Stronghold Retreat; Day 1, 26 March 2011
Play the recording below.
Well, like I hope your medication went really well today. And so now question is, how can I help you? Yes neil. So in the first few phases over ten phases ten steps. It's important I believe to balance mindfulness and attention, you know attention to the focus, but they mindful that. Can you talk about how to balance that or how you know if your two far one way or two far the other way. I mean, give some maybe advice. Sure. We can talk about that. Okay. What? What you'll notice is that There's a little bit of trade off between your your general awareness and the focus of your attention.
The more tightly focused your attention is less aware you become... Of anything and everything else. And the way the way I think of it as a picture is it like there's a field of conscious awareness. And the more you focus in on one thing that field kind of contracts and also at the same time becomes dimmer. Okay. But in the beginning, the natural tendency is to have awareness and focus at the same time. Right? If you If you have the notion of what you should be trying to do is to focus kind so tightly on the meditation object.
That you lose awareness of everything else, What's going to happen, you're going to be very vulnerable to distractions and dull. The typical thing that that happens anyway is that something comes along get captures your attention. You forgot the meditation object. When you're buying tires of whatever has captured the attention then it goes into a state of wondering. So the more the more tightly focused you become the more vulnerable he become to that happening. So in terms of a balance, Now the balance changes over time.
But initially, Initially, the awareness of sounds and bodily sensations and things like that is going to be pretty well there even while you're focusing on the brand. The main thing he is not to make the mistake of becoming so focused that you know, that that that well awareness disappears. So... And that's in the second stage. In the second stage you don't need to The main thing is you want to know that your intention is the cultivate both attention that awareness. Your challenge is to try to engage with the meditation object strongly enough so that something else doesn't capture your attention too easily.
And at that stage there's a lot of things available to to capture your attention. And you quickly, your mind quickly loses interest in the meditation object. So in that stage, the balance is just in the sense of if you if you have... If you're too aware of everything else, you're going to... You you'll if you feel that you feel that vulnerability to forgetting the meditation on becoming easily caught up in thoughts. And you you do need to be a little bit worry of becoming too focused on the meditation object because you need to become engage with the meditation object to help you stay with it, but you don't wanna become so engaged with a it but you can you lose it more easily.
So the balance there is not a big part of your focus. It's just our big part of I should focus these words over that. It's not the big part of your concern there. You want to have awareness And in this scan at that stage is more of just allowing the awareness to be there because it's gonna be there any rate. And not letting something from that awareness to overtake you too easily. So stabilizing attention, enough that it doesn't. Now when you get to the second stage, or not so I can a third stage, really Okay.
Yeah. The third stage, you reached the point where you have the longer periods of time that you're able to stay with the meditation object. Your buying wander, you come back more quickly, sometimes you the mind doesn't wander, you still forget the meditation object. But before your buying is wondering it's something else. You come back to it. Now in this stage, what you're starting to do is use that awareness. The awareness beyond the focus to to tap into an intros awareness of what's going on in your mind.
So you're just kind of checking in. Oh, yeah. I'm still on the meditation object. Or you check in and you realize that there there is something else that is in the process of displacing the meditation object. Which case you can contract for it. When you notice that, you've forgotten the meditation object. You realize that you bring your attention back to an education object. You try to say in that moment of realization you experience me more aware of everything that's going on. And so when you come back to the meditation on your, you're try not to lose that awareness to try to hold that broader awareness.
As much as you can at the same time. Now when we get on to the four stage and subsequent stages up to the six stage, what you're going to do is to deliberately try to focus more and more closely and be more acutely aware the details of the brow. But without losing awareness. So that this is where the balance really starts to happen is in the and yeah the fourth of just stages where it's really a balancing act because Well, not a balancing act so much as it's a discovering of a balance and then shifting that because You focus on the meditation object and your awareness diminishes?
So what you're practicing doing is is focusing progressively over time more and more closely on the meditation object. While not losing that awareness. So what's happening here is what I refer to as the the power of consciousness increasing because the only way to can be consciously aware of what's in the periphery still and be very, very acutely aware of the meditation object is basically to bring more of this strange stuff we call consciousness into the experience of the moment. So what you're doing there is is trying to move in the direction of of not focusing so closely that you just zoom in entirely and become vulnerable to to dull and distraction, but to keep focusing in more and more closely while still being able maintain that larger win.
And at the same time, recognizing that. The main value of being aware of what's going on outside of you since you're deliberately being quiet, you got dry clothes everything else. What is the value of being aware of body sensations and sound. What's basically just to keep the mind stimulated and help to gandalf off dull to a certain degree. But there is another aspect of awareness that you're cultivating. It's that intros awareness. Now you wanna make that continuous and you want to reach the point where it becomes automatic.
Because that's what's going to alert you before you're overtake by dom or before one of the some distraction that's in the periphery is able to come in and displace the medication object. Take price seven. So two things are happening here. You're you're you're trying to cultivate more powerful consciousness so that you can continue to have mindful awareness at at the same time you're continuing to be increasingly more acutely aware of the details to have brown. But that's the one thing that you doing.
And the other thing that you're doing is making that shift away from sounds and bodily sensations and and things like that that towards at the intros awareness of what's going on in the mind itself. But it's the state of your mind is restless developing. Are you experiencing pleasure, joy or satisfaction. To the extent that you're having these positive feeling, you want to entertain that strongly in your awareness because it's gonna reinforce the whole practice. But you need to you need to know what's going on in your mind.
Because you need to know when a distraction is exerting and a sort of a attractive power on your attention and is is tending to draw it away. Or when your mind is becoming agitated and the number of thoughts and and at this point, is mostly funds that are the worst distraction. So when the number of thoughts are increasing and becoming more persistent and so forth. So that you can't you can deal with that. And the way you deal with that is like backing off a little bit on the intensity of your focus and maybe being more relaxed in and your observation.
