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It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre time

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It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre time Steph S 4/6/20 11:38 PM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Papa Che Dusko 4/7/20 2:42 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Chris Marti 4/7/20 6:41 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Papa Che Dusko 4/7/20 9:22 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Chris Marti 4/7/20 9:23 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Hibiscus Kid 4/7/20 9:37 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Steph S 4/7/20 9:57 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim agnostic 4/7/20 7:04 PM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Chris Marti 4/8/20 6:50 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/8/20 7:35 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Steph S 4/8/20 5:50 PM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/9/20 4:19 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Steph S 4/9/20 10:21 PM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/9/20 10:50 PM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Bill T 4/13/20 6:02 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/10/20 1:14 PM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Bill T 4/13/20 6:03 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Jake Frankfurt Middenhall 4/7/20 3:32 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Jim Smith 4/8/20 12:36 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Nikolai . 4/10/20 1:33 AM
RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim Steph S 4/10/20 5:24 PM
I wanted to post a reminder that right now, during this pandemic when lots of people are feeling scared and isolated, is the perfect time for adding some (or even alot) more jhana into practice. Doing mostly insight could be a bit much at the moment for some folks, if you find you're feeling really anxious or on edge. Don't feel guilty or like you're losing out if you have to pump the breaks.

There's lots of ways to go about it. If you want to keep up with doing insight, start your sits with a heavy dose of jhana. Alternate sits between just jhana and just insight. Do just jhana for a bit if you want. Objects like the breath, or the qualities that make up each jhana, or loving kindness can be more "gentle" approaches if you want to dial it back even more. 

Overall, remember to be kind and patient with yourself (and others). Be honest with yourself about your limits and where you're at.

I'm glad this works for you. In my experience Jhana feels great during sit but afterwards the world looks even murkier than before the Jhana emoticon 
Like a hangover. I mean look at our Thanissaro Bhikkhu; he now openly advises people to aim/desire to be reborn in the Deva realm as Human realm will not be a nice place to be in. 

I on the other hand am a Rebel. And I'm not keen to mingle with Azuras. I prefer planting flowers for pollinators. 

To me there is no greater joy than seeing one after another, objects hop on the train just to fall out of it away. One after the other, like a shower falling over a waxed body, not taking hold. 
Nothing wrong with using Noting in this situation. You might even wake up emoticon 

Just saying emoticon it's nice we have so many tools in our Yogi box to choose from. 

Great advice! Thank you!

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/7/20 6:41 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
I'm glad this works for you. In my experience Jhana feels great during sit but afterwards the world looks even murkier than before the Jhana emoticon 

Yeah, this happens. I used to hate it but with this damned pandemic going like a bat outta hell, it can be a nice vacation.

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/7/20 9:22 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Dunno about you but I always preferd beer over Jhana emoticon 

Just kidding. 

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/7/20 9:23 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Some (not me, but some) might assert that beer and jhana are pretty much the same.

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/7/20 9:37 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
When the throat chakra turns blue, it's as cold as the Rockies. 

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/7/20 9:57 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
LOL. This thread took a funny turn. Hey, laughing greases the wheels too. And for me, the occasional gin & tonic. emoticon

I see what folks mean about that sort of heady jhana hangover. I don't get that as much. I guess different proclivities and ways of leaning. When I'm really going for it with insight I sometimes get the ol' iron skullcap which gets pretty uncomfortable and can have a hangover'ish feel. That's usually when I'm more focused in the headspace (investigating thoughts, mental formations, etc) and dropping down into the rest of the body helps with that.

Hi Steph!

FWIW, I used to get jhana hangover in the form of increased irritability. I was fixated on trying to get into hard jhana, which obviously ain't gonna happen if you're grasping for it. Either I felt I was getting close and annoyed I had to stop, or else I was annoyed that I didn't get close enough. Once I let go of that fixation the hangovers vanished and preparatory concentration deepened to more peaceful states. However there must still be some grasping because it hasn't happened yet and with my shitty karma maybe it never will.

Cheers
agnostic

I find that the jhanas are more of a fine tuning adjustment. Like on a telescope or microscope, there is a coarse adjustment knob to get it roughly in focus and then you use the fine tuning knob to get it precisely in focus.

When I am out of sorts, the coarsest level of control I look at is diet. By getting the right balance of carbs and protein you can help your brain to take in the tryptophan it needs to produce serotonin. 

Then I will work with relaxation techniques including physical techniques like tai-chi, qigong, or yoga, and also mental techinques like hypnotic inductions and visualizations, and meditation.

