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What to do with your Special Experiences

HamsakaHamsaka goosewhispererPolishing the 'just so' Veteran

This would have derailed another thread, so I'm making it a place of its own.

So a person is doing some intense practice and begins having special experiences, ie, what feel to be 'breakthroughs' in awareness, greater clarity of purpose, seeing what wasn't seen before.

It can be very energizing and inspiring to get these sudden pay-offs, whether you expected them or no. All you know is that they feel 'good', your faith is deeper, your purpose clearer and so on.

It's not that the special experiences are a problem issue, it's what actions or decisions they inspire that make problems. The problem-maker is, of course, you and me, and our relative development.

I'm sure some have heard of Jim Baker, also known as Father Yod, who ran a popular restaurant LA called The Source back in the 70's. He was a typical hippie guru with a following of youngsters, and over the years as his 'special experiences' continued to work on him, he became a cult leader who identified himself as God and made all the usual mistakes a bloated human ego can make (because after all, he is God). Anyway I watched a Netflix docu about him and his following last night. It appears at the end of his life he told his following "I am not God, I am just a man, now go and live your lives". He put Charlton Heston to shame with his flowing hair and beard. Even through the medium of a documentary his charisma was easy to feel.

Now normally when a person makes a claim of attainment (in Buddhistic parlance) it seems as though the initial gut reaction around them is resistance and suspicion. Quickly the person is told to get back into their proper place. If not directly told, they have fun poked at them, not very nice fun either.

Why is that, do you think? I am not asking for the obvious answers, we all know what kind of destructive power can be unleashed by one charismatic person intent upon gathering power.

I'm asking what arises personally, if anyone is willing to share, and what it leads to.

Certainly people DO have special experiences, they are practically common, and I am differentiating between people telling lies about special experiences and people who actually have them. Eventually the distinction is clear.

What's a person to do with their special experiences? Hide them, refrain from disclosing them? Reveal them like the Buddha did?

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Comments

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    The only thing special about your experiences are if they show you something real that you hadn't seen before; if they lead you to know something you didn't know before. And then there's no reason to talk about the experiences... just talk about what you've learned. That will also lead you to live your life differently, making better decisions because you understand how things are.

    Buddhadragon
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    I think people come off as bragging. Also if their wisdom doesn't match their experiences they interject with mentioning their experience with a constancy that is annoying. Finally they seem to think their experience is a quick fix as if someone else can just duplicate their realization and problems solved. That's just what I see for now.

    Buddhadragon
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I have had several 'eye-opening' and mind-expanding experiences.
    Have I ever talked about them?

    No.

    Will I?

    No.

    Buddhadragonanataman
  • upekkaupekka Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2014

    @Hamsaka said:

    What's a person to do with their special experiences? Hide them, refrain from disclosing them? Reveal them like the Buddha did?


    one never be able to explain the experience as it 'was'
    those who hear such explanation would get their own version of understanding

    Buddha also explained the Path not the experience and we ourselves have to walk on the Path and get the experience

    better to check whether we are on the Path rather than trying to explain our experiences to others

    lobsterBuddhadragonEarthninja
  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Namaste,

    I made what I consider a mistake by excitedly sharing a breakthrough I experienced post meditation about 6 years ago. I was regarded with amusement, contempt and disdain by those I shared the experience with. And some of those I considered very dear friends.

    Like @federica‌ I will never share them with others except my teacher and maybe a few other practicioners who know me very well.

    I think the more we focus on our "achievements", the less we focus on our practise.

    Metta,
    Raven _ /\ _

    lobsterBuddhadragonEarthninja
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Remember school?

    "Children, tomorrow is Saturday, have a good weekend and then on Monday, we can show and tell!"

    So Monday comes.

    Say nothing.
    Just put a flower, and an individually-written, personal short kind note, on everyone's desk.

    Sit back down, and smile.

    Briefly?

    Don't tell.

    Show.

    KundoVastmindanatamanSarahT
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran

    Weekly training schedule.

