intense awareness

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intense awareness

Postby herenow » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:07 pm

Over the years I've tried to learn about this feeling of intense awareness I've been able 'get' since I was a kid.
I've posted questions on New Age-type boards and other on-line forums over the years, trying to find other people who get this feeling.
I read Ramm Dass' book "Be Here Now", but that was too drug-focused and the New Age sites were too weird or religious.
But lately I've been reading about Buddhism and have found info which more closely describes that feeling.

It is an intense feeling of consciousness, I guess. In fact it is like really waking up, even though I'm already awake.
I can be anywhere, and if I'm relaxed and not having to interact with anyone and not distracted, I can
get this intense awareness, and I find myself thinking "I'm here, right now". And every time I do that,
time slows down more and more. I get an intense awareness or realization and it kind of accelerates.
It is like I had been in a dream but I am now awake. It only lasts a few seconds at a time, but it is an awesome, exciting feeling.

Just now, poking around I found DhammaWheel and kind of freaked when I saw the 8-spoked wheel symbol, and really freaked when I saw the avatar "Indiviual" uses. I just got a tattoo of an 8-spoked bicycle chainring a hand in the middle (a Rudge bicycle chainring) and felt the urge to sign-up here and learn more.
I look forward to reading everything I can here...
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Re: intense awareness

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:33 pm

:hello:

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel!

You might want to read some introductory books on Buddhism, such as, What the Buddha Taught and some others.

You might also check out some temples and Dhamma centers in your area. And of course you can read and ask questions here.

:buddha2:
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Re: intense awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:30 pm

Greetings and welcome, Herenow!

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: intense awareness

Postby genkaku » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:45 am

Welcome herenow. Hope you find something useful here.

Maybe the practice of Buddhism is nothing more than getting used to what was never missing.

But that's just a guess.
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Re: intense awareness

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:00 am

:hello:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: intense awareness

Postby Ben » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:38 pm

Hi Herenow
Welcome to Dhamma Wheel.
At some point you may wish to explore Buddhist meditation as a means of making sense of and harnessing your 'intense awareness'. As other have mentioned, Dhamma Centres and teachers closer to your home might be the first port of call for you. And to reiterate, you are more than welcome to ask questions here.
Kind regards

Ben
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Re: intense awareness

Postby Guy » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:57 pm

Welcome herenow!

I hope you are happy now that you have arrived here at dhammawheel. :group:

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: intense awareness

Postby herenow » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:44 am

Thank you for the warm welcome(s).
I've been reading the links and discussions here over the past 48 hours but have not been grabbed by a connection.
I'd like to hear from others who feel this thing.
I love the philosophy and 'non-organized-religion' of what I've read.
Maybe I'm just looking for a shortcut, but I want to talk to other people who do this. I know I'm not alone.
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Re: intense awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:48 am

Greetings herenow,

herenow wrote:Maybe I'm just looking for a shortcut


If it were that easy, the Buddha wouldn't have had to teach for 45 years. It would have been quick "Here's how you do it" and off you go! :tongue:

Whilst Buddhism is not terribly easy, it makes life itself easier... so it's worth the investment in effort.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: intense awareness

Postby genkaku » Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:54 pm

Maybe I'm just looking for a shortcut,


Hi herenow.

Well of course you are ... just as any of us might be. Who wouldn't rather have the Tooth Fairy wave her magic wand and suddenly things would be all better, perfectly clear, and we could get on with our lives? I'd say this is pretty ordinary stuff, whatever the topic and however profound the consciousness.

But then the facts intervene. Drat!

What are the facts? Perhaps they can be expressed in terms of a sick person who is given some medicine and sits staring at the bottle, waiting to get better. "What grand and glorious and holy stuff! Imagine, it can cure my illness! I can feel healthy! Wow! That sure is good medicine!"

But of course there is the small matter of taking the medicine ... of exercising our constancy and determination; of bringing courage and patience and doubt to bear; of swallowing what may, from time to time, seem like a bitter pill. Praise is not enough. Blame is not enough. Astonishment is not enough. In the matter of this illness -- this uncertainty, this doubt, this wonder -- only you and your efforts are enough.

In Buddhism, this is called practice.

FWIW
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Re: intense awareness

Postby Jechbi » Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:52 pm

Hello herenow,
herenow wrote:I know I'm not alone.
Don't know if you've found a connection here or are even following this any more, but for what it's worth, you might find it useful to turn your intense awareness on that sense of aloneness.

In one sense, you're not alone, but in another, you are, because no matter how many other people might have shared this type of experience, the particular nuances, details, circumstances, etc., will be unique to you. Anyone of us might be able to share what we regard as interesting or intense experiences of states of mind, and many of those experiences will be different or the same. After a while, it's like listening to people talk about their dreams. To them, their dreams are special and fascinating. To others, it can be kind of hard to relate, but that doesn't mean we don't all dream. (And I'm not saying that your experience of intense awareness is a dream.)

The content of these types of experiences may vary from person to person, and probably will change over the course of a person's lifetime. I'm not sure how far you'll get by discussing the content of your experiences with others, or by finding others who can relate similar subjective experiences. To me that seems like a coin collector who only likes coins from Tasmania, for example, and who seeks out other people who collect coins from Tasmania but doesn't have much interest in the broader field of numismatics.

If you want to know more about the nature of this intense awareness that you experience sometimes, you can learn about its underlying anicca, anatta and dukkha characteristics through the study of Buddhism and through the practice of meditation under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Regardless, I hope you find something useful on this board, and ...
:hello:
Welcome
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: intense awareness

Postby Dhammabodhi » Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:16 pm

:goodpost: Jechbi!

