Possible Stream Entry

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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
I think I’ve gotten Stream Entry. However, I understand how easy it is to make myself think I have, especially since I’ve been working toward Stream Entry, and so I’d appreciate any comments, or better yet, questions.

What happened
On January 25th, I had an A&P passage that was unusually physical, vivid, and intense. The experience started in A&P, and progressed through the Dark Night nanas, and ended up in Equanimity. When it was over, I found I had meditated for over two hours without realizing it. Based on this, it seems clear that this was the start of a new cycle.

Which meant that I might have gotten path without realizing it.

When I looked back through my meditation journal, I suspected it happened on January 6th, although I discounted it at the time as a bit of self-scripting. Here's my meditation journal entry for the morning:
[indent]Jan 6 Woke up a bit early and decided to meditate until the alarm went off. Was concentrated most of the time, and was able to note some of the time. Got a bit of a jerk, then some spreading body warmth. Likely not cessation, but I'll try to keep track of these. Meditated for 10 minutes before work and was able to note continuously. Was able to note continuously in the car on the way to work for 30 minutes. Feel great this morning, energized even though I feel a bit tired. Easy to get concentrated if I think about it, and getting the same bliss in the front of my abdomen if I concentrate a bit on it.[/indent]
The rest of January turned out to be a very emotionally tumultous month in a lot of ways, and I managed to miss signs which are now much more obvious.

See this thread for details on that A&P passage.


Why I think this is Stream Entry
In my sits since then, I seem to be getting into Equanimity quite quickly (about 10 minutes or so), and once there, I get this hazy, sleepy, dreamy feeling and I lose track of noting. The next thing I notice is that I’ve caught my head slipping down, my clarity and focus is back, and there is a faint spreading feeling of bliss in my body. After a bit, the clarity fades, I get that same sleepy, dreamy feeling, lose focus, and things repeat. I can get this to reoccur lots of time, and the more times I do it, the stronger the blissful feeling gets. When the sit is over, I am very relaxed, open, laid-back, with sense of satisfaction, peace, and a kind of a physical afterglow. I have been able to reproduce this time after time in my sits. If I do this in bed, the process seems to skip the head jerk, but the rest is exactly the same.

Also, I find that I can get a floaty, blissful feeling in my body if I simply think about it. It’s harder to get it to come I’m very tired, or physically active. In fact, there have been a few times when it wouldn’t go away.

A week ago, I woke up with that floaty, blissful feeling and it blossomed into first jhana. I was astonished to find that I was able to think myself into second, third, and fourth jhanas and back down twice in a row before the alarm went off. I’ve tried to reproduce this without success -- every time I’ve tried, I end up feeling the body rush of the A&P, and before I know it, I’m in Equanimity and off to the races again.

In the two months since the event, my journal shows that I’ve had joy and happiness occurring significantly more often and more regularly since then. In general, I’ve had a lightness in my attitude, and more joy, and wonder, and empathy, and I’ve been laughing more. It seems easier to listen to other people without feeling a need to talk, and I have a sort of a lack of fear of being direct and honest with co-workers.

I’ve noticed a freshness on my drive to work. I can look over a vista I've seen literally thousands of times and see new things in it that I've never noticed. A few times, I’ve been driving along and suddenly the scenery looked different, like I’ve never driven through there before.

Most interestingly, I've had an eager-to-face-the-day attitude in the morning even when I don't get enough sleep, and this NEVER used to be the case.

Why I have doubts
  • I have not had any fruitions outside of meditation.
  • I have tried Kenneth Folk’s eye blink trick, and sometimes seem to get kind of a minor bliss glow, but nothing that screams, “THAT WAS IT!!!!.”
  • I don’t seem to have an special insights into subject and object
  • I haven’t had any experience of the Three Doors that I recognized.


So what do y’all think?
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Andy R:
Why I think this is Stream Entry
In my sits since then, I seem to be getting into Equanimity quite quickly (about 10 minutes or so), and once there, I get this hazy, sleepy, dreamy feeling and I lose track of noting. The next thing I notice is that I’ve caught my head slipping down, my clarity and focus is back, and there is a faint spreading feeling of bliss in my body.

Could be Fruition + the after-glow.

Andy R:
After a bit, the clarity fades, I get that same sleepy, dreamy feeling, lose focus, and things repeat.

Another Fruition + after-glow. Do you notice yourself going through A&P to Equanimity in between getting the dreamy feelings? (It doesn't necessarily happen so if the answer is no that doesn't say anything either way).