    Monday training
    Tuesday training
    Wednesday training
    Thursday win tournament
    Friday training
    Saturday training
    Sunday training ...

    federica
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    A special experience is only worthy if it brings with it a positive change of perception. What it is certainly never worthy of, is "worthy of sharing."
    This experience is special only for us. No matter our choice of words, it will always sound corny to anyone else's ears.
    And my feeling is, a special experience is not an isolated event out of the blue. It's the result of all the endless hours we put into our practice, on the meditation cushion, reading uplifting material, living the Dharma... It's an experience that lasts in duration, every single second we choose to live mindfully, and through all the legwork implied in living mindfully.
    If it is just a momentary blissful state after three hours of meditation, you're left with the lingering feeling "Yes, that was fine. Now what?"
    After Enlightenment, the laundry.

    Vastmind
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Not laughing AT you @Citta.... Just a priceless moment.
    The kind of 'put-down' we'd all like to actually experience....

    anataman
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran

    He was good at them..

    I have told the story about the rumour going around the monastery that Rinpoche levitated down the corridors at night. Presumably to check on the rats...

    Someone had to be the one to ask him if was true..and because my mother must have dropped me on my head when I was a baby .. it was I.

    He looked at me over the top of his glasses " ***** ***** " he said in a tone of exaggerated patience.." dont be silly ".

    I saw that he was then taking a sudden interest at the jobs rota for the day..so I made myself busy.

    anataman
  • ZeroZero Veteran Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:
    Why is that, do you think? I am not asking for the obvious answers, we all know what kind of destructive power can be unleashed by one charismatic person intent upon gathering power.

    I'm asking what arises personally, if anyone is willing to share, and what it leads to.

    Certainly people DO have special experiences, they are practically common, and I am differentiating between people telling lies about special experiences and people who actually have them. Eventually the distinction is clear.

    What's a person to do with their special experiences? Hide them, refrain from disclosing them? Reveal them like the Buddha did?

    I think everyone is limited by the borders of their own perception and understanding - coming close to the border is challenging - the suggestion of it even is challenging.
    Communication is a way of exerting control - so on an average exchange this contact may be no more than a subtle assertion of individual positions in the context of a limited perception.

    Any experience is your experience so deal with it as with anything. The 'special' connotation I think is added by the observer however how is it any more special than the mundane to which one is routinely habituated - it all leads to the same thing.

    Hamsaka
  • genkakugenkaku Veteran Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I think 'special' experiences do occur. I think they can be compelling ... big time. I see no reason not to admit it.

    But I also think that in order for an experience to be 'special,' it still requires the assistance/contrast of whatever it is that is not so special. And so, in discovering a realm that partakes of 'oneness,' the knee-jerk reaction is to remain rooted in what is called 'dualistic' and dualism is one of those tch-tch items in Buddhism.

    But setting aside the tch-tch crowd for a moment, I think that 'special' experiences serve a fruitful role in the sense that they warn that something is still missing ... you know, all that not-so-special stuff.

    OK, so it blows your socks off and the whole world is as indubitable and fresh as a daisy. Enjoy it ... and then get back to correcting the obvious errors.

  • NeleNele Veteran Veteran

    Regardless of whether / how we share our breakthroughs: human society has always cast a jaundiced eye on others' special experiences, no? One poet put it harshly: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Yet another reason to keep those compelling moments private.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    I think 'special' experiences do occur. I think they can be compelling ... big time. I see no reason not to admit it.

    But I also think that in order for an experience to be 'special,' it still requires the assistance/contrast of whatever it is that is not so special. And so, in discovering a realm that partakes of 'oneness,' the knee-jerk reaction is to remain rooted in what is called 'dualistic' and dualism is one of those tch-tch items in Buddhism.

    But setting aside the tch-tch crowd for a moment, I think that 'special' experiences serve a fruitful role in the sense that they warn that something is still missing ... you know, all that not-so-special stuff.

    OK, so it blows your socks off and the whole world is as indubitable and fresh as a daisy. Enjoy it ... and then get back to correcting the obvious errors.

    @genkaku, what is tch-thc?

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited June 2014

    @dhammachick said:
    Namaste,

    I made what I consider a mistake by excitedly sharing a breakthrough I experienced post meditation about 6 years ago. I was regarded with amusement, contempt and disdain by those I shared the experience with. And some of those I considered very dear friends.

    Like federica‌ I will never share them with others except my teacher and maybe a few other practicioners who know me very well.

