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Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?

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Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/17/19 6:31 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/18/19 4:54 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Smiling Stone 8/18/19 7:00 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/18/19 7:31 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/18/19 11:08 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Travis McKinstry 8/19/19 9:31 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/19/19 10:27 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/22/19 1:46 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Dustin 8/22/19 1:47 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/22/19 2:23 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Dustin 8/22/19 5:23 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/22/19 6:50 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/23/19 12:03 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Dustin 8/23/19 12:59 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/24/19 5:30 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Dustin 8/24/19 6:06 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/24/19 6:14 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Anicca Dukkha Anatta 8/26/19 2:07 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/26/19 4:10 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? TJ 9/11/19 2:32 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/11/19 3:17 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? TJ 9/12/19 8:27 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/12/19 8:58 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? TJ 9/12/19 12:49 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/12/19 1:34 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? TJ 9/12/19 2:40 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/12/19 5:54 PM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? TJ 9/13/19 10:58 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/13/19 11:57 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/26/19 9:53 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/8/19 10:57 AM
RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/8/19 1:29 PM
Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/17/19 6:31 AM
I think I may have cycled the eight jhanas, but I would appreciate input from somebody more experienced in shamatha as to whether this was the real thing or if some of it was just sub-aspects of one jhana. The following is from my practice log:


I did shamatha, don’t know for how long, maybe an hour or so. I was cycling the jhanas. I don’t know for sure if I was really cycling all the eight jhanas or if it was for instance the first three and then a number of different subjhanas, but I think they may have been the real thing. The shifts felt so fast and seamless that I didn’t realize that I was cycling (there was no thinking) until I came back to access concentration from what I cannot explain any differently than neither perception nor non-perception and knew that I had still been fully conscious and yet could not recall anything, and then found myself entering second jhana again before I even had time to return to the breath. Next time around the farthest I came was to when the notion of having a body started to fade away and I couldn’t tell where the limits of my body was. This time there was too much of an observer to keep going. I could return to the lower jhanas but not continue the cycling. The notion of wanting to remember the details was too strong, so I found that the session was over. I’ll makes notes of the different states that I can recollect:

The breath was so delightful that I let it fully embrace me. There was breath from every pore, and it was as if I was breathing a silky flourescent smoothly dancing mist. So beautiful, so blissful.

I forgot about the breath. The bliss was gently showering through my whole body on its own. I didn’t have to do anything. There was a total surrender. It felt very healing.

The gentle showerings came to a halt and there was stillness and peace, with remaining happiness.

I forgot about happiness as the stillness and peace deepened.

I forgot about my body. The first time around I didn’t even notice the shift because there was no notion of having had a body in the first place. The second time of cycling I was aware of the process and could feel that the boundaries were gradually dissolving until I didn’t know where they were, and then I came back to access concentration before I had completely let go of the idea of a body.

There was sharp clarity everywhere and nothing but that. The clarity had sort of a brightness and pureness to it.

There was nothing there, really. I forgot about the clarity.

Then I forgot about the nothingness.

Then I sort of came to it, had senses again and wondered how the heck I could know that I had been conscious when there was no recollection of observing anything. On the way out of it, before the senses came back, there was bright clear pureness everywhere again for a very short moment. I don’t know whether or not it was nothingness before that. I think it might have been. I think perception of nothingness was what came back first. Then the vaste clarity. Then access concentration with thoughts about what the heck that was.

...

In the morning I did 75 minutes of vinyasa yoga and listened to dharma talks by Ayya Khema and Thanissaro Bhikku. They both made shamatha feel so easy, so I let go of all my doubts. I didn’t plan on cycling through all the jhanas, though. I was only determined about really enjoying that breath, because I felt inspired to do so.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/18/19 4:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Was the phenomenology too poor for anyone to say anything?

