Amplify / Release II

 

I have written about the amplify / release experiment before.

Notice something stressful, uncomfortable or painful.

Amplify it. Make it as strong as you can. Do this for 10 seconds.

Release. Relax. Hum a song. Do this for about as long.

Repeat a few times.

Among other things, this helps me notice how I try to make it stronger.

Bring attention to the sensations. Amplify images (clarity, size, content). Amplify words (tone of voice, volume, content). These are the sensations, images, and words already making up the initial stressful or uncomfortable experience.

Feel contractions. Tighten certain muscles. Hold the breath. Create a face that goes with the feelings. Look at an image of me feeling a certain way. Exaggerate that image.

This is very helpful in educating my mind about how it creates its own stressful and uncomfortable experiences. I get to see how velcro is crated (velcro = belief = identification = hangups = mind knots).

For instance, I had a feeling of being unloved come up.

I notice and feel the sensations in the heart and throat area. I notice and look at an image of me looking unloved, sad, lonely. I hear myself say the word UNLOVED and the words I AM UNLOVED and listen to the sound.

I notice I hold my breath back, and amplify that by tensing muscles in the chest and belly area.

I see an image of me alone, with people in the periphery having fun and feeling connected. I make the picture stronger, clearer.

And so on. All of this helps me see how my mind creates the initial experience of being unloved and alone.

The amplify / release experiment does a lot more than this. See the initial post for more.

From states, to insights, to recognizing it through changing states

 

Some states of consciousness highlight an aspect of reality. For instance, a state may turn the volume of bliss, love, oneness or selflessness up so it’s unmissable. States can also highlight and turn the volume up on aspects of delusion, such as suffering, or even how suffering is created.

Combined with curiosity, this turned up volume of an aspect of reality can give insights.

And the invitation is to take these insights as a question and starting point for inquiry in any state, and through changing states.

Here are some examples:

There is a state of bliss. An insight that consciousness is bliss, it’s inherent in reality. And an invitation to find this in any state of consciousness, including those that at first look anything but blissful.

There is a state of love. An insight that consciousness is love too. And an invitation to find love through other states, including those that do not appear particularly love-filled from a conventional view.

There is a state of oneness. An insight that reality is one, always. And an invitation to notice this oneness, perhaps especially when mind makes reality not appear one.

There is a state of selflessness. An insight that there is no I here. And again an invitation to notice this through changing states and experiences.

There is a state where the dynamics of identification, delusion and suffering is particularly clear. There is an insight into these dynamics. And an invitation to recognize this as it happens through the changing states and experiences.

 These states of consciousness are a gift in that they highlight aspects of reality. They offer insight. And this insight is then an invitation for inquiry through the changing states and content of experience. It’s a starting point for inquiry, and this inquiry may lead to further insights.

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Insight as protection

 

Insight can be used as protection against experiencing what’s here.

I tell myself I know what’s going on, I have a map, I have an understanding, I have clarity. Mind identifies with these positions. And this creates a protection against confusion, pain and sensations and images a thought says are unpleasant or dangerous.

Mind takes refuge in a belief in clarity (insight), telling itself it’s a way to not experience what’s here.

One sign of this happening is that mind becomes very fascinated with its own insights and understanding, instead of wordlessly experiencing what’s here. And there may be a slight sense of fear or dread in considering wordlessly experiencing what’s here.

How would it be right now if there wasn’t this belief in clarity?

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What’s insight?

 

What’s insight?

I find it’s often wordless, and then reflected in images and sometimes thoughts and words.

It’s seeing and recognizing something that’s more true for me than what I initially thought.

It’s an invitation to reorient, to allow the insight to sink in an reorient view, feelings and how I am in the world.

It’s a guest. After the reorientation, it may serve as a question and invitation to look at what’s here, and what I find is fresh and different.

The value of the memory or idea of an insight is as a question and invitation for inquiry. What do I find when I explore this here now in immediacy?

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From realization to being

 

Here is Adyashanti talking about the shift from insight to dissolution of identity, or from realization to being it.

It’s something that’s very much alive for me these days. I knew that realization and insights were just stepping stones, and now they seem to belong more to the past – at least in terms of interest. What it’s about now is being it, allowing and – as Adya says – aligning myself with the shift into being it.

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Dream: Insight

 


I am led by a guide into a secret Buddhist city, ancient and new at the same time. It contains all the wisdom of Buddhism and beyond, and research is being conducted into every subject under the sun. A man greets me in a small central office. He tells me, cheerily, that I am to learn all the knowledge in the city, not only once but ten times over. I say that it is not only hopeless but futile, and he says “yes, that is exactly what you will learn. It can’t be done, insight is endless, and it won’t get you what you desire the most.”

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Awakening and insight

 

Only one insight is required and sufficient for awakening, and that is the – alive and direct – insight into what we really are. That which content of awareness happens within and as.

All other insights are independent of awakening. They can happen before or after awakening, and there is also no end to them.

And if we are lucky, they have a practical – although temporary and limited – value.

Some insights can sometimes help our human self function in the world – including help with its healing, maturing and development of skillful means. This is the worldly wisdom.

And some insights can sometimes serve as a pointer for noticing what we really are, or rather – for what we are to notice itself. These are the insights into the dynamics of samsara, into how and when to apply certain pointers to notice what we are, and the insight into what we are that comes from directly noticing what we are – even if it is not yet a full blown awakening.

So insights can have an immense value in these practical and limited ways, and it may be helpful to notice that their value is practical and limited. Especially if we get caught up in unfolding insights for their own sake, since that too can become a trap.

