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SoulSail
3rd February 2012, 10:07 PM
This is a long post. Youíve been warned.

And if you read it, and if by the end of all this mess below you are no more enlightened or better off, Iíll reimburse you for the coffee or whatever it took for you endure it all. Just send me the bill.

Scene and Setting

So, last night I was in a rather expansive mood. My mind was a bit scattered, but in a good way. I was open. Light. I felt receptive to new ideas and ways of looking at a number of things in my life, but no one thing in particular. Itís that place where different angles and different lighting come into play. This state doesnít come natural to me. Itís usually something that just happens, comes and goes, but itís pleasant.

I liken it to how you often stare at a problem for hours only to find youíre not only unable to solve it, youíre also losing a grip on the composite parts that you thought you understood at the start. You set the pen down, go make ->tea<-, and then boom: the answer surfaces and unravels for you. Thinking too hard had been the real problem all along. Overthinking put you in tunnel vision mode.

Now, perhaps itís because my Grandmother just passed this week and whole thing shifted me, got me reappraising things, I do not know. But why this expansive mode came is not terribly important. What happened in the hours that followed are.

A little background

The day after my grandmother died I decided to abandon practicing Astral Projection, Lucid Dreaming, and all such related ďphenomenon,Ē for lack of a better word. This was the result of some clarity I received during meditation. I was putting in too much while neglecting weightier matters.

Now, when I say, I ďreceived,Ē I mean to say that I understood clearly, without engaging my conscious mind, that I had lost focus on what was in my best interests, and those of my family. Call that understanding the voice of the higher self, God, whatever. (This type of thing doesnít arrive on your door and insist you recognize its face before it gives you the lesson. It doesnít show off its credentials and expect recognition or worship in return. I avoid characters and cosmic voices that doóthey are everywhere and they only litter the spiritual landscape.)

Back to my story

Some time ago I set out to practice Vipassana meditation. After many, many years of spiritual neglect and floundering, this seemed like a worthy goal. The idea was to lay a proper foundation for obtaining legit enlightenment. Iím not a Buddhist, but I take the Buddhaís words very seriously. Strip away the formalities or the religion and you find Quantum Physics catching up nicely with what the man proposed.

Yet, somehow I got distracted by lots of other stuff. The manual had warned me about this. In fact, when novitiates enter monasteries (in most traditions), they are almost always warned about being seduced by budding psychic phenomenon. Not that the transcendental and psychic states are good or bad or right or wrong, but focus must be kept on the foundation before enrolling in other schoolsólearn first to slow the mind, bring acute focus to the breath and present moment, and then one may properly handle psychic and transcendental states as they naturally arise, which is bound to happen.

Iím doing my best to make a very long story short and failing. Bear with me or get that bill started because weíre not done.

So during last nightís meditation, with all other concerns and subjects off the map and out of consideration, I set my mind to go a little farther on the nature of suffering, with the specific intent to begin understanding how something as simple as bringing attention to oneís breath and tethering awareness to the present moment, as if it were the first and only moment to ever exist, could eventually result in liberation. After all, Iíve been doing a lot of breathing and still suffer plenty.

I didnít like walking around with a disjointed view on how the mechanics come together to produce something lasting, and I wanted to at least figure that much out.

Meditation in successive parts eventually sums to enlightenment? How?

After a wild night of deep meditation in which I began hallucinating because I was so tired, but unwilling to give up, I had arrived with what I considered a fairly adequate set of analogies and metaphors to help me understand how meditation eventually overthrows our root problem. I had some handles, labels, and ideas. These ideas were simple, yet I also found in them a paradoxical complexity I didnít like. Iím not going to put that all down here, itís not important and youíll see why.

Then I went to bedÖ

This morning I arrived at work with my mind still spinning on the topic. I was trying to map my new ideas to parts and plug everything together in alignment with what the Buddha taught. But the nagging sense of complexity was ever-present.

I crossed by the Metro train station by my office. This is an ugly, busy, and rude place (the Metro, not my office). If youíve ever been to Washington DC, you know what I mean. However, on this day there came something unusual: a womanís voice rose from the train station below. Opera. Her singing was so lovely I stopped in my tracks. Stopping is critical. Make sure you stop now and then.

