Message Boards Message Boards

Toggle
Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/27/19 1:16 PM
Hello friends. This is my first post, I came to this board to start at the beginning of my strange and wonderful journey.
I would encourage anyone who reads this to ask questions, and I will do my best to answer them openly and honestly.

New Years 2013 (I had just turned 29). That night I went to a friends house to celebrate with him and his wife. He was like an older bother/mentor, I was the one who introduced him to his wife. Part of the reason why I went to hang out that night, was to tell them that my brother had invited me to come out to California. I felt like this would be a good opportunity to try and get a job out there, get a fresh start on life.

The night went very poorly, involved heavy drinking and yelling (I had not been drinking). It ended with my friend passed out drunk on the floor and his wife blaming me for his new acquired alcoholism, telling me I was not welcomed back to the house and wished I would just get out of their lives.

When I got home I sat down at my computer, feeling crushed that I had just lost my only friends. I started to look at my life. No friends, hadn't had a girlfriend in almost 10 years, crappy job with no real skills or education to speak of (felt doomed that the best I would ever be was a cashier at some gas staion for the rest of my life), no way out. The feeling of sadness and anger filled my body. Thinking "Why can't I have anything nice, I"M A GOOD PERSON!!, I help EVERYONE! and in the end I get NOTHING!, I don't want the world, I just want a little bit of happiness, haven't I done enough to get just a LITTLE!!".

Laying my head down on my desk, tears running down my face, teeth clinched. My body buzzing from the titlewave of emotions. After a few moments a clear unemotional thought arose in my mind, "I give up". This wasn't a normal "I give up". I had given up many times in my life (part of the reason why I was in this place). This was a much deeper statement that words fail to describe accuracy. It felt like my soul or life itself left my body.As this happened I fell into a dream or maybe some would say a vision. Either way it was very clear and I am able to recall the details of it still.

I woke up in a forest, it was a strange place. All of the trees were in perfect rows and looked like exact copies of each other down to the leafs being in the same place. I had never seen anything like it, but I wasn't scared, I felt perfectly calm (I could go into more detail but its not important). I stood up and looked at the ground. My friend and his wife were sleeping on the ground (somehow I knew they were not in any danger). I pulled a book bag off of my back and unzipped it. I reached in and pulled a big book out of it. As I flipped through the blank pages of the book I found one that wasn't. It had a big black arrow pointing to the right. I closed the book and put it back into the bag, slung the bag over my shoulder and started to walk in the direction that the arrow had pointed. As I walked the first thought arose since I arrived. "Don't burden yourself with worry, if you keep going that way you will find the path again"

The dream/vision ended and I sat up feeling oddly clam. I wiped the tears from my face, all of the feelings of sadness and anger were just...gone. At this point things become a little fuzzy in my memory. I do remember after some time had passed, 15-30 minutes of sitting there with this new pervasive clam feeling, I became aware of awarness for the first time. It was shocking seeing something that had been with me my whole life for the first time,even in this clam. What followed this shocking discovery goes into a place words cannot. The best I can do is to say this: It was like a dam burst in my mind, and there was a overwhelming amount of information. I spent the next three days in my room just walking and sitting in my chair. I didn't eat much (ate when I was hungry) and slept about 3-4 hours a day (I just didn't feel sleepy).

After the three days I felt like a very different person.This happened without any understanding of Buddhism and meditation (that I knew of at the time) I did end up learning and studying Buddhism and meditation from Abhayagiri monnastery in California. I have continued to deepin my understanding of this event the last 7 years.

The last thing is that, in no way am I saying this was what some call enlightenment ( or stage 4) I haven't studied the maps, but I am here to learn more about them.

Thank you for reading and remember to be kind to yourself.

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/27/19 2:22 PM as a reply to Michial N.
Hi Michial,

First, sorry to hear about the first part of the story. In my experience, it seems that the nicest people often don't get enough reward for their niceness. I believe that many, me included, have a tendency to take very kind people for granted - just like we don't thank our mothers enough, isn't it ?? Which is too bad, but finding friends who will acknowledge and value goodness is definitely possible, thought not necesarily always very easy !

