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Insight and Wisdom

clarification question about first 5-6 insight stages

Let's assume a noting meditator currently in the dark night. When they sit down to meditate... what happens? Are they immediately in dissolution or whichever particular dark night stage as soon as they start trying to note? Or do they still have to go through a phase of first starting to note, then hitting access concentration, then having that speed up a bit, then hitting A&P, then crossing A&P event again, and then the concentration breaks down again and starts to widen?

If they're immediately in the dark night as soon as they sit, how can they cross A&P again on the same path? (Or pre-first path).

If not then... do they just constantly have enough concentration going in daily life so they can sit and turn it on whenever? It seems like one can get distracted still..


I ask of course cause I doubt where i am, as always. maybe dark night.. but when sitting sometimes it takes a few minutes until I feel a 'click'-type thing and I start noting more consistently. then i feel some pleasure in my body.. then after a bit my back hurts and my mind tends to try to wander more. i can try and match those things with various stages and it can be linear, or it might just be "Well you've been sitting there for 40 mins, sure your back will hurt, and you're prob getting bored so that's why the mind is wandering.."

then I also realize some things like, when focusing on a pain spot in the body, how I feel pulses of pain, and in between the pulses, I "know" the pain is there even though I don't feel it.. so is that my mind filling in the gap vs. the body feeling? I still can't tell, but this sounds like something that should've been sorted out in one of the 1st 3 stages of insight, so if I'm in the dark night why is that only happening now?

anyway I'm going to resolve to not worry so much about where I am. last time i poked around here was a few months ago and i got quite obsessed. it was nice not to worry about it in the interim.

RE: clarification question about first 5-6 insight stages
11/1/10 11:04 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
That is a really good question, or set of questions.

As to whether or not people who are in the Dark Night in the big scheme of things sit down in the 5th-10th ├▒anas, actually that depends.

Most don't, particularly in daily life, in the formal sense.

So, we have two uses of the term, at least.

Consider one who crossed the A&P some time back by whatever means, and is not currently on retreat, and is at work thinking about how they really want to leave their relationship and go on retreat and sell their stuff and tell their boss to shove it, and their perceptual thresholds are not that keen and their concentration is not that good and they can't perceive the end of phenomena rapidly and they can't perceive complex vibrations around their periphery at various chaotic frequencies: they are in the Dark Night in the grand scheme of things, but not in the 5th-10th ├▒anas in any formal sense. This is how most find themselves.

Take that same unfortunate sod after they have wrecked their relative life (probably a bad idea, but who is to say for sure?) and have gone on retreat, and they meditate well, as they have good instructions, and they investigate reality carefully, and they sit and walk, and they are moving through the stages of insight, and they have good concentration and investigation, and they cross the A&P, and then it all dies down and they are hungry and sleepy and their posture is no longer amazing and they space out during sits and then they start to think the people walking like zombies around them during the periods of walking meditation are creepy and the food is going to make them sick and they are seeing pulses of reality about 5-8 times per second vanishing again and again and then they have these visions of crystal skulls laughing at them: that is full-on with side effects 5th-6th insight stages.

See the difference?

So: solid pain when you sit: probably early Third Insight Stage, or could just be a bad position for you, but the first is more likely. Grand scheme of things: you are poking around the DhO wondering if you are in the Dark Night: so smart money says you are, as people who are not in the Dark Night very rarely do stuff like that.

If you got your concentration strong enough, you could cross the A&P again (assuming you already did it, which you probably did if you are poking around obscure and dharma-heavy corners of the web like this one), and then you will be all high as a kite again, and then crash into Dark Night proper (both meanings), and then if you have strong enough meditation factors up to Equanimity, and then it is either Stream Entry or fall back to Dark Night again, as I did many times before getting it and is very common.



RE: clarification question about first 5-6 insight stages
11/2/10 2:34 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.


That is indeed helpful. This has been a confusing point for me, and I think I've asked similar questions on my other handle "Beoman Beoman" (whose password I forgot). So there's a "grand scheme" of where you're at... (how your mind currently 'regularly' functions?).. then there's the nyana / vipassana jhana your mind is at while you're meditating. then there's the path you're on, where apparently you can either cycle through previous path nyanas or the current path nyanas..

Daniel M. Ingram:
Grand scheme of things: you are poking around the DhO wondering if you are in the Dark Night: so smart money says you are, as people who are not in the Dark Night very rarely do stuff like that.

That's probably true. It doesn't appeal to the intellectual in me who wants to know things for certain.. but I can see why if I started reading MCTB a year and a half ago, as opposed to a few months ago, I would probably get bored and forget it. I'll just keep Dark Night as a running assumption and I can look back later and figure it out if necessary...

Like, a week ago I went into some pretty bad moods, and I thought 'Dark night'. Later I got into some good moods, so I'm like "ah this isn't so bad.. dark night? dnno? did i just have a bad mood (which I usually don't so I'm not used to it)?" I think I was starting to make the mistake of thinking that my life must be miserable for me to be in the Dark Night, which you explicitly mention in your book (The Great Spiritual Basket Case Syndrome?). So it doesn't have to be all bad =). I also have noticed that after going through some emotional ups and downs.. before I would be in the ups and be like "mm this is nice." Now I'm thinking "hmm this going up and down is really.. tiring.. and takes so much mental energy.." I'm definitely starting to notice a general very subtle dissatisfaction with everything.

I haven't experienced the Dark Night nyanas so intensely, but I also haven't been on a retreat. I do want to go one soon as I can.. maybe I will do a 2-day one personally one of these weekends. I'll also see where I get with candle flame meditation.. if I did indeed start to see a bit of a 'black disk' when I tried it last night (I talked about it on the other thread) then that would line up with me being in the dark night.

..Take that same unfortunate sod after they have wrecked their relative life (probably a bad idea, but who is to say for sure?)

Heh I have had thoughts of like "I've got to get out of here", 'here' being my current life situation. Then I think, well, will I feel that way wherever I am? I try to note these things when I can.

...and they are seeing pulses of reality about 5-8 times per second vanishing again and again ... that is full-on with side effects 5th-6th insight stages.

Small aside about this. I find recently that, if there's a light on, and I close my eyes, the light I see through my eyelids tends to flicker at about that frequency. This doesn't always happen. When I meditate, first of all, the light will change and shift and such, but at some point it'll start flickering too. The strange thing is that the flickering gets much more intense for the minute or so after I stop meditating. I'll get off my cushion, I'll lie down to rest my back/neck, closing my eyes, and there'll be some very intense flickering, which I start noting anyway. Has that happened in your experience? Maybe I am holding my attention incorrectly while on the cushion?

This happened a few months ago, as well, except it would only happen after meditating (not in daily life), and existing light wouldn't flicker, but I would see extra white light flickering. Now it's shifted into existing light flickering in and out. Weird stuff.. also can't talk to most people about it, which is why this site is nice.

I don't know if it's "pulses of reality" so much.. it seems to be limited to my vision.

In any case, thanks for your help!