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What is your opinion of my experiences?

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What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/29/19 4:46 AM
Firstly I am so thankful I’ve found this forum, I’ve tried to speak with other meditators regardig my experiences but I’m often met with blank faces, as such have learnt to be very discerning on who I share with. 
I’ve been meditating for 5 years, but the last year I have had a very regular practice. Here are my experiences both during meditation and outside. 
Sitting in meditation:   
  • The feeling of sitting in space, being enveloped in a warm healing type beautiful energy. There is lots of beautiful light, no thoughts, all is serene, I have a sense of self observing and feeling the experience. Emotional - tears, hard to come out of the meditation, a sense of deep bliss and love. 
  •  My self (the observer) disapeared. I lost track and all sense of time, I have no memory of the meditation, except a vauge recollection of very low level thought mumblings about half way through. 30 minutes went by in what seemed like a few seconds (I was not asleep, as I have entered a sleep like space in meditation before and come to slightly groggy, this was a different feeling) 
  • It was as if my conciousness pulled the curtains of thought apart and a projection of a show unfolded, except I could choose to control the visions, or I could go with it and see it all unfold. I had no mind chatter. It also felt very real, as if I was in a different world. It was very emotional, I had many tears running down my face, gasps - lots of feeling. (I actually started shamanic work after this experience using journeying/active imagination but I’ll stick to describing meditation for now). 
  • Just two days ago, I decided to face my fears and properly allow my mind to open..  I did some EFT (tapping before). I basically meditated on my body decomposing, nightmares, my mind put on a bit of a horror show, with every beat of my heart I saw suffering and felt deep pain. I also felt I was other people, I became a different person every new moment. 
Variations of the above have happened at various points, sometimes meditations are just annoying and full of mind chatter, othertime they are intense. 

When not meditating:   
  • A hyper sense of acuity, I see the detail in things I never saw before - nature is breathtaking - I see the intricate patterns in the bark of trees, the veins of the leaves, it’s all come alive and it’s so  beautiful. I see the universe in my sons eyes. 
  • My vision is also more panoramic, like it’s sudennly gone wide screen.
  • I am directly from a meditation retreat, but this feeling has happened at other points this past year.  Its like my skin has been ripped off, I am so sensitive, I can feel the pain and suffering of the world and I feel absolutely hopeless. I cry all of them time, I am actually in a mess. I have a huge amount of anxiety (I am an anxiety sufferer anyway, but now it’s absolutely through the roof). I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. Long terms digestive problems are back (bad guts from anxiety). I lose a stone in weight (I am 9st 2, I go to 8st 4). I am too scared to meditate. I stop for a while, but gradually start again, gently by locating the anxiety in my body and staying with it. I also do grounding teqniques, self care, being kind to myself. 
  • The world slows down and everything becomes beautiful. The elderly man who is dirty and ragged looks beautiful and serene. It’s as if I can see through their conditioned mind to their real being. Often in my body I’ll get waves of energy flowing through me - like when the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end in a nice way - this kind of thing happens all over. My mind is completely clear, no chatterbox mind - it’s gone. I am aware it’s gone. This kind of experience is not lasting, however each time it happens it lasts longer and now it’s about an hour I am in the zone. 
  • Other experiences happen as well which are super hard to describe. I guess I can say I am so firmly rooted in the present, I get the beautiful thing happen quite a bit now.. But then it can expand into something else - just a glimpse, which I can’t quite describe yet. 

Thank you for reading. I’ve no idea where I’ve got too - I had no idea a map existed until a few weeks ago and now I am just curious at where people think I am at. I can’t tell you how good it is to write this out and be able to share without the thought people will think I’ve completely lost my mind. 

