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Jhanas and sense of self

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Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/19/20 9:04 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Jim Smith 3/19/20 10:05 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/19/20 10:46 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/19/20 9:31 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/19/20 9:33 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/20/20 12:26 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self shargrol 3/20/20 2:38 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/21/20 8:59 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/21/20 9:06 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/21/20 1:57 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/21/20 5:41 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/24/20 10:26 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/24/20 10:50 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/24/20 12:49 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/24/20 1:41 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/24/20 1:57 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/24/20 3:34 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 8:13 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/25/20 8:21 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/25/20 8:46 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self T 3/25/20 9:27 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/25/20 10:16 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 9:32 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/24/20 11:15 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/24/20 11:26 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Not two, not one 3/24/20 12:22 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/24/20 12:25 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Not two, not one 3/24/20 12:33 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/24/20 12:59 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Not two, not one 3/24/20 1:23 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self T 3/25/20 7:54 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/25/20 8:06 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/25/20 8:12 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 8:15 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/25/20 8:16 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Not two, not one 3/25/20 1:41 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Siavash 3/25/20 2:04 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 2:19 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Not two, not one 3/25/20 2:51 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 4:05 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Not two, not one 3/25/20 4:52 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 5:50 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/26/20 6:23 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/26/20 8:04 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/26/20 8:05 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/26/20 8:10 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/26/20 9:33 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/26/20 9:46 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/26/20 10:17 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/27/20 7:07 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/27/20 10:06 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/27/20 10:33 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 11:42 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/27/20 12:02 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 12:14 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 1:27 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/27/20 2:27 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 3:00 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/28/20 8:03 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 3:51 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 4:00 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 3:20 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 4:03 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/28/20 9:40 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/28/20 10:07 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/28/20 11:44 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/28/20 12:23 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/30/20 10:58 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/30/20 11:07 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 4/1/20 7:43 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 4/1/20 9:06 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 4/1/20 9:25 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/1/20 9:39 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 4/2/20 9:57 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/2/20 10:46 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/28/20 10:59 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/28/20 11:58 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/28/20 12:47 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 10:19 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self T 3/27/20 7:45 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/27/20 7:47 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self T 3/27/20 8:08 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/27/20 8:21 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/27/20 9:19 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/27/20 9:36 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self terry 3/24/20 2:22 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self terry 3/24/20 5:40 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self terry 3/24/20 2:40 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self terry 3/24/20 2:38 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self terry 3/21/20 1:08 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/21/20 1:48 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self terry 3/21/20 3:20 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/25/20 2:22 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 2:22 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/25/20 2:26 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 2:35 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/25/20 2:42 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 3:21 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Chris Marti 3/25/20 3:32 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 3:41 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/25/20 11:22 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/26/20 3:28 AM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self spatial 3/25/20 2:54 PM
RE: Jhanas and sense of self Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/25/20 3:29 PM
Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/19/20 9:04 AM
Does it make sense to say that the ascension through the jhanas is exactly the broadening of the sense of what "the self" is?

Does it make sense to say:

1st jhana: you are the observer of the foreground
2nd jhana: you are the foreground
3rd jhana: you are the observer of the background
4th jhana: you are the background
5th jhana: you are the observer of space
6th jhana: you are space
7th jhana: you are the observer of nothingness
8th jhana: you are nothingness

Does this resonate with anyone?

Sometimes I just make up stuff like this (and usually don't write it down).

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/19/20 10:05 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Does it make sense to say that the ascension through the jhanas is exactly the broadening of the sense of what "the self" is?

Does it make sense to say:

1st jhana: you are the observer of the foreground
2nd jhana: you are the foreground
3rd jhana: you are the observer of the background
4th jhana: you are the background
5th jhana: you are the observer of space
6th jhana: you are space
7th jhana: you are the observer of nothingness
8th jhana: you are nothingness

Does this resonate with anyone?

Sometimes I just make up stuff like this (and usually don't write it down).

There was another thread about how sometimes cessation is a dud.

Along the same lines, some people might interpret their experience of the jhanas the way you describe, others, including me, will just think it is a weird brain state produced by too much meditation. My opinion is that the really good stuff (behavior changing insight) comes from observing the origination and cessation of dukkha in your own mind. Experiencing the jhanas tells you that you are quieting your mind, they give you a good background screen upon which to watch the activity of your mind, so they can be a very helpful and useful option. But in my opinon experiencing them is not an insight or realization in itself. 

In my opinion, the only thing any of these states, jhana and others (non-duality, not-self, oneness, etc etc), tell you is that the brain is a virtual reality generator. But everyone already knows that.  If you knew when a state is produced by brain activity and when it is produced by lack of activity, you might beable to draw conclusions about when the brain is adding something to consciousness and when it isn't, but I don't know how you can make those conclusions without complicated laboratory experiments, and I don't think they produce behavior changing insights.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/19/20 10:46 AM as a reply to spatial.
It resonates with me. I think it's pretty brilliant.

Just wondering... do you think this pertains to both shamatha jhanas and vipassana jhanas (when applicable)? I'm thinking that stuff can get more entangled in vipassana jhanas. In fourth vipassana jhana, for instance, I have had experiences that could perhaps be described as being the background but still somehow to some extent being the observer of something in the foreground. I remember thinking afterwards that it didn't at all feel like there was any doer or perceiver there, and yet there's a feeling that there was still something that felt just that. And there was definitely something (visuals) in the foreground, as least as remembered retrospectively. In third vipassana jhana I have had the experience of foreground and background switching places, and subject (here) and object (over there) switching places. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/19/20 9:31 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It resonates with me. I think it's pretty brilliant.

Just wondering... do you think this pertains to both shamatha jhanas and vipassana jhanas (when applicable)? I'm thinking that stuff can get more entangled in vipassana jhanas. In fourth vipassana jhana, for instance, I have had experiences that could perhaps be described as being the background but still somehow to some extent being the observer of something in the foreground. I remember thinking afterwards that it didn't at all feel like there was any doer or perceiver there, and yet there's a feeling that there was still something that felt just that. And there was definitely something (visuals) in the foreground, as least as remembered retrospectively. In third vipassana jhana I have had the experience of foreground and background switching places, and subject (here) and object (over there) switching places. 

I think it gets really tangled up. At least, for me it seems to. I feel like I sometimes switch between these states very rapidly. I don't know if that's just my individual makeup, or the way that I've trained myself, or what. Sometimes I end up in a rather stable version of one of these states, and that's cool, but eventually I realize that I'm in the state, and then it gets chaotic again.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/19/20 9:33 PM as a reply to spatial.
I should add:

I'm making it sound like I hate the chaos. That's not really true. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I hate it. It's a wave. There are times when I hate the stability, because I associate it with feeling stuck, and with ignorance.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/20/20 12:26 AM as a reply to spatial.
I think I understand. I think I have sort of a double binding to that chaos myself. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/20/20 2:38 PM as a reply to spatial.
sounds good spatial!

