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impermanence via the visual field

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impermanence via the visual field C4 Chaos 5/27/09 6:31 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Wet Paint 5/27/09 9:02 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field C4 Chaos 5/27/09 9:35 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Wet Paint 5/27/09 12:03 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Ed clay vannoy 5/27/09 7:44 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field tarin greco 5/27/09 9:30 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Ed clay vannoy 5/27/09 11:26 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Jackson Wilshire 5/28/09 4:43 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Trent S. H. 5/28/09 3:02 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Trent S. H. 5/28/09 3:07 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Jackson Wilshire 5/28/09 4:46 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field tarin greco 5/28/09 6:58 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Jackson Wilshire 5/28/09 7:01 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field tarin greco 5/28/09 7:07 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Chris Marti 5/29/09 2:55 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Ed clay vannoy 5/29/09 3:53 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field C4 Chaos 5/29/09 4:05 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Nathan I S 6/3/09 4:44 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Jeff Grove 6/4/09 11:27 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Wet Paint 6/4/09 9:06 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field My Fragile Ego 6/11/09 8:26 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Jackson Wilshire 6/12/09 3:23 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field tarin greco 6/12/09 4:37 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Wet Paint 6/12/09 10:53 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Wet Paint 6/12/09 11:36 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field My Fragile Ego 6/12/09 12:36 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Jackson Wilshire 6/12/09 1:46 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Julius P0pp 8/27/09 2:21 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field J Adam G 9/22/09 5:04 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field Julius P0pp 9/23/09 2:27 PM
RE: impermanence via the visual field HC 10/9/17 9:54 AM
RE: impermanence via the visual field HC 10/9/17 11:05 AM
impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/27/09 6:31 AM
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

hi everyone,

i started this thread because i want to get a feel of how impermanence is perceived via the visual field. since there are a lot experienced and advanced practitioners here, maybe a few of you could describe your experience of impermanence in the "sight space" no matter how fleeting.

to get an idea of what i'm talking about here's a link to Shinzen Young's description of impermanence via the visual field in one of his retreats. ~http://bit.ly/31ionE (mp3)
check it out and feel free to riff on it and compare it with your experience.

in my case, i find it difficult to detect impermanence visually, at least for now. the easiest way for me to experience the micro-level of impermanence is via somatic feel (bodily sensations). i don't always experience this during meditation, but whenever i do i feel that my whole body is tingling, shifting, expanding, contracting, vibrating, and flowing like a seaweed under water. overall, it's a pleasant experience. i usually experience this during lying down meditation when my body is fully relaxed. however, as of now, i have yet to perceive impermanence in my visual field. maybe because i don't do kasina practice emoticon

in the meantime, i'd like to hear from those who are already experienced in perceiving impermanence through vision. what's it like? how does it impact your day to day life? can you perceive it at will or does it just comes and goes? maybe i could pick up some pointers and apply it to my practice.

thanks!

~C

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/27/09 9:02 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Author: marinr

Hi C,

In my case, there is flowing of attention in my visual 'memory field'. (it feels like another pair of eyes)
There is also a disappearance of the whole visual memory field. (like small timeless moments)

In the 'sight space' there is often a destabilization into vibrations of color (usually in the parts of the field that are out of focus,
but sometimes it's in the center of focus). This destabilization is usually connected with change in body sensations.

There is also impermanence in self-reflection and seeing - for example, when I look at my body it looks back (haha), or when I look at
a specific object my self-image 'becomes' the image of that object.

how does it impact my day to day life? I don't know, it's like a small constant remainder of my more complete no-self states.
I can perceive it at will now, but before I was able to do that, it would feel like a small 'realization', a surprise emoticon

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/27/09 9:35 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
marinr,

sounds interesting. thanks for sharing your first-hand experience. this gives me another addition to what i can expect should i experience it emoticon

i think impermanence manifests differently to different people. for some it's easy to manifest in the visual and auditory. in my case, i can access it more easily via bodily sensations. i guess this depends on the kinds of practices one does. maybe it's somewhat "hardwired" in each of us, like our personalities? also, based on mystical literature the visual experience can be easily accessed by use of entheogens. that's why mystics who do "vision quest" use hallucinogens as part of their practice.

i also wonder how this can be related to a condition called "synesthesia". see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synaesthesia (or cross-sensory perception).

~C

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/27/09 12:03 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Author: marinr

An interesting article. I don't have a true neurological synesthesia, but I can experience some forms of it on the 'inner touch'/imagination level if I want.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/27/09 7:44 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
This isn't a practice, but try this.

Turn your head to the right and look to the right with your eyes. Snap your head and eyes around to the left. Don't hurt your neck, but do it as fast as you can. What happens to your visual field?

Ed

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/27/09 9:30 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
i dont get it, go right head/right eye at the same time, then left head/left eye at the same time immediately afterwards??

