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How do I know when the new path starts?

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Something I haven’t so far been able to figure out from the generously available resources on the dharma is how one knows, as a stream enterer, when the review phase ends and the new path begins. How does one know? I wouldn’t even be able to recognize the first three nanas if they were to present like the first time around, because I went through them before I had any form of systematic formal practice, and they are probably different anyway since there are new layers to work with. Shall I just look out for something new? Or are there specific qualities to look for? Are there any general pointers about the challenges and pitfalls of the next path? I understand that every journey is different, but the maps have been extremely helpful up til now, so there must be something, right? 

Also, have I understood it correctly that it is possible to cycle back to the nanas at the level before stream entry even after starting the new path? That sounds somewhat confusing. 

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/7/19 11:13 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Don't you think the new path starts when the previous path ends? I think we try to define these things too sharply. 2nd path is kind of messy no matter what. The way forward is to keep practicing.

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RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/7/19 11:33 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
From a past post I wrote.  I learned this from a teacher & it was true in my experience.  I can see it happening in some of my friends, even if they don't pay attention to the nanas & they don't practice noting, so I believe it to be somewhat consistent:
The rapid cycling you began to experience immediately after is 'Review A.'  You will be able to complete multiple cycles of insight in a given sit.  It will last for about two weeks.  How long ago was this event?  After this period, 'Review B' will begin, which will be marked by the previously rapid cycling gradually slowing down to an absolute halt.  You won't even be able to get past the first nana in a given sit.  This is the sign that a new path is beginning.  The longest Review phase I have had is 6 weeks.  I am sure there can be even more variance than that.  4 weeks is the average.

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/7/19 12:08 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Don't you think the new path starts when the previous path ends? I think we try to define these things too sharply. 2nd path is kind of messy no matter what. The way forward is to keep practicing.

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In a way I guess it does, of course, but I was wondering how the cycling works. Messy - oh, yay... Not liking that, but I’ll manage. How long do people usually stay in this mess if they practice diligently? I will certainly keep practicing.

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
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4/7/19 12:31 PM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
From a past post I wrote.  I learned this from a teacher & it was true in my experience.  I can see it happening in some of my friends, even if they don't pay attention to the nanas & they don't practice noting, so I believe it to be somewhat consistent:
The rapid cycling you began to experience immediately after is 'Review A.'  You will be able to complete multiple cycles of insight in a given sit.  It will last for about two weeks.  How long ago was this event?  After this period, 'Review B' will begin, which will be marked by the previously rapid cycling gradually slowing down to an absolute halt.  You won't even be able to get past the first nana in a given sit.  This is the sign that a new path is beginning.  The longest Review phase I have had is 6 weeks.  I am sure there can be even more variance than that.  4 weeks is the average.



Thankyou! This is very helpful. Yup, review A has definitely stopped, and the cycling is getting slower and slower. Good to know that this is normal. I was starting to think that I was doing something wrong.

I guess I need to learn more about the first nanas then. Does one of them come with really weird tensions of the face? I’m having some problems with not being able to relax my jaws when I think about it. I guess that could be cause and effect? I’m a bit annoyed by suddenly having these beginner’s problems. I was just getting used to the idea that maybe I’m not a newbie anymore, but of course I still am. The journey has just begun. I suppose these humbling experiences are really good for one’s character. I’ll try to learn to the best of my ability.

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
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4/7/19 9:41 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think this tension build up is 3 c's nana.  The 1st 2 are more commonly notable through the mental-conceptual events they come with like insights about your self, your life, the breath, etc.

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
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4/8/19 1:38 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Oh, okay. Thanks!

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
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4/8/19 7:15 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This is awesome! Will keep following this thread.

Linda, maybe we’re having similar experiences. I’ve just spent 7 weeks on retreat (after the retreat where the Fruitions began) and it’s been very odd and without any obvious structure to it. Except that it seemed everything was gradually ‘ascending’ through Equanimity, getting more and more refined almost daily, til just recent days where the breath is wide open and free like wind, and the body can sit for hours, and the Enlightenment Factors just seem to be my best friends and are there to call up when needed, so loads of Tranquility and Energy nicely balanced. But what’s odd is the ‘higher’ this seemed to go, the less frequently or easily the Fruitions were happening. They dropped off from several or many per sit to just a few per day. Not sure if that’s part of what’s meant to happen to reach the end of a path. 

The cycling of Ñānas was as described but then slowed down to featuring only 1 or 2 in a day, and now none, just general sitting experiences. Or maybe I’m missing something about what’s going on and in fact there’s new Ñānas happening. Not easy to see anyway. 

I was under the impression we can incline the mind to 2nd path to help it along, or else make a resolution a la Mahasi Sayadaw himself as mentioned in various of his works. All a bit uncertain and needs clarification so I know where to invest the energy.

