The Arising and Passing Away

The Arising and Passing Away goes by many names, including Deep Insight, Knowledge of the Arising and Passing of Phenomena, the 2nd vipassana jhana, the 4th ñana, Pseudo-nirvana, The Wave, Kundalini Awakening, and many others. Some simply refer to it as the A&P. See also Arising and Passing Away.

It is one of the most significant events in spiritual practice, as it sets those who have crossed it on what might be termed a spiritual journey whether they want to be or not. It leads inevitably to a phase of spiritual territory that may be called many things, including The Knowledges of Suffering (Dukkha Ñanas), The Dark Night of the Soul, the third vipassana jhana, or, for many here, simply The Dark Night.

The A&P can manifest in a whole host of different ways, such that two people describing these events to each other might never guess that fundamentally they had gone through the same basic territory. It can happen to people with no formal meditation training and sometimes in very surprising circumstances. Some may cross it very early in life, while others may never cross it at all despite extensive attempts at practice and progress.

Common characteristics of A&P territory/events include, but are not limited to:

  • Bliss and rapture
  • Energetic phenomena, aka Kundalini phenomena
  • Spontaneous movements
  • Strange breathing patterns
  • Strong concentration
  • Great posture (in those who are meditating)
  • Strong/lucid dreaming, and in fact this event may be crossed in dreams, which is nearly diagnostic of this stage
  • Seeing bright lights, particularly early jewel tone sparkles leading to more steady white lights (though not everyone sees these)
  • Strong sexual feelings, which may have a certain generic quality
  • The ability in those practicing to perceive fine vibratory phenomena, rapidly and nearly effortlessly perceive the impermanence of phenomena and dissect objects into their rapidly arising and passing component parts (hence the name).
  • A strong sense of faith in the path (assuming one thought of one's self as on a path when they encountered this)
  • A reduced need for sleep
  • Increased energy and excitement about life, plans, projects, spiritual practice, philosophy, and potentially wild grandiosity
  • On that front, it is not uncommon for people who have simply crossed the A&P to believe themselves to now be enlightened, when in fact they are not yet there
  • This stage can look an awful lot like a manic episode in some people

If you are hunting around websites like this one looking around for advice on retreats, the maps of meditation, how to make progress, etc., the chances are good that somewhere along the way you crossed the A&P, even if you didn't know what it was and don't really remember a time/event that contained the above elements.