Author Topic: Insight  (Read 2843 times)

purity

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Insight
« on: January 25, 2016, 10:44:19 AM »
Today during my morning meditation my legs begun to ache and so I tried to not react straight away by adjusting my legs but instead investigated the pain and my reaction to it. The pain was not going away but became unbearable so eventually I adjusted my position. I dont understand how to see this pain as anicca. It felt that it was not going to go away unless I moved. So it felt like a constant permanent pain.
I feel I have been meditating for a long time but I don't ever have so called "insight".    Or maybe I have but I didn't realise?   How do you know when you have insight? What exactly is it. I understand about anicca , dukkha and annatta when I read about it but I don't feel that i have had any significant insight about it.

Alex

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Re: Insight
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2016, 03:11:27 PM »
...but instead investigated the pain and my reaction to it. The pain was not going away but became unbearable so eventually I adjusted my position.

I wonder... how do you go about such investigation? Can you say something about that?
How does aversion for the pain relate to the oppenness required for investigation?

So it felt like a constant permanent pain

That's what it felt like, you say, like one solid pain, unchanging... But you also say the pain grew stronger and became unbearable when you engaged with it. That sounds like change to me ;)
Maybe there is even more change, differentiation or characteristics to be noticed? Like where is the pain stronger than in other place? Does it shift from place to place? Is the pain it pointy, or dull?

How do you know when you have insight?

If you have insight, you know. It can be small, it can be "bigger". But you know because you have seen/experienced/understood for yourself. Insight is not limited to people practicing meditation by the way...

Middleway

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Re: Insight
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 01:38:01 AM »
Today during my morning meditation my legs begun to ache and so I tried to not react straight away by adjusting my legs but instead investigated the pain and my reaction to it. The pain was not going away but became unbearable so eventually I adjusted my position. I dont understand how to see this pain as anicca. It felt that it was not going to go away unless I moved. So it felt like a constant permanent pain.
I feel I have been meditating for a long time but I don't ever have so called "insight".    Or maybe I have but I didn't realise?   How do you know when you have insight? What exactly is it. I understand about anicca , dukkha and annatta when I read about it but I don't feel that i have had any significant insight about it.

I recently had an insight about anicca. I think it is my own insight because I do not remember reading it anywhere. Say you use your magic wand and make anicca go away. What would happen? The whole world would freeze. Any movement cannot be possible because movement is change. So now you cannot breathe. Everybody will be frozen statues.

Anicca makes life possible. That is my insight about anicca. This insight did not come to me during a sitting. My sittings helped me develop subtlety of mind. The subtlety of mind and contemplation and reflection then gave me this insight. It may not be a deep insight but that will do for me for now. I keep on continuing my practice. I enjoy it and it is fun and an adventure.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Liongate

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Re: Insight
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 06:10:36 AM »
Perhaps you need to remove your expectations regarding insight. I don't think you'll find it if you're looking for it.

Goofaholix

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Re: Insight
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 08:31:18 AM »
You know you have insight when you notice that something that was once a cause of suffering, confusion, craving, or aversion for you no longer seems to have the same hold over you.

Marc60

Re: Insight
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 10:10:39 AM »
Quote
I dont understand how to see this pain as anicca. It felt that it was not going to go away unless I moved. So it felt like a constant permanent pain.

I made the same experience as you. Me too I dont see pain as aniicca in this case.
Of course everything is interacting. sometimes in a short, sometimes in a long run. So, things or beings change and thats maybe anicca. But if I have unbearable pain in my legs......I think it wont help me if I say anicca will help me.
I have pain I am acting this means I am moving my legs and the pain relieves. Is this this still anicca then? Somehow yes because its impermanent  ::)

Attachless

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Re: Insight
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 01:53:14 PM »
Ps: after writing it I'm not sure if it actually answers your question, but it elaborates kinda hiow I think the insight of anicca is more of a moment to moment application of equanimity towards experience, which can be deepened, and is not an insight you get once and thats it. It's like the ocean, you stsrt on the surface, intellectually, and go deeper with every experience, sometimes more up again, then back deep again, probably deeper as before, or not, but what the depth - any depth - of insight should do is lead to equanimity, so insight is only a means to its effect, which is equanimity, so start eith equanimity anyway, here's why, and it may bribg you more at peace with the "when do I have insight of anicca" thing - this is a question I believe many many have, taken from my experience and those of others. Often asking myself "whats the fuss about anicca anyway, I still dont get it" .. Anyway, here's my take on, which atleast makes me be in peace with anicca. :-P hope it helps.

The insight or understanding of anicca shouldn't make you the pain go away, but its understanding act as a catalysor for you to train yourself to react to the pain in a tranquil, balanced manner, without disliking it, without aversion, and without craving for it to end, and if it becomes unbearable, changing the position, but without aversion, equanimous. The understanding of impermanence should therefor act as a "ah!"-reason for you to not crave or dislike something, because the unpleasentness of this moment  - the old habit pattern of the mind - makes you go disliking this moment - but the very understanding - although first just intellectually - should make one understand that by the very act of craving for something, or disliking something (while both is omnipresent, because if you crave for something, you dislike the absents of it, and if you dislike something, you crave for it to go away) creates suffeung for you, because it makes you unbalanced, restless, not content in this very moment.

