Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Robert Scott Johnson, modified 10 Years ago.

Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 17 Join Date: 1/25/11 Recent Posts
And continuing

After the whole dark night disbeleif syndrome debauchery I got way into concentration states as a way to sort of chill myself out which sort of worked a little bit but I still felt extremely drained and also felt kind of naive for letting a book freak me out like that so I'd try and distract myself and focus on morality which is a huge part of my practice, I abstained from lying, ill will, sarcasm, and any form of wrong speech action and livelihood to a sometimes ridiculous extent and even became a vegetarian thinking that I would purify my actions and stuff out any guilt that may hinder this path, all of this was what I thought sort of a preparation for allowing insight to arise smoothly and to allow me to pass through the dark night with no seriouse reprocusions.
Finally I got the nerve to do vipassana again and see what would happen. At first I would just do it maybe twenty minutes a day along with my concentration practice to get used to it again. Then during a short bout of unemployment I was able to do it more often because I had more time and less of a necessity to be out in the real world acting like a nervouse wreck. (thankfully I had another job lined up so I wasn't worried about being unemployed) So I spent maybe 2 to 4 hours a day doing vipassana not much but it seemed to do the trick. This time through with the vipassana it seemed to be alot easier but at the same time it seemed like stuff that I had already done, this is why I'm thinking that my dark night experiences while reading MCTB were legitimate and not just me obsessing, that's also one reason why I think I actually started the progress of insight when I first started meditating daily, remember how I said early on in my practice ther was usually a quality of investigation.
I remember in MCTB Daniel talking about how some people spend years and years doing concentration practice thinking that they're doing insight practice, well I think that I may have been doing insight practice thinking that I was doing concentration practice!
Anyway recently with my new job I've been meditating on the way to and from work (I have a post on here where I explain this) with these little "bus meditations" I've found using the breath and the motions of the bus pretty good objects for meditation and my practice has sort of skyrocketed about a week ago I had an A&P like experience while on the bus that carried on into my workday. Then over the course of the next few days I was in the dark night, then equanimity with formations then cessation of formations then re observance then conformity then path then fruition( yeah I said it!) the stages after equanimity happened very quickly and the moment of fruition appeared to me in the form of a big "crunch!!" almost like taking a bite out of an apple but from the middle top portion of the inside of my skull, followed by a sense of wanting to laugh. Coincidentialy this happened during a sit that took place at about midnight on the eve of my three year sobriety birthday totally not planned but I just thought that was kinda cool. Also I've repeated two more experiences that seemed like fruitions over the course of about a week after the initial one, one on the bus before work, the other during a sit after a couple hours of noticing practice ,the noticing practice was actually over the course of a meal and walking home from the bus stop and it was followed by a "wordless vow" that I can't really explain that seemed to happen very deep within my being . Both mini fruitions if there's
even such a thing had the same quality of a sort of "pop" followed by the feeling of wanting to laugh, but I didn't seem to really pass through the dark night.Since these possible fruitions I've felt very equanimous even when I'm frustrated or bored or whatever the thought keeps coming to me " oh well this is just the human condition it's not really me"
I guess one question could be was that really a fruition? And why was it so much more subtle than mentioned in MCTB or "The progress of insight" by Sayadaw? Was it just cause I stretched over a longer time period? I welcome all of you to dissect my description and tell me what you think!!

Much love!
Robert
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

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I think it was a fruition, the description is similar to my own (a bite off the apple etc). Is there a bit of a passing out just before? Is there is some relief, some relaxation, in the afterglow (when you laugh)? Do you notice some bliss there?

Sounds like you're doing great!
Robert Scott Johnson, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 17 Join Date: 1/25/11 Recent Posts
Yeah there was actually alot of bliss right before, during, and after. Instead of passing out it was a few moments of flashing / strobing, ( like poof, poof, poof, ) and the laughing was actually kind of brought on by the sense of releif, and in the afterglow their was lots of bliss, but a more equanimous bliss it was almost like the universe had played some kind of delightful prank on me and I was like "you tricky devil, I gotcha!" I felt like I knew something awesome and indescribable and was very thankful to have found it out and thankful for the process of finding it out. . . Fun stuff!

