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Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing

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Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/16/20 1:13 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/16/20 4:39 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Derek2 1/16/20 4:03 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/16/20 4:28 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/16/20 7:18 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Chris Marti 1/16/20 11:00 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/16/20 8:42 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Chris Marti 1/16/20 10:59 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/16/20 11:52 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/16/20 12:35 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/16/20 1:12 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Milo 1/16/20 12:56 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Matt 1/16/20 2:27 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Georg S 1/17/20 8:24 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/18/20 1:04 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Georg S 1/19/20 4:11 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing neko 1/17/20 7:30 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/17/20 8:13 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/17/20 11:20 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Siavash 1/17/20 12:21 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/17/20 12:55 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Milo 1/17/20 4:07 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/17/20 5:31 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Milo 1/18/20 1:36 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing neko 1/18/20 4:54 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/18/20 5:08 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Siavash 1/18/20 5:04 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/19/20 2:47 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/19/20 1:49 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing neko 1/19/20 5:29 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Siavash 1/19/20 5:39 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/19/20 3:34 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing neko 1/19/20 5:28 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Siavash 1/19/20 9:59 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing neko 1/20/20 3:03 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Siavash 1/20/20 5:46 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/20/20 10:09 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Milo 1/20/20 12:47 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing neko 1/20/20 1:43 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Milo 1/20/20 1:56 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing T 1/21/20 6:33 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/21/20 7:36 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Milo 1/22/20 10:38 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/20 12:08 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/18/20 1:52 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing neko 1/18/20 4:05 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/18/20 4:55 AM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/18/20 1:14 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/18/20 2:10 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Bardo 1/18/20 3:18 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/18/20 3:34 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing A. DIetrich Ringle 1/23/20 2:49 PM
RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing Scott 1/23/20 3:24 PM
Generally I don't mind things going missing - unwholesome thoughts and whatnot - but this is a little perplexing for me. Large portions of my sessions are disappearing. I'm talking 10-20 minutes. Here is what happens: I re-enter my session knowing that I haven't been here but I'm not able to retrace where I've been. This is not any kind of jhana high or low or at least none that I am familiar with. I ruled out sloth and torper as when I return my posture is perfectly still, no slouching or head-nodding. Everything about my posture is upright and straight. There is knowing that I've disappeared afterwards but I continue onward with the session. I'm not able to recall where I've been, however, when returning I notice I enter a dream-like state and then re-emerge into my session. So it goes like, nowhere-dream state-physical world.

Thoughts?

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 4:39 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Leigh Brasington briefly mentions something that is sometimes referred to as "nineth jhana" which is really not a concentrated state at all, but rather a state of conscious oblivion. The Buddha supposedly dwelled there to get away from severe pain. Could that be it? Or do you have reason to believe that it was a prolonged cessation?

Also, have you ruled out the nothingness realm and the neither perception nor yet non-perception? And just blanking out?

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 4:03 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Could be nirodha-samāpatti.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 4:28 AM as a reply to Derek2.
Well, if it was nirodha-samāpatti, that would mean that Bardo is an arahant now, so that hypothesis should be rather easy to test, I suppose. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 7:18 AM as a reply to Derek2.
Nirodha samapati? Not in the slightest. There was no jhanic effects afterwards.

The theory I'm working from is  that this is somehow part of the sleeping dream-state. When we sleep at night we go into dream state and at some point into a sort of emptiness. I'm ill-equiped to delve any further in explaining this.

Linda - that's a big no no! I have lots of kleshas kicking me in from time to time. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 11:00 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Sleep. It's sleep - 99% probability.

emoticon

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 8:42 AM as a reply to Bardo.
It seems to me like boundaries between sleep and being awake in the mundane sense are not so clear cut as people often believe, so I believe that you and Chris are right in assuming that it's sleep. It is possible to be asleep without head nods, and it is possible to be fully conscious of one's own snoring. When I started my practice, I found that if I payed attention to the purple swirls, they would draw me into sleep. Now I can watch them and stay alert but relaxed. I think that's when alpha waves start to dominate. I have often mentioned dream-like scenes in my practice log, but I have come to think that they are probably actual dreams, albeit lucid ones and in a setting where I don't define myself as being asleep. I think that we are moving the boundaries for what is possible when we meditate and gradually bring more lucidity to all states of consciousness to a varying degree. Something that starts out as falling asleep during meditation could perhaps later develop into bringing the meditation into our sleep, unless it's just a period of dullness. Sometimes I find it hard to tell. Maybe it depends on what we do with it and what habits we strengthen. What would you prefer - making sure not to fall asleep during meditation at all or take the opportunity to resolve to remain aware during sleep in order to get to know that part of the consciousness and maybe then learn to bring awareness into your regular sleep as well? I cannot personally say whether this is a way to actually bring awareness into one's regular sleep. I haven't come that far. I just know that it's possible to stay aware during dreamless sleep for a lengthy period if I set my mind to it and start it with formal meditation, but so far it has been outside my regular sleeping time.

Yeah, I'm under the impression that we often struggle with rather similar things, and as I'm very very far from an arahant, I didn't buy that hypothesis either. 

