reality 'breaking' and q about equanimity

Allison Wing, modified 10 Years ago.

reality 'breaking' and q about equanimity

Posts: 4 Join Date: 5/2/11 Recent Posts
Hi there people,

I've mustered up the courage to ask you guys some questions, as I see that this community is full of interesting knowledge. I've had an experience about a year ago, that I'm still curious about.

I was sitting in public transport, sleep deprived, after a day of office work. There was a girl sitting a couple of seats away with skin like a porcelain doll. For some reason, that triggered something. Reality seemed to 'break', like glass, but then... continuously (if that makes any sense). It was beautiful, soft and unbearable at the same time, relentless. I noticed it swallowed everything: the music from my mp3-player, thoughts of not making my connection on the station, things forward in time, back in time, other people in the tram. It lasted for about... ten minutes (is what I now recall).

It did not, though, feel like a big deal at all. It felt a bit like stumbling upon a nice flower, be surprised, smell it, and then walk on again.

It reminded me of the crispness of some haikus, and I have the idea there's references to this somewhere, probably in Zen literature, but maybe also somewhere else. I looked around, but I haven't been able to find it.

Maybe you have any idea? Or, and that might be entirely possible, am I looking in the wrong body of knowledge to find out what it is, and is this just my brain telling me to get more sleep? ;)



Some background about my practice (since otherwise it might be hard to say anything about this at all):

I have been sitting for about six years. Started out alone, with a self-fashioned kind of Zen. Migrated to theravada/vipassana. Last two years I've been on retreats - 4 in total, of which 2 silent ones, and a couple of daylongs. I wouldn't say I'm doing very intense practice. I sit a couple of times a week, about 45 minutes each time.

Before I went on my last retreat (very recently), I had a feeling of being very ok with everything for months already. It was new, I know I haven't felt it before, but it felt so... normal. 'Equanimity' as the dictionary word did describe it pretty well, but one of the teachers referred to it as the actual jhana. I wondered if he was right, since I've not been practicing that long and even been more relaxed about practice recently. I read MCTB a year and a half ago, so I'm a bit familiar with the maps. It was disconcerting to read about the Dark Night. I recognized a lot (but not everything), going back many, many years, except, well, for all the bliss and the fireworks. (That might be why I remember the breaking-glass-reality thing, I usually miss out on all the good stuff! Hahaha.) And I really don't remember passing any A&P.

Right now, the 'equanimity' (for lack of a better word) is changing into a kind of... resignation. Less patience and motivation, a bit agitated and dissatisfied, a slight desire to quit my job and hit the road (that is very familiar again, though I tend to see it as an insecurity issue). So I wonder - if this indeed is that jhana - whether I'm moving 'down' again, and if so, what to do. Or if I'm somewhere else, moving... where?
thumbnail
Eran G, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: reality 'breaking' and q about equanimity

Posts: 182 Join Date: 1/5/10 Recent Posts
Hi Allison,

Welcome to the Dho!

Sounds like this experience that you had, whatever it was, still is with you at some level. Looking back on the time that passed since then, have you noticed any changes in yourself? in your practice? in the way that you relate to the world?

As for the experience, you say:

Allison A.:
Reality seemed to 'break', like glass, but then... continuously (if that makes any sense). It was beautiful, soft and unbearable at the same time, relentless. I noticed it swallowed everything: the music from my mp3-player, thoughts of not making my connection on the station, things forward in time, back in time, other people in the tram. It lasted for about... ten minutes (is what I now recall).


This reminds me of experiences of deep equanimity, of seeing the Suchness (also called Thusness or tathata in pali) of things. The layer of Perception (labels, comparisons, ideas about things, etc.) becomes less prominent and the experience is more immediate, more clear, direct, more real and somehow not quite real at the same time (all this is from my own experience, of course).

Allison A.:

It did not, though, feel like a big deal at all. It felt a bit like stumbling upon a nice flower, be surprised, smell it, and then walk on again.


Yep, it's a great way to appreciate the world. It comes, it's there and then it's gone, just like everything else. There may be some appreciation of the experience, some lasting joy in the heart for a little bit after that, feeling that one is "lucky" to have experienced that and that's it.

Allison A.:

It reminded me of the crispness of some haikus, and I have the idea there's references to this somewhere, probably in Zen literature, but maybe also somewhere else. I looked around, but I haven't been able to find it.


Yep, it's been described many many times but not in so many words. You may have noticed that words are not quite adequate to describe the experience.

Hope this helps,
Eran.
Allison A., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: reality 'breaking' and q about equanimity

Posts: 4 Join Date: 5/2/11 Recent Posts
Eran G:
Hi Allison,

Welcome to the Dho!



Hi Eran, tnx for making me feel welcome!

