Question on Arising of Insight

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Ivan Ganza 7 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #2738

    Peter
    Member

    Could somebody shed light on how the arising of insight occurs for no-self, impermanence, A&P? Are these events that can’t be missed? For example:

    -Is it a sudden flash of understanding where you now know something you previously didn’t?
    -Or is is more like trying to solve a problem and finally figuring out the solution?
    -Or is it a gradual understanding of hey, this is how things are?

    How do you determine intellectual understanding versus true insight? E.g. understanding I’m not the ego concept vs insight into no-self?

    Also, are insights deliberately cultivated (a technique to trigger it) or is it by chance through continued practice? Is it possible to practice incorrectly where insight never arises?

    Lastly, are worldly desires and materialism a hindrance to insight. For example, sex, new cars, fine dining, or the stock market. Do desires/aversions prevent insights, or do desires/aversions minimize as a result of insight?

    #2740

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Peter W,

    Great questions, that may take some time to unpack. I’ll try to give input on just the first part of what you asked.

    |Is it a sudden flash of understanding where you now know something you previously didn’t?

    How does insight arise?

    Yes it could be a sudden flash of understanding. It is not really a conceptual understanding however, not an understanding in the usual way we think of understanding something. Its is more of a gut level understanding that might punch you in the gut. Certainly after that the conceptual mind will spin up and might try to answer it or understand it in conceptual terms.

    How does the conceptual mind come in and try to make sense of the insight? I think this is mainly based on what is already pre-loaded in the mental model of the individual. Basically based on the current beliefs and information acquired during a lifetime. Using what I’ve got in my brain-box, I explain it to myself.

    This is after the fact however, not the actual insight. Just how “I” try to make sense of it.

    It does not always appear to be a “sudden” insight though. You may only realize later what happened, and finally realize “oh yes, actually this is how that is” for example. I think what is happening in that case is the mind-system is playing a bit of catch up. Where certain groups of subminds have had the insight, but it has not been communicated further ‘up-the-chain’ for example. Or the insight was temporarily buried under the covers due to lack of being ready, or lack of sufficient unification of the mind, where instead of allowing the insight to propagate, it is temporarily stopped, temporarily taken off the table. With continued practice and deepening of meditation skills and abilities, the insight can arise again, and then hopefully be allowed to saturate more of the mind system.

    To summarize; it could happen in any of the three ways you posted, but does not happen fully in the conceptual way that we usually think of knowing something.

    I hope that helps somewhat, with at least the first point?

    Cheers,
    -Ivan/

    (DT Teacher in Training)

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  Ivan Ganza.
    #2745

    Hi Peter!

    Things are often less either-or than the conceptual mind would like…

    for example, “are insights deliberately cultivated (a technique to trigger it) or is it by chance through continued practice?” Continued practice IS deliberately cultivating insight (or preparing the ground for insight). The thing that is not truly predictable is when an Insight (capital I) will appear for each individual. Correct (meaning diligent-following the instructions to the best of your ability, relaxed and joyful) practice will prepare the mind better than the opposite of that.

    “Are worldly desires and materialism a hindrance to insight. For example, sex, new cars, fine dining, or the stock market. Do desires/aversions prevent insights, or do desires/aversions minimize as a result of insight?”

    Seeing how desire and aversion arise and understanding them fully is insight. So desire/aversion preventing insight would really depend on how fully the practitioner understands the 4 noble truths. For example, if worldly desire keeps a practitioner running after happiness that they think comes from objects- that would deepen the craving groove in their mind- the opposite direction of insight. It is also true that desire and aversion falls away as a result of insight. Once there is enough deeply integrated insight, the arising of craving can actually serve to deepen insight into the nature of suffering and no self.

    Here’s my take on the middle question (interested to hear other responses):

    It’s a spectrum- insight moves through the conceptual to become deeply intuitive- like an effortless fragrance.

    An intellectual understanding moves through the mind- “Oh, I know (key words for intellectual understanding) that there is ultimately no separate self outside of conceptual designation, and that everything is causally interconnected, that acting out of aversion will deepen that habit pattern of the mind, so I will refrain from verbally abusing this person.” When insights deepen and become intuitive, craving subsides and so the actions arising from belief in separate self also abate.

    Yours,
    Meshe

    #2747

    Peter
    Member

    Thank you, both answers very informative and profound.

    #2751

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Peter W,

    Not sure if you are familiar with the Teaching Retreats on the DT website? They are a golden resource.

    There is one specifically on this topic called “Meditation and Insight”, if you have time time, it is highly worthwhile to have a listen.

    https://dharmatreasure.org/teaching-retreats/

    Cheers,
    -Ivan/

    #2765

    Pablo Miller
    Member

    Great question, and great answers.

