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Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes

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I don't have all the material to really start this thread, especially a detailed description of the experience of my current practice. But i wanted to start the thread up anyways, as i believe it will help my motivation and help get a more disciplined approach to practice. I'll be using quotes to help keep this organized


General Practice Log:

Haven't had the discipline/time for regular practice the last week, but have gotten some sessions in here and there (without the planned aspect i would prefer). Current goal is to get up to 1 hour total a day, which should be quite possible.
My practice remains somewhat eclectic, and i'm becoming comfortable with that fact. I will, however, still keep up basic noting practice, as the tried-and-true method, both to have something to compare with, and to make sure i'm getting somewhere. I also need some better criteria to see whether a specific method is getting me anywhere.
I've started doing some kasina practice, which really seems to help my concentration, my concentrated states seem to be getting harder and deeper.


Description of the general experience of current practice
Will follow as soon as i get around to it. The idea of describing the experience in detail has been doing bad things for my motivation, as it seems to take quite a while to do. I seem to have at least partially succeeded in abandoning my jhana categories and over the coming weeks will be building them up again on a hopefully stronger foundation with your help (i think they were mostly solid, but i'm pretty sure starting over can only help)


Strange Experiences:

Emptiness?
Monday, while doing some shamatha-fueled insight practice, i saw both subject and object as "empty" at the same time. I did not think of it at the time, but i can't remember encountering this "emptiness" before - It didn't seem like a quality, it was more the lack of one. It was also like a "background" suddenly appearing against which things were seen as empty. I can't really describe this "emptiness" further, and don't know whether it's the same emptiness many other meditators speak of.
Context:At the time, this seemed quite neat, but didn't last that long. I was quite deep into the practice - it was my first time starting out with candle kasina, which seems to help my concentration a lot. Anyways, i was at a point where it seemed natural to note things like "being", "awareness", "location", and where noting these kinds of things actually did something . I was "cheating" a little bit. After trying to concentrate on the candlelight after closing my eyes (with varying degrees of success), i had moved the light up somewhere above my third eye. Then i happened upon using the "light" to illuminate/show the three characteristics of phenomena (I did make sure to see the three characteristics in the light first, actually, that was probably part of the process.


Strange Experiences:

Crown Chakra is inhabited
It appears that a higher-self-identity i created and used a lot while i was doing self-hypnosis has taken up residence in my crown chakra. By this i mean that when i call it up (to allow this "higher self" to guide/control my actions, i can now clearly feel it at that location. Also, when say the entity's name, my attention is directed to the crown in the same way that my identity is directed to a specific spot when i use "who am i?" to (learn to) locate the Witness.
I don't know the implications of this yet. So far, it doesn't seem to cause any problems, and it probably helps that i know the entity quite well, and that it is mostly good-natured, having been given "strength" and "substance" through self-hypnosis/visualization as a higher self/anima/guide and intermediary to higher powers.
Still, it's very strange that it appears to be located in the same sort of way as the "I".
Any recommendations, ideas or warnings are very much appreciated.


Technique Notes:

Dual-Object Shamatha
In the first Hurricane Ranch podcast on Daniel Ingram's site, Hokai Sobol describes a meditation technique that, among many other interesting things, involves concentrating on multiple objects and trying to make them merge, so that they're experienced as a single whole (the others in the podcast say this happens in 4th Jhana). Trying out this it so far seems to make the changes in the concentration state clearer, and also seems to help not get distracted, as the mind has more to do. I'll try it out some more.

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/6/11 9:18 PM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
Concentration Practice Description.
Right. After two failed attempts to record my impressions of jhana to help my memory, i'm just gonna write something down about the concentrated states i enter. Just so you avoid the same mistakes as me: check sound quality before beginning a longer recording.
I've refrained from all interpretation here. I obviously have some opinions, but i was hoping you could tell me your perspective on this.

These are from my beginning to learn to use the witness. I keep falling out of it, but usually it doesn't disturb the states too much. I reestablish being in the witness, and continue on. Sometimes it seems to make me shift state (down), but not sure. A lot of this falling-out seems to be when i say things for the microphone. I can't seem to keep proper track of the the changes in the shape of my focus like i can with some other objects i have used. Notice it a little, but it's not clear. Probably lack of practice with this object.