This is how my first few sits after stream-entry were - kind of fuzzy, unfocused, not sure what was happening, hanging out in Equanimity. To be honest nothing changed about that until I got real high and meditated. While high, the cycles crystallized to make absolutely perfect sense. I could notice which cycle i'm in, then start going through them, knowing each one along the way, recognizing it from my sits earlier when I didn't know what it was. I could go forward by willing it, or call them up out of order. 'Twas quite interesting. I even observed some of the ways the 3 doors manifested. After that high sit (which I don't think was stream-entry, I think I got it a few days before), I also started noticing fruitions during the day, whereas I didn't before the sit but after the stream-entry. The only thing I did notice before the high sit is that I had a really easy time noting during the day.. like I felt like I could really easily keep track of what my hands were doing, how I was moving, etc., whereas I didn't before. I didn't know why that was, though.

Andy R:
I can get this to reoccur lots of time, and the more times I do it, the stronger the blissful feeling gets. When the sit is over, I am very relaxed, open, laid-back, with sense of satisfaction, peace, and a kind of a physical afterglow. I have been able to reproduce this time after time in my sits. If I do this in bed, the process seems to skip the head jerk, but the rest is exactly the same.

Do you kind of feel slightly overwhelmed with the bliss? Not in a sense of it's overpowering you, but in a sense of "oh this feels kinda nice", then it happens again & again and the faint bliss is always there and... I don't know the word to describe it, but that's the state I kinda get into if I have many Fruitions.

Andy R:
Also, I find that I can get a floaty, blissful feeling in my body if I simply think about it. It’s harder to get it to come I’m very tired, or physically active. In fact, there have been a few times when it wouldn’t go away.

What kinda blissful feeling, like 1st jhana? I had that happen both before & after stream-entry, so dnno if is significant.

Andy R:
A week ago, I woke up with that floaty, blissful feeling and it blossomed into first jhana. I was astonished to find that I was able to think myself into second, third, and fourth jhanas and back down twice in a row before the alarm went off. I’ve tried to reproduce this without success -- every time I’ve tried, I end up feeling the body rush of the A&P, and before I know it, I’m in Equanimity and off to the races again.

Access to jhanas for no reason (no extra training)? Could be stream-entry.

Andy R:
In the two months since the event, my journal shows that I’ve had joy and happiness occurring significantly more often and more regularly since then. In general, I’ve had a lightness in my attitude, and more joy, and wonder, and empathy, and I’ve been laughing more. It seems easier to listen to other people without feeling a need to talk, and I have a sort of a lack of fear of being direct and honest with co-workers.

I’ve noticed a freshness on my drive to work. I can look over a vista I've seen literally thousands of times and see new things in it that I've never noticed. A few times, I’ve been driving along and suddenly the scenery looked different, like I’ve never driven through there before.

Most interestingly, I've had an eager-to-face-the-day attitude in the morning even when I don't get enough sleep, and this NEVER used to be the case.

All fun stuff. I didn't notice too much had changed after stream entry, in terms of more pristine perception (that came only with later Paths) or any super-insight into subject/object.. mostly I felt the same. And I could still definitely suffer (as I can now and will be able to until I am AF), as a few days after it I was in this completely indifferent/bored state where nothing seemed to matter. I wondered "what have I done? this sucks!" I did notice more keenly how other people suffered, though, and what caused their suffering.

Andy R:
So what do y’all think?

Mm I dnno. Lots of things hint that you got it. Extra concentration during sits will probably make it all clearer (like the THC did for me).

The question is: what do you do now? And the answer is... if you want more Paths, then keep sitting + noting and you'll soon start a fresh new cycle. If you wanna boost your concentration before continuing (which I recommend) then practice jhanas until you can get all 4 consistently. You might wanna try Actual Freedom now, see if you can get a PCE or something, it might be easier after a path, and if that appeals to you then you can go do that directly and not stop by the other Paths.
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

Andy R:
After a bit, the clarity fades, I get that same sleepy, dreamy feeling, lose focus, and things repeat.

Another Fruition + after-glow. Do you notice yourself going through A&P to Equanimity in between getting the dreamy feelings? (It doesn't necessarily happen so if the answer is no that doesn't say anything either way).


The A&P seems clear to me, as does Equanimity, but Dissolution and the Dark Night nanas are not so clear. Here's what I usually notice: After the bliss pulse/wave starts to fade a bit, I get a bit of a body rush(A&P). The rush fades(Dissolution?) Then, I might get an itch or notice some discomfort or notice my breathing, or sometimes I'll think that I might want to stop(Dark Night?) Eventually, I get back to the dreamy lack of focus part (Equanimity). I might get a dream image or thought, and then I suddenly realize I've got more clarity and I'm feeling the bliss wave again.

Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

This is how my first few sits after stream-entry were - kind of fuzzy, unfocused, not sure what was happening, hanging out in Equanimity. To be honest nothing changed about that until I got real high and meditated. While high, the cycles crystallized to make absolutely perfect sense. I could notice which cycle i'm in, then start going through them, knowing each one along the way, recognizing it from my sits earlier when I didn't know what it was. I could go forward by willing it, or call them up out of order. 'Twas quite interesting. I even observed some of the ways the 3 doors manifested. After that high sit (which I don't think was stream-entry, I think I got it a few days before), I also started noticing fruitions during the day, whereas I didn't before the sit but after the stream-entry.