I'm really curious about one thing: How do you and other people know how much time has gone missing during meditation? Some people seem to be able to account for every minute of their meditation and even know if their cessations grow from the fraction of a second to maybe a couple of seconds. How the heck do they know that? 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 10:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
How the heck do they know that? 

I look at my watch.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 11:52 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Do you meditate with your eyes open? Or do you peak once in a while? 'Cause I imagine that one can't know in advance when one will have a cessation or, as in Bardo's case, possibly fall asleep? Or can one? Should one?

I can recall one instance when I could probably have looked at my watch, because I just kept being drawn into the phenomenon or non-phenomenon over and over again as soon as I listened to the nada sound. At that time, I had to struggle to make it stop, because it was too much and I really needed to get some sleep as well. That's the only time it was that predictable. Now I kind of regret stopping it. Maybe I should have gone for time measurement instead. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 12:35 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I use an app called Insight Timer. If something odd happens with my perception of time then I take a quick look at the timer.

I recall from your logs about sleeping states. As I was reading my question back I remembered some of your issues with this which prompted me to strengthen my theory of sleep state.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 12:56 PM as a reply to Bardo.
You say it is not a jhana high or low - can you elaborate? Are you practicing jhanas, making your way up through them, etc. when this happens?

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 1:12 PM as a reply to Bardo.
I look forward to hearing more about it if you should find yourself exploring the sleep territory.

It seems like I have taken things too literally again, being autistic. I have heard several teachers say that one shouldn't sneak peak at the time while doing one's practice, so I sort of assumed that the people who have knowledge of time gone missing must have some internal clock or something. So - it's okay for some purposes. And it doesn't affect one's practice negatively? But... how does this work in relation to fruitions? Do people really sense that there's a fruition coming up, take a sneak peak at their watch or app, go right ahead to enter oblivion and then take another sneak peak when they come out of it? 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/16/20 2:27 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo:
Generally I don't mind things going missing - unwholesome thoughts and whatnot - but this is a little perplexing for me. Large portions of my sessions are disappearing. I'm talking 10-20 minutes. Here is what happens: I re-enter my session knowing that I haven't been here but I'm not able to retrace where I've been. This is not any kind of jhana high or low or at least none that I am familiar with. I ruled out sloth and torper as when I return my posture is perfectly still, no slouching or head-nodding. Everything about my posture is upright and straight. There is knowing that I've disappeared afterwards but I continue onward with the session. I'm not able to recall where I've been, however, when returning I notice I enter a dream-like state and then re-emerge into my session. So it goes like, nowhere-dream state-physical world.

Thoughts?
I've talked to people about this kind of thing happing a couple times to me, after my first Goenka retreat.  Aside from fancy well known meditation states, Ingram and Culadasa described to me their drop-out phenomenon lasting seconds to minutes when in the middle of mundane on-your-feet situations, meaning that one is still functioning with respect to the world about you, but there is a clear experience of  something like "I don't have any memory of what was just going on, but real world context makes it obvious to me in this moment that significant time has just passed without leaving any trace on my memory".

Hearing about it, Doctors want to rule out something bad like temporal lobe seizures.  I went down that path, had a sleep EEG study, had what for me was a normal falling asleep period which included what I thought of at that time as spontaneous jhanic shifts and a suble high frequency energetic event.

Armed with my subjective report of memory lapse AND my apparently "something seems a *little* odd" EEG, the nurologist said: "either one of these data points in isolation would be meaningless, but together this means you are an epileptic.  And no, I've never heard of meditation doing anything funny to ones brain".

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/17/20 8:24 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Hi Bardo, I only can share my own experiences:

the phenomena you described (after observing it for quite a while) is sleep (at least for me). It occurs, when I'm too calm, because of the imbalance between concentration and tranquility/relexation.

At first, like you, I only was able to catch the end of it (recognizing the lack of presence) and didn't know how to grap the middle or the beginning of this experience. To me it was helpful building up solid concentration at the beginning of my meditation and after a while loosen it up. Tighten - loosen, tighten - loosen, etc. allowed me (over some time) to find the right balance between concentration and tranquility. This finally brought me from the end to the middle and the beginning of the experience - which was vice versa: Lack of concentration, e.g. because of a thought, image, etc. which lead to unawarenes and getting lost in the thought, lost in more concent, daydreaming, sleep, wake up, mindful again, rising, falling (or whateveremoticon).

Maybe it's of some help to you. 

Greetings

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/17/20 7:30 AM as a reply to Bardo.
The fact that you keep posture does NOT rule out dullness and torpor in any way. I am pretty sure that is what you are facing from your description. I can sleep with perfect posture and no one from the outside would notice. 

