Online Resources on Meditation and Awakening

This is a subreddit Andrea and I started after we began practicing Upasaka Culadasa's meditation style.  It's been quite successful as a place where people can go to be in touch with TMI practitioners to ask questions and share experiences.   It tends to be very much oriented in that way—it could be more of a community than it is, but it's a great place to go with questions.  I don't read every post—If you want to ask a question there and you want to get my attention, mention my username: /u/abhayakara

This is a subreddit dedicated to the discussion of stream entry, which is a Buddhist concept that refers to the first point on the path where you've accomplished something that you can't lose.  Meditation practice is great, and a person who meditates every day can maintain a state of mindfulness and equanimity that makes life a lot more pleasant.  Stream entry is so named because it's like getting in a boat on a stream: once you're in the boat, the stream just carries you, without you having to make any effort.  Stream Entry in Buddhist terms means that once you've entered the stream, mindfulness is always present, your default state of mind is that things are pretty much okay, even if they get challenging from time to time, and you start to notice all of the silly mental habits that you've built up over a lifetime and either let go of them or adjust them; this becomes fairly easy, rather than being a tremendous amount of work for every breakthrough.

Traditional Buddhists tend to make a really big deal out of stream entry—if a person is thought to be a stream enterer, it's customary to treat them with extreme reverence, to hang on their every word, to assume, even, that they are infallible.   It's also forbidden to talk about your attainments if you are a monk, because you might lie in order to be treated this way.   What I love about /r/streamentry and some of the newer online discussions about this is that they just dispense with this nonsense.   Stream enterers are just people who managed to do something that you can do too.   The subreddit is about just that: how you can do it too.  And it's very practical.   People are there for advice, and if someone comes along looking for admiration, we very quickly let the air out of their tires, to everyone's benefit.

This is Culadasa's online community.   You can ask questions here and get access to most of Culadasa's teachers in training.  Activity here is pretty light, but it's a good place to go with hard questions, and of course the more people who go here and ask whatever question they want answered, the less light the activity will be.

Persistent Nonsymbolic Experience

Jeffery Martin has for over a decade been doing research into abnormally high states of wellbeing and mental health, sort of the opposite of the usual direction of abnormal psychology.   He's written a paper that I think is useful for people who are curious to get an overview of this field, either as researchers or as people who would like to be abnormally happy.

The default mode network and the end of suffering

This is a YouTube video by Gary Weber where he goes into some detail about various networks in the human brain and what their impact is on one's state of well being and mental function.   If you want some very accessible hard data on this whole awakening thing, this is a great primer video.