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Reversing the Stack—A Nondual Practice Map, with Michael Taft

nonduality

In this episode, host Michael Taft remixes his map of deconstructing sensory experience, and talks about how to use it to work in nondual traditions. Essentially the idea is to reverse the stack by starting out with Stage 4 (pure awareness) and then working your way up to stage 3, etc. Michael also spends some time talking about maps of meditation, problems therewith, and why he is already reworking this map after a short time.

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.

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.

When doing nondual practices, we transverse the stack from bottom to top (4 -> 1) and do what we might call “nondual vipassana” or something akin to many Mahamudra practices—which is what this episode describes.

Level Name Description
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.

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5 thoughts on “Reversing the Stack—A Nondual Practice Map, with Michael Taft”

  1. This episode resonated a lot with me. I recently experienced a shift which my teacher Tucker Peck diagnosed as stream entry, using a method which seems much more like this “nondual vipassana” than standard vipassana. One curious thing I have noticed is that my experience does not seem to correlate with the Progress of Insight map used by much of the pragmatic dharma community. There are ups and downs but I am not seeing the pattern of the POI stages. I wonder if this is due to practicing from this nondual direction. Has anyone else practicing in this way noticed this?

      1. Haha, that may be. I had not used it much myself before, but so many people take it as gospel and claim that others just haven’t noticed the signs of their cycling. I have to wonder if it is actually that they are being scripted by the map into experiencing these symptoms.

      2. On the other hand, I can see why practicing vipassana in the standard way may lead to something like this cycle. It seems like with that method, one is drilling down into sensations and getting deep with respect to a more narrow aspect of the self (the self relative only to those sensations). With the nondual method, it feels broader because one is not initially drilling down on any particular sensations and just resting in non effort, so more purifications have to be competed before enough momentum is generated to reach such a deep level. I could see how if the witness was seen as empty before this point, how the remaining purifications could result in a fallout manifesting as a dark night as the insight integrates into the rest of the mind. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this.

Let us know what you think