Oh, that that's basically the way the the balancing act works there. So when I i move the balance to or the line color awareness. Like right Don't k. Too much into the breath. You know, and came I thing rattle or about rattle, but flutter around quite a bit, which is much because it can need something to. I think about, you know. I find myself. I'm thinking about, you know, not just aware in the periphery, and I'm still thinking about this, but I actually switched to that and switch back. Yeah. It's hard to be aware of it in the periphery without switching to it.
Mh. You you know, it's like time division But you you're becoming aware of these movements of your attention. Yeah. Right? And when you should first started meditating, it probably seemed like attention just by it was here and then boom it was over there. Now you're becoming aware that your attention is tending to make these quick movements all over the time. So that's a really important awareness because as you as you progress towards the six days, what you want to do, you're gonna reach a real really more subtle degree of intentional stability because you're going to learn to to not to have those those little flickering movements.
And the other thing that happens which you probably notice is that You have your attention on the sensations graphic and those. But sometimes it expands and you includes the chest and and they have done has this natural tendency to expand contract. And sometimes that expansion can, you know, even even be more than that can be correct significant. So you have you have these little deviations of attention. And you also have this expansion and contraction of of the scope of attention. And you want to gain control over to that Now there is Let's talk about those those little fluctuations of attention a little bit.
And there's a very interesting theory That's it's from the Ka. It's. It's a moments of consciousness theory. And what pos is that the form that consciousness takes is these minute moments. Right? Very, very tiny moments. And so the subject subjective experience you have is a result of an extremely large number of moments of consciousness over a period of time. You can think of it like a string of beads. Okay? And the more and another thing about those moments of consciousness, I mean, each moment of consciousness could potentially be on something different or a number of moments of consciousness in sequence could each take the same object.
Okay? So if you imagine the string here, pan this portion of the string is all on your grip. And the smaller portion over here is all on sensation in your knee. Then the next portion over here is all on your rep. You're going to have the experience of your attention. This sort of court's experience your attention, your attention being focused on the breath, but in the background, you're strongly aware of the sensation in your knee. Well, like expand that to to make it a little more realistic. There's not just the segment that's on your need.
There's also a segment that's on this daughter of that thought. And some of those segments are on say the state of your mind, if you're feeling restless and things like that. So all of those... In other words, anything that you have the subjective experience of being conscious of according to this theory, is a result of it being an object of one or more of these moments of consciousness sense, because that's the only way it can be conscious. But each moment is only aware of one up. Each each each moment only has one object.
Each moment has only has one object. And what you experience just is going to depend on you do fl around. You do fl out. You don't really have two things in your mind at one exactly moment. When you had the experience of paying attention to two things who wants or three things at once. You look at it in these terms, what it means is you've got a segment here on Object a, a segment here object the segment here on Object c and then back to a or something like that. And you other words going back and forth.
But it's happening so quickly that your subject subjective of experiences that you're attending to several things at want. So using this model, you can understand you you can interpret your ordinary experience. When your attention seems to be stable on one thing. That means that there's a very large proportion of moments of consciousness they're taking that has the arctic object. When your subject subjective experiences that you're paying attention to two things who once, it means that there's a pretty much even division between those two times of audio.
When your subject subjective of experience is that your attention is mainly on one thing, but you're also aware of three or four some other numbers of things in the background, and and, strongly aware of it. So that means the largest proportion of moments in consciousness in the overall stream are devoted to that object, but there is significant number of them devoted to each of these other things that you're aware. Right? Now when you're having that experience of the flickering attention, the attention quickly dart to something else.
You might picture that as. You've got... This chunk of the stream that's on the ground, and then there's this little tiny piece goes somewhere else and back to the graph and little tiny pieces going to these different things. So you're you're on the breath. The wood packet starts outside your mind ghost it up, but very briefly, and it automatically comes back again. It seems to you that your attention is stable. According to this interpretation, what's really happened is you left you did leave the breath behind for a period of time.
In order for that to happen. So to continue with this development. Now how do we reconcile I've talked to you about attention being like spotlight. And awareness being, like a simultaneous broader awareness. So if you If you take this particular theory at its face value and assume that it's totally accurate. Then what that means is that that when you have this background awareness and you're not particularly focused on anything there. It's just providing like overall contacts. For what you're focusing on.
This theory has to explain that by saying there are inter person in the stream brief excursions to all of the different things that are part of that field little awareness. And Perhaps that is the way it is. That's based on the assumption that consciousness only occurs hand these a street moment. I'm not convinced that's the way it is because neuroscience shows us that we actually have two different systems. That contribute to consciousness. And one of these is involved in attention and it's top down and it's located in one part of the brain.
And the other one is bottom up. It's stimulus driven and it's in a different part of the brain and qualitatively, the contents of these are handled differently by the brain. So this is one of those incidents where neuroscience and not the buddha is teaching because the And the moments of consciousness syria did not come from the buddha. Came several hundred years later. But that... That's where a dartmouth theory and neuroscience don't fly. It doesn't it... And I'm not concerned with what's true or not because the moments of consciousness theory gives us a really useful way of conceptual.
What's happening in meditation and working with it. And here's here's where it becomes really useful. We stabilize the attention now we have this experience that. It seems that our attention is is very strongly stab fixed on our meditation object. But we still experience being aware to a certain degree of how other things. But not just other specific objects. There is this ongoing awareness of the context that all of this is taking place. Is this called spatial bodily awareness, while we're here where we came from while we're doing this.
All all of that is to some degree present to consciousness. Right? That's our experience. Now there are these little flicker we know about those. And we can interpret with those as being you know, large enough deviations that that they they stand out. But they're quick and automatic returns. We get to the the chip stage, what we want to do. This is where we really work on it, enhancing the power of our conscious awareness. And what the moments of consciousness theory offers us for this is it says that in a given period.
