a stream-entry-oriented meditation and philosophy center (Oakland, Berkeley, East Bay) for expansionary immortal intentional community: a path for (possibly broken or failed-to-launch) ambitious people who want the world (saved) and also want healing, acceptance, self-expression, intimacy, and community
• (1) There's a thing • (2) Get the thing • (3) Don't irreparably fuck up your health, relationships, and future earning potential along the way • (4) Get other people the thing • (5) Create a community • (6) Understand the world • (7) Have a good life and fight the future • (8) Invite everyone... • (9) Go.
Save the World
So, yeah, perhaps you want to do great good, do great work, act with rigor, get it right, heal the entire world, change everyone, live forever, solve metaphysics and crack open the universe, find the dead, experience great love, profound intimacy, have all the experiences, express all the things, show everybody, win all the fights and have all the sex with all the people.
Safety and Intimacy and Comfort
And, so, yeah, on the other hand, perhaps you want warm blankets, intimacy, candlelight, perhaps looking out at a rainy darklit cityscape, safety, sharing a good story, a good movie, maybe raise a kid or two in a community, a village, or not, as the world goes by or burns.
Resolving the Tension
Touching the world versus quiet/fun/safe intimacy: There's a tension, here. My claim is that meditation (properly conceived and practiced) is a method for resolving personal microdynamic and life-scale complex optimization problems, one way of resolving that tension. Your mind learns about itself at the deepest level and good things happen.
So, yeah. Come sit with us. Learn my system and/or consult with me if you like. Recommend resources are below. Get the thing. (Learn a method, go deeper over years.) I'm not selling anything, yet. I want to set up a retreat center and get funding for retreat scholarships. And somewhere in there create an institution and paradigmatically contribute to all the things, epistemologically and structurally, and, from there, the world...
• There are things we do here and things we don't do here. Figure out what we do here and do that. Figure out what we don't do here and don't do that. If something unwanted happens, talk to me or talk to someone who will talk to me. Mistakes will happen and will be addressed charitably, but I will ask people to leave who aren't generally on their best behavior. I want to get more people besides me involved in determining conduct guidelines as quickly as possible.
• Meditation can be psychologically and physically dangerous. You could die or destroy your life. I'll ask you to sign a waiver. I hope to get better safety models in dialogue with other teachers and as time goes by.
• Ideally, I'd like everyone who meditates to have a 6-24 month liquid emergency fund, disability insurance, and a well-informed significant other and/or community. I do think that, for some people, things can get really bad. Frankly, I'm not the best person to help people to masterfully avoid that, though I want to get very good at this over time. Things got really bad for me, by the way. Part of that is that I had temporarily stopped meditating but I was doing other practices that put me in the dark night anyway, without my realizing that that's what was going on. So that seems avoidable. But, if someone is turning the crank, there's a lot of ways that one can get deep into something bad too fast. If you have a tendency to unresponsively repeat behaviors and/or there are ways in which you're "fragile" or you have a tendency towards dysregulation, and, even if you're not/don't, these are things to keep in mind. Notably, I haven't played with the Jhanas very much--and facility with these is supposed to give you a smoother ride. The thing I did/am doing are closer to "dry insight." So, I currently won't be too much help getting into Jhanas, except abstractly, or knowing how and when they'd be helpful. That's a gap of mine.
• Meditation can sometimes cause muscle tension (and intracranial blood pressure) to creep up on you and eventually get very bad, and it can take many months to dispel. If someone has e.g. neck/cervical issues or neurocardiovascular issues this is something to keep in mind as a possible physical danger. Sudden involuntary head and neck movements can sometimes be an issue too. I don't fully understand the risks, here, and, again, how to masterfully mitigate or avoid them.
• I've been meditating for over a decade. Only within the past couple years have things really started to click. I laid a lot of groundwork, though, so things are happening pretty fast. If I'd been less arrogant and crazy, I maybe would have gotten help and things would have happened sooner, but I did learn to think critically and nondogmatically about transformative practice. I still have a lot to learn, and I still need to get much better at reaching out to people with more experience. More about me: I wrote on the http://meditationstuff.wordpress.com blog for a couple years. That material is dated, and intermittently cringy, but there's still good stuff there, and you'll get a snapshot of me. I have a background in engineering (bioengineering PhD), and, while acquiring that background, I led a double life researching spirituality and phenomenology. I'm currently working (http://leverageresearch.org/) as a trainer and researcher in philosophy, phenomenology, and psychology. I achieved stream-entry a couple years ago with subsequent fruitions, and I haven't sussed out what third path is in the Theravadin Model, so I may not be there yet. I'm not authorized to teach by any traditional lineage holder or unaffiliated contemporary teacher.
•Describe the pixels and voxels of your sensations as such at the finest grain of space and time. This will initially be very hard... (If you hate noting practice you might like my variant. I hated noting.)
Shitty Stream-Entry Advertisement (you might experience a different emphasis and various degrees of penetrating insight on the first go)
• "Whoa, I'm doing that to myself, and there's a sense in which I'm just happening, and that was superstitious, and I was mistaking that for something outside of me, and there's nowhere to go and there's nothing to do and there's no escape and also here I am and here we are..."
Resources (I can have a reasonably intelligent conversation though not speak authoritatively about most of these)