And welcome, herenow! There are so many experienced people here I'm sure that if you keep your radar on you'll find many a blips on it!Good luck with your search!

Metta,
Dhammabodhi
-Samāhitam cittam yathābhutam pajānāti.

समाहितं चित्तं यथाभूतं पजानाती |

A concentrated mind sees things as they really are.

-Ujuko nāma so maggo, abhayā nāma sā disā.

उजुको नाम सो माग्गो, अभया नाम सा दिसा |

'Straight' is this path, fearlessness is its way.
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Re: intense awareness

Postby Guy » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:13 am

This thread reminds me of a story which can be found in the book "A Still Forest Pool - The Insight Meditation of Achaan Chah" which I highly recommend...

Looking For The Buddha

Achaan Chah had been unusually tolerant of the comings and goings of his Western Disciples. Traditionally, a new forest monk will spend at least five rains retreats with his first teacher before beginning his ascetic wanderings. Achaan Chah stresses discipline as a major part of his practice - working precisely and carefully with the monks' rules and learning to surrender to the monastic style and to the way of the community. But somehow Western monks, like favored children, have been allowed more than the traditional space to travel in order to visit other teachers. Usually when someone does leave, there is no fuss and not much memory. Life in the Dhamma is immediate, full, and complete. Achaan Chah has said that from where he sits, "Nobody comes and nobody goes."

After only a year and a half of practice at Wat Ba Pong, one American asked and received permission to travel and study with other Thai and Burmese teachers. A year or two later, he returned full of tales of his travels, of many months of extraordinary and intensive practice and of a number of remarkable experiences. After completing his usual prostrations, he was greeted as if he had never left. At the end of the morning Dhamma discussion and business with monks and visitors, Achaan Chah finally turned to him and asked if he had found and new or better Dhamma outside the forest monastery. No, he had learned many new things in his practice, but actually, they were to be found at Wat Ba Pong as well. The Dhamma is always right here for anyone to see, to practice. "Ah yes," Achaan Chah laughed, "I could have told you that before you left, but you wouldn't have understood."

Then the Western monk went to the cottage of Achaan Sumedho, the senior Western disciple of Achaan Chah, and told all his stories and adventures, his new understandings and great insights into practice. Sumedho listened in silence and prepared afternoon tea from the roots of certain forest plants. When the stories were completed and the insights recounted, Sumedho smiled and said, "Ah, how wonderful. Something else to let go of." Only that.

Yet the Westerners kept coming and going, all to learn these lessons for themselves. At times, Achaan Chah would bless their travels; often, though, he would tease.

An English monk, vacillating in his search for the perfect life, the perfect teacher, had come and gone, ordained and disrobed, several times. "This monk," Achaan Chah finally chided, "has dog droppings in his monk's bag, and he thinks every place smells bad."

Another English monk who had come and gone from the monastery, to Europe, to a job, to a marriage engagement, to monkhood several times - was seated one dat at Achaan Chah's cottage. "What this monk is looking for," Achaan Chah declared to the assembly, "is a turtle with a mustache. How far do you think he will have to travel to find it?"

Out of frustration, another Western monk went to Achaan Chah asking permission to leave. Practice and surrender to the monastic life were hard, and this monk had began to find fault with all that surrounded him. "The other monks talk too much. Why do we have to chant? I want more time alone to meditate. The senior monks don't teach newcomers very well, and even you," he said to Achaan Chah in desperation, "even you don't seem so enlightened. You're always changing - sometimes you're strict, sometimes you don't seem to care. How do I know you're enlightened?"

Achaan Chah laughed heartily at this, which both amused and irritated the young monk. "It's a good thing I don't appear to be enlightened to you," he said "because if I fit your model of enlightenment, your ideal of how an enlightened person should act, you would still be caught looking for the Buddha outside yourself. He's not out there - he's in your own heart."

The monk bowed and returned to his cottage to look for the real Buddha.
Last edited by Guy on Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: intense awareness

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:58 am

:goodpost:
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: intense awareness

Postby herenow » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:14 am

These past few posts are motivating.

Over the years (I’m in my early 50s), when I’ve had the time to explore this thing, I’ve spent a lot of time reading, trying to figure out the buzz words and the concepts of whatever group I’ve stumbled upon.
Many times it ends up with somebody trying to sell me something, or worse, to sell me _on_ something.

I’m totally in with the idea that you don’t have to go somewhere to tap this. You don’t have to go to a geographic location and you don’t have to go to a physical building or setting.

I also think everyone one has this and can do it _right now_.
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Re: intense awareness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:20 am

Greetings herenow,

herenow wrote:I also think everyone one has this and can do it _right now_.


Have you looked into the Buddha's teachings on Right Mindfulness, one of the eight components of the Noble Eightfold Path?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: intense awareness

Postby herenow » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:57 pm

Thank you, Retro. This is a very good lead.
I appreciate your time.
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Re: intense awareness

Postby herenow » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:02 pm

Figured I'd follow up here, many months later.
I've absorbed as much as I can on this subject and still haven't quite found the information I'm looking for.
But I did have a strange experience this week which pointed back to Buddhism.

To keep it short - there's a place where I've been hiking regularly for nearly 20 years. And there is an unremarkable section of a trail where I've always felt a strange vibe. There is a particular tree on this section of trail where I once saw a person standing, but when I came up to the tree the person was no longer there. There have been several other strange things like this at this tree, and on Tuesday I stopped at the tree and began examining it. When I walked around to the back of the tree I found a 2" clay Buddhist face (picture below). It looks like it has been there a number of years, judging by the way the bark has grown around it.
Does anyone have any info on this symbol?
Thanks.
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