I'm definitely not at that point. Any suggestions on how to gain the clarity? My initial thoughts are some concentration practice, probably kasina practice, since I seem to cycle if I try to get into jhana by focusing on my breathing.

Also, you say you can get the stages out of order by willing them. Does that include the pre-A&P ones? I thought that post-Stream Entry, you always started at the level of the A&P?


Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

Andy R:
I can get this to reoccur lots of time, and the more times I do it, the stronger the blissful feeling gets.

Do you kind of feel slightly overwhelmed with the bliss? Not in a sense of it's overpowering you, but in a sense of "oh this feels kinda nice", then it happens again & again and the faint bliss is always there and... I don't know the word to describe it, but that's the state I kinda get into if I have many Fruitions.

I definitely get the "Oh, this feel reaaaaaally nice" if I let myself cycle for a while. The first few are not so noticeable, but they get stronger. It's not overwhelming, (not sure of a better word), but I do like it. I can see where someone might like to hang out and keep getting Fruitions.


Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

The question is: what do you do now? And the answer is... if you want more Paths, then keep sitting + noting and you'll soon start a fresh new cycle. If you wanna boost your concentration before continuing (which I recommend) then practice jhanas until you can get all 4 consistently.


I'm a bit confused by your comment. I thought the 2-hour intense A&P was the start of a new cycle. That's what let me to consider whether I had gotten Path.

I am interested in continuing with meditation and the Progress of Insight. I've read quite a bit on AF, read a lot of the AF threads, but am still unsure about it for now.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Andy R:
The A&P seems clear to me, as does Equanimity, but Dissolution and the Dark Night nanas are not so clear. Here's what I usually notice: After the bliss pulse/wave starts to fade a bit, I get a bit of a body rush(A&P). The rush fades(Dissolution?) Then, I might get an itch or notice some discomfort or notice my breathing, or sometimes I'll think that I might want to stop(Dark Night?) Eventually, I get back to the dreamy lack of focus part (Equanimity). I might get a dream image or thought, and then I suddenly realize I've got more clarity and I'm feeling the bliss wave again.

Hmm yea sounds like could be a quick (unclear) progression through the stages.

Andy R:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

This is how my first few sits after stream-entry were - kind of fuzzy, unfocused, not sure what was happening, hanging out in Equanimity. To be honest nothing changed about that until I got real high and meditated. While high, the cycles crystallized to make absolutely perfect sense. I could notice which cycle i'm in, then start going through them, knowing each one along the way, recognizing it from my sits earlier when I didn't know what it was. I could go forward by willing it, or call them up out of order. 'Twas quite interesting. I even observed some of the ways the 3 doors manifested. After that high sit (which I don't think was stream-entry, I think I got it a few days before), I also started noticing fruitions during the day, whereas I didn't before the sit but after the stream-entry.

I'm definitely not at that point. Any suggestions on how to gain the clarity? My initial thoughts are some concentration practice, probably kasina practice, since I seem to cycle if I try to get into jhana by focusing on my breathing.

Well, what worked for me was getting really blazed. I couldn't do it sober, even though I had done it the day before while not. EDIT: though of course, being able to do it while not sober and not while sober made me question what was really happening.. but by now i believe that it just gave me an extra boost of concentration, made the mind a bit freer and more easily moving

Andy R:
Also, you say you can get the stages out of order by willing them. Does that include the pre-A&P ones? I thought that post-Stream Entry, you always started at the level of the A&P?

I could get them, yeah. I just willed the mind there. It was interesting. I could also focus on one of the 3 chars for any stage and see those aspects come out. Dark Night + Suffering was unpleasant, but knowing that I could will myself to the next stage at any point made it not matter at all.

Andy R:
I'm a bit confused by your comment. I thought the 2-hour intense A&P was the start of a new cycle. That's what let me to consider whether I had gotten Path.

Ah, perhaps! I didn't think of that. Well, the answer is the same, more noting will get your more paths, or you can try tarin's alternate instructions to 2nd path, which was to practice as if you're 3rd path already - that is, walk around, notice the sensations of space, notice sensations that imply 'background', and it'll snap for you at some point (read the link for more info).
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Jackson Wilshire, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi Andy,

Andy R:

When I looked back through my meditation journal, I suspected it happened on January 6th, although I discounted it at the time as a bit of self-scripting. Here's my meditation journal entry for the morning:
[indent]Jan 6 Woke up a bit early and decided to meditate until the alarm went off. Was concentrated most of the time, and was able to note some of the time. Got a bit of a jerk, then some spreading body warmth. Likely not cessation, but I'll try to keep track of these. Meditated for 10 minutes before work and was able to note continuously. Was able to note continuously in the car on the way to work for 30 minutes. Feel great this morning, energized even though I feel a bit tired. Easy to get concentrated if I think about it, and getting the same bliss in the front of my abdomen if I concentrate a bit on it.[/indent]
The rest of January turned out to be a very emotionally tumultous month in a lot of ways, and I managed to miss signs which are now much more obvious.


