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The path of insight

It may come as no surprise that there are many people out there meditating to a deep level and getting enlightenment experiences. The path of insight is one of the clearest and quickest ways to get yourself some genuine experiences, and you can read all about it on various web sites. I've refrained from talking about it because I've avoided it, but there comes a time when you have to make sense of what is going on.

So then, here's the sort of thing you might encounter:

1. Establish some level of awareness. Establish the difference between the felt sense in the mind, and thinking about stuff.

2. Establish the difference between mind events (feeling, perception, thoughts and consciousness) and the body. See thoughts as mind events.

3. See cause and effect. Sound, hearing sound, pressure feeling pressure. Scan the body - tense muscles relate to some holding in the mind. Relax the body to loosen the mind.

4. See impermanence at work. Nothing lasts very long in the mind. Sample events at one per second, noting them. Speed things up two to five per second. Establish the knowing of things coming and going. From here you can do some work on thoughts, movement in the mind (the movement suffering thing), things starting and ending.

5. Turn your attention to sensations in the fingers, or the feet or where you feel pressure. Enter the sensation/knowing groove. Try two different places. A place is a higher level concept. Release this and focus on the raw information from the nerve endings.

6. The information is not constant - it can't be. It is pulsing or vibrating. Notice this. Open up to the flux of pulsing in the whole body.

7. This seems to unlock a flood of information that is like being super pleasantly electrocuted from the inside out.

8. Rinse your mind with this for a bit and then settle back to noticing the breath arising and passing.

9. You may feel a sense of loss - the opening of nothingness. The sense that you are an optional manifestation. Everything you have strived for has been meaningless.

10. You may feel like you have lost control and this can also bring on grief and despair.

11. Mind becomes quite still. The misery keeps coming and then the mind gives up - there is no answer to be found in the misery or the logic of the mind.

12. Events slow done. Here we get to the dismantling of the mind. We let go of location, of idea, of knowing. There is nowhere for the sensations to land and they are just disappearing.

13. Because we are not proliferating sensations they are just passing by. We kind of can't be bothered moving the mind into them because it seems coarse, like a waste of effort.

14. We notice cessation. A brief empty moment. Cessation is happening all the time. We might feel ourselves let go and then we are awash with peace.

15. Let go into the flux. Merge awareness and knowing into one thing. See the sense of self forming. See the sense of awareness forming. See the events of the mind forming. Everything is mind.

That gives you some idea of what people get up to. Is it a feel good technique? It probably transcends the idea of feeling good because it dismantles everything about you into an elemental experience of being. Feeling good is not really important anymore, so in a sense your journey to find something to make you feel good is at end. It is not applicable anymore. You have finished with this struggle and you can return to your life and simply enjoy it as it unfolds.

The end.


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1. Put a splash of oil in a saucepan or casserole dish.
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It all starts with the body. Your body is your greatest asset.

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During the day: try it standing up, or in everyday situations. Notice what undermines your attempts to do the practice.

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This appears to be a common pattern. We do our mindfulness course expecting to be transformed, we feel a bit better on the course, a week after the course we find that nothing has changed. There's also the case of people who have been doing meditation for ages and yet they still feel as depressed and angry as they did when they started.

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Is that it?
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Why does it come and go?
The mind is a complex instrument that is rapidly switching between different modes of operation (for want of a better phrase). Mindfulness is not a mission critical thi…