The idea that it might be a "ninth jhana" or nirodha samapatti is... only very rude words come to mind. Please don't diagnose people with things you do not understand. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/17/20 8:13 AM as a reply to neko.
I didn't diagnose anyone. I just asked what Bardo himself thought and mentioned all options I have ever heard of. The so called nineth jhana was described as something that wasn't useful for anything else but resting, so it really sounded like some kind of sleep state. But if you know more about what it really is than Leigh Brasington said, you are very welcome to share. I admit that I was surprised myself, to say the least, that someone suggested nirodha samaphadi. The so called nineth jhana didn't sound like any real attainment, though. I have asked about it before here but nobody answered. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
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1/17/20 11:20 AM as a reply to neko.
Actually, I was being annoyingly stupid. I'm sorry, and I'm sorry for being butthurt. I think I may have unconsciously been hoping that if I brought it up again, someone would finally explain what the heck Leigh Brasington was talking about, but that's not what this thread is about, so that would be derailing. I can be horrible sometimes. *sneaking out as discretely as I can manage, smiling akwardly*

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/17/20 12:21 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
In one of Leigh's talks (unfortunately I don't remember which one, probably from August 2019 retreat that is on his website, in talks section), he talks about it, and it seems that he is saying that by "ninth jhana", he means nirodha samapatti. He says he has attained it once, in his second retreat with Pa Auk Sayadaw, and also he says that the idea that you should be 3rd or 4th path to attain it is not true. He says that in the text, it says you should be 3rd or 4th path to sustain it for a long time, up to a week, but not to enter it. However, that doesn't seem to be a reasonable thing to say!

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/17/20 12:55 PM as a reply to Siavash.
In the recording I listened to - I'm afraid I don't remember which one, sorry about that - it didn't sound like he was talking about nirodha samapatti at all. If that was what he was in fact referring to, I suspect that he didn't know what he was talking about either. Not that I would know what nirodha samapatti is like, of course, but the state he described really sounded like a state very similar to just dozing off, but with some miminal amount of remaining awareness. It sounded like he thought it was pretty overrated but that it had some restorative functions or at least took away your pain for its duration, so for someone in great pain it would be impressive to stay in it but otherwise pretty useless. So I just took it for granted that what he was talking about couldn't have been anything even remotely similar to nirodha samapatti. Or maybe I just completely misunderstood him. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
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1/17/20 4:07 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Not sure N.S. is really needed if you are going for pain reduction. IMO hitting what I consider to be a solid 4th jhana causes physical pain to drop from consciousness entirely (Along with physical pleasure), and that should in theory still be pretty far removed from N.S. territory. By the way, I also would consider anything beyond 4th jhana pretty rarefied and hard to pin down precisely from practitioner to practitioner, outside of being waypoints to cessation that are finer and finer grades of 4th.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
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1/17/20 5:31 PM as a reply to Milo.
I would agree with that, all of it. Apparently I have one of those days when I can't express myself clearly. I never meant to say that NS would be required for pain reduction. I was merely trying to understand what state Leigh Brasington was talking about. It sounded pretty much like he was talking about semi-lucid dreamless sleep or something similar, which is why I came to think of it. It didn't sound like he was talking about anything that would be preposterous to imagine that a practicioner in the middle paths would happen to come across by accident or even like something that would be particularly interesting or desirable. I erroneously got the impression that the name "nineth jhana" was more like a familiar nickname for a state that wasn't significant enough to have a real name. My mistake. Oblivion just didn't sound very refined to me. Nor did the rest of his description. Words - so limited to our own connotations. So yeah, it is probably all too easy to misunderstand someone's phenomenology from the more refined states, and all too easy to think that one recognizes what somebody is talking about. Also, there are probably many teachers out there who think that they have attained something that they haven't attained, as has been discussed before in many threads, and their descriptions get mingled with the rest of the often pretty vague phenomenology, which can be pretty confusing for a spiritual Kindergarten student like me. But I shouldn't have mentioned it in this thread anyway. It was just stupid. Sometimes the ADHD parts of behavioral patterns are too fast for the other more socially appropriate parts of my functioning. I'm working on it. I wouldn't expect any miracles in that regard any time soon, though, as that seems to be pretty hardwired. (There are upsides to ADHD functioning, too, but this isn't one of them.)

I appreciate the input from others here. Trying to learn. I seem to have lead the thread astray, though, and I'm sorry for that.

Metta to all.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
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1/18/20 1:36 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Actually I think I'm the one who misunderstood. My apologies.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
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1/18/20 1:52 AM as a reply to neko.
neko:
The fact that you keep posture does NOT rule out dullness and torpor in any way. I am pretty sure that is what you are facing from your description. I can sleep with perfect posture and no one from the outside would notice. 

Yes, I agree. It's sloth and torpor. I've never experienced in this way before which is why I found it confusing.

Thanks.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/18/20 4:05 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo:
neko:
The fact that you keep posture does NOT rule out dullness and torpor in any way. I am pretty sure that is what you are facing from your description. I can sleep with perfect posture and no one from the outside would notice. 

Yes, I agree. It's sloth and torpor. I've never experienced in this way before which is why I found it confusing.

Thanks.

Sure. Like I said elsewhere, you have two main ways to approach this:

1) Learn to work with it, bringing awareness into the sloth and torpor and into the process of entering and exiting it. The fact that you are able to maintain posture while doing it means that you are already part of the way there.

2) Learning to work against it, recognising it as soon as it comes up, and correcting for it immediately.

Both skills are very useful, it is up to you to decide which one to train first. Training both at the same time might be a bit trickier, but you'll recognise that both require you to develop the skill to recognise that it is is happening as it is happening, so there is some overlap there.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
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1/18/20 4:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The following rant is not aimed at anyone in particular.