I’ll keep watching as I was planning to start a similar thread myself. 

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
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4/8/19 8:08 AM as a reply to Paul.
Yeah, for a while it felt like I could do almost anything. I have never been to a retreat, so I just kept meditating ridiculously much at home. I have not had the amount of fruitions that you describe, though. I think I may have screwed that up by being too busy with other things right after stream entry, especially as one of those things forced an A&P event on me and thus started the cycling prematurely. That was a really stupid thing to do. I would have wanted fruition knowledge.

I feel like I’m stuck in dissolution now, but at the same time there is enough clarity to feel bubbliness in my body and see the flickering of attention in the visual field in daily life, and I hear the nada sound clearly, and I can easily get into jhanas, so that’s a weird combination. The tensions in my face are gone, thankfully, and psychologically I feel fairly equanimous. Maybe this is one of those confusing subnanas, or maybe this is how dissolution presents in the review B after stream entry. I don’t know. I experience sluggishness with great clarity.

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/8/19 8:06 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Firstly I don’t think you can screw it up. The Fruitions are now a capability in your practice and can be developed with practice, so it’s not a matter of having ruined them or failed at them. Just good old fashioned work to get them coming along.

I had weird facial tension recently too. Wasn’t pleasant, but it passed eventually. Seemed to be a manifestation of anatta in the Eq phase. Note that when you’re in Eq, if the mind falls off the Eq bicycle by even a little bit, the anicca, dukkha, or anatta aspect of Eq that you’ve dropped back on will come to the foreground and basically make you overwhelmingly aware of its important presence. So little things like odd posture, strange breath types, mind drifting off a lot, etc, are all ways that anatta comes up for review. Maybe this explains the face thing.

I spoke last night with a friend who has done a lot of Fruition practice recently, and he said it’s unavoidably vital to develop this aspect in order to eventually move on to 2nd path. A high degree of mastery is required it seems, which is evident through managing to relax into letting Fruitions happen a lot without seeking to control, including in his case, getting very long ones. 

I hope this helps!

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
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4/9/19 12:11 AM as a reply to Paul.
Okay, so I don’t have to worry about missing a small window where this ability can be cultivated? And the new path won’t start until I have cultivated it? Good. It sounded in your last post like it was a matter of weeks only.

Those tensions as part of equanimity? That’s interesting. Yeah, I guess it makes sense that the sensitivity to missing important aspects should be heightened.

Thankyou!

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
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4/9/19 7:33 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I wouldn’t even be able to recognize the first three nanas if they were to present like the first time around, because I went through them before I had any form of systematic formal practice

Um. This isn't how that works. Life may occasionally push you into full-blown A&P without warning, but that doesn't mean that your mind magically skips the first 3 nanas.  I'd bet that your practice led you through the first 3 nanas, whether or not you noticed.

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/9/19 10:05 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Raving Rhubarb:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I wouldn’t even be able to recognize the first three nanas if they were to present like the first time around, because I went through them before I had any form of systematic formal practice

Um. This isn't how that works. Life may occasionally push you into full-blown A&P without warning, but that doesn't mean that your mind magically skips the first 3 nanas.  I'd bet that your practice led you through the first 3 nanas, whether or not you noticed.



No, I spent those nanas just doing ordinary life. I was already darknighting (since about 10-20 years) when I started my systematic practice. That happens to many people, including Daniel Ingram. So I could probably recognize some features from challenges I had to deal with in daily life when I was young, but not as they present in formal sittings.

But since you are so experienced, maybe you could give me a pointer as to what to look out for in those nanas? That would be helpful. Thanks!

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/10/19 3:28 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
No, I spent those nanas just doing ordinary life. I was already darknighting (since about 10-20 years) when I started my systematic practice. That happens to many people, including Daniel Ingram. So I could probably recognize some features from challenges I had to deal with in daily life when I was young, but not as they present in formal sittings.
Yes, one may experience aspects of all the nanas including nanas 5-10 without formal practice. But that doesn't mean that you somehow skip the first 3 nanas. When you start formal systematic practice, the mind will naturally work through those nanas and there's nothing you can do about it. It's perfectly possible though to observe some aspects of n1.n5 or n3.n10 (or n.2.n4.n8 or whatever) and conclude that "I am in the dark night". (This is how the fractal nature of meditation likes to fool you and makes attempts at self-mapping rather futile.) In MCTB, Daniel describes how in his first retreats, including the one leading to SE, he always started at the beginning and got to A&P only after a few days.
But since you are so experienced, maybe you could give me a pointer as to what to look out for in those nanas? That would be helpful. Thanks!
I don't have anything to add beyond what's in MCTB. Oh, maybe one thing: In 3Cs I once thought I was ill, but the teacher insisted I wasn't, and he was right. I think that's not mentioned in MCTB, at least not in the first edition.
But, seriously, I don't see how this information would help you. If you diagnose yourself to be in, say, cause and effect, how would that change the way you practice?
I think there are only three things you have to know about the first three nanas: nice feelings are not the goal (mind&body), relationship between thoughts and actions should be noted but not manipulated (cause and effect), pain and sickness is not a problem and shouldn't keep you from practicing (3Cs).