Understanding this also implies that, whatever you crave for, it will not satisfy you, because its not permanent, and if you base the balance of your mind on anything that is impermanent, you will inevitably create suffering, because that cravibg cannot be fulfilled by things that are not static. Thats easier to understand than "don't averse things", for instance pain, as it seems that the pain itself is making you suffering, but training yourself to remain unreactive, to remain acceptant in this very moment, to observe the pain as it is and use it not as a tool to understand anicca in the first place (because it's easy to use it as a means to "make it go away" and proove me anicca, and "only if I see it going away will I not averse it, but be equaninous with it!"), but as a means to practice non-aversion, which is equanimity, and ONLY by practicing equanimity is the chance given, that you will come to directly understand anicca by experience, even at a subtle level (like seeing the pain as many smaller pains that make it seem like one big pain, and the smaller ones all consisting of smaller vibrations) - even noticing change in a seemingly consistent, static pain, from moment to moment, but this will only happen to an equanimous mind, despite the pain, hence the understanding of anicca is always meant as a tool, as a means to practice equanimity and equanimous observation, despite the experience you are making.

It is based of the understanding that -because- everything is anicca, any craving or aversion is bound to lead to more craving or aversion, because nothing is static, hence no craving can be fulfilled forever, or brings final fulfillment, and will hence end in more, new craving. Hence the problem is the craving - and the aversion - itself, and not the object of them. Because it is a bucket that cannot be filled, because - anicca - because it makes no sense to crave or averse, it only makes you suffering. Only by learning to not react to events that are bound to change anyway, will you gain happiness of mind, for the lack of a better word than happiness - only by - and thats what one is doing in the practice - having the same attitude toward every experience, without judging it, having liking for this, or disliking for that, will you draw your dependence on external or internal events for being at peace away, erase it, and create independent peace of mind. Because everything else is not possible, because everything is anicca, impermanent, and you and your peace are just a playing ball of changing circumstances, your peace dependent on good things to happen; and when they are gone, you crave and suffer, and when bad things happen, you add suffering of tremendous amount by reacting to it with aversion, craving it to end.

Anicca is a means to end craving and aversion, and only by practicing non-craving and non-aversion will one actually come to realize anicca on a different level than the obvious, as well as the harming impact of your reaction towards impermanent events - craving and aversing.

I had, on the 5th day of a 10 day retreat, had an experience where I had tremendous tremendous back pain, and I couls observe how I would react with aversion to it, and how this very reaction would make it way worse, and how remaining equanimous and just feeling it as it is, without the wish for it to end, would make it actually bearable, would make me calm, would make me notice that this apparent big pain that is there to stay, consisted of many smaller big-pains, so to speak, and so on, and to my astounishment, I realized by experience how my reaction to an actually unpleasent experience would make me suffer way much more than the actual pain. Hence the importance of equanimity! It's not about the experience; it's about how one can remain balanced in spite of any circumstance, because of knowing - first intellectually - how our attitude (either of equanimity, or of craving/aversing)  would impact the very experience we are making, and the amount of suffering we will make, and finally, induce upon ourselves by how we react to everything.

Hence, observe your relation, your reaction to the pain while observing the pain, understanding the impact anicca has, which leads to the understanding why remaining equaninous is king. :-P

In that sense, by applying the intellectual understanding of anicca by remaining equaninous, will one come to experience anicca on subtler levels, which will deepen your understanding of -why- you are meant to remain equanimous.

I hope that makes sense, as it feels kinda repetetive to me, but it's for me really about this, about what that realization leads to (equanimity) and not about "realizing it at any cost". If you were to remain perfectly equanimous without beibg aware of anicca at first, I believe the purpose of anicca is served as good as if you were actually aware of anicca in every experiende you make, and therefor as a logical consequence would stop with craving and aversion, and start being equanimius.

Okay enough elaboration lol. Hope it helps, thats my understanding of it so far :-)
to be or not to be - one hardly notices the subtlety

Vivek

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Re: Insight
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2016, 11:56:08 AM »
Quote
I understand about anicca , dukkha and annatta when I read about it but I don't feel that i have had any significant insight about it.
It may be worth checking what your expectation is regarding an insight. What would it look like for you when you have an insight? What do you think would happen when you have an insight? An insight is simply an "aha-moment" when you are able to clearly see for yourself what is being talked about by the teachers as well as in the scriptures. The moment one has insight, most often one spontaneously says "Oh, now I see it!". That is a moment of profound transformation. For instance, one hears very often during the retreat that all sensations, no matter how painful or gross they are, are all Anicca or impermanent, and that they are bound to pass away. But unless you see it for yourself that the unpleasant sensations which you are experiencing during your sittings, which for the time being may look eternal/permanent to you, are actually subsiding and then disappearing forever, the truth of Anicca will remain only an intellectual concept for you. If you persist patiently and diligently with your practice, sooner or later you will actually be able to see it for yourself that the sensations are changing and then vanishing completely sooner or later, giving way for more sensations to arise. That is a true moment of insight.   
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Matthew

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Re: Insight
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2016, 10:00:58 PM »
Quote
The pain was not going away but became unbearable so eventually I adjusted my position. I dont understand how to see this pain as anicca.