So, it sounds like you had some glimmers of truth there, that you saw something very deep about reality which you had never seen before. This manifested for you through a kind of vision, followed by direct perception of "awareness", followed by a very intense event with almost psychedelic qualities i think. And seeing that changed you for good. It also acted like a magnet drawing you towards spirituality in a way that you weren't before at all, maybe. 

This sounds very very much like what we here call by the technical name of "insight into the arising and passing away of formations" (courtesy of the theravadan tradition), or A&P. It's a classic and important meditative territory wich culminates in a kind of event which may manifest in many different ways - for you it was that kind of explosion of consciousness. 

May I ask what followed this experience ? Were there difficult times soon thereafter ? Maybe some periods of existential angst ?

You could read this if you're interested - it's a very detailed description of this region : https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1509672  

The author is the guy who created this great forum. He also wrote a book called mastering the core teachings of the buddha, which you might be interested to check out if you want to learn a thing or two... It's available online. Be warned, it's quite radical, and written with a voice, but also amazingly empowering in many ways.

Cheers !


RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/28/19 3:28 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Thanks for your reply Oliver.

No need to feel sorry for me, that's just how life felt at that time. It's in the past and only lives as a story now. Honestly I am happy it did feel that way, I wouldn't be at this point in my life without it. It's one of the things I am most grateful for.

It also acted like a magnet drawing you towards spirituality in a way that you weren't before at all, maybe. 

Yes and no, it's was more like spirituality found me. I ended up going to live with my brother in California and he had a friend that talked to me about Buddhism for the first time. It was the first time I heard  "All things are 
impermanent" and when I heard that I felt something deeply, I felt that I REALLY knew what that ment. I knew that what happen to me had something to do with Buddhism and that I needed to know more. So I started looking for a place I could go and learn about it.

May I ask what followed this experience ? Were there difficult times soon thereafter ? Maybe some periods of existential angst ?

What followed was my brother and I had a big argument. I packed my bags and walked out and became homeless. Not the worst place it could of happened. A few months passed and I found my way to the monastery to start my practice. I didn't know anything but I felt really strongly about becoming a monk. I thought "Well I dont have much so it wont be hard to give it up" I wouldn't say I felt that any of this was difficult, it just felt like what was happing and I knew everything would be just fine. No need to worry, just keep going, didn't leave any room for being scared or worry how it would happen.

He also wrote a book called mastering the core teachings of the buddha, which you might be interested to check out if you want to learn a thing or two... It's available online.

I started the audio book today, I like it.

Feel free to ask anything you like and thanks for the info






RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/28/19 4:34 AM as a reply to Michial N.
The human brain is relatively primitive. Psychology notes how negative experiences impact us greater and have more lasting impressions than good memories. We find ourselves among the same company, honestly, I feel you buddy. Though I'm sorry to hear about your old friend. Our personas mirror every encounter we make throughout this life so losing a friend is almost like losing a bit of yourself. This makes us brothers in sorrow I guess emoticon I too lost a close friend through a convoluted mess that sounds earily similar to yours, but I digress. 
"If you understand how frequently people cope by projecting, you would learn to take absolutely nothing personal"
When Life propels me into such misgivings, I like to tell myself "This is all just a memory, and im just looking back on it"


At that moment while you were sat at your desk, through your dramatic epic, you built up a proportion of momentous energy! Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be shifted. Behind that particular "I give up" was... DEVOTION emoticon and it seems to me what you experienced is known among this community as the Arising & Passing. So no this was not enlightenment, but by some cultures, you can call your experience an "Awakening". With absolute devotion, one can meditate for a SINGLE second and experience infinite spacial awareness. Time is a consequence of consciousness, but thats a topic for another thread.

These are merely my emoticoninterpretationsemoticon
First off I wanna get one thing clear, these experiences can be brought about consciously through practice, but an intense tennis match, running a marathon, or having a panic attack etc can also trigger these events in anyone.