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/27/09 11:26 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Yeah. My vision sense can't keep up with the shift, It's almost like it skips a beat, shuts down. There is a discontinuity in the visual field that points to the impermanence this sense. The reason I think this might be valuable is that vision, more than other senses creates an illusion of stability that is hard to see through. Experiencing a skip in it might point you in the right direction.

Repeat, don't hurt your neck. Don't sit on the cushion snapping your head back and forth.

And if it doesn't do anything for you forget about it.

Ed

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/28/09 4:43 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Interesting thread, ~C…

The impermanence of the visual field can be observed in a number of ways. Here are a few:

(1) Seeing is the process of "seeing something" -- as in, seeing is dependent on the seen. No seen, no seeing. As objects change, the visual field changes. This is visual field impermanence at a gross level.

(2) As you alluded to before, staring at a kasina object quickly reveals the fluid nature of the visual field. The object may move, morph, vanish, grow, shrink, dance, etc. One may assume this is just a neurological reaction to staring and being concentrated. Exactly. The visual field is dependent of myriad processes, which are easily interrupted when certain techniques are applied. This is impermanence at a more subtle level than the first example.

(3) After passing through a few full Progress of Insight cycles (I think it was after the third one), my visual field changed permanently in a hard to describe way. Without even having to look for it, the entire field is broken up in to little flashes. Whatever I look at -- be it an object or the space in between objects -- its all composed of myriad flickers of light. On, off, on, off, faster than I can count. I don't have to look for it. It just started happening and has continued ever since. It may have been there all along, and if so, I probably just ignored it. Either way, the visual field is in no way fixed -- moment by moment, flashing in and out from myriad points.

I think you're right in your assumption that impermanence manifests differently for many people, but I don't think it has a lot to do with being 'hard-wired' in a certain may. I think that one's beliefs, expectations, worldview, culture, and prior dharma understanding also play a role in how impermanence is experienced, but that's just my opinion. I don't have any real data to back it up.

Jackson

Edit: Grammar

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/28/09 3:02 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Awareness of that flickering gradually increased for me throughout the progress of insight. I remember first noticing it as a sort of "flickering film" over everything sometime very early 2nd. Now, as you have said, it just takes inclination toward anything to see it. It seems especially strong while viewing "formations," especially in high EQ and after the come-down from any relatively "high level" attainment (fruitions, purelands, nirodha samapatti). After those events, it almost looks like lightening coursing through the objects-- it's cool as hell the first few times it shows up. Similarly, the whole visual field pulses sometimes when my heart rate goes up; some odd little link between eye pressure and the visual field that seemed to become more and more pronounced as I progressed.

I think most people can probably see this with good pointing out instructions. If you look at anything black, such as the sky, and try to think of it like a TV screen, you may be able to see the subtle "film" over the color. (This is turning into a rant). Anyhow, 2th shamatha jhana with eyes closed can be like watching those sparkles put on a show as they strobe, vibrate, pulse and so on. Lastly, unitive style a&p experiences demonstrate it. (cont...)

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/28/09 3:07 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
To conclude my rant, I am not sure if that phenomena directly relates to a demonstration of impermanence, though focusing on the flickers as they arise and pass certainly is. I find all of that to be very interesting regardless.

I agree with the other posters with the other stuff. One thing that might help is to think of things as centerless, and then arbitrarily assign a point in front of you. Then run your hand across the "center point" and observe it change. I remember a funny story from...I think it was Daniel. He was on retreat and moving his hand around in front of his face saying "do...do you guys see me moving the entire universe?!" Haha. Might have been on the hurricane ranch mp3s.

Trent

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/28/09 4:46 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
How so? It seems to me that the flickers directly demonstrate that the visual field is anything but continuous and permanent.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/28/09 6:58 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
cos it depends on the relationship you have to the experience, level of engagement, etc, as with anything else (except for phenomena that can only occur when there is, whether actively or passively, total engagement such as fruition).

--

ed: ohhhhhhhhhhh. yeah me too, but i wasnt getting it cos i was so intent on doing the strange instructions 'correctly' that i paid so much attention to the feeling in/moving of my eyeballs that i didnt notice the discontinuity in the visual field.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/28/09 7:01 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Good point, Tarin.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/28/09 7:07 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
chaos: my experience with synaesthesia (turned on by entheogenic use in high school) is that it can actually be trained, with some pretty cool effect. open awareness meditation with an emphasis on tuning into vibrations really brought that back to the fore, as it demonstrated to me that all sense experiences 'begin' as unitive vibrations even if they 'turn into' discrete sense doors later (this is arguable*). what this means is if you catch the vibes early enough, you can see how they 'branch off' and simultaneously become sound, tactile feeling, sight .. even thoughts and concepts. this can actually be useful from an insight perspective as it promotes the sense that awareness of the senses is sync'ing up, which, as we all either know or are told, leads to good things. if you'd like an exercise in inclining the mind to see cross-sensory experience, try this: do your body vibration meditation as usual, but this time pay attention to what is happening in your audio field (including your 'inner' audio field - the kinda imaginary one that can hear memories). listen for small changes. is there any sound that starts strobing? anything that starts strobing in tune with, say, a bodily vibration pattern? or look in your visual field behind your eyelids and see if there are any visual changes that line up with the body pulses, either directly, or out of sync yet somehow still related. dont force it, just notice and 'get lost'. let me know if you find anything.