There's a large proportion of these moments that are not moments of consciousness. There potential moments of consciousness in which perception does not occur. They're non perceiving moments of consciousness. Poly, which is is they they say either the moments of cessation of perception. In your experience, most people have had experiences he had had an extremely intense conscious wear. Like can't in any situation that presents the possibility of either great reward or or danger. We tend to become more fully conscious than normal.
Right?? And most of us have had those situations usually, in a life threatening situation or you know, and something happens in automobile, where your mind snaps into just just amazingly brilliant clear everything actually is like it's in slow motion. So we know what that... That's one end of the spectrum or what the mine is capable. And then of course, we go to sleep, where we're going to anesthesia deep sleep, anesthesia would be the complete. Opposite of that. So with this moment of consciousness theory, what it's saying is where do we live most of the time is somewhere in the mid range where there's a lot of perceiving moments the moments of consciousness but there is also a very large let's just assume more or less equal.
We're we're roughly him though. There's almost as many, non perceiving potential moments of consciousness So what we're doing when we're increasing the power of consciousness, so that we have more mindful awareness. Is we're training the mind to convert more of those non perceiving potential moments of into actual moments of consciousness. And this this works hand in hand with developing control over attention. So you you... Is that why Is that why all a sudden after sitting long enough, you you watch the Id grow?
Basically, yeah. There are a number of experiences that we commonly have in meditation, that you can interpret. On the basis of this model and it makes perfect sense because you the... Do you had a really good meditation from which you get up and it's like everything is so clear. Like, you know, I look up the and the mountains, it's like, I I I feel like I can just see so much more colors or more vivid everything out. That is really easy to explain if I've gotten up from my meditation that and my mind is is operating, not at fifty percent moments of consciousness, but eighty percent are something like that.
The other thing that happens in meditation is you're gonna find your awareness, You know, if you're doing a kind of practice where you're looking at the sensations of the graph and you're looking at the details of those sensations and more and more detail is emerging and you're starting to see all of these different parts. That's the same thing. How is that happening? More more moments of consciousness are are active. And so you're picking up all all this more detail. And it comes to a point where can you maximize this, and and it seems that so it's like you're you're experiencing a rapid slideshow, you know, like a whole sequence of rapid snapshots.
Rather than what's normally have this this sort of continuous. That would... That's where you have so many moments of consciousness. Present that they're actually able to capture aspects of the process and you you'd have this experience of being aware of much more detail. Sometimes it just all into sort of a phenomenon it's happening. So you're aware of so so much so quickly. That you can't even discern the same details of the sensations that you used to. And what I would this isn't from the epi?
Well, actually, it is because the Abi dollar does. If it offers that these moments of consciousness are gathered up into segments of fourteen pieces at a time. Right. I I won't go into that. That's that's a lot of fun. It's a little bit too technical. But you see Just to use the example. If somebody on the piano plane maybe had a little lamb. If they play one note, way three minutes quite the next. You never figure out to ten. Right? They play a close the notes close enough together. You'll get the ten.
Even if the one note has completely died away before they played an excellent. And that's because the note that sideways away is still reverb in your brain. And that's actually how you hear everything. If you if if you hear the does outside while you're meditating. That's made up of a whole series of discrete auditory phenomenon. Which each your arises pass away very quickly. Your your brain hold onto to them. They to reverb rate in your mind, long enough to all be joint together. And then what happens is the storage combination is taken as the objects are the loan unconscious.
And so you hear the recognizable sound. Now if that process doesn't happen, if and and that's where conceptual commercialization takes place. It actually let you say a. Describes this is happening in five different stages. So once you've got all of these pieces of phenomenon, then they're put together then that whole chunk is taken. And then that chunk is is processed by the mine in such a way that once you end up, at the end of the sequence is a concept as an object or conscience. A recognizable, you know, that's bird.
Back the end of the process. Right? Or whatever the sound is. Hand clapping. That's the end of the process. Now if those things don't happen, if you just... If you're just greeting each rising sensory phenomenon on its own without interrupting the process to go through this this other sequence. In other words to devote a chunk of the series of moments of consciousness just to processing the information, then it loses its appearance meaning. Right? First of all, it's no longer the sound of a hand clapping.
Second of all, it begins even to lose any recognizable quality of sound. It just becomes a kind of a vibrant party phenomena. That's your experience. And I don't know how many of you had that experience in meditation. Yes. Yeah. When you get done I have a question. Okay. So There's a lot of these kinds of experiences that happened in meditation that this theory of moments of consciousness makes very intel and understandable. And I think that's where the theory came from. Had all these people meditating, and they were paying attention to what was happening and they were trying to develop a cohesive theory to pull all things together and that's where we got the down moments of consciousness theory.
But it certainly does fit well with with with what we did that works well to explain what we experienced. Anyway, back to the process of meditation in order to to develop more powerful mindful awareness. You're basically training the line to recruit non preceding moments to account perceiving moment. As you do so, it allows two things to happen. You become more acutely aware of the details of the brand. You also are capable of subjective, you have experience of simultaneously holding in your awareness, more but on an external to the sensations of, including the stated of your online, the effective quality of what's going on in your illinois.
The arising of plots, or even the the signs we get the pots present beneath. The surface. This is something most of had meditation but there's no longer vertical thought there, but you can feel a thought between the beneath the surface. To me, it's sort of like you know, you're looking at still surface a lake and you you see those little movements that tell you those a fish down there, somewhere coming around. So disturb the surface. That's what it comes in conscious. So you want to recruit you want to train your mind to be more fully conscious.
The result of that is you have greater power of consciousness, which you can utilize high attention or for awareness or a combination of the two. The other thing is this scope of attention thing. The modes of consciousness theory says you cannot have but one object at a time. But what constitutes concentration an object. Right. Is an object how big or how small is an object? Well, if you if you refer to your own experience, you'll find that you can focus extremely closely and tightly on a very small, very narrow object.
