep it up :cheers: You inspire people like me to practice harder.
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Re: abstract question

Postby PorkChop » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:02 pm

I'm still new and inexperienced.
All I know is when i'm meditating and a certain affliction arises, it hurts.
When anger arises, it burns.
When fear arises, it's very similar to taking an ice bath.
When I hear a loud sound the vibration is similar to getting punched.
I don't think I'm at the point that you mention.
For me, there's only noticing the arising and trying to remind myself that it will go away.
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Re: abstract question

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:12 pm

Thanks for listening all..i'll try to add some more to keep it interesting:

I don't think this is necessarily any kind of sign of 'advancing' beyond just clarity in my own head, there is alot of "bandwidth" to being a Buddhist, and this is just the frequency i'm working at right now. It's flattering to think it indicates some level of progress, but it may not be anything special. Once I get to know the teacher at the center I attend a little better, I am going to ask him about it. It could also be easy for me to get too focused on this awesome imagery and go down the wrong path. This is by far the most intense stuff i've experienced in meditation and is so different from what I felt when doing Zen that I am not entirely sure what to make of it.

A different way I could put this is that lately when I have strong feelings (but especially when meditating intentionally and following them) there is a kind of "ego mask" that is attached to feeling in particular (as opposed to external phenomenon, mental processes etc), it's sort of like a snapshot of the ego construct at a given time, some are kind of predictable- for instance the one when i'm horny and full of lust has a big, mischievous, wolf like grin as you'd expect! One that seems to be related to sadness has the sense of being childlike and alone. A really scary one that is akin to a sort of self-hatred howls and jabbers like a madman. Like I said, most are "me" as much as impermanent projections or anything else may be, but a couple have been..deep down, and unfamiliar to me for lack of a better word, and when I found these the best way I can describe the feeling was like having a splinter plucked out once they faded away.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: abstract question

Postby Jesse » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:43 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Thanks for listening all..i'll try to add some more to keep it interesting:

I don't think this is necessarily any kind of sign of 'advancing' beyond just clarity in my own head, there is alot of "bandwidth" to being a Buddhist, and this is just the frequency i'm working at right now. It's flattering to think it indicates some level of progress, but it may not be anything special. Once I get to know the teacher at the center I attend a little better, I am going to ask him about it. It could also be easy for me to get too focused on this awesome imagery and go down the wrong path. This is by far the most intense stuff i've experienced in meditation and is so different from what I felt when doing Zen that I am not entirely sure what to make of it.

A different way I could put this is that lately when I have strong feelings (but especially when meditating intentionally and following them) there is a kind of "ego mask" that is attached to feeling in particular (as opposed to external phenomenon, mental processes etc), it's sort of like a snapshot of the ego construct at a given time, some are kind of predictable- for instance the one when i'm horny and full of lust has a big, mischievous, wolf like grin as you'd expect! One that seems to be related to sadness has the sense of being childlike and alone. A really scary one that is akin to a sort of self-hatred howls and jabbers like a madman. Like I said, most are "me" as much as impermanent projections or anything else may be, but a couple have been..deep down, and unfamiliar to me for lack of a better word, and when I found these the best way I can describe the feeling was like having a splinter plucked out once they faded away.


I'm not totally sure what type of meditation your doing, and perhaps you're right on the mark, but It seems like your being distracted by these feelings rather than merely observing them coming/going. Perhaps someone can offer better advice for you, but check out this link:

http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/insight.htm

Scroll down to "CHOICELESS AWARENESS", section and read that. good luck. :smile:
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Re: abstract question

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:54 pm

I am doing insight mediation...this is what happens when I "inquire" into feeling in particular, I get these vivid images. I am not choosing to focus on them per se, they just happen and are somewhat hypnotic. they rise and fall like anything else, just are very intense - the intensity is the part that is distracting.

Alot of times it 'feels' productive, like some kind of catharsis in addition to insight into impermanence or emptiness..though I wonder if it might become tempting to make this into some kind of 'therapy' unwittingly. I will take the advice of the article for now and let them go when it becomes too intense..thanks, that simple bit on letting them go may be just what I needed.

I guess maybe that makes me be able to reframe what i'm asking a bit, it comes down to how long to "hold on" and to what degree during insight mediation to whatever you are examining..perhaps I am holding on too much.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: abstract question

Postby Jesse » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:01 pm

Ah, most imagery, feelings, thoughts and emotions have that effect, they distract you and it always feels 'productive', they draw you in that way, if you let go of them they will generally cease pretty quickly, always return to your object, or in the advice of the article I linked return to general awareness.

Anything that's fascinating in meditation is usually a trap, but by all means experiment and come to that conclusion yourself.

the intensity is the part that is distracting.
A good trick for this is to move your awareness to your whole body, and relax, then move your attention to the feeling of relaxation in your body. Stay there until the intensity lessens. :)
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Re: abstract question

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:06 am

ghost01 wrote:Ah, most imagery, feelings, thoughts and emotions have that effect, they distract you and it always feels 'productive', they draw you in that way, if you let go of them they will generally cease pretty quickly, always return to your object, or in the advice of the article I linked return to general awareness.

Anything that's fascinating in meditation is usually a trap, but by all means experiment and come to that conclusion yourself.

the intensity is the part that is distracting.
A good trick for this is to move your awareness to your whole body, and relax, then move your attention to the feeling of relaxation in your body. Stay there until the intensity lessens. :)


Right, I get this sort of technique, just not sure when to do this all the time, or at what point it's unproductive to focus on whatever i'm focusing on. In some cases i've felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders by focusing and following a given thing, as well as genuine insight from it. Whereas i'm sure in others I should be returning to the breath and moving on, and might even be 'fetishizing' the object i'm focusing on a bit.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: abstract question

Postby Jesse » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:33 am

Right, I get this sort of technique, just not sure when to do this all the time, or at what point it's unproductive to focus on whatever i'm focusing on. In some cases i've felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders by focusing and following a given thing, as well as genuine insight from it. Whereas i'm sure in others I should be returning to the breath and moving on, and might even be 'fetishizing' the object i'm focusing on a bit.


Well staying with your object is simply to concentrate your mind, even switching objects is ok once you can do so without losing concentration, observing objects in meditation is fine but they are usually fleeting. Meditation is a process, there's nothing unproductive about anything you do when you meditate, unless you don't learn from it. Just offering you some pointers from my own experience, honestly don't take anything too seriously in meditation, relax, breath and observe in peace.. that's all there is to it.

Also: http://www.vipassanadhura.com/howto.htm#t
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Re: abstract question

Postby catmoon » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:01 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Bit of an abstract thing, just throwing it out there for comment:

When doing insight meditation alot of times I can find the "root" of an emotion or sensation, and see the layers of it, most of it plays out sort of visually for me. Sometimes with severe emotions like anger and fear I can see a sort of "ego projection" - basically a false "I" that is attached to, and interacts with whatever i'm experiencing at the time. A couple of times I have spent a long time following an emotion or sensation, and the ego projection I found was not me! Of course I know there is really no such thing as me anyway, what I mean is the ego projection I "see" is not identifiable or familiar to me.

Does anyone have similar experiences, or opinions on the subject?


I think there is a "root" along the lines of what you describe. I used to call them "frames" and thought of them as the ground from which emotions arise, a sort of changeable predisposition. The changes can be made volitionally more easily than changing one's emotions.

BUT

these are all just appearances to mind and I really don't know if they are real in any sense.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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