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/18/19 7:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hey Linda,
No, you are quite clear about your progression. Maybe people are on holidays or not that much in jhana practice today.
Chris posted this (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=kenethh+folk+jhanas&atb=v154-1&ia=videos&iai=WQmhF0p3wXQ&pn=1&iax=videos) on Spatial's practice log. Have you seen it? Your report reminded me of it...
Your experience looked quite deep from here !

with metta
smiling stone

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/18/19 7:31 AM as a reply to Smiling Stone.
Oh, do you think so? Thanks! I’ll try to explore it more as soon as the nana cycles allow me. I seem to have gotten into dissolution now. That has always been the most sticky dukkha nana for me. Also, the thought of having cycled through the eight jhanas brought out the ego and its greed. I haven’t quite learned how to go from there to sincerely just enjoying the breath again.

Yes, I have watched those. Since I haven’t had Kenneth Folk as a teacher, I don’t find the descriptions quite as clear. When I watched them for the first time (in early review), I recognized all of them, but I’m sceptical about that. I probably haven’t really accessed the pure land jhanas. That must have been some weird quirks that happened to fit the vague descriptions. Since the early review phase (almost five months ago) I haven’t had much concentration until now.

Many thanks for your kindness! Metta!

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/18/19 11:08 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Uhm, forget about ”as soon as the nana cycles allow me”. The cycling is too fast for that to be relevant. I need to get used to that again, I guess. It’s more about making room for shamatha in my daily life and working with the hindrances.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/19/19 9:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’ll admit before I start that my comments here probably won’t be of much help.

But damn that’s cool! I thought your descriptions of each stage were quite clear, so I’m not sure why you’re not getting much feedback from other folks. I love reading your meditation experiences

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/19/19 10:27 AM as a reply to Travis McKinstry.
Thanks! That’s kind.

I don’t think they are clear enough. This version of potential fourth jhana did not feel as chrystal clear as before. The contrast to the previous jhana was not as obvious either. I’m still not as sure about the differences between the jhanas as I would like to be. When I’m confident enough I will probably no longer feel the need to ask. I’ll keep practising.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/22/19 1:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m working on this, with a long-term aim to enable precision. I’m focusing on the rupa jhanas, to cultivate a solid foundation for the rest. I have come to realize that dry vipassana is not really my thing. The last few months with poor concentration and little access to jhanas have been an almost brutal contrast to that time when practice was doing itself. I didn’t intentionally do shamatha at that time, but it blended in with my practice on its own volition and enabled the insights that came out of it. Then, as I started working on a new layer, that didn’t happen, and I didn’t know how to enable it. Now that the current situation allows me to cultivate jhanas, I’m not going to miss out on the opportunity to learn.

Yesterday and during the night there was access to fourth jhana, more distinct than in the post starting this thread. It involves not only a profound peace, but an agencylessness (a relief rather than a loss) that stands out, and a sharpness in clarity. It also allows me access to some degree of visualization despite being very nonvisual (maybe because there is no longer a sense of me anyway). How I have missed this! It’s the kind of feeling that makes me totally understand why people are willing to give up sex for a monastic life.

Previously when I accessed jhanas like this, I never really took the time to explore each jhana and what lead to them and how they eventually dissipated. Most of the time, I didn’t notice the cycling and exactly how the qualities changed. I didn’t learn the craft. I probably didn’t realize how much the sentence ”easy come, easy go” would apply to jhanas. Well, lesson learned.

Yesterday and during the night the jhanic factors were strong enough to generate that strong pull that draws one into the next jhana. I remember reading in MCTB2 that mastering the jhanas starts with resisting that pull and resolving to stay in each jhana for five minutes or something like that. I can see why that would be an accomplishment. Honestly, I’m not sure that I can form that attention strong enough just yet, because the longing for fourth jhana is like a force of nature. I’ll reread those sections to see exactly what they say.

At least I wasn’t violently spitted out.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/22/19 1:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.


The breath was so delightful that I let it fully embrace me. There was breath from every pore, and it was as if I was breathing a silky flourescent smoothly dancing mist. So beautiful, so blissful.

Wow! Sounds like a wonderful experience. I really like your attention to detail.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/22/19 2:23 PM as a reply to Dustin.
Aw, thankyou! This made me happy.