"Body buzz": ive heard it be described as every cell vibrating, or like an earthquake throughout the body, and I know of one person who says it's like being strapped onto a rocket. I believe that was probably insight into the phenomena of sensation.

"Soul leaving the body":
Sounds to me like you accidentally expanded your boundaries of sensation, many folks describe it exactly as you did, incidentally, when I first experienced that, I could only call it as a force ripping my soul out of my physical body... haha.. The mind wants to categorize it, but you'd be wise to just observe and not hold on to any interpretations. Its usually met with fear at first and that's ok

"Vision":
seems to me this was a dream, as for all the trees looking alike, our brains are hardwired to pick up patterns, and where there are none, it WILL make its own. Why do we dream? Well... dreams are composed largely of this and that. Evolutionary purposes to help prepare for critical events and individual growth, also recycling daily occurrences to filter out and sort information. Dreams can be manipulated to degrees depending on what thoughts we take to sleep, things we've only glanced at while awake. 

"the book": now we're really digging into esoteric principals emoticon This book is a phenomenon in itself. These esoteric events are supported by an intuitive mind; think astral projecting, and warging into animals. These branch off of meditation practice and don't need to be worked with in order to achieve "Enlightenment". I personally regard these as fun hobbies to get into but nothing more... That all said and done, I believe the book you found was the "Infinity book" 
It is a book that has exactly what you need. Simply that! It can have the most amazing fantasy stories you can imagine that grip your attention, or it can be an endless book filled with pages of universal history OR it can be absolutely blank with words appearing as you go.
I've reached this book twice, once purely through meditation and another time through psychedelics. I know others who have found this book and after recounting my personal experience with others, I can say it does exist. But as I said, it is based on an intuitive mind. Within us is pure consciousness, pure intelligence. Our dna holds more information in the form of genetic memory, more information our brains have. This intelligence can be tapped into, how it is expressed is up to the individual honestly, just as interpretations. My guess is that a book is just the easiest way for our patterned driven brain to comprehend the phenomena

So it all added up to self-realization. And makes sense because after a cleanse, people tend to eat less for pleasure and more for sustainability. And cleansing also helps one's energies to be more vibrant, hence why you slept less

Enlightenment has many flavors. You can become a supreme Buddhist monk but that only allows you to taste the vanilla! Try as many different ideologies as you can! Just remember to not attach yourself to any Interpretations and don't believe what any guru tells you until such things enter YOUR experience. skepticism is ok, but no room for doubt, only practice and practise.

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/28/19 5:17 AM as a reply to Michial N.
It's quite common. Major life stressors cause a rupture in the defense mechanisms, and this leads to a hypomanic episode.

It sounds like you're a much happier person now, and that's a good thing.

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/28/19 2:39 PM as a reply to Mista Tibbs.
Thanks for your reply Mista Tibbs.

I liked your interpretations, especially about the "Infinity book". I have never heard of it before.

I am happy I have a name for this event now. It's been 7 years since it took place, but its always bugged me a little that no one else seem to have had something similar happen. Not that I spoke with anyway. Its good to know that others here have shared something like this. 

There are many other things that happen just after the A&P event but I didn't feel the need to list them. I have come to understand that they are of no real benefit, only part of a chain of cause and effect. This also includes the A&P event itself.

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/28/19 2:50 PM as a reply to Derek2.
Thanks Derek

I am much happier. I took 5 years and worked on myself. Met some great friends along the way. I have returned to "the world" a much better version of myself. I have a great job, great wife, great kid and peace of mind. 

You know your doing something right when the main thing your wife gets mad about is that your "to claim". emoticon

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/28/19 3:32 PM as a reply to Michial N.
Michial Neal:
Thanks Derek

I am much happier. I took 5 years and worked on myself. Met some great friends along the way. I have returned to "the world" a much better version of myself. I have a great job, great wife, great kid and peace of mind. 

You know your doing something right when the main thing your wife gets mad about is that your "to claim". emoticon


Are you able to describe your current experience? How do you percieve the world and other people? How does space and time appear to you? What relationship does your mind have with feelings?

Thanks. I'm very curious.