After all, Augustine was converted by such an experience, but Iím not going to wax too philosophical here. You can look it up.

What matters

Is that universe was prepping me for something. I see that now. It had to pull my mind off my little theories, distract me with beauty so it could come in the back door and deliver truth. (Note similarity to opening paragraphs. We have a pattern going).


The delivery

All my analogies were fair, and I sensed I had done well in at least trying to think things through. The Universe was pleased Iíd made the effort, but it assured me I was up against irreducible complexity the way I was going about it. NOT the way to enlightenment. So it kindly replaced my many pieces and parts with something simpler, something that made instant sense to ME: tea.

On liberation

Put a teabag in a cup of water. Wait. Wait. Done.

Get it?

Now this is where you, my beloved forum readers come in. At least, those of you still reading.

As I see it

That tea bag is you, meÖus. Easy enough. Itís just a symbol for all of our parts. And for sanityís sake, letís keep the analogy to one person for now.

Inside your teabag exists a collection of leafy bits. Each bit is distinct and far too complicated to get your head around despite science (hereís where my previous efforts were failing, I was trying to figure out the composite parts, how they worked, the role they played, etc.).

Now each little bit is critical, for each contains countless properties that are about to be dispersed when the whole thing is dunked. Steeping is the practice of meditation. Heat, time, and water slowly begin to separate what had been glued seamlessly together in those bits.

Unless we make tea, the glue remains between thousands of bits and their dual inner states. For example: thought (leafy bit essence) and thinker (leafy bit) seem one and the same. Thinker thinks itís the thought, and thought, well, thought just is. Eckhart Tolle does his best to drive this idea home in his books. I thought I got what he was saying. I didnítÖnot until now.


The teabag contains a mess: the human condition wherein all your real issues are part of you, just like smoke in your clothes after standing next to a bonfire all night. The fire wasnít you, nor the smoke. But never mind thatÖyou canít smell a thing.

Okay, Iím jumping analogies; time to get back on track.

In the steeping process, everything decouples, drifts, and changes. This may be confusing at first, but now you can see what you once thought was ďyouĒ floating off into the water, and so you see these things as they really are. There goes the idea that your too fat or thin. You watch that idea drift off and soon it smears around into two words: fat and thin. Fat and thin separate and no longer hold meaning because they donít have you for a parent or shelter anymore, theyíre just labels.

Some time after this, the tea water eventually settles, the cup clears, and we come up from the mat as a buddha.

Iím not trying to write a book. I swear.

Furthermore, I doubt what Iíve written here is news to anyone whoís given Vipassana (or any meditation) a serious spin for more than one day. However, I get it now.

The problem IS irreducibly complex. Who cares about the mechanism that forces tea leaf essence to abandon the tea? That matters zilcho. That leafy essence works its way out is all I care about.

Iím only stumbling across truths that folks have been stumbling across since time started. Nothing novel here, just novel to me. In fact, Iím a little floored that Iíve been reading this message over and over for naught. The stack of books Iíve accumulated is silly. All I needed was to pay attention to my tea.

Ordinarily I would never post something like this here. This would go in my journal, and it will.

The primary mover on my motivation to post is thisÖ

The wisdom that surfaced in me today came with the assurance that once the tea has steeped long enough, and all essences have sufficiently diffused and settled in the cup; the ability to navigate the cup (Astral Projection) is effortless, natural, and utterly enjoyable. No longer are things of the mind veiled or punctuated by bewildering symbolism, characters, and back alleys.

So soak.


Soul,

p.s. I could be wrong on any and all points above. You were warned.

CFTraveler
3rd February 2012, 11:10 PM
This is a long post. You’ve been warned.

And if you read it, and if by the end of all this mess below you are no more enlightened or better off, I’ll reimburse you for the coffee or whatever it took for you endure it all. Just send me the bill.

Scene and Setting

So, last night I was in a rather expansive mood. My mind was a bit scattered, but in a good way. I was open. Light. I felt receptive to new ideas and ways of looking at a number of things in my life, but no one thing in particular. It’s that place where different angles and different lighting come into play. This state doesn’t come natural to me. It’s usually something that just happens, comes and goes, but it’s pleasant.