It kinda reminds me of how Leigh Brasington describes entering each jhana:

http://www.leighb.com/jhana2do.htm

Essence of entering each of the 8 Jhanas:
0. Follow breath until access concentration is established:

a. Thoughts are wispy and in the background,
b. and/or White light glows in the background,
c. and/or Breath becomes very shallow or disappears.

1. Switch attention away from the breath to a pleasant physical sensation:
a. Stay focused on the 'pleasantness' of the pleasant sensation,
b. Do not do anything else but stay focused on the 'pleasantness', it will increase in intensity automatically.
c. When the physical pleasure and emotional joy/happiness rises, focus on that experience.

2. Focus on the emotional joy/happiness that is accompanying the intense physical sensations of the 1st Jhana:
a. Push the the intense physical sensations into the background - taking a deep breath now will be helpful in doing this,
b. Stay one pointedly focused on the joy/happiness.

3. Turn down the intensity of the joy/happiness to contentment/satisfaction.

4. Let go of the pleasure of the contentment/satisfaction and drop down to a quiet, still equanimity.

5. Sense the "boundaries of your being" and begin expanding them outwards:
a. Expand outwards until you fill the room,
b. Expand outwards until you fill the building,
c. Expand outwards until you fill the neighborhood,
d. Expand outwards further and further, remain focused on expanding outwards,
e. When a boundless space opens up before you, switch your focus to it.

6. Realizing that it takes a boundless consciousness to be aware of a boundless space, switch your attention to to your consciousness of the boundless space.

7. Switch your attention from the boundless consciousness to the content of that consciousness - it will be a sense of no thing - no-thing at all anywhere.

8. Let go of all the previous outward sensing and come to rest in a small spot more or less between the eyes and a few inches from your face. Focus on being in a state that has no characteristics.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/21/20 8:59 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:

It kinda reminds me of how Leigh Brasington describes entering each jhana:

http://www.leighb.com/jhana2do.htm


Thanks for the link, shargrol. Something about the way he gives instructions doesn't sit well with me...I'm not sure why. Maybe he has a different kind of personality, or maybe the instructions presuppose his specific way of looking at his body...I don't know. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/21/20 9:06 AM as a reply to spatial.
Something about the way he gives instructions doesn't sit well with me...I'm not sure why. Maybe he has a different kind of personality, or maybe the instructions presuppose his specific way of looking at his body...I don't know. 

That's okay. There are many paths into the jhanas. Some follow intention, some just happen.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/21/20 1:08 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Does it make sense to say that the ascension through the jhanas is exactly the broadening of the sense of what "the self" is?

Does it make sense to say:

1st jhana: you are the observer of the foreground
2nd jhana: you are the foreground
3rd jhana: you are the observer of the background
4th jhana: you are the background
5th jhana: you are the observer of space
6th jhana: you are space
7th jhana: you are the observer of nothingness
8th jhana: you are nothingness

Does this resonate with anyone?

Sometimes I just make up stuff like this (and usually don't write it down).


Does a person in a jhana think, "I am observing myself in a jhana"?

When I am in what I later imagine was a jhana, I don't think I am aware of that being the case.

I'm fixing to enter a jhana right now though.

t

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/21/20 1:48 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Does a person in a jhana think, "I am observing myself in a jhana"?


I have no idea, but I don't see why not. Maybe what I'm experiencing are not "jhanas" in some technical sense, but they are clearly delineated, stable states.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/21/20 1:57 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Something about the way he gives instructions doesn't sit well with me...I'm not sure why. Maybe he has a different kind of personality, or maybe the instructions presuppose his specific way of looking at his body...I don't know. 

That's okay. There are many paths into the jhanas. Some follow intention, some just happen.


I tried an experiment just now, for 30 minutes. I made a resolution to try to grab on to whatever state I found myself in. 

I am so frustrated that I can't explain this, because it seems so incredibly clear and definite while I'm meditating. And then, when I try to put it into words, I just don't know what to say.

Each state has:

- a spot where I grab on to hold it
- some area that is able to relax while still holding the state
- a specific sense of space
- a specific sense of body

There are a lot of loops and cycles. One thing that happened many times was a lot of tension building up in my eyes, then the realization that I could allow the tension to build up there, then deliberately allowing it to build up, then the realization that I could relax the whole rest of the body while holding on to my eyes. Then, it would loop back around.

I'm almost toying with the idea of narrating this while it happens and posting a recording...

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/21/20 3:20 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
terry:
Does a person in a jhana think, "I am observing myself in a jhana"?


I have no idea, but I don't see why not. Maybe what I'm experiencing are not "jhanas" in some technical sense, but they are clearly delineated, stable states.


   I don't hold my "states" - they hold me. I have no more grasp or control than a leaf in the wind. Or a leaf where no wind blows.

t

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/21/20 5:41 PM as a reply to spatial.
- a spot where I grab on to hold it
- some area that is able to relax while still holding the state

Well, yeah. I first described getting into the various jhanas almost the same way. I think I used the term "handle" (as in something to grab onto) - that feeling or notion or sensation or whatever, that would allow me to bootstrap from one jhana to another.

So there you, or we, go.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 10:26 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
- a spot where I grab on to hold it
- some area that is able to relax while still holding the state

Well, yeah. I first described getting into the various jhanas almost the same way. I think I used the term "handle" (as in something to grab onto) - that feeling or notion or sensation or whatever, that would allow me to bootstrap from one jhana to another.

So there you, or we, go.

I've been experimenting more with this.

There's a spot that is really important...the third eye, I guess?

I'm curious to know if the following sounds right to you:

First jhana: I'm in control of the body, and the spot is up there, separate from me. I grab on to the spot and hold it, deliberately. I regulate the energy in the rest of the body so that I can maintain my grasp on the spot.

Second jhana: I fully grab onto the spot "with both hands", and let go of the rest of the body. It's much easier to hold onto the spot, because I don't have the rest of the body weighing me down.

Third jhana: I rest in the spot, leaning into it. It becomes the dominant "foreground" experience. I become aware of everything going on around me, but I am stationary. (the challenge here is that it seems like stuff from the background tries to pull me back into 2nd jhana mode, where I am latched onto the individual experience, and forced to go along for its individual ride. this can happen many times per second)

Fourth jhana: I don't believe I've gotten this far with the clarity of the others.  My sense is that it might involve expanding the spot to include the heart area. (this challenge here is that I seem to want to maintain a sense of here/there)

(Please, no one take this too seriously. These are not practice instructions. I'm just making this up. I might be totally wrong about what's happening.)

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 10:50 AM as a reply to spatial.
Can I ask, this handle or spot that you hold on to, does that enable access to jhanas more reliably? For me, whether or not I can access jhanas seems to depend on where I am in the spiraling of a path. At some points, it just grabs me. There are also points where I think I have found a way to open the door to it, a handle if you will, only to discover later that the handle is nowhere to be found at other points in the spiraling. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 11:15 AM as a reply to spatial.
I'm curious to know if the following sounds right to you:

Yes.

