The Silence is Deafening

The silence in my head when I stop doing, is in a sense, the loudest noise I’ve ever heard. It means something colossal, and yet there is nothing there to tell me what it means. I don’t feel like I’ve reached nirvana. I haven’t done it through the jhanas. I have been in jhana 8, but, I didn’t go the entire distance. I didn’t let go of the final piece.

The process has been going on its own without meditation, I know. But, I don’t think it has gone the entire way. I still get angry at people in traffic that endanger the lives of me and my family. Here in Thailand that is a pretty regular occurrence. I’m over it quickly, but still, it happens automatically as I’ve attached to the idea that we must always be ‘safe’. If I had reached nirvana – I don’t think I would have these emotions. I am not sure, I just think that I’d likely not have them.

Five minutes ago I closed the eyes. There it was. Silence like standing in the middle of Antarctica, or a deep cave. It is a bit disconcerting to stay in that silence for long because I know it isn’t a normal human experience. It isn’t something most people are experiencing, and in truth, I’ve not known anyone to have experienced it. I have read a lot by now about meditative experiences. I’ve read the masters’ accounts of jhana and some monks’ and nuns’ accounts of passing into nirvana. I don’t remember anybody mentioning having a mind that was absolutely still anytime they stopped doing.

I’ll re-read Jiddu’s and UG Krishnamurti’s accounts of “the process” and what it entailed. Maybe there was something about it.

I think I mentioned, the new meditation book is nearly done. I am reviewing it for a final time before I send to three people I know that will review it. I’ll make final adjustments and then let it go on Amazon. If you want a free copy before that happens, just send me email and I’ll send it your way on PDF or whatever other format you require.

Metta,

Vern

There Is No Present, Only Past

A journal entry I found from a long time ago…

12/18/95

I was looking outside Fern’s apt. Towards the lake and saw some guys playing basketball. As I watched them dribble I heard the dribble come a little later. This made me realize that not only is everything that we hear in the past, but everything that we see is in the past as well.

Are there any experiences that are in real time besides thoughts?

No, because each bit of sensory input needs to travel the pathway of neurons to the brain before the experience can be experienced by us.

It’s kind of strange to think that nothing any human being has ever experienced outside his body has happened at the exact instant the individual perceived it to happen. We are viewing EVERYTHING as it has existed at one point in time, nothing is in REAL TIME though. If we could take slices out of time that were 1/10,000ths of a second then we could see the different time periods that our senses and stimuli take to travel to reach us (sound, light, vibration).

Meditation for Beginners – Book is Finished

Meditation for Beginners - Secrets for Success book by Vern Lovic

First good edit is finished on the new book, and I’ve sent it to the editor to work her magic. I’m so glad to be nearly finished with this second meditation book. It is exactly what I wanted to say about the subject, and I hope it will be well received.

I will be selling this ebook at Amazon and here at Jhana8. The price will be very affordable, probably just $3.99.

Is the Voice in Your Head – You?

I’ve been looking a bit at the state of my mind and giving consideration to what I want to do with it. If you’ve read some of my past posts, my mind is in a strange state at the moment. It has been in a sort of flat-line for the past couple of years. I can make myself take action, make decisions, do things… but when I stop doing, there is nothing. The mind is empty and flat. There is no thought running around like there used to be. ADD/ADHD used to rule my mind. It ran rampant. That is gone now. I seem to be in a sort of conscious jhana 4 that is there without fail when I choose to be quiet. I have done it in large groups of people where there is music and a lot of talking. I have done it in the middle of writing a book or riding the motorbike. It is always there when I stop doing.

For the past couple of months I’ve been writing this next meditation book. It will be part of the “Meditation for Beginners” series, and will focus on helping beginners and advanced meditators alike.

As I write this book I am reminded over and over about the state of my own mind. I have had senior monks tell me what they thought I might do in order to progress further in the process, and yet I haven’t really had any desire to do so. A few years ago after asking myself the question, “What is the point of enlightenment?”, the question went away and there hasn’t been any desire to seek anything more than what I already had. I’ve been quite at peace the last couple of years, and the flat-lined mind state that is always there when I’m quiet and not doing anything, is odd when I think about it – but, it isn’t at all something that is worrisome. It has given me a great reprieve from my previously plagued ADD/ADHD mind which made me anxious and tense for the first 30 some years of my life.

So, lately I’ve meditated a bit just to refresh my mind with the states of jhana and other meditation essentials that I wanted to add to the new book. In doing so I’ve noticed my mind calming even more during times I’m “doing”. Meditation is so powerful, even at this stage of the game. Probably because of it, I’ve been considering how I can experiment more with this flat mind and maybe learn something from it.

Monks have told me that I probably just need to start asking myself the question – “Who am I?” or “Where is the I inside?” Questions like this. I’ve avoided doing so up to now because as I said, the want to go further just hasn’t been there. However, recently I thought maybe I can ask some other questions and see what the result is.

What I’ve been looking at, last night and this morning, is this…

I’ve been looking at the voice in my head. The voice in my mind. You have one too. It’s the one that you probably think is the embodiment of who you are, the physical/mental manifestation of ‘you’ inside. It’s the one that talks to you in your own voice. It’s the one that asks you questions and gives running commentary in your head throughout the day, throughout your waking state, throughout your life.

I’ve been looking at this voice and trying to see what it consists of. I’ve asked myself – What is this voice? Why is it there? What purpose does this voice serve?

Slowly I’m coming up with answers. The main answer seems to be – the voice in my head is just memory firing off in response to other memories triggering them. Memory knows how I sound to myself – and can repeat that voice exactly.

I find the voice constantly asking me questions and talking while I’m “doing’. When I’m not doing, there is no voice. It’s quiet. Memory is not working during this quiet state either. There may be a connection between memory and this voice then. Seems to be one. Could be one anyway.

This morning I thought I’d look at it again. I thought, if this voice is just the product of memory firing in the brain, then why not give it something that it has never known before? Why not give it something to say that it has never said. Memory then, I thought, couldn’t act in that case and maybe the voice would change.

I tried making up a very long nonsense word of about 40 syllables and watch my mind, the voice in my head, say it. There seems to be real discord in the mind when I do so. The word does not come out easily, and the voice appears to be inconsistent. It doesn’t seem to be my exact voice the entire time. I think what is happening is that the mind is struggling to create the new sounds in my own voice – but it is not there in memory for the mind to spit out quickly. It stumbles… it stutters.

I tried it a couple of times – always the same result – unsmooth, not very much like my voice.

Then I tried to compare it to something that I have said in the past, “OK Vern, let’s go to the mountain.” The voice came out perfectly in my head, as if I was speaking into my own ear – a perfect representation of my voice that, upon comparision, made the voice that said the nonsense word, clearly not really mine.

Anyway, just an interesting little experiment going on in my head this morning. I’m going to give it some more effort later as I get some quiet time. At the moment I’m sitting in the upstairs bedroom with my daughter who had a fever this morning. We feared Dengue – the worst case scenario, as we are the second most infected province in the country at the moment.

Have you ever looked at the voice in your head and asked yourself about it?

What is it?

Who is it?

Where does the voice in your head come from?

What is its purpose?

How can you trip it up?

Maybe something to look at. I don’t know. Will write more later if I see anything more to report about it…

🙂 Vern

Suan Mokkh Library of Meditation and Other Buddhist Topics

Here is a short video I did of the inside of the Suan Mokkh library. Suan Mokkh is a Buddhist temple founded by the late Buddhadasa Bhikku and located in Chaiya province of Thailand. Not only is it a great little library full of hard or impossible-to-find books, it is also a great place to meditate – it is quiet and cool.

Jhana

Thinking a lot about jhana these days. It’s a big topic in the new meditation book I’m writing, so I’m thinking about it more than I ever have.

Jhanas are states of mind that begin when the body and mind are relaxed and the mind is highly focused on some object of meditation. Though Buddhism and other traditions teach that it is imperative to follow very specific rules to get into jhana and move between the jhanas, I’ve found this completely unnecessary. Instead, I used the very method the Buddha used to make the mind ready for jhanas to ‘visit’. The subject will be covered in-depth in the new book. I do hope, if you have an interest in the subject, you’ll have a look when it’s released. True to form, the book will be about $2.99, the same as the first book, “Meditation for Beginners – 22 Day Course.”

I see jhana as the fast-track to big changes. Once getting jhana pretty regularly, the revolution of the mind begins. As far as I can see, the changes, once made, are permanent.

I’ve struggled in the past to describe jhana with words. Every person that has experienced them comes to the same conclusion – it is not easily done. A comprehensive description is never possible, and reading the description does not give the reader the exact experience, nor could it approach it. Words are infinitely incapable of describing these states. It’s sort of like saying, describe the color orange – without using anything else that is orange to tell the person what it is like.

So, having exhausted myself trying to come up with words for the jhanas that could transmit the experience, today I had a thought…

What if I could draw jhana?

There is this driving force inside me that wants to share the experience with others, and yet, I haven’t found a way to do that yet. I’ve made some attempts at description using words here at this site, and at others. I have to say that I’ve never come up with a great description of any of the jhanas using words. They defy description. Then today I wondered if drawing an image of jhana could help people grasp it somehow.

Can jhana be described through a drawing? A photo? A scribble?

I’ve been trying to come up with something for a couple of hours, and so far it’s elusive. If you look at the header image for this website, I made the “8” in Jhana8 to appear as if it is leaning, or falling. This was my attempt at showing that jhana is similar to infinity, in that it is unknowable and completely indescribable.

Having exhausted myself thinking about a visual representation with an image or design I wondered, can it be described with music? Song? Dance? Sculpture? Numbers?

As far as I can see, a representation of jhana cannot be created using any of these.

How can jhana be a real experience and yet totally defy description of any sort? It is completely indescribable. I can only give hints at what it is… never anything resembling the big picture. I can explain tiny pieces of it, and not all that well, but at least it’s something.

It seems that most of the meditative experience is hard to describe with words. This is probably one factor that puts people off it. The milestones are ambiguous. The teachings – from Buddhists all over – often conflict. There is even disagreement over what jhana is and isn’t, the Buddhists are greatly concerned with the factors of jhana and whether they are all present or not, and which ones should be present. Then, there are experiences that occur within the individual that are phenomenological, they don’t occur with other people, they are unique to that person. I’ve had some of these strange experiences that nobody I know has ever had.

So, the goals of meditation are nebulous… the path, ambiguous. How is anyone to reach the higher states of jhana, and enlightenment if nothing is clear?

So, this is some of the problem of writing this next book. I am nearly finished, it will be another two weeks or so, but I think through the many edits I’ve done, this book will be my best effort for helping people to experience the jhanas and the changes that have happened to me with a simple meditation practice of focusing on the breath.

I think this book will be the easiest book to read on the subject, comprehensive, and yet easily understood by all. That is my goal anyway!

New Meditation Book Coming Along Well

I started a new meditation book a couple of weeks ago. It is coming along pretty well and I think it might be ready in a couple of weeks. This book will be different from my first, “Meditation for Beginners – A 22-Day Course” available at Amazon. That book is a bare-bones outline of what is needed for a successful meditation practice. It will be perfect for some people, and not so perfect for others. Such is the nature of books – one book cannot cover all aspects of meditation. So, I’ll write two, or three.

Title for the next book is not apparent yet. Maybe, another “Meditation for Beginners” and make it a series with the same main title.

This week I was able to meet again with my friend, David Collett, from Australia. He is currently staying at Wat Pah Nanachat in Warin Chamrap, a district of Ubon Ratchathani province in Thailand’s Northeast.

We had some great conversation about meditation and what is needed. We are both OK with the idea of religion being a physical act, not a religious one. We talked for hours and were able to meditate at Wat Nong Pah Pong for a bit. Yes, believe it or not, I meditated. Then I did it the next day too – about an hour by myself, I went back. I’ll go tomorrow too, if I can fit it in the schedule. I’ve got a long-haul motorbike ride tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens.

This new meditation book will be a Big Picture kind of book. It will cover everything, and yet do it in a way that doesn’t put anybody to sleep (hopefully). It’s a fine line between dishing out volumes of information and keeping it interesting. I think if the reader is interested in the topic then the book will be an easy and fun read. I’ll try my best to make it so.

Look for the book in a couple of weeks. I’ll likely just release it at Amazon, as I’m trying there exclusively for a while to see if I can get more books out there and read. Amazon seems to have the biggest group of readers on the planet, might as well go with them exclusive for a bit and see what happens.

If you have any questions or need an opinion or an ear, let me know what’s going on with your meditation practice and I’ll see if I can help. Let me qualify that… I only know about Vipassana style, Anapanasati type meditation… focusing on the breath or some other object… I don’t know anything at all about other styles.

Cheers!

Vern

Good Places to Meditate in Thailand

Meditation Incense - Thailand

I just thought I’d write up a quick list of a few places that are pretty ideal to meditate at in Thailand. Many travelers are looking for a place to sit and have relative peace and quiet, and yet, that is rather hard to find in Thailand. Thailand is not what I’d consider a quiet place in general.

Some Good Places to Meditate in Thailand:

1. Wat Suan Mokkh. This is located in Chaiya province north of Suratthani, which is north of Phuket and Krabi. Chaiya is on the Thailand Gulf coast just south of Chumphon. This is a Buddhist temple started by Buddhadasa Bhikku, who has since passed. There are monthly ten-day meditation retreats (vipassana, anapanasati style). These are silent retreats, and not for everyone. However, there is also the do-it-yourself option where you can show up at the main temple (Thai side, West side of the highway). Sign in and tell the monks you’d like to stay for a couple days or weeks, and they’ll set you up. You pay for your own food, but you can eat breakfast for free after the offerings. There are only 1-2 foreign monks there that speak English, and you probably shouldn’t be bothering them all the time. So, this option is for those that know how to meditate and want to find a place that allows them to stay and do it as long as you’d care to. There are restrooms with scoops for water (showers) and dorm rooms which you’ll share with other foreigners that are staying there. Do be aware that it is an open environment and anything of value that you bring, can be stolen. The foreign residents are not to be trusted – many are down on their luck, or looking for a major life change after years on drugs or whatever else. Suan Mokkh website is here.

2. Wat Pah Nanachat. This is located in Warin Chamrap, Ubon province in northeastern Thailand. It is an Ajahn Chah temple that houses many foreign monks. There are usually a couple of dozen monks as residents, along with some Thais. This option is not for everyone. If you stay, you’re expected to conform to their rules and you eat only until mid-day, then no more meals. You walk on pindabot rounds in the villages to accept food in the early morning hours. You’ll have a very small room to stay in with mosquito net and light. Wat Pah website is here.

3. Khao Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort. This is in Krabi province, and sits at the base of the Khao Phanom mountain chain in Krabi. This is a bungalow style resort with reasonable costs (600-1,000 THB per night) of $18-30 per night depending whether in high or low tourist season. There are paths to do walking meditation in the forest and it’s an absolutely beautiful rainforest location. Though not perfectly quiet, if you request quiet from Son, the manager, he will do everything he can. Keep in mind, some maintenance (weeding) of the grounds takes place almost daily, it’s a very large area that needs maintained and weed-whackers occasionally can be heard during the day. The resort website is here.

4. Top of Wat Tum Sua Buddhist Temple in Krabi, Thailand. This one is a good place for meditators that aren’t so concerned with absolute quiet. There are steps up the side of a mountain to the 900 foot high peak where there is a Buddhist Chedi, Buddha, and other statues. There are a couple quiet areas where you can be away from the majority of tourists. Email me for exact location, I don’t want to publicize it here. Wat Tum Sua website is here.

5. Khao Sok National Park. This is located between Suratthani, Krabi, and Phuket in a large wilderness area. It is out of the way, and that means it is very quiet. In fact, most national parks in Thailand are pretty quiet. There is little grounds maintenance going on and few trucks or parties. Parks are a good place to meditate.

Hope that helps. In general, you can meditate at the national parks for a quieter experience. Or, you can feel free to sit somewhere at a Buddhist temple. Do take the time to read up on proper attire and behavior while on temple grounds. Know that pointing your feet toward a Buddha statue is a sign of disrespect.

Have fun in Thailand!

 

New Meditation Book Coming Shortly

I have once again decided to tackle the meditation issue. It is of supreme importance that I bring more people to experience what I have. I feel like I’m hoarding it… I feel like I’m not doing all I can to bring it to the awareness of the world’s inhabitants. Sound like I’m taking myself too seriously? I’m serious! haha! I have had a couple good talks with a friend I met online, I think he saw one of my websites and some videos and wrote me from Australia.

I can’t ignore how important meditation is… I have to keep trying to reach people.

The original book – Meditation for Beginners – A 22 Day Course, is doing well, but maybe not hitting everyone in a way that ensures they progress. This next book will be a second attempt to reach some of them, and maybe another group entirely – those that have already begun to meditate, and hit snags in the process.

If you purchase one of the books, you can write me with any problems you have and I’ll see if I can help.

I’ll give myself 1 month to finish this next book. A couple weeks to edit, and it should be live by, lets say April Fool’s Day? Sounds like a plan.

