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Any one has (or knows of) someone who reached 1st jhana on their own?

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either at home or retreat or a combination of both? 

Iv been digging many Ayya Khema talks and been really digging my hills in my practice to evolve concentration as a definite means to further purification. 

Lovesome motivation, inspiring stories from others who have done the seemingly impossible. 

Like to know the duration, times of practice and other details for reference. 

RE: Any one has (or knows of) someone who reached 1st jhana on their own?
Answer
2/10/20 5:16 AM as a reply to Pouya Iranitalab.
Hi and welcome.

Having learned very basic mindfulness of breathing from a brief Buddhist class it took me mere months to begin to drop into first jhana. At first, I didn't realize the significance. I happened to mention to one of the Buddhist who taught that course that I loved my meditation sessions and couldn't wait for the next session. He recognized the behaviour, we spoke about it, and he encouraged me to read further. He gave me a book and I recognized the experience in that book. Then I was firing on all cylinders.

I later understood that I had an ability to drop the hindrances very quickly thus allowing the mind to shift into jhana. I also found that when trying to follow steps from other teachers, it would not happen. I was deviating from my own process, so I dropped reading and nurtured my own ability in my own way. This is not to say those teachers aren't helpful for other people.

Hope that motivates you. 

hey ! thank you for your post, it definitely does motivate me. 

Love to know where did you learn the basic mindfulness instructions? 


Thank you gain emoticon 

RE: Any one has (or knows of) someone who reached 1st jhana on their own?
Answer
2/11/20 1:18 PM as a reply to Pouya Iranitalab.
There are some really awesome, guided, youtube videos out there with basic mindfulness of breathing, body awareness, or metta. I have really enjoyed all sorts of them from different traditions. Try and few and see how they feel. Literally - search "guided body awareness" or "guided metta meditation" and so forth. 

Bardo:
I later understood that I had an ability to drop the hindrances very quickly thus allowing the mind to shift into jhana.

Hi Bardo,

Do you think your hindrances are less than average or you are just better at dropping them? If the former, is it due to good karma? If the latter, how are you able to drop them so quickly? How deep are your jhanas? I'm fascinated by the idea that people might get so deep into jhana they are not able to respond to external stimuli, however I sometimes find myself wondering whether they might be exaggerating a little, say to sell places on jhana retreats.

RE: Any one has (or knows of) someone who reached 1st jhana on their own?
Answer
2/16/20 7:56 PM as a reply to Pouya Iranitalab.
Pouya Iranitalab:
either at home or retreat or a combination of both? 

Iv been digging many Ayya Khema talks and been really digging my hills in my practice to evolve concentration as a definite means to further purification. 

Lovesome motivation, inspiring stories from others who have done the seemingly impossible. 

Like to know the duration, times of practice and other details for reference. 

I came up with a meditation technqiue very similar to what Leigh Brasington teaches on my own. Leigh was a student of Ayya so I assume this is what you are asking about. He teaches you only need access concentration (soft jhana not hard jhana). But you write about evolving concentration so I am not sure which you are interested in.

I discovered Leigh's web site when I went on the internet to look for information on what I had worked out. At the time I didn't know the term Jhana. What led me in that direction was something I read by Thich Naht Hanh, "... practice breathing with a half-smile. You will feel great joy.".

I posted the following in another thread recently it might be helpful if you are interested in soft jhana. Down towards the middle of the post I give a couple of suggestions on how to experience the jhanas. One thing I didn't mention is to try meditating after you eat a meal -  if you feel your mood is elevated, you feel sleepy, or you have a feeling of satiety - it means tryptophan uptake has increased in the brain and you will be better able to produce serotonin - a neurotransmitter needed to feel pleasure.

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18750992#_19_message_18750992


Jim Smith:
John W:
...

I'm curious about others experience of feeling blissful when meditating, is this more of an early path state or do more blissful states come into fruition later on (after Stream Entry for example)?  
I often feel blissful during meditation. I think bliss is something that can come before stream entry because one path to stream entry is to go through all the jhanas first. And one of the seven factors of awakening is piti (joy)


Do more experienced meditators find that they are less interested in feeling blissful later on or is it a state that you can always return to even later on?  Does it simply stop mattering?
When I first learned to produce bliss it was fun to crank up the intensity. But too much for too long and it stopped being pleasant. It matters a lot less when it becomes ordinary. I use the skill in daily life to make it pleasant when I can. Being happy helps you to be non-attached because it makes it easier to let go of attachments and aversions. And learning to produce bliss can help you learn to let go of the ten fetters that are used to measure the four stages of enlightenment.

I also found I made more progress faster after I began to produce bliss during meditation.


FWIW I consider myself a meditation beginner, having practiced for about a year/year and a half, maybe an average of an hour a day.