But you can also expand that. You also have noticed your meditation that one of the forms of instability that you experience is you're focusing on your but you're also it's like your focus is expanding and contracting it's taking in more of stuff and last other stuff. And here we're not talking about the field of awareness. We're just talking about the focus isn't isn't constant. Like i say, is the sense are these sensations at the tip with your dose? And object with then what explain those times when you have citations in the tip of the note of them and they have them and at the same time.
So that could be moments of consciousness on this, and to moments of consciousness. Like. Or it could be that what constitutes a moment that has some degree of flexibility. Or what that the object and a particular moment has some degree of flexibility expansive and contracted. And I just stick with that because that corresponds most closely with what we actually expanded. Whether a whether there's is a deeper truth that when you are aware of these both at once it's still back and forth movement.
I'm not I'm not too concerned with that. I what I'm concerned with is how we subjective experienced it. And if we work with it, what we... What we feel like we're working towards is controlling the scope of attention. So that if we want it to be this big, hits this thing as we want it to be this big. It's down. This gives us this this gives us a lot more capability. Ben, the other thing is that you can expand the scope of your attention to where it is subjective experiential, encompasses the entire field and conscious awareness.
Called open awareness. Or it it's called, you know, it's it's the teflon mind where the mind where your you opened you make your your consciousness open and space like taking in. It's not gonna take in everything. I can't... I I've I've tried mine cannot take in everything in the in in the present moment. It's absolutely impossible. You can take in a great meat chunk of it all the once. And the bible tend to contract around individual objects, something there'll be a sound sensation or something or worthwhile.
And as it enters this field of equipment. The line will tend to contract around it. But you can train yourself not so that that doesn't happen. That's where Call the teflon mike. Right? So things come things come in here and go out there they pass right through and the mine doesn't try to grab one to. I was open and wearing. And we that is... When you reach the point where you can do that, that's that's a profoundly powerful medi state hence that basis of martin Mud. Mono mood you're examining the mine directly.
And what is your mind if it is not this this field of consciousness? And you're examining you're examining, And the... You make sort of a foreground background shift. Whereas before, it was objects. Embedded in this larger back. It switches. And now there is the background around sephora, there is the mind And then there's things that arise and the mine and pass the away. And so again you shift your perspective and now you're meditating on the bind itself directly. So this this is the other place you can go with us.
I think I went scope of the original brush. Yes, Cheryl. So I've actually what you were talking about the slideshow show. Mh. Experience. I found it very overwhelming. It was... And it didn't like just stop. It was like it last for. And it's like trying to function again the real world when your mind is doing that is but there was a lot of reasons I have a lot of reasons resistance. I. I would imagine so I I don't. I've never had the experience of it dominating my ordinary daily, like, I had really strong.
Experiences of it in meditation and retreat where it just went like that continuously. And even, you know, and retrain your when I say in meditation, henry he, I I I forgot to mention too this last night. He should be meditating this but. I did meditation all the time twenty four hours a day. So when... So there is that sort of phenomenon on when you're... When you're eating when you're having a shower you know, it goes on. Usually, if my experience it doesn't last when you leave the retreat you go out in the world.
It would be very disconcerting. Yeah. It does exactly what happened. But what I'm more interested in now is what you were talking about, but I forget the word that you use Poly something rather. But where you see the moments of non consciousness, when you see that little bubble of no thought? Do you know do you know what I'm talking about? I. I'm not sure do... You need to explain that mark. Okay. So when you're meditating, and you have, like, a very clear mind in your and you can observe your mind I can't I have these experiences of little bubbles of absolutely nothing.
Mh. Do you... It's like it like the cessation of awareness? Like, just the complete Well, if it was a... Now little bubbles of nothing. Is this like, little gaps? Right. Okay. Alright. That's... Yep. That's that's That's a part of the process. Okay. So so I guess my confusion is I don't want to be really drawn to either one. But when I think of consciousness, this is like just sort of an impression I have is the that bubble, like, if I were like totally conscious, that level would be lasting longer and longer.
Is that Not truth? Well, if that it depends on and Okay. There are gaps in consciousness. Which normally you're not aware of because you're not conscious of them, and and the line seamlessly hooks up. Yeah. Decent Yeah. There is a point where you could become aware of this gaps, but they still gaps. There's no consciousness and and if it was there all the time, it'd be like your be deep anesthesia or deep sleep. Okay? The... There is... But there is another thing And I'm not saying this is what your experiencing or anything else.
But there's is another kind of experience that you can have. Where Normally, consciousness only occurs with an object. And so any non perceiving moment is not a all consciousness, because there's no object available to it. Right Well, a non perceiving moment of consciousness is right where the mine fails to complete the active perception. And so there's no object or consciousness and so it's kind of a a blank space. There's no normal consciousness. Okay? But if you think about just dual holistic idea, consciousness and object of consciousness.
It shouldn't be readily self evident that although they always occur together, they are two different things. So we have the kind of phenomena happens is one where consciousness is present, but without an object, not because of a failure of perception. But basically, because how to put this, your mind is not generating an object the way it normally does. K. It's not producing an object. If the active perception goes forward, and there's no object, and there is still this experience of consciousness of.
And that would be called neither perception or non non perception would be live sleep anesthesia. Okay. But it's... But perception not occurring because the active perception goes out, but is no object for it to engage. And this web that happens in a long period of time, then that's thing you're experiencing what's called the formal John neither perception or non perception, which is a very very peaceful, but kind of ne. State. Would that be called non dual awareness? No. Although it's easily mistaken for non awareness.
It's still it's it's it's it's it's not really non dual awareness. None at least in the way that I... Different people use those terms and different rate. I think not doable awareness. That is the the the final kind of experience that i know of where there is the cessation of all mental formations. It's known technically as the cessation of feeling and perception. It's a association all mental activities, mental formations, but in which there is consciousness still present. So it's a pure conscious experience.
