The different states of non mind

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timbo71
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The different states of non mind

Post by timbo71 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:17 am

Having read the Power of Now and a New Earth I have been practicing Eckhart’s teachings over the past few months and have found it to be a profoundly life changing experience. Over the past couple of months I have managed to stay present as the watcher of my thoughts and emotions most of the time in my day to day dealings and it has helped me immensely in both my relationship with my family and work colleagues.

One of my challenges at the moment is maintaining presence during periods of no mind. Eckhart talks about slipping above and below consciousness in a state of no mind. I find as I am able to stay in the present more frequently through acceptance and surrender at times I slip into a state whereby I am not connected to the external world or the people around me. I am present as the watcher but disconnected. I do try to increase my presence through some of the techniques ET talks about (feel your surroundings, focus on your breathing, listen to the sounds etc) but ultimately I stay stuck in this disconnected state for anything from a few minutes to a few days.

I suspect there is a level of non acceptance of the now that is keeping me in this state that I have not dentified/acknowledged.

I would be interested in anyone’s experiences or perspective on this.

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by Sighclone » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:05 am

I'd need to know more about what "disconnected" means and feels like. "In the world but not of it," is a phrase that ET likes (at least he complemented Oprah when she parroted it from some other source.) "Connection" is usually felt at the heart level...a level which is later to embody Awareness, at least according to Adyashanti...later than the "head" level, or abstract level.

Welcome to the forum, timbo71.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by karmarider » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:11 am

You are making distinctions between states of presence, no-mind, and disconnectedness. In my experience, there really has been only one state, which is attention. Attention has a broad perspective (as in awareness) and how broad it can get I don't know. Seems boundless. Or it has a narrower perspective, as when it is wrapped up in an object like thought.

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by timbo71 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:46 pm

Thanks Andy and karmarider

If I go into the feeling there is an unease and level of anxiety. I described below that I was "present as the watcher but not connected" In exploring further I think that when I am in this state I am in fact only partially present and that I have put an expectation on mind made self that I should be more present, i.e. I have not fully accepted the situation and have made an issue of it.

Thanks

Tim

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by eputkonen » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:11 am

timbo71 wrote:One of my challenges at the moment is maintaining presence during periods of no mind.
That makes no sense to me.

In no mind...there is only presence. What are you trying to maintain?
Last edited by eputkonen on Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by Mason » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:00 pm

Timbo71;

For better or worse, I am a practioner who is prone to states so I'll join in with the others and give you the best response I can, but it will probably take a bit more dialog to sort it out fully, so keep posting.

The best thing that I can see happening is that whatever it is which is being experienced you are aware that it's a state, and also you seem to be aware that it's just temporary. I find that it's important to always keep both those things in perspective. One of the biggest traps when it comes to states is that we want to get rid of the bad ones and make the pleasant one permanent, and accordingly our attempts to accomplish this leads to a considerable ammount of suffering.

I'm not criticizing ET's teachings, but I would say that putting emphisis on the fact that pleasant states are temporary (and that they often have a huge amount of craving associated with them) is a bit of a weak point with Eckhart. I would probably venture that he doesn't mention it because the consequences of state chasing are something that people have to figure out for themselves. If you are state chasing someone telling you that you are doing it won't help much. These states seem so different from our normal thought-oriented experiences that it's actually a very tough realization to come to grips with the fact that these states are also subject to the same characteristics as all other originated phenomona: they are impermentent, they contain no-self, and they contain suffering.

In my experience there are three basic routes that states can take: 1) the falling away of subject, 2) the falling away of object, or 3) the falling away of both subject and object.

It appears that you're experiencing the falling away of object, but the subject [watcher] still remains. Is that more or less what you are saying?
"Presence is your absence" ~enigma.

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by timbo71 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:04 pm

Thanks Mason

Can you please explain to me what you mean by;
In my experience there are three basic routes that states can take: 1) the falling away of subject, 2) the falling away of object, or 3) the falling away of both subject and object.

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by Marcel Franke » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:40 pm

> I described below that I was "present as the watcher but not connected" In exploring further I think that when I am in
> this state I am in fact only partially present and that I have put an expectation on mind made self that I should be
> more present, i.e. I have not fully accepted the situation and have made an issue of it.

Very good observation.
But you are not partially present, so there is no issue at all.
---ooOoo---

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by Mason » Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:03 am

timbo71 wrote:Thanks Mason

Can you please explain to me what you mean by;
In my experience there are three basic routes that states can take: 1) the falling away of subject, 2) the falling away of object, or 3) the falling away of both subject and object.
In normal mind-oriented perception we view experience in terms of self and other. There is both a "separate us" and a "separate object" we are perceiving; in all normal observation and interaction there is assumed to be an inherent difference between self and other. In reality however, the perceiver (subject) and the perceived (object) are not separate; infact they are the same to the degree that they are not even in relationship to one another...