Should I be aware of anything else or just continue to observe?  Again it doesn't really bother me that I don't feel blissful often, but I also would not at all mind being more blissful... lol.


The next time you feel naturally happy, try meditating on the feeling of happienss and see if the intensity increases. If you can do that, you will know how to produce it during meditation: just look for a pleasant feeling like the feeling of relaxation as you breathe in a relaxing way, patiently focus your attention on that pleasant feeling, and see if the intensity of pleasure gradually increases.

I find relaxation is very helpful inproducing bliss. If you are a "high octane" person and want to experience bliss during meditatoin, it might help to try relaxation exercises before meditating.

If you don't experience bliss under these conditions my experience is that changes in diet can help. You can increase serotonin levels in the brain by eating carbohydrates and protein in certain amounts and at certain times (get more info from google). Also, after reading that eating beef is correlated with a reduced incidence of depression I experimented and found that eating beef resulted in more intense bliss during meditation.

If you still find you are not getting bliss when you meditate, don't worry about it. In my opinion you get much of the same benefit from just meditating in a relaxing way. (In my view it's all about learning to be relaxed. That might be an unconventional view or an unconventional way of explainig it but if you could be relaxed in any situation you would necessarily be non-attached.)

Thanks and regards..
John


Have you seen this thread:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/16039323

I have several posts there on this subject.

There is also a lot of info on the Soft Jana thread:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/14564976

I don't believe strong concentration is needed to experience the first (soft) jhana, fifth and beyond maybe*, but not for 1st. Attaining 1st can be difficult but I think people incorrectly attribute that to lack of concentration. I think success is due to having the right biochemistry. Different people have different levels of neurotransmitters and levels of neurotransmitters can fluctuate in a person over time. When I eat right, 1st soft jhana is available any time I want it. When I eat wrong, no amount of meditation will make it happen. What makes attaining it problematical and inconsistent for people, I believe, is that brain chemistry fluctuates and people don't recognize that is a part of the phenomenon that needs to be controlled.

* The fifth (soft) jhana was the first jhana I ever experienced. It happened when I was doing relaxation exercises. I didn't know anything about jhana's at the time. I thought it was cool like floating in space. After that it would happen occassionally when I did relaxation exercises or sometimes I would wake from sleep in the middle of the night in it. When I worked out how to get into the first jhana also before I read anything about jhana's, I didn't know the two experiences were related.

RE: Any one has (or knows of) someone who reached 1st jhana on their own?
Answer
2/16/20 7:37 PM as a reply to Pouya Iranitalab.
I did in month by Tibetan Visualization Shamatha didn't know back then it's jhana but it felt like a God Realm ,got really addicted ,never reached again by same technique ,most important for my well being is getting rid of defiliment of mind.

RE: Any one has (or knows of) someone who reached 1st jhana on their own?
Answer
2/17/20 8:27 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Pouya Iranitalab:
either at home or retreat or a combination of both? 

Iv been digging many Ayya Khema talks and been really digging my hills in my practice to evolve concentration as a definite means to further purification. 

Lovesome motivation, inspiring stories from others who have done the seemingly impossible. 

Like to know the duration, times of practice and other details for reference. 

I came up with a meditation technqiue very similar to what Leigh Brasington teaches on my own. Leigh was a student of Ayya so I assume this is what you are asking about. He teaches you only need access concentration (soft jhana not hard jhana). But you write about evolving concentration so I am not sure which you are interested in.

I discovered Leigh's web site when I went on the internet to look for information on what I had worked out. At the time I didn't know the term Jhana. What led me in that direction was something I read by Thich Naht Hanh, "... practice breathing with a half-smile. You will feel great joy.".

I posted the following in another thread recently it might be helpful if you are interested in soft jhana. Down towards the middle of the post I give a couple of suggestions on how to experience the jhanas. One thing I didn't mention is to try meditating after you eat a meal -  if you feel your mood is elevated, you feel sleepy, or you have a feeling of satiety - it means tryptophan uptake has increased in the brain and you will be better able to produce serotonin - a neurotransmitter needed to feel pleasure.

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18750992#_19_message_18750992


Jim Smith:
John W:
...

I'm curious about others experience of feeling blissful when meditating, is this more of an early path state or do more blissful states come into fruition later on (after Stream Entry for example)?  
I often feel blissful during meditation. I think bliss is something that can come before stream entry because one path to stream entry is to go through all the jhanas first. And one of the seven factors of awakening is piti (joy)


Do more experienced meditators find that they are less interested in feeling blissful later on or is it a state that you can always return to even later on?  Does it simply stop mattering?
When I first learned to produce bliss it was fun to crank up the intensity. But too much for too long and it stopped being pleasant. It matters a lot less when it becomes ordinary. I use the skill in daily life to make it pleasant when I can. Being happy helps you to be non-attached because it makes it easier to let go of attachments and aversions. And learning to produce bliss can help you learn to let go of the ten fetters that are used to measure the four stages of enlightenment.