    I think the more we focus on our "achievements", the less we focus on our practise.

    Metta,
    Raven _ /\ _

    What I put in italics is a big part of my question.

    Why is that? What is behind those kinds of reactions?

    Why shame a person talking about their special experiences?

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited June 2014

    @lobster said:

    A person having a spontaneous breakthrough may need or wish to share. They do not have the context, experience or knowledge of how to deal with their insight. They do not know how rare or common or indeed how to progress or deepen the experience.

    Their best course of action is to hide and deepen their often quite minor attainment (in mystical/Buddhist terms). It is quite possible and likely that nothing of any great import has happened. Ah well . . .

    And this makes perfect sense, the good kind of common sense-like sense :)

    It includes a subjective humility regarding the lack of context, experience and knowledge of the vessel (you and me). A person doing this is not identifying with the special experience as belonging TO them, but as having simply HAD the experience.

    This sets the stage properly for useful relationship to the experience, even if it turns out to be no biggie in the great scheme of things (which is most likely :) ).

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @Nele said:
    Regardless of whether / how we share our breakthroughs: human society has always cast a jaundiced eye on others' special experiences, no? One poet put it harshly: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Yet another reason to keep those compelling moments private.

    Yes, exactly. I am curious as to 'why' this is, and beyond the obvious reasons. I'm using the 'two heads are better than one' principle to try and understand this by posting to he forum.

    I heard this saying YEARS and years ago and immediately, whateveritis, that 'truth' gut reaction, hit hard and it felt very obvious and true.

    As people working companionably toward the same goal (awakening in whatever formation applies), this 'full of passionate intensity' is a frequent occurrence as we go along.

    What is unskillful about passionate intensity? There are obvious answers why but what are they, really, for the individual person?

    Not just to avoid being jeered at, that never stopped ME for long anyway :D

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @genkaku said;

    But setting aside the tch-tch crowd for a moment, I think that 'special' experiences serve a fruitful role in the sense that they warn that something is still missing ... you know, all that not-so-special stuff.

    Yes, thank you, I was hoping for a personal response. You seem to have questioned the tch-tch crowd, whoever they are for you, and taken your question seriously enough to it's conclusion beyond what we are told is right or wrong. In the final analysis, you arrived at "yeah, great; but look, it shows how much is still missing, all that not-so-special-stuff."

    That helps and validates some of my fumbling/rumblings, so thanks.

  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:
    Why shame a person talking about their special experiences?

    Namaste @Hamsaka‌,

    I have no idea why. Jealousy, fear, disbelief? shrugs Who knows? Maybe they perceived my talking about my experiences as belittling them or elevating myself. I have examined my speech in retrospect but I won't dwell on it because it serves no purpose.

    My aim these days is to try elevate people in their learning and their lives. As the Dalai Lama says "If you cannot help people, at least do no harm"_

    Metta,
    Raven
    _ /\ _

    Hamsaka
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2014

    Here is some very simple advice from the enlightened perspective
    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/06/on-enlightenment-an-interview-with-shinzen-young/

    Why the need for discretion?
    If an experience is genuine it with time and maturing becomes an on going process. It does not mean we have the means/capacity/licence/experience to expound. If we do try and teach/evangelise/share, we might learn from that tendency . . . and how it is received . . . I had this or that experience is communicable. It may seem important for a while. It may be a useful foundation or just another arising and 'waving goodbye to'.

    The human tendency is to prematurely advise and direct those still awaiting 'experiential dharma' if I can put it like that.

    However those with decades in the maturing like Mr Cushion, just offer sitting . . . oh well . . .

  • MeisterBobMeisterBob Mindful Agnathiest CT , USA Veteran

    It seems clear I need be careful with "special experiences" . Its what I do ,or don't do, with them that seems important. Jon Kabot-Zinn makes some good points about this in the following.