Thanks!
Robert
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Robert Scott Johnson:
Yeah there was actually alot of bliss right before, during, and after. Instead of passing out it was a few moments of flashing / strobing, ( like poof, poof, poof, ) and the laughing was actually kind of brought on by the sense of releif, and in the afterglow their was lots of bliss, but a more equanimous bliss it was almost like the universe had played some kind of delightful prank on me and I was like "you tricky devil, I gotcha!" I felt like I knew something awesome and indescribable and was very thankful to have found it out and thankful for the process of finding it out. . . Fun stuff!

Thanks!
Robert


Fun stuff indeed. can you repeatedly get fruitions? like, what happens if you just sit and meditate with no goal in mind? do you notice yourself going through the stages and ending in a fruition? try paying attention to how a fruition manifests - see if you can identify the Three Doors - it is interesting stuff.

don't doubt you got it cause you had no intensive retreats (going on your title), 'tis possible without.
Robert Scott Johnson, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 17 Join Date: 1/25/11 Recent Posts
can you repeatedly get fruitions? like, what happens if you just sit and meditate with no goal in mind? do you notice yourself going through the stages and ending in a fruition? try paying attention to how a fruition manifests - see if you can identify the Three Doors - it is interesting stuff.

don't doubt you got it cause you had no intensive retreats (going on your title), 'tis possible without.

Yes i do seem to go through the stages and end in fruitions it's happened three times that I have noticed. A couple of times over the coarse of two or three sits and one during a one hour sit. On the last one, the one hour sit I took your advice and sat with no goal in mind ( easier said than done ) and did breath counting practice up to one hundred just to get into first Jhana, then found myself in second Jhana, started investigating and began the progress of insight from there. This one seemed to be the most intense fruition yet, I was taking special care to closely pay attention to the whole experience and towards the end maybe during conformity I felt a twinge of grief that I cannot explain then I think the three doors may have appeared to me as I focused on impermanence and no self. the order in which this stuff happened may be kind of jumbled up in my descriptions cause all these experiences so far have been pretty subtle and vague, and the way the three doors showed themselves was kind of confusing, sort of just three unknown blobs of nothingness that couldn't really identify but they seemed like something noteworthy. I did however have some unknowing events ( three or four, not sure ) right before I entered path, then fruition. Afterwards the dedication of merit took on a very strong meaning to me, and I felt like nothing really existed but at the same time everything existed more intensely than ever before I also felt slightly uneasy but in a way that didn't really matter, kind of like an onlooking equanimity. Then I went to bed and woke up feeling very "normal" like none of this fruition stuff is much of a big deal, but in a pretty joyful and good way kind of like "it is what it is"(actually that's happening right now as I'm writing this).
Thanks so much for your posts everyone they have been very helpful.

Peace!
Robert
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Robert Scott Johnson:
This one seemed to be the most intense fruition yet, I was taking special care to closely pay attention to the whole experience...
good!
...and towards the end maybe during conformity... right before I entered path, then fruition ...
a technical point - the conformity, change of lineage, and path stages, only happen once per path. so these are not things that repeat. (I'm not really sure why they are mentioned.. i haven't gotten much out of knowing they are there). so when you speak of conformity and path as distinct stages you're in, you're likely thinking of particular stages of Equanimity.

... I felt a twinge of grief that I cannot explain then I think the three doors may have appeared to me as I focused on impermanence and no self. the order in which this stuff happened may be kind of jumbled up in my descriptions cause all these experiences so far have been pretty subtle and vague, and the way the three doors showed themselves was kind of confusing, sort of just three unknown blobs of nothingness that couldn't really identify but they seemed like something noteworthy.