It is non dual. And And yeah, Maybe I shouldn't say too much more about that. Did? It wouldn't be an object. Yes. There is no object. There he is no object except. In the sense that consciousness is its own object. But at this level, it's not as I said, nor what we normally refer to consciousness how involves an object. So yeah, consciousness and the adjective of consciousness and they always occur together. This is something completely different where there is consciousness. Right. There there is that will call.
So it's a different kind of consciousness. It's consciousness. Taking out as an object. This may not you don't have to answer this But in terms of meditation, what is streaming? Today I struggled with donors. No. You have train like as. And I had and I had the experience of soups. Certain that I was meditating, certainly that I hadn't kept my breath and yet, something woke me up. And I realized I was in the year. And I hadn't known I was here. And i've been looking back on it. Yeah. There was...
My my brain was having a party. And So I was dreaming. I had to have been asleep. I had to have been dreaming. I was I was... You know, but there was still over here. Yeah. I thought I was here because I had the breath in my dream mh. So in terms of meditation, so clearly I was dealt because I was asleep. So what is street what is street? Oh, dreaming is a state where you do. You're still experiencing mind generated objects of consciousness, but the mind is not generating those objects of consciousness on the basis of sensory input.
You know, are normal our normal waking consciousness, We know we're awake we whatever our mind fabric, it's fabric on the basis of and constrained by sensory experience. So that's what they call concepts dreaming. Your that constraint of sensory input, leaves or ever sent or there may be some small amount of remaining sensory input but it gets incorporated into a larger fabrication. Which is not based on sensory. So I couldn't retain the little sliver of sensory in put this my breath for the the rest of me is...
The attempted rest of that And sometimes the very typically your conceptual interpretation of it has breath will change. So it's no longer breath. It could be there's all kinds of things it could be, but they happen to coincide with a sensory sequence of breath well enough that, you know, it it sound. Yeah. And we've all had the experience of having a dream at night or sleep. And there will be a sound or something else that we incorporate into the dream. And that's exactly the same kind of thing.
Most of what we're experiencing is a regular dream in the sense that all these perceptions are being generated by the line independently of sensory input, but there's something that's managed to break through the the the barrier and get become part of that dream consciousness. And so it just kitchen incorporated. Yeah. So there's nothing really to be harvested from that that funny duel, I thought I was meditating, but I was only dreaming. I was today. Not... No. Not really. Can. Not not in regular meditation practice.
If you shamanic practices and things like that, there is something to be harvested what you're doing is you're entering into a very similar kind of state, but there is something to be harvested from that. A major digress in this conversation, but We feel like our mind our individual line is a separate contained right. It seems that that's not actually the case. That whatever this stuff is that we like to refer to as mine is totally interconnected in the same way that all the stuff for the guys measured here.
And so in certain states or consciousness especially those that are largely divorced normal sensory info, no longer constrained by that. Can go beyond the limits of your own mind and incorporate? Information from from the larger mind or from other lines. That is a digress, but there is something to be harvested in other forms of practice. But when it happens then when you're meditating and the purpose meditation is to cultivate concentration and mindfulness. And you slip into that state. That's just dull.
That's dull with dream like imagery. And Well, sometimes people have visionary experiences when that happened. And I have known people who turned their whole one woman in particular terms her whole meditation practice into channel. Because she would hand her meditation. She'd enter into that kind of state then she channel me him. So basically, she quit meditate. She she called her she did meditating, but she was no longer doing the practice. She was sitting down and getting into this side state where she would channel me.
What exactly she was channel? I'm not sure. You know, people like to think that he tapping into some consciousness that is not... Seems not to be their own. They like to assume it's some superior wiser not just But I don't think that's any different than anybody need on the street of assuming that they're why everything you are Anyway, best best not to get caught up and these visionary experiences for may familiarize. But they will time. And I've had bunch where they arrive with this really powerful emotional feeling.
Oh, this is something super profound and important. And my mind trying to grasp what it is. I can't quite what it. But I just know that this is gonna... This is the answer to everything. It has that feeling tone to it. But best thing to do is just go back to here. Right. Well I haven't been so lucky is to get seduced by the answer to all things, but but I was I was really shocked to find out I was in a your. How of you looked into one of those? They're called synagogue states actually. You're you're almost asleep, but not quite in your mind starts carrying out the dreaming activity.
You've had those I know of you. You know, and if any of you have, it'll happen. Unless you've are reached the point where you're beyond dull. So That does happen. Yes. Would the awareness that we were resigning with before. It seems that there's... You you talked about the con the intros and and the outer kind of awareness the sense base. And it seems like when I play with it that there is kind of like, kind of a cognitive elements, not very concrete but, like there. That seems that I can, like, I could turn that on differently than this more like, kind of sensory open kind of awareness.
Mh. And I don't know if I'm just mis misinterpreted what I'm experiencing. But good field... And and I was trying to figure out if, like, one you're talking about, like, shifting more towards the perspective, like, you know, sometimes when I have this experience, if it just feels very like when I turn it on, when I'm like, oh okay. Gotta get more aware. It feels like very, very open and expansive, but it doesn't necessarily have a lot of like external sensory things going on. You know, there's just this sense of, like, openness.
And then I can also, like, light up this other connected, but slightly different cognitive area that seems also to be more meta aware of what's going on. So I don't know how to work with that if if one should be pushed or, they're both supposed to be there or as eyes the practice seats. Let me just see if I hear you correctly you're practicing awareness your awareness becomes. Very strong. Mh. And very expanded. But strangely enough. It seems to lose all the external things like barclay sensations and sounds if you had to fade away.
No. Not quite. More like, okay. So I've got my breath. You know, that's that's the sector. And then and then suddenly, I realize that I'm really, you know, contracted around that attention. So I say, okay. Light up the awareness, you know, And I and I open it up and and what usually happens is that when I get that command in myself, there seems to be this, like, kind of open. This, like sensory just like, Oh. And then and then I can... Then I've also found that I can light up the what seems like the cognitive aspect of awareness without having that like, sensory opening.
