Equanimity? How to proceed?

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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

Equanimity? How to proceed?

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Having probably hit the A&P in a noticeable way recently (regardless of whether I hit it unnoticed earlier), and having probably suffered tons of negativity in my day to day life which I suspected was caused by the dark night, I now think that I have probably broken through Re-Observation and have reached Equanimity. Isn't uncertainty great?

This post has 2 parts: 1) Description of the experience. 2) How I'm trying to meditate now, what I will try to do, request for pointers =).

My goal with it is... to try to get some confirmation on my reading of this, and to try to see what I should do next.

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Part 1:

The biggest cause of the uncertainty is that I didn't really perceive the stages of the dark night very well. With my eyes closed I would often see visual flickering, at like around 6 Hz, maybe 10 Hz, never up to 18 Hz. I didn't notice fear or disgust or anything, or any progression to "the center becoming more blind" or stuff like that. Perhaps it's just due to poor concentration.

What I did notice in my sits, and during my daily life, was intense frustration. The kind of extreme mental impatience such that even a small thing would just have me twitch and tense my body in anger. This led me to think I had somehow gotten to Re-Observation. Re-reading that part of MCTB made me more sure, especially stuff about "primal frustration".

Then during one meditation, while lying down, I think I broke through. I was feeling this intense frustration again... and somehow I realized I should maybe look at it more. I didn't really focus on vibrations or try to note super fast or anything... I just thought "no-self" and "suffering" (not impermanence, interestingly). While I clearly was suffering, I thought about it more in terms of "hey this frustration clearly points to things filled with suffering. relating to those things, treating them as part of my 'self', is clearly, clearly suffering." And then.. over the span of a few seconds, the intense frustration just lifted away, vanished. I immediately felt intense relief. I won't say it felt like a burden was off my shoulders - it isn't like a weight was pressing me down and then it disappeared. It was more like a freeing from that suffering.

I think I had a "rough start" to Equanimity, as says in the MCTB it can happen. I felt relief.. then excitement, then the feeling that something big will happen. I felt fear of falling back, but noted the fear, and desires to solidify the state, instead of giving into them. I experienced doubt - maybe this was back to A&P? But it felt like I moved forward. Also, while my mind could notice things more clearly than before, my thought was "Wow it is much easier to notice things without that negativity present," instead of a "woah my mind is speeding up! this is great!"

I tried thinking about the things that had really frustrated and annoyed me minutes before, but they didn’t anymore. Even when my mind wandered into thought, instead of me being like “AGH WHY CANT I FOCUS?”, it was more of a laughing “hah, of course my mind will do that, after years of being used to it! it’s okay…”

Generally, lots of relief. I didn’t want to stop meditating again for fear of regressing... but I had to sleep soon, so I went and took a shower. It was such a joyous shower. I was just happy. Had a very, very uplifted mood, and the desire to do useful and productive things returned, as opposed to feeling dread towards them.

A strange happening: I lied down to meditate more, with the lights on. When my roommate turned off the lights, I noticed a REALLY, REALLY intense white flickering, more than anything before. It wasn't a whole field of vision thing, but kind of a semicircle of thick white light. Previous times, when this happened with closed eyes, I would get really excited, think something is happened, then open them only to see that my candle was flickering or a car was passing by or something. This time, however, I opened them, and the white flickering continued! To be sure, I asked my roommate if he saw anything, but he just said "no... where do you think it's coming from?" Any idea what that was?

The day after was a bit rough. I was feeling somewhat restless, which I noticed I was while in Re-Observation, so I thought "oh no, I'm back.." At night, I meditated again, though. The session began as normal, nothing unusual, until at some point I really noticed an ease and a peace to it. This corresponds w/ the idea that you always start at pre-1st nyana, and have to work up to cutting edge. I noted the ease and peace and such.

On a few occasions afterwards, while meditating, I saw really stunningly beautiful visuals. They were not extremely vivid, but definitely colored. This wasn't undifferentiated blobs like usually happens, but they had shapes. They were something like orange rings on a blue background which would expand, shift around, form tunnels, make three dimensional shapes... Just very pleasant to look at. If this had happened a few months ago I would probably go "O MAN!! this is awesome!!!!" but now the reaction was more "Heh what is this anyway? Why is this happening?"

Anyway, I have continued to be in a good mood for the past week. Work, which used to irritate and frustrate me, now poses no problems. I now realize just how much of the negativity was Dark Night-related. It's easier to motivate myself and not be distracted, etc.

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Part 2:

My meditating is a bit different lately... I've been trying to pay more attention to the feeling of "self" that I still have. Like I will notice a sensation, and instead of just noticing it, I will also try to notice how I perceive it to be "me" observing the sensation. Then I try to feel the "me" sensation itself. It's very slippery. I get into a slightly strange state (but nothing to the point of altered state of consciousness) where I'll realize that I can perceive that sense of "me", so it can't really be "me".. but then there is still something perceiving that realization, isn't there? Then I try to "move that over to the other side" - that is, to perceive that, too - and.. well I get kind of lost. Is this a useful thing to try to pursue?

Related to this is a perception of my awareness. Like I will notice sensations in my leg, then I will notice that my awareness is looking at the leg. When I hear a noise I'll notice a part of it being distracted. But I can't really "get a grasp" on it so to speak, it is pretty subtle..