I know this was a while ago, but can you say more about this "bit of a jerk" that you wrote about in your journal?

Also, in brief, what made January so emotionally tumultuous?

Andy R:
Why I think this is Stream Entry
In my sits since then, I seem to be getting into Equanimity quite quickly (about 10 minutes or so), and once there, I get this hazy, sleepy, dreamy feeling and I lose track of noting. The next thing I notice is that I’ve caught my head slipping down, my clarity and focus is back, and there is a faint spreading feeling of bliss in my body. After a bit, the clarity fades, I get that same sleepy, dreamy feeling, lose focus, and things repeat. I can get this to reoccur lots of time, and the more times I do it, the stronger the blissful feeling gets. When the sit is over, I am very relaxed, open, laid-back, with sense of satisfaction, peace, and a kind of a physical afterglow. I have been able to reproduce this time after time in my sits. If I do this in bed, the process seems to skip the head jerk, but the rest is exactly the same.


Again, is this head jerk a recurrent event? Is it the same as "my head slipping down"?

Andy R:
Why I have doubts
  • I have not had any fruitions outside of meditation.
  • I have tried Kenneth Folk’s eye blink trick, and sometimes seem to get kind of a minor bliss glow, but nothing that screams, “THAT WAS IT!!!!.”
  • I don’t seem to have an special insights into subject and object
  • I haven’t had any experience of the Three Doors that I recognized.


Most people I know who are stream-enterers or beyond do not experience many, if any, cessation/fruition moments during the course of their everyday life.

Folk's eye-blinky thing doesn't work for everyone.

Don't worry about the subject/object stuff. Stream entry insights are much more basic than that. After my first cessation moment, I remember thinking, "Oh, so that must be what it's like to die. That's not so bad." Seeing that the self, consciousness, and everything can wink out and return really changes the way we view ourselves.

Insight into suffer and its release is also common. The progress of insight is more or less a meditative process of letting go more and more until you've let go of even consciousness and neutral feelings. Then there is a moment of total release, followed by a return to consciousness and a chance to go through it all again.

The three doors business was difficult for me until after I had completed another full progress of insight cycle (i.e. when I made it to 2nd path). At that point thing became much, much clearer.

Care to try an experiment? When you get up to Equanimity, make a simple resolution to stay present and to notice some more detail about these events that could be fruition moments. Resolve, and then let it hum along until it happens. Let us know what you find out.

Jackson
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Jackson Wilshire:

Andy R:

Jan 6 Woke up a bit early and decided to meditate until the alarm went off. Was concentrated most of the time, and was able to note some of the time. Got a bit of a jerk, then some spreading body warmth. Likely not cessation, but I'll try to keep track of these. Meditated for 10 minutes before work and was able to note continuously. Was able to note continuously in the car on the way to work for 30 minutes. Feel great this morning, energized even though I feel a bit tired. Easy to get concentrated if I think about it, and getting the same bliss in the front of my abdomen if I concentrate a bit on it.

I know this was a while ago, but can you say more about this "bit of a jerk" that you wrote about in your journal?

I don't remember much, but I do remember it being very noticeable and a surprise. The alleged fruitions I'm having now don't have nearly as much of a bliss pulse.

Jackson Wilshire:

Also, in brief, what made January so emotionally tumultuous?

Soon after the event above, I noticed a lot of joy and wonder in my daily life (high), I attended a conference where I picked up a wicked nasty flu bug (low). The following week at work, I was picked for a high-profile team starting development on a new company initiative(high). I then picked up a cold which laid me low for a while(low). After that, I did a 1,400 mile road trip to visit a friend (that's when I did the 14+ hours of noting) (high).

My point is that with all of the highs and lows, the joy/wonder/happiness/energy I started feeling was masked by all the highs and lows, causing me to miss the fact that I might have gotten a path.

Jackson Wilshire:

Again, is this head jerk a recurrent event? Is it the same as "my head slipping down"?

Yes, it's the same. It feels almost as if I had started falling asleep with my head held up and let go of it when I passed into sleep, so when my head slipped/fell, I felt the jerk, which woke me. Except, in this case, I feel completely awake and energized both before and after, and also in this case, it's so reproducible.

Jackson Wilshire:

Don't worry about the subject/object stuff. Stream entry insights are much more basic than that. After my first cessation moment, I remember thinking, "Oh, so that must be what it's like to die. That's not so bad." Seeing that the self, consciousness, and everything can wink out and return really changes the way we view ourselves.

Maybe I misunderstand cessations, but what I've read and (allegedly) experienced seems to indicate that there is no memory of what happens during the cessation itself. If this is correct, what is it that you experienced that caused you to think, "So that must be what it's like to die?"

