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Nov 2, 2004

Paramemetic posted:

I'm of course a bit dubious when Westerners define enlightenment in essentially trivial terms like "it's just being fully mindful," because I think that previous Buddhas would have done so if it were the case. On the one hand, historical figures I regard as enlightened are saying "nah, it's not really something you can explain just like that, it's more of a 'just so' than a 'like this'," and then on the other hand we have people saying "oh it's just basically flow state, actually, if you remove the superstitions!" As I mentioned, I'm not terribly familiar with Batchelor's work, but that's certainly the gist of, for example, Sam Harris' work; and hell, though he doesn't claim to be Buddhist we've got Ken Wilber running around claiming to be so fully enlightened nobody in history can compare.

"There are so many who take the dawn for the noon, a momentary experience for full realization and destroy even the little they gain by the excess of pride" - Nisargadatta Maharaj

In this experience the stories that appear during meditation/samadhi can be so beautiful/powerful/clear that it's very easy for one's attention to be drawn to them and allow a mind/ego/false-self to coalesce around them. The ego wants nothing more than to be the "separate" god. However enlightenment isn't something that can be claimed or owned. It just IS. There isn't any ownership or agency or 'I' left to claim anything. No additions.


Nov 2, 2004

Travic posted:

Ok. So. This is going to be difficult.

So my entire life I have considered myself worthless. My world view tends to be that I am worthless, the world is poo poo and horrible, and I should just spend each day doing what I can in whatever small way to reduce other people's pain and suffering. You're born, life sucks, people try to take everything from you, then you die. But you should try and help however you can. I can't fix it all, but I can at least minimize it day to day for other people.

I saw my therapist yesterday and she talked about death of the ego, getting rid of my sense of self, focusing on the here and now, applying my forgiveness for others to myself (I hate myself and never allow myself to make ANY mistakes, ever). She recommended a few books and talked about Buddhism. I remembered there was a thread here that seemed good so here I am. My therapist is really good and we've tried a lot of things over the past few years to help with depression and self-worth. She thinks this might help.

I'll try and read some of the books that she mentioned as well as some in the OP, but I tend to bounce off those so I figured I could start by talking to people. That might help ease me into this and get me to a place where I can absorb them.

The biggest problem for me is that acknowledging how lovely existence is just leads to despair not enlightenment. I do what I can to help others, but my life seems pretty pointless and I wish it was over. For every person building sandcastles there are 10,000 people knocking them down.

Any advice?

Thank you for sharing this. I'm sorry that it sounds like you're suffering. Please forgive me for anything I may have ever done that somehow might have affected you. It's wonderful that your therapist is talking about ego death and forgiveness.

There seem to be judgmental words here about yourself and about the world. That is natural, we are taught (to our great detriment) to judge what comes through our senses. Immediately after judgement we are told that there are right ways to act based on that judgement and wrong ways to act. However if we take a step back we can see that the information that comes through our senses is rather limited. We only see, hear, smell, touch and taste what is very close to our body. The information collected through the senses are very limited, only within the scope of bodily travels and the circumstances we find ourselves in. To be sure we are living in a time where certain types of information access is unparalleled, and the effects of this glut of horror has left many of us with minds that trend towards death. This is why Paramemetic posted about non-attachment. To help others you actually don't need to carry around and reinforce judgement about the world or yourself, you only need to be aware of what is happening around you and relaxed.

I also have been caught in the bleak landscape created by thoughts and the mind. The more I focused on it, the worse it got. Sadly I was also taught that the best way to solve my problems or help others was to think about those things. This again is a false assumption. In the middle of laughter, are we thinking? When we smile at someone, did that come from a thought or from somewhere else? Our minds were designed only to see problems to protect the flesh-suit. 99% of people live in their mind fantasies and filter all their perceptions through their minds, making the whole world seem like poo poo and horrible. AGAIN, we are programmed to do this before we can protect ourselves.

You mention that when you read books like that you tend to bounce off them. So did I most of my life. New information gets attached to old information, if the gap between what you know and what you're learning is too wide then the new information will not connect and the books seem like gibberish. It sounds like you believe in your current judgement on the world and yourself, so the first advice would be to allow a crack of doubt. That maybe these stories that you have been told and the voice in your head that talks about the world does not have the complete picture. That your mind might have made a mistake somewhere, because it was working off limited information.

Just to be clear: it is absolutely okay that you are feeling the way you are feeling this very moment as you read these words. It is okay and natural to feel worthless. It is okay and natural to feel like the world is poo poo and horrible. Parts of this world ARE poo poo and horrible. Parts of this world are wonderful and heavenly. It's impossible to find the MIDDLE unless you have all extremes available.

I too have dealt with deep suicidal ideation and wishing my life was over. Most of my life I felt like that. However in the last few years what seems to be the case was my mind was wishing it was dead, and I am not my thoughts. Thoughts are echoes of our senses and largely outside of our control. Life is far better and easier without constant thinking.