But when I do that sensory reopening, it can't include outside sounds, but I'm not really paying much attention to do that. Okay. So I was focusing on the wrong part of What think. Like I think you're really talking about this feeling. I describe it as though you're stepping back. It is meta cognitive you're all of a sudden taking things in from the new level. Yeah. That's that that is ultimately where mindful awareness and intros go to is a medic cognitive experience. So then when I have that sense of...
It seems like seems like one sense of awareness is almost coming from my body and one is coming from my mind. And almost... You know, then the cognitive aspect, of course, feels like like, the light goes on up here the other one, it feels like it just opens up around here. Mh. Like, as one moves more and more in the direction of intros of awareness, is that that more kind of bodily based? Oh that just sense of openness? Does that fade? Does that... Or or does that is that still a component even when there's not, like, sense objects?
Usually, you go through a period where it fades. And that's really what we're we're trying to get to to happen. It it fades in the sense that the sensory input from all of the different senses sort stops at a certain level and it doesn't. Come to consciousness anymore, which allows you to really strongly develop this intros awareness. And But that's just a stage. Okay. And you're manipulating your mind in such a way that basically, the way I imagine it is the sensory input stops at part of the brain called the hypothalamus doesn't get relayed up to the course.
You just just cut off there. And so what you're what you're working with that is is pretty much just the mind and the absence of sensory input. Right. And that's goes by the name of pac classification of the census, you know, senses cease to and food into the space of consciousness. Or the way I described that too is that they the auditory mind and the body tactile line. And at some point even the thinking feeling might to generate spots and so these raw experiential emotions. That these mines, they're still functioning, but they're no longer pushing content into into your consciousness.
And so you reach a really refined state, but that's only temporary because then you find that you can just... You you've learned to block that, but you could cease to block it, and let this stuff come back. And again. But now you're you're very much in this that cognitive state as you say that's where you have this extensive field of awareness. And you see these things arising in your mind space and and passing away, but they're not they're not grabbing your focus. You're you're you're saying in the awareness of mine.
Because as you already know, all of these things that you experienced any anyway, we're always in the mind to the end. And so he goes through the period of blocking them from being present in in order to cultivate that matter cognitive line space. And that once you're able to do that stab, and he he just moved the restraints when they come back hand and you see them a rising and passing and weight. Was in the bite. So when they're not appearing, as compared to when they're appearing. One is is a aligned that using motion, and the other is mine, but is still when the thoughts are appearing the mines in motion, or when the sense stuff is but motion.
It's not the motion of attention moving you know. It's the motion of the mind stuff generating these appearances. Some practice wise. Because what I I can... When I was thinking about it it felt like when I just turned on the more cognitive aspect of awareness. It felt like a much more streamlined version. You know, it felt like it didn't cost as much of that conscious power then if I was turning like, that on with the body that sensory kind of awareness with the attention awareness as well. So would do recommend moving towards just they're cognitive and not like costing the...
Does that sense. If I feel like I can, like, distinguish between those. Should I, like, focus on the one? Or should I still like, have both as I kind of cultivate that? Do both, but let's let's talk about a little bit. Maybe tomorrow or... Okay. Cool. But in the meantime, do both. You're you're at you're at this point where you... It's your mind, you get to explore it. If you get to play Gonna try use invalid. And see what they teach you. You keep it up you all teach you things that I didn't know about so keep going.
So we we somehow started out with a very basic question and we got into some fairly advanced aspects of this I don't know how many people are feeling lost by that. We can come back down to earth and Where where are you at? What's wrong about that's glad you thinking? Hey, not talking for I find to. Okay. Why don't you tell us some personal experience? A personal experience? Yes. Thank you. I'd like to satisfy your desire for that, but nothing. Out? Yes. I can. I found it for the first time today, much more interesting.
Watching meditation. And blocking better. Really being able to be very aware. And getting into it really, wonderful space of just from when you said about because we have our eyes open that you don't get into doughnuts. But we can really in and what you were saying about seeing everything so alive and so bright. So present. Yeah. That I was really know the experience of walking very, very, very slowly. And feeling know everything. And so when I came back into sit on Christian, I I would go into dull.
Mh. So I found if I opened my eyes. Just opened my eyes, then I could get back into that feeling. Had when I was walking meditation. So much more aware everything that I was in this room everything's here. I it was and that that my mind was creating whole thing. And It was really help my meditation. Because it seemed that in then my. And and That's on my breath and get going pretty well then I would start having these. Experiences of the mine is creating all these scenes and voice and some things that would have anything to be with me.
Yes. And opening guys is. It's a really good way to to keep dull us at bay. Long as adult isn't too strong. The way you tell you open your eyes and one we think happen to either the dull disappears and you're really present. Or else it feels like you have led weights attached to your eyelids, Going down again. Now what you said about the walking meditation? The reason the reason that I'm always telling you the walking meditation is really powerful way mindful awareness is because If you you think about it in terms of moments of consciousness theory, and you've got all these underutilized potential moments.
When you're out there and you're really trying to be aware all the different sensations and one foot as it moves, and then the other foot hasn't it moved. But at the same time, you're you're saying things and hearing things and feeling things. That that the pushes is you're mind to recruit, all of these holidays unused potential moments. And it's all a question of training. Like, your mind is used to... I I I don't know I suppose to some kind of economy involved and not being more conscious than you have to be.
I mean, and we look at behavior to people in general, it does seem to be the case. There's I don't I don't exactly know what the cost is of being more... Fully mindful because you can become very fully mindful and stay that way, and it doesn't seem like it's costing in anything, obviously. But the nevertheless, it seems like the mind always wants to get with, you know, utilizing his little consciousness as it has to. So but when you... When you create a situation where your buying needs to utilize more of these moments of consciousness.