Jackson Wilshire:

Care to try an experiment? When you get up to Equanimity, make a simple resolution to stay present and to notice some more detail about these events that could be fruition moments. Resolve, and then let it hum along until it happens. Let us know what you find out.

Sounds reasonable. I'll give it a try and see if I can get more of a memory from just before and just after the event.
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Andy,

What I noticed most after SE was a sense of relief (which I got quickly used to, withing a few weeks) more than any blissful feelings. My experiential baseline was very much like equanimity - I had an easy time with human interaction (family, friends, co-workers), lightness and all that, but what was radically, subtly different was that the sense of holding equanimity together by sheer effort (subtle, sheer effort, if that makes sense) was entirely gone. Hence the sense of relief.

What changed for you? Anything missing, that was present before?

Andy R:
Jackson Wilshire:

Don't worry about the subject/object stuff. Stream entry insights are much more basic than that. After my first cessation moment, I remember thinking, "Oh, so that must be what it's like to die. That's not so bad." Seeing that the self, consciousness, and everything can wink out and return really changes the way we view ourselves.

Maybe I misunderstand cessations, but what I've read and (allegedly) experienced seems to indicate that there is no memory of what happens during the cessation itself. If this is correct, what is it that you experienced that caused you to think, "So that must be what it's like to die?"


No memory, no time passing, no experience. When I looked back at the moment before cessation and the moment after cessation, and deduced the gap, I knew there is a complete, perfect death.

So I had the same insight as Jackson, or a similar one. After SE, I read a text by an ancient Greek philosopher, and the sentence "Death is nothing to us", which I had read so many times before, triggered a kind of recognition, "he's right, you know". I'd been doing a bit of mindfulness of death prior to SE.

Another classic SE insight is causality - compare the report of Sariputta's SE, where he was struck by Assaji's obvious-sounding words "whatever arises from a cause, its cause and cessation, this is the Buddha's teaching".

Is there something which was always obvious to you ("basic" in Jackson's words), but which you now see much more clearly or recognize as true?

Andy R:
Jackson Wilshire:

Care to try an experiment? When you get up to Equanimity, make a simple resolution to stay present and to notice some more detail about these events that could be fruition moments. Resolve, and then let it hum along until it happens. Let us know what you find out.

Sounds reasonable. I'll give it a try and see if I can get more of a memory from just before and just after the event.


That's a good one. I did that, too, and it did much to dispel my doubt. Oh, and speaking of doubt: what happens when doubt arises, and you look at the doubt in light of what you experienced? Is it just habitual doubt, and you're seeing this habit with great clarity?

All that said, good work! Keep going, I'd say, because whatever that was, keeping at it will result in greater clarity either way.

Cheers,
Florian
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Jackson Wilshire, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hello Andy, et al.

Florian Weps:

Andy R:
Jackson Wilshire:

Don't worry about the subject/object stuff. Stream entry insights are much more basic than that. After my first cessation moment, I remember thinking, "Oh, so that must be what it's like to die. That's not so bad." Seeing that the self, consciousness, and everything can wink out and return really changes the way we view ourselves.

Maybe I misunderstand cessations, but what I've read and (allegedly) experienced seems to indicate that there is no memory of what happens during the cessation itself. If this is correct, what is it that you experienced that caused you to think, "So that must be what it's like to die?"


No memory, no time passing, no experience. When I looked back at the moment before cessation and the moment after cessation, and deduced the gap, I knew there is a complete, perfect death.

So I had the same insight as Jackson, or a similar one. After SE, I read a text by an ancient Greek philosopher, and the sentence "Death is nothing to us", which I had read so many times before, triggered a kind of recognition, "he's right, you know". I'd been doing a bit of mindfulness of death prior to SE.


That's it. Florian is describing something very much like the insight into death I was referring to (if not the same thing entirely). My first cessation/fruition moment was experienced like being unplugged and then plugged back in. There was a quick fading out into nothing, and then a quick fading back in out of nothing. The only remembered aspects were the fading out and fading it. There was a distinct intuitive sense of discontinuity. I knew that experience stopped and started back up again. So, my thinking, "This is what it must be like to die," was based on the fact that I was -- literally -- gone. And it wasn't scary. It was just nothing. It really takes a lot of anxiety out of the whole dying thing.
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Jackson Wilshire:

That's it. Florian is describing something very much like the insight into death I was referring to (if not the same thing entirely). My first cessation/fruition moment was experienced like being unplugged and then plugged back in. There was a quick fading out into nothing, and then a quick fading back in out of nothing. The only remembered aspects were the fading out and fading it. There was a distinct intuitive sense of discontinuity. I knew that experience stopped and started back up again. So, my thinking, "This is what it must be like to die," was based on the fact that I was -- literally -- gone. And it wasn't scary. It was just nothing. It really takes a lot of anxiety out of the whole dying thing.


