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increasing tranquility and equanimity (factors of enlightenment)?

I haven't read much about this so I wonder if anyone has advice to share. Basically I realized I haven't chilled out w/ regards to insight very much at all over the past few months, and though I've done samatha and all that, recently it has culminated in going a bit crazy. When I say 'realized', watch out; the following descriptions might be accurate, or might be inaccurate and me going crazy:

Basically the phenomena yesterday and a few days ago was that I was going through cycles very rapidly during daily life, having unbidden fruitions, in a generally anxious state of mind, etc. I noticed certain unpleasant thoughts kept coming up. I meditated on them at night and realized it was just dark night cycling, pretty quickly, with each type of thought occurring in a particular stage, not hanging out much in equanimity. I also saw the thoughts as not substantial, self-less, ephemeral, etc., much like the cycles themselves, so I realized that not wallowing in them was both doable and desirable.

Anyway all the uncontrolled cycling just seems exactly like an imbalance in the factors of enlightenment. It's better today. Yesterday I tried a few things.

* Apply insight to them (these thoughts are selfless, impermanent, etc.). Just caused the current thought/cycle to merge into the next type of thought/cycle. Not helpful.
* Be scared of my mind. Not something so much that I tried but that happened for a little bit, heh. Also not helpful.

* Realize that this cycling and stuff is actually 'me'. There isn't a separate person cycling there, it's all 'me'. Understanding this helped to realize I can control it, took away some of the fear, etc.
* Whenever I notice the thoughts/cycling, immediately bring my attention to some sense around me. Combined with taking a walk, this helped a lot.
* Try ignoring them. This just put them in the background, didn't do much.
* Will myself to stop thinking them. Didn't work that well.
* At night I sat in a chair, closed my eyes, willed myself to NOT CYCLE, and tried deepening some samatha jhanas. Seemed to help get it back under control.

Funny that some of these correspond to what MN 20 says, which I got to by following links from one of Trent's posts. That Buddha thought a lot of stuff through.

It's better today. From this calmer baseline I can look into the contents of the thoughts and trace them back to my past, see why they arise, and deal with them directly. I plan on just no longer doing any insight on purpose, and since it happens by itself whenever I lie down and close my eyes, to try to will myself to not cycle whenever I find myself in that position.

Does anyone have any other advice on how to chill out?

RE: increasing tranquility and equanimity (factors of enlightenment�
2/9/11 12:48 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Ah I was seeking the wrong advice. I think I figured it out:

obviously what was causing all the thoughts was a Desire for Deliverance. not as in the stage, but literally - a desire to be enlightened.

rebirth-linking: it started last year, new year's. that's when i started seeking things.

wasn't so intense for a while. the dark night was f-ing me up, and i wished it was over, but not that i was Enlightened.

stream entry was like - woa this is possible!! really fueled that. evidenced by the week or 2 after when i was straining being like I CAN DO IT AGH I HAVE THIS ONE THING!@!@!#

and that continued of course, up until now. (at least it's diminishing now)

desire for enlightenment is NOT pure intent. it is clingy, sticky, annoying, suffering-filled intent. it can never be satisfied. i didn't desire what i have now - i desired ENLIGHTENMENT! some notion of what it would be like. what did i think it would be like? maybe it was some ultra detached state where i can look at anything as if from 3rd person and not care about it.

that is not actually what i want... but i had some notion of it in my head, and i was doing w/e i could to get there, without stopping to realize how beautiful things are on the way.

as always suffering was my friend, showing me where i was going wrong.

what really shouldve set me off is all the convos in my head about whether i was already there. what a useless convo! if i'm ther, i'm there, and this is just extra worrying. if i'm not, then i'm not, and this worrying will not help me get there. i need pure intent, not desire.


the fear of cycling was just compounded on this. i was having these desires and thoughts, and i did not want to be having them, so i blamed cycling and tried to force it all to stop. that worked a little but they kept recurring. lying down and really examining them is what helped.

anyway i feel much calmer now, those thoughts seem to have diminished immensely.

RE: increasing tranquility and equanimity (factors of enlightenment�
2/22/11 10:32 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I remember when I was a stream enterer and just had crossed the A&P before second path and was gunning pretty hard and got into hardcore Dark Night cycling, which was very irritating and was hanging out with Kenneth Folk at the time, who was second path, and I was getting pretty agitated and irritable and he gave me the explicit advice to stop practicing or looking for anything at all for 3 days, just completely stop, so I resolved to stop practicing entirely and deeply meant it. I got second path a few days later quite on its own out of a place of just boring, easy, not very interesting, sitting in the training classroom for my new job space, and so found that to have been good advice for me at that particular time.

Thus, you are on the right track in noticing the pain of the questing mind. How about the just this, it's ok, nowhere to go, nothing to get or do mind? I don't advocate that often, but sometimes it is exactly what is needed for people in very specific stages of the path who have particular talents, namely drive and analysis.



RE: increasing tranquility and equanimity (factors of enlightenment�
3/28/11 3:20 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
this was spot on! i just only realized it recently. i kind of took care of the issue posted here by not caring about "Enlightenment" anymore, but it re-arose with AF. next time perhaps i will listen sooner!

RE: increasing tranquility and equanimity (factors of enlightenment�
4/29/11 10:20 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
hehe from MCTB chapter on Equanimity:

On the other hand, even if you gain all kinds of strong concentration, look deeply into impermanence, suffering and no-self, but can't just open to these things, can't just let them be, can't accept the sometimes absurd and frightening truths of your experience, then you will likely be stuck in hell until you can, particularly in the higher stages of insight practices.

how appropriate...