Zoe

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/23/19 4:32 PM as a reply to Zoe.
Zoe R:
Firstly I am so thankful I’ve found this forum, I’ve tried to speak with other meditators regardig my experiences but I’m often met with blank faces, as such have learnt to be very discerning on who I share with. 
I’ve been meditating for 5 years, but the last year I have had a very regular practice. Here are my experiences both during meditation and outside. 
Sitting in meditation:   
  • The feeling of sitting in space, being enveloped in a warm healing type beautiful energy. There is lots of beautiful light, no thoughts, all is serene, I have a sense of self observing and feeling the experience. Emotional - tears, hard to come out of the meditation, a sense of deep bliss and love. 
  •  My self (the observer) disapeared. I lost track and all sense of time, I have no memory of the meditation, except a vauge recollection of very low level thought mumblings about half way through. 30 minutes went by in what seemed like a few seconds (I was not asleep, as I have entered a sleep like space in meditation before and come to slightly groggy, this was a different feeling) 
  • It was as if my conciousness pulled the curtains of thought apart and a projection of a show unfolded, except I could choose to control the visions, or I could go with it and see it all unfold. I had no mind chatter. I saw a lot of light, the archetypes of knowledge (a skeletal bone woman, a woman with a face of snakes, A goddess, I was not there alone, the feeling of many souls past). It also felt very real, as if I was in a different world. It was very emotional, I had many tears running down my face, gasps - lots of feeling. (I actually started shamanic work after this experience using journeying/active imagination but I’ll stick to describing meditation for now). 
  • Just two days ago, I decided to face my fears and properly allow my mind to open.. (I think often I try and stop thoughts as I’ve been a obbsessive ruminator in the past). I did some EFT (tapping before). I basically meditated on my body decomposing, nightmares, my mind put on a bit of a horror show, with every beat of my heart I saw suffering and felt deep pain. I also felt I was other people, I became a different person every new moment. 
Variations of the above have happened at various points, sometimes meditations are just annoying and full of mind chatter, othertime they are intense. 

When not meditating:   
  • A hyper sense of acuity, I see the detail in things I never saw before - nature is breathtaking - I see the intricate patterns in the bark of trees, the veins of the leaves, it’s all come alive and it’s so  beautiful. I see the universe in my sons eyes. 
  • My vision is also more panoramic, like it’s sudennly gone wide screen.
  • I am directly from a meditation retreat, but this feeling has happened at other points this past year.  Its like my skin has been ripped off, I am so sensitive, I can feel the pain and suffering of the world and I feel absolutely hopeless. I cry all of them time, I am actually in a mess. I have a huge amount of anxiety (I am an anxiety sufferer anyway, but now it’s absolutely through the roof). I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. Long terms digestive problems are back (bad guts from anxiety). I lose a stone in weight (I am 9st 2, I go to 8st 4). I am too scared to meditate. I stop for a while, but gradually start again, gently by locating the anxiety in my body and staying with it. I also do grounding teqniques, self care, being kind to myself. 
  • The world slows down and everything becomes beautiful. The elderly man who is dirty and ragged looks beautiful and serene. It’s as if I can see through their conditioned mind to their real being. Often in my body I’ll get waves of energy flowing through me - like when the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end in a nice way - this kind of thing happens all over. My mind is completely clear, no chatterbox mind - it’s gone. I am aware it’s gone. This kind of experience is not lasting, however each time it happens it lasts longer and now it’s about an hour I am in the zone. 
  • Other experiences happen as well which are super hard to describe. I guess I can say I am so firmly rooted in the present, I get the beautiful thing happen quite a bit now.. But then it can expand into something else - just a glimpse, which I can’t quite describe yet. 

Thank you for reading. I’ve no idea where I’ve got too - I had no idea a map existed until a few weeks ago and now I am just curious at where people think I am at. I can’t tell you how good it is to write this out and be able to share without the thought people will think I’ve completely lost my mind. 

Zoe


aloha zoe,

   If your spiritual efforts are making you physically unhealthy, that is not the middle way. You might consider dialling back your practices to something that supports bodily health. Mens sana in corpore sano.

   Achieving spiritual heights can be in vain, if they come at the expense of sanity and health.

   There is anxiety and there is anxiety. You might try setting anxiety aside when you meditate. Deal with anxiety after your mind is at peace. 

   I don't really have an opinion about your experiences. They are already at second hand with you descrivbing them, and what do I know? If they make you happy, that is fine with me.


terry

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/23/19 4:45 PM as a reply to terry.
Aloha Terry, 

Thank you for your answer, alas the root of my physical issues is not meditation but complications with having my son, anxiety which manifested as physical problems.  This is one of the reasons I started meditation - to de stress.  Rather fantastically I have managed to cure myself through a heart based meditation that my son and I do together, that has been very healing. 
I am fascinated by the mind, body connection and finding balance with meditation and movement, which means I dance a lot and do lots of physical activities ; ) 

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/24/19 1:10 AM as a reply to Zoe.
Welcome, Zoe.