----------


It is hard to tell what Leigh is talking about from how you guys report it, but let's lay down some basic facts:

1) As far as I know, "ninth jhana" is only ever used as a misnomer for Nirodha Samapatti.

2) It is even more of a misnomer than calling the formless realms 5th to 8th jhana (which is also strictly speaking incorrect, but not a huge deal), because obviously it is not a jhana. The reason some people call NS that is that there are suttas in which the jhanas are listed, and NS is appended at the end of the list. Also, the traditional way to enter it is by rising up through the jhanas.

3) As the word "nirodha" says, there is definitely no lucidity (semi- or otherwise) nor any awareness going on in NS, or it wouldn't be called "nirodha". I mean, you can do whatever you want with words, but I would contend that if you use the word "nirodha" for anything in which there is something that has not being nirodhaed the hell out of awareness, including any spark or shadow of awareness itself, you are using the word in an extremely misleading manner, and you should just use another word for whatever it is that you are talking about, as few words have as a clear-cut and understandable meaning as "nirodha".

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It also helps to bear in mind that tradition mixes good practical info with silly things, particularly when talking about the paths, and particularly when talking about the higher paths, so a good dose of rational thinking should be applied to reading traditional texts. So when tradition says that "only anagamis and/or arahants can do this or that", it is good to remind ourselves that the traditional definitions of "arahant" and "agami" are largely internally contradictory superstitious bollocks. So:

1) Whenever someone says anything like "someone who has attained NS is an arahant or an anagami", please develop a knee-jerk reaction to ask them what they mean by "arahant", "anagami", and "nirodha samapatti" exactly. Ideally, bring up some of the more foolish statements on the higher paths from tradition, check them on that, and ask them why would we trust tradition on the claim on NS / arahant / anagami when we don't on many (most?) other things on the higher paths. If their answers don't satisfy, at the very least wear some condescending expression on your face.

2) Similarly, if you yourself are about to say "only an arahant or an agami can attain NS", ask yourself that same question, and if you are not able to provide a clear enough definition of "arahant", "anagami", and "nirodha samapatti", you are just putting out a meaningless word salad. Perhaps you would be doing yourself and the world at large a better service by just consigning that phrase to silence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1mgKh-P3y8

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Last but not least, even if we go by the MCTB definitions of "anagami", "arahant", and "nirodha samapatti", which are probably as good definitions as we have at hand at this point in history, you still need to remember that:

1) The MCTB defintion of "anagami" is blurry and hard to diagnose. Several slightly different definitions are given in the book.

2) The MCTB definition of "arahant" is less blurry than that of "anagami", but possibly harder to diagnose without spending multiple hours discussing subjective perception in minute detail.

3) In writing MCTB, Daniel's data points for validating/refuting the statement that "only anagamis and arahants can do NS" are quite limited, so even in Daniel's framework, the verification that we have of that law is patchy at best. I am pretty sure I am not misrepresenting Daniel if I say that he is actively looking for more people to be able to replicate something that might be what he calls NS to test this traditional claim further.

Which is not to say that that rule might not hold true by Daniel's definitions of those words, or by improved definitions and diagnostic criteria that we may have at some point in the future (hopefully using different words that are not so weighed down by traditional dogma) but it is definitely to say that we should not just parrot that rule as if it were pure gold, as even Daniel always puts some dubitative or cautionary expression around it such as "according to the traditional texts..."

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/18/20 4:55 AM as a reply to neko.
That was very helpful to me as well. I appreciate it. Very to the point, without the storytelling that I find myself entangled in. (As an answer to the advice to Bardo).

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
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1/18/20 5:08 AM as a reply to neko.
And now that I have read the "rant", I'm very grateful for that as well. Thankyou for taking the time to address this so fully! I understand and respect that more advanced practicioners get annoyed from time to time, I really do, and this doesn't read like a rant to me, but as the answers I really needed right now. Many thanks! Taking it to my heart. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/18/20 1:04 PM as a reply to Georg S.
Georg S:
Hi Bardo, I only can share my own experiences:

the phenomena you described (after observing it for quite a while) is sleep (at least for me). It occurs, when I'm too calm, because of the imbalance between concentration and tranquility/relexation.

At first, like you, I only was able to catch the end of it (recognizing the lack of presence) and didn't know how to grap the middle or the beginning of this experience. To me it was helpful building up solid concentration at the beginning of my meditation and after a while loosen it up. Tighten - loosen, tighten - loosen, etc. allowed me (over some time) to find the right balance between concentration and tranquility. This finally brought me from the end to the middle and the beginning of the experience - which was vice versa: Lack of concentration, e.g. because of a thought, image, etc. which lead to unawarenes and getting lost in the thought, lost in more concent, daydreaming, sleep, wake up, mindful again, rising, falling (or whateveremoticon).

Maybe it's of some help to you. 