I also found I made more progress faster after I began to produce bliss during meditation.


FWIW I consider myself a meditation beginner, having practiced for about a year/year and a half, maybe an average of an hour a day.


Should I be aware of anything else or just continue to observe?  Again it doesn't really bother me that I don't feel blissful often, but I also would not at all mind being more blissful... lol.


The next time you feel naturally happy, try meditating on the feeling of happienss and see if the intensity increases. If you can do that, you will know how to produce it during meditation: just look for a pleasant feeling like the feeling of relaxation as you breathe in a relaxing way, patiently focus your attention on that pleasant feeling, and see if the intensity of pleasure gradually increases.

I find relaxation is very helpful inproducing bliss. If you are a "high octane" person and want to experience bliss during meditatoin, it might help to try relaxation exercises before meditating.

If you don't experience bliss under these conditions my experience is that changes in diet can help. You can increase serotonin levels in the brain by eating carbohydrates and protein in certain amounts and at certain times (get more info from google). Also, after reading that eating beef is correlated with a reduced incidence of depression I experimented and found that eating beef resulted in more intense bliss during meditation.

If you still find you are not getting bliss when you meditate, don't worry about it. In my opinion you get much of the same benefit from just meditating in a relaxing way. (In my view it's all about learning to be relaxed. That might be an unconventional view or an unconventional way of explainig it but if you could be relaxed in any situation you would necessarily be non-attached.)

Thanks and regards..
John


Have you seen this thread:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/16039323

I have several posts there on this subject.

There is also a lot of info on the Soft Jana thread:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/14564976

I don't believe strong concentration is needed to experience the first (soft) jhana, fifth and beyond maybe*, but not for 1st. Attaining 1st can be difficult but I think people incorrectly attribute that to lack of concentration. I think success is due to having the right biochemistry. Different people have different levels of neurotransmitters and levels of neurotransmitters can fluctuate in a person over time. When I eat right, 1st soft jhana is available any time I want it. When I eat wrong, no amount of meditation will make it happen. What makes attaining it problematical and inconsistent for people, I believe, is that brain chemistry fluctuates and people don't recognize that is a part of the phenomenon that needs to be controlled.

* The fifth (soft) jhana was the first jhana I ever experienced. It happened when I was doing relaxation exercises. I didn't know anything about jhana's at the time. I thought it was cool like floating in space. After that it would happen occassionally when I did relaxation exercises or sometimes I would wake from sleep in the middle of the night in it. When I worked out how to get into the first jhana also before I read anything about jhana's, I didn't know the two experiences were related.

Hi Jim! 

Thank you so much for your contribution - really like the suggestion about meditating on happiness and intensifying it. Also the suggestions about the right diet and creating the right brain chemistry resonates with me.

I recently got off my crazy coffee drinking habit for this purpose - I noticed I was getting high on caffeine in mornings and afternoons, but I had this intuition that in order to access more subtle joy i must give up my addiction to it, even though I loved the high from it. 

I still drink green tea but after getting off coffee I realized how much sleep deprived I was and I won't able to feel natural joy - then I started to eat by 6 pm and be in bed by 9 and wake up at 4 and today is day 14 and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, My joy is returning and feeling a sense of calmness - 

RE: Any one has (or knows of) someone who reached 1st jhana on their own?
Answer
2/18/20 12:56 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:


I don't believe strong concentration is needed to experience the first (soft) jhana, fifth and beyond maybe*, but not for 1st. Attaining 1st can be difficult but I think people incorrectly attribute that to lack of concentration. I think success is due to having the right biochemistry. Different people have different levels of neurotransmitters and levels of neurotransmitters can fluctuate in a person over time. When I eat right, 1st soft jhana is available any time I want it. When I eat wrong, no amount of meditation will make it happen. What makes attaining it problematical and inconsistent for people, I believe, is that brain chemistry fluctuates and people don't recognize that is a part of the phenomenon that needs to be controlled.


"What makes attaining it problematical and inconsistent for people, I believe, is that brain chemistry fluctuates and people don't recognize that is a part of the phenomenon that needs to be controlled."

Another factor that I think people don't account for is stress. When I meditate to enter the jhanas, I find the important factor is relaxation not concentration. The type of meditation I do is very relaxing, and often after meditating for a while, I can feel stress disappear like a switch turning off, (like letting go of unpleasant emotions, attachments and aversions) and at that point I can enter the jhanas. I call this "access relaxation". Concentration is involved too, but I don't believe even as much as access concentration is needed. What can make entering jhanas seem hard, in my opinion, is that most people are not aware of important neurological factors: brain chemistry (diet) and stress levels (relaxation). But if you can control those factors it is much much easier, less variable, less ephemeral, and more predictable, understandable, and consistent.