During this journey you will experience a myriad of interesting experiences. Sharing these with people can also produce an interesting array of responses. Most people just don't know what to say. Some people never speak to me again. Some feel threatened. I've even experienced envy in people.

The envy is something that made me see a little clearer about my own relationship to my spiritual-type experiences. I thought to myself, "why would this person be envious?" They were envious because I was claiming to have something that they wanted. The truth is I didn't have anything but a bunch of words that attempt to describe some arcane experience; I had name and form - the very construct that drives the divisions between inner and outer.

Now, I'm not discounting those experiences and those you've mentioned have all passed through me at some point. However, those experiences are pointers. They give clues to something that lies far beyond their ephemeral counterparts. At some point, you may learn to drop your relationship to those experiences. Many don't. They speak about them for a very long time. They define a character from those experiences and live as 'the one who's seen' or 'the one who has powers' thus they lose themselves in name and form. Firstly, never underestimate the heavy anchor of name and form. The anchor isn't name and form itself but how we relate to name and form. Secondly, it is completely fine to share these experiences but see how you might be forming an identity of them. This process of self-forming can be very subtle. Thirdly, let go of these experiences as quickly as you possibly can. Doing so will allow further growth to occur and what follows will pale all of those experiences into insignificance. 

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/24/19 1:59 AM as a reply to Zoe.
Zoe R:
Aloha Terry, 

Thank you for your answer, alas the root of my physical issues is not meditation but complications with having my son, anxiety which manifested as physical problems.  This is one of the reasons I started meditation - to de stress.  Rather fantastically I have managed to cure myself through a heart based meditation that my son and I do together, that has been very healing. 
I am fascinated by the mind, body connection and finding balance with meditation and movement, which means I dance a lot and do lots of physical activities ; ) 

   I myself really got into formal meditation seriously - an hour or more every day - when I had a heart condition that doubled and tripled my heart rate. Meditation practice saved my life. So I can relate. And with your clarification, my opinion is that your practice is going well.

   Anxiety is not precisely a physical condition, though it certainly has physical effects. Meditation can seem to increase anxiety in the short term, as one sits with what arises. Over time, the practice of not obsessing on thoughts diminishes the stewing and brooding that makes anxiety a problem.

   There are times when I deliberately induce, or allow to emerge, significant amounts of anxiety, based on the unsettling experience that nothing really means anything, and there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. I find it bracing. Don't want to take too much comfort in routine and habit. Everything you have can go up in smoke in a heartbeat. Probably will. (Two years ago I received a civil defense alert on my cell phone, woke me up. I read: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill." All in caps. I remember wondering what sort of shelter I had immediately available that might conceivably do any good. Some plastic, duct tape, plywood? Perhaps a lava tube?)

   All the psychedelic fireworks - to my mind - are pretty much a sideshow. They can be entertaining or frightening, angels and demons. Best not to take any of that stuff - aka "content" - too seriously. Even the less comic effects can be entertaining if you don't take them to heart. I took lots of lsd back in the old hippie days and I liked it for recreational reasons, not for any attempts to achieve spiritual goals. Really, once you have your first cessation, there is nowhere further to go. One can only return. (Come to think of it, all forms of spirituality are recreational for me.)
 
   When people describe their insights, it is just so much poetry to me. The best kind. 

   What matters most is how insight has made you a better person. If you can tell us about that. "You are here" - everyone is at the center of their own map. The center is neither north nor south. Anyhows, there is nowhere to go.

not speaking for anyone but myself,
terry




from "the essential rumi" trans barks



THIS WE HAVE NOW


This we have now
is not imagination.

This is not
grief or joy.

Not a judging state,
or an elation,
or sadness.

Those come
and go.

This is the presence
that doesn’t.

It’s dawn, Husam,
here in the splendor of coral,
inside the Friend, the simple truth
of what Hallaj said.

What else could human beings want?
When grapes turn to wine,
they’re wanting
this.

When the nightsky pours by,
it’s really a crowd of beggars,
and they all want some of this!

