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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

No-self, where on "map" and how to reach (again)


I'm a novice to vipassana meditation (to any meditation really, but have some experience w/ changed mindstates in lucid dreams and psychedelics) and have a question that I hope you can help me with. I've only been meditating (closed eyes, sitting, building concentration, focusing on breath) for a few month, in total maybe 100h (starting w/ 15min at a time and now up to 45min). So far I can't really say that I've reached any of the jhanas. However, a few weeks ago I had an experience of no-self - I was a few minutes into my breath meditation and suddendly was without self.. An experience I was totally unprepared for (I have not experienced it w/ psychedelics, sticking to non-heroic doses..), and it was very much not how I had envisioned it (I hadn't really envisioned tbh, or at least not paid it very much thought).. For example, I still heard the radio faintly in the background, I still felt my breath, only w/o a center / observer. Before the experience I would have thought it to cause a bigger "disconnect" from "ordinary reality". The no-self only lasted for a few seconds as I guess I was a bit startled and snapped out of it due to that. However the experience stuck with me and is something I'd really like to find myself (or non-self..) in again and probe deeper. I have meditated maybe 25h or so since then but have not been able to go back. At some times I can find my feeling of self becoming a bit "fuzzy", but nothing close to dissolution.

So after this wall of text, I guess my questions come down to this:
- Is it possible from my description to say "where" this was?
- What way forward would you recommend for me, both to experience this again (any shortcuts? :-) and also in general?

Thanks for a very interesting board, I'll be sure to read through as much as I can muster. :-) (I've read MCTB1 but have actually started reading MCTB2 now as I didn't now an upgrade existed..)

RE: No-self, where on "map" and how to reach (again)
1/3/20 6:15 AM as a reply to Serenity Now.
In general, the maps don't work too well for non-retreat practice. In home practice, the mind tends to move up and down the nanas in a much more unpredictable ways... and people don't tend to have a "place" on the map that is stable. 

But, that said, my hunch is you had a momentary experience of the Equanimity Nana. Experiencing "presence" in a full way can be quite amazing. Very clear and spacious.

The interesting thing is that presence is available all the time, but we are usually applying some technique or strategy to get there in the future... which means we never get there _right_now_. So in general, to make this experience more likely to happen, it involves using less effort but still staying curious about the present moment, right now, as it is.

RE: No-self, where on "map" and how to reach (again)
1/5/20 7:57 AM as a reply to Serenity Now.
I hate to disagree with Shargrol, but I'm not sure that what you describe is equanimity or something else entirely. I've had your experience, post stream entry, and it came and went on its own, sometimes during meditation and sometimes not. Getting back to it wasn't anything I could control. Take a look at Adyashanti's TheEndofYourWorld. Equanimity for me has always been gently vibratory, a flow state in which I watch the world go by. 

RE: No-self, where on "map" and how to reach (again)
1/6/20 9:41 AM as a reply to Serenity Now.
Thanks to both of you for your answers, even though they differ. I will look into the book recommendation as well as read about the Equanimity Nana to see how/if it fits to my experience.

It was also interesting to read about retreat vs non-retreat meditation "maps"/development. Can you recommend any source for further study?

I will spend some thought on the future vs right now, it feels easy to grasp it logically but to really experience it is another matter..


RE: No-self, where on "map" and how to reach (again)
1/8/20 6:12 AM as a reply to Serenity Now.
Hmm... I'm not sure about a good source for non-retreat medtiation maps/development... it's just my experience that the distractions and variabilities in non-retreat life has an effect on being able to precisely map where people are. That said, the progress of insight maps are the best thing available, so basically those are good guidelines, just know that it's going to be more sloppy in actual experience.

Future vs. now ican be pretty conceptual... really the answer is consistent, non-heroic, daily practice. There is no way around it, making progress requires a dedicated daily practice. 

Be sure to check out the maps, because dedicated practice often leads to difficult mindstates -- the so-called dukkha nanas -- and these can be very challenging, especially if we don't have mediation friends or teachers that we can discuss this stuff with.

Hope this helps. Be sure to really understand the maps before going into dedicated practice. Forewarned is forearmed.