Hello all! I'm Duty from Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently had several explosions of personal growth, and the most recent ones have come after investigating different Buddhist practices. I've always approached Buddhism as an investigation into the mind, and have viewed it as an approach to psychology with cultural and religious aspects.
My experiences thus far are extremely complicated, and the very performance of communicating a few of my discoveries seemingly seems contradictory to their nature (more on that later).
The first (semi) Buddhist idea that struck a chord with me was a way of approaching the different realms of the Kamadhatu; a way which runs parallel with my psychological approach. Instead of taking it as a literal separation of worlds, this approach takes it as different ways of suffering. Those minds dwelling mostly in hell realm suffer from hatred and fear, the preta from the inability to fulfill their extreme hunger, ect...states of our own minds to compliment the different realms. The only difference was the human "mind," which was viewed as a place of opportunity: neither too distracting as the heavens, nor too excruciating as the lower realms.
My first realization here was that all these states of mind root directly back to the hell realm: all our suffering is based in some sort of hate or fear. Preta hate their hunger, they hate their bodies for the inability to be sated, and they fear never being sated. The asura hate their status and hate the devas. You get the picture I'm sure.
Later I realized that all the suffering was rooted in every realm all the time. However, the first of these understandings: all suffering being rooted in the hell realm, had a substantial impact on me. Instantly I became aware of all the hatreds I had in everyday life: I hated that smoker for his nasty cigarettes, I hated the bus for being late, etc. I caught myself in a hatred nearly every second. The big understanding was when I asked myself, "Do I have to hate these things?" Of course I didn't, and soon I resolved to displace hatred from my mind.
Like dominos, this automatically led to another realization: the importance of mindfulness. To stop hating all these things that happen to me, which is where my suffering stems from, I had to be continuously aware of these thoughts. So, since then, I've kept a constant conscious vigilance on my hatreds, and replaced them with compassion as soon as they arise.
But soon complication came up. I started to being weary and frustrated with myself, and this vigilance was extremely taxing.
Today I have partially resolved this complication. I made a further leap and realized that I was hating my own hatred. I also experienced a moment that was completely indescribable, and one that I think Buddhists are really talking about. I want to note now that I've done very very very little formal meditation in my life, and this moment was completely spontaneous, and happened just with me pondering all the awesome things that I'm learning from Buddhism.
The moment was when I was wondering about the apparent contradiction that Buddhism claims itself as the "pathless path," and yet you get a bunch of different sects sitting around arguing which tradition is best (that's what it looks like from my perception anyways, I'm truly on the outside looking in). I then had this indescribable moment: I became aware that I saw "myself" as having all these properties, beliefs, paradigms, and the like...and I just stopped doing that. I gave up this perception that I suffered, I gave up the fact that I was at work and hating it, I gave up that I was extremely tired from sleep deprivation. I gave up my identity. I just experienced the world and the moment for a brief time.
As soon as I realized that that was what was going on, it stopped. I tried to regain the sensation, but I knew that trying to do it would in itself be the cause of failing to do it.
So with the events of today, I stand as follows, and I know this is probably wholly different from your traditions. I'm just approaching things as they make sense to me:
1. I'm ok with suffering: I don't hate it. I prefer not to (and preference doesn't mean hated for the opposite), and choose not to to the best of my ability. I still often keep watch for my hatreds, but I don't stress about getting rid of them as they appear. Samsara is just another state of being (and useful at times!).
2. I want to learn how to engage that moment of "lost identity" at will. Not necessarily all the time: just as the need arises. I can almost evoke it by just keeping in mind the amusing nature of identification/ego, but not quite.
3. I feel as if a passionlessness has entered my life. Of course, it's just more ego cropping up, but it's concerning to samsara mind. :p
If you've read all of this, thank you very much. I apologize for the length. I have incredible momentum (all of this has happened to me in the past 5 days) and I feel like keeping it. I'm looking for suggestions and commentary on my experiences. Thank you in advance!