Greetings

Thanks. That is very helpful. MY concentration has been lacking a lot recently. Sometimes it can be easy to miss the obvious! I have never been familiar with this type of sloth and torpor. Usually I can catch the thing coming but this is extremely subtle which requires, like you say, balancing concentration and tranquillity. My thoughts seem to be very dreamy and this is the culprit tipping me over into sleep. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/18/20 1:14 PM as a reply to neko.
[quote=neko
]
Sure. Like I said elsewhere, you have two main ways to approach this:

1) Learn to work with it, bringing awareness into the sloth and torpor and into the process of entering and exiting it. The fact that you are able to maintain posture while doing it means that you are already part of the way there.

2) Learning to work against it, recognising it as soon as it comes up, and correcting for it immediately.

Both skills are very useful, it is up to you to decide which one to train first. Training both at the same time might be a bit trickier, but you'll recognise that both require you to develop the skill to recognise that it is is happening as it is happening, so there is some overlap there.


Right, I see. And so it appears there are different subtleties of sloth and torpor which require different levels of discernment. The approach is the same but, as Georg S says, alertness, concentration and tranquillity need more of a fine-grained attention. I've been using both of the methods you mention but it seems it has changed its tact completely and performed some sort of side-swoop and caught me right out.

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/18/20 2:10 PM as a reply to Bardo.
I recognize similar setbacks. Things take new, more subtle shapes (and sometimes new shapes that are much less subtle, when conditions change and it is suddenly obvious how conditioned the "progress" was). Old tells stop working. Old rhythms are outdated. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
Answer
1/18/20 3:18 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I recognize similar setbacks. Things take new, more subtle shapes (and sometimes new shapes that are much less subtle, when conditions change and it is suddenly obvious how conditioned the "progress" was). Old tells stop working. Old rhythms are outdated. 

Yes, old and outdated, however, their energies seem to continue but one no longer needs to buy into them. I'm having many core beliefs and views rising up as sensations. Slowly, they are being washed away by conscious awareness. They can only stay alive through thoughts, speech and action but there's nowhere for them to go now. I think I mentioned this to you recently. I'm still around those parts but partitioned with great moments of confusion, disillusionment and general discombobulation.

The interesting thing is that these beliefs and views also include beliefs and views about paths, Buddhism and spirituality. I find that these to are dropping leaving me extremely bare and exposed. I can see why one should not load all of their pennies into paths, stages, spirituality and guru type figures. I can see that doing so would cause a considerable degree of stress at this point. 

RE: Large Parts Of Meditation Sessions Are Going Missing
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1/18/20 3:34 PM as a reply to Bardo.
I can relate to that too. I think you put it very well. 

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1/18/20 5:04 PM as a reply to neko.
Thank you neko for these clear descriptions.
What I quoted from Leigh, was about his experience with Pa Auk Sayadaw's first jhana, that Leigh was describing in that talk, and was referring to it as nirodha.

He describes his experience in his website:

http://leighb.com/jhana_fr2.htm

And a week or so later - I got to Ven. Pa Auk's 1st jhana. I would go for my usual walk after lunch and come back and do lying down meditation. Sometimes, especially on hot days, I might get a bit drifty.... I had my little timer set to vibrate after an hour since I was counting breaths for that first hour. Well, one day as I came out of the drifty, the nimitta was really bright and I stopped counting an went straight for the nimitta. Bingo, I was gone. There was ONLY the nimitta. No body. No sounds. No thoughts. No passage of time. Nuthin' but the nimitta. I came out of it about 45 minutes later (guessing from the clock and when I had started). The state was nothing like any jhana I'd ever experienced! The was no materiality. No vedana. No perception. No sankhara other than the nimitta. Only consciousness of the nimitta. If that sounds like "the cessation of feeling and perception" to you, it does to me as well. In fact I would say that the 1st Visuddhimagga jhana IS "the cessation of feeling and perception." This is not just my opinion - Rod Bucknell says the same thing in a paper in the "Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies" 16.2, pages 375-409. Interesting.

Sorry Bardo that it's not related to the subject of your thread. Just wanted to be clear about what has been shared.

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1/19/20 2:47 AM as a reply to Siavash.
The passage I was thinking about was something entirely different from that, so if that's what he refers to as nirodha, it seems like Leigh Brasington does not refer to the "nineth jhana" as nirodha. It was something that wasn't concentrated at all, a state that was basically dull, as far as I understand it, but at the same time a deep state of rest. If I find it I'll post it. Regardless, I'll never believe anything that he has to say about terminology ever again. (Some editing because of misleading phrasing)

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1/19/20 1:49 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:

Sorry Bardo that it's not related to the subject of your thread. Just wanted to be clear about what has been shared.


That's fine. It's all informative *conceptually*. It only goes to highlight how we perceive our experiences differently. I don't think it's entirely important to tag an experience with words but sometimes it can be helpful - I think, or my mind thinks!

I''m reminded of a quote by the Taoist, Chuang Tzu: "just as a dog is not considered a good dog for just being a good barker, a man is not considered a good man for being a good talker".

...and another unknown addition is: "thunderous silence has a noble undertone".

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1/19/20 4:11 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Sometimes it can be easy to miss the obvious!

That's true, especially when there is a subtle sweetness to the experience.

To me the behaviour of the mind is like the wind. Trying to observe the slightest change of it's direction, it's intensity, it's presence or it's absence keeps me staying with it or at least, brings me back when catching myself being lost by the lovely, warm touch of a summer breeze.