I hope i got the right "witness" this time. I locate it by asking "who am i", "where is this experienced". Then i sort of move in there, so that i am the one experiencing everything. Concentration states that i recognize from earlier seems to develop very naturally with this object, and the report below happened without any conscious pushing.

Jhana notes, Trying to use the Witness properly:

Anyways, as i can remember, it goes like this.
Establish focus. very quickly get floating sensation, then something seems to solidify, my focus seems harder. I start to get light tingling on the body, nice at first, turns into annoying "pleasurable" vibrations. These sensations come to a head, and instead there's the full-body floating sensation again.
This ends up in a state with pleasurable vibrations again, much like the first one. There's some floating, and sometimes more pleasurable vibrations, then after more floating, there begins to be a noticeable sense of peacefulness and clarity. It takes a while in this state to notice light bodily tingling, Eventually, this state, too, seems to reach it's conclusion, i get the floating again, and another state seems to show itself
The peacefulness is clearer here, and there seems to be a neutral attitude towards things - not a "don't care"-attitude, really.
Peacefulness seems mostly to be just outside the surface of my body, and inside the head, around the witness.
This state comes to a natural conclusion too, and there's a shift (can't remember if there's floating this time).
Now the focus is almost entirely in the head, the body seems much farther away. Also, the vision is a much less dominant part of my experience. Much more of experience seems to be inside the head, around the witness.
I notice a vague sense of expansiveness, and that the peacefulness has become subtler, and i don't remember it being anywhere except in my head.
More floating, states much like the first one, don't notice any more expansiveness. At some point, the physical sense of pressure around the witness seems to extend out to the sides to outside the head, and possible around the back of the head.
Next, more floating sensations. State solidifies again. I remember describing it as strange. I still notice sensations in the head, but there's also a sense of there being something around the witness i can't really get a grip on.
There's some more shifts with floating, states much like the last one, can't really tell them apart.
Eventually i arrive at something new. There seems to be a light tingling at the third eye, and the body is back in awareness again. I get the vague sense that this is a "place" in a way the other states weren't. Clearly different from the inside-the-head focused ones. Feels very nice, clear. Peace, very light bodily tingling.
Focus/tingling/pressure crawls up the head to the crown. There's a sense of being pulled up, still this very vague sense of a "place", but in this case i am floating above it. I'm pulled into a properly straight posture, remember describing this state as wanting to make sure i sit straight. I shift back to what is probably the previous state by falling out of the witness, then return.
I remember describing this as a peacefulness that comes from the absense of even the sense of peacefulness itself - English doesn't seem very useful at differentiating between all these different flavors of peacefulness and clarity.
Focus moves further back, down the spine. There's a tingling up and down the spine, that ends up centered on the lower back. I shift some more and end up in this state again, same focus/tingling on the outside of the spine.

After this, things get confusing. There's shifts, and movements of focus. At one point the witness seems to almost disappear, and instead there's a sense of some sort of "field" filling my head.

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/8/11 7:00 AM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
Oops, i think i've made a mess of the information i was trying to present again. ADHD moment, i'm afraid.
I wanted to make a practice thread to gather my notes, logs and observations in one place, both to organize my mind and practice, and to get better help on figuring out where i'm at, and get/share ideas on best practice.
Anyways, this thread is in some ways a continuation of this one, where i wondered if i had just gotten stream entry.
There, people asked me to write down what my concentration practice was like, as they were unsure whether i was actually getting into the states i was talking about.

So, does the description in the above post provide sufficient information to make some guess at what sort of states i'm in? It would be nice to know if you mean the things i think you mean when you talk about the jhanas

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/8/11 7:34 AM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
here's my take... keep in mind it isn't the final word!