The "handle" I use is indeed associated with a physical "location" (I conceptualize the handle as being up and in front of my forehead). They appear as I get bored or tired of the jhana I'm experiencing. It's like the sign to move on, to access the next state. What you posted seems fine and accurate to me.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 11:26 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
BTW - there seems to be no handle available for getting into first jhana. Likewise, there seems to be no handle available past 8th jhana. Going from 8th to 9th is like opening a manhole cover beneath the sewer (8th jhana is just freaking weird) and emerging into a beautiful, bright Spring day.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 12:22 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I find contraction of the mula bandha point to be a reliable handle for accessing first jhana.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 12:25 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
 ...mula bandha point...

Translation?  emoticon


RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 12:33 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
The perineum.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 12:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Can I ask, this handle or spot that you hold on to, does that enable access to jhanas more reliably? For me, whether or not I can access jhanas seems to depend on where I am in the spiraling of a path. At some points, it just grabs me. There are also points where I think I have found a way to open the door to it, a handle if you will, only to discover later that the handle is nowhere to be found at other points in the spiraling. 


Um...it's hard to answer that.

I know the feeling of the handle being nowhere to be found. 

It feels to me like the more of a preference I have for a specific state, the harder it can be to access that state. And there can be a long delay between the time when the intention first emerges and the time when the handle emerges. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 12:59 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
The perineum.

Haha - okay. Yes, I agree, but that's not quite the same as the "handle" we've been describing, which is a mental phenomenon with no physical connection. At least for me.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 1:23 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Yes, I know what you are saying.  I have that other non-material handle too, as a kind of outside the body point.  Seems to be the same point, and putting the focus there stills verbal formations for me, and encourages bliss.  But then there seem to be lots of other points around and within the head that have different flavours of the jhana factors.

But I hasten to add I am a much more primitive jhana practitioner than you are! 

emoticon 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 1:41 PM as a reply to spatial.
I did some experimenting on my own, inspired by this thread, and learned that I have come to a point where I need to "let go of letting go" and instead just let contractions build up where they seem to want to build up, like I used to do. So that's why it used to be so much easier to get into different states. Cool!

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 1:57 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think I have sort of trained myself to let go of the intention to get into jhana, without realizing what I was doing. 

It has led to other experiences that have been helpful, so it was probably a good thing to learn, but lacking that metaunderstanding of what I was doing, I didn't know how to let the intention sort of coagulate into being again even when I wanted, which was confusing. This was an eye-opener. Many thanks! 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 2:22 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
The perineum.

Haha - okay. Yes, I agree, but that's not quite the same as the "handle" we've been describing, which is a mental phenomenon with no physical connection. At least for me.


   My handle is a figurine of kwan yin, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion. Somehow I have a deep affinity for the goddess, she is my buddha, my exemplar, my beloved. She fills me when I am empty, which is most of the time; on the way to all of the time.

   I like that she has her hair up, that she's bare-footed, and that she's flat-chested. She's really very personal to me. If her mouth opened, I'll bet she has charmingly crooked teeth. Axillary and pubic hair. (She smells like incense, heavenly!) She's the womb of the world.

(sigh)
terry

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 2:38 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
BTW - there seems to be no handle available for getting into first jhana. Likewise, there seems to be no handle available past 8th jhana. Going from 8th to 9th is like opening a manhole cover beneath the sewer (8th jhana is just freaking weird) and emerging into a beautiful, bright Spring day.


   A ladder to the moon.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 2:40 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
The perineum.

Haha - okay. Yes, I agree, but that's not quite the same as the "handle" we've been describing, which is a mental phenomenon with no physical connection. At least for me.


Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.

Archimedes.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 3:34 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I did some experimenting on my own, inspired by this thread, and learned that I have come to a point where I need to "let go of letting go" and instead just let contractions build up where they seem to want to build up, like I used to do. So that's why it used to be so much easier to get into different states. Cool!


I've spent a lot of time practicing letting things build up where they want to build up, and I think this is really productive.  But it's confusing, because it goes against all meditation instructions from all teachers. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea. In any case, do it.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/24/20 5:40 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Chris Marti:
The perineum.

Haha - okay. Yes, I agree, but that's not quite the same as the "handle" we've been describing, which is a mental phenomenon with no physical connection. At least for me.


   My handle is a figurine of kwan yin, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion. Somehow I have a deep affinity for the goddess, she is my buddha, my exemplar, my beloved. She fills me when I am empty, which is most of the time; on the way to all of the time.

   I like that she has her hair up, that she's bare-footed, and that she's flat-chested. She's really very personal to me. If her mouth opened, I'll bet she has charmingly crooked teeth. Axillary and pubic hair. (She smells like incense, heavenly!) She's the womb of the world.

(sigh)
terry


something
(the beatles)

Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me
I don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don't need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me
I don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

You're asking me will my love grow
I don't know, I don't know
You stick around and it may show
I don't know, I don't know

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me
I don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 7:54 AM as a reply to Not two, not one.
I couldn't tell if you were making a joke - but you're not, are you? So you direct attention there and it has the result of going to the seat of attention, so to speak?

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 8:06 AM as a reply to T.
So you direct attention there and it has the result of going to the seat of attention, so to speak?

I'll give you my version but curious should weigh in, too.

One of the first physical effects of my emerging vipassana meditation practice was to notice the energy emerging from that area between the butt and the genitals - the perineum. At first, it seemed coincidental but as time and practice moved along it became obvious that something was being felt that was symptomatic of practice. That spot's sensations are pleasurable. That feeling of pleasure is easy to tap into, almost automatic actually, and pleasant sensations easily become a fulcrum to launch one's self into jhana. Heck, I can feel the pleasant sensation growing right now, as I type this comment.

No joke!

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 8:12 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
So you direct attention there and it has the result of going to the seat of attention, so to speak?

I'll give you my version but curious should weigh in, too.

One of the first physical effects of my emerging vipassana meditation practice was to notice the energy emerging from that area between the butt and the genitals - the perineum. At first, it seemed coincidental but as time and practice moved along it became obvious that something was being felt that was symptomatic of practice. That spot's sensations are pleasurable. That feeling of pleasure is easy to tap into, almost automatic actually, and pleasant sensations easily become a fulcrum to launch one's self into jhana. Heck, I can feel the pleasant sensation growing right now, as I type this comment.

No joke!

My experience is the same. Also, the connection between that area and the head is very prominent in my meditation. I didn't take it to be a joke.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 8:13 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I did some experimenting on my own, inspired by this thread, and learned that I have come to a point where I need to "let go of letting go" and instead just let contractions build up where they seem to want to build up, like I used to do. So that's why it used to be so much easier to get into different states. Cool!


