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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Rapid eye movement, joyful color, and fear

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I want to type this out for two reasons. Firstly, it will serve as a sort of post mortem of my sessions so far today. Secondly, I hope someone can add some analytical insight to my descriptions of these experiences. I am still at the beginning of MCTB2 (on Chapter 6), so if something like these phenomena are addressed later, forgive my impatience.

Based on a comment in another thread and after reading Chapter 5 of MCTB2, I tried the following exercise this morning during a 30 minute session:
In one of these exercises, I sit quietly in a quiet place, close my eyes, put my right hand on my right knee, my left hand on my left knee, and concentrate just on my two index fingers. Basic dharma theory tells me that it is not possible to perceive both fingers simultaneously; so, with this knowledge, I try to see in each instant which one of the two fingers’ physical sensations are being perceived at any given moment.
As I became more focused and the sensations started seeming to alternate rapidly between the left and right fingers, it felt like my eyes were twitching back and forth rapidly along with the switching sensations. Of course, these were distinct sensations. So now I had the alternating sensations of my fingers accompanied by alternating sensations of my eyes twitching, left/right/left/right. I can seem to recall the order of perceptions, whether it was finger/eye or eye/finger, but it was certainly symmetrical, ie left/left then right/right/ then left/left, etc. Anyway, this was just something neat I observed. That was about as eventful as the first session got.

The second 30 min session was all new territory for me. I began with the same intent as the morning session. I really would like to "speed up" my perceptions of the switching of sensations. But I didn't quite get to that exercise before some new things started happening.

I meditate with my eyes closed, and while I have noticed colors, shapes, moving swirls, etc in my visual field with eyes closed previously, those visual perceptions never really "pulled me in" or became the dominant focal point in my field of sensations. But within a couple of minutes of sitting down, these pulsating light rings really captured my attention. So I just observed them for a while as they shrank down the dark hole in the center until the white rings closed in on themselves and exploded back into larger rings to just start all over again. After a couple of minutes those gave way to swirling, wave-like shapes that moved like liquid across my visual field from left to right. This was all interesting, but it was neutral in terms of feeling. Next my visual field became mostly bright green. Looking back on it, it reminds me of how a child might scribble all over a white page with green crayon. And for some reason I was overcome with joy while observing it. It might have brought tears into my eyes, but I honestly can't remember if that came then or later.

This green vision seemed to last for a minute or two, and then it gave way to a yellowish brown color that sort of oozed into my field of view and took over. Then I started seeing images of something that evoked terror in me. It was like watching a video with no audio. But it seemed to have depth and "presence".  It looked like some slavering, hominid beast with a thick muscular neck that seemed to be standing over me and smelling of my throat the way a wolf or some other predator might. I felt real fear to a degree that I'm still a bit surprised I didn't immediately open my eyes and stop meditating. It's weird to say, but the sensations surrounding that fear were fascinating to the extent that I almost had the opposite response I would've expected. Rather than aversion to it, I almost felt a desire for it to remain for a while so I could experience it more.  Usually when I meditate, I have a feeling of openness and broadness, like my consciousness is an omnidirectional antenna. While I was experiencing this fear and for a few minutes afterward, it felt like my awareness (and my body) had folded in on itself, and now if my consciousness had an antenna pattern, it'd be conical and narrow.

This feeling and experience passed, and my awareness seemed to snap back to bodily sensations: tingling ears, twitch of the nose, itch, coolness. Then I let myself begin what I'd originally intended to focus on: the left and right index finger exercise. Within moments, I was experiencing the fluttering of sensations back and forth, but they weren't "switching" anymore, now they were "pulsating"... the words that come to mind when I think of it are "bubbles" and "globular". Along with this, my eyes weren't "twitching" back and forth anymore. They were now seeing amorphous bubbles accompany the pulsating back and forth of sensations from finger to finger. Also, the cycles of left/right/left/right seemed to happen more slowly than they were in the morning, but the boundaries of beginning and ending were far more distinct and effortless to observe. At some point the feeling of my heartbeat joined the party, and I was noticing around 3 cycles per heartbeat. About a minute after that final addition, my phone went off, and I ended the session.

If anyone has any insight on this, I'd appreciate your thoughts. Is this par for the course?  Expected sort of stuff?  I'm new to this and don't know the maps yet, which is why I just started reading MCTB2. Just a little impatient and would like to bring some analysis to bear on these experiences while they're fresh in memory.

RE: Rapid eye movement, joyful color, and fear
Answer
6/25/19 3:34 PM as a reply to aponysus.
I felt real fear to a degree that I'm still a bit surprised I didn't immediately open my eyes and stop meditating. It's weird to say, but the sensations surrounding that fear were fascinating to the extent that I almost had the opposite response I would've expected.

While I was experiencing this fear and for a few minutes afterward...


So now you're feeling emotions while meditating!  emoticon

Seriously though, what you describe is all normal, except if all you do is pay attention to the whiz-bang crazy stuff that comes along you won't get a lot of traction. My advice is to stick to noting and/or paying attention to your chosen meditation object.




RE: Rapid eye movement, joyful color, and fear
Answer
6/25/19 4:35 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

So now you're feeling emotions while meditating!  emoticon




lol, I almost posted in that other thread: "well, nevermind!"

I certainly will remain focused on the fundamentals. Honestly, I can't say I enjoyed today's weird session any more or less than any other session, but it certainly generated more questions than normal. I had remained highly skeptical of people's accounts of "whiz-bang crazy" experiences until today, so this has given me plenty to chew on... but only while off the cushion.