I liken it to how you often stare at a problem for hours only to find you’re not only unable to solve it, you’re also losing a grip on the composite parts that you thought you understood at the start. You set the pen down, go make ->tea<-, and then boom: the answer surfaces and unravels for you. Thinking too hard had been the real problem all along. Overthinking put you in tunnel vision mode.

Now, perhaps it’s because my Grandmother just passed this week and whole thing shifted me, got me reappraising things, I do not know. But why this expansive mode came is not terribly important. What happened in the hours that followed are.

A little background

The day after my grandmother died I decided to abandon practicing Astral Projection, Lucid Dreaming, and all such related “phenomenon,” for lack of a better word. This was the result of some clarity I received during meditation. I was putting in too much while neglecting weightier matters.

Now, when I say, I “received,” I mean to say that I understood clearly, without engaging my conscious mind, that I had lost focus on what was in my best interests, and those of my family. Call that understanding the voice of the higher self, God, whatever. (This type of thing doesn’t arrive on your door and insist you recognize its face before it gives you the lesson. It doesn’t show off its credentials and expect recognition or worship in return. I avoid characters and cosmic voices that do—they are everywhere and they only litter the spiritual landscape.)

Back to my story

Some time ago I set out to practice Vipassana meditation. After many, many years of spiritual neglect and floundering, this seemed like a worthy goal. The idea was to lay a proper foundation for obtaining legit enlightenment. I’m not a Buddhist, but I take the Buddha’s words very seriously. Strip away the formalities or the religion and you find Quantum Physics catching up nicely with what the man proposed.

Yet, somehow I got distracted by lots of other stuff. The manual had warned me about this. In fact, when novitiates enter monasteries (in most traditions), they are almost always warned about being seduced by budding psychic phenomenon. Not that the transcendental and psychic states are good or bad or right or wrong, but focus must be kept on the foundation before enrolling in other schools—learn first to slow the mind, bring acute focus to the breath and present moment, and then one may properly handle psychic and transcendental states as they naturally arise, which is bound to happen.

I’m doing my best to make a very long story short and failing. Bear with me or get that bill started because we’re not done.

So during last night’s meditation, with all other concerns and subjects off the map and out of consideration, I set my mind to go a little farther on the nature of suffering, with the specific intent to begin understanding how something as simple as bringing attention to one’s breath and tethering awareness to the present moment, as if it were the first and only moment to ever exist, could eventually result in liberation. After all, I’ve been doing a lot of breathing and still suffer plenty.

I didn’t like walking around with a disjointed view on how the mechanics come together to produce something lasting, and I wanted to at least figure that much out.

Meditation in successive parts eventually sums to enlightenment? How?

After a wild night of deep meditation in which I began hallucinating because I was so tired, but unwilling to give up, I had arrived with what I considered a fairly adequate set of analogies and metaphors to help me understand how meditation eventually overthrows our root problem. I had some handles, labels, and ideas. These ideas were simple, yet I also found in them a paradoxical complexity I didn’t like. I’m not going to put that all down here, it’s not important and you’ll see why.

Then I went to bed…

This morning I arrived at work with my mind still spinning on the topic. I was trying to map my new ideas to parts and plug everything together in alignment with what the Buddha taught. But the nagging sense of complexity was ever-present.

I crossed by the Metro train station by my office. This is an ugly, busy, and rude place (the Metro, not my office). If you’ve ever been to Washington DC, you know what I mean. However, on this day there came something unusual: a woman’s voice rose from the train station below. Opera. Her singing was so lovely I stopped in my tracks. Stopping is critical. Make sure you stop now and then.

After all, Augustine was converted by such an experience, but I’m not going to wax too philosophical here. You can look it up.

What matters

Is that universe was prepping me for something. I see that now. It had to pull my mind off my little theories, distract me with beauty so it could come in the back door and deliver truth. (Note similarity to opening paragraphs. We have a pattern going).


