Vibration

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Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

Vibration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Hey,

I don't know if this is just a strange visual phenomenon, but on two separate occasions in the past several days I've experienced what I can only describe as a sort of visual vibration when I've been meditating. The last time I had my eyes open, and today I had my eyes closed, but nevertheless for a few moments each time I had this strange sense like the space I was perceiving was bubbling or something, almost like it momentarily shifted from solid to liquid. I know that sounds strange, but that's the only way I can describe it. Was that something of note after all?
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:
Hey,

I don't know if this is just a strange visual phenomenon, but on two separate occasions in the past several days I've experienced what I can only describe as a sort of visual vibration when I've been meditating. The last time I had my eyes open, and today I had my eyes closed, but nevertheless for a few moments each time I had this strange sense like the space I was perceiving was bubbling or something, almost like it momentarily shifted from solid to liquid.

when your eyes were closed, how were you perceiving space? (what were the sensations which implied space?)

Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:

I know that sounds strange, but that's the only way I can describe it. Was that something of note after all?

did you note it?

tarin
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Ident Silence, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
did you note it?


Now THAT is some good advice!
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Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
when your eyes were closed, how were you perceiving space? (what were the sensations which implied space?)


I'm not really sure how I would go about answering that...I suppose I'd say even visual perception has a texture of a kind. The perception of space isn't something strictly visual or a mental representation in the imagination, but instead a sensation of dimensionality, of depth. What I was describing could be compared to a 2D painting or image suddenly bubbling forth in 3D. And yes I'm aware that every sensation, no matter what its characteristics and no matter how fantastic or dull it may seem, is still subject to the 3 Characteristics and still just an experience, if that's supposed to be the implied lesson. I just asked because I'm curious. Is it always customary to answer a question with a question, or have I stumbled unawares into the virtual presence of a Zen Roshi?

Well yes I'd say I noted it if I noticed it. I wasn't doing insight meditation at the time though, at least that wasn't the intent.
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:
when your eyes were closed, how were you perceiving space? (what were the sensations which implied space?)


I'm not really sure how I would go about answering that...I suppose I'd say even visual perception has a texture of a kind. The perception of space isn't something strictly visual or a mental representation in the imagination, but instead a sensation of dimensionality, of depth. What I was describing could be compared to a 2D painting or image suddenly bubbling forth in 3D. And yes I'm aware that every sensation, no matter what its characteristics and no matter how fantastic or dull it may seem, is still subject to the 3 Characteristics and still just an experience, if that's supposed to be the implied lesson. I just asked because I'm curious. Is it always customary to answer a question with a question, or have I stumbled unawares into the virtual presence of a Zen Roshi?

is it always customary to what/to where to answer a question with a question?

i don't know whereabouts you've been stumbling but i have not (knowingly) encountered a virtual Zen Roshi at the dho in a long while.


Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:

Well yes I'd say I noted it if I noticed it. I wasn't doing insight meditation at the time though, at least that wasn't the intent.

if you are attending to sensations affecting your entire field of experience, you are working with subtle objects. these objects may merit a closer look; investigating precisely, without disturbing the balance of your mind, what the sensations are which imply space affords such an opportunity. attending to sensations which imply a movement or distortion of space (such as the bubbling you describe) would be an example of this.

tarin
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Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
..without disturbing the balance of your mind,..


here's a problem, and that's why I'm chugging away at first jhana before I attempt serious insight meditation. The duration and precision of my attention's better, but it still flounders too much. I'd like to remark too from what I'm finding, that I'd say I agree with the opinion that jhana's not so easily attained unless perhaps you're a really gung-ho meditator, which I'm not. In a few years when I'm done with that though, I'm sure your advice will prove very useful and helpful, so I should thank you in advance. Thank you.
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:
..without disturbing the balance of your mind,..


here's a problem, and that's why I'm chugging away at first jhana before I attempt serious insight meditation. The duration and precision of my attention's better, but it still flounders too much. I'd like to remark too from what I'm finding, that I'd say I agree with the opinion that jhana's not so easily attained unless perhaps you're a really gung-ho meditator, which I'm not. In a few years when I'm done with that though, I'm sure your advice will prove very useful and helpful, so I should thank you in advance. Thank you.

i'll here reply by way of quoting from one of your previous correspondences (with emphasis added in bold, and especial emphasis in red):
Ian And:
Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:
I can maintain my attention on the breath for quite some time, but the intensity of my attention cycles in and out. Must it first get to the point that that wavering doesn't occur?

In a perfect world, that would be nice. And eventually, you will want to achieve a consistent intensity. That usually comes with time and practice.

But truth be told, calm and insight work together all the time. Generally speaking, one can work with insight subjects as long as one can recall the insight that arose.