Travic posted:

Ok so it's sort of a "It takes a village" idea? My existence is what it is because of my collected life experiences with other people? That makes sense. But honest question: why does that mean I should love myself? Not trying to be combative I really want to work through this.

Lots of people have shaped my life, but I can still be worthless. As I said this is going to be difficult for me. I don't think I have a more core and central belief than "I am a waste of space."

This all sounds really selfish now that I'm writing it. Sorry. My therapist said it's kind of like making sure your oxygen mask is on before helping others. And maybe Buddhism and self love is the answer.

Eh, it's more that the idea that any individual person exists completely by themselves is not reality and we're all interconnected at multiple levels. You breathe out, the tree breathes in, you breathe in what the tree breathes, then the tree breathes in what you breathe out, etc.

You shouldn't do anything. Ever. There is no such thing as should. If you can accept yourself in your worthlessness that's enough. Love may come, if it does then it does take courage and humility to accept that love.

You don't know what you are, sorry. What would you be without beliefs? Did you ever exist without beliefs?

I hope this does not come across too strongly. If you want to talk/text/whatever I'm available. It feels like we've lived similar lives and this body apparently has remained to share what it can.

Nov 2, 2004

Travic posted:

I just don't think I deserve that kind of forgiveness or care. That's what I need help with. That's what I meant by selfish. It feels selfish to say, "Please teach me about Buddism because it might help me."

I just don't know how to care about myself.


Focus on the present here and now and stop overthinking about the past or the future.
Allow for the idea that maybe I'm not as worthless as my brain says I am.
Try and convince myself somehow that I deserve love.

How can one be an anchor in troubled waters if you're adrift? How can a broken bottle of glue help mend others?

The least selfish thing one can do is "work" on themselves, which is another way of saying be honest and find out what you are. The Buddha was only able to give what he gave because he was OVERFLOWING with what he is. True help can never come from a place of lack. I'm not saying stop helping, I'm saying that helping others from a limited viewpoint only brings limited results which quickly drift back into what they were. To help in an unlimited way is possible for anyone in a human body, but it requires letting go of all that is limited. Which includes how you think the world should be. Which includes how you think YOU should be.

I cannot recommend trying to convince yourself of anything. Isn't the problem that you're already full of beliefs? Discard all things that can be discarded, and then whatever comes will come. It is true that you are worthy of all the blessings and all the wonders and all the love that is possible, but if you aren't experiencing it then it just becomes salt in the wound, no? It becomes another should. "Oh, I should feel like I am capable of forgiveness of my self."

It seems like you're quite serious about life. It's kinda funny, you're worthless but the world is on your shoulders. Might not seem funny now, but a day will come when you will laugh at how silly so-called existence is.

The world will be the world. No being will ever change this world into heaven or hell, it will remain as it is: a land of contrasts. Because that's the point of this place, to experience the wonderful, to experience the horrors, until you're sick of experiencing. Until you've seen and done it all. Until you say: there has to be something that lasts forever.

Drop the world. It was fine before us, it is what it is now, it will be whatever it will be. If you don't do what you need to do someone else will. It is okay, you can take a rest. It's okay to laugh a little or say "awwwwww" at some cute things.

Thank you again for posting and being vulnerable. I'm really grateful you posted here.

Nov 2, 2004

Thirteen Orphans posted:

But is recalling oneís previous lives part of Buddhist practice either as a goal or a side effect of practice?

It seems to be a common side effect. Adyashanti talks about during his reawakening he did clear out several lives of karma and see some of his past lives where he was a teacher. For me itís mostly the moments of death that come up and are recalled/released. Practice side effects depend on what karma you decided to burn off and how much of it is left. Well, itís not YOUR karma, you are the infinite awareness before time, so what you truly are is forever clean/unblemished/un-touchable. Not even that, what you are is indescribable. But the body and mind have their karma, and their karma will be enacted. After awakening it doesnít affect YOU, because you know completely that you are not the body/mind, and there isnít such a thing as agency, so there really isnít anyone left to be affected. It is just unfolding, and it unfolds as it unfolds. The peace of empty fullness.

In my experience Iíll be meditating and suddenly my body starts moving and for example lays curled up on the floor. My jaw opens and it seems like Iím throwing up, and there will be an overwhelming feeling of my death approaching. Tired of my mind telling me Iím going to die, I completely allow death to come into me and kill me. In the moment of death it is like I can see/feel completely what that body/mind was going through. So it was a poor old man on the dirt streets of india dying of starvation. Like itís a different person that enters my body in their death, but instead of them dying and going into another dream they pass into the empty bliss that is the base of Reality. That death-energy returns to stillness, returns to source. Iíve died as animals, Iíve died as people. Sometimes there wonít be a death, but there will be a resonance. Like this body is connected/reunited with the source and equally there is a body sitting on a mountain side that is also connected/reunited so we are together and we are experiencing both perspectives equally.

Past lives? My karma from actions this life? Passing energy happening on this planet in this very instant? A madmanís fantasy?

Who knows?