I've spent a lot of time practicing letting things build up where they want to build up, and I think this is really productive.  But it's confusing, because it goes against all meditation instructions from all teachers. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea. In any case, do it.

I used to do that and it used to work, so I believe you. Weird that I have never heard anyone else say that before. This means that I learned to stop doing something that was productive and that I had been doing intuitively from start. That's not the first time that happens. Oh well, I think I needed to learn that too in order to experience what I believe is glimpses of rigpa, so no big deal. Now I "just" need to learn how to shift between those modes. That will probably take some time and effort. It's good at least to finally have a clue about what I need to do. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 8:15 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Chris Marti:
So you direct attention there and it has the result of going to the seat of attention, so to speak?

I'll give you my version but curious should weigh in, too.

One of the first physical effects of my emerging vipassana meditation practice was to notice the energy emerging from that area between the butt and the genitals - the perineum. At first, it seemed coincidental but as time and practice moved along it became obvious that something was being felt that was symptomatic of practice. That spot's sensations are pleasurable. That feeling of pleasure is easy to tap into, almost automatic actually, and pleasant sensations easily become a fulcrum to launch one's self into jhana. Heck, I can feel the pleasant sensation growing right now, as I type this comment.

No joke!

My experience is the same. Also, the connection between that area and the head is very prominent in my meditation. I didn't take it to be a joke.

I wonder if that differs depending on what kind of genitals one has. I have sometimes noticed contractions in my uteris.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 8:16 AM as a reply to spatial.
Yeah.

Those pleasant sensations so easily lead to jhanic absorption. My theory is that the mind gets transfixed by them and soon drops all other "stuff" in favor of this sensory treat - it's sort of like an opiate.

emoticon

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 8:21 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I used to do that and it used to work, so I believe you. Weird that I have never heard anyone else say that before. This means that I learned to stop doing something that was productive and that I had been doing intuitively from start. That's not the first time that happens. Oh well, I think I needed to learn that too in order to experience what I believe is glimpses of rigpa, so no big deal. Now I "just" need to learn how to shift between those modes. That will probably take some time and effort. It's good at least to finally have a clue about what I need to do. 


Sometimes I think that the idea is to practice "all the things." You want to practice letting go, and you want to practice holding on. You're trying to make your mind flexible enough that it can handle anything you might throw at it, automatically. This means you have to do everything and its opposite, and thus every teacher will at some point be "wrong."

added: But there's definitely a bias in the meditation world toward telling students to let go. I don't think this is right. The seven factors of awakening need to be balanced.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 8:46 AM as a reply to spatial.
You're trying to make your mind flexible enough that it can handle anything you might throw at it, automatically.

This is great - but we might ask ourselves, who is throwing what at whom?

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 9:27 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thank you - this is a really interesting and useful discussion. I've struggled somewhat with jhanas, in a way. I find this exchange very interesting and helpful. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 9:32 AM as a reply to spatial.
Very true. And I have a long way to go before having that kind of flexibility. Sometimes I feel like one of those gigantic tankers on crawler tracks. Once I have started going in one direction, it will take a while to change direction. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like I'm being blown by the wind as if I were a dry leaf. I guess both those feelings and anything in-between is correct, as there is nothing permanent about me.

It is cool to see how every little whim has some kind of effect, though. Reading through my old logs, I can see effects that went under my radar at the time.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 10:16 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
You're trying to make your mind flexible enough that it can handle anything you might throw at it, automatically.

This is great - but we might ask ourselves, who is throwing what at whom?


It's times like this when I question whether I have any insight at all. It really feels like "you" are throwing "this question" at "me". I have a lot more practice to do.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 1:41 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
So you direct attention there and it has the result of going to the seat of attention, so to speak?

I'll give you my version but curious should weigh in, too.

One of the first physical effects of my emerging vipassana meditation practice was to notice the energy emerging from that area between the butt and the genitals - the perineum. At first, it seemed coincidental but as time and practice moved along it became obvious that something was being felt that was symptomatic of practice. That spot's sensations are pleasurable. That feeling of pleasure is easy to tap into, almost automatic actually, and pleasant sensations easily become a fulcrum to launch one's self into jhana. Heck, I can feel the pleasant sensation growing right now, as I type this comment.

No joke!

Yes, yes. Just the same. I calm the mind, put the attention on the perineum, contract if necessary, and then spread the sensation to suffuse my body, with attention fully focussed on that sensation. I can always find it htere - it's like, "Where did I put the soap flakes?  Ah, here they are, just where I left them."  

The perineum is, of course, just one possibility. You can get into jhana from other sources of pleasant sensations too.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:04 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
curious:
Chris Marti:
So you direct attention there and it has the result of going to the seat of attention, so to speak?

I'll give you my version but curious should weigh in, too.

One of the first physical effects of my emerging vipassana meditation practice was to notice the energy emerging from that area between the butt and the genitals - the perineum. At first, it seemed coincidental but as time and practice moved along it became obvious that something was being felt that was symptomatic of practice. That spot's sensations are pleasurable. That feeling of pleasure is easy to tap into, almost automatic actually, and pleasant sensations easily become a fulcrum to launch one's self into jhana. Heck, I can feel the pleasant sensation growing right now, as I type this comment.

No joke!

Yes, yes. Just the same. I calm the mind, put the attention on the perineum, contract if necessary, and then spread the sensation to suffuse my body, with attention fully focussed on that sensation. I can always find it htere - it's like, "Where did I put the soap flakes?  Ah, here they are, just where I left them."  

The perineum is, of course, just one possibility. You can get into jhana from other sources of pleasant sensations too.


Thank you Chris and Malcolm for these descriptions.
When I focus on these areas or around it, hips for instance, it intensifies the energetic sensations in the base of spine, and causes very intense pain and itching sensations in different locations. Sometimes it causes pleasant sensations too, like a mildly pleasant coolness and breeze or some mildly pleasant tingling somewhere, but most often they are intense and unpleasant, but not bothering though.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:19 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
Your description almost makes me wish that I had a male prostate, damn it. emoticon

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:22 PM as a reply to spatial.
Does anyone relate to this one?

1st jhana: Smile
2nd jhana: Keep smiling, stop holding your breath
3rd jhana: Stop smiling
4th jhana: ??? (stop holding your breath again, I guess?)

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:22 PM as a reply to spatial.
I haven't been holding my breath, but otherwise, yes.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I haven't been holding my breath, but otherwise, yes.

It's like the release phase of an orgasm. The tension stays in your head, but the rest of the body lets go.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:35 PM as a reply to spatial.
I don't usually have that kind of orgasms either, nowadays.The energy goes through my whole body instead of building up at a single point. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:42 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I don't usually have that kind of orgasms either, nowadays.The energy goes through my whole body instead of building up at a single point. 

Even for one instant? It doesn't have to build up a lot. Just enough to flip the mode of attention over to something else.