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Gaining insight from the content of accusations

 

I read a great post from Vince on how to relate to accusations.

One thing I would like to add to the list is gaining insight from the content of the accusations. In this way, we benefit from the content, and the other person benefits from feeling heard and acknowledged.

(Few things are as annoying as being caught up in reactivity and sharing it with someone who just goes into equanimity without relating to the content of what we have to say.)

Anything anyone has to say about us has, inevitably, some grain of truth in it.

How can I find it in myself? Can I find three or more examples in my own life where it is genuinely true for me, maybe even in how I relate to this person right now?

Why is it better that this person said this in exactly this way? Can I find three genuine examples of why it is better?

Mutuality of stability and insight

 

There are several ways stability and insight work together.

Stability practice itself, such as counting the breath, inevitably gives some insights. The first one is usually how active the mind is, and how easily attention is distracted and lives its own life outside of conscious control. Then other things, such as how distractions has to do with attention getting absorbed into stories, and how beliefs related to these stories makes it more likely for attention to be absorbed into them. (They seem more real, more important, and they are also identified with so not recognized as just thoughts very easily, until maybe afterwards.)

Stability of attention also helps more explicit insight practices, first by allowing attention to stay wherever it is put for longer, and also by generally calming the activity of the mind so there are fewer hooks for distraction.

And insights allow for more stability of attention. We learn to see through how beliefs are created, as it happens, and recognize thoughts more easily as just thoughts. And this lessens the tendency for attention to get absorbed on the inside of thoughts, which in turn allows attention to more easily stay where it is put.

Awakened, and expert in only one thing

 

Among the many misconceptions about awakening is that it somehow gives omnipotent powers, or omniscient knowledge, or even some wisdom in worldly matters.

The reality of it is that an awakened one is an expert on only one thing: knowing what he/she really is.

Or said another way: the unmanifest knows itself as awake void, and all form as awake void, and that is the extent of its special knowledge. There is not necessarily any profound or unusual knowledge about the operations of the manifest world itself.

And that is because that knowledge, about the operations of the manifest world, comes through experience with the manifest world. It comes through a lived human life.

Any knowledge about the manifest world is worldly knowledge, and not really any different from what we can have even if the unmanifest has not awakened to itself.

This is of course why an awakened one is not necessarily a good teacher, or has a lot of experience with different practices, or is especially wise in worldly and practical matters. It is also why he or she is not necessarily able to give good advice in any area of life, including, shockingly enough, how to prepare the ground for awakening.

All of that comes from experience, and must be gained in the ordinary way, through learning, exploring, trying things out, making mistakes. In short, through living a human life.

And this is also why some folks, who have a great deal of experience with certain explorations and practices, know more about (some of) the mechanisms of samsara than even those who have awakened. The Work and the Big Mind process are good examples of this, offering very differentiated and detailed insights into the mechanisms of the mind to people where there is not yet a full awakening.

So even if we meet an awakened one, we don’t need to expect them to have all – or any – of the answers, or even being able to point the way for us in any particular area. They may, of course, but that comes through their experiences with the world of form, their human explorations and experiences.

And it also means they are fallible, as much as anyone else. They may or may not know how to point the way for anyone else, in any particular area, including awakening. Their insights may be limited. Their strategies flawed. Their judgment poor.

Just as for anyone else of us.

Basics and elaboration

 

It seems that when void awakens to itself, allowing identifications to fall away, some things are obvious. First, that all content of awareness is this awake void itself. Then, that any identifications, any beliefs in thoughts, any absorption into the content of thoughts, clouds over this recognition of being awake void and form (and conversely, that void awakening to itself does away with those identifications).

And inherent in both of those, that there is no inherent center anywhere, no inherent I with an Other. It is just this awake void and any forms as the awake void itself… a field with no center, with no I and Other, and still, somehow, temporarily and functionally connected with this human self, who is able to work with any story appropriate to the situation… without taking it as anything more than a tool of temporary and purely practical function, without believing in it, taking it as more than a relative, limited and pragmatic truth, without being absorbed into its content.

This seems to be the basics of a Ground awakening, and from here, the possibilities of elaboration and differentiation in how it is reflected in stories is endless…

And this elaboration can be explored both before and after Ground awakening through different processes of inquiry, such as The Work and the Big Mind process… both of which allows for a much more finely tuned and differentiated expression of the basics insights. After the awakening, this differentiation can be done with great clarity and precision, to the (limited) benefit of others. And before, in a more approximate way, allowing mistaken identities (which they all are) to more easily fall away.

The gifts of shared inquiry

 

There are some great gifts in public, or shared, inquiry, as is often done with The Work and the Big Mind process.

We learn about the process itself from watching, and then doing it on our own.

We get to see that whatever comes up in someone else is also right here in me. I can find what comes up over there also right here. It is a perfect mirror.

And we see, over and over, the pure gold available to any and all of us… the profound wisdom available in each of us, surfacing when attention is skilfully brought to it through simple questions.

Through The Work and the Big Mind process, I have seen people with little or no background in any spiritual practice find a clarity and wisdom in themselves, expressed clearly and simply, that matches that of any master psychologist or spiritual teacher. It is available right here, in any of us.

As Byron Katie says, there is no more or less wisdom in any of us.

It may not be noticed right away, but simple questions invites it to surface.

Byron Katie working with a group in prison… more at YouTube

Genpo Roshi facilitating One-Heart-Mind & Integrated Free Functioning Self… more at YouTube