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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

I might be in a cycle. What do I do??

After reading some things today I strongly suspect that I crossed the a&p a year ago early in my TMI practice and I've been sitting in a cycle ever since.

My Meditative Backstory
My first couple months of meditating seriously were incredible. I was able to focus on the breath continuously with just a couple months of practice and I was having numerous very powerful visual, ""psychic"" and energetic experiences. Eventually I had some a&p diagnosis material. One day I was meditating with peak concentration and whatever energy I learned to cultivate was spreading more than ever, then my mom started banging on my door and yelling at me. Ever since that moment I lost all of my ability and it's like I've been desperately trying to claw my way up a mountain and barely making any progress, despite doing way more. The visuals stopped, the energy stopped, I started mind wandering like crazy etc.

Over a year later I'm just now nearing access concentration again. I always thought that I either had "beginner's ardency" or my mom yelling at me created some sort of negative cognative association with concentration, but reading some things online some of the experiences I had very closely align with a&p material. Does sitting in the dark night affect your concentration progression? What should I do if I am in a cycle? Should I start doing dry insight practice or does it matter? Does this sound like a cycle?

RE: I might be in a cycle. What do I do??
2/5/19 5:44 AM as a reply to Cameron.
Hi Cameron!

My first big A&P high ended was followed by a year of misery where I questioned everything and was really having a hard time in my life. I don't remember how I meditated back then, but eventually I got out. Now the cycles are there but have not lasted so long. What you describe sounds like cycling to me.

The thing you can do is keep sitting down to meditate regularly and make sure you are doing your best at it. Dry insight is ok, but make sure that if you start to feel like you cannot take it anymore, you cut yourself some slack and do concentration stuff too. A bit of concentration doesn't hurt, it makes things less unbearable. But the main thing is that you will have to come to terms with reality as it is right now with warts and all.  In the dark night you are not able to concentrate as well as you would normally. Don't let that stop you form practising. It is practising that can get you out. Try to avoid pratising because you want to change something. You do want things to change, but in your daily sitting it is important to focus on seeing how things are right then and there. Follow whatever method you like.

RE: I might be in a cycle. What do I do??
2/5/19 2:53 PM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
This explains so much. Thank you. I've done very little insight practice but I will try.

Do you know if First Path is guaranteed if I get out of this or do I need High Equanimity?

RE: I might be in a cycle. What do I do??
2/6/19 5:38 AM as a reply to Cameron.
Good, give it a try emoticon

Well, according to the framework followed in Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (MCTemoticon by D. Ingram who owns this forum, you go through the specific stages of insight with proper practice and eventually hit stream entry (attain first path) after high EQ. You can go back and forth, so it is not necessarily straight forward, and it is hard to guarantee anything since at any point it might be that one is not doing the investigation properly...

In Open Heart that I'm following now, we don't talk that specifically about stages of insight, so there's no talk about high EQ preceeding an initial awakening (we call it that, I think it corresponds to stream entry).  Two-part formula is the name of the meditation exercise that is done to achieve this, if you're interested. I don't know the TMI-framework that you've used at all unfortunately!