I wonder if this is right:

1st jhana: Head On, Spine On
2nd jhana: Head On, Spine Off
3rd jhana: Head Off, Spine On
4th jhana: Head Off, Spine Off

I'm trying to find the simplicity here.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Your description almost makes me wish that I had a male prostate, damn it. emoticon

Plenty of yoginis achieve grade V piti using mula bandha. No prostate required. You might recall throwing yourself out of review after stream entry with some incautious grade V piti.  :-)

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 2:54 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Does anyone relate to this one?

1st jhana: Smile
2nd jhana: Keep smiling, stop holding your breath
3rd jhana: Stop smiling
4th jhana: ??? (stop holding your breath again, I guess?)

There's a thread right now: "Forgetting to breathe. Practical Solutions." 

My hypothesis:

"Forgetting to breathe" happens as the 1st jhana reaches its peak. When you notice this, you can either (a) freak out about it and ask for practical solutions, or (b) just be ok with not controlling the breath in the first place, and flip over into the 2nd jhana. 

I suppose it's a question in addition to a hypothesis.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 3:21 PM as a reply to spatial.
Well, that depends. Not the spontaneous ones. Those are strangely tension-free. But sure, I can make an effort, too. 

I guess it's like a very spontaneous and freely flowing laughter. Sure, it has pulses, but I don't have to climb up that hill and push that sledge over the tipping point. Maybe it's because I mainly have empathic orgasms nowadays. I learned that when antidepressants messed up the usual canal. It turned out that I opened something I had no idea was in there. Other things have changed about them as well, but it would probably be awkward to get into that. I have probably already over-shared.

That list is beyond me. I don't know. My impression is that the first four jhanas feel like they get further and further below the surface, and that also means that they get denser. I can't quite make sense of that, because fourth jhana is both more spacious and more dense at the same time. Maybe it makes a difference that I usually do shamatha lying down. In fourth jhana it feels like the eyeballs get pressed back into the head (in third jhana too, but not quite as much, unless perhaps if it's third vipassana jhana, because that one presses and squuezes and draws like nothing else, and the eyes can be part of that) and since the head rests against a pillow or mattress, the backhead sort of gets squeezed in-between the eyes and the pillow/mattress. But maybe it's also like being out in the deepest part of the sea. You can get very deep, which makes it dense, and still have more space both under and above you than in the more shallow parts, and at the same time it is much more still than closer to the surface (I don't know enough about the sea to know for sure if that part of the analogy is true for the sea, but you get the picture). 

Exactly what do you mean with off and on? 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 3:29 PM as a reply to spatial.
Oh. Yeah, I don't control the breath. It seems to do its job just fine without me. I just focus on the pleasant wind, and whether there is actual air in there or not, I haven't bothered to check. But now that you are mentioning it, that could be why I have always seemed to rush past first jhana. I read somewhere lately, probably on this forum (maybe even in this thread???) that if you want to get into second jhana, it may be helpful to take a deep breath. That happens automatically for me. That is, when shamatha works for me, which I have a feeling it will start to do again now, thanks to this thread and all the helpful sharing in it.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 3:32 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
A quick comment about effort to no one in particular - jhanas are not about that. I've always described jhanas as being like strange attractors for the mind (chaos theory reference - you can Google it). It always feels like I'm falling into them, never having to climb into them. They're pretty obviously naturally occurring mini-vacations from a wandering, nagging, narrative mind. 

emoticon

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 3:41 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
That's a good reminder. I know the feeling. It's just that for some reason, falling doesn't always seem to happen, which is weird, because when it happens it feels like the simplest thing in the world, like it just follows gravity. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 4:05 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
curious:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Your description almost makes me wish that I had a male prostate, damn it. emoticon

Plenty of yoginis achieve grade V piti using mula bandha. No prostate required. You might recall throwing yourself out of review after stream entry with some incautious grade V piti.  :-)

Oh yeah... That's very true. And now that you mention it, I think that happened my second time in review as well - not in the same stupid way, and not with the kind of intensity that literally knocks you down, but with a similar result, so... point taken. But that was so mundane that I didn't think of it as the sort of feeling that could be cultivated into jhana. But it's true, it can... I used to do that before starting my daily practice, when I had no idea what it was. Doesn't sound like what the Buddha would recommend, though. Maybe that just depends on how you do it. The most intense kinds are a bit too much, though. My face crumples up just from imagining it. It's like spinning round and round until you get all dizzy. Funny when you are a small kid, but eventually you get tired of it. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 4:52 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
"but eventually you get tired of it."

Exactly what the suttas say.  Eventually the feelings become gross and you drop them and so progress through the jhanas.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 5:50 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
Mm. I know. I guess I hadn't expected to feel so repelled by it. I thought it would be more like blasé, but it was disgustingly primitive. Or maybe that's just the current cycling speaking. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/25/20 11:22 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:


Exactly what do you mean with off and on? 

Forget about jhanas or good meditation for a second.

1. Pick an object in the room and direct all your attention at it. Maximum effort. Let your eyes and nose bunch up, your neck tighten, and your throat close so that your breath stops. If none of this happens, try harder. Your body should be so rigid that you can't possibly lose your focus on the object.

2. Keeping all the same rigidity in your face and neck, release the breath. Grab on tighter to the eyes and nose if you have to, in order to maintain the rigidity there, while at the same time totally allowing the breath to do whatever it wants.

3. Gradually release the tension in the face. Try to relax the face as much as you can, regardless of what's happening in the rest of the body.

4. When face is totally relaxed, you might notice that the rest of the body has gotten a bit rigid (as if the tension moved down from the head into the rest of the body). Now, try to gently synchronize the two, by releasing the tension in the body, without letting it go back into the head. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/26/20 3:28 AM as a reply to spatial.
That was very tangible. Thanks!

I'll keep it in mind for comparison.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/26/20 6:23 AM as a reply to Not two, not one.
Eventually the feelings become gross and you drop them and so progress through the jhanas.

Yep, and it happens automatically if you just let things flow. In my earlier practice this (Kenneth Folk term coming...) jhanic arc would occur any time I would sit and get into any kind of absorption.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/26/20 8:04 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Can I ask something that is probably stupid? Is it messed up to want to access the jhanic arc again AND go for more experiences of the dharmakaya? Should I choose only one of those things as my short-time practice goal? 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/26/20 8:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I see no reason to do just one of those things.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/26/20 8:10 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Really? Great! I was afraid I would have to choose. They seem like almost opposite practices. It is hard for me to switch gears between focus and non-focus. Much in my life would be simpler if I could learn how to do that more smoothly. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/26/20 9:33 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Just do one in the morning and the other one at night. That's what I do, and have done, for many years.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/26/20 9:46 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Just do one in the morning and the other one at night. That's what I do, and have done, for many years.

Could you describe what this looks like for you? Like, what kind of intentions do you have going in to each practice?