Oh, I’m also considering adding to this site considerably in the future. I have a number of meditation websites that I can merge into one. Maybe better to get that done early this year.

Ok then, best of life to you!

Vern

Memory is Not Right On

I was just listening to some audio by Ajahn Nyanadhammo, once the abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat. You can hear it at the link below. He was talking about being at a cave monastery and sitting meditation in a cave one time when a 4 meter king cobra entered the cave and came up onto his lap. He said he the cobra was close to his face and hissing. He could see the white circles on the hood of the cobra. He realized that it could spit venom, and he jumped up all in one motion, up onto the bamboo bed in the cave.

There’s just a few things about this…

1. King cobras do not hiss. If you are within an inch or so you can hear its breath, there is never an audible hiss.
2. King cobras have no white rings, those are monocled cobras, and the circles are on the back of the hood – not the front where he would have seen them, as the snake was facing him.
3. King cobras don’t spit.
4. He said he was chanting and the king cobra started swaying back and forth… king cobras do not sway like that. In India the monocled cobras sway when faced by a flute playing snake charmer who is also swaying.
5. He said another monk was meditating, and then felt cool. He opened his eyes and a large king cobra had wrapped around his body and put his head on his shoulder. This is also highly suspect, as a snake knows what living beings are, and in all liklihood would avoid him.

So, whether Aj. Nyanadhammo’s memory is fading, or whether he was in a strange state of mind, I can’t say. What I can say is that there are a few things about his story that absolutely do not match up to the reality of behavior / appearance of king cobras.

Our memories are faulty. I have had many experiences where I’m relaying a story that happened 20 years ago with my family members, and they are shaking their heads no. It didn’t happen that way in their minds. It is bizarre that we can remember an event so differently.

As logical as we think we are. As objective, as much as we think we are basing our behaviors, our lives, on the truth that we are experiencing through our minds. We are off. We’re not seeing through a clear glass. Our experience, and our memories, are distorted a bit. Twisted. Blurred. Soft.

Ajahn Nyanadhammo’s Audio Talk – about supernatural experiences

Stopping – Starting, A New Observation

Though I have not meditated much lately, very little actually, I am seeing a new development that is strange and a bit discomforting.

Over the past few days – maybe 5 days ago I noticed it first – there has been a new state of the mind. I notice it most when I’m driving, but there have also been other times here at home or elsewhere that it occurs.

Here’s how it goes:

I’ll be driving, looking forward at where I’m going. I’ll glance down at the speedometer and it’s like I’m in a different world almost. It takes me a fraction of a second to realize I’m in the car and what I’m doing. It’s like a start over for the brain… the brain didn’t bring the previous context – the fact that I’m sitting in the car and driving down the road – with me. It started over to figure out what I was doing, where I was. It’s the briefest little blip.

The stopping part then, occurs as I look down away from the original scene. It stops completely. There isn’t any residual memory of it at all. It’s just gone.

I look back up at the street and bam, it happens again. I have no recollection of what I did the instant before (looking down at the speedometer) and it is like the brain restarts to figure out what it is doing – driving down the road looking forward.

It is like consciousness doesn’t flow like it did previously. You know how your experience of consciousness, of waking life – is continuous, as one continuous experience? This new state isn’t like that at all… there are many starts and stops throughout the day. It is an awareness of the starts and stops to each experience or scene.

I think I’ll do a video about it because maybe some more will come out of my head about it – a better explanation.

Will put below:

You Are Not Ready for the Answer…

“You are not ready to accept the fact that you have to give up. A complete and total surrender. It is a state of hopelessness which says that there is no way out. Any movement in any direction, on any dimension, at any level, is taking you away from yourself.” – UG Krishnamurti

This is one of those statements from UG that I like quite a lot.

There are hundreds of thousands of one form or other of Buddhist monk and magi across the globe. They’ve given up their family, their friends, their old ways. In many cases, they’ve promised in hundreds of vowels to give up other things and focus on themselves, on what is inside the mind. Their goal is, of course, to reach liberation. To reach nirvana, nibbana, whatever you want to call it. They want to do what the Buddha did.

Thing is… Buddha didn’t do that. Buddha, like the statement above, gave up everything. Gave up himself.

The real secret, and the one that nobody seems to want to hear is, you must give up everything – including anything to do with your self – to reach the higher states of meditation like jhana – and to reach nibbana.

One of the main focuses I use when meditating is this “giving up” idea. I also call it “letting go” – which might be more descriptive and appropriate. It’s a letting go of anything that the mind is focusing on. A letting go of comfort needs, of emotional attachment, of being anything, doing anything special, of acquiring anything…

As you meditate there is really precious little to “do” at all. Most people don’t get that. Many of those that get it, don’t want to do it. I don’t know how to tell convince people that letting go is 100% essential to progress… to break the bounds of the mind.

If you are getting into anything resembling the jhana states during meditation, try “letting go” of everything as you become aware of it… this is what I did, and all the jhana states came easily (relatively, I mean) as I did so…

 

Dream – Looking for the Ultimate Unknown with the Wrong Tools

Fish at Wat Suan Mokkh, Chaiya, Thailand

I had a dream last night. I should have got up and gone into the other room and dictated it into my phone recorder so it was fresh, but I still remember much of it. It was short. There were a couple more short dreams that followed, but I cannot remember them at all right now.

In the dream, I’m watching some people beside me that are looking for the moon. It is pitch black and we start to see a bright but blurry object shining through what might be clouds. It gets bright and moves around a bit – and then it’s very bright and round shaped and staying in one place. They are oohing and ahhing. I look at them and I realize, they are shining a very bright flashlight to look for the moon.

They found what they thought was the moon, but it was created by the beam of the bright flashlight they were using, showing up on the clouds.

In my dream, I realized the meaning of what was going on… and I slowly came to realize that it was a dream.

The moon represents the unknown. It’s largely unexplored. We’ve landed there only once. A few people have gone up and been close to it – but there was only one landing.

This parallels the mystery surrounding Buddha and enlightenment. It is a mystery that many in the world would like to reach – to find, to experience. It’s as hard as getting to the moon apparently. It isn’t even seen clearly, because most people are using mechanical means, traditional 1 + 1 = 2 type approaches to reaching nirvana. It’s like using a flashlight to find the moon – it doesn’t make sense, and it won’t lead us to the true result. It is taught that way, and people try to follow it that way.

Problem is – it cannot be found like that – you will get nowhere.

It’s extremely hard (it is impossible) to talk about something as nebulous as nirvana – in terms we’re accustomed to hearing – and teach people to ‘get there’ by doing this, this, this then that.

Also, this dream relates to the abhinnas. I created some posts about abhinna a short while ago to start to talk about the very strange, multi-dimensional experiences (for lack of a better phrase) that can be had after someone begins getting into jhana realms. I know nobody else talking about these phenomena, but they clearly (to me) exist, and deserve a lot more exploration if we’re to find out much more about them.

In a way, the moon also was a metaphor for abhinna. People were using traditional methods for years to assess, to test, to experiment with extrasensory perception, seeing the future, hearing sounds very distant, and other “supernatural” occurrences. That isn’t the way to approach the topic – the dream was telling me.

The way to approach it is through jhana 4…  The dream was saying that the way to blowing the entire thing open – was through meditation… like I’ve done in the past.

So, this dream didn’t come out of anywhere. I have been thinking for years about continuing the journey that meditation started in my mind… and the idea that so few people have ever reached nirvana or even jhana or abhinna – has been on my mind quite a bit. I want to ignore the topic – and I do my best to do so, but it is always there in the back of my mind. It reminds me constantly that I experienced jhana and abhinna, and it won’t go away for good.

I know that it isn’t going away. It’s been 13 years since I started getting into jhana… about 12 since I had abhinna  – divine eye and knowing others minds. The memory of the experience, the profundity of it all, is not likely going away in the next 12-13 years either. Probably it is never going away. It feels like I am being gently urged to continue the whole process. To what end – is anyone’s guess. I try hard to involve myself in many other things. I try hard to be the old Vern that I was before I started seeing jhana levels. I try so hard to forget it all and yet, it’s right there all the time.

Sometimes I wish it would just disappear and leave me alone.

Other times I wish I had the motivation to go forward with it and see what happens.

I just don’t have it…

yet?

 

Buddhadasa Bhikku Experimented with Fruitarianism!

This was great… I was reading “The First 10 Years of Suan Mokkh” – a description of what went on as one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Thailand, and in the world, was starting out.

Buddhadasa is the founder of Suan Mokkhabalarama, in Chaiya, Thailand – a southern province just north of Surat Thani province on the gulf of Thailand.

“I myself once ate only fruits for some time and felt so comfortable and strange that I would like to suggest that everyone also try it at least once. While being on such a diet, I felt my body comfortably cool, having no odor; the color and smell of the excrement were not revolting at all. All of these, I think, are accessories for peaceful living, which is better than normal living. The only drawback is that in some places there are not enough fruits for convenient practice of such dieting. And becoming a vegetarian, by eating only vegetables or taros and yams, is much more difficult than living on the fruit diet, for, unlike the latter, the body in the beginning cannot abruptly adapt itself: the digestion cannot increase its operating level in keeping with the diet.

Moreover, living on the fruit diet especially has additional inconvenience, that is, one must eat more often than normally; otherwise, he will be hungry at night. Fruits cannot be eaten so much as rice, but can be digested rapidly, resulting in the eater getting hungry earlier.

While I was on this kind of diet, I noted also that my senses of sight, hearing, and smell were many times more sensitive than usual. Aromatic leaves, such as those of the sweet basil, which usually send out smell only when they are smashed by some means, were detected through the nose even when I stood two to four feet away. Flowers smelled very strongly, sometimes too overwhelmingly, even though they do not usually do so. “

Michael Arnstein, ultra-distance runner has said similar things in youtube videos about not smelling when he sweats, and his senses are heightened. Now these are two very different data points – and so, very convincing on both these ideas. I have gone days eating fruits only, but not days in succession.

It really is rather difficult to make sure there is enough fruit, and variety of fruit in the house – even here in Thailand.

Meditation State – I Am the Noise

Note – This is an old journal article I wrote in 1998 or so. I don’t have the date written down on the journal entry.

Sitting in the blue room at home. Meditated for a half hour. The back hurts again today. One needs to meditate consistently in order to build up the back muscle tolerance.

One felt relaxed today. Inclined towards sleep. One did reach state of good concentration – yet the back and the outside noises kept one here. At one point while listening to some noise outside the house one realized that we are the noise. In this case it was an airplane. I was the airplane during that state of mind. It never came to one as such before today.

One could never understand logically how this could be yet one has read of the concept so much. As one sat, the knowledge that one is the same as the noise attenuated to was truthful and unquestioned. An instant knowing as if it had been there all along. An unquestioned knowing – yet in the logical waking state EVERYTHING is questioned by this one. In this state there was no need for questions – it just was. It was no less true because the questioning process had been left out. Rather it was more true and more believable.

The mind then sought to logically explain what had occurred. This mind thought that one felt like he was one with the plane because the sound of the plane was nothing more than his own eardrums and body parts making the sound. Every sound that we hear is merely our own eardrum vibrating because the air has been moved (we suppose) by some object producing its own noise or rhythm.

There is nothing we hear that doesn’t go thru the air that surrounds us. If there is no air, there is no sound – and hence, no “I”. Seriously, if we could take this a step further and say that in a vacuum there is no sound, and therefore there is no “I” as far as the sense of sound goes. If we could also find a place in which there was no smell then we could end the “I” state from that perspective as well. If then we shut out all of the light so that our eyes could not register anything around us that is separate from the “I” then we could stop vision as a justifier of the “I”.

If then, we were to immerse the self in a liquid that would counteract our body weight. We could float naked with no movement whatsoever and no sense of touch to separate us from that which surrounds us. The sense of taste would be negated by the lack of any smells. Perhaps some care would be taken to lessen the chance of some flatulence coming from the stomach. In this state, could we say that we exist or that there is an “I”???

We could go to these great pains to induce this sort of state, or, we could meditate and reach it effortlessly–really without trying.

One has noticed that often times throughout the day one will be in moments of awareness of the present moment. It happened today while painting the kitchen ceiling with texture paint. It was like a zen or meditative experience.

The moment was enjoyed, no matter what it consisted of. There was no thought about what was going on, just experience through the eyes, sense of touch, smell – whatever – and it wasn’t judged or changed by the mind.

It happened at the Indian Restaurant yesterday. One ate the entire meal in awareness. It was truly the most gratifying meal one has ever eaten!!

Bliss, Overwhelming Joy, Ecstasy – Video 5

There are some really amazing experiences that come from simply sitting in a spot on the floor and watching your breath. If you ever had any doubt before that your mind was very powerful, you won’t after you experience some of the things that happen when your consciousness is altered after the brain stops thinking thoughts.

This video is about an overwhelming, building, blissful sensation that occurs as the doorway opens to jhana. I have heard my mother, and others, telling me about their “born-again Christian” experience. It is probably the same thing… what happens with Christians is that they give over their cares, their worries, literally everything that is a problem – over to “god”. They relax and chant, praise you jesus – praise you father… I watched my mom do this over and over as the evangelical ministers had their shows on TV. To hear my mom explain her ecstatic experience, is for me – a jhana experience.

When it originally happened to me – I didn’t know what it was. I wasn’t Buddhist, I didn’t know what jhana was. I knew that strange experiences were already happening when the mind stopped… this was just another. The power of this experience is downright earth-shaking. It is the most powerful emotional experience you have ever had. I know that already, because I can’t imagine anything approaching this in the day-to-day life of me or anyone I ever knew. It isn’t orgasmic, it is different, and yet it is completely a mind experience. There’s no physical component, as there is with sexual orgasm.

It feels as if the bliss will overwhelm you – swallow you up and eliminate “you”. The “i” is in jeopardy… there is a complete relinquishing of your “self” – if you let go and let it happen as it will…

I wrote a post about it for another website, here: Happiness of Another Dimension.

Though I tried hard to explain it – of course it’s so impossible to put into words. It’s much more realistic to just go ahead and do it yourself…

Jhana 1, Born Again Experience… Bliss, Joy Video

Breath Slowing, and Mind Stopping – Video 3

This is the third video in the series covering various experiences that happen during meditation as you become concentrated and your mind slows down – and eventually – stops.

When the mind stops – many experiences begin. The experiences seem almost surreal or other-worldly at times. They are bizarre and sometimes even scary. It’s frightening to lose control or to give control away… This is part of the reason for creating these videos – to show you that these are normal experiences within the context of meditation – and you can go through them without any permanent harm or dysfunction. Sounds intense – right? They are!

Intense Concentration on the Breath – Video 2

In this second video I go over some of what happens as you try to concentrate on the breath, and finally are able to. I detail what is perhaps my first strange experience as the mind focused so intensely on one small sense object – the breath going in and out of the nose. It is during the experience of an intensely concentrated mind that you begin to understand how powerful the mind really is.

I had many odd – and sometimes scary – experiences during meditation. None of them were harmful in the long-term. I urge you to watch this series of videos if you are beginning meditation – to give yourself a good idea what is a normal experience. It will alleviate some of your concerns, I am sure of it! Start with Video 1 – Some Basic Meditation Experiences, here.

Video 2 – Intense Concentration on the Breath

Some Basic Meditation Experiences – Video 1

This first video, in the series of meditation experiences videos, touches on a lot of things that beginning meditators might find interesting. If you are new at meditating, you probably have a lot of questions about what you’re doing. I hope to answer some of them, just based on my experience of sitting and focusing on the breath.

Meditation can be scary and or difficult. Some that begin meditation quit quickly after they start. With this series of videos I hope to inspire you a bit by taking some of the mystery out of meditation. I’ll cover a dozen or so experiences that beginners up through advanced meditators might have – and talk about my own personal journey through some of these often “strange” events unfolding from the mind.

Watch this video to see my idea about basic meditation.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them below, or send me email at the Contact page.

Video 1 – Some Basic Meditation Experiences

Abhinna

This is something that I’ve not spoken much about at all – but, the experiences happened as a result of meditation, and I think better to tell the stories. Maybe someone else has had similar or other stories to share with me?

Abhinna deals with what most of us would consider the supernatural. These are abilities that come with meditation, in some practitioners, when concentration becomes solid.

One Abhinna is the “Divine Eye”. Another, the “Divine Ear”. Another is knowing the minds of others…

I know, it sounds like it comes right out of some sci-fi cartoon book. I can assure you that at least a couple of them are absolutely true. I’ve experienced some things that I cannot deny are abhinna. I cannot vouch for the others, but if a couple are true – then the others could well be also.

Have you ever had a supernatural experience resulting from meditation?

Watching “Suffering” During Meditation

Suffering During Meditation… Watching Discomfort

One set up the garage as a meditation haven today. The bug light is in there to take care of mosquitoes. The Buddhists in the forests have mosquito nets which don’t necessitate taking their lives–but this one doesn’t have the luxury. It was done in mindfulness.