This
that we are now
created the body, cell by cell,
like bees building a honeycomb.

The human body and the universe
grew from this, not this
from the universe and the human body.


(hallaj was a sufi saint executed for blasphemy after saying "I am the Truth.")

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/24/19 5:47 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Hi Bardo, 

I agree it's best to let go of these experiences and have no attachment to them. This can be quite hard, as they're completely new experiences and comparing experiences can be interesting (I usually find it hard to compare experiences as I don't hang out in meditation circles or go on reatreats - I'd love to, just very hard to get away, so I meditate at home, alone).  

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/24/19 6:01 PM as a reply to terry.
Hi, 

Re the anxiety, some of the bad stages I've described were a year ago now and generally now I experience good mental health.

Have you experienced times in meditation where you and the world disapear? No self, no time, no thought - it really is the oddest experience (although it feels void of an experience).  

You've asked me how meditation has made me a better person. I could write a long response, but as it's very late on Christmas eve, so I'll say that if I could have either £10 million, or my meditation/ spiritual life, I would choose the latter. My practice changed me/my life imeasurably to which I am grateful. 

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/24/19 10:20 PM as a reply to Zoe.
What's your end goal? If it's relaxation then it sounds like mission accomplished and some nice experiences.

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/26/19 12:53 AM as a reply to Zoe.
Zoe R:
Hi, 

Re the anxiety, some of the bad stages I've described were a year ago now and generally now I experience good mental health.

Have you experienced times in meditation where you and the world disapear? No self, no time, no thought - it really is the oddest experience (although it feels void of an experience).  

You've asked me how meditation has made me a better person. I could write a long response, but as it's very late on Christmas eve, so I'll say that if I could have either £10 million, or my meditation/ spiritual life, I would choose the latter. My practice changed me/my life imeasurably to which I am grateful. 


aloha zoe,

   Once I was in a state where I was perfectly aware but could not for the life of me remember my name or where I was. It was a dreamy, relaxed state, no anxiety at all. Very pleasant.

   When I was 20 I had an experience of "the void." At the time I had been spiralling down into existential dread. I had no interest in or knowledge of spirituality, but had been reading sartre, camus, beckett and similar and felt alienated, absurd and meaningless. It was like depression but I felt more numb than bad. There was no point to going places, taking drugs, reading, playing music or hanging out. Over months my mental state ground slower and slower and things seemed more and more meaningless. My apartment at the time faced a dune, on the other side of which spread the beach at pokai bay, near waianae. On this dune was a bush, and I was looking at the bush, thinking, 'that bush is so meaningless, I could just blot it out.' I went on to think, 'and if I blotted it out, it wouldn't be just blackness where it had been, it would be void...".

   At that point, I realized that I teetered on the edge of an abyss, that if I pursued this realization that this voidness underlaid all meaning, that there wasn't any fixed meaning at all; that I would henceforth be personally responsible for my reality, and could depend on nothing. This was a frightening prospect, but potentially empowering: I understood that I could now, as I thought, 'paint the world any colors I choose.' It was a red pill/ blue pill moment, and when I decided to let the world fade to voidness I felt great joy. I perceived the world as one solid thing, that space, the sky, the atmosphere, me, the planet itself, all were one whole, undifferentiatable. Sunlight poured over me like honey.

   That's all I remember of that, before waking up around a month later with friends around me, telling me, "that's alright for you, but the rest of us don't feel that way." I had no idea what they were talking about, and asked them what I had been saying, as I didn't remember anything and hadn't for a long time. They said I just kept saying that everything was perfectly fine and that all our problems were going to work out for the best.

   After this I read avidly in buddhism and other widom tradtions, and felt like I could validate all of them from personal experience, though what experience I really couldn't remember. It all just seems luminous and right.

   So, since then, I frequently try to conjure up that void. If I succeed, how would I know? But it remains the center of my meditation practice.

terry




from "the way of chuang tzu" trans merton:



WHEN KNOWLEDGE WENT NORTH


Knowledge wandered north
Looking for Tao, over the Dark Sea,
And up the Invisible Mountain.
There on the mountain he met
Non-Doing, the Speechless One.