Edit: I should add that one can work with insight subjects as long as one can recall the insight that arose and examine it without getting lost in discursive thinking or any other distraction and losing the insight. What you are working toward is an overall clarity of mind which can pick up objects and subjects with ease in order to examine them in their original suchness.


what ian wrote is supported by my own experience. it is in an ideal world that a meditator finds he always has unwavering intense attention whenever he wants it, and so it is in an ideal world that a meditator finds his jhana always steady, strong, and reliable. this is not what actually happens, particularly for beginners - nor is it necessary to make this happen in order to develop the insight sufficient for significant insight progress (read: first path).

daniel ingram is fond of saying that insight practice is best played like the card game bridge - to one's strengths; when i was really able to take this advice on-board, i forgot my long-standing pre-occupation with improving on my weaknesses and the way was cleared for attaining stream-entry. having read your other posts (and i have read every single one of them), it is clear to me that you are an insight-heavy, rather than concentration-heavy, practitioner. what this means is that working with insights that arise, and not (only) developing samatha, is what will likely best advance your progress.. and make available greater access to steady attention and jhana.

if you have the interest, we could explore what a sit for you these days is like and tweak the operating instructions as we see fit. else, my parting advice: remember the three characteristics, don't worry about anything else.

tarin

ps insight-wise, the balance of your mind is only really important in equanimity regarding formations/4th jhana. all other times, it's bound to be imperfect (equanimity's not one of the three characteristics, but suffering is).
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Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Thank you for this answer, I really liked this post in its greater clarity and detail.

I do agree with what you've said about the samatha states not being strictly necessary insofar as them needing to be developed as much as I had thought necessary. My reasoning up until now's been that not working on concentration states will come back to bite me later if I don't develop them first, as I recall someone on here telling me that the path of dry insight is not for the faint of heart. Given my state of mind after the sessions when I've done intensive insight meditation now and then, like last night, I can pretty easily agree. Daniel also remarks in his blook that he wishes he had developed his jhana a bit more thoroughly beforehand, because it would've made his insight path much easier to bear. On the other hand, I believe it was you, Tarin, or perhaps it was Ian who told me that concentration and insight/wisdom develop by nature in some unison. Both the former and later perspectives seem to make sense to me in their own ways, so I don't know. I do find it odd that the books I've read on meditation practice in general seem to make no mention of this small dilemma, so I can only conclude that most monastics don't particularly want to elucidate on the subject too much.

I do believe you're also correct about my bending towards insight practice and...

if you have the interest, we could explore what a sit for you these days is like and tweak the operating instructions as we see fit.
,

Sure, that'd be cool emoticon
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:

if you have the interest, we could explore what a sit for you these days is like and tweak the operating instructions as we see fit.
,

Sure, that'd be cool emoticon

then let's proceed. please post an account of a recent practice session, detailing such topics as: how you began (what did you do to prepare for the session?), what instructions the mind was given (what were your present-oriented goals?), what the results of following those routines were (how were those instructions executed?), and what, if any, moment-to-moment accommodations made were (how, if in any way, did you adapt to conditions as they changed?). i will then reply to let you know if i see areas which would benefit from adjustment.

jhana isn't that hard.. you just have to cultivate it correctly.

tarin
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Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Well, I will give you an account from last night. I usually tend to meditate late at night before bed and very occasionally when I wake up in the morning. During the day I often mean to but that simply doesn't happen. This is especially the case now because for this month I'm living at home with my parents and late at night is one of the only time when there's absolute quiet in the house. At around 3:20 am last night I sat down cross-legged on top of my bed, with two pillows sort of wedged behind my back to provide lower back support. I then meditated until I opened my eyes and looked over at the clock and it read 4:30. My object of concentration this time was the koan Mu, since I've been studying Zen lately and I admire its simplicity and directness. So, I simply repeated Mu and focused on the beginning, middle, and end of my thinking it each time I repeated it, the pace of which tended to roughly mirror the pace of my breath. I also tried to focus on the non-meaning, the greater clarity of mind, that Mu affords and refocus every time my mind began to drift into discursive thought. Much of this discursive thought centered around doubts, such as if I was meditating on the koan as I should be and if koan meditation is really appropriate for me. Nevertheless I continued, and for most of the time my attention remained pretty calmly upon Mu, though of course it vacillated, and each of these vacillations was also noted. I noted how each recitation of Mu has either a visual image or a sound associated with it and imagined/reproduced in my mind, so I think I see that I am not experiencing Mu itself but rather a facsimile of it in each case. I also observe the transitoriness of Mu, that each time it appears when it's born in my mind, gradually changes, and vanishes, before I renew it again. I understand the intellectual grounds of what I'm supposed to understand very well, that Mu is an expression of my buddha-nature and shares the same characteristics as everything, but the experience will be something utterly different and more important. I also wondered if my noting practice is good enough if on occasion my mind wanders enough that I only realize it's wandered after I'm back and concentrating again after a minute or two. I don't know if it's because of my practice or because I manufactured it in my mind, but I noted as well what I can only describe as a few sudden energy spikes. My body suddenly began to shake and I felt like I had electricity shooting through my entire body, and then the feeling would subside back into calm after probably 5 minutes, I don't know exactly how long. I often prefer to meditate with my eyes closed because no matter my object of meditation my eyes tend to wander slightly to objects within their field of vision, which takes the focus intermittently off of my object of concentration. However, tonight I spent most of the session with my eyes hooded and half-open because it was dark in my room. As far as my body posture is concerned, I frequently noticed I had to correct and straighten my posture once I began to slacken it as I relaxed into my object of concentration. I notice oftentimes, this time as well, that I feel what I can only describe as a reluctance to stop once I've been meditating successfully. Last night I knew I had to stop after not too long because I had a graduate record exam to take in the early afternoon. It's strange because it's not as if the fundamental restlessness that I experience necessarily stops during this time, but I have a weird feeling that I'm making some kind of progress and that part of me wants to bear down and endure, grateful for the opportunity to express itself now that I've overcome the sloth and torpor that I almost always have to confront to some extent or another. I do notice that meditation with that sort of object, like koan meditation, helps my mind stay more one-pointed than vipassana, simply because my mind becomes tired easily with the effort of following such a....gentle object. My mind tends to be clever in ways of distracting me and it helps if I have an engaging object of meditation.