One drank some hot coffee before entering the garage and its 85+ heat and high humidity just to see if one could suffer more this time. One was reading the book by Levine called Gradual awakening that spoke of the times when meditation appears to be going badly is actually a time of great growth if one can come through it without attaching to or desiring better circumstances like (cooler, more comfy, less bugs, less noises outside,etc.)

It didn’t take one long before immersed in sweat, heat, and a position sitting on towels on top of the jacuzzi cover (thick hard foam). As soon as this one started, there was noticed a sharp pain coming from sweat entering an abrasion on one’s ankle where the hands remained. One started to move them away to erase the pain, but then stopped and re-placed them so that the pain would continue.

Not wanting things to be different is a concept that needs to start being followed. Sweat started to run down the body and tickled. A couple of mosquitoes did get to me and the itch was very intense towards the last 20 minutes or so of sitting. Through it all one was able to remain in what a book described as the sunyatta state (annatta) which is voidness and non-self. I really would like to avoid the fluff of Pali and Thai language which isn’t necessary in order to have or describe the experience.

One did not have thoughts of how it could be better. One did not reach to quell itching or pain or sweat from tickling various parts of the body. One just sat with it. Occasionally when concentration seemed fairly steady one would concentrate on the pain or discomfort to try to see the nature of it. One found that one could only concentrate on one discomfort at a time and that though multiple situations appeared to be bothering the body at once, in reality there were many competing stimuli vying for that crucial attention necessary to perceive them. One found that when attention was shifted from one to another that the original disturbance did not bother this one–unless the attention was shifted back to it.

One concentrated on focusing attention to the sensation of the nostrils as air passed over them on the inhalation and the exhalation. Though one was not able to maintain concentration very well throughout the sitting one was able to watch the process of thoughts arising and leading to other thoughts and eventually the whole process leading to full blown little fantasies played out in the mind!

It was incredible how small a diversion from the concentration on the breath it takes to divert the entire mind to another direction all together! One time one noticed that the bug zapper made a noise. This led to a thought that maybe some flies were in the air. Then this led to a thought about other possible bugs and lizards and spiders that may be crawling about. This led to a video picture in ones mind about some horrific creature that had big teeth! One felt the urge to laugh then because the whole process of diversion took just a couple seconds.

One immediately got back to the focus on the breath. This process happened many times tonight–perhaps a hundred or more–though not always completing a coherent thought sequence. Many times one caught the process as soon as it started. It seems to start with something perceived…some sound, pain, feeling, desire, etc. The mind takes this thing perceived and reacts instantaneously with whatever is within the mind to take the sensation to a different focus–perhaps as a way to entice the attention to follow it and not see it for what it was to start with–just a pain or sound or whatever.

Anyway, the further the mind can carry one away with the chain of reactions the more clever and far away from the original sensation the movement gets!!! It was not unlike my Freudian free association idea in which one follows a thought and its subsequent reactions down the line until we see what becomes of it.

I.E.: Thought-mind-full-overflowing-love-fern-scared-fear-feeling-temporary-changing-mind-world

The mind naturally does this on its own and infinitely better than we can do while consciously aware and choosing each word. The mind strings together chains of thoughts and reactions in a seemingly continuously flowing line of thought. The curious thing is that the result of its process is very far removed from the original sensation.

Mind is built for regurgitation and linking similar thoughts/experiences/perceived sensations/goals/desires/opinions/wants/things we want to be/ etc. That is all mind is–a storage bank, an infohouse. Much deeper is the soul or spirit that can guide with wisdom and in consonance with the one consciousness of the world (all that is).

Just have to write an incredible example that Levine wrote in the above mentioned book. He wrote that the only difference in the pleasure received from touching your lover sexually and touching rotting bird carcass is the contents of the mind. (Not as explicitly–but same idea). Everything that we’ve been taught and conditioned with decides feelings!

Meditation Tips for Advanced Students

Found on the outside of a building at Suan Mokkh Temple in Chaiya, Southern Thailand.

There are a number of things advanced meditation students are doing that are impeding their progress. Assuming you want to progress quickly through the stages of meditation and see some tangible benefit to your practice, you are always looking for new ways to go about things. Read these two meditation tips and see if they might apply to you.

Advanced meditators want a formula. They want step by step instructions to do this, that and the other thing – and a guarantee to get further than they presently are. I would love to give you that – if it worked. But really, that is not the problem. This problem is that you are not dedicated to your practice. I don’t mean you’re not sitting enough. Everyone in the far stages of the game seem to be able to sit for hours on end meditating.

What matters is not length of time spent meditating, it’s the effort you use while there. Sit and watch the breath… if thoughts or other distractions like pain, tickles, sounds, heat, cold, or other things pull you away – refocus on the breath at that tiny spot inside your nostrils. Concentrate on watching each breath come in and out right at that spot. Watch it over and over.

When explained verbally like that – it sounds easy. Guess what? All you need to do is follow that. Really, that’s just about the entire game of meditation – right there.

It is far from easy. Some find it easier than others – and jhana levels come, a lot of new experiences come… and they are on the way to wherever they are going. Most people just cannot continually refocus the mind on the breathing – time, after time, after time… thousands of times. You don’t need more instruction. You don’t need more time sitting. You just need to work while you are sitting. Work while you are doing walking meditation. Work at being mindful outside of meditation.

Another real problem for advanced meditators is – they WANT IT too much.

This might be even bigger than the previous stumbling block.

Wanting = attachment, which = failure. Failure to go forward.

Meditation requires letting go of all resistance, fluff, experiences, and attachment in the mind. Unfortunately, the vast majority of meditators across the globe first read many books and then find a group and teacher to help teach them meditation. It’s my opinion that if you do that – you’re going about meditation the wrong way.

If your entire goal, and all efforts, all thoughts, all knowledge you accumulate – is to get to first Jhana… you’re going to have a really difficult time of it. Ask the hundreds of thousands of monks in Thailand and across Asia. There are very, very few that have even experienced Jhana. Fewer still who experience it regularly.

Why is that?

Monks want it worse than any other meditators.

Instead of going about meditation like that – where you have a goal to reach Jhana or some other experience… revise your goal and give yourself half a chance.

Revise your goal to…

I’m going to meditate to find relaxation.

If you find relaxation, then you’re already winning… the goal is yours. Continue on doing it.

When you restate your goal this way, and take the focus off attaining some level of Jhana – you are reconditioning the mind in a way that can let you move forward when the time comes. You’ll need to say it over and over to yourself as a mantra so you believe it.

What will happen when you get close to Jhana is, you’ll not be thrilled about it. The goal is relaxation. First Jhana isn’t necessarily that… it’s filled with emotion really – rapturous joy. When you start to experience first jhana – you’ll let it happen and not attach to it nearly as much as if it was the goal.

When you first experience Jhana you will see – it’s maybe the most momentous experience you’ve ever had in your life – certainly the most extreme thing your consciousness has ever experienced. If your goal is to keep that up – you’ll attach to it very strongly – and it will elude you forever more.

Instead… if you make your goal relaxation… you’ll have Jhana – not be that impressed, and it will come again. Eventually 2nd, 3rd, and the rest follow. Each one you must not get too excited about – and focus just on relaxation and letting go of all hindrances that pop up – mostly attachment to getting to Jhana.

When I first started meditating I didn’t even know what Jhana was. I knew there might be strange experiences I came up against… but I knew that I should ignore them and not get carried away by them. I let them go… Sometimes if I planned to get up in a certain amount of time – and yet I was into the Jhanas – I’d just get up and go do whatever I had to do. I gave the Jhanas no respect at all. What happened then was that they came so easily I hardly needed to do anything. Really – this is one of the very little known keys to getting through Jhana levels.

See how you would have been better off to start meditating for “relaxation” as a goal – instead of attaining something?

See how much easier it is for beginners to do so before they get wrapped up in the idea that Jhana is going to save their life, and save the entire planet once enough people know about it?

I have explained the very simple process of meditation in the book at the top right column on this page. It’s cheap, and it can help you immeasurably. If you cannot afford the $2.99, write me and I’ll give it to you.

 

Meditation for Beginners

Buddha Meditation Under Orange ClothsMost people beginning meditation start by finding a group. There is a notion that exists among most people that a group is needed for a couple of reasons.

1. Beginners like the idea of having a teacher to ask questions of, or at least some meditators that have some advanced experience.

2. The social factor. People like to start meditating in a group probably so they can talk to others about their experiences, as well as meet other people that are like-minded, decent people to be around.

If you go to a meditation group, it’s funny, but you won’t people that just got out of jail there… you won’t meet people that are drug addicted, or without moral character at all… Meditation attracts some pretty together people that are looking to further their togetherness. Those that begin meditating are looking for some way to get more of the ultimate from life – not just the normal human experience.

Meditation groups I’ve attended have had students, housewives and househusbands, blue-collar workers, doctors, and other professional career-minded people as the attendees. It’s a subset of the population, but it’s never the dregs of society for some reason. When you go to a meditation for beginners group, you can count on meeting some people that are probably just like you.

It’s comforting I guess.

Contrast that with the idea that meditation is a friendless journey. Really, it’s a lonely journey to sit and meditate on the breath, and nothing outside of yourself is needed. What is needed is a good deal of concentration and commitment to continuing the process once it is started. Friends help some people do that, but I think it can also distract us, and pull us from the progress that will naturally result with a focused practice.

Meditation is an awesome stress-reduction tool, that, along with exercise – I consider the one of the best stress-busting activities known to man.

Originally I started meditating for that reason – to reduce stress from work. I was already running, biking, playing beach volleyball, playing racquetball, and some other sports, but I wanted the ultimate. I wanted to lose more stress. I thought meditation might give me that if I began. I was happy to find out – I was so right!

I began sitting on my bedroom floor around 7pm after dinner – daily. Immediately I noticed some stress slipping away during the session of meditating on my breath – and carrying over into the hours afterward. After a couple weeks I noticed that, overall, my stress had lessened and I was more balanced… less anxious… less worried about events in life that bent me out of shape before.

After a couple of months I noticed that whenever I stopped myself in a stressful situation and took 3 mindful breaths – the stress disappeared, or was lessened considerably. It wasn’t just sometimes – it was every time, the stress just cannot last in the face of 3 slow breaths in succession with mindfulness.

From that point meditation became a major component of my life for helping me de-stress whenever needed. I started to have a different take on life… a new perspective. It might sound strange to hear it – but, it has become commonplace for me to say – meditation changed my life, and very thoroughly.

Meditation for Beginners Advice:

1. If you need a group, find one. Use the group to motivate you to sit consistently – if you need that outside push. If you don’t need it, by all means, sit by yourself and hash it out. Meditation at the beginners level is work… a lot of work. It isn’t all that fun, but you are doing great things for yourself to keep going.

2. Commit yourself to meditation for a month – minimum – as you begin. This will show you benefits that you didn’t have before you started to meditate – and you’ll have trouble stopping once you have some benefits going.

3. Forget about religion as you meditate. Meditate on a physical level and watch the breath pass in and out of your nostrils. You need not be Buddhist, Hindu, or in a new age guru’s flock of sheep… just sit and meditate on your own without all the extra fluff religion builds into it.

4. Read “Meditation for Beginners – a 22 day course” whenever you get the time. This is a step by step, religionless meditation book that will help you get started with the barest of basics. I wrote this book to share with people what I did when I first started meditating. I do hope it helps you simplify the meditation process and move forward to reducing and eventually eliminating stress from your life. It has helped me immensely!

 

Enlightenment, Societal Consciousness

Thought today as listening to Alan Watts cassette that I am on the verge of enlightenment at any time. As I sit here experiencing the view out the dining area window One feels intuitively that if a shift occurred in the thought process then enlightenment would come and completely take over the mind and thought process. There is no inherent study that must take place. Maybe the questioning process that I’ve been following has lead to this point.

Could that little bit of mindfulness yesterday and the day before have produced this feeling/awareness?

I will put the watch back on again and keep resetting when it gets to 10 minutes up. It’s a great mindfulness bell.

One thought today that the individual thought processes of the mind are really expressed by the interactions of mankind as a whole. The tiny thought/feeling/knowledge of fear in the individual causes him/her to alienate those ( and be alienated too) that are different from ones self. This tiny snowball rolls and rolls and shows up in every country around the world. Every war! Every disagreement between nations, people, etc. Jealousy and greed, individual traits, show up also as jealousy between nations regarding riches, natural resources, etc.

There is nothing that is expressed in society that is not played out in most everyone’s mind at the individual level first. The result of society is accumulation of all of the individual’s within that society. All societies are the same. No one questions every single thing they’ve been taught. No one quiets the mind to find what is the essence of man. No one challenges every belief they hold as worthless. As a result the mind runs rampant.

The physical mind is a tape recorder that learns instantaneously, and then directs the body to respond according to those learned rules. The problem occurs when the mind learns as the result of ONE experience, and thereafter in a similar situation, will not allow the body to act in a different way (without preconceived notions) and so the predictable result occurs, reinforcing the mind’s erroneous conclusions.

The entire world could live at perfect peace with itself. What has happened is that society has reinforced us looking at ourselves as individuals. From the time a baby is young he is taught to hold on tightly to the concept of “I”. He is fed things on a daily basis, building up the ego and the sense of “I”.

This HUGE process creates division between people of every type: race, beliefs, religion, color, geographical location, color of hair, number of teeth, IQ, political beliefs, likes, dislikes, etc.

The entire process of society is to create individuals that are separate from the masses. This separation creates competition.

Competition is extremely harmful to the individual, and, ultimately, only benefits society in the form of greater technological advances, better living conditions, living longer, etc.

Mindfulness – My First Journal Entry on the Topic

8/25/95 FIRST JOURNAL ENTRY ON MINDFULNESS, BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT – WITHOUT THOUGHT

This was an unexpected find. I was looking back through some .DOC files and there were some with my meditation journal notes that I haven’t posted here… Then I noticed – wow, that one says Aug-25-95. That’s an old one. I opened it up and relived the experience I’ll post below. Amazing experience that I remember to this day… just being in the pool at my apartment complex in Tampa, Florida. I had read some eastern philosophy and religion books. I read some zen books – they were the most interesting because they were the most mysterious. What is a koan? When the mind can’t solve it – what happens? That was pretty interesting back then. Even now- I play with the idea that I’m setting up koans that have no answer when I ask myself – WHY am I meditating? I’ve not come up with a great reason yet. Or, WHAT is enlightenment? There’s no answer I guess until one experiences it. Maybe it’s phenomenological – specific to one’s self and everyone has a different experience. I’m more a believer in that sort of idea about it at the present moment.

Anyway – so here is my first experience…

25 August 95

Very First Experience with _______ (whatever it is…)

This evening after working out and hitting the volleyball at the racquetball court I went to the pool to relax. It was dark, about 8pm. I saw with a child’s eyes for the first time in years. Some call it (beginner’s mind). I looked at everything as if it were new. I saw things in a way that I haven’t seen since I was very young. We overlook so much when we are caught up in the web of the world’s works…

I saw the light reflecting in the pool’s bubbles. I saw what looked like the water on fire where the underwater light was across the pool. The fire seemed to leap up above the water and sink back down. It was because of the waves in the water–or was it?

This magical moment transitioned into something that affected all I saw.

I saw the beauty of the sky, the apt. complex and the many reflections of the lights in the water and on the waves. I saw the distribution of bubbles tending towards randomness. Words and concepts cannot describe this “BEING IN THE MOMENT”, for sure. I was there. I was just part of this scene, I was “one” with everything that I was experiencing! It’s the most incredible feeling! I had no thoughts outside of what was there. I experienced and did not try to control what was there. I was a part, not seeking mastery of my surroundings. I put labels on nothing–I just experienced.

[what it would be like to be in the moment 24 hours a day??]

The experience lasted about 5 minutes. When it was over – there were some residual effects. A calm mind remained. A clear mind without a lot of thought.

Before I wrote this I sat on the couch and thought about the experience.

My thoughts were that we as humans are, above all else searching for control over others and over our environment. All of our strivings are towards this end. In relationships we marry because we seek to control (limit) the person we marry. We seek to make ourselves more content and happy by limiting the acceptable behavior of the individual we seek to marry. We are more at ease and comfortable after this point because there is no longer the unknown of what the other person will do. Marriage constructs a set of boundaries that will not be crossed by either individual and is enforced not only by that other individual, but also by all of the peers/family/and other social groups interacting with those individuals. Social pressure to conform to a group of norms for the purpose of limiting behavior and increasing the sense of control over one’s destiny is the goal.

We are always searching for CONTROL! Control in all aspects of our lives is what is most basic to our strivings. In marriage, as above, in family (control so that we get what we want), in occupations (control of who we control, and who we are controlled by), religion (control of the afterlife, emotions, feelings, actions, etc.). In adolescence begins our quest for control over our lives–on a major scale. Though at the preschool level we too are looking for ways to control and manipulate our environment in order to please us and make things more bearable for us. We are always searching for ways to please “I” not others. We seek pleasure and avoid pain–but the motivation behind this is control. When we control the environment we minimize pain and can maximize pleasure.