*arguable because sometimes i think even those early vibrations might actually be being perceived through a specific sense door to begin with, just too subtly be able to say 'that is sound' or 'that is visual', and then cross over to the other senses a split second later as they (the later senses) detect the activity at the first sense door and end up acting on that activity itself (as opposed to acting on the original stimulus).

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/29/09 2:55 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
"i'd like to hear from those who are already experienced in perceiving impermanence through vision. what's it like?"

IMHO, the best way to perceive impermanence with vision is to stare at just one thing and try to keep it in your field of vision as long as you can. Try to make it consistent, permanent, constant. What happens when you do that? What happens when I do that is that I can see the process of the renewing of the visual field in rapid succession. One image of the object is replaced by a new one every milisecond and the object appears to jump around, flicker and change.

I'd be afraid of the head shaking and gyrating methods - but then I'm getting old and would no doubt hurt myself if I tried them ;-)

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/29/09 3:53 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Me, too, getting old I mean, that is why I added the repeated warnings. And had to be careful to heed my own warning. I will let you know in the morning if I did so successfully...

It isn't a method, just a pointing out style of thing.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
5/29/09 4:05 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
thanks for the tip. will give this a try. that is if i can remember it emoticon you see, every time i get to the point where my whole body starts to vibrate into fine waves, i lose focus on the noting process, let alone remember focusing on the other sensory channels (e.g. vision, hearing, etc.). more practice will rectify this, i guess. however, now that you mentioned it, it might sink in to my memory next time i get to experience the waves. will let you know what happens emoticon

in addition, Trent mentioned a couple of good techniques to noticing the impermanence in the visual field (e.g. looking at anything black or the sky). i remember that whenever i meditate with my eyes open in a dark place then it's easier for me to notice the flickering in the visual field. also, i sense this flickering while meditating with my eyes closed and focusing behind my eyelids. sometimes as if there are dancing lights, expanding, contracting waves or trails of light. come to think of it, this experience also counts within the visual field even if the eyes are closed emoticon

~C

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/3/09 4:44 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
One thing I did on one retreat where I had intense 2nd vipassana jhana stuff was to stare at an object for a period of time, then look at the after image with my eyes closed and examine the process of intention, decay, reassertion/adverting etc. that happened in each flicker of the image, alongside the grosser phenomena... i.e., classic kasina practice but without reaching jhana. Or i'd sit in the cafeteria and watch the steam coming off a teacup for each and every little movement of it... my momentary concentration was extremely strong doing this (it was a short retreat, five days, and FWIW i haven't had that lightning-fast momentary concentration since)

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/4/09 11:27 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
It is interesting that it appears that people notice impermanence first (or find it easiest) with touch, the coming and going of sensations and/or then sound appearing and disappearing.
With the visual sense being such a dominate sense in this world it is amazing how hard it is to notice it.
By descriptions it appears people first notice impermanence in the visual field due to refraction and/or, distortion type vibrations.
Experientially it is no different too any of the other senses objects come and go, it is right there in front of us but it is hard to see it this way.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/4/09 9:06 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Author: pookee

If you stare at something long enough, everything around it starts to fade. This is a very easy experiment to do. When I first felt a flow during meditation, I was strongly reminded of that visual experience. (This turned out to be a good thing because I never grew very attached to flowing sensations, as they are "just a trick of the mind" emoticon

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/11/09 8:26 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Hi Jackson, thanks for posting this. I'm glad to hear it's not just me.

The flashing is something I've been interested in hearing other peoples experiences with for a while now, but I never got around to posting on the topic. I seem to have become intensely aware of the flickering/flashing late last year, and at one point about 2 months ago I found it quite irritating as there was a relentlessness to it, an inescapability to the impermanence... the world was such a simpler place when it was solid emoticon

I mentioned this flickering to my optometrist yesterday during an eye exam, fully expecting concern and diagnosis but she actually thought it was cool and wanted to know what type of meditation I'd done to bring it about.

Craig

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/12/09 3:23 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
That's so cool (about your optometrist)! I'm also glad to hear of other people who seem to have experienced this shift in the way that you and I have. You're right in saying that it's relentless at times. I can't escape it. Sure, there are times when I'm wrapped up in something and don't notice it, but otherwise it's there all the time.

