Meditation object: The lights in the head or the breath?

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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

Meditation object: The lights in the head or the breath?

Posts: 138 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Daniel's Practice Hut

Hello,

history: got A&P event June 12, was able to hang around in equanimity on and off, falling back. Trying to get back to equanimity.

What usually worked sometimes was for me to concentrate moment to moment as fast as I could on the lightshow in my head.
so sometimes, it feels like a tunnel and im going to another room, ( cycling thru the jhanas? ) though nothing seems to be happening much now, When I used to do that before, thats when I get to have the panoramic awareness. (equanimity? 4th jhana?) but doesnt seem to be happening now, no panoramic. so i assume im cycling thru jhana 1-2 or 1-2-3.

Is it right to focus on the lightshow or do I just "note: seeing" and go back to the breath?

Is the only way to reach equanimity or panoramic awareness by going to the 4th jhana and then penetrating it with vipassana ?

or is there a simple way/many ways.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Meditation object: The lights in the head or the breath?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hey,

Practically speaking, ignoring all the theory that could otherwise be thrown in: your samatha seems fine. As long as you're able to access the 4th, you've got what it takes. Maybe do a bit of samatha practice at the start of each sit and then switch to a vigorous, all-inclusive vipassana approach. If you're really on the ball with vipassana, you'll access soft forms of the samatha jhanas through momentary concentration; it just might not seem that you're in them.

Make sure you're aligning the emotional & practice qualities Dan mentions in MCTB. He clearly spells out which lessons need to be learned, what will prevent progress, etc. His discussions are not just fleeting suggestions! So, for instance, if you're in re-observation right now, read up on that chapter and while you read it, try to line up the mind-set he discusses. Then go do your sit while keeping his instruction in mind. To demonstrate just how useful this approach is, I use to just read the entire section on insight anytime I couldn't figure out where I was. When I'd read, I would just "assume" I was in the stage I was reading and did what he said. I'd eventually read through the stage that I was actually in, and could tell that because reality would begin to react to what I was reading.

Shattering reality takes a lot of deep down heart. If it's not more important than anything else, then it's taking a back seat to something your self values. It can still happen, of course, but the more you want it and know you can get it, the more likely it is to happen.

If using vipassana, you want to attempt to note every vibration that exists. Every single one. If you can do that while looking at the lights, then that's great. If the lights distract you in a way or keep you from noting better, then focus on your attention itself rather than the lights.

Peace,
Trent
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Meditation object: The lights in the head or the breath?

Posts: 138 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
thank you for your reply Trent! I ought to print out MCTB.

Question: To access the 4th, can you get there via concentration still, or does it require vipassana? Im not sure how I did it.

Here are my results from the time I posted:
I was cycling thru the jhanas with concentration, then sort of felt my way in my head, and 'pushed the right button with some imaginary head muscle to break and goto the 4th.
I noticed where I landed and stayed in was not like the place I usually stayed at before. I was expecting a 'panoramic equanimity', but just got equanimity. So, im now concluding that where I was hanging before was 'boundless space' and not '4th jhana'.? And living off the cushion in panoramic equanimity is actually 'boundless space jhana'?

I was able to switch to vipassana good, after reading "A Critique of Noting and Fixed Concentration Practices" by msj123 (no wonder its the first on featured threads) = ) Also reading Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Heart of the Buddha's Teachings's 'Three Characteristics' and 'Three Doors' section, where he puts "impermanence/no-self/interdependence (not dukkha)" and "Emptiness/signlessness/aimlessness" and the Links of co-arising, as I read on the first thread above that the 12 links are important reference, not just the 3 characteristics.

I was adding 'aimless, interdependence' and karma to noself impermanence and dukkha as I noted arising objects
the difference today from what Ive experienced before was I am less the object or not the objectt. Before was like "being the breath, in realtime without effort. Now its more like "Empty sky with clouds and thunder arising"
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Meditation object: The lights in the head or the breath?

Posts: 138 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
Based though on my original post: I think that the question shows: I am doing too much concentration. I think I may have misunderstood vipassana (?) but I used to try to be mindful of my breath from start to finish and moment to moment too much, trying to see it in slow mo, rather than "noting all that exists".

Based on Trent/other repliers' experience:
Is it best to switch from samatha to vipasanna early, even in lesser jhanas, or best to wait for 4th?
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Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Meditation object: The lights in the head or the breath?

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
This is an old debate, and different people give different advice.

Approaches include:
1) The vipassana only approach until the mature phase of review after stream entry: this was my approach and I liked it.
2) The samatha only approach until after mastering all jhanas: this is one interpretation of the traditional way that some did it.
3) Some fusion of these two, which is what you ask about. On this spectrum, I personally tend toward the far #1 side, but not all experts agree. Thus, my advice is to just go for the insight stuff straight on, as the samatha stuff tends to be a bit sticky.

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