Zen is completely the opposite. There is no “I”. There is only “being”, “doing”, “experiencing”. Being in the moment according to Zen is different from what Hamid (a friend I have that taught simple meditation practice after our practicum at the Florida mental health center) believed. In Zen the person is aware of all of the beauty surrounding him. What Hamid said was that we are lost in the moment and are “doing”. Maybe he simplified it for the clients and some of the staff who couldn’t begin to grip the concept?

**********

That was it. I remember how surreal it was – as if I were wide awake and dreaming this magical moment that was untouched by thought, time, words, memory.

Nice to think about…

This was the moment that fueled my curiousity about meditation, mindfulness, and all of it… I was already interested enough to read some about it – but this gave me my first direct experience of something other than the reality I grew up with for the previous 30 years. This was the point where I realized there is something more to life – something invisible, that must be sought out…

Meditation Questions and Answers – Biographical

Meditation and Mindfulness:
Meditation Journal, Questions and Answers Biography

A short bio – about my experience with meditation – some of the experiences of jhana or however you choose to call it…

1). Do you feel you lead a contemplative life? (A contemplative life is one that is engaged in a regular religious or spiritual activity, such as prayer or meditation, following some kind of ethical standard, such as the 10 commandments or the Buddhist precepts and some kind of religious study, such as the canon and commentaries of ones chosen religion or contemplative tradition.)

I’ve not led a contemplative ‘life’, that much is sure… starting from about age 20 I became interested in various religions and read some about buddhism, hinduism, church of mormons, etc… I have recently started to practice ‘sitting’ again. I don’t follow any religion or adhere to any tradition but my sitting is similar to Vipassana with a focus on the breath…

2) If so, what? Please describe.

I really do just two things… focus on the breath during sitting meditation and I am mindful during some parts of the day – meaning, I become aware of the present moment during the day sometimes. Sometimes mindfulness is induced by setting an hourly chime on a wristwatch… Sometimes it’s part of a routine – I am routinely mindful of doing the dishes, or some other physical activities… or walking… sometimes the mindfulness comes on it’s own and on it’s own schedule…

3) How long have you engaged in this activity?

I meditated rather regularly for a period of 10 months about 9 years ago… stopping for 9 years due to a downright fear of what was going on inside… and not having anyone to explain it, attempt to explain it, or relate to it… I was in the USA during that time and Buddhist monks I spoke with there seemed oblivious to what I was describing… could have been a language issue for some of them, but there were others that spoke english at a high-level that were also bewildered…

4) How frequently do you engage in this activity? Is this contemplative activity a daily practice? If not how often do you engage in contemplative activities?

Back then I meditated almost daily… sometimes 10 minutes, and other times 40 minutes, never more than about 2 hours at a time… usually once per day though sometimes twice… recently I started to sit for 10-20 minutes at a time again…

5) How long is your typical contemplative session?

10 minutes to 40 minutes. Usually 20.

6) What do you do and/or not do, during these contemplative sessions?

I sit in a lame half-lotus position – not strict. Nearly always on the floor somewhere. My back is pretty straight. My neck is always straight… my head is level – meaning if my eyes were open i would be looking out horizontally… sometimes I have a cushion under my butt. Sometimes not. Sometimes I am leaning my lower back against a bed, couch, chair or something else… I have severe back pain from a soccer injury years ago. Sometimes I sit without leaning against something and experience the pain. I put my hands in my lap, one hand cradles the other, palms up.

I close my eyes. I watch the mind’s circus for a while… eventually it calms and I’m able to focus on the breath. I watch the full cycle of the breath without taking attention away from it. If a thought interrupts I re-focus on the breath. If there is pain somewhere, itchiness, a tickle, a sting, I will shift attention to that and watch it… until it dies away… I will then re-focus on the breath. That’s it really.

During non-meditative sitting I am mindful during some periods of time throughout the day.

7) Have you engaged in other spiritual activities?

Having grown up Catholic and then turning born-again christian in my early twenties I have prayed and studied the bible quite a bit.

8) If so, what, when, how often and for how long?

For a period of about 2 years, prayed and read bible daily, during my early 20’s (I’m 40 now).

9) Have you ever taken mind-altering drugs, specifically psychedelics, such as LSD, mushrooms, or peyote? If so, what and when? Do you still take them? How often?

No, never had the chance – I thought at one time I’d be open to taking LSD for the experience, but never did… and then, after the meditative experiences started there was no desire to at all after that point…

10) What is the nature of the charismatic phenomena that you experience? (The kinds of experiences we are interested in are non-normal phenomena, such as OOBs, auras, chakras, kundalini, kriyas raptures of various kinds, bliss, ecstasy, jhana, visions, charismatic ringing, etc.) Please explain how they manifest in your case.

The answer to this question would take many pages of text and I’m not sure it would be worth the effort because it’s all me describing things that can’t really be explained at all in words… I will list some typical experiences that went on after giving a short explanation of how things came about…

After reading a bit on zen meditation and other meditation practices I decided to try it. I did not follow any religion of any sort. I read SN Goenkas book about Vipassana but I was overwhelmed by the vocabulary used to describe things… I did not believe religion was necessary in order to meditate and I didn’t want to bring any into it. It’s inevitable I guess as I needed some guidance, but I’ve never committed to memory anything much about any “ism” though my practice seems related to Buddh”ism”. To this day I don’t know the meaning of various Buddhist vocabulary that seems to describe things that i’ve experienced – or that ‘experienced me’ really. Within the past 2 years I’ve met with some english speaking Buddhist monks here in Thailand that have told me that they believe i had jhana… I read 2 pamphlets that explained jhana – it explained 8 levels or steps and signs for them… it appears that i’ve seen them (all)… Just knowing that I was not losing my marbles (sanity) was so relieving that I cried great sobs of tears at the news… To finally have someone tell me that they understood or at least ‘knew of’ these states of being was so incredible that I felt as if time had stopped (again)…

In 1997 I meditated as I mentioned for about 10 months. During that time there were many, many experiences that I wrote of in a computer journal after the sessions… I hadn’t a clue what they meant, only that I was following SN Goenka’s Vipassana meditation book (loosely). I focused on breathing and I was mindful during the day. I ‘attached’ to nothing. The experiences over that brief time were mind-blowing to say the least… and yet, at the time they happened they were nothing. There was no attachment to them during the sitting meditative sessions. It was only afterward sometimes that I sat, thoroughly amazed, perplexed, and incompetent to understand what had just happened, why they happened, and how they happened… At times there was a weak ‘wanting’ to repeat an experience… and usually (not always) the experience did not come… it was only when one was totally non-attached to the idea of the experience coming or not coming – that it came again…

That was true of nearly all the experiences… this non-attachment to getting some experience… to having it repeat… seemed to be crucial to progression to the other experiences… if it was a ‘progression’ at all…

So nearly everyday I sat and watched the breath for 20-40 minutes. I watched the mind hijack my attention to the breath repeatedly – thousands… tens of thousands of times maybe? At times I focused on the other stimuli that came up – pain, heat, cold, tension, itchiness, a tickle… and I would just watch it – pay attention to it… and it would fade. Everything faded when attention was applied… except for some real pains – back pain and on occasion a foot or leg would fall asleep causing the pins and needles that necessitated a change of position for relief…

When I first sat I would focus just on relaxing a bit – getting comfortable sitting on the hard floor… getting a good position… I’d relax all the muscles not needed to sit straight and then i’d watch the mind… I’d see how many thoughts were being generated and thrown around… sometimes it would calm down a lot after 5 minutes… sometimes it took 20 minutes… sometimes I felt so much tension or some other emotion that I got up and went about doing something else and meditated later that day or the next day.

Meditation was not looked at (is not) as a chore or as a way to “get” somewhere special. It was more like a reward… a nice way to spend a half-hour after a day at work or school or both. While it was enjoyable at times, it was also a chore at times… and yet I didn’t look at it as either one – just something to do… I wasn’t attached to it or attached to the idea that I needed to do it everyday or for a certain time everyday or so many times per week… there were no restrictions or expectations put on it… in that way I remained non-attached to it…

I began to experience various things – some of which I found mirrored approximately other persons’ experiences here in gwv but mostly they did not…

In a few weeks of sitting – I noticed that attention was developed enough that I could focus with great concentration on the breath. Many breaths – as many as I chose… after fully focusing on 6 or so breaths there developed a substantial ‘power’ feeling around the concentration… a very strong sensation that this concentration on the breath was the ONLY thing in the entire mind. There was no thought any longer that didn’t relate only to focusing on the breath… there was a direct and full experience of the breath. That is all. There was a profound peace because there was nothing else going on.

My personality began to change… my ego began to dissolve… all wants, needs, desires, wanting to “be” or “get” things of any nature started to die away… some buddhists and others use the term “disenchantment”… and yes, it fits… there began to be a disenchantment with things in life… job, car, new things, old things, doing things, fitness, anything and everything… in fact NOTHING stood in the face of this disenchantment with everything… one by one things, ideas, wants, needs, plans, etc… were dropped as meaningless…

There began a feeling of “knowing” motivations of people that I knew and also that were virtually strangers to me… but I thought I sensed their motivations whether ‘good’ or not… whether harmful or not… and the intuition seemed to be spot on…

At times early on there would arise some great overwhelming and staggering feeling of joy or bliss! It was as if it were erupting inside of me and then wanting to blow out of every pore… the face was smiling so exaggeratedly that it was as if it would tear from the strain – and yet there was not pain – just total joy or love… impossible to describe…

At times during times of this intense concentration I would stop focusing on the breath and focus on nothing at all. I found an empty mind. The mind was devoid of all thought. There was nothing. The mind had stopped. The chaos of thought was completely gone.

It was here that things started getting quite strange…

** Sometimes the body would start to ‘go away’… there would be numbness that started in the extremities usually – hands first or feet first usually… and it would travel around to the other parts of the body… soon the entire body would be numb or absent. There would be no feeling of a physical body at all.

** Sometimes the mind or the feeling of mind or “self” would be absent… it was as if watching the body as a separate thing…

** Sometimes there was a feeling of fatness of the body… the limits of the skin would be growing outward – all parts of the body would be getting ‘fat’ – extremely fat and large and filling up huge amounts of space… and the mind would grow outward too – it was as if there was this growing expansion of body and mind and all that one was made up of – to grotesque proportions…

This growing outward feeling culminated in a sort of duel between opposing forces… when the expansion had happened it eventually ran up against another force -almost like the field of two magnets that are made of the same fields – like two “North” poles of magnets… they are the same and yet repel each other… and this outside force was holding the expansion in check before it exploded and merged with the field outside of it… at times this state just existed there for a while – minutes or more while this tension was felt between the two fields that were opposing in manner and yet were of the same substance… if that makes any sense…

Occasionally the two fields would merge and suddenly there was a feeling of complete oneness and huge expanses of oneness… and peace… like being in resonance with all that IS… to be aware that everything is the same… and is vast… and perfect… really don’t know how to explain this one… there was a feeling or a knowing… a knowledge of the entire cosmos but more, of EVERYthing and that it is all linked together – it is of the same thing… the same process… substance… stuff…. and knowing that one was not different from that stuff… that one was part of it too – not a separate character with separate ego that meant something one was IT…

** If the breath was focused on even after great concentration came then there appeared to be a sharpening of the focus… or a refining of the focus… it became SHARP… and so razor-focused that it felt as if the entire head was becoming focused into a point which was coming out of the forehead… or, more correctly like the entire head and then BODY too was becoming focused like a cone… with the point radiating from the head outward but there was such immense concentration and POWER in this state that it was phenomenal… like the entire focus of every portion of the body… every bit of energy from the cells of the body was also engaged in this rapt attention and focus… again, impossible to relate in words… but i’m trying!

** When the thought stopped the breathing had also slowed down quite a bit. I’m not sure there was breath at ALL during some points… the breath became so shallow on occasion that it wasn’t known whether it was actually making any movement in and out of the body. It was as if the body was using so little energy to maintain the state that it didn’t need to breath in an out… it was as if the normal movement of air in the room was enough to come into the nostrils and replenish what had been used in the lungs and some of the used air would be expelled… literally there was NO sensation of breathing sometimes… the first time it happened it caused some fear to arise because who had ever heard of breathing STOPPING unless one was dead or dying? I remember forcing some breath in and out just to see if I could… and of course I could… and then I went back to watching the no-breath, no thought…

The ‘no-breath’ feeling wasn’t really the norm and usually there was some amount of breathing process that was going on and could be paid attention to…

** Once while meditating I opened the eyes and looked at the rug in front of me for a bit… a picture started to form… it was a picture and a feeling in the mind all at once… it was as if i was seeing the form of a boy and girl… both sexes but not one or the other… and it was a very real feeling – as if I was sensing the presence of this being… and there was a knowlege that it was related to me… to my mom and father and family… and it was strange… very strange… but I didn’t attach to it and closed my eyes and focused on breathing…

The next night i heard my wife cry from the shower “Honey, COME HERE, come here!”

I came in to see on the floor of the shower a tiny embryo… a very small baby that wasn’t formed at all yet – was just a fingernail tip size of tissue covered in blood and other supportive tissues… my wife had just miscarried in the shower… and it was as if I was in a dream as i remembered the vision and feeling of the night before… and I showed my wife the journal entry about it and we both were quite shocked…

There were many, many other things that happened during these ‘sitting’ periods… but the most bizarre things to happen were after I STOPPED meditation for fear that I was going insane as a result of these traumatic experiences…

After searching out people to talk to about what was going on – and finding NOBODY that could explain anything to me about what was going on I decided quite emphatically to STOP meditating at all from that point on… the experiences were so surreal and powerful that they left me at a complete loss for knowing whether I was sane anymore…

I decided to pile on the ego-building activities of my life before… acquiring things, money, wants, desires, even though I didn’t WANT them anymore – the fear made me RUN TOWARD them to re-normalize my life… I began to sell real estate, bought a different car… running all the while from these experiences which were SO LIFE CHANGING and peaceful and awesome… but which I did not trust fully… having nobody validate them for me…

It was then, when the search for enlightenment or for whatever was causing these bizarre processes to occur during meditation CAME TO ME EVEN WITHOUT MEDITATING.

I would be walking to the car to go to work and suddenly it would come to me – this process or whatever it is… it would touch me and the world would seem as if it was me and I was the world… the feeling of oneness and total mindfulness of the present moment was there – and there was nothing I did to get it… it just came… and it was fascinating… it was as if heaven decided to touch me with a corner of itself.

These experiences have not stopped in 9 years… though, upon first stopping meditating they came on VERY often and powerfully as if they were intent on changing my mind about stopping the meditation…. it really was if the process wanted to have it’s way with me anyway… it was as if by stopping I really didn’t WANT anything… not even enlightenment… and so when I stopped wanting it at all – it CAME.

And it still comes now… and it’s like a gravity pulling me to begin sitting again… to begin being mindful again… and recently I decided that I would not interfere with the process anymore… I’ll start sitting sometimes… start becoming mindful sometimes… 🙂

11) When did these phenomena first occur? How frequently do they occur? Do they still occur?

First changes after a few weeks of meditating in 1997. They occurred off and on from that point on and have occurred for the 9 years of not meditating… they just seem to come and go at will – not my will – but when they will… sometimes twice per day… sometimes not for a week. When I initially stopped meditating they were coming daily a few times to many times per day.

12) What do you believe is the cause and/or origin of these phenomena?

I haven’t the slightest idea…. Things happen when the mind stops. That’s all I know. Today at any time it takes just a second to stop all thought, all reaction to anything going on. It’s “on-call” so to speak. I’m not sure what it’s good for, but I have that available to play with. It makes for good conversation. “I’ll bet you can’t stop your mind for 10 seconds”. Nobody I’ve ever asked can do it I could be asking the wrong people!

13) What do you believe stimulates and suppresses the occurrences, frequency and intensity of these phenomena?

I think they are not controlled in ANY way by me… but, if I sit and meditate or if I become mindful during the day there is more of a chance that they will ‘visit’…

14) Do you dream? If so, how often? How much sleep do you receive each day?

I have dreamt VERY little over these 9 years since meditating… approximately once every couple of months… I sleep 5-7 hours per night on average.

15) Have you ever had a dream in which you knew you were dreaming, which is the definition of a lucid dream?

Yes, quite vivid and entertaining – but before I started meditating, not after.

16) Have you ever had a hyper-real dream or OOB? If so when and how often?

I don’t know what these are…

17) Do you believe it might be possible to improve or intensify these subjective experiences? If so, how?