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/28/19 4:36 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Are you able to describe your current experience? How do you percieve the world and other people? How does space and time appear to you? What relationship does your mind have with feelings?
Thanks. I'm very curious.
I have never been asked a question like this. I will be happy to try... and fail at it.

How do you percieve the world and other people? 

I see the world and other people as I always have, even before the A&P (just as a "unawakened" person would). The only different is that I know/see them at there most fundamental level are the same as I am. Seeming to appear and act as different and separate.

How does space and time appear to you?

This is hard to put into words that have not been said over and over. Space and time doesn't exist past the level of mind. There is only one moment that is happening in the space that we call now.

What relationship does your mind have with feelings?

Feelings arise along side thoughts. Thoughts and feelings are not something you can get away from. They are an intimate part of the human experience. The best you can do is understand them and embrace them as another part of your experience.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you.

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/29/19 3:27 AM as a reply to Michial N.
Michial Neal:
Are you able to describe your current experience? How do you percieve the world and other people? How does space and time appear to you? What relationship does your mind have with feelings?
Thanks. I'm very curious.
I have never been asked a question like this. I will be happy to try... and fail at it.

How do you percieve the world and other people? 

I see the world and other people as I always have, even before the A&P (just as a "unawakened" person would). The only different is that I know/see them at there most fundamental level are the same as I am. Seeming to appear and act as different and separate.

How does space and time appear to you?

This is hard to put into words that have not been said over and over. Space and time doesn't exist past the level of mind. There is only one moment that is happening in the space that we call now.

What relationship does your mind have with feelings?

Feelings arise along side thoughts. Thoughts and feelings are not something you can get away from. They are an intimate part of the human experience. The best you can do is understand them and embrace them as another part of your experience.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you.
I think it's tricky to call-out - with some measure of conviction - someone's experience of these things without having some extraordinary siddhi abilities. One can only give references to your experience so that you can try to piece together something that is meaningful for you. Perhaps there isn't any need for you to do that or perhaps there is.

Many awakened people feel a sort of need through compassion to express themselves in some way. Some people write books, teach or share in other ways. Not all awakened people are so active; some are passive and that’s fine too. This compassion and the actions that it produces is a basic human instinct arising from the observation of other people’s sufferings. I use the word ‘awakened’ in this paragraph to refer to a fully and completely realized person without a personal sense of self and I realize that there are huge holes in that definition. 

Many people have an experience which can be described as deeply profound and life changing but once things have settled down there exists this inner unsatisfactoriness that something is left undone – suffering if you like - and so there is a quest to find an answer to who or what you are in the deepest possible sense. This is where you find most people here on this forum.

I suppose where I’m directing you here is what motivated you to come to the forum and share your experience? I don't think there is a specific need to define yourself any any concrete way in this respect and so maybe this is a question for quiet inner contemplation. Whatever you choose is fine.

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/29/19 3:32 PM as a reply to Bardo.
I suppose where I’m directing you here is what motivated you to come to the forum and share your experience?

Simple, I stumbled upon a podcast with Daniel Ingram. He seemed like someone who didn't BS and gave straight answers. I had never found anyone that could tell me what this thing was (the A&P event). Either they didn't know or didn't want to tell me. 

There was one other strange event, different from this A&P thing, but I finished Daniel's book Mastering the core teachings of the buddha, and feel I have my answer to this one.

RE: Spontaneous Enlightenment?
Answer
10/30/19 3:39 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Many awakened people feel a sort of need through compassion to express themselves in some way. Some people write books, teach or share in other ways. Not all awakened people are so active; some are passive and that’s fine too. This compassion and the actions that it produces is a basic human instinct arising from the observation of other people’s sufferings. I use the word ‘awakened’ in this paragraph to refer to a fully and completely realized person without a personal sense of self and I realize that there are huge holes in that definition.

I would also be happy to help in what ways I can, although sharing my storys and experience might be the best way I can do that. I found my way mostly on my own, and Daniels maps are extremely clear. If you found him early in your practice you are very lucky, and in a much better place then I was starting out.