[quote=Villum (redacted)]Anyways, as i can remember, it goes like this.
Establish focus. very quickly get floating sensation, then something seems to solidify, my focus seems harder.
access concentration

[quote=Villum (redacted)]I start to get light tingling on the body, nice at first, turns into annoying "pleasurable" vibrations.
light tingling indicates 1st/2nd jhana. i'm not sure why they became annoying so quickly - how long did that take? annoying pleasant vibrations might indicate late 2nd jhana. what was the quality of effort? did you initially have to sustain effort (when you said 'something seems to solidify') and then it happens on its own? or only one or the other?

[quote=Villum (redacted)]These sensations come to a head, and instead there's the full-body floating sensation again.
can you describe the full-body floating sensation better? i haven't seen too many examples of people going back into a base state in between jhanas, so not sure what it is.

[quote=Villum (redacted)]This ends up in a state with pleasurable vibrations again, much like the first one. There's some floating, and sometimes more pleasurable vibrations, then after more floating, there begins to be a noticeable sense of peacefulness and clarity. It takes a while in this state to notice light bodily tingling, Eventually, this state, too, seems to reach it's conclusion...
hard to say... maybe you are dropping out of the 1st/2nd jhana from before back to baseline ('floating') and going in and out of them. or maybe this is getting into 3rd jhana as the peacefulness is more apparent and the bodily tingling is harder to notice.

[quote=Villum (redacted)], i get the floating again, and another state seems to show itself.
The peacefulness is clearer here, and there seems to be a neutral attitude towards things - not a "don't care"-attitude, really.
Peacefulness seems mostly to be just outside the surface of my body, and inside the head, around the witness.
This state comes to a natural conclusion too,...
maybe found a more stable 3rd jhana (since things are just outside the surface of the body). equanimity getting more noticeable.

[quote=Villum (redacted)]and there's a shift (can't remember if there's floating this time).
Now the focus is almost entirely in the head, the body seems much farther away. Also, the vision is a much less dominant part of my experience. Much more of experience seems to be inside the head, around the witness.
I notice a vague sense of expansiveness, and that the peacefulness has become subtler, and i don't remember it being anywhere except in my head.
was vision a more dominant part of your experience before? you didn't mention much about it - what were you seeing?

what do you mean about experience being inside the head? were you only experiencing sensations that seemed to be inside the head?

[quote=Villum (redacted)]More floating, states much like the first one, don't notice any more expansiveness. At some point, the physical sense of pressure around the witness seems to extend out to the sides to outside the head, and possible around the back of the head.
Next, more floating sensations. State solidifies again. I remember describing it as strange. I still notice sensations in the head, but there's also a sense of there being something around the witness i can't really get a grip on.
There's some more shifts with floating, states much like the last one, can't really tell them apart.
not sure

[quote=Villum (redacted)]Eventually i arrive at something new. There seems to be a light tingling at the third eye, and the body is back in awareness again. I get the vague sense that this is a "place" in a way the other states weren't. Clearly different from the inside-the-head focused ones. Feels very nice, clear. Peace, very light bodily tingling.

Focus/tingling/pressure crawls up the head to the crown. There's a sense of being pulled up, still this very vague sense of a "place", but in this case i am floating above it. I'm pulled into a properly straight posture, remember describing this state as wanting to make sure i sit straight.
not sure. maybe a harder version of one of the earlier jhanas.. maybe a light A&P? (pulled into a properly straight posture.)

[quote=Villum (redacted)] I shift back to what is probably the previous state by falling out of the witness, then return.
I remember describing this as a peacefulness that comes from the absense of even the sense of peacefulness itself - English doesn't seem very useful at differentiating between all these different flavors of peacefulness and clarity.
Focus moves further back, down the spine. There's a tingling up and down the spine, that ends up centered on the lower back. I shift some more and end up in this state again, same focus/tingling on the outside of the spine.
ya maybe A&P, with all the tingling. not sure though.

[quote=Villum (redacted)]After this, things get confusing. There's shifts, and movements of focus. At one point the witness seems to almost disappear, and instead there's a sense of some sort of "field" filling my head.
need more to go on, here.

----------

it does sound like you're getting into some jhanas. it's hard to tell which they are, though. generally it's a much clearer progression.. taking this post as a recent example. you might just need to up your focus a bit.

