Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

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Dylan Nicholson, modified 10 Years ago.

Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
Hi all. This is my first post on the DhO, and as such I would like to convey my humble respect and gratitude to everyone for making this place what it is.

I apologise in advance if anything I'm asking here has been covered in other posts. I have only been aware of the DhO for about 2 months, and have not had time to plough through everything. Instead I've used the inspiration it's given me to go and get things rolling. Feel free to direct me to other posts that might answer my questions or be helpful.

I'm on day 8 of a 10-Day retreat and I believe I hit Stream Entry 2 days ago. However, there are some interesting 'symptoms' that don't stack up with the traditional diagnosis as I understand it, which leaves a little room for doubt in my mind, so I thought I'd put out a description of my experience out there and see what you think.

So, here it goes.

I started the retreat after building up a regular 2-hour daily sitting practice over the last year. I believe I started the retreat already in the middle of the Dukkha nanas. I was doing a combination of body scanning and noting. I went through 4 days of pretty hardcore stuff. This manifested primarily as intense knots of pain around the throat, chest, and solar plexus chakra areas, as well as the spine, with accompanying emotional sensations of fear and panic et. al.

At the end of day 4 I hit what a believe to be Equanimity, but it took another 2 days until I felt that it really matured. Over those 2 days I think I was moving between Re-Observation and Equanimity, with periods of relative calm and the disappearance of unpleasant sensations in the chest, spine and lower body, interspersed with the return of those unpleasant sensations.

I felt that Equanimity really matured when all the lower bodily sensations dropped away, and the only sensations to arise were pulsing, throbbing vibrations at the crown and third eye areas. I continued investigating these sensations in a gentle way, probing into them, through them and around them, deep into the recesses of the cranial cavity. At the same time I was following the advice that I had read on these forums to constantly be aware of subtle mind states such as investigation, curiosity, anticipation, searching, and to have a general awareness of the 3 Characteristics. I was also asking “Where am I?, Where is the Self?”, while at the same time observing this questioning. This process went on for quite a few sessions until something 'clicked'. My entire sense field seemed to condense and stretch at the same time, and I got a very clear impression of the entirety of that sense-field as “No-Self”, kind of as if I was observing it from the outside, but at the same time not. That's when it happened...

So, while observing this sense field from the outside, a feeling of anticipation arose, and continued to grow. It was definitely like, “Uh-oh...somethin's gonna happen...”. Then my heart started beating faster...and faster...and faster...until it was like, “Holy Shit! This thing's gonna explode!”. Seriously. It was like someone had given me a shot of adrenaline or something. I don't remember my heart ever beating that fast, ever. All the time I was just trying to remain equanimous...noting, noting, noting. It went on for something like 10-15 seconds I think. A decent stretch of time. Then it felt like the energy build-up at the crown parted, and suddenly everything was clear, bright light, tinged with red...not like tv snow, but sharp, bright light. The only thing that I could note was “Whoa...”. I don't know how long that lasted...maybe 5 seconds.

Anyway, that faded, and I sat there for a while, observing subtle sensations at different places. I opened my eyes, and my first reaction was “was that it?”. I wasn't sure. But sure enough, as I got up and walked around outside for a while I could definitely notice something. It was like someone had cleaned out my insides with a pressure cleaner. I felt open, clean, lighter. And my mind was much clearer. And I laughed. I just laughed and laughed to myself, all day. I had to really control myself to stop bursting out with laughter in a group sit. And the urge to meditate just vanished. It felt like there was simply no need. It was kinda like, “I guess that's it then. I wonder what's next?”