Some other weird things have occurred in my visual field as well, but only momentarily. For example, there have been a few times when it looks like a certain point of vision stretches or morphs out of place and then snaps right back. It's only happened in the brief moments after sitting practice, so it's probably related to strong concentration. It looks like something straight out of The Matrix.

Thanks for the comment :-)
Jackson

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/12/09 4:37 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
you can look at these optical illusions on the net and then look away, you'll see something quite similar ;)

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/12/09 10:53 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Author: BradyE

I don't know if my experience is what you are talking about, but in the past, I have had experiences while meditating with my eyes open in which blackness crept in from the borders of my vision, until it flooded the whole field, and then all the shapes and forms reappeared, but in green. So, everything was in green and black. It was kind of like doing a "magic eye," and when I lost concentration, I would snap out of the trance, and revert back to normal vision. It felt great. I felt super powerful for some reason.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/12/09 11:36 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
Author: msj123

Well, your eyes are actually making little jumps all day long, so you don't even have to strain you neck. If you take a wide view of a room, so the corners are at the edge of your visual field, you can just jump one to the other only moving your eyes for the same effect.

I think you have to develop a certain level of concentration and sensitivity first, though. This sort of thing happens all day long in ordinary life, but we're usually not tuned into it.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/12/09 12:36 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
I've had the same experience with a point stretching and then snapping back. It's occurred to me in times of concentration too.

I've had nothing as exciting as my entire vision being overtaken though. Unless the fade to white during an anxiety-induced fainting spell counts ;-)

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
6/12/09 1:46 PM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
What do you know? Something else we have in common emoticon

I've experienced my vision going completely black with my eyes open, but only for a brief moment. It happens when I do kasina practice sometimes. Though, kasina practice causes all kinds of strange visual phenomena to occur. The object moves, grows, shrinks, changes color, disappears, becomes the only thing in focus, etc.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
8/27/09 2:21 AM as a reply to C4 Chaos.
The "big change" to the visual field hasn't happened to me yet (pre first path). The first thing I noticed after some kasina practice where the golden sparks of the bright, blue sky. later the sky started vibrating, and this extended to all more or less even-coloured surfaces when I am only paying attention (as long as I don't stop kasina practice)
Minimum is that all colours feel like ingrain wallpaper, and when concentration is good, it's all pulsing at a speed of 2.5-3 Hz, and when moving my eyes and focusing on forms, it's like seeing ~3 images a second blend into each other.
Any tips on how to proceed from here? Someone focused on the visual field before stream entry and can coach me on this? And is it effective practice to look out of the window/sit in the garden and watch the sky and the grass vibrate, the after-images when moving the eyes blending into each other and the selflessness of the eye- and attention- movements?

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
9/22/09 5:04 PM as a reply to Julius P0pp.
Bump. I'd love to hear an experienced meditator comment on this last post too, because that's about where I'm at. If I get good vipassana practice going, then the visual field has the ~2-3 Hz flickering. What's really cool is that even if I close my eyes, the darkness flickers. That said, I don't know whether it's just that I'm still seeing a little bit of light through my eyelids or if it really is the darkness flickering.

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
9/23/09 2:27 PM as a reply to J Adam G.
Two more "effects" that show up, forms are not stable, different colours are flowing into each other (at times one's evaporating if contrast is good), and with some objects, when I look away and at them in turn, I see sth. I can only describe as expanding and contracting. But the last one is not obvious most of the time

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
10/9/17 9:54 AM as a reply to Julius P0pp.
When I close my eyes and start to meditate I get something that I think is similar to what Julius is describing. Colors are often blue or purple contrasted with gold or yellowish white. One color will arrise in a roughly circular shape and contract until it is gone or be enveloped by the contrasting color. It is all vibratory and the rythm of arrising and passing is usually around 1-3 seconds.
  I can pull this up just about anytime I close my eyes and I have used as an object of meditation and even had it take over my visual field when my eyes were open. First it goes dark or dim and then the colors start.
  Lately I have been having what I think are cessations in the visual field with my eyes closed. Usually I see a visual thought (like a person for example) and if I catch it just right it vanishes and a wave of feeling fills my body, sometimes it makes me laugh, but today I had a few small experiences like this and as soon as the thought vision vanished my visual filed was filled with turbulent colors and once it was filled with strobing white light.  
  I am not sure what to make of this so I was hoping someone could help diagnose what this is all about. 
HC

RE: impermanence via the visual field
Answer
10/9/17 11:05 AM as a reply to HC.
I was just reading some of the post in the diagnosis page and it remeinded me that when I took the visual colors as an object of meditation I frequently felt grumpy for a few hours after and then fellt pretty great. Now I think the visuals are A and P. I might rewrite and post on the diagnostics page to see if I am correct.