    "If you follow the life-long path of mindfulness practice, the biggest potential obstacle
    at points along your journey will undoubtedly be your thinking mind.
    For instance, you might come to think from time to time that you are getting somewhere, especially if
    you have some satisfying moments that transcend what you have experienced before. Then you might go around thinking, maybe even saying, that you have gotten somewhere, that the meditation practice "works." The ego wants to lay claim and take credit for this special feeling or understanding, whatever it is. As soon as this happens, you are no longer into meditation but into advertising. It is easy to get caught here, using meditation practice to support the self-inflation habit. As soon as you're caught, you cease seeing clearly. Even a clear insight, once it is claimed by this kind
    of self-serving thinking, rapidly clouds over and loses its authenticity. So you have to remind yourself that all colorations of "I," "me," and "mine" are just currents of thinking that are liable to carry you away from your own heart and the purity of direct experience.
    This reminder keeps the practice alive for us at the very moments we may need it the most and are the most ready to betray it. It keeps us looking deeply, in the spirit of inquiry and genuine curiosity, and asking constantly, "What is this?", "What is
    this?"

    The pitfall is when you inflate such experiences or thoughts and you start believing in them as special. It's when you get attached to your experience that the practice arrests, and your development along with it." Jon Kabot-Zinn

    JeffreyEarthninjalobstermaarten
  • genkakugenkaku Veteran Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Once upon a time I was a pretty dedicated Zen student. I was going to the zendo 40 hours a week more or less, doing retreats and was more or less hip-deep in the Big Zen Muddy. Looking back, I think of it as my Marine Corps phase.

    One day, a very powerful understanding came calling. It left me, literally, laughing and crying by turns. When I told the fellow whom I designated as a Zen teacher at the time, he said tersely, "Forget about it!" At the time, I felt as if I had been bitch-slapped. How the hell was I supposed to forget about something so compelling? This was really, really, really important! This was really, really, really special! Forget about it? Well forget about that!

    My mother's advice was more tempered and on target: "The ego is scared," she said. "Take back some dirt. Watch TV or something." She too said to forget about it, but without the uppity, dig-my-Zen quality. And a bit at a time, of course, that's what I did -- watched TV, went to work, went to the zendo and ... took some dirt back. And bit by bit the sense that the experience was special and important (because, of course, I was special and important) receded ... or perhaps integrated itself into whatever 'dirt' happened to be on tap on that day.

    Yup -- it blew my socks off. Yup, it encouraged me. Yup, I wondered where I could get some more of that. And of course the harder I tried to recreate it, the further it receded... until one day, perhaps another bright light emerged ... the same, but different.

    I imagine every practicing student has similar experiences, little and large. Is one more "profound" than the next or more "precious?" Well, in the old days of etiquette, there used to be a saying: "Comparisons are odious." And this is probably all the more true in realms that are often called "incomparable." Comparing enlightenment, comparing compassion, comparing actualization ... ick!

    Maybe it's just as well to enjoy what is enjoyable. Isn't that enough?

    JeffreyEarthninjalobsterBuddhadragon
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran Veteran

    "Now, O bhikkhus, I say to you that these teachings of which I have direct knowledge and which I have made known to you — these you should thoroughly learn, cultivate, develop, and frequently practice, that the life of purity may be established and may long endure, for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, well being, and happiness of gods and men.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji.html

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Hamsaka‌ I have wondered this also! Great topic!

    Well here goes my two cents. Personally I had some experiences initially during meditation. I tried to put these into words, people thought I was mad. I could not accurately describe it in words! I then tried to recreate the experience. And as above topic. @genkaku‌ said. The minute I tried to do anything I failed, so when I stopped trying things got better.

    From this perspective I think it's to hard to accurately put these experiences Into words and then people try to recreate the words. Which is the wrong thing to do. I've learnt that. I try not try now. Which is still trying but I guess I'm still learning about myself haha.

    Although on the flip side. I've read blogs one bring insight into reality. I apologies I don't know the authors name on hand! But it's a main thread. It's to do with his realisations.
    He talks about him experiencing non duality, the experiencing of being everything or "I amness" if you phrase it that way. Being the watcher of the thoughts and then going on to realising there is no watcher(non self)
    He articulates this really well. From what I can gather he has experienced nirvana.
    He also has put down the years when each experience happend. From initial experience to becoming a living reality"

    It pushes me to work harder, to know I can realise much in one life time!

    If nobody ever talked about experience we wouldn't be meditating. With strong resolve anyway.

    My opinion is yeah maybe talk about experiences. But take it with a grain of salt and if you do talk about experiences make them a damn good one! Or else we may just confuse each other.