The delivery

All my analogies were fair, and I sensed I had done well in at least trying to think things through. The Universe was pleased I’d made the effort, but it assured me I was up against irreducible complexity the way I was going about it. NOT the way to enlightenment. So it kindly replaced my many pieces and parts with something simpler, something that made instant sense to ME: tea.

On liberation

Put a teabag in a cup of water. Wait. Wait. Done.

Get it?

Now this is where you, my beloved forum readers come in. At least, those of you still reading.

As I see it

That tea bag is you, me…us. Easy enough. It’s just a symbol for all of our parts. And for sanity’s sake, let’s keep the analogy to one person for now.

Inside your teabag exists a collection of leafy bits. Each bit is distinct and far too complicated to get your head around despite science (here’s where my previous efforts were failing, I was trying to figure out the composite parts, how they worked, the role they played, etc.).

Now each little bit is critical, for each contains countless properties that are about to be dispersed when the whole thing is dunked. Steeping is the practice of meditation. Heat, time, and water slowly begin to separate what had been glued seamlessly together in those bits.

Unless we make tea, the glue remains between thousands of bits and their dual inner states. For example: thought (leafy bit essence) and thinker (leafy bit) seem one and the same. Thinker thinks it’s the thought, and thought, well, thought just is. Eckhart Tolle does his best to drive this idea home in his books. I thought I got what he was saying. I didn’t…not until now.


The teabag contains a mess: the human condition wherein all your real issues are part of you, just like smoke in your clothes after standing next to a bonfire all night. The fire wasn’t you, nor the smoke. But never mind that…you can’t smell a thing.

Okay, I’m jumping analogies; time to get back on track.

In the steeping process, everything decouples, drifts, and changes. This may be confusing at first, but now you can see what you once thought was “you” floating off into the water, and so you see these things as they really are. There goes the idea that your too fat or thin. You watch that idea drift off and soon it smears around into two words: fat and thin. Fat and thin separate and no longer hold meaning because they don’t have you for a parent or shelter anymore, they’re just labels.

Some time after this, the tea water eventually settles, the cup clears, and we come up from the mat as a buddha.

I’m not trying to write a book. I swear.

Furthermore, I doubt what I’ve written here is news to anyone who’s given Vipassana (or any meditation) a serious spin for more than one day. However, I get it now.

The problem IS irreducibly complex. Who cares about the mechanism that forces tea leaf essence to abandon the tea? That matters zilcho. That leafy essence works its way out is all I care about.

I’m only stumbling across truths that folks have been stumbling across since time started. Nothing novel here, just novel to me. In fact, I’m a little floored that I’ve been reading this message over and over for naught. The stack of books I’ve accumulated is silly. All I needed was to pay attention to my tea.

Ordinarily I would never post something like this here. This would go in my journal, and it will.

The primary mover on my motivation to post is this…

The wisdom that surfaced in me today came with the assurance that once the tea has steeped long enough, and all essences have sufficiently diffused and settled in the cup; the ability to navigate the cup (Astral Projection) is effortless, natural, and utterly enjoyable. No longer are things of the mind veiled or punctuated by bewildering symbolism, characters, and back alleys.

So soak.


Soul,

p.s. I could be wrong on any and all points above. You were warned. That was a very enjoyable read. Worth the bag of Doritos. :)

newfreedom
3rd February 2012, 11:36 PM
Well as soon as you mentioned 'tea' you had my attention.....:lol2: xx

SoulSail
4th February 2012, 12:46 AM
That was a very enjoyable read. Worth the bag of Doritos. :)

Cool ranch? Original? Bet they were good, huh?

Glad the read was enjoyable, so glad in fact, you've encouraged me to post the much longer and internationally-respected companion series called, "Chicken Soup for the Wordy Treatise on the ah-ha Moment Lover's Soul."

Coming in at just over 1200 pages, I'm sure it'll be a smash hit.

Soul

SoulSail
4th February 2012, 01:18 AM
Meh, I rate it two stars. Two out of ten. I stuck around for the whole read, but honestly, you missed a few slightly important aspects.

First, "you're" and "your" are little details you should master before anything else. Just sayin'

And boy, the whole Astral Planes in a cup thing...a truly observant writer would've taken the time to point out how the water's color has a gradient shade after the tea settles. See, the heavy and course particles of tea (thoughts) sink, they're darker. The lighter ones rise up.