So yeah...I guess from this description most people would agree that it sounds like Stream Entry. It sure does to me from everything I've read. In the last 2 days since it's happened though, I've started to wonder. The main reason for this is that I haven't noticed any cycling yet. When I go to sit I close my eyes and...there's nothing there. Nothing. The body feels blank, clean. The only sensations are the same mild pulsing, throbbing sensations at the third eye and crown. A few times I have just sat with these sensations, and the same process as I described above happens – The sense field eventually separates, No-Self is clearly perceived, a feeling of anticipation arises, the heart starts beating abnormally hard and fast. However, this has only happened three times since the initial experience, and each time they seem to have kind of died before climax, if you know what I mean. No parting of the crown energy. No light. Just an build-up and then a fade out. And each time it has been less intense. I thought that maybe these are fruitions...but maybe not. I'm not sure. I feel like maybe I'm just not building up the momentum, the pressure, to break through or something. Who knows.

I guess I'm wondering if somehow I'm still at Equanimity? Should I continue trying to meditate, even though I can't really be bothered, and when I do it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Is it odd that I'm not noticing any cycling yet?

I don't know, but I have to say I feel great. Not radically changed or anything. Just a bit lighter, a bit more open. And I feel like I actually understand, for the first time, what you guys might actually means when you talk about the mind being “less sticky”, especially after the later paths. Anyway, I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Any opinions would be much appreciated!

Cheers,

Dylan
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
My guess is that you're still in Equanimity. I myself had experiences like you describe (some kind of weird thing that happens with a lot of momentary concentration in Equanimity) and they weren't stream entry. "Meditating not doing anything" is typical of Equanimity.

Especially telling is that you didn't describe anything that sounded like cessation.

You may not be happy to hear that, but the good news is that you're probably quite close to stream entry, so ramp up your practice and you'll get there!
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
My guess is that you're still in Equanimity. I myself had experiences like you describe (some kind of weird thing that happens with a lot of momentary concentration in Equanimity) and they weren't stream entry. "Meditating not doing anything" is typical of Equanimity.

Especially telling is that you didn't describe anything that sounded like cessation.

You may not be happy to hear that, but the good news is that you're probably quite close to stream entry, so ramp up your practice and you'll get there!



Hi EiS. Thanks for the reply.

Yeah...these were my concerns exactly, which is exactly why I started this thread. I just sat for an hour, but not with any particular motivation or goal orientation, and with concentration shifting in and out. In short, nothing much happened, except the pulsating energetic sensations in my crown/third eye area gradually increased and decreased in intensity, and I literally couldn't identify anything other than the grossest of sensations (ie. the feeling of my clothing on my skin) anywhere else on or inside the body, which is a total and dramatic shift from everything I've experienced in my meditation for the last year, which I'm identifying has mostly been Dark Night stuff.

Also, during this hour I was playing with some ideas that Nickolai sent me by email. I hope he doesn't mind me posting those here:

"What happens when you flicker your eyelids and then let them flicker having released the intention, and just watch as they peter out (the flickering), while you pay extremely close attention to the very last sensations of the very last flicker?

Just to be sure, make a resolution to experience a particular nana, sit back and watch what the mind does by itself. For example, choose a particular dukkha nana and see if the mind moves there. If it does, then try jumping to other nanas. Then just try calling up a frution. Even though you may not know what it is, just make this resolution in your mind before you sit,

I wish for the mind to move up to the 11th nana and I wish for the mind to the move to what comes "after" the 11th nana, whatever it is. Then sit back and pay close attention to one of the characteristics loosely, relaxed and just patiently watching what happens. Don't expect anything. Just let happen what happens."


Anyway, I tried all of this. Nothing happened. Just pulsating energy in my head, a sense of calmness, and a tendency to drift off with my thoughts.

So yeah...that does sound like Equanimity. But the experience I described above was genuinely intense - the sense that something was about to happen, the dramatically (and I mean dramatically) increased heart-rate, the sheer bright light, the feeling of "done-ness" and lightness afterwards.

Maybe the intensity of my sitting over the preceding 5 days before this event caused me to blow a fuse or something? Maybe I somehow interrupted the buildup to the Path moment before it climaxed. Not sure. I certainly don't feel like ramping my practice back up to where it was right now though, that's for sure. All I want to do is chilax! ;) But I agree. If it's not Stream Entry, I must be close.