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/26/20 10:17 AM as a reply to spatial.
My intentions have changed over time. I'm not sure which version to give you, spatial. Let me think about it and post something later.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 7:07 AM as a reply to spatial.
Could you describe what this looks like for you? Like, what kind of intentions do you have going in to each practice?

Spatial, at first, post my second reading of MCTB,  I was hell-bent on making something happen. My vipassana sits were intensely focused on small physical sensations, mainly between two fingers touching, or on my upper lip. My concentration sits were focused solely on the breath, the in/out rhythm, trying to get "into" that as much as possible.

Once things did start to happen my vipassana sits didn't change all that much - still focused on penetrating objects, but as time went on I would explore various stages in the process of perception, trying to really figure out how it all worked, first steps, second steps, and so on - seeing dependent origination, I guess. The effort was focused mainly on sound. My concentration practice became the jhanic arc.

Nowadays, I just sit down and incline toward the phenomena occurring in my perceptive field with a much more open and spacious focus. That's now vipassana for me. Concentration practice remains the jhanic arc. What's interesting is that as time passed almost every meditation turns toward one of two things - spaciousness or jhana.

This is a very short-hand version, of course, but I hope it answers your question.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 7:45 AM as a reply to Not two, not one.
I happen to be working my way through the yoga of deam and sleep (I can't recall the actual title, but Linda mentions it elsewhere) and the author specifically calls out the "secret chakra" located "behind the genitals" while going over prana and chakra energy. 

So perhaps that's roughly the area we're talking about here?

I've found that I have much more reliable results to achieve the same energetic waves when I use "the heart chakra," if that's what it is. The area/energy in the middle of the chest, near the heart. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 7:47 AM as a reply to T.
Odd to call it "secret chakra." As far as I'm concerned it's the chakra that lights up the room at a party.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 8:08 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I thought it was funny. I assumed it was called that as written from a religious bent? Or at least under the assumption that monstics are the ones going deep into the territory...? I don't know. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 8:21 AM as a reply to T.
I'd call that "pretense."  emoticon

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 9:19 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Odd to call it "secret chakra." As far as I'm concerned it's the chakra that lights up the room at a party.


As far as I understand it, "secret" in the Bön tradition usually refers to something that is more hidden and therefore harder to understand. Maybe it's the kind of stuff that often remains subconscious. It is intimate even for ourselves. I haven't read that explicitly with regard to the chakra, though, just with regard to outer, inner, and secret levels of obstacles. Outer is when something manifests in the outer world. So if it shows at a party, it is no longer secret...

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 9:36 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Odd to call it "secret chakra." As far as I'm concerned it's the chakra that lights up the room at a party.


What kind of parties do you throw, and where's my invitation???

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 10:06 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

Nowadays, I just sit down and incline toward the phenomena occurring in my perceptive field with a much more open and spacious focus. That's now vipassana for me. Concentration practice remains the jhanic arc. What's interesting is that as time passed almost every meditation turns toward one of two things - spaciousness or jhana.

This is a very short-hand version, of course, but I hope it answers your question.


Thanks, Chris.

Another question: do you find that as you practice vipassana, you naturally go through the jhanic arc? Do you think there will be a time when spaciousness and jhana just merge into one?

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 10:19 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Could you describe what this looks like for you? Like, what kind of intentions do you have going in to each practice?

Spatial, at first, post my second reading of MCTB,  I was hell-bent on making something happen. My vipassana sits were intensely focused on small physical sensations, mainly between two fingers touching, or on my upper lip. My concentration sits were focused solely on the breath, the in/out rhythm, trying to get "into" that as much as possible.

Once things did start to happen my vipassana sits didn't change all that much - still focused on penetrating objects, but as time went on I would explore various stages in the process of perception, trying to really figure out how it all worked, first steps, second steps, and so on - seeing dependent origination, I guess. The effort was focused mainly on sound. My concentration practice became the jhanic arc.

Nowadays, I just sit down and incline toward the phenomena occurring in my perceptive field with a much more open and spacious focus. That's now vipassana for me. Concentration practice remains the jhanic arc. What's interesting is that as time passed almost every meditation turns toward one of two things - spaciousness or jhana.

This is a very short-hand version, of course, but I hope it answers your question.
This was very helpful for me. Thanks! 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 10:33 AM as a reply to spatial.
Another question: do you find that as you practice vipassana, you naturally go through the jhanic arc? Do you think there will be a time when spaciousness and jhana just merge into one?

Spatial, I will slide up and down the jhanic arc if I intend it, or if I get into jhana in some way and I just let mind do its own thing.

In regard to spaciousness and jhana, those two things do not seem to merge automatically, and that's lasted ten years since 4th path. I don't know what the future holds.


RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 11:42 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Does that apply to formless realms as well? I'm rather puzzled about that, because I have experienced sort of being a white light that was awareness itself in two different ways, and I can't put my finger on how they relate to each other. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 12:02 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Awareness is part of everything and everything is aware. If you're experiencing awareness as a separate thing, I'd say keep investigating. You're conceptualizing it.

emoticon

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/27/20 12:14 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Oh, I'm sure that was conceptualization. Never doubted that. What puzzles me is that I conceptualize it in two different ways, and both those ways fit the description of the second formless realm. So are there two versions of the realm of boundless awareness? 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/27/20 1:27 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Or maybe they were just different degrees of absorption, I don't know. One of them was when I did shamatha on the nada sound that distilled itself into light which gave me a very strong fourth jhana that gradually drew me into formless realms and then into the suffering door, all this multiple times. That was intense. The other version was when I did a body scan outside of my own body. It opened up a bright space and then I was that bright space which was no longer a space but still boundless. That time I didn't go through the formed jhanas, and it didn't have that drive in it to turn into a singularity (passing in Nothing on the way and then in absence of Nothing). None of those experiences had any resemblence to what I refer to as the dharmakaya. The latter wasn't a state. It was knowing of something more fundamental, knowing of something that doesn't know anything. I know that it's the ground even when I don't experience it directly. It's like the eye of the storm, the storm being existence, and it's always the same and yet it is newborn in any given moment, and it's innocent. It's not a light. It's not bright. It doesn't take up space. It doesn't have any of those qualities. Yet it's the ground of all qualities. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/27/20 2:27 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Or maybe they were just different degrees of absorption...

Yes. So the formless realms are the 5th through whatever jhana. As I went along one of these additional jhanas would appear periodically and become part of the jhanic arc. Any of the jhanas can be accessed directly if the meditator knows how to call them up, so maybe that's what's happening.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/27/20 3:00 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks! That's helpful. Can they be called up subconsciously too? Because I didn't exactly plan on it. Not specifically, anyway. But I did want to move awareness outside the boundaries of my physical body, so I guess that could be it. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/27/20 3:20 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
There have been two periods in my practice when states that I didn't recognize as part of the janic arc tagged along with it. Both these short periods, those states seemed to follow the same sequence. Outside those periods they have been out of reach.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/28/20 8:03 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Subconsciously? I don't know. I've never had a new jhana appear to me that didn't first show up as part of the arc, and during a sit. I just want to get that out there as it's been my personal experience.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/27/20 3:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I meant the second formless realm. I have had that appear as part of the jhanic arc. 