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/10/19 5:29 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Those were pretty convincing aspects, I’d say, since I started out having experiences of intense vibrations and waves (the entire floor in my yoga studio was dissolved into waves) and body parts (those that I focused on) dissolving from my existence whereas the periphery stood out with clarity. But sure, maybe that was subnanas. Or maybe I went through the first nanas on every occasion but just didn’t consider the initial beginner’s issues of getting into a position as actual insight stages. My cycling has been fairly rapid throughout my entire systematic formal practice. 

Maybe I did things before that somebody would call formal practice although I don’t regard it as such because I was just goofing around. At that time I did not pay any attention to stages because I didn’t even know that they existed. I just turned my attention inward because I needed to and found it soothing, I was enjoying my autistic bubble.

Maybe if I had done longer sits in the beginning I would have noticed the first nanas, because then my body would have said no. I was being rather lazy and did only what I wanted to do. All I’m saying is that I’m not able to recognize them. They never popped up on my radar as significant. 

It would help me to know that I shouldn’t worry that I’m doing something wrong in my practice if fruitions get inaccessible for a while. 

You know, if you find a question stupid, simply not answering is a valid option.

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/10/19 8:25 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
A few observations that may be helpful:[quote=
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö]
Those were pretty convincing aspects, I’d say, since I started out having experiences of intense vibrations and waves (the entire floor in my yoga studio was dissolved into waves) and body parts (those that I focused on) dissolving from my existence whereas the periphery stood out with clarity.

Vibrations and waves do not mean that you are in A&P. Not experiencing vibrations and waves does not mean that you're not in A&P. I guess that some people are just wired that way but others aren't. Personally, I don't experience vibrations - I notice that some things sometimes aren't solid and keep changing all the times, but judging from your (and others') descriptions it's pretty obvious that we don't have the same internal experience.

On a side note, your practice log generally gives me the impression that your mind likes to produce fireworks and special effects in great abundance, and vibrations is only one of those. I wouldn't know, but maybe that's a good sign. It reminds me of the story of Mae Chee Kaew. Are you familiar with that one? It's about a nun with an incredibly powerful mind. It was so powerful that she had a hard time taming it, but when she finally did, she became arahat in a very short time.
https://www.forestdhamma.org/ebooks/english/pdf/Mae_Chee_Kaew.pdf

Oh, and one more thing: Mind & Body sounds boring, but it can be pretty impressive. People can run into that and think they just found the spiritual dimension of life (well, sort of) and got awakened (um, no). In that respect, it's similar to A&P, so it's possible to mix them up. (Likewise, MCTB says that 3C can be like reobservation, but I haven't experienced it like that yet.)

But sure, maybe that was subnanas.
One more thing about subnanas that I may have failed to articulate explicitly: In my experience, the subnanas are what is obvious, whereas the 'outer nana' is more subtle and colours your whole experience, usually without you noticing. I have concluded that I'm not able (though maybe retrospectively) to detect outer nanas correctly, but subnanas are possible. (Actually, that begs the question of how to distinguish between subnanas and subsubnanas. This is above my paygrade lol.)
So when people on DhO say things like "I got to EQ but then went back to reobs and then back to EQ and then I slide back to reobs etc." I translate that to "I am in some random nana and everything goes normal, and occasionally I notice the shift from nx.10 to nx.11 only to later realize that I'm now somewhere in [nx+1.5, nx+1.10]".

Or maybe I went through the first nanas on every occasion but just didn’t consider the initial beginner’s issues of getting into a position as actual insight stages. My cycling has been fairly rapid throughout my entire systematic formal practice. 
If you actually observe all the nanas and subnanas with great precision, only 1-3 never show up, then maybe your mind is wired differently and you were born with some sort of stream entry? I have no idea though if such a thing is possible.

Maybe I did things before that somebody would call formal practice although I don’t regard it as such because I was just goofing around. At that time I did not pay any attention to stages because I didn’t even know that they existed. I just turned my attention inward because I needed to and found it soothing, I was enjoying my autistic bubble.

Maybe if I had done longer sits in the beginning I would have noticed the first nanas, because then my body would have said no. I was being rather lazy and did only what I wanted to do. All I’m saying is that I’m not able to recognize them. They never popped up on my radar as significant. 
Yeah, maybe you experienced them with this kind of practice. But did you never take breaks from meditation before taking up regular formal practice? If you take a break for a few weeks, you're back at stage 1.