Eran G:
Sounds like this experience that you had, whatever it was, still is with you at some level. Looking back on the time that passed since then, have you noticed any changes in yourself? in your practice? in the way that you relate to the world?


Afterwards, I indeed wondered whether this would change anything, whether I would encounter it more often or my perception would have altered. I couldn't find anything like that, at least not immediately or directly related.

Me and my practice were in the process of changing a lot though, so it's hard to tell what is related to what. I have put quite some work in improving my physical and mental health, and I encountered likeminded friends to study the dharma with.

Relating to the world? Easier and easier - my parents are so happy ;) (No idea where I am on the maps. Finally moving out of the Dark Night?)


Eran G:
This reminds me of experiences of deep equanimity, of seeing the Suchness (also called Thusness or tathata in pali) of things. The layer of Perception (labels, comparisons, ideas about things, etc.) becomes less prominent and the experience is more immediate, more clear, direct, more real and somehow not quite real at the same time (all this is from my own experience, of course).


Yes! Suchness! Very much so. Sitting there, suddenly getting it: oh, so THIS is what they mean! And yea, i still feel 'lucky' to have experienced it.

Eran G:
Yep, it's been described many many times but not in so many words. You may have noticed that words are not quite adequate to describe the experience.


Indeed, words are... well, it didn't make me think about poetry for nothing. emoticon
But I reckoned that here, there might be some people who experienced this, and know what I mean.

Thanks Eran!
thumbnail
tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: reality 'breaking' and q about equanimity

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Allison A.:
Hi there people,

I've mustered up the courage to ask you guys some questions, as I see that this community is full of interesting knowledge. I've had an experience about a year ago, that I'm still curious about.

I was sitting in public transport, sleep deprived, after a day of office work. There was a girl sitting a couple of seats away with skin like a porcelain doll. For some reason, that triggered something. Reality seemed to 'break', like glass, but then... continuously (if that makes any sense). It was beautiful, soft and unbearable at the same time, relentless. I noticed it swallowed everything: the music from my mp3-player, thoughts of not making my connection on the station, things forward in time, back in time, other people in the tram. It lasted for about... ten minutes (is what I now recall).

made of flowing flowering broken glass, these impressions that neither fade nor last


Allison A.:

It did not, though, feel like a big deal at all. It felt a bit like stumbling upon a nice flower, be surprised, smell it, and then walk on again.

It reminded me of the crispness of some haikus, and I have the idea there's references to this somewhere, probably in Zen literature, but maybe also somewhere else. I looked around, but I haven't been able to find it.

as this flow slows you may start to wonder, why the crispness has faded into a sputter


Allison A.:

Maybe you have any idea? Or, and that might be entirely possible, am I looking in the wrong body of knowledge to find out what it is, and is this just my brain telling me to get more sleep? ;)

the answer may lie in your rate of perception .. or could it be to see clearly is to look all at once in every direction?


Allison A.:

Some background about my practice (since otherwise it might be hard to say anything about this at all):

I have been sitting for about six years. Started out alone, with a self-fashioned kind of Zen. Migrated to theravada/vipassana. Last two years I've been on retreats - 4 in total, of which 2 silent ones, and a couple of daylongs. I wouldn't say I'm doing very intense practice. I sit a couple of times a week, about 45 minutes each time.

Before I went on my last retreat (very recently), I had a feeling of being very ok with everything for months already. It was new, I know I haven't felt it before, but it felt so... normal. 'Equanimity' as the dictionary word did describe it pretty well, but one of the teachers referred to it as the actual jhana. I wondered if he was right, since I've not been practicing that long and even been more relaxed about practice recently. I read MCTB a year and a half ago, so I'm a bit familiar with the maps. It was disconcerting to read about the Dark Night. I recognized a lot (but not everything), going back many, many years, except, well, for all the bliss and the fireworks. (That might be why I remember the breaking-glass-reality thing, I usually miss out on all the good stuff! Hahaha.) And I really don't remember passing any A&P.

Right now, the 'equanimity' (for lack of a better word) is changing into a kind of... resignation. Less patience and motivation, a bit agitated and dissatisfied, a slight desire to quit my job and hit the road (that is very familiar again, though I tend to see it as an insecurity issue). So I wonder - if this indeed is that jhana - whether I'm moving 'down' again, and if so, what to do. Or if I'm somewhere else, moving... where?

get back across the a&p, take another run at the gap, cross the chasm to stream-entry
Allison A., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: reality 'breaking' and q about equanimity

Posts: 4 Join Date: 5/2/11 Recent Posts
tarin greco:
the answer may lie in your rate of perception .. or could it be to see clearly is to look all at once in every direction?


Rate of perception crossed my mind - since I was sleep deprived. No idea if that can influence it. The vibrations mentioned in MCTB are not something I've experienced though.

Breadcrumb