What Was This?

John, modified 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 10:39 AM
Created 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 10:39 AM

What Was This?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 3/31/20 Recent Posts
I’m wondering if anyone can take a stab at what I experienced last Saturday.

Whatever happened, I’m thankful that meditation now feels easier than it ever has before.

Saturday 28th March

I sat for 60 minutes, choice-less awareness noticing sensation arise and pass. This sped up substantially as the session went on.

The boundaries/separation between all objects of perception began to blur... The sounds I could hear were no less ‘me’ than my thoughts. 

The space behind my eyes continued expanding until it became unbelievably vast. I couldn’t place myself at any one point, in fact, the concept of ‘myself’ was hard to define.

This continued for some amount of time, then what was still left of my body in my awareness - some muscular tension around my eyes - started strobing in and out of existence quite rapidly. 

Afterward, a massive wave of bliss appeared.

Upon finishing my practice, it felt as though something important had happened. There was a feeling of relief, and I found my mind pleasantly tranquil.

Thought was notably weakened, in the hours after and the internal monologue was dampened significantly. When thoughts did arise there was far less identification with them. I found myself spontaneously bursting into laughter for a while when I noticed this - something about watching identity creep in as thought was hilarious.

Noticeable effects (3 days later) 31 March

The perceptual boundaries don’t feel like they have fully formed again. I can make a conceptual distinction between ‘me’ and ‘other’, yet, if I don’t think about it, the boundaries between phenomena are not strong as they were before.

An internal monologue is still there, but Its pull is not as strong as it used to be. I’m finding it significantly more easy to stay mindful during daily mundane tasks like eating, cooking, non-meditative walking, etc.

When I sit to meditate, the process doesn’t feel as difficult as it has before. When thoughts arise, or any other sensory distraction for that matter, they don’t cause any annoyance like they did only a week or two ago. 

If I sit or lay down with no intention to meditate, but equally no intention to engage my mind with work, conversation, or reading, my mind automatically slips into meditation.

My concentration has made a significant shift than before Saturday’s practice and I can more readily reach Jhanic states.

Practice history:
2 meditation retreats 

1st retreat, 2016, was a 9-day Thai forest monastery. This retreat certainly made me intensely curious about meditation, however, I got caught up in my old patterns and habits after I flew back home. I didn’t pick up a consistent practice and I continued to take plenty of psychedelics and cannabis. 

The 2nd retreat, 2017, was 2 weeks but only meditating 2-3 hours a day (yogic ashram), the first time I experienced the depths of meditative joy and established a daily practice. 

Daily practice of 30mins - 2+ hours since 2017. Occasionally days where I practiced 3-5 hours.

Complete abstinence from perception-altering drugs, there was no real pull towards them -  minus a few occasions where I was interested in what they would do now after meditative practice.

I believe I have been stuck in the dark night for a long time prior to now, I was exhibiting many of the symptoms.

A Dietrich Ringle, modified 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 11:15 AM
Created 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 11:15 AM

RE: What Was This?

Posts: 881 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
I can't tell really. I diagnosed someone with AandP recently. It could've been you!
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 11:32 AM
Created 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 11:32 AM

RE: What Was This?

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Diagnosing is difficult, especially with strangers on the internet. It might be a good idea to try to repeat it and to describe the phenomenology more clearly. Maybe that would make it clearer for yourself at least. That and seeing how it unfolds in a more long-term perspective.
Not two, not one, modified 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 3:01 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 3:01 PM

RE: What Was This?

Posts: 1047 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Sound greats, reflect on it.  Consolidate those jhanas.  Notice any reducing clinging to things.  Don't forget metta.
J W, modified 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 7:18 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 3/31/20 7:17 PM

RE: What Was This?

Posts: 687 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
I usually associate bliss waves with A&P which correlates to the 2nd or 3rd jhana, but you also mention vastness which reminds me of the Formless Realms or the 4th jhana, so, probably somewhere between or all of those states.
Dream Walker, modified 4 Years ago at 4/1/20 6:39 AM
Created 4 Years ago at 4/1/20 6:39 AM

RE: What Was This?

Posts: 1759 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
You are describing stream entry upon your first post. It's almost like you copied and pasted old posts from others for some reason. 
Anyway, here is to you, clap, clap, clap.....one handed.
Good for ya, 
Keep on, keeping on.
John, modified 4 Years ago at 4/2/20 1:10 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 4/2/20 1:09 PM

RE: What Was This?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 3/31/20 Recent Posts
That's a funny coincidence...

I haven't read any posts about stream-entry prior because I didn't want to look for something and convince myself. 

Other than the existence of cessation - which I can't really confirm I was cognizant of.

If it is stream-entry, this is rather underwhelming.

Thanks for taking a stab everyone, I guess it's unconfirmable what happened in some ways but curiosity got me. The practice continues regardless.
John, modified 4 Years ago at 4/27/20 11:55 AM
Created 4 Years ago at 4/27/20 11:55 AM

RE: What Was This?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 3/31/20 Recent Posts
1 month on -- This almost definitely was not stream-entry.

There was an unrecognized delusion regarding my ability to enter Jhanna after this event. Although practice DID become much easier, I have the feeling that I entered into equanimity for the first time.

I believe I was fooling myself into the perceptual boundaries not forming fully again. There was still some semblance of doubt in the path at this point.

The lesson to anyone who reads this - The mind is a mother f**ker. Don't trust it.

With that said...

I may have entered the stream 3 days ago.

I started an at-home 'retreat' and have been racking up 7-13 hours of practice a day. 

During walking meditation one day, my mind completely slipped focus and moved to thoughts. A few moments went on lost in thought when I stepped on a twig. *crunch* my mind stuck on to noise. As the noise evaporated, so did my entire world - vision, feeling, sound... the whole thing was gone.A brief moment passed and the whole thing sprung back into existence again. Only this time the whole thing seemed a little more beautiful as if it looked subtly different. A wave of bliss followed and I was in great spirits for the rest of the day.

The practice seems extremely effortless since then.

The first experience I wrote about when starting this thread resulted in the feeling of 'this isn't as difficult now'. When thoughts came, they were just laughable and benign, rather than the scary oppressive thing they had been in the past months.

Now there is a feeling of 'I don't actually have to do anything' when I meditate - when a thought comes, it just passes. There is no sense of re-directing my attention as I was used to up until now.

I can enter Jhana on my first or second breath every time I have sat down to meditate since this experience. I set a timer for 2 hours yesterday out of curiosity and I stayed in Jhana the entire time. I can count on both hands how many times thoughts (very briefly) intruded this state - this is very abnormal for my practice. 

It seems as though the first 3 fetters have gone. There is now no doubt in the path. It seems like a self-evident fact like the sky is blue. Self doesn't seem to exist - everything is in constant flux when I pay attention, there is nothing to grasp on to. 

Now I'm not 100% ruling out delusion again, I'll let this stand the test of time... But there definitely seems to have been a more profound shift this time.

Factors which make me think this might not be SE

This experience hasn't repeated. There have been tiny blips in consciousness during practice, but nowhere near as profound and without the massive bliss wave. Is this common?

I am practicing at a retreat level, which may have greatly improved my concentration and resulted in the perception of all of this. But it seems unlikely.