The storm is the far enemy, easy to observe - a summer breeze is the near enemy, easy to get lost by it's character because of it's sweetness.

Are you aware of the taste of the experience?

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1/19/20 5:29 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:

http://leighb.com/jhana_fr2.htm
There was ONLY the nimitta. No body. No sounds. No thoughts. No passage of time. Nuthin' but the nimitta. I came out of it about 45 minutes later (guessing from the clock and when I had started). The state was nothing like any jhana I'd ever experienced! The was no materiality. No vedana. No perception. No sankhara other than the nimitta. Only consciousness of the nimitta. If that sounds like "the cessation of feeling and perception" to you, it does to me as well. In fact I would say that the 1st Visuddhimagga jhana IS "the cessation of feeling and perception." This is not just my opinion - Rod Bucknell says the same thing in a paper in the "Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies" 16.2, pages 375-409. Interesting.


I am simultaneously impressed by the attainment and amused that someone would call the perception of the nimitta a cessation of perception.

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1/19/20 5:39 AM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:

http://leighb.com/jhana_fr2.htm
There was ONLY the nimitta. No body. No sounds. No thoughts. No passage of time. Nuthin' but the nimitta. I came out of it about 45 minutes later (guessing from the clock and when I had started). The state was nothing like any jhana I'd ever experienced! The was no materiality. No vedana. No perception. No sankhara other than the nimitta. Only consciousness of the nimitta. If that sounds like "the cessation of feeling and perception" to you, it does to me as well. In fact I would say that the 1st Visuddhimagga jhana IS "the cessation of feeling and perception." This is not just my opinion - Rod Bucknell says the same thing in a paper in the "Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies" 16.2, pages 375-409. Interesting.


I am simultaneously impressed by the attainment and amused that someone would call the perception of the nimitta a cessation of perception.

Yeah, I don't understand how he formulated it there! He should explain sometime what that would mean!

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1/19/20 3:34 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:

I am simultaneously impressed by the attainment and amused that someone would call the perception of the nimitta a cessation of perception.


Is it possible for this cessation to happen outside of meditation in everyday life? Just curious. 

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1/19/20 5:28 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo:
neko:

I am simultaneously impressed by the attainment and amused that someone would call the perception of the nimitta a cessation of perception.


Is it possible for this cessation to happen outside of meditation in everyday life? Just curious. 

Cessations can happen outside of formal practice.

Formal practice can happen outside of meditation.

Daily life can happen outside of meditation.

Meditation can happen inside of daily life.

Daily life can happen inside of meditation.

Cessations never happen inside of meditation. 

Meditation never happens inside of cessations. 

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1/19/20 9:59 PM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:

http://leighb.com/jhana_fr2.htm
There was ONLY the nimitta. No body. No sounds. No thoughts. No passage of time. Nuthin' but the nimitta. I came out of it about 45 minutes later (guessing from the clock and when I had started). The state was nothing like any jhana I'd ever experienced! The was no materiality. No vedana. No perception. No sankhara other than the nimitta. Only consciousness of the nimitta. If that sounds like "the cessation of feeling and perception" to you, it does to me as well. In fact I would say that the 1st Visuddhimagga jhana IS "the cessation of feeling and perception." This is not just my opinion - Rod Bucknell says the same thing in a paper in the "Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies" 16.2, pages 375-409. Interesting.


I am simultaneously impressed by the attainment and amused that someone would call the perception of the nimitta a cessation of perception.



I am guessing that what Leigh has described here, may comply his definition of terms.

He says here that there was “Only consciousness of the nimitta”.

And he translates the term saññā (perception) like this:
Saññā refers to the ability of the mind to name, identify, conceptualize a sense impression. It's the conceptualizing & labeling of our experiences. We experience a sense contact which generates a vedanā and then we conceptualize the experience and manipulate it with other concepts to "make together" our sankhārā - see MN 18 for more on this process. For a modern scientific description, see Christine Skarda's The Perceptual Form of Life.   Sometimes tho, saññā is used as a synonym for "consciousness," see e.g. DN 9.

Here he says that after a sense contact, nimitta for instance(?), there would be vedanā, and then conceptualization, i.e. perception. And in that description he has said that there was no vedanā, and no perception. It seems that he takes the nimitta here only as a sense contact, without generating any perception after, and so refers to it as cessation of perception.

I don’t know what other teachers would say about such explanation, can it be that there is just a sense contact without perception? (Assuming that we have a clear definition for perception in answering this question)

A problem that I see in this explanation, is that he puts sankhārā after vedana, and in that description, he says there was no sankhārā other than the nimitta. So the nimitta was a sankhārā? A sankhārā without perception?

I would be interested to know your opinion neko (or should it be Neko? Hard question ;-) )

Leigh’s translation is from this page:
http://leighb.com/palixlat.htm?fbclid=IwAR2l2dG3D0OMxsIEPJ5bZuwlHJLPSyfxlxc5CccC0jVKMWfLsfvVK_yrOtw

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1/20/20 3:03 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:

I would be interested to know your opinion neko (or should it be Neko? Hard question ;-) )

I always write 'neko' with a small n though few are bold enough to do that, since they feel it is somehow disrespectful to do that. Nice of you to catch it emoticon

I have some loose thoughts on this.