I've also been reading the posts here about equanimity, finding them very helpful. I'll have to re-read a few of the threads. There seem to be a few things to try...
1) just work a lot on concentration practice. Lots of candle flame.
2) note all day off the cushion. (Should I note while trying to get into samatha jhanas?)
3) on the cushion, not(ic?)e everything. I've gotten a bit better at this. I can notice thought wandering, attention, conversing. I'm not sure whether to do this or concentration, though. This feels more natural.
4) "rest [my] attention at the chest area with an appreciation of anicca (impermanence characteristic)." this seems to contradict 2 somewhat, unless I can just use that as a meditation object. I realized that I don't really have a meditation object per se... perhaps it would be my visual field if anything. maybe one would be useful. also don't you have to focus on all Three Characteristics? It seems focusing on impermanence would not have helped me break through Re-Observation. Anyway this can be compatible with 2).

Other questions...
1) Low vs. High equanimity... I seem to be in Low equanimity? any particular thing to try to get High?

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That's that. Any thoughts?
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity? How to proceed?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
keep going. if you're doing noting practice, keep returning to different variations of the three characteristics.
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity? How to proceed?

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
tarin greco:
keep going. if you're doing noting practice, keep returning to different variations of the three characteristics.


Thanks! I like how you can take paragraphs and paragraphs of reports and reply with what to do in just a sentence or two.

It's going well. I will definitely keep going. My latest cushion report:

Fun stuff. getting better at recognizing the stages. Had something like:

sitting there, noting. (Noting is really good.) then field of vision (with closed eyes) expands a bit = A&P. then i notice stuff as before, but periphery has white vibrating light around a circle, so i focus on that a bit. then i get another even larger field of vision expansion - so far the biggest one i had to date. i noted that, noted heart beating more quickly, noted excitement. (This will go away I'm sure as I come back to the state.) the field of vision was really 3 dimensional by this point, and the color blobs that are shifting seemed much closer to my eyes, and more 3-dimensional as well.

after a bit of that the field shrank a little and it wasn't 3D anymore. i noted disappointment.

also just noting "self" when I notice something that could be self, instead of what I was doing before of trying to investigate it in a more rational way. and I am definitely noting awareness.

Also before I used to think that to note awareness I had to kind of "distance" myself from it by looking at it from "above" in a way. but now I'm getting better at noting it while it's still around my "center."

Anyway, will keep noting. I think I get the idea - I'll go through different states of mind as this progresses. whatever happens, just note them and the 3 chars of them.
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity? How to proceed?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
general advice for using candle flame visualisation practice to get stream entry, from (an email from) daniel ingram:

'You need to see impermanence to be able to pay attention to what is going on, as it will flicker, change, shift, spin off, vanish, reappear, flux, morph, and all of that. This is just part of the thing and will be obvious even if one is not trying to notice impermanence.

'Suffering is trickier and will present as the annoying asynchrony of mind that can't stay on it or that wanders, so it will be subtle but present for those trying to concentrate, and will also be present in the object doing things that are not fitting with our ideals of what it should do.

'No-Self should be noticed just to the degree that it allows one to see all the stuff going on that seems to have nothing to do with one's self and that highlights how much of the thing seems to not be in one's control, how the dot moves off to the sides, how it fades and changes, how the field morphs, how attention's focus alters on its own just with concentration, but steady and skillful effort should initially predominate over just noticing reality happening on its own as without those the concentration doesn't develop.

'Thus, I would emphasize strong, repeated, dedicated concentration on the object, realizing that that will reveal the Three Characteristics, and thus ignoring those will cause one to miss aspects of what is happening with the object, but staying with the object should be more emphasized than tearing it down into its component, flickering parts, at least for that practice.'
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Ident Silence, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity? How to proceed?

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Startling similarities to what's gone on with my own meditation (Thanks for the reply on my post as well, I hadn't actually read this post till today and the synchronicity is hilarious!) and my own observations during the day today after last night's session.

Thankfully I think that Tarin's answered my own questions here too!

It's interesting how we're both getting similar experiences and seeing how it's true that there are definite stages of progress which you can get to if you follow the instructions! Good luck with your practice and I look forward to hearing how you're going as we progress!

Tommy
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity? How to proceed?

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Ident Silence:
Startling similarities to what's gone on with my own meditation (Thanks for the reply on my post as well, I hadn't actually read this post till today and the synchronicity is hilarious!) and my own observations during the day today after last night's session.

Thankfully I think that Tarin's answered my own questions here too!

It's interesting how we're both getting similar experiences and seeing how it's true that there are definite stages of progress which you can get to if you follow the instructions! Good luck with your practice and I look forward to hearing how you're going as we progress!

Tommy


Hehe yeah and I noticed similarities between what I was doing and what Howard Clegg was doing. So I guess that's 3 of us in a similar spot! Funny how timing works. What can I say? It does help to hang out with people whose goals are aligned with yours.

And yeah there are definitely definite stages, even if we can't perceive them very well. It does take some faith to keep going. But I like this faith as it is verifiable, as opposed to faith of other religions where nothing really comes of it. Good luck to you as well!
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity? How to proceed?

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Looking back I actually wonder whether this was not stream entry. The hugely flashing lights with eyes open would've been re-starting the cycle at A&P. That would explain why I didn't fall back to Re-Observation at all between then and when I thought I got it. would explain why the maybe-fruitions later on didn't change anything. i really did wonder whether 'that was it' but my mind was focused on Equanimity... and i guess i only realized it a few days after when with the added concentration from the marijuana I was able to blaze thru the insight cycles at will. it would also explain why i didn't feel much of a change after stream entry (except noticing fruitions which could be explained by that high-powered sit), since i had already been a few days into it. and before the event i also did notice how i had a very high capacity to follow what i was doing without any problems.