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just sitting
5/8/11 4:28 AM
Hi all,

while doing concentration meditation I've been in a particular state a couple of times, and I'm just curious about it:

What it's like:

It's done open-eyed
I feel I'm just sitting
My posture feels good
My breathing feels good
I feel happy
I feel I'm smiling all the time.
I'm amused by the simplicty of it all. The simplicity is humoring me.
Of all the states I've been in using this type of meditation, this seems to be the one that is most in the present.
There's no feeling of some inner divide / there's no doubt
I feel like the buddha meditating.
No or less sense of attention going back and forth/ in and out.
Very bodily.

Might the practice of the above be the practice of shikantaza? I was influenced by zen, but I never deliberately set out to practice the above, it just happened. Does the feeling of 'just sitting' happen when you go through the concentration jhana's?

RE: just sitting
5/8/11 10:20 PM as a reply to Bart Castelijns.
Bart Castelijns:

...but I never deliberately set out to practice the above, it just happened. Does the feeling of 'just sitting' happen when you go through the concentration jhana's?

Depending on what you mean by the phrase "just sitting," and using what seems to be a conventional meaning connoted from its usage here, yes.

It can be a very ordinary experience. And this impression becomes even more so as one becomes more experienced in entering what is known as "jhana" or "fixed concentration" states. The mind becomes, for lack of a less flowery description and to use a favorite Tibetan Buddhist description, "luminous in its clarity" — bright, unblemished, workable, established, having gained imperturbability. Kind of like looking into an unsettled pond that is gradually becoming settled, seeing all the debris that was once clouding the waters begin to settle and the view of the bottom becoming clean, clear, and uncompromised. One could say that things become quite mundane, yet at the same time very clear and obvious.

RE: just sitting
5/10/11 7:13 PM as a reply to Bart Castelijns.
I can't remember encountering anything like this state before today, but i got somewhere much like it today after some playing around with spinal breathing and the third eye (probably not recommended if you don't know what you're doing). Except for the smiling, that is - where i'm at is just satisfied, not smiling, but i definitely recognize the thing about the simplicity humoring me. I've been in something like that state the last six hours. I suspect it will pass as everything else, i haven't encountered it directly in concentration meditation.

Can't help you much, i'm afraid - It might have something to do with what's called nondual awareness, but i don't know enough about it to tell. Seems like a good state to learn to access, as a source of strength and clarity, if it's anything like where i'm at. Just remember that it is a state, condititioned and impermanent, and thus not the freedom you are looking for (at least, that would be the Theravada perspective, i think).

RE: just sitting
5/10/11 7:22 PM as a reply to Bart Castelijns.
It sounds like you could be activating attentiveness and sensuousness. Have you tried reading this essay?

RE: just sitting
5/11/11 11:32 AM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
Actually, i suspect what i was describing is insight state equanimity - which might still be sort of the same thing, from a certain perspective. On rereading the MCTB chapter on equanimity, it actually seems to fit perfectly, so i can probably drop the non-duality explanation except as a description of the of the experience. It also seems to fit with the feeling of what i call early 4th concentration jhana (might not have pinpointed it correctly, though), anyways a state where it for a while can feel like i'm not in jhana anymore, but just having a simple, ordinary experience, characterised by clarity and perhaps a slight confusion about where the jhana went - this might be what you are experiencing, but i'll leave that to more experienced folks to work out for sure.

RE: just sitting
5/12/11 4:23 PM as a reply to Ian And.
clean, clear, and uncompromised

Practicing concentration meditation helps me experience that outside of meditation. It helps me feel that which I quoted. The better the meditation, the easier I'm able to tap into that cleanness. I'm quite surprised by how potent this type of meditation is: I sit 20-30 minutes, and I benefit two days or even longer. That is, if the meditation went well.

During two sits, It felt that my body and mind merged through way of my breath. That enabled alot of cleannes/uncompromisedness the days that followed.

RE: just sitting
5/12/11 4:44 PM as a reply to Villum (redacted).
It's interesting that you mention equanimity.

Back when that 'just sitting' experience happened more often (it hasn't happened in a while now), prior to the actual concentration meditation I sometimes did a equanimity meditation that is recommended by the dalai lama: thinking of how everyone wants to be happy and doesn't want to suffer, and how that makes everyone equal. It seemed a good idea as it made my mind more clear/awake/focused and it made me feel good (I think of all the bad people I know, and all of the bad things they've done to me, and it doesn't affect me other than make me feel good).

I have actually read others recommend 'metta' meditation to feel good before starting the actual meditation. I didn't realize they were recommending a similar thing I was doing for the same reason I was doing it.

The equanimity meditation might be related to the just sitting experience (another description than 'just sitting' might be: being amused by ordinariness).

I tried getting there again, using the equanimity meditation, but that didn't work. Though that doesn't mean much. I only tried once. It does seem related, the 'energy' seems similar.

RE: just sitting
5/12/11 5:24 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
It sounds like you could be activating attentiveness and sensuousness. Have you tried reading this essay?

I read it a couple of times, but could do with a couple more. Someone on the yahoogroups list recommended it.

I think the closest I've come to apperceptive awareness was last week, during a walk to the supermarket. At first I was a bit self-conscious because of the shirt I was wearing. Then my attention shifted to my body and to my what seemed, perfect, peaceful surroundings. In the village I live, the streets are very clean and tidy and there are lotsof gardens and trees as well as birds. Then I became aware what was happening around me, without directly looking at it. I wasn't getting involved in any of it, and what I was observing was quite bare.