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/8/11 2:00 PM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
Villum:

Establish focus. very quickly get floating sensation, then something seems to solidify, my focus seems harder. I start to get light tingling on the body, nice at first, turns into annoying "pleasurable" vibrations. These sensations come to a head, and instead there's the full-body floating sensation again.


What is your reaction when the pleasurable vibrations become annoying? Where is your focus before and after that? Is there a drop in concentration?

Villum:

This ends up in a state with pleasurable vibrations again, much like the first one. There's some floating, and sometimes more pleasurable vibrations, then after more floating, there begins to be a noticeable sense of peacefulness and clarity. It takes a while in this state to notice light bodily tingling, Eventually, this state, too, seems to reach it's conclusion, i get the floating again, and another state seems to show itself


Again, were you focusing on the pleasurable sensations? Or maybe keeping a more open awareness but with some focus (attention) to those sensation? What about the light tingling?

I find that there can be some gross pleasurable sensations that arise initially. One can use them to get into light absorption but that usually ends up as somewhat annoying and not very stable until 4th jhana. If you wait those sensations out, let the mind become more still and then find subtler sensations to focus on, you may get into a deeper, more pleasant and easy to maintain state.

Gotta go now. Might post some more later.
Hope this helps!
Eran.

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/8/11 7:25 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I'll try to take another trip into the territory tomorrow. The attempts i did today all sputtered out in various ways today.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
here's my take... keep in mind it isn't the final word!

[quote=Villum (redacted)]Anyways, as i can remember, it goes like this.
Establish focus. very quickly get floating sensation, then something seems to solidify, my focus seems harder.

access concentration

[quote=Villum (redacted)]I start to get light tingling on the body, nice at first, turns into annoying "pleasurable" vibrations.
light tingling indicates 1st/2nd jhana. i'm not sure why they became annoying so quickly - how long did that take? annoying pleasant vibrations might indicate late 2nd jhana. what was the quality of effort? did you initially have to sustain effort (when you said 'something seems to solidify') and then it happens on its own? or only one or the other?

I used to get a clear change in effort when using other objects. Trying to use the witness-object was distracting me, so i'm not sure. What i meant was that the sense of things changing stopped, and the floating stopped, and the tingling/vibrations slowly became clear. Will try with other object tomorrow if there is time.

Beoman:
can you describe the full-body floating sensation better? i haven't seen too many examples of people going back into a base state in between jhanas, so not sure what it is.


Now that i think of it, that doesn't seem so normal for me either. Perhaps it was the talking, which made me sort of fall out of the witness from time to time. I need to check that i'm doing this right. Anyways, the floating sensation was mostly like when you've dived into a swimming pool, turned around at the bottom, and is floating back up towards the surface.

[quote=Villum (redacted)]This ends up in a state with pleasurable vibrations again, much like the first one. There's some floating, and sometimes more pleasurable vibrations, then after more floating, there begins to be a noticeable sense of peacefulness and clarity. It takes a while in this state to notice light bodily tingling, Eventually, this state, too, seems to reach it's conclusion...
hard to say... maybe you are dropping out of the 1st/2nd jhana from before back to baseline ('floating') and going in and out of them. or maybe this is getting into 3rd jhana as the peacefulness is more apparent and the bodily tingling is harder to notice.

[quote=Villum (redacted)], i get the floating again, and another state seems to show itself.
The peacefulness is clearer here, and there seems to be a neutral attitude towards things - not a "don't care"-attitude, really.
Peacefulness seems mostly to be just outside the surface of my body, and inside the head, around the witness.
This state comes to a natural conclusion too,...
maybe found a more stable 3rd jhana (since things are just outside the surface of the body). equanimity getting more noticeable.

[quote=Villum (redacted)]and there's a shift (can't remember if there's floating this time).
Now the focus is almost entirely in the head, the body seems much farther away. Also, the vision is a much less dominant part of my experience. Much more of experience seems to be inside the head, around the witness.
I notice a vague sense of expansiveness, and that the peacefulness has become subtler, and i don't remember it being anywhere except in my head.
Beoman et.c.:
was vision a more dominant part of your experience before? you didn't mention much about it - what were you seeing?