Not sure what this question refers to – the meditating or the dream states…

18) Your gender, age and/or date of birth, where are you from, and what religion and ethnic/socioeconomic group would you say represents your family of origin?

male, 40 years, from USA

Mind Shift While Rollerblading – Shifted Consciousness

Mindfulness While Rollerblading… Mind Shift

While rollerblading with Fern I noticed that when I looked down at the pavement there was a point where the pavement started to turn blurry (about 5 feet in front of us as we rode). Different colors were seen in the pavement in streaks. Not only did the pavement appear grey, but it was other colors as well. I saw white, green, and red too. These combined to make the grey. Continuing to look down, the eyes saw that if the blurryness was focused upon the most amazing thing happened… The pattern of blurriness appeared to change from only a linear pattern like

l l l l

l l l l

l l l l l l l l

l l l l l l l l l l l l

l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l

Left foot Right foot

and coming at this body in this pattern, to a pattern that can only be described as fluid-like (water-like) and a pattern like fish scales that moved horizontally, diagonally, and vertically. The entire effect on the mind was like a fantasy state where one felt as if a waterfall was being skated upon. An instant sense of calmness, mindfulness, and non-thinking were prevalent upon the mind. There was no time, no skates, no “me”, no “Fern”. So entrancing was this state that the eyes didn’t notice cars or bikers coming towards it!

The other experience was that when one looked at the pavement far in front (say 6+ feet) it appeared as the mind has known concrete all along–as solid, unchanging, immovable, inflexible, etc. But, when the eyes focused on that point in space where the solid line started to blur because of the speed the body moved over it a remarkable thing was observed. Reality turned to fantasy at about the 5 foot away mark. The solid turned to liquid and impermanent, changing, flexible, moving, etc. The mind registered this and then when the eyes looked away at the trees and surroundings a certain impermanence and transitoriness was observed in all that the eyes examined. Nothing seemed as one has known (experienced) it to be all along.

While meditating tonight a curious thing was experienced. I saw the shadows or shapes of two heads, the one on the right was turned towards the one on the left who was facing me (as if I were observing it). The shape on the right said, why don’t you tell him that I’m inside you, to the other head shape. The one on the left said nothing, but was trying to figure out what the R. Head meant. Then “I” realized that the L head shape was myself as I meditated trying to figure out what the R head meant. Then I realized that the R head was me also! But, it was the essence of me (soul?) that was telling the “outward me” (the body the essence is using) that it needed to tell the entire organism that the essence exists inside of this body (host).

I was quiet for much of the meditation tonight. Some thoughts came and went. Some were lingered upon. Sometimes all was quiet and no thought (or awareness of breathing) was known. Other times the mind showed visual scattergories of subjects. One that sticks in mind was a key that was stuck inside something that had a (carved?) out section to fit the key exactly (like an inlaid pearl), but not that the key would fit exactly (like a lock). It was as if two wooden blocks or coconut halves were separated and the key lay inside one of the halves and fit just perfectly as if it was there, hidden, waiting to be used. I remember thinking that this is a key for some aspect of mindfulness/meditation.

A Meditation Poem

Meditation ebook cover

“Endless Mind…”

Let me sit

a while

body mass dissipates

leaves sponge-like empty form

fingers, arms & legs

all gone

breath slows to stop

a

perfect stillness

all in motion

a death-like moment

of lucid awareness

faint dog barking

is self

whole room breathing

self-too

mind not ending

no confines

of body

of life

It’s all as it is

Nothing missing

Nothing his

No right this

Rapt-solid concentration

Everything is full, no hollowness

No right way

No rules to follow

Blow thru ears

endless mind…

Meditation Without Religion

Meditation without religion at jhana8.comBasically, meditation without religion is what this site is about… I created a facebook page here about the topic:

Meditation Without Religion

It is easier to post things at that page and for you to interact with me and each other there – if you choose.

I keep saying I’ll be doing some videos soon… and perhaps I’ll start them today. I wanted to talk about what the whole idea behind meditation without religion on a video, and then go over some of the finer points of meditation that I think will help some people who might be stuck or confused.

The Word, “Seamlessness” Describes the Underlying Reality

An online friend of mine whom I’ve never met came up with this word to describe a state of mind during my meditation that I was trying desperately to describe to her. It came to her in a split second and yet she insists she’s never used the word before to describe anything.

Seemlessness works for 2 reasons. It’s a play on words. When spoken it can represent two different words.

The word, seem, means that there is some distortion of reality… of perception of reality… some twisted idea or sense of objective reality. Seemless would mean that one is experiencing objective reality with any “seeming”. Without any distortion. In that way, meditation and the process that is going on inside me makes a lot of sense. Meditation cuts through the distortion. Cuts through the fluff. Cuts through untrue states and falseness.

Seamlessness is what my friend actually meant when she first said the word… but then the more we both looked at it – we decided – wow, it fits both ways and very well for meditative states. A seam is a place where two things come together… two pieces of metal, of cloth, of paper, of photographs, of digital images that one is trying to mesh together seamlessly. I was trying to explain to my friend the feeling of having no disconnection between all things in the world – an underlying connectedness or a feeling that everything is of the same essence… and she came up with the seamless part… and it being a feeling – I added the ness.

A feeling of seamlessness pervades the mind when I experience the interconnectedness of all things – the sort of – “at one with everything” feeling that comes and goes with different levels of strength, but that is pretty much underlying all states of meditation.

Words are not the Thing…

Reading J. Krishnamurti today and a lot lately. Why? His focus is on not focusing on a system or particular means to find the truth for one’s self. He doesn’t say to meditate as Thich Nhat Hanh or Buhhadhassa or Jack Kornfield may say. Hence, no time away from Fern (my wife).

His book ‘The flame of attention’ concentrated on showing us how to observe. Observe in the sense that we throw away all knowledge and past memories, old feelings, old thoughts, etc. About that which we are observing. He gave the example of a tree. He said that in order to observe a tree we need to observe it without giving it the name ‘tree’. We need to look at it for ‘what it is’, not that which we’ve built it up to be. We put behind the word ‘tree’ all of the thoughts, memories, feelings, prejudices, good and bad experiences that we have had in our dealings with ‘trees’. In order to find the truth about whatever we are observing we need to just be with the tree and observe without the filter of the past. Observe it right now, presently, in it’s totality.

Other examples were: He brought up the notion that husband and wife are on two parallel train tracks chugging down the tracks. They sometimes reach over and kiss, caress, or connect in some way–but they are not ‘as one’ because each lives with this idea of their selves (self-concept or ego) which they have sought to maintain over the years. This is not the individuals total self! It is only that representation of self that one has chosen to hold onto because it serves the ‘self’ well during it’s time here on earth In the present day society that it happens to be in. So, each individual is dealing with the image of the ideal self of the other and vice-versa.

JK said that conflict occurs when there is a difference between ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be’. We as humans think we know what is and what ought to be and so therefore we are forever in conflict because of our ignorance. The ‘what is’ cannot be known except by careful observation like described above. It is only when we can forget all past ‘knowledge’ and observe a problem or situation with a freshness and a newness that truth can be known. Nobody takes the time to do this now. The ‘what ought to be’ is not our idea (though they have been internalized over the years by society’s indoctrination) though we believe that it is because we have not observed the truth without the filter of the past.

Meditation for Beginners Ebook Updates

I’ve made some revisions to the pages describing, “Meditation for Beginners – a 22 day course”. Click the book above to see the revised page.

Now you can see a full description of the book (imagine that!) and a free sample. If you wish, you can download a free 12 page sample of the ebook in PDF format.

I’ll be creating a series of videos that go along with the ebook – not sure when it will be complete, but I hope to get started today on the first one.

If you haven’t yet bought this $2.99 guide, you can now buy through Paypal here at the main page, or through Smashwords.com, or at Amazon.com.

If you buy through Amazon and give the book a fair review – fair, not necessarily long – I will give you the next book in the series – for free when it comes out. I’m anticipating about 2 weeks for that one. It will be, “Mindfulness for Beginners” and will also be available here for $2.99 as well as the other channels mentioned.

 

Buddha – What He Did… Who He Is

Buddha – what he did, who he is… and my own experiences…

[Some free-thinking on the buddha, meditation, vipassana, buddhism, all ‘isms’, and my own personal experiences…]

i’m thinking today as i usually think… any person here is just a person. Nobody better than anyone else for any reason, real or imagined. There is no supernatural… no god here on earth… at least there isn’t a good god here among us or accessible by us or to us because he/she couldn’t possibly stand all the silliness and sickness going on here. So – everyone is just a person.

The Buddha was just a person. He was a person that, if you believe what has been written, found a way to release himself from the bondage of the mind so to speak… the bondage of society… and the human condition which is suffering because of attachment to things, ideas, beliefs, traditions, memory, etc.

What he did was find a way to still the mind… to watch the breath until thought slowed… then ceased. Once thought ceased he went through what he called different levels (or hierarchies)… called jhanas… to him the jhanas were acquired in a certain order and there were very definite rules about how they were found… he went about his meditations in the same way each time and went through the levels in a way that he remembered and that he taught others as the way to go about it.

Many millions of people believe the scripts written about the process of going through the jhanas as according to the buddha. Many people have a very closed mind about the meditation process and how to go about it… many INSIST that the only way to go about it is the way this man did it thousands of years ago – EXACTLY the same way… and it’s quite silly really. It’s quite silly that people don’t open their mind to some very real and simple possibilities…

Number one silly belief is that the buddha found the one and only way, path, or roadmap to reach what everyone calls “nibbana” or “enlightenment”.

Because one person did it this way merely shows us that to GET THERE is possible. When explorers sailed for new worlds across the globe and they found a way to arrive somewhere – they plotted where they went and how they got there. There were later found THOUSANDS and literally endless ways to arrive at the same places. The way to creating happiness in one’s life can be found many thousands of ways… and there is no one path.

The roadmap to nibanna can be the same way… many, many paths to get there. Humans, being what they are love to believe they have the monopoly on the “right way” to do something. We love to believe we have an exclusive on the way to do something, on the best way, a monopoly on the truth… We’re searching for power… for status… knowing the “BEST” way can give us some of that in others’ eyes… so we love to have it. Even those that portray themselves as unconcerned about status or power are eager to separate themselves under different sets of beliefs and hold them as more important, more moral… than others’ beliefs… monks for instance… christians for instance… yogis for instance… virtually anyone that believes strongly in any religion for instance…

I’ve been led to some ideas that i can’t ignore anymore and that I want to think about out-loud as I write. These are things I’ve been thinking about for years and yet i’ve not been bold enough to write them down like this until now. I’ve kind of come up against some things I can’t explain any other way – except the way I’m about to do it… and it may sound to you as if the writer is making bold statements because you don’t know him. You are hearing everything for the first time and to accept that the writer has gone to a place that the buddha and only a few others’ have been might be quite a large leap of faith for you… no worries, whether you believe or don’t believe really isn’t the point of writing it… it’s just to offer a possibility for you… to see if you might be able to question some long-held beliefs.

If you’ve read this far into this, i’m guessing you are a meditator of some sort. There must be some real interest in the topic. Maybe you hold tight to some beliefs about Buddhism or other ism that has led you up to the point you are today. Maybe you are eager to read about something that contradicts what you’ve read and believe in so firmly – so you can send the writer email about what this text states and that text states…

And this writer has little interest in what texts state what… and for you to care about what books say and what teachers talking about things that happened many hundreds and thousands of years ago is quite silly… the truth is what we can experience now. Well, the closest thing to the objective truth for us… If you live your life according to what others told you and what you’ve read you are living in a world of 2nd or 3rd order truth that probably resembles nothing of the truth for you today at this point in reality.

If you’d like to read along, feel free. I’m writing mostly for me but there may be someone who gets something out of seeing it as well – so it’s easy enough to write this in a web publishing program as it is to write it in a word processing program…

I want to go over some ideas that i’ve been thinking about for years that i am today, just coming to accept as valid… or probably valid…

The first idea is that there is not just one way to meditate and be mindful and reach nirvana. The buddhists don’t have a monopoly on it. The kundalini practitioners don’t have a monopoly on it. The vipassanaists don’t have a monopoly on it. Nobody does. It’s a state that is reachable. That’s as much as i can believe. I don’t believe it because I’ve read it about a man that reached it thousands of years ago. I believe it because I’ve experienced it… a glimpse of it perhaps… but a life-changing glimpse nonetheless.

There may be countless ways to come upon this state… or, there may be just two or three other ways. Who can be sure? After reading about ONE person being able to reach the state, we cannot be sure that there is only one way to get there.

I do believe that it doesn’t matter at all whether one sits, stands, walks, lays down, sits leaning against a pillar, sits on a sofa, sits on a zafu, sits on a wooden chair or using any other posture. I find that I’m able to reach states where thought stops while walking, laying, sitting in a reclining chair, sitting in a half-lotus position on a hard floor, or sitting on a zafu and leaning against a bed, couch, wall, or pillar. I know this and I am positive that I have experienced this. I directly experienced it. Direct experience is the highest of truths…. so I’m as sure as I can be that advanced states can be reached in these postures. And, if advanced states can be reached in those postures, then going the distance can likely be reached in any of those postures.

Focusing on the breath is an excellent way to begin meditation. But, like everything else… once it serves it’s purpose, it can be thrown away like everything else… there are many tools we can use during meditation – and then the tools must be dropped as we go further. I say “must be” because what i’ve noticed over the years is further movement is seen only when dropping attachment to whatever it is that one is attached to at the time.

Focusing on the breath is a good way to train the mind to eventually experience stillness. Once the stillness can be experienced then focusing on the breathing can stop. If it does not stop, I believe that meditators become stuck like hundreds of thousands of buddhist monks, and other meditators that report reaching states of bliss and joy… and other experiences indicative of the early jhanas… and yet they stay there forever because they are still focusing on breathing or on other rules of practice that someone has told them – some hierarchy of steps that needs to be traveled each time while meditating… and they are stuck right there. There is no more movement… they are stuck because they are stuck in the process… in the instructions… and being caught in the instructions, they are terminally stuck. The buddhists and other styles or forms of meditation are usually strict about what is to happen…. this then that, THEN that, THEN that, and then this and that.

Once caught in that set of instructions and once one takes it as absolute truth…. that person is going to become more and more stuck as he/she researches more information about the ‘right’ way to meditate… and finds more and more information – more details to pay attention to… more rules… more serious people about the process to tell them how to follow the rules more strictly…

Before the meditator knows it years have passed… and the beliefs about the RIGHT way to meditate have been reinforced over those years… Once these beliefs that cause someone to be STUCK are reinforced for 5 years, 10, 20, 30 years… the person has little chance of breaking out of the holding pattern. There might be nothing that will break that person out of being stuck at that point. There are monks that have been monks for 40 years and more that are right where they were 35 years ago and right where they’ll be as they pass… the first few levels of jhana.

When i started meditation by focusing on the breath I found the first few levels of jhana within about 2 months of starting. My “practice” consisted of sitting, focusing on breath, and re-directing the attention back to the breath when thoughts hijacked attention for a millisecond or for minutes at a time. At times I focused on pains, mosquitoes or other flies landing on me and biting me… spiders or ants crawling on me… hot feelings, cold feelings, tension, anger and other emotions… I watched all sensations at one time or another – and yet the majority of time was spent focusing on the breath and re-directing errant thought back to the breath…

Once full attention was able to be sustained on the breath there were other goings on that were noted… very few of which I’ve seen written on the internet… and i’ve done many google searches during my attempts to find someone writing about their similar experiences.

During the 10 or 11 months of my meditation i kept one idea as a central theme… don’t attach to anything.

That one idea seems to have a lot of validity…

Once I reached the point where the mind quieted down and stopped there was no need to focus attention on breathing. There was no need to focus attention on anything that came from the ‘me’. There are many instructions flying around about what to do in order to go progressively through the jhanas… and I didn’t follow any of them. There are things one can focus on – thoughts – ideas… and so, so many things… and I didn’t.

I just kept a blank mind – free of thought, free of pain, of any disturbance… and I let whatever come, come. And many forms of mind-candy came…. and they went… and they came back sometimes, and then they went away.

And I didn’t read books about what process to follow… I didn’t read about jhanas at that time. I didn’t want someone to tell me what to do at that point. I didn’t want to follow what the buddha did or said… it was so regimented… I wanted to do it LIKE the Buddha did… and yet not try to follow his steps precisely. I think it was right for him – but my way might come about differently – i wanted to give it that option.

