Second-Path Toolbox Expansion Set

Not all tools are tools. | Photo courtesy of Chris Ensey

I had to laugh out loud when I read O’s saying that, while in a difficult in-between place, she once told her teacher that she hated him. It is weird and subsequently kind of funny to forget what one is supposed to be doing, meaning practicing, but there you go – other stuff going on. 

Daniel the Curmudgeon-Benefactor

Oddly, the very week that I started to work on MCTB2, stream entry happened, so in the course of talking about the book there was no way that event was not going to come up in conversation. Dan never analyzed or speculated about what I personally considered so darned fascinating about my stream entry event.  

So when I brought up again night before last how I wondered what that strange radical dislocation phase was on re-ignition of reality, and when he again thwarted discussion, saying that event was distant for me and more so for him, I got pissed at him and replied a bit curtly that I had written out the event right after it happened and it was he who was the map freak and so why was my x, y, z not on on the maps and why couldn’t he just answer the damned question!

Then I saw O’s comment about her teacher.

About two minutes later something dawned on me. So I emailed one more line back to Daniel, saying simply, “Oh! Okay. Sorry. You are actually giving me practice advice, right? I get it.” Meaning that I understood a possible context in which debriefing of my so-fascinating event of August 8 was not helpful for me here and now. 

He did say something about the maps, but it was, basically, that if I wanted to go by maps, then the maps say I should be able to repeat the event [Review Fruitions]. (Dammit!) It is rather embarrassing to keep finding that I’ve made this kind of stupid blunder, but, yeah, oh well, as you say. So next came back from his side specific meditation instructions, the way to do the Three-Percent Solution of noticing of just the large flows of aversion and attraction.

The Toolbox Expansion Set

I think that the meditation barrier I couldn’t bust my head through before all this consisted of thinking that (1) I needed to attend to the teeny-tiny particulate vibratory sensations and (2) I needed to attend to the Three Characteristics as such. I made this same sort of categorical error at the beginning of my last Equanimity stage, back in July. So, X_X, I think this is part of the toolbox expansion set you wrote of, and here is what I think I’ve put in the toolbox:

♦ To “get to” Equanimity, practice as if already in Equanimity.

♦ To practice as if already in Equanimity, incline the mind slightly toward the goal and then give no more than 3% meditative effort to the sit.

♦ Broaden considerably what you habitually have been thinking a proper meditation “object” is. This is supposedly second path; so the objects are likely going to be psychological/emotional, which is an observation that does match what most clearly has been arising for me the past few months.

♦ Widen considerably the scale on which you observe these new objects such as aversion and attraction: Forget about “vibrations”; attend to much larger swaths of movement and flux.

♦ Notice, when opportunities for such noticing present, that awareness and space are intrinsic in each other.

♦ Relax the notion that you need to look for the Three Characteristics in an effortful way: that work has been done already in some sense; therefore, just as you stopped noting early on, in preference for just noticing, the Three Characteristics, now don’t be afraid to altogether let go of the Three Characteristics conceptually.

Postscript 2.5 Years Later

I had forgotten all this until I started cleaning up posts after a site migration. This is all extraordinarily right-on. From that point in time on,  I never consciously evoked the Three Characteristics during a sit. Daniel, in pointing me to the mutuality, or rather radical interpenetrability, of unbounded macro-space (Mother Consciousness) and intrinsic awareness (rigpa), was already shifting me from Ordinary Special Insight to Extraordinary Special Insight in Tibetan Buddhism parlance. All good advice here that I will carry forward into the new book.

Leave a Reply