He inquired:
"Please inform me, Sir,
By what system of thought
And what technique of meditation
I can apprehend Tao?
By what renunciation
Or what solitary retirement
May I rest in Tao?
Where must I start,
What road must I follow
To reach Tao?"
Such were his three questions.

Non-Doing, the Speechless One,
Made no reply.
Not only that,
He did not even know
How to reply!

Knowledge swung south
To the Bright Sea
And climbed the Luminous Mountain
Called "Doubt's End."
Here he met
Act-on-Impulse, the Inspired Prophet,
And asked the same questions.

"Ah," cried the Inspired One,
"I have the answers, and I will reveal them!"
But just as he was about to tell everything,
He forgot all he had in mind.
Knowledge got no reply.

So Knowledge went at last
To the palace of Emperor Ti,
And asked his questions of Ti.

Ti replied:
"To exercise no-thought
And follow no-way of meditation
Is the first step toward understanding Tao.
To dwell nowhere
And rest in nothing
Is the first step toward resting in Tao.
To start from nowhere
And follow no road
Is the first step toward attaining Tao."

Knowledge replied: "You know this
And now I know it.
But the other two,
They did not know it.
What about that?
Who is right?"

Ti replied:
Only Non-Doing, the Speechless One,
Was perfectly right.
He did not know.
Act-on-Impulse, the Inspired Prophet,
Only seemed right
Because he had forgotten.
As for us,
We come nowhere near being right,
Since we have the answers.
"For he who knows does not speak,
He who speaks does not know"
And "The Wise Man gives instruction
Without the use of speech." 

This story got back
To Act-on-Impulse
Who agreed with Ti's
Way of putting it.

It is not reported
That Non-Doing ever heard of the matter
Or made any comment.

[xxii. r.]

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/26/19 4:27 PM as a reply to terry.
Hi Terry, 

From your description re a void, our experiences are quite different. Our 20's were simmillar, I was also hedonistic and experimented rather a lot and also experienced feelings of alienation. Thanks for your response. 

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/26/19 4:44 PM as a reply to Milo.
Hi Milo, 

It's a good question and one I've been pondering. The goal has certainly changed, at first it was for relaxation and stress reduction.

I'd now say that my only aim is to allow my path to unfold naturally and enjoy the journey, which is what I feel I acheive. The main feeling I have at the moment is that I am everything I want, which is a peaceful place to be.  

The short term goal I have at the moment is opening the heart, by working more with pace and loving kindness and heart based meditations, which I look forward to as we go into the new year.  

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/28/19 1:27 AM as a reply to Zoe.
I feel it emoticon

Our experiences can present themselves through a mixture of our imagination, manifesting in colorful, beautiful dramas that remain unverifiable... but if an idea is a real thing, why can't these experiences be, if they are real to us? Who honestly gives a hoot about validation anyway?

Well, progress is still being made in brain imaging so that's fine too, until then, at least we are sane enough to know we are insane!

We can both start practice logs and see who is the more cracked up nut haha, just kidding. That was a great read, and I wouldn't mind reading more. It's also nice to hear your aspirations shifting higher

We must collectively realize that our normal everyday experience is relative and there are other ways to be in this world. This is something that meditation puts you in touch with.

Namaskar

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/28/19 2:24 PM as a reply to Zoe.
Zoe R:
Hi Bardo, 

I agree it's best to let go of these experiences and have no attachment to them. This can be quite hard, as they're completely new experiences and comparing experiences can be interesting (I usually find it hard to compare experiences as I don't hang out in meditation circles or go on reatreats - I'd love to, just very hard to get away, so I meditate at home, alone).  

Matthew 6:6 

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

RE: What is your opinion of my experiences?
Answer
12/28/19 2:41 PM as a reply to Zoe.
Zoe R:
Hi Terry, 

From your description re a void, our experiences are quite different. Our 20's were simmillar, I was also hedonistic and experimented rather a lot and also experienced feelings of alienation. Thanks for your response. 

    Well...since the void thing (so to speak) happened when I was twenty, my twenties took a rather different trajectory. Even at the time, I was in the navy, so hedonism was hardly an option. And I never felt alienated again. From what could I be alienated? Everything was Self,or nothing was.

   After that, my navy buddies and I exited military service, by hooks and by crooks, and formed  a commune which structured my life for the next fifteen years. 

amor y paz,
terry