And the more the more time you spend doing that, then the mine just gets in the habit of being work fully we conscious this. Yeah. Kind of along the lines of the question that I wanted to ask you today when we our talking rooms that I experienced quite a a back shift Mh. And my experience and it's been really frustrating for me And I know part of that is because I got to a certain party development, and I didn't follow through with that and I wasn't doing the daily practice. But within that and let's say someone is falling on along the june practice Do those shift facts happen periodically you know, cut maybe a couple steps back and you kinda go back and forth to route I mean or what point you reach that that doesn't happen as much?
Well, I never reached the point where there's never sent losing back. But, you know, it it's it's sort of like you're going back at this level on then at this level you know and when they are disturbing of that's happened. They can knock you back a bigger chunk. But usually, you'll come back again get back very quickly too. Did you just say that trauma in our lives will set us back in our practice? Certainly well, emotional trauma especially. At the same time, your practice is gonna help you deal with emotional trauma far better and, you know, the the stronger your practice, the less you're not to disturbed by things that happened that intense, it depends on the kind of thing that happens and how long it's sustained for.
Just explain a lot. I'm be good i this. Once sit today where Obviously felt like Was just trying sort of magna suites the whole time. I i could not. Come out any moving that my line to cataract so long. And I just wondered if maybe you could to see that... I might remember an next time that been sixty. So of salvage some big positive from experience where I'm just completely negative. Are these thoughts that you're talking about? Mostly. I mean, they're they're sort not handling frustration and discomfort.
For whatever reason there Yes. He's... The question is that he's having the experience. So negative thoughts primarily, but also associated feelings like that coming up in your meditation. And finding and very difficult to overcome those and replace it with something positive. So Yeah. I mean it almost felt daily chain, you know, the kind of things that we're including and without much opposition if you might. Yeah. And and in a sense, it it is damaging. Negative thoughts that negative a negative mental state develops and negative flights begin to emerge heat on themselves.
And then we react against them. And and manages just energizes the more. Just in general, if you pay attention to a thought, if you entertain it, if you engage in the content of hit tends to strengthen it and reinforce it. Have could you try to resist or stop it that also tends to to make it stay more stubborn or or come back. So When you're dealing with thoughts of any type to the degree that you can stay out of the content, and be objective, and this is where labeling comes in very handy. If you can in the process of labeling it has test thinking or you can be more specific, you can be labeling it as anger or guilt or self criticism or whatever it is.
But in the moments that you're labeling it, you're not within the content you're standing outside of it. And you can take advantage of that objective space to let the thought be there not trying to drive it away. So you're letting it be there without getting into the content of it. And that... That's an important skill to to master. And you can if you practice doing that with ordinary trivial jump clots that come out and your meditation. Lot easier to practice on those than when they have a strong emotional component and probably you're being driven by sub strong subconscious.
I'll just be just practice you know... And and let me just call. And your thoughts are generally two kinds they're either verbal thoughts, or they're sometimes in. Although sometimes they're kin aesthetic, sometimes it's like an experience of movement. But do a use example of verbal time when you when when you're hearing the voice in your mind generating a fly, if you can. And instead of... If you can allow it to be there recognize its nature. Now, I mean, there to recognize it it's it's nature.
In other words It it is attaching a labeling. Even if you don't use a verbal label. When you identify its nature, you are categorizing you are putting it in a consensual category, which is essentially the next step would be to generate a label. So if you can take a thought instead of getting caught in in its inner workings. Be outside of it enough to identify its nature and then try to stay in that objective place. Can you follow it and saying here. All the labeling concept. Sure. That's. I can follow the labeling concept.
I'm not sure about the nature. But they were then go ahead and and label. If you label you're doing exactly what I'm saying because that's the step that proceeds generating the verbal label. I accept that the the label that seems to work least well is just the word thinking because it doesn't. It it can become... You can reflex generate mental word thinking without really having stepped outside of the refine. We think I think I understand i mentioned just identifying what is with that. That's right.
Identifying what what what the phenomenon is and just practice that Very often, what most people tend to do when there's a verbal thought going on. Is it they'll jerk can way on it back of the meditation knowledge object and it's going. But it'll come back again or another than we'll come back with him. So what Suggesting here is something a little bit different. You don't you know, snatch your attention away from it. You make a subtle shift, you get in you know inside the content, but you're outside.
It's more a space how there's a thought is that kind of a thought, look at that fly, and I don't need to stay with that thought and come back to it. Give it something stronger if it's more of the kind of negative thought that has more emotional content things like that. You might stay with it. You just, you know, just take that opportunity to examine it objectively and let it go away by itself. It's what we're talking about here is is an important skill to trying to do. To let Us thought be there without being being caught in it.
If it's a verbal thought, of course, you understand the words if like it's like being in a room and somebody else is having a conversation. You understand the words. But you don't need to get engaged in the conversation you don't you don't need to actively ea drop and follow the thread of. You'll know the meaning of the individual words, you'll know the meaning of the phrases, but you're training from from pursuing the meaningful thread. Yep. That was my first really sore experience of the value meditation what's when I started doing...
I her? This labeling i talking me about I found that my line had three groups in had cut pretty deep. Yeah. Almost all of these thoughts were in one of these three categories. And and and two of them were topics so the only was a category. But... So I I just just gently kept labeling and doing this practice you're describing. And they they... It's like the mind have word with itself. That does those groups just stopped being there so frequently quickly. Not because I managed them, but because I paid attention to them in mild way mh.
And and it became... Felt like I ever judged it to be wearing, but there was a feeling going on that my mind was done with That wasn't interesting to. Someone to my surprise this weekend one of them back. Hey. There's that old group again. Like, near obsessive and thoughts about this one thing, not it's not. My hunch about that is that it's because there against such a... I don't know. It's just like this is the longest series part since I've ever done so far. I I've done a ten day june. But I don't know.