For a strange example of how I consider this during the day, I often attempt to meditate in the shower and randomly throughout the day, and while silently reciting Mu I observe the water coming out of the shower head, the water itself, the shower, the water hitting the curtain, the water flowing over my hand held in front of my face, and I see that I'm making the intellectual realization of oneness but that a suffering exists from seeing at once that all my intellectual realizations are nothing substantive and that I'm still so far from the real truth, from the real experience.

I should add that, while I don't usually change my object of meditation during a particular meditation session, I do sometimes experiment with different objects, like this time. I have tried Shikantaza and I also admire its simplicity, but I find I still drift a bit much to prefer that.

Also, meditation sessions like the one I've just describe come from thinking I should maybe take a break from seeking jhana actively. When I consciously decide to cultivate jhana I tend to desire it too much, and the desire manifests more and more subtly as I try to sweep it away. If you're correct and I'm a more insight oriented individual, then maybe jhana isn't something I intuitively approach and so would be more difficult for me.

Does this help?
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:
Well, I will give you an account from last night. I usually tend to meditate late at night before bed and very occasionally when I wake up in the morning. During the day I often mean to but that simply doesn't happen. This is especially the case now because for this month I'm living at home with my parents and late at night is one of the only time when there's absolute quiet in the house. At around 3:20 am last night I sat down cross-legged on top of my bed, with two pillows sort of wedged behind my back to provide lower back support. I then meditated until I opened my eyes and looked over at the clock and it read 4:30. My object of concentration this time was the koan Mu, since I've been studying Zen lately and I admire its simplicity and directness. So, I simply repeated Mu and focused on the beginning, middle, and end of my thinking it each time I repeated it, the pace of which tended to roughly mirror the pace of my breath. I also tried to focus on the non-meaning, the greater clarity of mind, that Mu affords and refocus every time my mind began to drift into discursive thought. Much of this discursive thought centered around doubts, such as if I was meditating on the koan as I should be and if koan meditation is really appropriate for me. Nevertheless I continued, and for most of the time my attention remained pretty calmly upon Mu, though of course it vacillated, and each of these vacillations was also noted. I noted how each recitation of Mu has either a visual image or a sound associated with it and imagined/reproduced in my mind...

do you feel your breath as you mu? next time, try to notice how each recitation has a palpable, vibratory effect on the body. when you can feel the body vibrate to the voice, feel how it vibrates to other things as well... feel how it simply vibrates. then tune in to this and rest in it.


Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich:

For a strange example of how I consider this during the day, I often attempt to meditate in the shower and randomly throughout the day, and while silently reciting Mu I observe the water coming out of the shower head, the water itself, the shower, the water hitting the curtain, the water flowing over my hand held in front of my face, and I see that I'm making the intellectual realization of oneness but that a suffering exists from seeing at once that all my intellectual realizations are nothing substantive and that I'm still so far from the real truth, from the real experience.

the experiential realisation of oneness is nothing substantive either, and even were you to have it you'd still be just as far (or not far) as you are now from the end of suffering.. suffering-cessation doesn't require a realisation of oneness. tricky, isn't it? it's not tricky, just don't worry.

try out the above advice and let me know what happens.

tarin
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Michael For me to know and you to find out Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Vibration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Well, where to start here...I've noticed first of all that thoughts, the breath, and most obviously of the three, the heartbeat, all continuously make ripples in the overall field of sensation. The two physical sensations are more obvious, but whenever I observe it I can see that basically all of my experience is made up of greater and lesser vibrations. Thoughts are to the basic state of the mind as the heartbeat is to thought - much more obvious, but not the most basic vibration to be perceived. I can't claim yet however that something specific "happened" while I was resting in this awareness, so if you're looking for that kind of answer I can't yet give it to you.

EDIT: As a little addition to what I'm saying here, it's very odd to notice that, even when I really follow the ins and outs of the breath, even when I try as hard as I can to not miss a thing about it, there's no solidity to grasp onto. I think I'm understanding what's meant by the illusion of solidity...there's nothing to grasp and nothing to hold onto.