Get it? Lower planes, higher planes? Gradients? Darker planes, lighter planes?

Hack.

Dreamer
4th February 2012, 02:59 AM
Great post Soul! I'm gonna brew up a cup right now.

CFTraveler
4th February 2012, 04:57 AM
Cool ranch? Original? Bet they were good, huh?

They were "Pizza Supreme" flavor, but I like the spicy nacho better, to tell you the truth.
Can't wait for Chicken Soup. :tongue:

CFTraveler
4th February 2012, 04:59 AM
Meh, I rate it two stars. Two out of ten. I stuck around for the whole read, but honestly, you missed a few slightly important aspects.

First, "you're" and "your" are little details you should master before anything else. Just sayin'

And boy, the whole Astral Planes in a cup thing...a truly observant writer would've taken the time to point out how the water's color has a gradient shade after the tea settles. See, the heavy and course particles of tea (thoughts) sink, they're darker. The lighter ones rise up.

Get it? Lower planes, higher planes? Gradients? Darker planes, lighter planes?

Hack. The word 'chemicalization' came to mind (it's a very old concept, coined by Cady in possibly the thirties, I think) but not in respect to the tea, more in terms of your realization.
Cheers
:wave:

SoulSail
4th February 2012, 06:38 PM
Hi CFT,

Interesting, and yes, I can see how that came to your mind. Odd word for it. I'm giving this considerable thought over the weekend. I've seen the principle work in so many areas of life that it makes me wonder how much simulation/testing goes on during the outset of these adventures.

Take care,

Soul

SoulSail
5th February 2012, 11:33 PM
I'm posting a short follow-up on this after having spent some time today with a very gifted, high-profile psychic in my area. I met her this afternoon for the first time. She read my mail so accurately I got a little creeped.

In short, she addressed the whole matter I posted above regarding meditation and such. I liked her take on it.

(note, she didn't come here and read my post, what I mean is that we talked about meditation and the roads it leads down. I'm paraphrasing a bit here).

Basically, she challenged me on whether or not it was necessary to give up the exploration of consciousness through AP and WILDs in order to focus only on meditation. What she was getting at made sense right away, I tend to be all or nothing on competing matters, or matters that I see at odds whether or not they actually are.

She said that my meditation had advanced far beyond my ability to see it for what it was. As she spoke, she pointed out all sorts of life situations that the end product of my meditating had bled into. Lots.

"So," she said, "you know how to ground yourself, analyze inner states fairly well, differentiate thought from thinker, so why go now and shut down Astral Travel? If anything you're in a very good spot to practice it. These things go hand in hand. First you learn to sit and get quiet, but what for? You do it so you can see and understand reality as it is, and we must be inclusive when talking about reality. You don't cut off one part for another, even if they seem imbalanced. You balance back, and then you take the mysterious on in whatever form it presents itself. You go and meditate on those presentations so you can broaden your understanding of the nature of what really IS. There is no conflict here. There's only conflict when you're chasing esoteric experiences without knowing how to interpret day-to-day affairs."

I think the biggest correction I've had to make was just accepting that what she saw was accurate: that I've gone far enough on the mat to keep going on other fronts.

For what it's worth...


Soul

CFTraveler
6th February 2012, 01:26 AM
Yay for her. And for you to, for talking to her.

Korpo
11th February 2012, 12:21 AM
Hello, SoulSail.

Isn't complexity a wonderful thing? A Universe too complex to be understood by the thinking, analysing mind alone has a consequence. Whenever you embark on a quest to understand that Universe by those means you will fail. And this failure will open a door to move beyond those means and make a definite step towards enlightenment. For to abandon the addiction to one thing you often first have to see its failure happening.

In this sense, reduction of complexity and simplification can be outright misleading, distracting from enlightenment. Why is the Zen monk baffled? Because the next moment is deeply different, no matter how much it looks alike on the surface. As the Universe moves it creates complexities beyond measure, and as long one is stuck in form (and concrete thought) one has no chance to fathom. Being overwhelmed is unavoidable. Some shut down in response to this, but those who persist will find that a new way opens up.