    HamsakammoJeffrey
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Woops here is the blog. awakeningtoreality@blogspot.com author is Yu Wei. It was titled 7 stages of "something" again I apologise I'm on a mobile and I'm not tech savvy'

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    The pitfall is when you inflate such experiences or thoughts and you start believing in them as special.

    Experience is real. Experience is empty or to put it another way . . . Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.

    Don't be deceived by the mind. You will always have one just don't get attached. It arises, it dies. Life too.

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/ have an 'ask a teacher section' where you can ask about your experiences.

    Experiences are seductive as @genkaku‌ says. They must be special. We must be special.

    Can we negate our need to be special . . . it is a bit like teenagers going through intense and unique experiences . . . Bless . . . :om: .

    Earthninja
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Here is some very simple advice from the enlightened perspective
    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/06/on-enlightenment-an-interview-with-shinzen-young/

    Why the need for discretion?
    If an experience is genuine it with time and maturing becomes an on going process. It does not mean we have the means/capacity/licence/experience to expound. If we do try and teach/evangelise/share, we might learn from that tendency . . . and how it is received . . . I had this or that experience is communicable. It may seem important for a while. It may be a useful foundation or just another arising and 'waving goodbye to'.

    The human tendency is to prematurely advise and direct those still awaiting 'experiential dharma' if I can put it like that.

    However those with decades in the maturing like Mr Cushion, just offer sitting . . . oh well . . .

    If a person assumes their special experience entitles them to teach or evangelize, that is an issue with identification and egotism, but not a problem per se with the special experience. It is nauseatingly common.

    But what my stupid delusional ego DOES with that special glimpse does not devalue the content of the glimpse. There is a distinction here that I don't see being made, like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    It is quite humorous, the stories of going to a great teacher with your special experience only to have them remind you to peel the potatoes. I am not impressed with the care or respect given to the person who's confidence was just embarrassed out of them. Sure, we live with it, no need to be so thin skinned you can't take a hint that whether or not your experience was special, YOU certainly aren't!

    federica
  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2014

    All and any evaluation of stories of encounters with teachers need to assume a relationship which is subtle and nuanced and which , if the teacher is genuine will involve a long term pointing out of areas that need reinforcement and areas that need the light of awareness and subsequent questioning as to their usefulness.
    If the student is open and ready then what happens transcends their confidence or lack of.
    The west had two hundred years plus of conditioning that says that we must build a solid platform of individuality..
    It is hardly surprising that when it encounters a world view which states that individuality is illusory that we become confused.
    We think that means that we and our experiences are unreal..and that we must struggle against that thought.
    Otherwise we are letting down Davy Crockett.
    The Alamo was in vain.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @dhammachick said:
    I have no idea why. Jealousy, fear, disbelief? shrugs Who knows? Maybe they perceived my talking about my experiences as belittling them or elevating myself. I have examined my speech in retrospect but I won't dwell on it because it serves no purpose.
    _ /\ _

    Namaste to you too :) .

    That is exactly my question, fwiw. I am concerned about the 'why'. It's not a concern everyone has nor should they I suppose. It just goes unquestioned, but should it?

    I don't have much to do with whether or not I set off someone's taboo trigger. I do want not to be a part of where someone feels badly around me, but neither do I want to play Magic 8 Ball precognisizing what may or may not rub someone's fur the wrong direction. Clearly there is a bit of taboo in openly discussing one's special experiences but ought we to keep them to ourselves (in the absence of a teacher) just so we don't make other people feel stupid or belittled?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Certainly in the UK it is perfectly fine to laud, applaud and praise someone for their marvellous achievements.

    However, the moment that person begins agreeing with us, or takes to self-praise, we are quick to knock them down a peg or two.

    Furthermore the British excel at putting people on a pedestal and then proceeding to push them off it.

    often, after that person has died, and we bring their skeletons out of the closet, at a time when they are ill-equipped to either shove them back in, or keep the door locked...

  • CittaCitta Veteran Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:

    Well as the person ( I suspect ) who was reminded to peel the potatos I can assure you @Hamsaka that my confidence was not at all ' embarrassed out of me.'