Often at some point I can feel something like a switch flippig in my brain, sometimes I hear a tone, and then everything is copacetic. I don't know if this is my stress reaction being 100% off or my brain is ready for jhanas but I like to hang out in this state when I am not meditating.

After that, the jhanas are very easy for me to get into, helpful in making progress on the path, but not really necessary for dealing with stress of the moment because I am not feeling stress or unpleasant emotions at that point. That may sound like an extraordinary claim. It is and it isn't. It is true, but it doesn't always work in real time it is mostly reactive and somewhat less preventative. Brain chemistry changes depending on various conditions and stress levels go up and down for various reasons. And of course if you get so caught up in events around you that you neglect to do it, it doesn't work. It doesn't work if you don't do it.

But if the other factors are not right I can't get into the jhanas in the first place. You can't feel pleasure if your brain doesn't have the nutients it needs to produce pleasure. And I find "access relaxation" is more important than access concentration as far as getting into the jhanas is concerned. I find that meditation by itself is an inefficient way to relax. If I meditate long enough I may eventually relax enough to get into the jhanas but using the "coarse adjustments" I mentioned works much better.

I have some links on relaxation here:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/c/message_boards/find_message?p_l_id=&messageId=19698176

I don't have a good reference for the diet part - it is somewhat complex and people are different so what works for me might not work for someone else (and nutritional requirements can vary depending on the amount of exercise you get) - you have to understand it from a metabolic point of view and then start experimenting.

I see what folks mean about that sort of heady jhana hangover. I don't get that as much. I guess different proclivities and ways of leaning.

That happened to me much more often when the jhanas were a chore to get into. It almost never happens anymore, so my theory is that the foggy-ness is related to , um, "effort," or something like that. One time I did jhana practice and then ran some chores afterward. Apparently I was in the jhana-fog on my errands because a neighbor took me to task the next day, She'd been in the dry cleaners when i was there on my pickup run and said hello to me. She claimed I ignored her. I didn't recall any of that.

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/8/20 7:35 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
That sounds very reasonable. Related to that, I thought I had "lost" the connection to jhana, but I accidently found that it is ridiculously easy to get into jhana when I don't intend to do shamatha but instead intend to just rest with a pebble, just sit there and watch the pebble - and that doesn't give any hangover at all. 

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/8/20 5:50 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
That sounds very reasonable. Related to that, I thought I had "lost" the connection to jhana, but I accidently found that it is ridiculously easy to get into jhana when I don't intend to do shamatha but instead intend to just rest with a pebble, just sit there and watch the pebble - and that doesn't give any hangover at all. 

Hanging out in/with nature is such a cool way to get into jhana. I mean that's the Forest Tradition folk's main jam and all. There's a whole wealth of good jhana practice tips + talks from them. You might already know that, just putting it out there.

This week I was supposed to go on retreat at a Mahasi-style center called Tathagata in California, but it got cancelled a ways back. So I've been doing a home retreat since Monday. Their retreat would have been straight up noting the whole time, but at home I've been doing shit tons of jhana with insight. I've long been at the point where I can't do what seems like pure insight or pure jhana anymore - they get intermingled as the natural course of things over time. Regardless, I notice a major positive difference in insight when I do lots of jhana - i.e. rising up to the formless jhanas and using them as a springboard for insight. 

This afternoon I did lovingkindness meditation to radiate it out during the current pandemic, with the mantra "May all beings be healthy, safe, and at peace. May all beings feel loved, supported, and have what they need at this time."... then shortened it to just the first sentence once I got going. I admittedly don't use lovingkindness that much as an object, but it is actually super effective when I really genuinely feel into it and get specific like that with the mantra.

I didn't know that. Thanks for telling me! emoticon I love connecting to the elements of the nature. 

When I started my daily practice I didn't yet know how to differentiate between vipassana and shamatha. It was all mixed up, and it worked very well for me. I just followed my intuition and it unfolded organically in a way that boosted insight without the strain I find in dry vipassana. Sometimes learning methods gets in the way for a while, until it settles and can be used organically again. When methods are known and applied organically, they boost the practice even more, so I definitely don't regret learning them. However, sometimes I need to be reminded to get back into the natural flow again. 

I'm doing lots of chanting now. I had no idea that I would get so involved in that and that it could be so amazing. I'm about to return to my Sherap Chamma now, with online chanting, as soon as I have prepared with meditation.

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/9/20 10:21 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda - yea, do some searches for the Forest Tradition. There's a Forest Hermitage in the Redwoods area of California that was started by a nun named Ayya Tathaaloka and she has some good talks floating around. She started that hermitage specifically for women to ordain since the Theravada tradition has historically not allowed this. Resources here: http://www.dhammadharini.net/dhamma/dhamma-talks-from-the-bhikkhuni-sangha

Another one is Ayya Khema and if you go to You Tube and search for "Ayya Khema" and "jhana" a whole host of good stuff from her will come up.