I didn't mention seeing because it seemed normal before. Things seen were present before me, and took up a a noticeable part of experience all the time. I mostly saw the inside of the eyelids, with some of the outside world when eyelids fluttered.

Beoman:
what do you mean about experience being inside the head? were you only experiencing sensations that seemed to be inside the head?


No, i was experiencing body, sounds, sights too. They just didn't take up a major part of experience in comparison to sensations inside the head, some combination of awareness-field, touch sensations and a darkness which didn't really seem to be seen with the eyes.

Beoman:

not sure
[...]
need more to go on, here.


Yeah. Will try to get better focus and see what's going on, then report back.

----------

it does sound like you're getting into some jhanas. it's hard to tell which they are, though. generally it's a much clearer progression.. taking this post as a recent example. you might just need to up your focus a bit.

Will do emoticon thanks for your response.

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/9/11 5:07 PM as a reply to Eran G.
Eran G:
[What is your reaction when the pleasurable vibrations become annoying? Where is your focus before and after that? Is there a drop in concentration?


I let them be there, and after a while, the state changes to something subtler. At least, that's what i recall happening.

Eran G:
Again, were you focusing on the pleasurable sensations? Or maybe keeping a more open awareness but with some focus (attention) to those sensation? What about the light tingling?


Trying to stay in/focus on the witness, as it seems to produce a very smooth progression of states, when i can get it to work. So not really focusing on the sensations, just noticing them being there.

Eran G:
I find that there can be some gross pleasurable sensations that arise initially. One can use them to get into light absorption but that usually ends up as somewhat annoying and not very stable until 4th jhana. If you wait those sensations out, let the mind become more still and then find subtler sensations to focus on, you may get into a deeper, more pleasant and easy to maintain state.


One technique that seemed to work well for me when i was just starting out was noticing the very subtle hints of those states very early, and hanging out to them. So i'm not sure you *necessarily* have to wait, though that's probably the more reliable method, if you try to deepen by focusing on the factors. Incidentally, that's might be a technique i should work with a bit more.

I'm working on producing a clearer description of jhana states. Meanwhile, here's a vipassana variant that seemed to work well for me, and might for you too (if it sounds like a bad technique, be sure to tell me)

Technique Notes:

No-Object Concentration
I did this by focusing on the idea of non-existence (partly in the form of a maybe-imaginary cessation), but i did not really focus on the actual idea. That is, i started out The mind seemed to get into the state of focusing on this non-idea/-non-memory/non-image, but as soon as the mind started to get one pointed, i started deliberately noticing that the thing i was focusing on was not the object i was looking for. This starts attention "jumping around", trying to reacquire the object, only to see that the new object was not non-existence either, since it cannot be imagined. Keeping at this seemed to produce the same sort of noticing of phenomena as straight noting, but smoother, and with the no-self characteristic much more apparent, and/or naturally producing nonattachment towards examined phenomena.
(i hope i have described the above technique understandably, it was harder to work out a recipe for it than i had expected)

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/10/11 9:45 AM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
[quote=Villum (redacted)]Eventually i arrive at something new. There seems to be a light tingling at the third eye, and the body is back in awareness again. I get the vague sense that this is a "place" in a way the other states weren't. Clearly different from the inside-the-head focused ones. Feels very nice, clear. Peace, very light bodily tingling.
Focus/tingling/pressure crawls up the head to the crown. There's a sense of being pulled up, still this very vague sense of a "place", but in this case i am floating above it. I'm pulled into a properly straight posture, remember describing this state as wanting to make sure i sit straight. I shift back to what is probably the previous state by falling out of the witness, then return.
I remember describing this as a peacefulness that comes from the absense of even the sense of peacefulness itself - English doesn't seem very useful at differentiating between all these different flavors of peacefulness and clarity.

