The Mind Illuminated, a journal: day 20

Jhanas, monasticism and renunciation are conceptually and historically connected

These are reflective notes on my experience of practicing Culadasa’s 10 stage meditation system earlier in 2019. The records in this post are from my 20th consecutive day of practice in the system. All these posts are published retrospectively, with some added commentary. There is a page summary of my TMI series with links in the site overview. For an introduction to this project, see this page.

Day 20

I sat for 4.5 hours in three sessions today. There’s a sense in which I think I’m learning to calibrate a movement between concentrative ‘depth’ and expansive awareness. In the language of TMI, I think that would translate to the distinction between stable attention and peripheral awareness.

I find the intentional dissociation in the internalized, concentrative state quite ‘unnatural’. My somewhat inadequate description of this sensation is that it’s like a whole-body fizziness with deeply cocooned awareness. There’s no sense of being in situ. It’s like a suspension of contextual presence so as to expand ‘into’ sensational consciousness. The sensation isn’t relational or reactive.

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The Mind Illuminated, a journal: days 17 and 18

stage8_vi
The Mind Illuminated, Stage 8, p. 306

These are reflective notes on my experience of practicing Culadasa’s 10 stage meditation system. The notes in this post are from my 17th and 18th day of practice in the system. There is a page summary of my TMI series with links in the site overview. For an introduction to this project, see this page. Occasionally I will post-edit the journal. Any post-editing is [in square brackets like this].

The passage above stood out to me as interestingly different. Up until this point in The Mind Illuminated, the practice aims, in the language of this system, to “subdue the sub-minds.” Until now in the TMI system, sub-minds have been tamed of their apparent agency and subdued by a dominant awareness. Now, once they are tamed and subdued, some limited agency is returned to them and employed in service of an overarching “metacognitive introspective awareness” to increase its capacity for powerful mental control.

Continue reading “The Mind Illuminated, a journal: days 17 and 18”