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trying to grasp equanimity

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trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 1:52 PM
So I’m trying to get a grasp of equanimity here... Have I understood it correctly if I assume that when I start feeling great and have lots of energy in equanimity (by lots I mean like a normal person, someone who doesn’t suffer from chronic fatigue) I have actually dropped back into A&P? That sliding down still eludes me. I keep thinking that I’m progressing when it’s the opposite, and that’s a tad annoying. Is the mood of equanimity more neutral than great?

Is it my pushing too hard to make progress that makes me slide down, or is the the sliding down that causes that non-equanimous approach? Or is it just inevitable because there are still things to be learned in the dukkha nanas? It seems to me that I’m more or less done with the dukkha nanas pre stream entry, because I tend to come back to equanimity pretty fast (I think it took three days this time around, most of which actually seemed to be a weird and rather pleasant mixture of A&P and dissolution, and a week last time). My guess is that I need to try a more gentle approach, but I think it’s difficult to balance that to avoid slacking. What kind of balance is optimal? Also, I guess I have a hard time understanding how it is possible to take in one’s entire sensate field without putting in some effort. On the other hand, I have had some very clear and totally effortless moments during equanimity (at least I think it was still equanimity, before dropping down), so I should probably just trust that. Anyway, advice from experienced practitioners would be most welcome.

Maybe I’m too attached to the energy of A&P. It does feel good to be able to accomplish things in daily life after several years of some kind of chronic fatigue.

Or is it possible that I was able to do more things and wake up early in the morning to see chrystal clear images of art work while in equanimity, and that I just slid back down into reobservation? I don’t know for sure. Usually, the vibrations tell me where I am in the maps. This time not so much.

What are your landmarks for equanimity? For me they are
- the physical pain goes away (not necessarily entirely, but it doesn’t bother me)
- things that seemed impossible now seem totally managable
- faith in humanity
- I’m able to notice when I’m blocking the way for someone in a crowd so that I can avoid it, and also able to avoid bumping into things
- I’m not a disaster in the traffic (I don’t drive, out of consideration for all sentient beings...)
- bouncing sensations in my head (echo of conceptualization)
- working with several senses at the same time is much less difficult
- sometimes there is a lightness and sort of a lightheadedness as in a gravity shift, but that’s not always the case
- lots of stuff coming up from the unconscious
- I can meditate in a reclined position without becoming sleepy

Some of these traits are true for A&P too, but not all of them.

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 2:24 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda - I have come to the conclusion that equanimity is the calm following the storm.  It is the stillness.  

I see it like the poem:

THE WELL OF GRIEF
Those who will not slip beneath
     the still surface on the well of grief,turning down through its black water
     to the place we cannot breathe,will never know the source from which we drink,
     the secret water, cold and clear,nor find in the darkness glimmering,     the small round coins,
          thrown by those who wished for something else.  (by david whyte)

And at this point perhaps morality shifts too because of the deep knowldge of suffering gained on the way. 

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 2:28 PM as a reply to deleteaccountplease thereisnofacility.
That was beautiful.

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 2:33 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
There is a small immature part of me exclaiming ”Booooooooriiiiiing!” That’s probably the problem...

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 3:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Ah this part is the solution maybe emoticon

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 4:16 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I would toss the map for a bit. It doesn't sound like it is being helpful. It is not like you are going to drastically change your practice based on where you are at on small time frames i.e. what is happening in this sit. Small time frames are interesting in review for me.
It is hard for me to see what is going on map-wise without retreat level concentration and then it is usually in hindsight with confirmation of drastic changes on larger time frames i.e. how my meditation is going in the past days/week/month. 
I would do vipassana. Maybe consider the hinderances and factors when you run into trouble. 

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 4:17 PM as a reply to deleteaccountplease thereisnofacility.
Like the suffering that remains in equanimity? Yeah... but is it that easy really? If that were the case, I would have awaken a long time ago. I’m easily bored.

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 4:22 PM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Thanks! I already do vipassana. I actually navigate pretty well with the maps, normally, but maybe not in equanimity. The dukkha nanas are wellknown territory with a lot of landmarks. The road ahead is new.

In the dukkha nanas I do adjust my practice to where I am and that has worked very well for me. Maybe this is not the case for equanimity, though.

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 5:21 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I'd begin a dialogue with the part that is 'bored' - then together and only if it feels safe to do so - investigate the boredom - if there feels like a lack of safety around it - work with safety first.

