This is excellent, thank you for writing it.
I’m not as advanced as you, but I’ve gotten many of the earlier benefits you describe and think you’ve described them well. That said, I have some confusion about how stuff like this paragraph works:
And because those emotions no longer felt aversive, I didn’t have a reason to invest in not feeling those things—unless I had some other reason than the intrinsic aversiveness of an emotion to do so.
What does it mean to have another reason beyond the intrinsic aversiveness of an emotion? Who’s the “I” who might have such a reason, and what form does such a reason take?
This is a specific question that comes out of a more general confusion, which is: why do descriptions of enlightenment and other advanced states so often seem to claim that enlightenment is almost epiphenomenal? If it were really the case that it didn’t change anything, how would we know people had experienced it?
These are good questions… unfortunately, in my current state of mind, I don’t feel confident in my ability to answer them accurately.
Several of the paragraphs describing my experience, were written based off notes that I made while in that kind of state, as well as memories of the explanations that I thought up while in that state. But even while in that state, I recognized that there’s probably a bit of a verbal overshadowing effect going on, with the verbal description mostly but not quite matching my actual experience of the state, with that not-quite-it version nevertheless becoming the main thing that I’d recall from the state when no longer in it.
So, while I remember enough of that state to say that my descriptions here are probably roughly right, the level of detail that your question is trying to tease out is too precise for me to produce a reliable answer, in my current mostly-normal-again state.
I’ll see if I can give you a better answer the next time I end up in a state like that. :-)
For what it’s worth I’ve addressed this issue a bit here. A relevant quote from it:
If we include experiences of experiences of experiences in our ontology rather than compressing them into experiences of experiences, thus making a systems-level demand for ontological complexity, we can understand contentment as an experience of happiness towards all experiences of experiences and use it to direct tranquilist axiological reasoning. In this way contentment wraps happy and sad experiences in an experience of happiness, making it of a different type and avoiding apparent contradiction by adding happiness to rather than changing the original experience from pleasure or suffering.
Having deconstructed contentment and understood tranquilism precisely, it appears my original concerns about feedback being suffering were confused because if suffering, a negative valence experience, is something we can be content with, then in this context suffering must be an experience of experience and thus feedback cannot necessarily be suffering because feedback can exist as a direct experience not just a meta-experience.