I used to think that the breath was a really boring meditative object, to be honest, so I’m grateful that I can finally appreciate it. But that is a vulgar experience compared to fourth jhana. It is much more difficult to describe fourth jhana in a way that makes it sound wonderful, I find. I mean, most people don’t think of a neutral feeling and a lack of agency as something wonderful. Yet it is. It is so much better than the greatest sensory pleasures I have ever had (and I have had a LOT of fantastic sensory pleasures). It is way better than amazing sex with people one is madly in love with, at sunset while eating luxorious high quality icecream. Words just don’t do it justice. After all, language has been developed mainly by people with all their fetters intact. The cravings are built into our language.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/22/19 5:23 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Nice! I remember when I first got access concentration and and was right on the money following the breath and had an experience that I for sure thought wasjhana or path or something really good. I called my friend up and he explained to me what rapture was. Hahahahahaha

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/22/19 6:50 PM as a reply to Dustin.
Haha! That’s pretty cool when one thinks about it - one gets to be amazed many many times.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/23/19 12:03 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Correction: I don’t think that I really forget about the breath in the rupa jhanas. It’s more like it is replaced with a subtler and subtler abstraction, sort of a taken for granted conceptualized breath energy or symbol of such a concept. That concept or symbol is infused with the jhanic factors. Sometimes it is also represented visually as a flourescent sphere. It may be bright flourescent whitish purple. Occasionally it shines brighter. It may be like a cluster of smaller bright white shining spheres that form a larger sphere together. It isn’t located by the tip of the nose for me, but in the center of the murk. Maybe that’s because I don’t visually focus on the tip of the nose or anywhere, I don’t know. I just let the nose feel the nose, the belly feel the belly, the hands feel the hands, and so forth. I let the eyes relax in their sockets, and I don’t conceptualize that the eyes are looking for something. When I drop back to access concentration, the visual sign is commonly a faint red dot. It doesn’t at all look like the one that appears in fire kasina.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/23/19 12:59 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
What practice are you doing?

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/24/19 5:30 AM as a reply to Dustin.
Breath practice with an emphasis on shamatha. That’s not what I always do, but it’s what I’m doing right now in order to learn the technicalities of jhanas.

I’m not following a specific trademarked method for doing this. I’m taking input from different teachers and experimenting to learn what works for me. I think one for all packeges are bullshit, if you excuse the vocabulary.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/24/19 6:06 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Ok. I notice you said something about “murk” so I thought it might be kasina.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/24/19 6:14 PM as a reply to Dustin.
Ah. Very reasonable. No, I just find it a very useful concept.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/26/19 2:07 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Not qualified enough to make any technical comments but you practice sounds beautiful.
Reading about it made me very happy.

Metta.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/26/19 4:10 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
This warms my heart. Thankyou! I’m not technically skilled either, but I’m taking the opportunity to cultivate such skills to the best of my ability. This is a very explorative endeavor. I feel that I need to find out for myself what my triggers and landmarks are, and so I have a very eclectic approach. I’m learning from MCTB2, Bhante Gunaratana, Ayya Khema, Shaila Catherine, Thanissaro Bhikku, Michael Taft, Culadasa, Leigh Brasington, Kenneth Folk, Shinzen Young, Ajahn Brahm and probably somebody else that I have forgotten to mention.

Metta right back at ya!

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
8/26/19 9:53 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Are there more steps between the classical eight jhanas for shamatha newbies, or are there sideway steps or possible additional variants of jhanas that may be available betwen first and second path? Dirty/mixed versions, perhaps, with traits from something other than jhanas? Or entirely different states that can be mistaken for jhanas?

Yesterday I did one of Michael Taft’s guided meditations, ”The Fox Wedding”. It wasn’t supposed to induce jhanas, but it felt pretty much like I was arching some version of jhanas. The material jhanas, at least, were very recognizable. In addition to the usual development from piti to equanimity and agencylessness, it felt like a lot was going on with the eyes. A stepwise widening to panoramic vision and then a feeling of having the eyes dropped back into their sockets, deeper inside the head. After the fourth jhana, it felt as if the eyes were focusing on the third eye and awareness was squeezed out through it into space. It wasn’t completely formless, though, but very subtly vibrational. Then there was sort of an oumph to it, with brightness, and instantly awareness was everywhere. There were still very subtle vibrations. Then an unknown state arose: there were sort of cool, crispy, subtle vibrations at the top of my head (thus definitely not formless), on the scalp, like static electricity. Everything was so light and free, like I had been compressed by strong gravitational forces before that. Then the gentle electrical sparfs/tingles moved to the back of my head, where it probably touched the mattress (as I was lying down) and further in inside the head, like in the brain stem. That’s what I can remember right now. There were some fuzzy moments somewhere down the line.