'tis interesting. i recommend doing this more, it's pretty interesting/insight-producing to observe entering a fruition through one of the doors. 3 unknown blobs of nothingness sounds like the impermanence/no-self door?
MCTB:
When the impermanence aspect predominates and is combined with the emptiness aspect, then the whole universe strobes three times quickly with something staring back at us as a minor aspect of that universe, and then it seems that awareness collapses into the space after the third gap, perhaps turning slightly towards the thing that was staring back.

i recommend reading the three doors chapter again. maybe focus on the no-self/emptiness and the suffering characteristics, as i find that one to be the most interesting/insight-producing.
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Mike Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
I'm not qualified to speak about stream entry or stuff like that, given that I'm only a tadpole at this point, but I'd like to comment that the path and what it looks like when traveling it is radically different for everyone. For example, as far as I know I've never attained jhana despite being able to stay with the breath for a pretty long time, and so at this point at least it's simply not possible for me to enter into concentration states. I have and am experiencing what everybody tells me is Dark Night stuff, but I also don't remember any whoosh-bang-explosion moments in my life for the A+P events, only dreams in which it happened a number of times and which I awoke from it having the sense that I had something strange happen. My point is that I think some people experience a "hardcore" progression of events as their practice unfolds, both as concerns samadha and vipassana meditation, whereas other people like me might just progress along very subtly in comparison, without all the bells and whistles. Sure would be nice to experience the fantastic visions described of higher path attainments though.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Mike Kich:
Sure would be nice to experience the fantastic visions described of higher path attainments though.

ya there is an aspect to all of this of just it being really cool in general and fun/interesting to do for that reason. i can't say i've gotten over it, vipassana and samatha leads to some pretty interesting things, though i've gotten used to them as well (like if my self 2 years ago had a meditation session happen from today happen randomly itd be like 'wtf??!' but now its all normal).

if you wanna see something cool, try this: close your eyes, then apply pressure to them with your fingers through the closed eyes. keep up the pressure, and soon you'll start seeing some weird shit. when i do it its like im going through a tunnel made of a white color, though with black veins all over it. as the eyes get more tired it changes to green. i used to do this as a kid cause it was fun to watch. so that experience is a bit more intense than what happens thru vipassana, though i guess it comes pretty close. so you see it is really easy to see cool things if you want! no need to go attain some paths for that.

it's actually really quite similar to vipassana stuff.. i wonder if meditating just stimulates the optic nerves in a similar way that the hand applying pressure to the eyes does.
Robert Scott Johnson, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 17 Join Date: 1/25/11 Recent Posts
a technical point - the conformity, change of lineage, and path stages, only happen once per path. so these are not things that repeat. (I'm not really sure why they are mentioned.. i haven't gotten much out of knowing they are there). so when you speak of conformity and path as distinct stages you're in, you're likely thinking of particular stages of Equanimity.

Great point, I think your right! One thing I didn't mention is that I haven't been really studying the maps all that much that might be why some of my descriptions might be a bit jumbled up. I've held off on studying the maps extensively and have been just referring to them here and there, kind of as a way to prevent myself from labeling certain experienced as this or that and tricking my mind into thinking that I'm experiencing things that I'm really not, I'm well aware of the minds ability to play tricks on you, I've had acid trips off of breath mints before (not really but you get the point). I've brought along alot of skepticism with me when it comes to all of this, it would suck to think I'm going through insight stages when all I'm doing is sitting down with my eyes closed imagining things, that's why I'm carefull about jumping to conclusions. But now that it's become obvious to me that some really worthwhile stuff is happening some more extensive studies of the maps probably wouldn't hurt.

Thanks!
Robert

Note:I read over and studied the maps alot before I started getting fruitions and I'm somewhat familiar with them, but there's just been more of a focus on my actual experience and seeing what happens rather than reading the maps and trying to force myself into these stages. Hope that makes sense.
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

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

What's interesting about your report is how you seem to be starting your sit, working up to the a&p - that's how I read the "just to get into first jhana, then found my self in second jhana" bit. Did you aim for the jhanas to arise in this order, or did you set out to meditate with no goal in mind, and they arose like that without your doing?

Or, asking this the other way around - can you "go to" the a&p directly when you start sitting? That's one of the stronger indicators of the review phase.