    Specifically to see the absence of a self, I strongly recommend the peer-to-peer group Liberation Unleashed https://www.liberationunleashed.com/nation/index.php

    I had known for several decades that a separate self made no sense; it is completely incoherent and incompatible with logic and evidence. But it wasn’t until working with a guide on Liberation Unleashed that I actually SAW it. When I did, my response surprised me but turned out to be very common… I laughed and laughed at the complete simplicity of what I had expected to be such an esoteric and profound and serious realization. Beautiful. Freeing. Liberating.

    May you be peaceful and happy,
    Pablo Miller

    #2766

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Pablo,

    Very nice 😉

    The way we talk about this, it sometimes seem esoteric, far away, strange, even unattainable.

    That is NOT the case at all though. This is so simple, so clear, anybody can do it. You don’t need to be a super-star meditator or drop you life and live in a cave!

    Cheers!
    -Ivan/

    #2768

    Peter
    Member

    Pablo/Ivan,

    Not to jump to conclusions with “liberationunleashed” without trying it myself. But I’m assuming it’s a forum that falls in the non-dualism Advaita Vedanta camp? Is it the concept of “no concept”, “just be”, “you are that”, “i am”, “it is what it is”, “there’s no path”, “no doer”, “give up seeking”, “who am i”, etc.

    If it is, “I” struggle with these teachings a bit since they are counter to the “effort” and “meditation” camp. Is there not risk that these teachings may cause one to stop meditating, stop being compassionate, or equanimous.

    Should the path not be a means to an end, the journey being complete unto itself?

    Would it not cause one to give up the spiritual life and jump back into materialism, hedonism, and self indulgence?

    Or there was no “I” to begin with and if “I” were to derail from the spiritual path, it was meant to be so anyway. Then the insights nor going from stages 1 to 10 not so important anymore? Piti, seeing impermanence, seeing finer vibrations. How does one come to these fruitions if then?

    Am I just confused because I still haven’t had this shift in perception, this “aha” moment. Maybe I get it intellectually but have not had the insight yet, hence the doubt. Thoughts?

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  Peter.
    #2770

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Peter W,

    Sorry I should have been more specific. I was not necessarily endorsing liberation unleashed, or any other form of teaching. Nor was I putting less priority on practicing the stages and so on.

    However — was happy to see Pablo talking about simplicity and how ordinary and obvious this is, once truly seen 😉

    My personal opinion is that one should become very familiar with the practices in the stages, gaining solid skills along the way. There comes a point along where ‘other’ teachings may possibly be of help. I think only with good guidance from a teacher or spiritual friend can it be known when it is appropriate to do that.

    Also — when you are skilled meditator (in the context of TMI), any ‘other’ practice you do, will likely be more effective — since the mind should be well trained by then.

    Bottom line; I would stick with the stages and not veer off too much. There can be a tendency to try this or that, to keep circling around looking for the best next practice. That seems to me not a good way to go.

    Cheers,
    -Ivan/

    #2771

    Peter
    Member

    Haha okay, whew thanks! I shall keep on striving. Appreciate you taking the time to address all the questions.

    #2772

    Pablo Miller
    Member

    You might want to at least take a look at Liberation Unleashed.
    It is not a school of thought, meditation training, philosophy, a way of being or anything like that.
    It is very specifically focused on looking for the “self”, and seeing that it is just a construct, a feeling perhaps, but nothing that actually exists.

    Cheers,
    /p

    #2773

    Peter
    Member

    Ohh got it, I’m aware of the “I” thought/feeling ego construct. I’ve seen it’s phantom-ness.

    The five aggregates that make up what we perceive as a “self”. Emotion, Thought, Perception, Consciousness, and Formation. Working on de-coagulating it, to weaken it’s grip, it’s illusion.

    Power of Now was when it was first introduced to me.

    From a philosophical stand point though, I do often still question the “no doer” aspect (Nisargadatta Maharaj). From an ego perspective, there is an “I” that strives and seeks for liberation, to be virtuous. The ego comes from a place of control. But then it also makes me wonder, if there is “no doer”, that leads me back to a place where I ask, “doesn’t that give the ego the excuse to do as it pleases, to pursue sensual desires”? Since it was not in control to begin with, if the sense of control was only an illusion.

    Or is that deluded thinking? Been struggling with these two school of thoughts a bit lately.

    I should probably just be more Zen like, drop this questioning/thinking mind and just practice. =)

    #2774

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Peter W,

    Just do it 😉

    All is revealed via practice. Questions resolve themselves via practice and Insight.

    Tasting the ice cream vs. talking about it.

    Certainly it’s healthy to do some of that…; in the end there is only me and the cushion, and how far I’m willing to let the process go.

    #2775

    Peter
    Member

    Haha, awesome! Good answer…

    #2776

    Pablo Miller
    Member

    What is this ego that might “do as it pleases”? Is there really a thing called ego that lives inside the head, has a mind of it’s own and wants to take over, as is implied by the language of many teachers?

    Or is it just another type of thought?

    As Yogi Berra said, “you can observe a lot just by watching”.

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