I am thinking that I failed to get the formless realms formless, since I could feel very subtle vibrations. Should they be entirely vibrationsless? Does this mean that it was less skillful versions of them, or does it mean that it wasn’t them at all?

Also, I’m wondering about the two states that do not seem to fit the map at all. They felt jhanic, but hey, what do I know? They felt sort of like new parts of the brain were activated. I had similar experiences several months ago but this was the first time since then.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/8/19 10:57 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Jhanas that seem to be outside the eight jhana arch happened again. Crossposting from my practice log:

I had an hour of interesting meditative experiences, despite being interrupted by restless cats a couple of times.

I was in jhanas that cannot be placed in the eight jhana arch as far as I understand. Maybe they were custom made jhanas, I don’t know. When entering jhana there was a gentle whoosh experience and then gentle tingles. There were joy and happiness. After a while I realized that those sensations were not in my body, though, but in a layer outside of it. It was my body and yet it wasn’t. Maybe it was the energy body, I don’t know. It was sort of a layer of static electricity in an aura outside the physical body. It started in (outside) the crown of the head, and as it did, there were lightness and spaciousness. There was a high pitched sound vibrating. The static electricity tingles gradually moved towards the top of my head. There was also a feeling of something melting and seeping out through my left ear.

Somewhere here I think equanimity started to dominate. Maybe that’s also when density increased again, or maybe that was at another point in time. I’m not sure. When dencity increased, the high pitched sound lowered somewhat in frequency. There was some phase that was more fuzzy than the others which were very crisp and clear. At some point it almost felt like roots were growing out from below the back of my head, grounding me.

Then the electric tingles moved from all parts of the hed to the forehead and joined together at the third eye. It felt like large bubbles of air or a very tempered foam of water were gently seeping out through the third eye.

I’m not sure about the chronology here, especially since I was interrupted and needed to go back in, but it was something like this.

I recognize this from before. Something very similar happened right before stream entry and then again in the review.* Maybe this is past the post eighth junction point or whatever Daniel calls it? But I don’t know... There are still so many dips and such a rollercoaster ride. Oh well, whatever it is, it is temporary and not self, and craving it or clinging to it leads to suffering.


*) and obviously very recently too, in the post above this one.

Okay, can somebody help me shed some light on this? Are these custom made jhanas? Pure land jhanas? Something entirely different?

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/8/19 1:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Crossposting from my practice log again:

I went back in after having had something to eat. I resolved to have the kind of meditative experiences that would allow insight to mature. Then I just breathed and put my trust into the process. ”The process knows the way”, I thought.

I either skipped or rushed through first and second jhana. Came into third. Felt how heavy it was in comparison. Then came to the threshold of fourth jhana. I could see impermanence vividly as I peaked into fourth jhana. It was as if the whole reality was flickering. So fast! I took like a tentative step inside. It was even heavier than in the third jhana. I stayed on the threshold. ”Dense”, I thought. From there I could peak into different jhanas, as if there were multiple doors open. I peaked into the first of those other jhanas outside the arch. There were occasional zaps of static electricity. It was much less dense. I peaked into third jhana too. On the threshold it wasn’t as still as it is in full absorption. It had more of a vipassanaesque touch to it. I recognized my old landmark, ”backward hands”, that is touch feeling itself. As i investigated it further, I could feel that there were layers to it. I could feel the attention moving back and forth between hands and the thighs that they were touching, and moving alongside the whole area of touch. I could feel it as a wave motion or as binary arisings and passings depending on how I used attention/awareness. I could also feel the field of touch as an uninterrupted stream of energy with no boundary between the hands and the thighs, and that enegy stream was what felt itself.