OTOH, if you can't, that could mean you didn't in fact finish that path - or it could mean you already started the next big progress of insight, where you start out in Mind&Body each time you sit, with stray review fruitions coming up from last path. This can be strangely tricky to sort out.

What about your experience? Some of the softer factors/landmarks after stream entry (from my experience and reports I've read): no resistance to meditate (or the resistance is an interesting object in its own right all of a sudden); more spacious mind as useless processes fell away and resources got freed up; getting flashes of emptiness during the day; a sense of ordinariness that was missing from equanimity in retrospect; no longer afraid of death; marked increase in jhana skills; able to do more push-ups; renewed interest in the world around you, wanting to work on mundane stuff that was neglected.

Food for thought, as they say.

Cheers,
Florian
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Beoman Claudiu Emu, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
Or, asking this the other way around - can you "go to" the a&p directly when you start sitting? That's one of the stronger indicators of the review phase.

i'm curious about this. from what i remember, when in review, i would go into A&P after a fruition, either right after or after basking in its glow a bit, but i dont remember if the sit started directly from the A&P.

Florian Weps:
What about your experience? Some of the softer factors/landmarks after stream entry (from my experience and reports I've read): ... able to do more push-ups;
oo really? =P

Florian Weps:
renewed interest in the world around you, wanting to work on mundane stuff that was neglected.
does that also happen w/ Equanimity?
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
HI Claudiu

Regarding A&P: well, funny. Maybe I was influenced by MCTB, and the ability (after SE) to review nanas at will always dropped me there, complete with lights, energy tingles in the head, and that strange breathing thing.

Push-ups: Tarin reported that emoticon I remember I was a bit disappointed when it didn't manifest here.

Renewed interest in mundane stuff: yeah, started in equanimity with me. But after SE, even equanimity seemed so dream-like and artificial. SE was a big sobering-up experience for me, and there certainly was a lot of clean-up work to do.

Cheers,
Florian
Robert Scott Johnson, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

Posts: 17 Join Date: 1/25/11 Recent Posts
Hey Florian.

I think I may have cleared some stuff up with some help from these posts you guys have been so kindly providing. As far as getting into the jhanas with the breath counting, I was doing that as a way to just get into the groove and focus on my meditation rather than focusing on mundane stuff like memories, planning, a song stuck in my head etc. Since my last post I've skipped the breath counting and just started right away with investigating, what I've found is that I am starting off with A&P (I get lots of vibratory buzzing of individual sensations, noticing with great clarity the minds ability to only experience one sensation at a time, I also was not frustrated if I started thinking about ordinary things like work, just saw them for what they were and noted them as sensations) Also some of the key indicators of stream entry you mentioned have shown up big time, no fear of death, decreased useless though patterns (the other night I played a show with my band and left my bass at the venue and was totally unaffected by it rather than worrying and calling myself a dumbass) and meditation has gotten much easier especially since I've learned to note mundane thoughts as sensation and not get caught up in them. Weird thing here though the dark night phases sometimes seem to not even show up at all or maybe they just pass by very quickly,maybe that's normal though, not sure (maybe that's because I have had alot of turmoil in my off cushion life that I've come to terms with in a big way and it became obvious to me that suffering is part of life before I ever picked up a dharma book) like I said before I kinda know the maps but I'm no expert, I'm just meditating and seeing what happens and my experiences still seem a little vauge but they are making more and more sense to me. One thing I'm pretty sure about though is the fruition and review stages seem to match very closely with some other descriptions that I've read. And also theres the fact that I went through a pretty tough dark night a while back and all of that has seemed to dissipate big time. Thanks for all yor help everyone

Peace!
Robert
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Paul S., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Steam entry with no intensive retreats... Yeah right! Pt. 2

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Robert Scott Johnson:
Instead of passing out it was a few moments of flashing / strobing, ( like poof, poof, poof, ) ...


Funny I just had the exact same experience the night before you posted this, I was wondering what the heck that was; I never heard it explained that way. Also, congratulations on your progress, looks like you're doing great emoticon

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