It would help me to know that I shouldn’t worry that I’m doing something wrong in my practice if fruitions get inaccessible for a while. 

You know, if you find a question stupid, simply not answering is a valid option.
Not sure what you're getting at. Also not answering is not a valid option because if you continue to make progress at this rate, you will have surpassed my abilities in at most a few months, and then I'll have no more opportunities to add anything of value emoticon

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/10/19 11:00 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Sorry, I got the feeling that you were feeling the need to put me in place and I wasn’t in the mood for positioning games, but I may have overreacted or misinterpreted. All I meant was that at the time I started paying attention to nanas - or subnanas - those nanas were not something that stood out, so I lack that experience. Thus they feel like new territory for me. It’s quite possible that I should be familiar with them, but that’s just not the case. That’s why I’m asking. But I’m starting to think that possibly those first nanas are actually features that I just take for granted as the start up mode of practically everything, not just meditation, so that might be why I haven't thought of them as nanas. Having this differently wired brain means that I have been forced to reflect on practically everything I have been doing in daily life. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been able to function at all in this confusing world. You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you about all the things that I have learned to do manually that others just pick up without having a second thought about it. But I don’t know. I just wanted some heads-up on what to expect in order to be mentally prepared. Also, I’m still trying to understand how I’m supposed to cultivate fruition knowledge. I guess I feared that I had missed the window for that opportunity, but if I understand it correctly that’s probably not the case. It will happen when it happens. My mind will not be able to cut corners and thereby miss important stuff and take the wrong turn. Good! Then it’s all fine.

The vibrations that I described are not part of the A&P, by the way, but typical darknight symptoms for me. Dissolution stuff. Dissolution at its best, when I’m not so fatigued that I’m unable to notice anything. Or maybe it’s the border zone between A&P and dissolution, when there is still just enough clarity and mind speed to notice it but the center has started to disappear. The waves only appear when I’m not directing the focus of my attention on them in a way that turns them into something more binary. Later, in equanimity, I can shift back and forth between the binary ”particle” mode and the wave mode. The vibrations are not at all like fireworks. They are just a fundamental feature of how my senses function. I have been observing them for ages, to and from (most of the time not with as much clarity, but just enough to register them). For several years I thought they were pathological. Lately they have taken on more of a bubbly form, adding a more three dimensional quality to the ”particles”. They are not binary, but build up and burst or contract. It’s much less prickly and more flowy. It can be very soothing to just rest in those sensations. On a regular basis they kind of coagulate, though, and that hurts physically.

I have never heard of Mae Chee Kaew. Thanks for the tip! Sounds interesting. I’ll look into it when I’m off retreat.

If you had any idea about what my life has been like, you would know how ridiculous the thought of being born with some kind of stream entry sounds to me. Please note that I never meant that I skipped stages, I’m sure I have struggled with them immensely. I just don’t know when and how.

Depending on how you look at it, one could say that I have rarely not meditated at all. I just didn’t know that it was meditation and I had no knowledge of any tradition whatsoever and I didn’t make any resolution to meditate. I just called it rebooting. Earlier in life I didn’t call it anything. It was just those things that I was doing that people laughed at or worried about (the grown-ups in the latter case). Well, yes, that time when I was finishing my thesis while teaching and parenting and going through a divorce, I had no chance to do my rebooting. I don’t remember much from that time, so I really can”t say whether any nanas presented themselves after that. If I remember correctly, it took me two years to regain those signals that tell you that you are tired. So I figure I must have basically started everything from scratch after that. That was a little more than a decade ago. There have probably been more periods like that. I have had some dark periods. Hm... come to think of it, there were probably long periods of no rebooting (unless autistic shutdowns count). I did have a huge avoidance problem, seeking distractions. But since I didn’t know that I had been meditating, I didn’t know that I was pausing it either, and so I did not look out for any nanas.

Anyway, I’m fine. This process is not for me to control. I like to observe it as it unfolds, and keep track of it if I can, but the process has a far better sense of direction than I could possibly have. I have been doubting myself lately, but that’s just silly, because there is no me in this to doubt.

I don’t think it’s a linear process. Nor do I believe that we all learn things in the same order.

RE: How do I know when the new path starts?
Answer
4/12/19 5:52 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think there is actually a cycling to the speed of the cycling in the review phase. At least that’s what I’m experiencing now, and not just because I’m on an online retreat. The pattern has been there, I realize now. Maybe that’s noticable for me because I got here off retreat and thus didn't get that many fruitions in a row. It seems like the fruitions give new fuel to the process, so if one gets them often enough, the cycling doesn’t show as much because one doesn’t dive very far into the valleys.