Then I tried to peak into fifth jhana. That was harder. I could feel my eyes sort of squinting, but I still felt my body. It was spacey, allright, but I wouldn’t call it formless. Maybe it isn’t possible to balance on the threshold to formless realms without being formed. Maybe really entering the formless realms requires a leap over a wide moat. I didn’t take the leap. I was standing on the threshold trying to focus on unbounded space, but it’s hard to imagine that quality while standing firmly on a threshold.

Instead I found myself feeling that static electricity around my head and then a heavy pressure on the third eye. Heavy and dense. I imagined there being no boundary, to let the energy flow through. So it did. Then it trickled down as if on a shield around me. Then there was lightness and vaste spaciousness, but not formless. I felt as if I was floating upwards, hovering over where I had been before. There was less gravity, sort of. I stayed there for a while, enjoying the lightness. Then I sank down again. There was pressure against the third eye. The pressure sank down and filled up the head, made it heavy against my pillow. I was rooted again, through the back of my head. Then I wasn’t. It was lighter again and then heavy and very non-energetic and calm and peaceful (fourth jhana). Then I found myself gradually rising against the surface (third jhana). It was still non-energetic. Sounds were loud again. One of my cats was scratching on the patio door wanting to come in. I thought I would be able to get up and let him in but thought I would allow myself to rise up to the surface gently and gradually. I felt more and more happiness coming back. In second jhana I tried to move my body to get ready to get up from bed (the noice was really loud now as my cat was desperate). It’s like I didn’t know how to. The body wouldn’t move. There wasn’t enough of an intention. Piti came into awareness again and increased. I was in first jhana. After a while I managed to move my toes and then the spell was broken.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/11/19 2:32 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hi there, Linda  :-)


I really enjoyed reading about your experiences; you've got it goin' ON!! I've been stuck at Stage 6 of TMI practice for the past six months, so it's inspirational to read about other peoples' jhanic fun. I'm planning a week-long retreat later this year, so I'll get to crank up the fire and maybe that's what it'll take for jhana. Hahaha, it's tough to not want it, you know what I mean? 


Did you see that Thanissaro added a bunch of new Youtube talks over the past couple days? I have probably listened to 500 of his talks and just love the guy. His buttery voice is often the last thing I hear at night and the first thing I hear when I wake up.  :-) 

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/11/19 3:17 PM as a reply to TJ.
Hi TJ, and thanks!

I felt stuck too. I don’t even know what helped. It doesn’t seem to be thanks to anything I did. It’s like the universe got tired of waiting for me to develop and decided to take over. And I let it. I have a hunch that timing is essential. When the universe thinks it’s time, one has to let go of the steering wheel and just follow.

Yeah, I know the frustration of wanting it too much very well. It’s a curious thing that one somehow manages to forget about it when one least expects it. That doesn’t even seem possible, but it is.

Yes, I saw that. I haven’t felt like listening to them yet for some strange reason. Hm, it’s probably because right now I need to listen in instead and trust the process to lead the way. The timing thing. But I will listen.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/12/19 8:27 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thank you for the encouraging words! I think you're right about timing being the main factor, and I'm okay with it being up to a larger force than the small me who wants, prefers, judges, doubts and pouts. I thought about your posts as i was falling asleep last night....do you always meditate in bed? I imagine I'd get used to it if I had a physical impediment to sitting on a zafu, but I think it'd take me awhile to teach my brain to not sleep when meditation is wanted. How long have you been doing that?

I hope you're having a happy day!    :-)

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/12/19 8:58 AM as a reply to TJ.
I prefer meditating in bed but I also do it sitting in my office, walking, standing on the platform waiting for a train, or whatever. Whether or not I get sleepy depends on where I am on the path. When the cycling is higher up on the map, I can usually meditate for hours lying down. Around stream entry meditation happened even when I was trying to sleep. When I started my daily practice I tried to get into a habit of sitting, and I did that quite a lot, but I seem to have some problem with blood circulation or something, or maybe I’m just not stoic enough. So when the problems with dullness diminished, I didn’t see much point in forcing my body. I still do longer sittings periodically, depending on my current needs.