1. I think trying to make sense of every word in the original texts is not always a useful thing to do. The original texts are internally contradictory and often just do a poor job of defining terms, either because they were relying on oral tradition to complement the texts, or because they wanted to be a little bit cryptic... or maybe because they were just not that good at giving clear definitions of phenomena. If we want contemplative science to progress, at some point it becomes like trying to explain quantum mechanics in Aristotelian terms, or Lesbegue measure theory using only the axioms of Euclidean geometry.

2. Even more generally, I am quite convinced that we should aim to do much better than the Visuddhimagga, the Abhidhamma, the Upanishads, Sain John and Saint Teresa in this day and and age, given that we have so many tools at our disposal that were not available hundreds of years ago: Access to contemplative texts from a bunch of different cultures, the ability to share our experiences instantly with practitioners from all over the globe, the advances in the ability to build a lexicon that is scientific and clear... and last, but far from least, the fact that our current societies are able to support a huge number of meditation practitioners with repect to the ages past, because the world population is much greater, with food security and basic needs being met at a much larger scale than in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, and so on.

3. Let me stress again that this is proudly the opposite of the "we live in decadent times" / "fallen from grace" view of many religious movements.

4. In the English language, using the word perception for "the ability of the mind to name, identify, conceptualize a sense impression" is silly. You don't need to name, identify, and conceptualise a sensation to be able to perceive it. I don't care much about the Pali, but I do care about the English (see 1 and 2 above).

5. "Hard" or "deep" absorption seems like a better way to talk about something that is exactly like the first jhana in all respects except for the fact that the experience of the nimitta happens to the exclusion of all other sensate experience. Starting a new numbering seems unnecessary and only motivated by the attempt to salvage or make sense of contradictions in the original texts (see, again, 1 and 2 above).

6. Trying to salvage contradictory things instead of moving past them is extremely counterproductive. Imagine if we were still trying to make sense of the fact that air rises and water falls in terms of the "natural place of the four elements" instead of fucking Newtonian gravity, not to mention Einstein.

7. Identifying exclusive experience of the nimitta with a sort of "ninth jhana" and equating that with a "Visuddhimagga first jhana" is what Ockham would call multiplying entities without necessity. If you do that, you end up talking about 16 jhanas: The standard 4+4, and then the same 4+4 again, but deeper, but using a new numbering. That's a very poor way of talking about things, if you ask me. E.g. what number do you assign to a first jhana that is pretty deep and solid, but not quite as solid as what Leigh calls the "ninth jhana"? You take the average, (1+9)/2 = 5th jhana? But isn't that boundless space?

8. By how Leigh understand the term "sañña", it must mean that the eight jhana, "
nevasaññānāsaññāyatana", neither sañña nor not-sañña, must be some state in which there is still a bit of naming, identifying, and conceptualising sense impressions. Which is fine, people can do whatever they want with words, but...

9. States are quite attainable in which there is almost no perception (in the strict English sense of the word) and no awareness going on, except for a very faint neither-awareness-nor-not-awareness, the faintest possible amount of awareness short of complete cessation of awareness. What show we call that?

10. In light of (7) above, (9) must be the "sixteenth jhana" or something like that.

11. Non-states are possible in which there is nothing at all going on in perception, in which everything awareness or awareness-like is extinguished, which makes me suspect that those might be something that Leigh puts beyond even the "sixteenth jhana". A "seventeenth jhana" perhaps?

12. Something something watering things down.

13. Based on reading his stuff and watching a couple videos of him, I think Leigh has a solid practice, but there's quite a few more powerful practitioners out there. His stuff is very, very useful for beginner and intermediate practitioners, but at some point it starts to lose traction.

14. There is definitely a pattern that makes it so that when practice loses traction, philosophising and/or religionising take over.

15. Something something MCTB-talk "aspects of Nth jhana" vs. "soft Nth" vs "hard Nth" is a much more internally coherent and non-watering-down language.

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1/20/20 5:46 AM as a reply to neko.
Thank you :-)
I guess I agree with all of what you said.

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1/20/20 10:09 AM as a reply to neko.
Excellent. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience! 

I found the passage that I was thinking about (a link and my transcription below). Leigh Brasington says that "the nineth jhana" is the same thing as a cessation and that as far as he knows it isn't particularly useful. Thus, I did misunderstand and miss important parts of what he said, but it is also true that he describes it as a state where you are conscious but oblivious and that it isn't particularly useful. Also, he did not refer to NS. The recording is from June 2019 at SF Dharma Collective. I think we can conclude that Brasington does not have the specific competence required to teach about anything referred to as the nineth jhana, and that I need to work on my attention more since this was not relevant to bring up with regard to what Bardo was describing. I also believe it sheds some light on why he would refer to full absorption into the nimitta as a cessation, and simultaneously illustrates something that Daniel points out in MCTB2, namely that a relatively solid jhana practice on its own may not be sufficient for stream entry.