Dylan
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
hi dylan,

i will keep this reply relatively short as you are on retreat, and though you have already spent precious seconds reading, posting, editing, uploading profile photos, and so on and so forth, i do not wish to give you (or anyone else) the impression that i think any of this online activity is a good use of your time, because it is, rather, a foolish waste of it.

there is nothing in what you have written that suggests to me that you have reached stream entry. however, there is much which indicates that you have had a particularly powerful and energetic arising and passing event ... and that you are now floundering - and i do not use this word lightly - in dissolution territory. further, it appears you are seeking a repetition of the arising and passing event, which is not likely to occur with quite the same intensity - far more likely are the energetic sensations to build and then fade (into dissolution) without (or without much of) a climax.

my advice to you here - assuming you are ready to continue with your 10-day intensive retreat seriously, though you only have 1 full day of practice left - is as follows:

firstly, note the fact your concern with your location in the progress of insight (note 'mapping'), note your desire to predict or achieve a breakthrough (note 'gaming'), and, quite simply, stop giving these things any importance, as your remaining seconds on retreat are far too precious to spend lost in content.

further, i recommend that you hit dissolution with every ounce of mental energy and effort you can muster, intently noting the spacing out, and grounding your attention in the most obvious physical sensations that present (if you are following the technique you are being taught, go part-by-part on the gross sensations, taking large chunks at a time). do not ease up on this for one second until you are no longer 'drift[ing] off with [your] thoughts'. the continuity of mindfulness is the most basic and important factor in this practice and if you miss this you will not progress. note impermanence in every single sensation; stick to the physical ones but don't exclude thought and note the impermanence of mental sensations when they arise or become prominent.

lastly, the territory between dissolution and stream entry does not have to be wide and long; the 'dark night' stages can be quickly traversed with sufficient concentration and commitment, and equanimity can be managed with the right balance of continuous, precise effort and finesse. don't spend another moment of your retreat without making full use of it. it is needless to say that you should not even consider touching your electronics again until the retreat is completely over. practise well.

tarin
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
Hi Tarin,

I guess I've been well and truly scolded then...and by none other than Tarin Greco no less. And on my first post too! It is indeed an honor Sir! ; )

I would just like to say that, yes, I unequivocally agree that, in most circumstances, the use of precious retreat time for posting on internet forums is indeed "a foolish waste of it", and that all of your advice is very pertinent. For any pre-pather out there reading this, I would not recommend you do what I did. However, perhaps I can provide some context to my particular situation which will demonstrate that my circumstances are not exactly typical.

I have been living at this meditation center, in which I have undertaken to complete a 10-day retreat, for the last 11 months. In that time I have been engaged in partly paid, partly unpaid work on a major construction project. I have committed to staying at the center at least until October, and perhaps longer than that. Because I have no other outside commitments other than the work I am engaged in here, which is relatively flexible, this means that I am living under the ideal conditions to be able to attain stream entry, which from about 3 weeks ago up until now, has been my firm goal.

I have only recently been exposed to MCTB, the DhO, and the pragmatic dharma movement - it was only 2 months ago really that I read MCTB. The way that this rocked my world is a story which I'm sure is familiar to most people here, so I won't recount it. Suffice to say, this retreat has been my first crack at stream entry, and I definitely don't feel like I went about it in a half-assed way, although I can see that I may well have given the impression that I'm an excitable novice, jumping at the first little tingle and rushing off for validation, or maybe simply distraction, on the internet. Hmmm...or maybe that's exactly what I am, but I'll let others be the judge of that ! ;)

Anyway, this is not my first retreat situation, but my preparation for this retreat, and practice during, at least for the first 6 and a half days, was, I feel, a very respectable effort. Tarin, you know the points your provided at the end of your "Slackers Guide to Stream Entry"? The one's that you suggested could be stuck on the wall? Well man, that's what I did! I wrote them out, stuck them on the wall, and looked at them everyday! ;) Man, I wasn't fucking around for this one. For two weeks prior to the course I was sitting 3 hours a day, while attempting to maintain awareness during my daily tasks. (I've been sitting two hours a day for almost a year.) Everyday I was resolving for stream entry. I was cultivating some serious intent.