I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about how long sitting sessions needed to be… or if they needed to be everyday or twice per day. I didn’t follow anyone’s suggestions about things one “must” do to purify one’s self before being able to progress through the jhanas…

And so when I meditated i just sat and had a blank mind… an attentive mind… a mind that was alive and vibrant… not muted by some trance-like state… the mind was very awake… there was not this “lost time” phenomena that can occur when one is just sort of ‘blanked-out’ and in a trance like state… time was able to be experienced if one wanted to experience it – and it wasn’t a perfect experience of it but one could guess at the end of a session how long one had sat and be within 10-15 minutes of the clock-time…

So, the me sat with a thought-less mind… and the most incredible, MINDBLOWING sensations came over me during that time… sometimes the experience was so strong that the after-effect lasted for hours afterward… and overall it was the most peaceful experience ever… some of the experiences i’ve posted to this site – and can be read at the main index page… … there were blissful states… so blissful that tears poured… there were states in which one felt solid as a rock… immovable… imperturbable… equanimous… solid… states where one felt connected with the entire universe – or all that “is”… states in which a merging… a melding of the energy of the body with the cosmic energy was experienced… (for lack of better words to describe)… there were states in which the body felt like it was transforming – sometimes into amorphous shapes… (a cone of focused energy)… sometimes into shapes that were constantly changing – like a force field… or growing outward to encompass more space… there were times when the mind felt as if it was expanding it’s consciousness to include more mass… more area… or as if it had less boundaries… and then no boundaries… There were so many experiences that were so completely beyond words that, as much as one writes about it – little is actually revealed…

there were whole months of experiences that occurred during a time in which there was no conscious desire to record any of what was happening… there was no desire for anything at all really and the journal wasn’t kept… memory was still functioning – the me remembers much of what happened and what was felt during those last maybe 2 months in which all writing stopped, working stopped, talking stopped, and the me stopped engaging in anything of what it did previously, and a time in which interest in everything was lost… after about 6 months of meditating there was this disenchantment with everything – the term came from a book, but it fit the process perfectly… there was a disenchantment with EVERYTHING.

There was a loss of the ego… there was very little of the ‘me’ left at that point. it appeared to me that there was NONE of it left, though it was still there behind the scenes I imagine because it came back in a year or so after I stopped meditating completely.

At this point – this point of no “me”… of no desire… of total disenchantment with everything that was previously part of the ‘me’ in the past… there arose fear – a question – that maybe this was not at all the right thing happening… after all, i was not following the buddhist way to go about this – not exactly… not as prescribed exactly by the buddha which is how most people want to go about it… there was no step-by-step outline I was following… i was mostly just going by one thing i had read in a vipassana book (SN Goenka’s) that said to not attach to anything as you meditate… at least i think it came from there – i’m only about 55% sure it came from there…

So, the thought that became prevalent was… maybe this was the me losing his mind… not just his ego… the changes that took place within this body were so catastrophic… so complete… so POWERFUL that there was no rationalizing whether it was nibbana coming or severe mental illness coming…

And so began a search among the thai buddhist monks in the area to answer my questions about what was happening…

The answers i got were profoundly inadequate… i came to understand that the monks i spoke with had not been through the experiences, the states of mind, the changes themselves… because they couldn’t relate to the experiences at all… I asked everyone I could about it and there was nobody that could give me some answer to my question… am i going nuts, or is this the road to nibbana? Nobody could validate experiences i had with similar ones they had experienced… i began to read some books to see if others had talked about similar things… and i found nothing… i literally went through the entire barnes and nobles bookstores section on eastern religion looking for someone relating an experience that sounded similar… and couldn’t find what i was looking for…

And yet, since i wasn’t following anyone else’s roadmap – why wouldn’t my roadmap be different? and i thought about this… and yes, it had some truth… but the question i was facing was a most serious one… and if i was to continue meditating without knowing where it was leading… without having the slightest idea where it was leading… then a very real possible outcome was loss of the mind to a mental illness…

and that just wasn’t a possibility that the me that was left wanted to leave open…

and so there began an idea inside that meditation was not really such a great thing either… the experiences were phenomenal – yes. The benefits to an individual that reaches nirvana weren’t really clear… this one couldn’t really come up with good reasons to go toward nirvana anyway… for what reason would someone do it? it seemed selfish to do so… yes, it put one in a permanent place of no pain… that much could be guessed… and it would be good for that person… but what good to anyone else?

If i had reached nirvana… then what of others that had known the me…? family? my son? my friends?

What of those relationships that no longer meant what they had before meditation started?

When i say that EVERYTHING was dropped… i mean attachment to ANYTHING and everything was dropped. Family bonds meant no more than bonds between someone that I had been friends with for weeks, days or hours. There was a feeling of a bond because we were human… and because we were on the same planet… but familial bonds meant nothing more special than that.

What would the future hold for someone that has reached nirvana but outside the protective umbrella of the buddhist church…? had one done it within their beuracracy there would be things to do… places to go… people to meet… advice to give…

What of someone that does it on his own? again, the idea of being labeled with a mental illness came to mind… and really, to this day the me can’t fathom what would happen to someone that focused on breath… stopped the mind of thought… went through the jhanas… and reached nirvana – all without being in a system of religion that would understand what happened… that would take care of any needs one had after reaching the state… that would sort of take over…

What of someone like that?

And still, no answer comes to mind.

And so some weeks were spent thinking about these topics… what is the point of meditation… and what happens if one IS on the right track – and actually reaches nirvana and it changes the me so completely that it can’t function in society anymore…?

And what happens if one is NOT on the right track at all and finds the me in an insane asylum of sorts… because nobody understands what happened…?

And so the idea that meditation was a good thing – stopped.

Meditation was dropped.

Meditation was no longer attached to – in any way. It was just dropped like the tools to progress through meditation were dropped…

And there was no more question about it… there was no more reading about it, talking about it…

Sitting stopped.

And so that was it – there was a decision made to propel one back into life in the materialistic society in the USA even more so than one was before meditation was started…

And the “process” just started on it’s own at that point.

The process is what the me calls the otherness that goes on according to it’s own schedule… it is like a corner of heaven dipping down to touch the me during some part of the day and showing me a different dimension… it is a feeling not unlike experiences during meditation when one felt a connection with – a fusing or merging with all that “is”… a connection and a feeling of “oneness” with all that is… and yet, this was not happening during sitting meditation with eyes closed and no thought…

This was happening during waking hours – driving the car, walking down the street, washing the dishes… eating something, on the toilet… anytime… and when it came it was as if the world shifted… or the dimension i was in – shifted… and it came over me – or came to me…

And the instant feeling of oneness and peace and tranquility and bliss… was unimaginable… and indescribable… in it’s simplicity… it’s power…

It was as if there was an instant knowledge of the way that things are… it was a knowing that this was as it ‘is’… and that it is OK… and that there was no feeling of “should be” or “bad or good”… there was no judging about things – at all! one could look at a person that had done evil things – horrible things – and yet understand everything in one moment – that the person was a product of the environment that he grew up in…. and that this is the situation we have here… and there isn’t a right or wrong about it – this is just “it” and how it is…

During these moments there was a distortion of perception of things – visual things – though in ways not possible to describe… one part of it comprised things that the me saw in front of the body seemed to come into the body as one moved forward… things on the side – in the peripheral seemed to blur as if merging into the body, not just passing by… and it was like the body – the eyes were just a piece of glass… that visual things entered into – and were absorbed by the body…

Another part of it was a magical aura to things… a slowing down of perception of time – or a distortion of perception of time… and yet this doesn’t describe it at all…

The process would come for seconds at a time – or minutes or back then when it first started, it would come for 30 minutes at a time or more…

Today is the 8th of September 2006 and is over 9 years since stopping meditation.

The process STILL comes to me after all this time… and for nine years there has not been meditation – of any note. Maybe ten times over the course of these nine years has the me sat and focused on the breath – more as a relaxation tool than any quest for nirvana.

And recently – two years ago I’ve moved from the USA to Thailand… and i have spoken to some buddhist monks that have explained to me what they believe i’ve experienced – and they have shown me pamphlets explaining 8 levels of jhana… and from this i’ve come to see that they think i’ve been through the jhanas…. the 8 levels… and though nobody has said it – the name “stream enterer” or stream winner is mentioned in the pamphlets… as describing what the me has stumbled upon… and still the process comes… and gives the me these crystal clear moments of pure experience that is untainted by thought… by memory of the old ego-filled me. and the experiences are too phenomenal for words…

And yet they’re not attached to – and they come when they want… they leave and there’s no longing for them to return… and yet they return…

So, this one has decided to start meditation again… and is not at all sure where it will lead… perhaps nowhere…

And the experiences are starting again during sitting… the fatness… the body expanding… the stillness of mind -the absence or stopping of thought as the mind slows to a crawl and then just stops.

And who knows where it will lead… certainly not i…

I’ve asked my friend to take me to Suan Mokkh buddhist temple here about 60kilometers away if she notices a major change in the functioning of the me… so, that’s as much as i can share right now..

Perhaps in the future there will again be no desire to share anything – to write anything about the process as it goes along… my email is: aimforawesome [[ at ]] gmail.com, if you would like to write.

OK then, thanks for listening… this has helped me to put into words what i’ve been thinking for a while…. there is no one way to reach nirvana… there is no process or set of rules for reaching it…

There is no morality that needs adhered to before practicing… the morality comes afterward… it is complete when it comes – there is no wavering… the morality is like a natural morality that comes over one and doesn’t allow one to harm others in any way… that is a morality that is beyond religion… beyond words… beyond rules… beyond trying… it just IS.

Meditate first, morality comes afterward… immorality cannot stand in the face of the disenchantment process… nothing stands….

Likewise… maybe religion comes afterward… maybe some ideas about what to teach would come afterward… after nibbana…? not at all sure, just guessing…

When religion comes first it traps one into a step by step process that actually hinders the process from coming… because there is attachment to the idea of the STEPS that hinders progress… attachment to anything hinders progress…

And maybe, attachment to the idea of meditation even, hinders the ultimate progress… and so when attachment is dropped -through disenchantment of the idea of meditation – then it comes… and on it’s own schedule.

Modern Day Dharma – Direct Knowledge – Is It Still Coming?

Toad at Wat Suan Mokkh, a Theravada Buddhist temple in Chaiya, Thailand.Ang Kek, from Malaysia, left a couple of comments on this site tonight and one of them struck me as profoundly important.

If you know me, I’m not the kind of person to tell you that my experiences of jhana make me anything special. Besides the simple act of meditating and being mindful of the present moment as much as possible, I did nothing to ‘deserve’ what happened. It just came… easily, and profusely. It was like I had opened a tap on a fire hydrant and the pressure behind the water… was pushing it all out as fast as possible.

I wasn’t particularly saintly before I started sitting to meditate. I didn’t earn it. I didn’t stack up the positive karma through years of great deeds. I had no clue that I would ever have something as mind-shattering as jhana happen…

Though, in hindsight – after jhana, I did realize that since I was a child I was experiencing a sign of something as I was growing up that might be related in some way to the process that started moving within me after I started meditation. Or, maybe more right to say – “to the process that I started noticing moving within me after I started meditation.”

I’ll make a notecard note to do a video about that. I’ve talked little about it, and it could be relevant – who really knows? Certainly not I.

The biggest difference between me getting through Jhanas and other people getting through them is that nearly everyone else that has jhana visit – knows exactly what they are, and what to expect. They are dedicated to reaching them. They have studied intensively, how to meditate according to some tradition – and have teachers and others that can guide them along in the experience.

Those that have jhanas come, have in their mind a complete cognitive schema for labeling the experience… they know the special names of types of breath, in Pali usually. They have labels for many of the feelings, experiences, sensory stimulation, and other things that go on.

I know very little of that. I’ve avoided knowing it – picking it up, because it’s not the true thing… At the risk of showing myself to appear to be a Krishnamurti groupie – the words are not the thing. It’s true though, because you call it dukkha, for instance, doesn’t mean you know it any better or worse than I know it… I’ve chosen not to play in the religious sphere regarding meditation and the experiences. As a result of that, I don’t often share my experiences in ways that that most people studying within some tradition – can grasp them.

Anyway, what I’m getting at – the point of this article… Ang Kek said something about Direct Knowledge. I’ve heard that phrase somewhere, and ignored it many times over the years. I’m not a believer in something outside of the human experience – something magical, something other worldly, something god-like, or something supernatural on any level. I’m just a realist, and whatever we can see and do and experience here – is what I believe in.

Direct Knowledge to me, always held some sort of suggestion that there was something coming into human heads from another world.

That was weird enough that I ignored it.

Until Ang wrote me that comment.

*****

Hi Vern , thank you for sharing this. I think this is the direct knowledge come to you. The next time you encounter this, you got to write it down cause that might be your job A’s one of my Master also do that. He write down all the teaching in detail. So please do that.

*****

Then I stopped and looked at those two words closely for the first time ever… Direct Knowledge.

Ang was saying that maybe what I have coming through these experiences is Direct Knowledge. That’s interesting.

Now it has some connotation in my mind that it means I’m special for it coming to me – and that is a negative… More looking at it, and I have to admit that things that have gone on after meditation have been quite astounding. Direct knowledge? I guess it might be called that.

I don’t imagine someone outside our world looking at me and others that are having these incredible jhana experiences, and sending us special messages of direct knowledge to us, or giving us the experiences directly. That might well be happening, but, as I said – what I can see here, and experience here – that is it. That is all I can “know”. What might actually be happening with gods, spirits, devils, angels, aliens, whatever might be out there – is all a big mystery and I don’t have any insight into that. I’m not looking for any truth in those areas – I think they are probably just beyond us until whatever time that “other” decides to reveal something to us.

Where I heard the phrase ‘direct knowledge’ before, was the dharma. Dharma is said to be direct knowledge. It is extremely important in Buddhism. Monks that teach other monks and laypersons give ‘dharma talks’, sometimes with parts of their talk comprising direct knowledge they experienced on their path to ‘freedom from suffering’.

Am I a dharma conduit?

It’s almost funny, if I wasn’t seriously asking myself this question. Does dharma come to us in this modern day? Or, is dharma only from the Buddha and other ‘accomplished’ monks?

Something that is notable, is that at the time of Buddha’s death – none of his words had been recorded on any media. Actually, for about 4 centuries – nothing was written down regarding his teaching. That’s 400+ years. How much of the original message was intact after that long? It’s like us looking back to the year 1600, at a person in history that made a big impact back then – and who many people followed – even to this day, but nobody wrote anything down that he said. All we had was what was passed down orally for 400 years. How much do you think didn’t get distorted? I think it’s safe to say, whatever we wrote down this year about it – was, in general what the man said, but not exactly. It couldn’t possibly be anything resembling exactly.

Is this a reason, or a partial reason, for the situation that we find ourselves in today?

What I mean is – how many enlightened people that have passed through human suffering and reached nibbana or anything similar?

Me neither. Nobody. I’ve not met even one person. I’ve asked on this site and some others – who is there? Who can we look at as an example of what there is to aspire to after a life of meditation… Someone points to Jiddu Krishnamurti, or Gunaratana, or Thich Nhat Hanh… I’ve not met any of them, but, are they Buddha material?

Still, how many people across the globe could hold company with these people? Another 100?

Are there just 103 people out of 6+ billion that have this sort of experience, character, _______? Whatever one wishes to call it.

Is what they are saying about meditation – direct experience? Is it divine? Is it dharma? Is it the absolute truth?

Maybe some of it. Why not?

I have this idea that jhana experiences and the process that started inside me is something that is available to each and every person on the face of the earth. I don’t have any experience with past lives and karma in my practice. I don’t know anything about that. As a result, I don’t believe any of it. It might well be true… and I may experience something related to it later on as I continue to practice, but at the moment – it’s just hearsay.

Just comparing claims to reality – I have a problem with people saying they are able to recollect 100,000 of their past lives, and even countless past lives, when they are not sitting there for years and years doing it – they just come out of one short meditation session and say they’ve recollected tens of thousands of past lives.

Yeah, uhm, how’d that happen? You were sitting there a couple hours… how many of those past lives were you recollecting each minute? Each second? And you were counting each one… How long does it take to count to 100,000?

How many facts about each of those lives did you remember? 10? Would 10 distinct memories about 1 past life mean that you remembered a past life? Or just 2-3 memories? Maybe you remembered your mom was named Doris, and you had a dog that you called Skippy. You lived in Mexico… is that enough to call it a past life?

So, I’m skeptical about some things I hear. If I didn’t experience it – it didn’t happen. I have to treat it like that.

If I suddenly start having my head fill with memories of people I didn’t know in this life, and each person I see in my head has a couple facts attached – am I going to start proclaiming I have had all these as past lives?

I kind of think not. Let’s see what happens.

I think it must be somewhere along the same lines as just “knowing” that these were past lives. There is nothing you could ever verify from these memories, but for some reason people come out of their meditation session – in awe that they were all of these other people in past lives before their present life.

Anyway, so, if we have a meditation experience… say jhana or jhana-like – should we be recording it in as much detail as possible?

I don’t know.

Is it direct knowledge? I guess so. It was done directly by us – it happened. I guess we should be writing down everything that happens – right?

But, there’s a problem I see with that… and it’s the reason I haven’t written down exactly how I’ve gone into jhana 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 etc…

Because if I tell you – you try to duplicate that. By doing so – you are attaching the idea that:

1. You need to do what i did, this is THE way to do it.

2. If it happens a different way for you – you might discount it – discard it, as not real because it didn’t happen that way for me.

That’s one of the big issues (problems) with why people aren’t getting anywhere during meditation. They are listening to a teacher or someone that has detailed every single experience for getting into jhana – and their own experiences are not following that exact same path. So, thinking themselves ‘wrong’, they either stop or continue trying to do what their teacher is telling them. They keep trying to get there the way someone else did, or is telling them to.