I find your psychic friend's statements most wise. I remember listening to Shinzen Young's takes on this in his big audio book "The Science of Enlightenment." To him, all planes of existence are just to be encountered with the same detached attitude. An astral experience is an experience, a physical experience is an experience. Don't get engrossed, enthralled. Don't lose yourself by getting taken over, take them all the same. If you can do this, you have a high degree of lucidity wherever you go. You experience these realities but use them as fuel for training for enlightenment. They're not good or bad, they just are. You just are.

While I do not always agree with Shinzen's take on things, I think he nailed a fundamental truth: All reality exists to guide towards enlightenment. I also think that all reality is both illusion and real, illusion as far as for the limitations you perceive and real as far as the lessons it teaches.

In this sense, the discernment you cultivate on the mat needs to be taken to the world. Discernment is a microscope, but only the observations you make with it will refine what you can do with it. Imagine widening its scope from all the experiences that come to mind to all key events in your life since conception, expanding further beyond birth and death, over all incarnations and even beyond having taken human form, ever further and ever wider in scope. Unlike a real microscope the perception sense will broaden AND deepen, giving both access to bigger wholes and more miniscule detail.

I think this is where theosophy reconciles itself with Buddhism. Each energy body achieved along this evolutionary path is a bigger and better of these "microscopes" (or maybe "macroscopes"? ;) ). Its senses, its perception sense will open up new ways of understanding, representing this very discernment and insight Buddhists try to achieve on the mat. And so it comes together - the development of energy bodies is linked to what you do in meditation, and what you see and understand using these vehicles of consciousness is related to the state of mind and attitude you hold.

For the little I know about both subject matters (because I tend to skip details) I've come to think that a lot of Buddhist training is aimed at cultivating what the theosophists (and Kurt) have named the causal and buddhic bodies. And these become part of your stepladder towards enlightenment for the reasons stated above.

Oliver

SoulSail
11th February 2012, 12:53 AM
Thanks for the thoughtful response, Korpo--Oliver. At a minimum I'm thrilled nobody has sent me a bill yet.

Now, I would be doing a disservice to this whole post if I didn't follow with a bit on Thursday's meditation session, which took place around 2 p.m.

Here I am sitting and breathing, following that breath like a cat follows a ball of yarn unraveling all around the house. Thoughts coming and going, turn the corner and find the string again...you know the drill.

And just then I am aware of the whole unseen energy damn about to burst. I can feel the beams vibrating slowly at first, the blocks I'd put up are trembling for the weight of something fierce that' won't be contained any longer.

What? I'm thinking...what? Not know, this is Vipassana. I'm all good with starting my VP practice again, but this is meditation.

Ha.

So the damn breaks, I lean back, and go under the flow of energy. My heart chakra goes racing, and just like that, I am back to what doesn't want to be separated.

Score:
Universe: 1
Soul's cutting of experiential phenomenon from his meditation: 0


Soul

Korpo
11th February 2012, 03:46 PM
Hello, SoulSail.


Score:
Universe: 1
Soul's cutting of experiential phenomenon from his meditation: 0

What do you mean by "cutting experiential phenomenon from meditation" and why is it your goal?

Thanks,
Oliver

SoulSail
11th February 2012, 09:06 PM
Hello, SoulSail.



What do you mean by "cutting experiential phenomenon from meditation" and why is it your goal?

Thanks,
Oliver

Oh, I was just referring to my original post where I had decided to quit practicing AP in favor of strict focus on meditation.

I just found it odd and funny that while I'd normally always separated these two practices, and one (AP) I'd set on the shelf, the AP exit symptoms came storming back almost immediately after I opened up again to the idea that I didn't need to treat these as mutually exclusive. More, exit symptoms have never shown up during my Vipassana practice. So this was a first. And one that underscores the point my psychic made: there is no conflict here.

I have a way of confusing matters when I write. My brain knows what it wants to say, but the correct interpretation never seems to arrive at the keyboard.

Make sense?


Soul

Korpo
12th February 2012, 12:47 AM
Kinda. :D

Oliver