    In fact I returned to the kitchen with a big grin and my confidence that I had found the right teacher for me.

    And thats another characteristic of a real teacher , they know who needs a boost and who needs to stop daydreaming.

    And that is another reason why recounting subjective experience is often unwise.

    What may be significant for one may be a distraction for another..

    HamsakaSarahT
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    There is a distinction here that I don't see being made, like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    We are all protective of our babies. This is the crux of attachment to experiences. Having a trained, dogmatised or 'variety of cushion experiences mind' is no guarantee of applicability to ourselves or others. In other words a mind stilled may be of interest or have benefits. Bliss, focus, less of monkey mind, may be preferable but is a stage on a continuum. The awakened mind is NOT part of this continuum. It is only the unfolding or realisation of this ineffable 'experience' that is real. This is why experiences, jhanas, bhumis, senses of oneness etc are just 'stuff'.

    Throw them out. Baby, bath water and bathtub . . . :orange: .

    Hamsaka
  • ShakShak Veteran Veteran

    @federica said:
    Remember school?

    "Children, tomorrow is Saturday, have a good weekend and then on Monday, we can show and tell!"

    So Monday comes.

    Say nothing.
    Just put a flower, and an individually-written, personal short kind note, on everyone's desk.

    Sit back down, and smile.

    Briefly?

    Don't tell.

    Show.

    Last year while on a family camping trip I had an indescribable experience while sitting in the sand next to a remote Northern Maine lake. My wife took the boys of on a nature walk and I stayed behind because I twisted my ankle. I went down to the lake to soak my foot and just started to take in the unspoiled scenery. I dont know how long I was there, it could have been 10 minutes or 90 minutes, and I wasn't trying to meditate. I can't even describe the experience except to say it was probably my first taste of not thinking/ not not thinking. Nothing needed to make sense anymore. It was a game changer for me. I haven't told anyone until now. Words certainly cannot describe it. @federica, to get back to your quote, my wife couldn't believe what good father and husband I was after that, and that I must have needed a vacation.

    lobsterfedericaHamsaka
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    Everyone has given such good input :) .

    I figure if special experiences (like @Shak described) are held within and rolled around in some dirt then tossed out with the baby and bathtub with deliberation (mindfulness) then the subjective realm has been dealt with in this conditionally dual reality. This subjectivity is helpful to me, as a shared thing.

    I think it is especially helpful to new folks who's meditation/practice liberates some mind blowers -- what to DO with them?

    Well, for one don't identify with them -- they aren't YOURS and you didn't cause them nor do you own them nor can you take credit for them.

    Therefore, don't organize your life around them or use them as a healing balm for your broken self image, because they have nothing to do with a self or you or anything remotely so conditional.

    It's not hard to see why gurus arise. Obviously the individual has a powerful experience and naturally wants to share it (all normal things we social apes do). It is indeed 'real' as the gurus gather 'round them the disillusioned who end up following them.

    It makes sense there is a knee-jerk negative reaction to someone clamoring with their vision of God. These special experiences are POWERFUL, and can cause all kinds of harm to the unwitting. It goes without saying it is an important self-protection mechanism to have some knowledge about special experiences, and what to do with them.

    If nothing, you get rotten tomatoes thrown at you for identifying with it and making an idiot out of yourself. It doesn't mean the experience was not 'real' or beneficial, it's your relationship to it that makes it beneficial or not.

    This practice we do is highly likely to induce special experiences, or so it appears to me. I wish instead of poking fun at someone who has had one (and is all agog identifying with it) we should educate them with firmness and humor. Give reasons for the necessary pedestal smashing :) .

    lobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    I think what happens with Daveadams was that he repeatedly mentioned his experience in every single thread as if it was the answer to everyones problems.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    Yes, Daveadam's posts made me ask the question, and his reaction to his own experience is not uncommon. I hoped to make a bigger question out of it than how one person was managing their experiences. It just made me wonder about the whole context around them.

    Jeffrey
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    ... :bowdown: ...

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    It goes further . . . cults, life changing course orientation, whole religious movements are begun from 'experiences'.

    For example 'Lizards are controlling earth', 'Do till thou Wilts' (The book of the law), My guru/teacher/friend/me is enlightened and so on into reasonable sanity.