The other thing is… if I tell you in detail for 30 minutes or so, about each jhana – you are going to be blown away by it… and you know what? It’s totally impossible to tell you everything – to give you the feeling of jhana – it must be experienced. There is no way to put it into words that approach the experience. There’s just no way. So, I could write flowery descriptions of it here at this blog, or I could do a video and talk in-depth about the experience – and you would still know nothing of the flavor of the experience until you actually have it for yourself. When you do, it will likely not be exactly as mine was – or, you won’t remember it exactly in the same way – so, is there any sense in telling you in great detail how it all happens, and what happens?

Hardly any point, if I care at all about you also seeing jhana come one day.

And I really DO…

That said, I’m going to do some videos about some topics of meditation, some of the experiences, some tips that I think might help some of you skip ahead into the jhanas. I won’t tell in any great detail anything, but will show you the one key feature to progressing through all of them… letting go.

So, my question tonight – that I still haven’t answered, is…

Should I be writing down every detail of experiences during meditation or bizarre experiences outside meditation?

Maybe the answer is just to write it down, whether I decide to share it here, or not. Maybe I can learn from it – and maybe give a more skillful or appropriate talk about it at some point in the future…

Let’s go with that for now…

Metta,

Vern

Thoughts about Jiddu Krishnamurti

Reading the Jiddu Krishnamurti book, “Commentaries on Living” I believe I’m starting to understand his total philosophy. He believes that to become that which is not a product of that which we have lived in / experienced / trusted / learned/taken as fact we need to die to all that we ‘know’. We need to question in-depth and analyze that which we have come to ‘know’ over time during our lives. As we see reason for everything that we know coming back to our desires to be someone important/or to reach some goal or attain some higher knowledge we can drop the ‘known’ and start experiencing from a blank slate (real life) perspective. None of us is truly experiencing reality because we are products of what we have been raised in (society’s beliefs, needs, expectations, goals, morals, etc).

JK doesn’t believe that ‘searching’ for any goal whether it be higher knowledge, attainment of enlightenment, satori, etc is anything but selfish/greedy/desire just like those that are of the material world’s strivings. He believes that once we inquire into the depth of and the meaning of the many constructs/desires/dreams/hopes/etc. that men hold as truth we will begin to drop these ideas as unnecessary and untruth and will gradually achieve a blank slate in which the only knowledge will be knowledge of the present as it is occurring, not after it has occurred, nor in the prediction of occurrences. In this state is the only real living of life. All else is indoctrination of our beings thru society and not our true selves.

He contradicts himself: He says that to strive for any sort of enlightenment is greedy and selfish and of the same sort of goal driven behavior as the wealthy man who strives to achieve more wealth/status. Yet, the implication of his words which point us toward the analyzing and dropping of all learned knowledge so that we can experience life in it’s true fullness and splendidness is of the same sort of behavior. He also says that to use any traditional or disciplined method to achieve such a state is a striving and selfish. Yet, he is persuading thru logical reasoning that his technique is the one to be followed–because he argues against all other known techniques. If JK did not strive to increase his knowledge or to find truth in experience and life then he would have ceased his journey long ago.

Just some thoughts. He is VERY thought provoking.

Separation from Society through Meditation

Today this one meditated in the morning on the spa. It was nice. The mind is quiet at this hour’without having accumulated the garbage/candy that it does throughout the day. One found that a wanting for something to happen was present. One forced the body to sit without wanting. A peace was found, though not a profound deep peace. More a surface type of peace. One started out the day after meditation with mindfulness the goal. This lasted all of 3-6 minutes while making breakfast. Then was gone.

At various times throughout the day one asked ‘Who is looking at whom’in the mirror’. And, while meditating, ‘Who is the one looking at the body, or observing the inner observer. One is wondering now whether there is any inner observer that the outside body can see and sense’because the body does not know it. It is the shell that surrounds the body. It is the chattering and personality of the mind. The inner observer does not have a personality. It is just there. Not wanting, not desiring, not becoming.

The mind and body do all of their striving on their own without the guidance of the inner observer. Only when we focus on attention is there any knowledge of the inner self. Without the quietness of the mind with it’s endless reverberations and chasing after something’the inner observer is not known. The mind carries on the work of the society of which it is part. After all, the society made it and ‘us’ who we are. The mind seeks to satisfy the body in it’s place in society. It conforms to societal expectations, it strives within societal bounds. It has rebellious thoughts against society’yet this is a result of society too!

There is no innate striving towards rebelliousness in the society we are part. What is there of our personality that is of OUR OWN (unique?) nature? Is there a unique nature?

This one thinks not. At the very core of our being is the inner observer. At this level one feel’s that everyone is clonelike. Everyone has this exact same experience/quality/’worldself’ that is in union with every other individual in the world. It is our societal influences that mold the mind/body into separate beings. There is not a being out there who is not unique from the mind/body perspective. Any experience one has ever had’has changed the person in some way’small or great. Of little consequence, or catastrophic/monumental. Yet, at the heart of the person, is this constant substance of man that is consonant with every other living man.

Dr. Supawanich said last night at dinner at the Vietnamese restaurant that he thought there was a pattern in this society for people to worry because they felt like they were expected to. An older person who says that they are not worrying about some upcoming life-changing event for themselves’or loved ones, may be seen as less human than someone who does not admit to worrying. Or, who truly does not worry about the event.

In this same way, someone who does not work an 8 hour day in this society feels less human and less as if he is doing his part. He/she feels guilty and lacking in character. Despite being perfectly satisfied living a life of less material comfort. One would even go through the motions of making a ‘decent living’ for all of the others involved in his/her life, rather than live the life as he feels to be right/correct. One could read the teachings/words of a man who has analyzed all of society and our place in society and said exactly the same things as one feels consonant with’yet he will not change because to change means to admit defeat in this society.

To change is too great a risk and a step away from society. IT is too bold a move. It is something that is looked at as ‘dropping out’ of society. It is a ‘loser’ way of living. The strong strive for the candy of life. They strive to excel. To beat out others that are striving too. To win the competition of life.

After all, those winning the competition are those with the lexus, the 250K + house, the boat, the vacation house, the bikes, the windsurfers, the motorcycles-for fun, the ATV’s , the water skis, the Sport Utility Vehicles, the Ethan Allen Furniture. The ones that eat out at the nicest restaurants, that are shrewd in business, that eschew their family lifestyle for one of striving for material attainment, that travel to all areas of the nation and world, that have the latest gadgets: Cell phones, computers, big screen TV’s, Faxes, etc. These are the people that are looked up to in our society. These are the ones with status. The ones that all moms and dads want their kids to grow up and be like.

Little kids want the best basketball shoes made.

Fathers yell at mothers and children because they don’t do something consonant with what society demands.

Parents are in bad moods because monetarily they are striving for something they cannot have. Nobody is satisfied with a certain level of wealth. It is a process of striving that is not quelled, it is only fuel for a further goal down the line.

People have lost their perspective of what is healthy, what is good, what is just, what really matters.

How many have asked themselves what REALLY MATTERS IN THEIR LIVES? And of those few, how many have sought to change their lives in that way? And of those, how many have succeeded, and how many have given up to society’s overwhelming pressure? The pressure of friends and family is an unyielding pressure that punishes with guilt/shame/fear. The strongest influences that man knows.

How does one separate from society? How does one choose another path with conviction and determination? How does Krishnamurti believe that we JUST DO, without thinking about it? I guess when we think about it we are rationalizing… using our minds tools that were created with societal influence. We can never, by thinking, make a choice that is outside of society.

A Quiet Place for Meditation in Thailand

I think there must be many people that are looking for a quiet place to meditate in Thailand – but they have no interest in attending a 10 day silent retreat, or any other guided retreat. These are most likely to be advanced meditators from various schools of meditation who are at a loss where to go to find a good place to meditate on their own.

I have an answer for you…

I too have been wondering about a place like this. I have considered numerous times, creating a place like this – but, time, money, and other obligations have proven bigger than my idea and if I want to meditate I just sit on the floor in a bedroom at my home, or at a local temple for a short while – but it is usually quite noisy.

For years I’ve wanted to find someplace to go for a couple of days to meditate on my own schedule.

Finally I found it. I just happened to read further on a website I’ve visited often, and there it was…

At Wat Suan Mokkhabalarama in Chaiya, Thailand (southern Thailand just north of Surat Thani province) it is possible to stay at the Thai side of Suan Mokkh (the original “main” Suan Mokkh temple), for a few days and practice meditation on your own schedule.

It’s funny, but the option to do so must have been there for years, and I just never saw it mentioned anywhere. So, I’m writing this so you can see it too!

I’ll be planning a stay there for a couple of days for some sitting and walking meditation. If anyone would like to go at the same time and meet up there – great, just let me know.

I will probably leave the car here for my family, and just take the motorbike.

If you have any questions about anything before you go – just write me at: aimforawesome@gmail.com and I’ll respond quickly.

Here’s a brief rundown of what they offer at Suan Mokkh:

Dormitory – there are separate mens and women’s dorms.  These are basic, and I think they are small rooms for women and open dorm for men, with a mosquito net, mat to lay on. I have not been inside the dorms yet – but will post photos and better description after I return. Temperatures during April – December are hot and I am not sure if they offer a fan or not. January through March is fairly nice at night – best temperature for the year. I don’t think they have blankets, but meditation cushions and maybe towels would be available.

Restroom – Sinks – Bathing – There are communal sinks to wash and brush teeth, and showering is done by splashing water from a very large clay jar. Restrooms are all located outside the dorms and are very basic. They are sit down toilets – western style, not the squat overs you see some places in Thailand.

Meditation Facilities – There are a number of buildings that can be used for meditation at Suan Mokkh. Some are meditation halls in the middle of the forest, with few sounds. Others are closer to the highway and trucks can be faintly heard passing. There are also kilometers of dirt trails (almost roads) where walking meditation can be done. It is quite peaceful at Suan Mokkh and you probably won’t have to deal with people talking much at all. The sounds of nature fill the air in the forest – cicadas, frogs, birds, wind.

Library – There is a basement library filled with rare meditation books in English that you might enjoy. I found some great books there on my last visit. If you are staying in the dorms you can check out the books, there is a nun (magee in Thai) that will help you.

Food – Outside the front gate are a couple of Thai food ‘restaurants’ that offer various southern curries over rice. Most dishes are spicy, but there are a couple that are not. There are a number of small convenience type shops where cold drinks and other snacks can be bought as well. If you want different food, a short trip up to Chaiya city can give you many more options. If I happen to be there at the same time you are staying, I will probably be making food runs on the motorbike occasionally.

Meditation Instruction – There is no meditation instruction offered at this location – everyone speaks Thai.

 

Thailand Meditation Retreats

Meditation Art - Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, Suan MokkhabalaramThere are a number of meditation retreats offered in Thailand, here are some of the more well-established retreats.

Thailand Meditation Retreats

Wat Suan Mokkh (Suan Mokkhabalarama)

Location – Chaiya, Thailand. Chaiya is just north of Suratthani province and can be reached by train or bus from Bangkok. Suan Mokkh temple is located right on Highway 41, on the right side as you are coming south. The International Dharma Hermitage is on the opposite side of the highway about 1km down a small road.

This is a 10 day silent meditation practice that includes dhamma talks and a peaceful setting. This is one of the most well established retreats in Thailand for meditation. Retreats are held monthly from the 1st to the 10th. Usually there are more than 80 participants – both male and female. There is a separate retreat schedule for Thais, this is the schedule for visitors that speak / understand English.

One little known option is that instead of attending the 10 day silent retreat, you can opt to go across Highway 41 to the main Suan Mokkh temple and sign up at the guest desk to stay in the dormitory there for basically as long as you want. Your practice will be self-guided, and you will be responsible for finding your own food and things – but basic accommodation is provided in the dorms. There is a large library of books on meditation and mindfulness in the basement of one of the buildings at the temple. There are very few western students here and again, you are all on your own.

Best time to attend? May through November are typically the least amount of participants, and the best experience.

Contact info: Khun.Reinhard@gmail.com. Please note that emails cannot be answered each month from the 27th of the month to the 14th due to heavy responsibility for the current class.

Wat Pah Nanachat

http://www.watpahnanachat.org

Location – Bahn Bung Wai, Ampur Warin Chamrap, Ubon Rachathani 34310. Warin Chamrap is located in Ubon Ratchathani province in northeastern Thailand which is close to Laos and Cambodia. You can reach Ubon by train or plane and take a bus, tuk-tuk, or taxi to the temple.

This is not really a retreat per se, but you might be able to stay there as a layperson wearing white for a few days or weeks, if they have room. Wat Pah Nanachat was founded by Ajahn Chah who has since passed on. This is a forest temple. There are many western monks at this temple, and instruction is in English. If you want to ordain as a monk (bhikku) you can do so here. They ask for a commitment of 3 years if you decide to become a monk.

Writing a New Book – Mindfulness

West Maui rock stacking, a mindful exercise of the menehune?I have been in book writing mode for the last little while. Three years? I love the idea of Amazon and being able to publish instantly in ebook format without having to worry about actually printing a book on paper, editors, and the rest of it.

I wrote a book about two years ago, “Meditation for Beginners – a 22 day course” that is picking up at Amazon and finally doing pretty well. I am not sure why book sales tend to ramp up there over time after release… I can only guess that, as more websites try to sell it to make commission – it results in more sales. Don’t be discouraged if you write a book at Amazon and it doesn’t take off immediately. It might take a year or so.

Two days ago I started another book with a topic in the meditation space, this one about – mindfulness. I haven’t chosen a name for it yet. It will an introduction to mindfulness, have some exercises, and have some of my experiences told in first person.

I used mindfulness early on, in conjunction with meditation. Using both, I think the benefit was compounded – and I was able to progress quickly through some of the meditation experiences that seem to take others years to reach.

Meditation and mindfulness together are a tag-team of sorts. Meditation is the focus on a very small sense object like the subtle feeling of breath on the inside of your nostrils. Meditation excludes all other objects. Mindfulness is similar, and yet the focus is bigger. Much bigger. Mindfulness includes all that is going on at the moment. Mindfulness includes, not excludes.

Mindfulness is something that new students don’t seem to grasp quickly. I’ve talked with many people that wonder if they’re doing it “right’.

I think the problem is that many of them read an in-depth book on the subject, filled with new vocabulary and they lose sight of the point. Mindfulness is exceptionally easy… there is little effort required. To continue on in mindfulness requires a lot of effort – but, it isn’t substantial effort – it’s easy effort. Refocus the mind on being mindful of the moment. It’s like a redirection of the mind to be present instead of thinking about the past or future.

So, this book will be a basic guide for meditation that anyone – beginner or those with some knowledge, can use and grasp the concept quickly.

Do you practice mindfulness alongside your meditation practice? Without a meditation practice?

Baby Died Poem

This was one of the most odd things that happened to me during my period of meditation. I was meditating and I opened my eyes because I felt that something was there in front of me. I looked at the plain blue rug. I saw something there – a movement and a picture of something – an amorphous something that i “knew” was related to me and my family and that wasn’t a boy or girl specifically, but was something important nonetheless.

The next night, my wife called from the restroom as she showered… she had spontaneously aborted in the shower and I picked up the soft tissue of what was to be our new baby had it gone through the right process… It was very strange, and I guess the most bizarre experience of my life to have had a premonition of the event during meditation.

Baby Died

I envisioned a face

just days ago

on the blue rug

it appeared

as one’s self

disappeared

Like Fern and

like me

a blending of us

yet without gender

specifically

“Honey!”

She screamed.

3 times–“WHAT?”

The baby

fell today

hit the floor

with the softest

of sounds

The blood rinsed

quickly away

leaving a mass

of tissue

on the white

ceramic bathtub

There was

shock and nothingness

A hand wrapped

in white tissue

lifted our child

for closer inspection

veins were seen

and fleshy tissue

a toilet was flushed

and so were our faces

A sadness was felt

a relief too

a seriousness brought

to us who like

to overlook

No pain was felt

No tears wept

just thoughts of

what was

and no longer is

of what would have

been

An ending to

a search

for happiness

of self

for truth

a continuance of

conditioning, tradition,

death of the spirit

The Process – Meditation Mystery…

This a.m. while sitting on the balcony of our 7th floor hotel room in Melbourne one was not trying to meditate–but one was just experiencing and being in the present moment. After a short time one blanked out for some periods of 1-10 seconds. One felt that otherness perch on the head for a moment (for lack of a better way to describe it).

An e x p a n s e opened up–almost imperceptibly but one was very attentive–yet couldn’t describe it even as it came and was with one! Briefly the sky got a shade lighter and a presence was felt somewhere in the L hemi of the brain or head, or above the head on the left side. One didn’t look up–yet felt it there in that region.

One experienced this for a short time–and didn’t notice it leaving and so presumably it stayed or left without a sign.

For Under $3 You Can Do This Too

Meditation came pretty easily to me. I mean, comparing myself to others. Comparing myself to monks I know in Thailand that have practiced for a dozen, or dozens of years… meditation, jhana, it all came so easily in comparison. In less than a year I was experiencing all jhana levels.

Did I do anything special?

