(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. :-)