It's been my experience that various states will ensue when the perception of either a subject and/or object spontaneously disappear.

If the perception of the subject disappears there will be a profound feeling that there is no self, but there will still be everything else in the mix appearing to be seperate; so it can feel very isolated. On the other hand, if the perception of the object dissappears you will feel that a sort of oneness, but there is still a seperate "you" to see it; the result can be very dissorienting. There is a subtile weirdness to either of these states and if you are in them there will definitely be a search underway to sort things out.

The state which occurs if both subject and object fall away is very much heralded in spirituality. It's called: Jnana [pali], and Samadhi in other traditions. This particular state is a lot of things, but one thing it's not is subtile. If you enter into it you'll know; there will likely be a massive shift in your perceptual threshold and an indescribable degree of tranquility. It basically takes all perceivable experience down to the bare bones and holds it there lite as a feather. There will only be a few specific perceivable factors in Jnana, but the drive to search and sort things out will not be present, and in the higher Jnana states all mental activity is completely surrendered, albeit temporarily. At one time or another I have entered these states, so I'll base that on experience.

The falling away of both subject and object can also lead to a specific group of Jnanas called "formless Jnana's" in which boundless space & boundless consciousness are directly experienced. I have never entered formless Jnana's but apparently they comprise an even greater degree of nothingness; the deepest level being called "neither perception or non perception" which is by all accounts impossible to talk about in conventional terms, but some spiritual teachers such as Adyashanti have made some heroic attempts to describe it. ...Just to be clear however, I don't claim that level of attainment.

Like Marcel says, the main thing about states is to not make too much of an issue about them, and I might add don't pursue them too fervently. Whatever they are, they are impermanent; any answers that we get while in them or realizations we make about them are also impermanent... I am not sure which great master said it but "The Buddha Way is beyond being and non being" -Ultimately it doesn't have anything to do with states any more that it has to do with any other phenomena which arrises and passes.

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by Peaceman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:24 pm

"I have not fully accepted the situation and have made an issue of it." Guess you answered your own question? :)

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by timbo71 » Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:00 pm

Thanks for your feedback, over the last few days I have realised that I was attached to a state that I had not experienced before and hence tried to understand it further. A good reminder that acceptance of everything in the now (not just the familiar) is an important step towards enlightenment.

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by Onceler » Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:21 pm

In my experience I have found it helpful to set aside phrases like "steps toward enlightenment". It is not accurate, either the steps part or the enlightenment part. When you set aside this notion, or allow it to move through, it frees you up.

A friend of mine recently coined the term, "simplicated", the condition of being simultaneously simple and complicated. This is currently my experience.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by Sighclone » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:42 pm

A friend of mine recently coined the term, "simplicated", the condition of being simultaneously simple and complicated.
Love this! A paradox right inside of a word!

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: The different states of non mind

Post by garuda » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:41 pm

timbo71 wrote: I find as I am able to stay in the present more frequently through acceptance and surrender at times I slip into a state whereby I am not connected to the external world or the people around me. I am present as the watcher but disconnected.
If by “disconnected” you mean that ego has a limited or no sense of its own presence (with ego thoughts temporarily suspended) during the eternal presence, then it sounds as though you may be approaching full-strength awareness of the present moment – with only a smattering of ego residing in the background of your consciousness. The discursive ego thoughts may be gone, but with only a very subtle “I” thought lingering in the wings.

However, "disconnected" could also suggest lacking presence, since in the eternal present moment there is no separation or division between you (Awareness) and the contents of the present awareness. Also, the “witnessing” part suggests it may not be full-strength “presence.” So I’m not sure from your description, but I offer this comment.

It is my experience that when attending to everyday activities in the present moment with full attentive awareness (which should be devoid of egoic effort and intention), there is no ego-witnessing occuring since the attending pristine Awareness is so fully focused on the contents of the moment, that there is no ego sense of actually noticing the being in the moment. If there is only pure awareness that is present (occupying, so to speak) in that moment (devoid of ego witnessing), then how would the witnessing ego know the presence of the pure awareness in the eternal moment? Because ego witness is absent, right? Only pristine Awareness is the eternal moment. It is the natural stateless-state of “awaring” what is present, without the distortion of discursive thoughts in mental time. I also believe you to be correct that "surrender" and "acceptance" are key factors in the natural state of pristine Awareness. Egoic intention to being present could be an obstacle; surrendering to "what is" seems a more powerful approach. It's more about losing discursive thoughts through surrender, rather than attaining a certain state of mind in some future moment. This comment is just a little reminder of what you likely already know deep inside yourself -- if I understand your question/situation correctly.
Recognize present awareness......... rest in that awareness..........don’t become distracted.

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