Updated: Mar 26, 2020

There are certain behaviours, patterns and tendencies that show up in our friendships and romantic relationships which we can become accustomed to.

Sometimes we are taught by Hollywood movies that these are normal, or that they are actually a sign of love.

Feelings of inadequacy, fear and insecurity can trigger people to behave in jealous and controlling ways towards their romantic partners and friends.

"I don't like it when you talk to Sandra / John / Whatever", or even controlling behaviours such as checking the other person's phone or being very suspicious of another's behaviour.

These are in no way a sign of love, nor do they create closeness and intimacy between two people.

When these feelings and subsequent behaviours remain unconscious, and when a person is unable to take full responsibility for their own feelings and examine them, the other person in the relationship can start to feel guilty for wanting to have other friends in their life except their romantic partner.

So how do we deal with insecurity without becoming jealous, needy, controlling or act out in immature ways towards our partner?

If you believe in yourself, your value, the connection you have with your partner, their intentions and honesty, there is no more a need to control, posses or make sure they only connect with people you feel comfortable with.

Knowing that connection and love are freedom to give love and be loved by the other, and that fear and insecurity usually cause disconnection, can help us increase our own awareness and maturity in times when we are triggered.

If you are on the receiving end of your partner's jealousy and insecure expressions, it can be helpful to tell them how much you love them, value your connection together, and express that their jealous and controlling ways, even if they only show up occasionally, do not create and further your intimacy, but rather create blocks to it.

However in the end, it is up to each and every person to do the inner work required and to achieve some level of self-awareness and self-control so that insecurity, fear, jealousy and control do not end up ruling our relationships, instead of love.

We can encourage others to pay attention and increase their awareness, find more healthy and mature ways to deal with their feelings, but we cannot do it for anyone.

"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path." - Buddha

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  • Yadid

To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by all things - Zen Master Dogen

At some point along the way, human beings may get the sense that there is this possibility of greater freedom, of realising and being in tune with something which is much greater than our small, limited sense of identity.

This sense of limited, fixed identity, while necessary in many ways to function in the world, is the cause of much of the fear, pain and stress we encounter every day.

Modern society has got us so exclusively fixated on this limited separate sense of self, bombarding our subconscious with powerful messages of needing to improve and fix ourselves in a million ways. This sense of limited identity can also cause a lot of feelings of self doubt and of not being good enough.

While practice can be used on this mission to "improve ourselves" or "be ourselves", the deep essence of practice is to come and study the self and its composition until our identity is no longer fixed and so constrained.

In the beginning of our journey, these glimpses of freedom may have a dependence on our cushion or mat, but as our practice starts to mature and deepen, every single moment of our life is seen as an opportunity for the practice of freedom.

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Theravdan Buddhist texts break down enlightenment into four distinct stages, the first of which is called Stream Entry.

As taught by Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma, this first taste of stream-entry to enlightenment requires purification and strong concentration leading to an experience of cessation that begins to uproot greed, hatred and delusion.

In the Mahasi Vipassana system, you sit and walk for months in the retreat context and continuously note the arising of breath, thought, feelings and sensations over and over until the mindfulness is so refined there is nothing but instantaneous arising and passing. You pass through stages of luminosity, joy, fear and the dissolution of all you took to be solid. The mind becomes unmoving, resting in a place of stillness and equanimity, transparent to all experience, thoughts and fears, longings and love. Out of this there comes a dropping away of identity with anything in this world, an opening to the unconditioned beyond mind and body (Quote from Jack Kornfield's Enlightenments)

The actual experience before and after Stream Entry may vary greatly from person to person, however here are some common experiences that can arise on the path:

It usually takes a pretty dedicated practitioner, committed retreat practices, of usually several months. A rare few may go through Stream Entry much faster.

Before the attainment of Stream Entry, the mind stabilises in a stage called High Equanimity. The experience of High Equanimity usually involves:

- Sense of the body becomes extremely refined or sometimes disappears completely

- The meditator may be able to sit for several hours without moving and little to no mental or physical discomfort.

- The Seven Factors of Awakening begin to manifest in the mind at full-strength, these are: Mindfulness, Investigation, Energy, Joy, Tranquility, Concentration, and Equanimity.

- The sense of Self may become very weak or disappear completely, in meditation this can feel like everything is happening on its own, there is no longer a meditator doing anything - the process is naturally occurring.

- Senses may become very sharp - this can involve visual perceptual changes which can be similar to some strong Psychedelic trips.

At some point from High Equanimity, the Path and Fruit of Stream Entry occur. It is hard to describe this experience, however it involves a complete cessation of the Mind-Body and senses for a short amount of time, also known as Nirvana.

After Stream-Entry, the meditator may find the mind functioning in different ways than it was before, this is why Stream Entry is said to be the first permanent state-shift that occurs in practice.

May anyone who is curious and wishes to experience High Equanimity and Stream Entry, find the courage, dedication and persistence necessary and see it for themselves.

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