So, why is that thought bell? Why does i group back? And thoughts? I'm not I'm not real pleased with it, but I'm go with it. It's just about this again. Hard to know why it came back, but it it might not have been really gone. It might have just been sort of can't hiding and when you sit here and get quiet at enough. That's that's... Experience. Yeah. Oh, well. Oh okay. There's that to do. Well, that's what you call cutting and at the root. That's that? Oh that's what you call cutting it at the root.
Cutting it out to... Yeah. You. You... And you've gotta get to the root... Like, the individual flights to come up. They're sort of, like the leafs and the branches and you keep cutting those off, but they'll keep growing back. You gotta get to the root yeah. Okay. It started like what's that stuff that Monsanto makes that spray on that plants? I round out Yeah. Sorry round round up for the mine this way. You refused to engage with a thought, but you allow it to be there in that That's round up for the mine it gets to to reach.
I noticed that I have a certain pattern. When I have a strong negative... I I'd recognize it. And I can look at it and I can let it go But the next step it always kind in mind so. Mh And just just there's a amount of pressure. And and from there, is last a little bit longer, but I can eventually eventually disappears And I have haven't heard heard anyone else mentioned that as a pattern. Is that unusual? Or is it i handling something wrong, but it seems to drinking to my body. That you're definitely not handling anything problem any.
Because that is the right way to deal with. What's a little bit unusual if I hear you correctly is the thoughts gone, but the emotion is remaining. Not really the emotion the emotion will go as well. Know but but then there's there's like feeling there. Is the physical feeling one that would be typical of the emotion that associated with it. An example. Well, for example, take anger there's anger and it's identified it is associated with it. A certain event. I can let it let it go. And the anger disappears as an upsetting emotion.
But it That exists as a pressure saved by chest. I'll okay i for a little while. Or maybe, you know, minute or two. But from variable it'll fade. So I feel like it's kind of a successful operation general. Okay. I I suspect that the feeling and pressure in your chest is that at some level you push the anger way, you have just way go and because... Because it hasn't really disappeared. That's why you're still getting that that sensation in your chest is a message that that it didn't really go away on and own haven't.
He's pressure and it just goes away feeling depression the chest does go away. But... Please... Setting experience of the what Id idea i... I seen a static experience. I've that corresponds to right I'm interpreting as kin aesthetic experience corresponds to the emotion of the anger. And the type you're not consciously aware of being angry anymore that you have a sensation in your body suggests to me that there's still some lingering green. Bit of the anger. But, yeah, watch the sensation and maybe and you're letting go When you let go of something, that's important that you're letting it go by itself.
You're not and I pushing it. You're you're letting go is isn't a pushing away or throwing a away. It's it's a genuine no longer grasping to it. Let go and there. Now it's gone by itself. But wouldn't it have corresponding feeling? I mean, there... It seems to me that there would be a course... yes... Because it corresponding. There's a corresponding feeling to emotions in general. Right. I'm just I'm just trying to interpret why you would have the feeling lingering after the conscious perception and motion is caught And in my experience, I usually experience it the other way around.
There's a feeling in the body. And I may not recognize the emotion. But if I pay attention to the feeling, then I will recognize the emotion. So my experience is is the other way around this, the feeling proceeds the conscious recognition of the emotion. In many cases not so much nowadays, but years ago, I was ten person I I didn't know what my emotions were. People around me wouldn't know if I was pan upset I no. I even argue it from face said But part of my process of learning to recognize my emotions was paying attention to sensations in my body.
So that's right owners. My experience is is the bodily feelings are the queue that allows you to consciously aware of emotions that he may be blocking. Now that's my experience. So I listen to what you say, And the thing is it's a little bit backwards, but i'm intending to interpret on the basis of my experience on the basis of my experience, because the feeling was still there, but I was no longer aware of the anger, it would be like before when heighten resign, but I didn't know it that the do physical fee i there.
So make it may not may not be an accurate interpretation in your case. But what I would say yes, is that when there is a negative fought or emotion. And you're at to point where you feel like you can let go of it. Nature sure that you're letting go is really you're not holding on to it, but you're also not trying to suppress it. Appreciate. That sounds like it would would be tricky. How do you know you're not? How do you know when you've seen emotion that you're not feeding it? And and when do you know whether you're really letting to go over for feeding at part of here or get long spend up.
Hard just say sometimes. The. But you can You you can't figure that out pretty pretty quickly if if you're paying it... If you're being mindful of the process, I don't know how to describe a way to do it. If you if you are aware that there may be a component of a rejection or suppression in your response. If you're just aware that there may be then you're going to more easily detect their there. And you don't need to get into analyzing me just to let that awareness and contribute to. Thanks. To when you we need to add a emotion like anger or irritation or something like that?
And he recognize it for what it is and you realize that's not something that you want or need, And you like all of it? You want to stay in place of mine toll awareness all all around the whole experience. You don't want to say, okay. I'll let go of it and then move on to something else days nine rates. And... That's what happens. That's what happens. Most of us and been reason those are. And naturally might totally where is because quick to move on. The fact that you know that there's a physical feeling.
Remaining because that's that's my. When you having that one forward there? I think that may be a big part of it, because I happen to I think very quick to try to let goes to sonic or might the distraction ago. Maybe maybe I should just gentle not. And the other thing I think is very useful too is to try to see if you can generate in his place some more positive healing or emotion or thought perspective. So if you're feeling because of something that somebody did, then you might actually as a part of examining and see if you can reframe that reaction in terms of understanding of patients they're passionate.
Once again, not not forcing your yourself. Not trying to artificially suppress anger and I place it with compassion, but by trying to genuinely see from a different perspective that gives rise to a more positive wholesome kind of motion. Okay. We talked a long time here. Anybody have any urgent any questions?