I am currently having an experience very much like the one i described here, but in open-eyes.
It happened after i dabbled some more with causing the kundalini to rise (i know, i know, recipe for disaster), by following something i read on the kennethfolk forum. I started by feeling the energy in centers up the spine, then held my breath while feeling it, then releasing the breath and feeling the energy rise. The i shifted to spinal breathing, where i felt the energy in the spine moving while breathing in such a way that the abdomen fills with air first, and then air fills the lungs from the body from the bottom up. I had some problems with energy turning to the side at the neck (with some heat), but shifted to feeling this spinal channel going up from as open, cool and receptive, which made seemed to open things up. After the somewhat liquid-feeling energy (which became hot in some places) reached the third eye, there was an peried of just feeling this strange energy in my head, cool, expansive, occasionally turning hot. Experience was absorbed into this, with lights and stuff, eyelids fluttering, and the body shaking. This experience was expansive, absorbing, pleasant and strange and did not feel very controllable - i decided to just open up to it, make room for the experience.

This is where the experience becomes similar to what i described above.
Things settled down to there being a pleasant-feeling, slighly cold-feeling spot, in the third eye, with the pressure i usually feel there having abated.
I focused on being open to whatever this was, and making room for it and feeling it. It felt very expansive, but in a peaceful way, as opposed to what came before. There was a sense of this focus/cool energy/spot-cooled-by-nonexistent-wind "crawling" up from the third eye, up the brow to the crown. This way it slowly moved up there was very distinctive, and seemed very much like what i was trying to describe in the quote above. The focus/energy/cool/spot reached the crown, but seemed to tend to "crawl" back down unless awareness was kept at the crown in an open, accepting way. This last state also has the sense of pulling my up into a straight posture that i described.
Awareness of the world was very open/wide, somewhat distant and disinterested while still open to experiencing beauty in this slightly distant and disinterested way. It all felt very... "clear" is probably the best term. Cool, peaceful. I took a walk outside, for probably 20 minutes or so, experiencing this - seemed like the natural thing to do.

The following bit is probably peculiar to me, but wanted to include it anyway:
Wanting to check things out a bit more, i "invoked" the entity in my crown that i described in the first post. I do this by mentally saying it's name, making a gesture which i linked to the entity self-hypnotically this winter, and feeling it's presence. This seemed to block the crown, keeping the energy at the third eye - not what i wanted at that point.
So, instead i opened myself to another "entity", the highest one i encountered/created during my self hypnosis practice, and my personal interpretation of the "absolute", which i call The Veiled Goddess Beyond All Essences, though no description really apply to her. This opened the crown back up, probably even more than before, there was a sense that the crown was open to the universe and i experienced some of the same utter peace and gratitude which i had in previous encounters with That Which Lies Beyond The Veils (i will keep referencing this "entity" in poetic language, as it seems the most appropriate thing to do)

Comments/interpretations very welcome emoticon I know this sounds a bit mystical, but with the clear similarity to what i experienced in the jhana, perhaps it could shed some light on both states.

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/17/11 8:36 PM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
First, regarding the voice from my heart taking refuge, i'm mulling it over.
I don't consider the vows of voices from by heart binding, but am considering whether it is something i want to do for real. My impression is that there some strength, peace and clarity for both my life and my meditation practice to be had there. But will think it over some more before i do something i *do* consider binding.

Second - my jhana abilities has been messed up lately. I suspect i've been experimenting with too many different objects, and keep distracting myself. Also, lots of other things to do, so haven't really been taking the time.
I did find some really nice instructions on building basic meditation abilities on the website of the jhana/insight yahoo group, which seem to be improving things. Continuing with daily vipassana, will try to get around to describing it properly.

Strange Experiences:
Third, strangely, i discovered a new kind of meditation object tonight that did seem take me into some jhanas, namely my entire visual field. The following description is short, will (once again) try to reproduce the phenomena to be more clear on what happened.
I discovered some flickering in the visual field, present even with eyes held open. i started using that as an object for vipassana, since i've been wanting to disembed a bit from my sense of sight to avoid it distracting me.
Using a technique of letting go of what is seen and orienting the mind towards the what was between the moments of sight, i first got an impression of the sort of spots you see with eyes closed, then a state where the center of the visual field were blurred and unfocused (which was strange), which happened after i felt my eyes roll out to the sides.
I eventually got through that and arrived at a state of more usable vision, but with quite a wide field, which i called as 4th jhana at the time.
Letting go of things seen, and trying to see eternity eventually produced a strange kind of blurry vision, which got even more strange i moved on to what i thought was 6th jhana . Went through a lot of different flavors of strangely blurred vision, which i will try to reproduce to describe in more detail - some were very strange, but my memory of them is poor.
For now, i was wondering if recognized/is able to reproduce any of these two effects, both of which i remember rather clearly for their exceptional strangeness.