Also, it was during formal meditation. I just didn't plan on getting into formless realms. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/27/20 4:00 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I meant the second formless realm. I have had that appear as part of the jhanic arc. 

Also, it was during formal meditation. I just didn't plan on getting into formless realms. 


Or maybe not. It seems to have changed in my memory. This (below) was what I referred to, but now when I read it, it doesn't sound like formless realms at all. So nevermind.


Then I did reclining meditation for about 2 h 15 min: I let awareness be there in all sense gates in the moment. It was incredibly rich. Subtle tensions and subtle mental contractions autoliberated in the awareness. One of my cats lay next to me, so I sort of scanned his body too, probably as an extrapolation based on what I could sense, but it felt as rich and immediate as if it were my own body, and the immediacy and texture were there in their own right (equanimity of formations). Then there was light, or brightness. There was being in that light, or being that light. Nothing but that very clear presence. That must be that pristine awareness that people are talking about. I dwelled there. I popped out of it a few times, like on the threshold of it, where discursive thoughts were available, but was soon immersed in the brightness again. I don't know if there was really visual brightness. I don't think that there were separate senses. It was absolute clarity but minimal distinction. It was close to but not entirely timeless. Then there was something. There was some switch. There was some confusion about which part of it all was me. Then there was sleep paralysis. A cat was scratching at the patio door, sort of earth calling, wanted to get inside. I didn't know what parts of it all to mobilize to manifest as someone with body and assumed agency. There was the knowledge that moving a finger or toes would help to snap out of it, but fingers and toes were nowhere to find. Finally there was blinking.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/27/20 4:03 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
There have been two periods in my practice when states that I didn't recognize as part of the janic arc tagged along with it. Both these short periods, those states seemed to follow the same sequence. Outside those periods they have been out of reach.

Just to be clear, this was something entirely separate from what I was asking about, as a comment to what Chris wrote about additional jhanas. 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/28/20 9:40 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Another question: do you find that as you practice vipassana, you naturally go through the jhanic arc? Do you think there will be a time when spaciousness and jhana just merge into one?

Spatial, I will slide up and down the jhanic arc if I intend it, or if I get into jhana in some way and I just let mind do its own thing.

In regard to spaciousness and jhana, those two things do not seem to merge automatically, and that's lasted ten years since 4th path. I don't know what the future holds.


I think there's something I'm not quite understanding, and I don't know why.

How is "spaciousness" different from the 4th jhana?

Can't "investigation" in the vipassana sense be defined as "fix your attention on an object and shift up through the jhanas one by one"?

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/28/20 10:07 AM as a reply to spatial.
How is "spaciousness" different from the 4th jhana?

The fourth jhana is an absorption, a so-called concentration state. When I used the word "spaciousness" I meant something different - the observation and resulting recognition of the vastness of one's mental landscape. These are not the same thing.

Can't "investigation" in the vipassana sense be defined as "fix your attention on an object and shift up through the jhanas one by one"?

I suppose "investigation" can be used that way, but that's not the definition I was using. I meant actively looking into the three characteristics of an object.

Hopefully, this will help. Let me know.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/28/20 10:59 AM as a reply to spatial.
I would say spaciousness and fourth jhana feel very different from each other. While forth jhana very clearly is an altered state, spaciousness feels like the opposite. It's sort of hypernormal. It shares the chrystal clarity but it doesn't have to be achieved and maintained. It's like it already underlies everything. For me it still only comes in glimpses here and there; sometimes long glimpses, but it's still far from a default mode. Despite that, I can sense that it will eventually clear up and be like that more often, without having to call up jhanas, because it's already there just like the sun always shines above the clouds (sorry for the cliché). It's what's there when the smog clears up.

Maybe it's also possible to have absorptions into those qualities, adding another set of clouds, I don't know. 

Spatial, when you are focusing on something and the focus flips around for you so that your focus is on your own focusing, how does that feel for you?

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/28/20 11:44 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
How is "spaciousness" different from the 4th jhana?

The fourth jhana is an absorption, a so-called concentration state. When I used the word "spaciousness" I meant something different - the observation and resulting recognition of the vastness of one's mental landscape. These are not the same thing.

Can't "investigation" in the vipassana sense be defined as "fix your attention on an object and shift up through the jhanas one by one"?

I suppose "investigation" can be used that way, but that's not the definition I was using. I meant actively looking into the three characteristics of an object.

Hopefully, this will help. Let me know.

I'm still confused. 

For me, when I do things like "looking into the three characteristics of an object", I automatically start becoming aware of the processes of looking. This makes everything confusing to talk about, because those processes themselves become objects, along with the object I was originally trying to investigate. And the original object might break down into discrete sensations.

This happens any time I sit, no matter what my initial intention was. So in that sense, it feels like all meditation leads to the same place (sensations arising and passing, out of my control).

I don't know if this is just a difference of terminology, or if there's something in my practice that needs to be adjusted. Or maybe this is just a phase I'm going through.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/28/20 11:58 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I would say spaciousness and fourth jhana feel very different from each other. While forth jhana very clearly is an altered state, spaciousness feels like the opposite. It's sort of hypernormal. It shares the chrystal clarity but it doesn't have to be achieved and maintained. It's like it already underlies everything. For me it still only comes in glimpses here and there; sometimes long glimpses, but it's still far from a default mode. Despite that, I can sense that it will eventually clear up and be like that more often, without having to call up jhanas, because it's already there just like the sun always shines above the clouds (sorry for the cliché). It's what's there when the smog clears up.

Maybe it's also possible to have absorptions into those qualities, adding another set of clouds, I don't know. 

Spatial, when you are focusing on something and the focus flips around for you so that your focus is on your own focusing, how does that feel for you?

There are so many degrees of this, that it's hard to answer. "My own focusing" is not really just one object. I could answer the question in terms of the 4 modes that I described earlier, perhaps. 

What I'm thinking of as being a "fourth jhana" kind of state is one in which I don't have any particular identification with any sensation, and I don't have any specific attachment to any point in space, but I'm aware of the body existing in space. This all gets hazy, because things usually break down further, and space itself starts shifting around, sometimes in discrete packets of information, like 3D models presented to me one after the other, and I just follow them, being OK with all of them. I just don't know what to say. It's too hard to talk about meditation.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/28/20 12:23 PM as a reply to spatial.
For me, when I do things like "looking into the three characteristics of an object", I automatically start becoming aware of the processes of looking. This makes everything confusing to talk about, because those processes themselves become objects, along with the object I was originally trying to investigate. And the original object might break down into discrete sensations.


