In this episode, host Michael Taft shares a map of deconstructing sensory experience. This is intended to help orient you to your vipassana meditation practice; helping you to understand where you’re at, where you’re going, and what to look for next. A basic map of vipassana.
Note: this is only a map, only a model. Just like a menu is not food, this model is not claiming to be reality. It’s just a handy way to help you orient your practice.
This model doesn’t count for nondual meditations, high-concentration/jhana practice, etc. It is only to help you with your vipassana practice.
Very important: the inclusion of “Cessation” as level 5 doesn’t mean that level 5 is the final goal of practice. It’s just something that can happen, and is included for the sake of completeness.
These are not discrete or digital stages. They are analog, and shade into one another. Each stage is desirable and useful for various things. No stage is somehow better than another.
In vipassana practice, however, we are usually attempting to tranverse the stack from stage one to stage four. Stage five may or may not be something that happens.
When our practice is very skilled, we can also tranverse the stack from bottom to top (4 -> 1) and do what we might call “nondual vipassana” or something akin to many Mahamudra practices.
0:25 – Introduction
2:20 – The pros and cons of meditation maps; descriptions of popular maps
5:31 – Stages of Deconstructing Sensory Experience, Michael’s map for vipassana-style
11:54 – In-depth explanation of stage/level 1, the narrative/conceptual stage
16:11 – Level 2, the stage of the phenomenological object (beginning to let go of the idea of
the object and starting to get into the sensory details, the actual phenomenological awareness
of the object)
24:59 – Level 3, the stage of flow or sensory experience as activity or process – the whole
idea of the thing being an object at all is going away, and it seems to be more like a
probability cloud, or some kind of wave activity, or some vibratory experience
35:34 – Level 4, the emptiness or nondual stage – with less and less activity arising, pure
awareness reveals itself
38:57 – Level 5, cessation – awareness itself shuts off
41:14 – Recapping the 5 levels, using the map to understand where you’re at and deepen
|1||Conceptual||Thinking about sensory experience objects using words.|
|2||Phenomenal Object||Contacting the phenomenology of sensory experiences in the form of objects.|
|3||Flow / Change||Contacting the phenomenology of sensory experiences as vibration, waves, or change.|
|4||Pure Awareness||Noticing awareness itself with no content.|
|5||Cessation||Sudden collapse of awareness.|
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