Nov 2, 2004

When speaking of the infinite no finite communication medium is suitable. These words are meant to spark a turning inward, not to be taken as truth and used to reinforce the cage of mental models. Hold onto nothing. The truth can only be found within, all these sensory signposts are not IT, and there will be a time where all information or sureness will have to be given up to jump into the infinite unknowableness.

echinopsis posted:

Will it be obvious when or if itís happening? Is it possible someone experiences it all the time and doesnít realise. Itís not just ďzoning outĒ?

As the personality disintegrates/reintegrates that experience overwhelms all other anything in its fullness and seemingly is endless. There is absolutely no question of what is happening as the joy of re-integration fulfills all lacks and one is burnt in the flame of absolute knowledge. It is available all the time, as IT only is, but ones attention is often on sensory imaginings primarily born of the mistaken thought of ďI am a body.Ē Zoning out might be playing on the fringes of the void, which is necessary for the ego to do, but that isnít it completely. From a (so-called) external perspective it might seem like the body is zoned out, but the awareness of one in oneness is a full emptiness, not a dull unconsciousness. It is the source of experiencing, not an experience nor the experiencer.

echinopsis posted:

Do thoughts still happen?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. When thoughts arise it is clear how meaningless they are and they hold no weight. Thoughts are simply memories of sensory experiences jumbled together to hopefully help the body survive. The voice in your head that speaks with the same voice as your body is not you. In this experience- where thought was before there is now just an empty shining. Itís impossible to describe, but you also experience it right when waking every day. Where there is just an empty space, stillness. Nothing arising to say this or that should be done. Not really knowing what is happening, where the body is, who or what you are. Just ď ď. It feels like this physical vessel can only take so much of the raw power of complete chakral/energy alignment, but the clear sky ceaselessly circles.

echinopsis posted:

From a cognitive point of view, whatís happening to all the mental processes that seem to have stopped or been bypassed?

Witnessing/awareness is maintained, but the noise of thinking disappears. When information is required, in this one, it appears in complete form from that empty space. Where there is no understanding of the genesis, nor even a desire to do anything, but what the body is required to respond with it responds with. What we call ďmeĒ is more of a static or distortion field on the pure unfolding of so-called existence. So while this one is practically incapable of thinking or even effort the correct responses to situations are delivered in their entirety only in the moment. Once one rests in pure awareness the draw of cognition is dropped, because in the full relaxation of infinite knowledge all answers are there, so there is no need to think things through. A combination of complete faith and complete surrender puts the body/mind on autopilot and lives life far better than the limited mechanism of the human mind. So no thinking occurs, but creative expression of a much higher order is possible, if that is what the body is meant to do. The brain rests and the pure light of awareness shines through the bodily vessel with unhindered action. The common myth is that thinking produces action, but thinking is more of a commentary of sensory input. The commentary disappears, the body continues to act.

echinopsis posted:

Does it breed benefit outside of itself?
Benefit for who? Complete fulfillment is possible for all human births, and when one is fulfilled there is no more need of benefit. If by simply relaxing one could experience an infinite orgasm while their body acts normally, what further benefit is needed? From the worldly view of those still believing themselves to be the body, yes there are benefits. Peace is exuded and the hand of fate pushes the scales in your direction in all things. Life becomes a series of miracles, many mundane. Those who this body works with/for comment regularly about how everything in our company is falling into place without a hitch. Where the solution to every problem presents itself almost immediately and with very little effort. This comes because sensual life was built by you only to help you, and if you can surrender to the flow of the spontaneous unfolding then everything falls into place naturally. That is not to say it falls into place like the mindís desires or fantasies expect it to, but past/future are also thoughts which disappear in awareness. There is no one left to measure benefit nor loss, for those can only appear in duality. When one is all, there is no benefit/loss.

echinopsis posted:

Is it pure contentment?

It is without attributes. Pure contentment or peace is a wonderful experience, but it is beyond experience. Many descriptions of enlightenment are akin to: ďthe world and everything disappeared never to be found again.Ē Does pure contentment require someone to be content? Is it the thought: ďI am content,Ē or is it the relaxing exhalation? Weíve described it as seeing the credits roll for our existence, but life continues as if itís the post credits sequence where everyone stopped being serious about playing their characters and are just chilling.

Thank you for your questions. We too have had many doors opened with various medicines. While mushrooms may open the door, one has to go through it and be that truth every moment. Ego death is wonderful, but our attention on thoughts and senses quickly allows recreation of an ego entity. Can you be brave enough to exist completely in ego death? Where every moment is only taken for itself, without bringing any past or future into it? Where the ego and even the idea of a self can be absolutely discarded? Permanent ego death. The clarity and realization possible in deep relaxation/surrender/self-abidance/love is greater than 99% of the medicine-led experiences. Your body can produce the highest hallucinogenic state without external help if your diet has enough of the requisite precursors which are common enough in a variety of foods.

As one releases energy using medicine work be cautious about believing any thought. The perfect weapon that destroys illusions is the question: ďwho/what am I?Ē Any finite response is not the right answer. This questioning is very helpful when strong religious patterning/fantasies appear alongside energy/confidence releases.

In summary: We donít know.

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