It's really easy to get carried away into all the cacophonous little signals pounding away at our senses - that's called "reality."  
emoticon

This is normal. But you can narrow your view to focus on one "thing" for some period of time, right? I can do my best to maintain focus on a particular object as it arises and passes, doing my best not to let my attention get carried off by everything else. Of course, it's going to arise and pass with blinding speed along with all the other "stuff" but the mind can be tuned, over time, to grab the specific glimpses of a selected signal.







RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/28/20 12:47 PM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I would say spaciousness and fourth jhana feel very different from each other. While forth jhana very clearly is an altered state, spaciousness feels like the opposite. It's sort of hypernormal. It shares the chrystal clarity but it doesn't have to be achieved and maintained. It's like it already underlies everything. For me it still only comes in glimpses here and there; sometimes long glimpses, but it's still far from a default mode. Despite that, I can sense that it will eventually clear up and be like that more often, without having to call up jhanas, because it's already there just like the sun always shines above the clouds (sorry for the cliché). It's what's there when the smog clears up.

Maybe it's also possible to have absorptions into those qualities, adding another set of clouds, I don't know. 

Spatial, when you are focusing on something and the focus flips around for you so that your focus is on your own focusing, how does that feel for you?

There are so many degrees of this, that it's hard to answer. "My own focusing" is not really just one object. I could answer the question in terms of the 4 modes that I described earlier, perhaps. 

What I'm thinking of as being a "fourth jhana" kind of state is one in which I don't have any particular identification with any sensation, and I don't have any specific attachment to any point in space, but I'm aware of the body existing in space. This all gets hazy, because things usually break down further, and space itself starts shifting around, sometimes in discrete packets of information, like 3D models presented to me one after the other, and I just follow them, being OK with all of them. I just don't know what to say. It's too hard to talk about meditation.
It really is hard to talk about it, I agree. For me in fourth jhana things don't get hazy, but then again, I don't access fourth jhana very often. I recognize the models being presented and the being okay and non-excited in a very non-attached state. For me it has a chrystal clarity to it, and in retrospect I'm attached to it.

Lately I have reoccurring glimpses of coming out of that narrow mode of being a subject focusing on an object. Then there is an intense presence that shines up the fact of my limited focus and also shines up everything else in a wider field, and it takes away all the selected focus and is just... immeditate and alive. I was wondering if you were referring to anything like that, but it doesn't sound like it.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
Answer
3/30/20 10:58 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
For me, when I do things like "looking into the three characteristics of an object", I automatically start becoming aware of the processes of looking. This makes everything confusing to talk about, because those processes themselves become objects, along with the object I was originally trying to investigate. And the original object might break down into discrete sensations.


It's really easy to get carried away into all the cacophonous little signals pounding away at our senses - that's called "reality."  
emoticon

This is normal. But you can narrow your view to focus on one "thing" for some period of time, right? I can do my best to maintain focus on a particular object as it arises and passes, doing my best not to let my attention get carried off by everything else. Of course, it's going to arise and pass with blinding speed along with all the other "stuff" but the mind can be tuned, over time, to grab the specific glimpses of a selected signal.

Yes, I guess I can focus on one "thing" for some period of time...It's just that the definition of "thing" changes as I focus on it. Like, first it's "a thing", then it's "the image of the thing", then it's "the sensations of focusing on the thing", and other stuff, like where the thing is in space and time. And if I tell myself to "keep focusing on the thing", I start scrambling to determine which of those many different signals I should be trying to select for.

I'm skeptical there's any way out of this mess apart from plowing through and getting to the point where it ceases to bother me...

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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3/30/20 11:07 AM as a reply to spatial.
It's just that the definition of "thing" changes as I focus on it. Like, first it's "a thing", then it's "the image of the thing", then it's "the sensations of focusing on the thing", and other stuff, like where the thing is in space and time.

Again, yes. And that stuff, all of it, is the "thing." You know, there are folks that start a mediation practice and spend years and years just getting to the point of being able to see what confounds you now.

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RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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4/1/20 7:43 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
It's just that the definition of "thing" changes as I focus on it. Like, first it's "a thing", then it's "the image of the thing", then it's "the sensations of focusing on the thing", and other stuff, like where the thing is in space and time.

Again, yes. And that stuff, all of it, is the "thing." You know, there are folks that start a mediation practice and spend years and years just getting to the point of being able to see what confounds you now.

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Yeah, it seems that way, doesn't it? 

I'm a horrible advertisement for meditation right now. "Start your practice today, and you too can reach the point where you can see exactly how the universe is put together, and it will be the most maddenly frustrating thing in the world, and you won't even be able to put your finger on why it bothers you!" emoticon

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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4/1/20 9:06 AM as a reply to spatial.
Maybe your mind wants an orderly, predictable, run-of-the-mill universe. Sorry to say, but you have fallen off the infinite cliff. There is no landing now. Just... get used to falling. And you will!

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EDIT: This same thing happened to me, of course. I was worried and kind of freaking out. I talked to my teacher who told me the same thing I just told you and somehow, it helped me realize what was happening. And that it was really a good thing, not something to fear, or try to reverse. You can't go back anyway, and the result will end up being quite amazing and wonderful.

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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4/1/20 9:25 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Sorry to say, but you have fallen off the infinite cliff. There is no landing now. Just... get used to falling.

Nice! emoticon

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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4/1/20 9:39 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Chris Marti:
It's just that the definition of "thing" changes as I focus on it. Like, first it's "a thing", then it's "the image of the thing", then it's "the sensations of focusing on the thing", and other stuff, like where the thing is in space and time.

Again, yes. And that stuff, all of it, is the "thing." You know, there are folks that start a mediation practice and spend years and years just getting to the point of being able to see what confounds you now.

emoticon

Yeah, it seems that way, doesn't it? 

I'm a horrible advertisement for meditation right now. "Start your practice today, and you too can reach the point where you can see exactly how the universe is put together, and it will be the most maddenly frustrating thing in the world, and you won't even be able to put your finger on why it bothers you!" emoticon

I think I would still have jumped onboard. I am that curious. And I think you are too, right? 

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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4/2/20 9:57 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I think I would still have jumped onboard. I am that curious. And I think you are too, right? 

10 years ago, I wouldn't have jumped onboard. I would have assumed it was woo-woo bullshit and gone back to reading Richard Dawkins.

5 years ago, I would have said "I guess I'll give it a try...life sucks anyway as it is."

3 years ago, I would have said "Yes, I need to see what's at the bottom of this."

RE: Jhanas and sense of self
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4/2/20 10:46 AM as a reply to spatial.
Richard Dawkins would have scared me off, on the other hand. emoticon

The first time I heard an interview with Daniel, I said to myself "now that guy is obviously bat shit crazy" - and then I continued to listen and read and very soon joined this forum and made his book my Bible. That's not the first time that chain unfolded in my life. A large portion of what matters in my life came into it that way.