This is fascinating -- thanks for the great description. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I have experienced nothing similar to this. I'll resolve to stay focused when I get to high Equanimity, and I'm very curious now to see what I find.
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:

What I noticed most after SE was a sense of relief (which I got quickly used to, withing a few weeks) more than any blissful feelings. My experiential baseline was very much like equanimity - I had an easy time with human interaction (family, friends, co-workers), lightness and all that, but what was radically, subtly different was that the sense of holding equanimity together by sheer effort (subtle, sheer effort, if that makes sense) was entirely gone. Hence the sense of relief.

What changed for you? Anything missing, that was present before?


When I think of what's changed, the bliss isn't what predominates (although it does sort of feels like some sort of minor superpower to be able bring up jhana at will). What stand out for me is something that's both subtle and foundationally important. I no longer seem to feel quite as much of a need, conscious or unconscious, to protect my "self" or ego. I'm not worried about criticism so much, or asking questions if I don't understand. I've asked more questions, and learned more in the last month than in the last six months put together.

This makes it a whole lot easier to talk to coworkers, friends, and family. I can focus on listening for understanding without having to interject an opinion, or to sway the conversation to a particular end. My guess is that any agenda I may have in listening somehow isn't quite as important as it used to be.

And here's something that may sound silly, but I'll bring it up anyway: I've driven the same basic route to work (different jobs) for well over a decade. I pass the same places twice a day, ten times a week, forty eight or more weeks a year. The other day, I found my tires wandering over the rumble strips because I had been staring out over a view I've passed more than 5000 times. I just couldn't get over the sense of newness, freshness, and wonder when I looked at it. This freshness has been happening on a regular basis now, and it's still just so damn amazing to me!


Florian Weps:

Is there something which was always obvious to you ("basic" in Jackson's words), but which you now see much more clearly or recognize as true?

I've understood for a long time that I cause my own suffering. I've known this in a very practical way, usually after the fact, having had years of excellent psychotherapy with a gifted analyst, who, as I very recently found out, does a mindfulness practice, which it turns out, is essentially vipassana. (I can't possibly have any more commas in that sentence, can I?)

What's interesting is that while I've understood this in a technical, there have been times in the last month where it's really just stared me in the face.


Florian Weps:

speaking of doubt: what happens when doubt arises, and you look at the doubt in light of what you experienced? Is it just habitual doubt, and you're seeing this habit with great clarity?

I'm not sure I can answer this strictly in terms of doubt. What I think I may see differently is that habitual reactions are a touch more obvious when they happen. I will pay more attention to doubt, though.


Florian Weps:

All that said, good work! Keep going, I'd say, because whatever that was, keeping at it will result in greater clarity either way.


Thanks, Florian! The stuff I talked about above seems to still be unfolding for me, and I'm more excited than ever about practice.
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Jackson Wilshire:

Care to try an experiment? When you get up to Equanimity, make a simple resolution to stay present and to notice some more detail about these events that could be fruition moments. Resolve, and then let it hum along until it happens. Let us know what you find out.


So when I first tried to resolve to stay present, I kept getting the dreaminess, then clarity and bliss. I could not notice anything more or anything new about what was happening.

So, I spent some time last week doing pure concentration practice with a candle flame. I also had the opportunity to meditate for seven hours on Saturday (not straight through), and on the last sit, I got slightly more interesting results.

I spent about 20 minutes or so following my breath, then played for a while with entering and exiting first through fourth jhanas. After that, I started noting and felt myself pass A&P and Dark Night. When I got to Equanimity, maintaining noting was still hit and miss. I'd note, and then notice that I had stopped at some point. It seemed a bit easier to maintain clarity though, and I only had one episode of the dreaminess-then clarity-then bliss thing. Instead, I seemed to get this slow pulse or wave that felt almost like the physical sensations of fourth jhana. It's kinda hard to describe. Each pulse seemed to last between 5 and 10 seconds before fading.

The chime went off and I needed to get some stuff done, so I stopped at that point.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 3183 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Head drops, feel good about life again, no obvious Fruitions: other possibility is good old Equanimity, plain and simple.

So, keep an open mind, keep practicing, and see what happens.

Daniel
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Head drops, feel good about life again, no obvious Fruitions: other possibility is good old Equanimity, plain and simple.

What can you tell me about the head drops? From your description, it seems like it's a common thing in Equanimity?

For me, the head drops/jerks only happen when I sit upright. When I meditate in bed, I get the loss of focus/dreamy state, (no head drop), then bliss pulse. The more times I do this, the stronger the pulse gets.

I also seem to have instant-on, 24/7 access to first jhana. Is this to be expected in Equanimity? I previously have not work very much at all on the concentration states.