Not really. I followed a really simple process. Supremely simple. I sat and watched the breath for 20 minutes a day and I practiced mindfulness when I was at work or doing other things outside of meditation.

Whether there is nothing more to the process coming to visit – than what I did during that year, or whether all I did prior to that year – helped tremendously or not – I don’t know.

I was a triathlete, bicycle racer, ran in 10K races often. Did my hours of working out prepare me for having jhana visit? I don’t have any idea. My workouts sometimes went for 7 hours… bike rides could be that long in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania. Hawaii. Miami. Tampa. When I rode the bike or ran, my mind was strangely silent. This was well before I ever meditated. My mind seems to stay rather quiet as I exercise for prolonged periods. I still have thoughts sometimes, but I’m pretty much in a zone of some sort where thought isn’t necessary.

When I run, I concentrate on the rhythm of it. I focus there. I focus on looking at my body and assessing what is going on – like a dashboard checking out the engine.

When I bike I watch the wheel in front of me, and the road ahead. My head isn’t filled with thoughts of the past and future… and in this way, I was probably practicing mindfulness – without even knowing what it was.

Many times, and for hours at a time I would concentrate on my breathing… keeping up a pace that gave me the right number of breaths and the right beats per minute of my heart.

Did all that help me when I started meditating?

I’ve no idea. I hope not. I really hope that it is available to everyone as it came to me. Make no mistake – it came to me, I didn’t do anything remarkable. All my secrets are in the simple book I wrote about meditation – “Meditation for Beginners – a 22 Day Course” that you can find at Amazon and Smashwords.com.

The book is $2.99, and covers the bare essentials – and not the fluff of meditation.

I hope it helps you… if you are stuck – you should try this style. It’s the unstyle really. It tears away the religious aspect of meditation, the special words for breathing, for focus, for sitting, for everything. It’s meditation without religion.

It presents you with a super-simple method to use meditation to find relaxation. Maybe more comes, maybe not. The point is the relaxation… meditate to relax, not to become the next savior of mankind…

Go to the right column – and click the book to see more about it…

😉

The White Elephant in my Head

You know the saying, there is a white elephant in the room?

Well, there is one in my head. It’s always there, it’s quite plain that it is there. It has gone nowhere for years, it’s just right there. It doesn’t appear to be going anywhere…

For about 14 years now I’ve asked myself – what will you do now? What is the best thing to focus on now? How is it that you will go through life and provide for you… for your family? What is your life’s work? What can you do that is unique? What can you do that means something?

And it’s always been there – right at the forefront of my mind – unignorable. It’s right here – the elephant is more pronounced than anything in my life – ever. It was more profound than having children or finding the greatest girl to spend my time with. It was so powerful that the world changed as the elephant made it’s way into my head.

The elephant is gigantic… all pervasive.

I’ve put it out of mind with my ego, with my utter lack of respect and deference to it. I’ve tossed it aside for years – over a decade – in pursuit of other things that fit the mold of “me” better than it did.

The elephant is there as a result of the jhanas that came so amazingly, years back.

There’s an elephant in my head named Jhana… and she is always there waiting to return… if only I allow her to.

And I’ve just not allowed her to recently…

I am still not sure there is room in this life for something that takes over… and she does…

What I think most people don’t realize about meditation is that it is good for the meditator… it is heaven really… heaven on earth when Jhana decides to visit… and it isn’t addictive – it isn’t a choice one makes, to chase her… but, it is a revolution of the mind that occurs when she comes. J. Krishnamurti, and UG Krishnamurti describe these changes at a cellular level that they thought must have been going on… I cannot disagree with or agree with it – but it doesn’t sound far fetched to this mind as I consider it.

The changes she wreaks are overwhelming… final.

The change in personality is total… and other-worldly.

It’s astonishing really… and yet that word pales.

And today i am aware that she is still there… and that the elephant isn’t leaving…

and that the questions I’ve asked in the past about what now, what is best, what to do… are all so pointless…

🙂

What Is It Like When the Mind Stops?

This is something I’ve tried, on occasion, to explain to others. A good effort is about all that can be given… the experience doesn’t lend itself to words. Experiences in which thoughts are not being formed, do not lend themselves to being easily described by words.

I sat for a minute here without thought. I can turn it off anytime I choose I guess. At times it’s less rock-solid than others and thoughts are eventually formed. This time a minute went by and no thoughts began.

The feeling… the difference between an experience of having a mind that is stopped, and one that is creating thoughts is, I think, just the difference of not having any awareness of time passing…

I’ll have to look more closely at that – but, it appears that this is the difference, if I had to put it into one sentence.

In a lucid, thought-filled state, there is always this very clear idea that time is going on… it’s passing. Seconds are ticking by… as an entity – we’re moving through time from this point to that point.

Without thought – with just the pure experience of the brain – sans thought, there is no awareness of time at all.

There is only now. Now lasts continually – it doesn’t go away, but it isn’t seen as lasting when in that state either.

Seems like the more I say, the further I get away from relating to you the best about how it really is in that state. I’ll be quiet now…

The World is Illusion

This occurred on Dec 2, 2011 at the top of a small mountain on the temple grounds of Wat Tham Seua in Krabi, Thailand.

To clarify, the sense of vision appears to be an illusion.

Sitting on the top of the mountain today I noticed far off – couple hundred meters – something red on one of the trees. This was up about 800 feet off the ground, and I was over 900 feet up vertically. There was nothing but sheer cliff below the red thing, so I was looking at it intently, trying to understand what in the world was red that had gotten up there. It didn’t look like a balloon, garbage, or any animal that I could think of. It was quite a mystery.

I stared at it intently – trying to figure it out.

The visual field started changing.

Sometimes it was 3D, sometimes 2D, and sometimes there was no separation between me and what i was looking at. It was like watching a movie, but, it was coming through my eyes… or, more rightly – through my perception of what the eyes were showing. The brain was acting in a way that was different, and the “normal” 3-D realistic image that I see with my eyes when they are open – was changing over and over to other things. There were times the contrast of the scene of mountains before me – was very high… other times, split seconds later – it had changed to very low contrast. There were patterns in the trees that became evident, and then the mountain appeared bubbled out in sections – very 3D, but wrong – from what I know of the mountain – and I’ve seen it hundreds of times from that vantage point.

Next, there were river-like tributaries on a map flowing down the side of the mountain. No water – just the path – as if I was looking at a map show me the way the rain fell down the mountain, and where it went and pooled into bigger channels. The thing is – I was just looking at treetops, I couldn’t have seen anything underneath – no channels where rain could have flowed.

At one point as I stared at the barely visible red “thing” I noticed that the entire picture was starting to rotate, to spiral, but, it didn’t move. I’ll edit a photo and show you what I mean. Quite odd, and I don’t remember that happening before.

Sort of like the image, but not exactly. Impossible to recreate. I could do it with my camera on a new image, but the mountain isn’t in front of me now – so this will have to do.

So, what was the result?

As I stared at the rapidly changing scene, there was a feeling that if I just let go of looking, it would all happen. It would go further.

There were people behind me coming up the stairs, and though I was concentrating for a few minutes, I wasn’t able to fully let go and let it happen.

So, maybe next time if I think of it…

If you are having strange experiences during your everyday life, after having jhanas visit during your meditation – please write and let me know what you’re experiencing…

Cheers!

Cloudy Head – Uncreative State

I’ve been feeling this for weeks now, it’s pretty impossible to describe, but I’ll give it a try.

There’s nothing going on in my head most times.

When I try to write a fiction book, think about something in the future, plan something – it just isn’t there. My thinking process, I mean. It’s just voidness up there. It’s like I’ve suddenly become dumb or something. I’ve always wished for this state – to be so dumb, I don’t even know it… and maybe that’s what is finally happening! lol. I despise having a mind that is always thinking, planning, creating, and analyzing. It’s tiring. It’s pointless.

As much as I try – I cannot create anything anymore. my mind is on stop speed for some reason.

I was excited for a while before this state – to start writing fiction again. I just can’t do it. I’m coming up absolutely blank when I try to think of an interesting plot for a story.

I was up the mountain today and it had rained on me hard. It was almost dark. There were clouds so thick at the top, with the rain, that I couldn’t see through far at all – 30 meters max maybe. I realized… this is what my head is going through right now too. Same thing. It’s like my head is cloudy in there and not linking up as it normally does. I feel really, tremendously dumb.

Now, if this is the endgame – the way I’ll be for many years before dying, that’s cool. Just wish I knew so I could adjust. I don’t need to write books, I’ll just sit on a step and watch the world go by.

Not at all sure what this state is…

Thich Nhat Hanh on “What is Nirvana?”

This is something that I’ve considered for a while. Why I didn’t come straight to Thich Nhat Hanh for his view – I don’t know. I don’t really think about using Youtube for everything, but you know – it’s getting to the point where just about everything can be found there. It’s nice to watch a video of him -after reading 20+ books of his over the years, and seeing the occasional VHS video of him years ago.

At 5:40 he says something that hit me pretty well… All views are wrong views…

And I believe that, and yet never said it that way. I find when I watch this man he says a lot of things that are true – and yet, I never thought to put them into words… and that’s part of what makes it very interesting to watch him.

Here is the video below – basically he says that nirvana is the cessation of – the extinction of – suffering…

Day 1 – Intensive Meditation Practice

I thought for a couple minutes – what to call this that I’ve started. I’m calling it intensive practice for lack of a better phrase coming to mind. Is it intensive – I guess. But I’m not really intent on anything. If that makes sense. It’s intensive just because I’ll make it a focus now. It’s been in the background for so many years, I’ve not regularly sat much at all in 10 years. This will be a more intensive practice than I’ve had in 10 years, that’s all.

Starting today I want to focus daily on being mindful of the present moment and probably do some sitting and walking meditation everyday.

The mind – thoughts and ego, are nearly absent lately. When I’m quiet. When I’m not quiet and listening to the mp3s I brought from home and singing or thinking about the past – mind is there. It’s here when there are things going on – when I’m quiet, it’s gone. When I try to focus on the breath as I was able to in the past – I cannot. “I” cannot. There seems not to be an “I” when I want one – when it’s quiet and I want to focus on breath. So meditation becomes almost the same as mindfulness of the present moment, there is no mind and only direct experience – unfiltered by the mind.

I differentiate the two – mindfulness of present moment and meditation because the level and length of time I can stay mindful of the moment is extended during meditation. I’m doing nothing but just sitting or walking during meditation and it’s much easier to remain in a thoughtless, mindless state for a longer period of time than if I’m going about daily activities.

So today I did some sitting meditation. My back was extremely sore and yet after 15 minutes or so I was able to see it for what it was – nothing – and watch other mind objects or sensory objects going on. Birds seemed to be all over, I heard chirps of many kinds. The cicadas have come back after a short time away during the rainy season. They are like mindfulness bells. They have a gentle sound when they’re far away. When they’re 20 feet away it’s like fingernails on chalkboard. People would talk, cameras would click. The wind was very strong – 40mph gusts that sometimes were sustained for a minute or more.

After the pain wasn’t the main focus the arms and feet disappeared. Meaning – there was no feeling that they existed. If you haven’t read any of my journal articles or seen video or listened to mp3’s about what happens during meditation this is a routine experience. It usually starts in the feet or hands and goes inward, numbing everything… sometimes the entire body feels as if it’s not there anymore. Like I don’t have a body. It’s strange to write, but the experience is quite ‘normal’ now since it has happened many times.

In this case it didn’t progress to cover the body – it just stayed – arms, hands, feet and sometimes legs were absent. The wind was so strong that it was felt with the hair on my arms and legs. I said somethign about that in the video – but didn’t finish. I started to talk about bicycle racing – when I was shaving my hair on my arms and legs – and how it made me feel so slippery while facing a headwind. Any wind, wasn’t felt at all. It’s a great morale booster when cycling or swimming, not to feel the resistance, but more so – not to have the mind create mental resistance. The wind is not much to overcome, but the mind makes it into this wall pushing you back – and it’s quite a dramatic effect a little bit of wind could have.

So, I thought about that as the wind was blowing so hard it felt as if it’d take me as a kite off the top of the mountain. I wished for it for a brief second.

I will probably shave my arms and legs today or tomorrow if my razors are sharp enough. I anticipate sitting at same spot a few times a week and it would be nice not to feel the wind so much.

Anyway, so – I made a video about the experience… I’ll try to make a video each day – and pull out just the audio for those of you that just want to listen. The video portion won’t be of anything spectacular. Today’s video was taken just walking through the jungle in the foothills area of some limestone karsts here in Krabi, Thailand.

Day 1 audio only (3.5Mb)

After the videos were made I went to a quiet walk through the forest that I know of away from the temple. It’s only a couple hundred meter walk, but it’s almost always free of other hikers and cars, trucks and motorbikes aren’t heard.

At the end of that trail it leads to a stream. I sat on the raised wooden walkway and watched the crabs below. There were so many different types. In Florida we have a couple kinds of crab that can be seen if you sit down near the beach. There must have been 20 different kinds in the small area around me.

Thailand is like that… the variety of wildlife is amazing. Just yesterday I saw a walking stick that was about 11 inches stretched out (pic below) and another colorful blue-green beetle that I’ve not seen before. Oh – I also had a spider jump on me in my room that I’ve not seen before. Oh wait, I saw another spider on the steps at the temple that I’d not ever seen before. And yet another I just remembered – a very large mosquito – as big as my hand, I think a mosquito – I took a photo – also below.

If you’re looking, you’re going to find unique bugs in Thailand. Just one of the bonuses of living here. To me anyway!

So I noticed as the day went on – the mind started to rebel at being mindful so much. There was some anger that it was being made to be present in the moment all the time. Yes, not joking. It was as if it was rebelling. There was still ego left – and it didn’t want to be subjugated like this for so long. I think that will increase as time goes on here, at least for a little while – then it magically disappears. I had a similar thing happen so many years ago. The mind furiously rebelled at being made to be quiet – it was much more difficult then – but, it reached a point where the ego dissolved enough that it offered no resistance anymore. Every sitting session or period of mindfulness was without resistance of that type after that point…

So, interesting to see it arise – and it was difficult not to just throw in the towel and say – Oh, forget it! What am I meditating for again? WHY? What is the point? Where is this going?

I watched those reactions arise and let them stay as long as they did – and then they went. Amazing mind processes… good to start to get to know it again on this intimate level… as a subject… an experiment.

Photos from today below:

Buddhist shrine at Wat Tum Sua foothills, Krabi, Thailand.
The foothills area is where 8 monks live in kutis (huts) and also in makeshift
rooms inside the caves. This shrine pictured is at the base of a 800 foot
(270m) limestone karst. Kids always run around on the marble floor here.

 

Huge mosquito or other bug, Thailand.
This was the massive bug. I think it’s a male mosquito – not sure though.
It was as big as my hand – this pic is not lifesize, it’s too small!

 

Rambutan, exotic fruit of Thailand.
It’s a happy time when rambutans come into season! I bought a kilogram
of them today – they were so delicious. But, the sweetest and biggest ones
are coming in the next month or so. The best rambutans come from Ban Na San
District, just south of Surat Thani. They have a rambutan festival there yearly.

 

Walking stick on wire above Krabi, Thailand.
Here is the largest walking stick I’ve ever seen – 11 inches I’m guessing.
This is 2nd walking stick I’ve seen at the top of the mountain.

Rare and Authentic Buddha Amulets

About 3 years ago I had some old Buddha amulets for sale (and other monks and Buddhist figures) from one of my Thailand based websites. I had to sell them for a lot of money because I paid a lot for them in Thailand.

I was surprised that there were people willing to pay $400 and even $800 for some of the amulets, though that was what they were worth – how could they possibly know I had genuine amulets from temples in Thailand?

Unfortunately, people have to take a chance. I have seen hundreds of amulet sellers here away from the temples that are sellign junk replicas of original Buddha amulets. It’s sad, but even Thais cannot in most cases tell the difference. Or, maybe many times they can and they buy them anyway because they just can’t afford the authentic amulets.

That’s probably more like it…

We decided to start selling some of the amazing amulets we’ve found in Thailand over these few years because on vacation to the old northeast of Thailand we found a temple that had some amazing white jade Buddha amulets that we couldn’t pass up. We bought 34 of them I think, in the Somdej style, and then another 15 with Buddha in a traditional sitting meditation posture – and the white jade amulet is shaped in a triangle.

As if that wasn’t enough, they also had some petrified wood Buddhas. These are millions of years old and of the most beautiful browns that you’ve ever seen in an amulet. I’ve certainly never seen anything approach the beauty of these…

So, we have created www.AllBuddhas.com and this will be for our premium Buddha collection. All of the amulets at AllBuddhas.com will sell for over $199. They are all unique amulets, and guaranteed authentic, of course.

Shipping is free – and we will sell them with ornate solid silver cases as well, probably only adding another $50 to the price for them. We spend $50 per case to get them.

So, if you are in the market to buy a Buddhst relative or friend something that will last for generations – please have a look at our unique Buddhas and see if there is something there you cannot pass up.

Thank you…
Vern