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Stumbling around in the dark

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Stumbling around in the dark
Answer
6/3/19 10:14 PM
So I'm a regular concentration practitioner. I do vipassana about an hour every day and got curious about fire kasina. I 'get' vipassana but I'm struggling with this. It feels like I'm just trying to force a hallucination. I don't feel any insight from this practice after I finish a session. Can someone tell me where I'm going wrong?

This is what a typical fire kasina sitting for me looks like. (30 mins duration daily)

1. Sit in dark room.
2. Concentrate on flame without blinking or shifting eyes.
3. Close eyes, observe colours and shapes behind eyelids. 
4. When after-images have faded to normal visual static, open eyes and go to step 2. 
5. Do this over and over and over and over. 

Sometimes I see a red dot surrounded by black. It seems very vivid, but it fades away after a few seconds, even if I concentrate on it. That's the only thing I've 'seen' other than afterimages. 

In another thread on this board someone said to 'recreate' what we saw. But I don't understand. What does that mean? How does one do that?

Thank you for your time and guidance. Cheers emoticon

RE: Stumbling around in the dark
Answer
6/5/19 2:26 PM as a reply to inkymilk.
Hello inky,

It sounds like your technique is pretty good in terms of the steps you laid out. I'd also suggest that you explore the 'normal visual static' after the dot fades as that is called the "Murk". Run through the cycle a few times, build up some concentration/stability/momentum, and explore the Murk. If you start spacing out, open your eyes and have some fun with the dot again.  

Fire Kasina is great for vipassana practice (or in this case, examining the 3 Characteristics).

Impermanence: the dot flickers, moves, changes color, grows/shrinks, disappears, reappears, and once gone, all the visual static is in a constant state of flux as well.

No-Self: the dot has a mind of its own and everything that is going on happens on its own. Even if intentions arise, they are a direct response to what is happening (for example, if the dot keeps drifting off to the side, intentions arise to try and direct the dot back to the center, if that doesn't work, frustration arises in response and so on). 

Dukkha: the frustration felt when the dot drifts off or flickers or is not clear. The feeling of 'this side' observing and trying to control 'that side'.

There's more ways that the 3 C's can be applied to the practice but these are the ones that have been most apparent to me.  

As far as repeating the experience: if you do the practice enough times, you will notice cycles to how it unfolds in terms of shapes, colors, lines, intentions, frustrations, etc. It will not be the same every time (obviously).

The Fire Kasina website as well as the interviews with Daniel on the "Deconstructing Yourself" podcast provide really good descriptions and directions for this practice.  

Personally, my initial dot is bright turquoise which eventually splits off into 3 colored bands like a rainbow popsicle (turquoise, yellow, red). The colors grow and shrink and then the dot eventually turns black and shrinks into a complex polygon or fades away. The dot is red if I use a different type of light source or if I cover my face after closing my eyes. 

Experiment a bit with it and see how the cycles appear to you. It doesn't have to be a red dot. You just have to see what you are looking at. Your experience of it is the most important factor here.