Hi purity,

The pain went away when you adjusted position so it is annica. Meditation is not about creating more suffering for yourself through adopting unnatural posture.

Personally I can only mediate laying down ("corpse posture") due to severe spinal issues .. I don't make life hard on  myself and accept with equanimity the limitations of my body. It's not about being at war with yourself.

Insight is simply that eureka moment when you move from knowing though thinking to knowing in the body, corporeally, as experience lived, not thought thought. You'll get there, keep at it - and don't hurt yourself through forcing posture that is painful and harmful. Some discomfort may arise due to relearning good posture and strengthening areas of the body that are weak - yet you need not make it into pain.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 10:12:29 PM by Matthew »
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flying solo

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Re: Insight
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2016, 07:05:27 AM »
I'm going to come at pain from a different angle.

I've had a passing interest in pain since I was a kid. Nothing sadistic mind you  ???. I remember getting leg cramps in bed as a child. One night I decided that rather than try to make them go away, I would rest my attention in the experience and explore it. I noticed that by having an attitude of acceptance and neutral interest, the pain became tolerable and soon subsided.

There's a phrase included in a song by the Divinyls - "there's a fine line between pleasure and pain". Something about this phrase stuck with me for years. Then one day the penny dropped. I realised people who get into sadomasochism are breaching that fine line. For whatever reason, they experience pain as pleasure. 

I decided to check this out the next time I had a leg cramp and yes, pain can be transformed into pleasure at will.  That's when I realised that to a large extent, the experience of 'pain' is in the mind. How we interpret sensations has a lot to do with it.   

Many years after that I was watching a TV show centred around a maternity ward. One particular woman  had elected to give birth in water. It was interesting, but nothing I hadn't seen before..... until the camera zoomed in on the young Mother's face. I'd seen that look of ecstasy in religious paintings and occasionally in the eyes of a guru. Her husband noticed too and he was both fascinated and taken aback.  Later the Mother said a feeling of intense pleasure just came over her, out of the blue with each urge to push. The midwife commented that she'd seen it before, but it wasn't very common.

The reason I've written this is not to suggest people should try to change what arises during meditation, but rather to underline how much influence the mind has in determining how something is experienced.

Attachless

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Re: Insight
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2016, 08:40:18 AM »
I'm going to come at pain from a different angle.

I've had a passing interest in pain since I was a kid. Nothing sadistic mind you  ???. I remember getting leg cramps in bed as a child. One night I decided that rather than try to make them go away, I would rest my attention in the experience and explore it. I noticed that by having an attitude of acceptance and neutral interest, the pain became tolerable and soon subsided.

That`s funny. Since I was young, whenever I hit my toes, e.g. on the door, or the bed, and you know, that hurts so much I can tell ya, the immediate reaction was crying out loud "ahhhhh! oooooohh! Wshhhhhh! uuuuuh!" and fletching the teeths. Instead of doing that - after the automatic reaction, I always stopped doing that, take a breath, put my attention on the pain as it is, and go on doing whatever I was going to do before that happened. My toe would pulsate, or have some kind of heavy pressure in it and on it, that would eventually subside after a while, and by not giving it the "oh it hurts so much" reaction, it actually -didn`t- hurt anymore, other than being this intense sensation that it is.

I know how strange that sounds, realizing that our reaction to something makes it hurt the most. Sometimes when you observe children, and they fall on their knees, then they look around, and if theres some adult looking, or the chance of there being someone to have compassion for you and be like "oh my god darling is everything okay come here kiss kiss", they go start crying and "It hurts so much". If the chance for that is not there, and nobody cares, or mom even looks like she ain`t take -that- for something serious no matter how kid gonna react (my mom used to do that when my sister fell sometimes, and it wasn`t bad at all), the kid ain`t gonna make something serious out of it, stands up and keeps on running.

How we react to "pain" - while in this context, "pain" already inhibits a condemning of the sensation, determines what it is to us. The saying "indianers don`t know pain" probably comes from the fact that they ain`t gonna cry about every little scratch and just take it -for what it is-, and not for -what we react it into-, e.g. pain.

And this can actually be tested - it`s not mere speculation. One just has to get over the "I`m suffering" at some point and see for what it is.
to be or not to be - one hardly notices the subtlety

TheJourney

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Re: Insight
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2016, 10:30:54 PM »
Purity,

I can only tell you that at Goenka's visas sanatorium retreat my pain disappeared on day 6. I am someone who never meditate on cross legged position or kneeling down. Everyday I would ask the teacher for a chair and was always denied. I have a friend whose pain disappeared on day 9. It is different for everyone.

Since the retreat, I have been meditating in cross legged posture. Even kneeling doesn't feel strained or painful for a whole hour. I could never train myself to do this. Surprisingly, the retreat resolved my psychosomatic issue.

Can you go to a Goenka retreat?

 

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