Best wishes for your wellbeing and practice!

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/12/19 12:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Wow, sounds like you've been at it for a while. I'm glad it's gone well for you, and thanks for chatting with me, Linda!  

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/12/19 1:34 PM as a reply to TJ.
Celebrating one year of daily practice on September 20th. Time flies. emoticon

You are very welcome. I enjoyed our talk.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/12/19 2:40 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Breezin' through all the jhanas and Stream Entry in well under a year of practice. LOL, I'll have what she's having!   :-D

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/12/19 5:54 PM as a reply to TJ.
Be careful of what you wish for... There have been elements in my life that I wouldn’t wish for anyone, and I don’t think that my practice can be isolated from them.

I once said out loud that I had given up on happiness and would settle for an interesting life. That was the beginning of several years of chaos. Wishes can be powerful.

RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/13/19 10:58 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.

(I was trying to message this to you privately, but couldn't figure out how)

Thank you for your candor, and while I'm sorry that life was bumpy for you, I'm truly happy that you've found yourself in an interesting life....and one step closer to a true happiness. A deathless happiness, as TB says. I think that's wonderful!

I spent many, many years in negative self-talk, convincing myself that I wasn't as good as other people. I let that fear and insecurity run my life for decades, dictating what I did and didn't do. In the past 18 months, since finding meditation and realizing that I'm actually getting pretty good at it, I've started shedding those old iterations of who I thought I was, and I've become noticeably more compassionate and open with myself, and by direct extention, others. 

I've often wondered if jhana is waiting for more of those old "committee members" to quiet down and retire before allowing me in. I can quite often reach a solid access concentration, with beautiful moving blobs of colored lights, and (once) a very stable and bright nimitta, and even this state is wonderful by itself. I do, though, tend to strive when I know there's much more to potentially experience, so I think my hitherto lack of jhana has less to do with my technique or concentration, and more to do with underlying internal noise, probably left over from those darker years.

To be truthful, when I got home last night after kind of a rough day, and sat to meditate, I had to say no to unskillful whispery thoughts of not being able to ever reach jhana or stream entry, and also envious thoughts of you. It's funny, the stories the mind creates about ourselves and about other people. My mind had cooked up an image of you as having had a perfect life; laughter all day and jhana all night, that sort of thing. No troubles, an idyllic childhood, and a mind and life naturally inclined toward bliss and rapture. And imagining my mind as forever unable to measure up. Even without you telling me differently, I logically knew that none of us lives that sort of life, but you know how our mind stitches these things together and tucks them in a quiet corner.

All this jabbering; I apologize for it!  :-)  Thank you for your last post in that thread. It snapped me out of my imagination, and back to knowing more than ever that, despite appearances and wild assumptions, we all really share the same human heart. There's suffering in it, but also beauty, joy and hope. I can't think of a more appropriate time than now to say this: Namaste, Linda.   :-)


RE: Cycling 8 jhanas - the real thing?
Answer
9/13/19 11:57 AM as a reply to TJ.
Namaste to you!

Yeah, that’s definitely not my life. It has had many dysfunctional elements and still has, and there have been quite a few severe traumas earlier in life, but I’m thankful for the things (and people!) that make it worthwhile and for the balance and purpose that meditation brings. I do consider myself lucky nowadays. Thankyou so much for your kind words! 

I’m so glad that you have found a way to be compassionate towards yourself! I have hated myself. It’s horrible. I eventually went to therapy to work through that. Learning to feel compassion for oneself is way more important than the jhanas. Also, it may hold the key to the jhanas. Sounds like you are on the right track. 

As for envy and other draining feelings and thoughts, I have thoughts like that to say no to as well (I made a very similar confession recently). Strange how they keep lurking and popping up on bad days even though I know that they only make things worse. I think it’s good to be honest about having them and seeing them as part of being human and being compassionate towards them. If they come out in the open they can be dealt with. If they hide too effectively they might affect our behavior without us realizing it. 

I haven’t got access to higher jhanas (if that’s what they are) all the time, by the way. The reports in this thread are just peak experiences, nothing reliable.

Very best wishes!