For the vipassana / shamatha mix, I find it kind of like a contiuum where you can choose to lean more heavily one way or the other. Like a 80/20% split or 50/50% split (even though it's not like an exact percent split, but you probably get what I mean). The thing I find with jhana is that, having practiced so much vipassana over the years and had many insights really hardwired in, it's basically impossible to not notice some fluxing and the 3 characteristics at least somewhat, even if I'm trying to lean heavier towards the jhana end of the continuum. And vice versa with jhana - practiced that alot too, so I'll notice the correlated jhanic qualities of the vipassana stage I'm in. Sometimes if I'm doing more on the vipassana side, I'll deliberately dip into the jhana pool for a couple minutes if I find I need to re-up the focus or clarity, then go back to vipassana. 

What kind of chanting have you been doing? I haven't experimented with chanting really.

Thanks, I probably will, eventually. I already have lots of stuff to check out. I tend to check out too many things at once. I appreciate the tip.

I'm familiar with Ayya Khema. I have had periods of doing shamatha according to her teachings. She's one of my old favorites, but at the moment I need to approach stuff from another angle. 

I recognize what you are describing. For me it cycles a lot. I'm somewhere in the middle paths and there seem to be many full insight cycles that aren't path moments, and when one is finished I find myself back in "newbie territory" pretty quick with only a very brief review-ish phase, and then I don't have that kind of "control". 

Lots of different chantings, in different languages and different traditions. Many of my favorites somehow involve Avalokiteshvara/Chenrezig. I'm also more systematically starting to learn Tibetan Bön lineage practices, and they include chantings. Sound healing is also part of the parcel. I find that chanting cultivates the Brahmaviharas. It is also a fun way to learn about sutras and stuff. 

Steph S:
I wanted to post a reminder that right now, during this pandemic when lots of people are feeling scared and isolated, is the perfect time for adding some (or even alot) more jhana into practice. Doing mostly insight could be a bit much at the moment for some folks, if you find you're feeling really anxious or on edge. Don't feel guilty or like you're losing out if you have to pump the breaks.

There's lots of ways to go about it. If you want to keep up with doing insight, start your sits with a heavy dose of jhana. Alternate sits between just jhana and just insight. Do just jhana for a bit if you want. Objects like the breath, or the qualities that make up each jhana, or loving kindness can be more "gentle" approaches if you want to dial it back even more. 

Overall, remember to be kind and patient with yourself (and others). Be honest with yourself about your limits and where you're at.
Hi Steph,

Long time no see!

Some classic viewing below for the jhana junkies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRdiOoTZC3A

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/13/20 6:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
That sounds very reasonable. Related to that, I thought I had "lost" the connection to jhana, but I accidently found that it is ridiculously easy to get into jhana when I don't intend to do shamatha but instead intend to just rest with a pebble, just sit there and watch the pebble - and that doesn't give any hangover at all. 


This is nice and mirrors my own experience with the Lorin Roche 'accepting everything' approach to meditation. The more I can do this on the mat, the easier it is to get absorbed in concentration states. 'Concentration' is such a bad word for this IMO - puts the wrong idea in my head. I like Brasington's "indistractibility", or just absorption / abiding.

Yeah, indistractibility really fits, because my focus was really glued to that little small stone. It was so easy. And shit just started happening - space collapsing in different ways, among others - and it was still glued to the pebble. Even when the pebble disappeared the focus remained.  So screw the breath for now. I'm going with the pebble. And something that felt really good was that it was pleasant even when it was just resting with the pebble without special effects. 

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/10/20 5:24 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:

Hi Steph,

Long time no see!

Some classic viewing below for the jhana junkies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRdiOoTZC3A

Nick! Great to see you here. How the heck are ya? I remember watching this vid years ago. Will give it another look. Thanks! emoticon

RE: It's fine to grease the wheels with extra jhana during this bizarre tim
Answer
4/13/20 6:03 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Yeah, indistractibility really fits, because my focus was really glued to that little small stone. It was so easy. And shit just started happening - space collapsing in different ways, among others - and it was still glued to the pebble. Even when the pebble disappeared the focus remained.  So screw the breath for now. I'm going with the pebble. And something that felt really good was that it was pleasant even when it was just resting with the pebble without special effects. 

Yeah it seems the visual field is a really easy / powerful way to access these states! - at least, in my recent experience.