You're right, though. No obvious "THAT WAS IT!!!" fruitions. If this is "only" Equanimity, then I can hardly wait.emoticon
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fivebells ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Head drops, feel good about life again, no obvious Fruitions: other possibility is good old Equanimity, plain and simple.
[In equanimity, t]here are rarely if ever the spontaneous physical motions and odd breathing patterns that come with that earlier stage.
How does the head dropping relate?
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
So, an update on how things are going since I first posted on March 5th.

I’m still confused about where I’m at and what actually happened in January. Long story short: I had a powerful A&P passage on January 25th that started in the A&P and ended in early equanimity. I wondered if this was the A&P of a new cycle, which meant that I might have gotten stream entry without realizing it. I could find nothing that clearly looked like a Fruition in my journals, but I had some tantalizing clues and symptoms since early January:
  • I seemed to be able to get into first jhana, day or night, simply by thinking about it for a second or so.
  • I was now able to enter jhanas 1-4 at will in samatha meditation
  • I was having possible cessation in Equanimity
  • I was having significantly more joy, wonder and calmness
  • I seemed to have a new-found lack of defensiveness, wasn’t so worried about criticism, was asking more questions, and had a lack of fear in being open and honest
  • I was seeing things with a freshness and directness, was seeing new details in old places that I’d looked at a thousand times


Now that some time has gone by, where are these things now?
  • Calling up first jhana: the intensity of this has greatly diminished. I now have to close my eyes, concentrate, and the sensations that come up are pretty subtle.
  • Entering jhanas at will in samatha meditation: still happens, and seems to be easier
  • Possible cessations: has happened only once in the last week, and with greatly diminished bliss. Still not sure what this is.
  • More joy, wonder, calmness: still happening, but the emotional impact of the joy and wonder is more muted.
  • Lack of defensiveness, being more open and honest: still happening, but harder to notice. Maybe I’m taking it for granted more.
  • Seeing with freshness: still happening, but doesn’t cause such an “Oh WOW!” moment when it does happen.


What’s my meditation like? Meditation seems to have changed a bit. I get concentrated fast, it goes pretty smoothly and easily, and I can sit for a long time. I can’t wait to sit, and would sit more if I had more time. It’s clear to me I’m getting to Equanimity quickly every time I sit, and samatha practice is helping me see jhanas 1-4 more clearly than ever before. I have not tried for the immaterial jhanas yet.

So, I suspect that I didn’t get Stream Entry, but it's also clear to me that something happened. If all of this is from Equanimity, then that’s great. I still can’t explain the powerfulness of that A&P passage on January 25th, but since I’m getting to Equanimity now, hopefully Stream Entry is inevitable sooner or later.
TJ Broccoli, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 93 Join Date: 3/1/10 Recent Posts
i can only share with you how some of this does not line up with my experience if we were to assume it to be stream entry. but a lot about my experience doesn't seem to line up with many other people who did attain stream entry either, so i can't conclude anything, it's just to share a bit of data.

Andy R:
... I suspected it happened on January 6th, .....................................
The rest of January turned out to be a very emotionally tumultous month in a lot of ways...

the many months after SE for me were not tumultuous in any way, not even in an emotionally high or pleasing or ok way. that period was simply equanimous, steady, easy, and full of relief.

Andy R:

Why I think this is Stream Entry
In my sits since then, I seem to be getting into Equanimity quite quickly (about 10 minutes or so), and once there, I get this hazy, sleepy, dreamy feeling and I lose track of noting. The next thing I notice is that I’ve caught my head slipping down, my clarity and focus is back, and there is a faint spreading feeling of bliss in my body. After a bit, the clarity fades, I get that same sleepy, dreamy feeling, lose focus, and things repeat. I can get this to reoccur lots of time, and the more times I do it, the stronger the blissful feeling gets.

if we were to assume that the above "equanimous" sit is equanimity stage before a fruition or path moment, or just high equanimity with no fruition yet, the mention of "bliss" seems out of place to me. in early equanimity there is a feeling of relief, well-being and some coarse sensations here and there that keep lessening and smoothening out--things become more and more neutral, level, fine, and eventually totally void of any interpretation of sensations as positive (bliss) or negative (discomfort) as found in many other stages. hence the name "equanimity".
and if we were to assume that this bliss was the post-fruition jump to the a&p, the word "faint" seems out of place to me because when you cycle back to the a&p after a fruition, i would expect to hear that described as "energetic" and not any "faint" subtle bliss because the a&p energy phenomena are quite coarse compared to equanimity.

another detail from my experience that doesn't seem to line up with other people is how i've never felt any "bliss wave" or "after glow" after a fruition, which made it hard for me to pin point fruitions. they would only become obvious with significantly heightened concentration during retreats, or in situations that would show me evidence that a few moments of my life just got cut out, like while driving, fully alert, and all of a sudden finding the car and myself had skipped a whole stretch of road in a blink without driving through it.