    If you can not 'trust' or have confidence in the mind, then you can be sceptical of its processing. One of the reasons for mind training is to develop greater capacity to recognise our tendencies, foibles and reliance on intensity.

    We need a cool mind. Empty of clutter, clucking and other egg laying . . . :wave: .

    HamsakaJeffrey
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Our minds also need self-discipline, or the lunatics will start running the asylum!

    EarthninjaJeffreyBuddhadragon
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @lobster said:

    One of the reasons for mind training is to develop greater capacity to recognise our tendencies, foibles and reliance on intensity.

    Indeed. The 'reliance on intensity', that's a big one in't it. It's taken me nearly fifty years to learn to be wary. All that glitters is not gold, and all that stuff. Having a barnyard full of incontinent animals, I'm here to stay some kinds of shit glitters in the right sunlight.

    Alas . . . that old, old wish to be saved. It is not present for no reason, I think it is why the Buddha was still unconvinced after six years of ascetics. I don't mean I believe the Buddha wanted to be SAVED, that's just a word for the yearning that drove him and drives the rest of us.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Wary but not skeptical or unkind to our humanity. Extinguishing or annihilation is a phase for renunciates and ascetics. It is also true that as the heart widens, as we enter the Purelands, nirvana etc we become more able and capable of 'being in the light'. Perhaps we might talk about developing extreme Boddhisatva tendencies such as compassion, love, wisdom, patience etc.

    This is how our experiences can be thought of as genuine. They are the initial shining from the three jewels, the Buddha Nature, the Real Self.

    Sing. Joy is intense.

    JeffreyHamsakaEarthninja
  • SarahTSarahT Time ... space ... joy South Coast, UK Veteran

    @Zero said:
    Communication is a way of exerting control

    I am grateful to all who choose to share here.
    I am grateful that I have a choice whether to be controlled.

    Dandelion
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 2014

    What's a person to do with their special experiences? Hide them, refrain from disclosing them? Reveal them like the Buddha did?

    Kia Ora,

    In the real world, it is quite difficult to hide special experiences , as over time they tend to become woven into the fabric of one's being... Others might notice something different/special about you, perhaps the special experience has made you a little more at ease with life's ups and downs...

    If they should ask why or how, you explain as best as you can, and if they don't, you don't, it's as simple as that..... "Nothing special"

    Well that's how I see it, but I could be wrong....

    Metta Shoshin . :) ..

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2014

    What to do with your Special Experiences?

    Simply relate to a "special experience" as you would of any other phenomena that arises in meditation. It's significance, like any phenomena, most clearly manifests according to how unmolested we can allow it's arising, life and passing on to be.

    HamsakalobsterJeffrey
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    Hi @How welcome baaack!!

    This brings to mind something that hasn't occurred to me yet. What 'criteria' (subjective only) am I using to determine if an experience is 'special'? Indeed, those criteria are worthy of a closer look.

    The fact that the criteria for determining 'special' exist in the first place is itself conditioned and therefore any value determined by those criteria is up for grabs.

    What makes an experience 'special' in the first place and who decides and by what is that decision made?

    Why is it not just another experience, at least in value? Just something else to 'not molest' in its arising I guess :D .

    lobster
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited July 2014

    I'd say a special experience is anything that opens your eyes a little more. They are simple and profound, these "satori" moments, and they're not usually just one... but many. As such there's nothing really to talk about. What do you say? There's really nothing to say. You have a deeper, clearer understanding of the mind and that's something you can only share peripherally with others. They will need to see for themselves, no matter what you tell them.

    I can only ever call such things "special experiences" in quotes, because that sounds ridiculous. ;) Really I'd say insights, and leave it there.

    Hamsaka
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2014

    Thanks Hamsaka
    Tomorrow we head back out again to hit the water on Friday with the hopes of finding something less than 40 knots winds in our face since going twice as fast backwards as we can paddle forwards makes for ridicules kayaking. Sometimes resembles my practice. though!

    lobsterHamsaka
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    ^^^ the wind and the mind sometimes going in the wrong direction . . . I think I read in a Chopra fortune cookie 'the destination is the journey' . . . hope that helps :p .

    Fare thee well. :wave: .

    SarahT
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