First: the visual field blurred by two spirals rotating opposite ways, one for each eye, going all the way out to the edge. Not any kind of subtle effect, very noticeable. Spirals(perhaps rotating bars) seemed composed of very blurred visual impressions. There was also a tactile element to the sense of rotation, felt in the eyes, as i recall.

Second (i think it was right afterwards: Eyes fully open, not rolled up. Either nothing or only blackness seen, in a fully lighted room. Slight visual impressions at the very edge of the visual field, otherwise nil. i checked if i had rolled up my eyes, or closed them, but am quite sure i should have been seeing something, especially since i noticed when some of the other states tended to make me close my eyes, and that didn't seem to happen here.

Conclusions so far: Open-eye jhana is fun and strange.

Any ideas, anyone.

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/17/11 8:46 PM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
Correction
In the open-eye concentration i describe in my last post, i think it would be more accurate to say that the object was seing, itself, rather than the visual field. Or perhaps seeing-at-the eyes. I was not concentrating on anything specific i saw, but on the seeing itself.

RE: Learning new ways to be wrong - Practice Notes
Answer
5/26/11 9:16 AM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
I seem to have found a new and powerful insight technique, though due my lack of experience, i'm unsure that it does the right sorts of things, so comments would be very much appreciated.

Technique Notes: Absorbtion into the Background:

I developed this from an earlier focus on trying to focus in on the gaps in experience (the spaces between vibrations), with a special kind of directed letting go that tunes the mind to notice that specific sort of thing. Combining this with the insight from a really nice experience of seeing both subject and object as empty (in some sort of inexplicable way)

To apply the technique, you focus in on some vibratory phenomena in the touch-sense somewhere in the body. Seeing these, you expand your perception to more of your body, and see that you're only aware of some parts of it, and others seem to be empty.
Seeing this seems to require a sort of perspective shift - you direct/relax the mind towards what's in the places where you are not noticing anything, and what is in the gaps between the vibratory phenomena. Here, i deliberately look for it being a single thing, a sort of empty background against which i notice phenomena.
Though it is probably another impermanent phenomenon, i then try to hold the impression this "background of emptiness from which phenomena arise and into which they pass away"
From there, i work myself into a light jhana, where the perception of the "background" is stably present in experience, though not always in the foreground. Factors of blissful vibration, and holding on turn eventually into peace and a sense of clarity, all which which can be seen, on focusing in, as disturbances against this background.
From the perspective of being lightly absorbed in this background, vibratory phenomena stand out as much clearer, and all phenomena seem, when attention is directed to them, to be (somewhat) clearly not-self and impermanent.
The more i relax into this background, the more phenomena stand out, and relaxing into the background in a specific area, subtler and subtler phenomena become apparent. Even sight can be investigated as happening as notself and very subtly impermant against the background, the same with thoughts and, even subtler, attitudes and expectations. Hearing is, for now, remaining stubbornly solid - i'm working on that.

I can walk around with a light absorbtion into the "background", but this, as opposed to sitting down and really getting into it, seems to be strangely nauseating, seemingly because the "self-phenomena" are seen as not-self and vibratory against this "emptiness-background"

The three-dimensional nature of the background (and probably the background itself), covering the experience of the physical body, seems to be another impermanent phenomenon, though one that's hard to penetrate and seems to disturb the use of the background to see other phenomena against.

Noting can be done while absorbed in this state, but does not seem as necessary to focus attention, since absorbtion into the background makes phenomena apparent already.


So, comments very much appreciated. Have you experienced anything like this. Can you replicate it? And crucially, does it seem like a good insight practice, would you recommend i continue to do it?