what i hope for people to report (because it's what i would resonate most with) is how life actually changes after stream entry--not in the sense of more this and that, like more peace, more calm, more joy, more jhana capabilities, etc., but what is fundamentally different and totally new in the way one navigates life, experiences, what's new in one's base perspective and attitudes towards self and all of experience, what's new in the very sense of being alive from moment to moment, due to a brief attainment of new experiential knowledge for a few seconds. however, i have seen here on the Dho many completely convincing accounts (stage-phenomenon-wise) of stream entry where no striking-brand-new-insight-applied-to-all-of-life, born right in the event, is reported. or in some cases it gradually becomes realized and processed later. for me it was the most striking and most significant change of all--it was obvious within minutes after the event that my life had totally changed and become infinitely more livable in an irreversible way, and all energetic phenomena seemed insignificant compared to it.

jill
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Jill. Very much appreciated.


what i hope for people to report (because it's what i would resonate most with) is how life actually changes after stream entry--not in the sense of more this and that, like more peace, more calm, more joy, more jhana capabilities, etc., but what is fundamentally different and totally new in the way one navigates life, experiences, what's new in one's base perspective and attitudes towards self and all of experience, what's new in the very sense of being alive from moment to moment, due to a brief attainment of new experiential knowledge for a few seconds. however, i have seen here on the Dho many completely convincing accounts (stage-phenomenon-wise) of stream entry where no striking-brand-new-insight-applied-to-all-of-life, born right in the event, is reported. or in some cases it gradually becomes realized and processed later.

Agreed. I'm very interested in this as well. This, more than anything had convinced me I'd not gotten stream entry. That period of time that started in mid-January where I noticed I had been less defensive, more open, and more apt to notice new things in old places, has faded in a number of ways (but not completely). Mostly, I think I'm more inured to it, and it doesn't generate such a sense of wonder for me. Also, it's tended to wax and wane a bit depending on my moods and energy level. I suspect if I had had Stream Entry, it would be less dependent on conditions, and less apt to fade. I wonder if there is such a thing as a near-miss, or if this is typical of the off-the-cushion manifestation of hitting Equanimity?


for me it was the most striking and most significant change of all--it was obvious within minutes after the event that my life had totally changed and become infinitely more livable in an irreversible way, and all energetic phenomena seemed insignificant compared to it.


Could you speak to this a bit? What about your life changed in those moments of Stream Entry, and what is fundamentally different?
TJ Broccoli, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Possible Stream Entry

Posts: 93 Join Date: 3/1/10 Recent Posts
Andy R:

Agreed. I'm very interested in this as well. This, more than anything had convinced me I'd not gotten stream entry. That period of time that started in mid-January where I noticed I had been less defensive, more open, and more apt to notice new things in old places, has faded in a number of ways (but not completely). Mostly, I think I'm more inured to it, and it doesn't generate such a sense of wonder for me. Also, it's tended to wax and wane a bit depending on my moods and energy level. I suspect if I had had Stream Entry, it would be less dependent on conditions, and less apt to fade. I wonder if there is such a thing as a near-miss, or if this is typical of the off-the-cushion manifestation of hitting Equanimity?


yeah, for me that life change after stream entry was clearly not dependent on conditions.
i don't see why one couldn't near-miss any stage at all, not just stream entry. maybe reaching a certain point in development is always a "near-miss" of the next development?

Andy R:

TJ Broccoli:

for me it was the most striking and most significant change of all--it was obvious within minutes after the event that my life had totally changed and become infinitely more livable in an irreversible way, and all energetic phenomena seemed insignificant compared to it.

Could you speak to this a bit? What about your life changed in those moments of Stream Entry, and what is fundamentally different?


from that point on i knew with a surprising certainty that life could no longer be or feel "not ok" no matter what difficult or terrible life circumstances may come--whatever sickness or disease, loss of body parts or functions, unmet physical or emotional needs, conflicts in my environment--because i had just lost the ability to misinterpret a "situation" or "circumstance" as a "problem." this change of perspective resulted from how all sensations (previously seen as parts of me and parts of not-me stuff in the surroundings) were all seen at once as naturally occurring phenomena, all equally part of the natural flow of the universe: none of it really belonged to me; none of it could be taken as 'self'. when it stopped making sense to claim copyright of "my life", i was no longer able to take seriously any deep expectations and feelings about how life should or shouldn't unfold at each corner.

within the same hour other implications of the change came to my attention, such as the relief in the confirmation that lasting progress was possible. more clarity was possible. less suffering was possible. i could describe and analyze the change in more words, but actually those moments were very quiet ones with few thoughts. i was resting next to a lily pond during lunch break on a vipassana retreat, observing "stuff moving around and changing everywhere" and after a while found myself thinking, "wow, from now on life can never be not-ok anymore. everything will always be ok now."

p.s. speaking of impermanence, the last time i checked that lily pond had turned into a stinky sewage dump.

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