Do you by any chance take long-distance students? If so, what are your conditions? I need a no-bullshit teacher. 

https://youtu.be/x-rjeT-86yg time code 4:38:08

There is another state called ”the nineth jhana” sometimes. It’s not referred to as the nineth jhana in the suttas although it is talked about. It’s called the cessation of feeling and perception. It’s a state of suspended animation. It’s a state... of... well... no feeling - that’s Vedana. So no pleasant/unpleasant/neutral. And no perception - that’s the conceptualizing. No identifying or anything. So you just... you’re not unconscious but you’re just completely oblivious, right. Uh... The Buddha talked about it. He had a bad back. And when he was old, uh he said that the only relief he could get was to [enter... into the world...] Otherwise it was painful for him so sometimes he would do that. I don’t think it’s particularly useful except maybe you know you you got a... an hour or something (laughs). Try that (laughs). And you wouldn’t even need [xx xx] or anything (laughs). Uh... It is said that coming back from it, if you pay careful attention, you can watch yourself reassemble, and this can give you insight into not self. See that it’s not there and then you watch it reassemble. That’s about all I can tell you about it except for... three things. One - it’s a documentary called... uh.. ”Shortcut to Nirvana” (goes on describing the documentary).

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1/20/20 12:47 PM as a reply to neko.
Combining thoughts related to various people's comments here into one post.

1) Agree that Lee's take on jhanas is better for beginner to intermediate. It's a missing step that gets many people on the ladder with jhanas and arguably closer to what is described in the suttas- but it is well worth trying the harder/deeper/visual nimitta jhanas of the commentaries. No reason not to have a full set of tools when you're ready for it.

2) Ninth jhana is just a shorthand for cessation and is named that way for convenience by some contemporary teachers since it follows on from the other 8 jhanas.

3) The 4 formless jhanas are also shorthand for refinements of 4th. In the suttas they are 'attainments'. Also convenient shorthand to call them jhanas.

4) The 'original' texts aren't necessarily verbatim original record of the preceding oral tradition - just the most basal extant texts we have. As far as I'm aware you can trace their fidelity with confidence back to the first couple centuries CE.

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1/20/20 1:43 PM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:

4) The 'original' texts aren't necessarily verbatim original record of the preceding oral tradition - just the most basal extant texts we have. 

Which doesn't mean that they are worse than the original teachings of Gautama: They could well be improvements upon it.

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1/20/20 1:56 PM as a reply to neko.
Yes, if that wasn't possible then Sid's teachings were a failure, no?

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1/21/20 6:33 AM as a reply to Milo.
1) Agree that Lee's take on jhanas is better for beginner to intermediate. It's a missing step that gets many people on the ladder with jhanas and arguably closer to what is described in the suttas- but it is well worth trying the harder/deeper/visual nimitta jhanas of the commentaries. No reason not to have a full set of tools when you're ready for it.
To keep somewhat with your reference to a ladder, I'm on the first four rungs tenuously. I've used Leigh's methods to get in and work them, but they don't exclude the senses for total quiet and depth. Certainly, I'm staying solidly in the formed arena. 

I would like to work them better and go beyond the beginner/intermediate usage that got me to these light versions. My concentration is pretty good and I'm always working on it. 

Suggested reading and practice? I'd like to augment my tool kit. 

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1/21/20 7:36 AM as a reply to T.
I would suggest reading Shaila Catherine and listening to recorded retreats with Bhante Gunaratana on youtube if you are interested in the hard jhanas. Ajahn Brahm is another option. 

Caveat: attaining hard jhanas is beyond my conditioning so far, so I don't speak from experience with the practice. 

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1/22/20 10:38 PM as a reply to T.
As mentioned, Leigh Brasington's books are really good for beginner to intermediate. His style of jhanas are easier to pull off for beginners IMO, and seem vloser to the sutta versions, for what that's worth. Ajahn Brahm is good for more advanced practice - he is all about visual nimitta based jhanas. If you want to go to the source material for that kind of practice, there are the vissudhimaga and vimuttimagga (Warning - arcane and technical - context important). Of course there is MCTB... All of Leigh B, A Brahm, and Daniel have youtube, books, podcasts (Ajahn Brahm has hundreds of recorded sessions).

If I wanted to start today as a complete beginner I'd start here: http://www.leighb.com/jhana3.htm

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1/23/20 12:08 AM as a reply to T.
Also, Ayya Khema is brilliant. That's the lighter versions, but she is thorough. There are teachings available on youtube. 

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1/23/20 2:49 PM as a reply to Bardo.
I was looking for a place to share my insights. There are truly amazing and unitive vistas that don't lead to Fruition. There are also bad states of mind that do the same. Typically the neautral states of mind are the ones that get translated. So stick with what you have got and see where it might go. There is no worse case scenario!

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1/23/20 3:24 PM as a reply to Bardo.
This sounds like one of the hybrid sleep/wake states generated by yoga nidra/yogic sleep. You may be familiar with the hybrid awake/dreaming states like lucid dreaming (awake mind during dream state), active imagination (dreaming mind during wakeful state) and hynogogic/hypnopompic imagery (halfway between the two, neither predominates). This is the opposite of clear light sleep (wakeful attention maintained during abyssal sleep states). Yoga nidra is dissolved/relaxed/deconcentrated attention during a waking meditative state, though you would usually leave one sense open to outside input (generally, hearing).