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/15/19 7:03 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
 I’m easily bored.

You might want to investigate >what< is easily bored.


Edit: oops, what he said.
 

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/16/19 12:36 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hello Polly,

I'm in the middle of some bad cycling myself. The cycles are every 1-3 days. I'm also dealing with unemployment, and a health problem (which is curable, seeing doctor next week). Each of these problems on their own would be managable. Combined, they are causing extreme anxiety.

What seems most productive are long walks in the nearby park.

The first crisis was an existitential crisis, in which I felt like I would never have a job again. After that, each cycle has been followed by major insights. As they say, "Every crisis is an opportunity." After the second crisis, I was able to break out, and each cycle has gotten better. To the point where I am in high EQ, and have realized no-self (with massively reduced suffering).

Then today I had a very chaotic meditation session. I very nearly got into the 7 or eighth jhana (which I have never done before), with absolutely no effort. It is like an autopilot driving me up the jhanas. Only afterwards did I realize that my body was showing signs of high anxiety. My reduced suffering eliminated the angst of what probably would have been a painful trip...

Now I am hyper sensative, and minor things irritate me to the point that I cannot calm down...

I'm sorry if I am talking about myself too much. I am really writing this message to try and help me calm down. But I hope it can help you in some way.

-steve

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/16/19 3:07 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
 I’m easily bored.

You might want to investigate >what< is easily bored.


Edit: oops, what he said.
 



I have had a name for that part and a dialogue with it for more than a decade, although it had been silent for a while now. It is sort of a Kali archetype that erupts and breaks free and seeks out new grounds when I’m stuck in old patterns. It doesn’t fear chaos, but seeks it out. As unstable as that may sound, it has helped me to make my best decisions. It doesn’t do very well with harmony, though. I guess it has been occupied with darknighting for a while and found some weird satisfaction with that navigation, but now that it has it figured out, it is bored again. I’m not sure, though, that its rather explosive approach will work for this purpose. It probably needs to convince its counterpart that has much more ease with letting things enfold in their own time. That part may be content with equanimity, though. It does have a childlike curiosity that probably would be willing to listen, and luckily those two parts are on good terms with each other nowadays as they realize that they complete each other rather than compete.

Thanks Nickol and Shargrol! I think I know what needs to be done. It’s nothing ”I” can do, but it will be done. That process will take care of itself eventually.

Safety is not a problem.

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/16/19 3:16 AM as a reply to Steven E Barnes.
Hi Steve,

That sounds intense. I recognize that part when processes occur on their own. When it was like that for me and didn’t seem to calm down, I went to a herbal garden and sat down with my bare feet in the mud (luckily we have a mild winter). That helped. It’s not like that for me now. It’s really very smooth and pleasant. I just don’t want to settle for smooth and pleasant.

Best wishes for you and your practice!

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/16/19 3:31 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
 I’m easily bored.

You might want to investigate >what< is easily bored.
 


You know, when I wrote that, I actually did ask myself that question. It felt like a peculiar thing to say, because the opposite is equally true. It was like ”Oh hi, I know you!”

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/16/19 8:18 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thats great!!!

Remember Greek Mythology and the creation of the universe?  we are all little replicas of that surely.  And Chaos was the first to first to arrive in form...  the gateway to emptiness....  or the guardian of nothingness...  depending how you wish to look at it... emoticon 

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/16/19 10:01 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hi Polly,

People on this thread have reminded me about the importance of metta, something I have been neglecting... The common metta practices always seemed too formulaic and cheezy. Last night, I spent a lot of time doing a simplified, less cheezy metta, and I seem to be in a much better mood this morning.

I'm going to focus on avoiding anything that can cause anxiety. Doing things that promote calm and happyness. Taking long walks in the woods. Hanging out with my family and watching funny videos.

One of the good things about unemployment is that I have all the time in the world. My wife has a decent job, so I can afford to do this for half a year if necessary.

Good luck to you, and all sentient beings,

-steve

RE: trying to grasp equanimity
Answer
3/16/19 5:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I'm not an expert on EQ, having just gotten here myself...

But I believe Daniel Ingram has described the Progress of Insight as "fractal", meaning there are cycles inside of cycles.

So looking at your experiences from the long view, you might see someone slowly moving from dukha ñanas into EQ and eventually stream entry.

From the short time perspective, you are dropping back into Reobservation, etc then back into EQ, while still in Equanimity of the long term scale. If that makes any sense... It seems to be what is happening to me now.