So, for the first 6 and a half days of this retreat I practiced like a mofo! Every second, I was going for it. Noting, noting, noting...awareness, awareness, awareness. Sure, I wasn't always successful, but from the moment I awoke to the moment I fell asleep, I was giving it everything I had! And man, if that wasn't some serious dukkha I went through, then I don't want to know what is. At one point I sat 2 hours straight, with sensations like someone was taking a grinder to my chest plate, (at this stage my perception of the body was formless) and sensations of primal fear and panic arising, and I was just noting away, noting away. I got up after 2 hours, walked outside (noting, noting, noting) into icy wind and rain, kind of hugging myself in a wounded fashion, shaking, and resolved to myself through gritted teeth "I will attain stream entry on this course, I will attain stream entry on this course", and went back for another 2 straight hours.

Anyway, this is all just by way of explaining that I wasn't cruising along, which I realize doesn't ultimately detract from anything you said in your post about me not getting stream entry. I am totally open to the possibility that what I experienced was not stream entry, and it may well have been an A&P event. However, if this is the case it would be very surprising to me considering that everything that preceded it in no way correlates with my understanding of the stages of insight as laid out in MCTB and elsewhere. Meanwhile, it does seem, at least to me, that when measured against what one might expect from reading MCTB, that I could well be at Equanimity. But then that's why I posted all of this here, so esteemed folk like yourself could weigh in with your learned opinion! : )

Also, as you can probably already tell by the fact that I am replying to your post rather than following your advice, yes, I pretty much feel like I'm retiring from the rest of the retreat. And, as shameful as this may be, it doesn't worry me in the slightest. As I explained above, I am fortunate to be living in the ideal conditions for being able to attain stream entry. I've given this one a good crack, had a very interesting experience that may turn out not to be what I thought it was. I waited 2 days, waited and observed, before I decided to put it out there and post on the forum. If this was a hasty and foolish thing to do, well, I'm sure there are plenty of people here who can sympathize, people who, although they may have long scaled the heady hights of insight practice, and may well have moved on to bigger and better things, can cast a glance back and remember that they might once have been where I am.

I must say, I think I can be forgiven for being mistaken, if that is in fact what I am. I can very easily sit the next retreat here if that is what I chose to do. I have resolved to get stream entry as soon as possible. That is what I'm going to do. I'll walk away from this, feeling pretty good I must say, and start cultivating some more intent. In your "Slackers Guide" you say: "If you work like this, with this kind of intensity, whether you land a path or not you will gain insight like nothing else, which will heavily contribute to your life being better." I did work with the kind of intensity you advised. If I haven't landed path, then I've sure as hell landed some serious insight.

Cheers my brother.

Dylan
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
I agree with Tarin that you should go back to practicing ASAP.

All I can share is that I've had experiences very similar to yours, and they happened during Equanimity.

I also want to point out that stream entry is unlikely to happen after an "energy build-up". It doesn't mimic the A&P event. It's more likely to happen when equanimity is so developed that you've stopped caring about or thinking about or anticipating stream entry. So, do away with the thought that your "energy build up" experience is related to stream entry at all.
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
Yes. All the advice I'm getting is saying continue to practice. That does seem, under further consideration, the wise thing to do!

Thankyou Tarin and EiS. Regardless of what happens next, it's great that a space to have these conversations, in virtually real time, exits.

Cheers,

Dylan.
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Yadid dee, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
It seems that once the 11th nyana becomes one's baseline, the desire and need to practice just drop..
the problem is though, that the baseline tends to drop slowly and then it becomes a problem again.
it happened to me several times: getting a really good momentum, and then Equanimity nyana comes in, and everything is just fine, and then it drops.
seems to be the reason to get stream-entry, coz stopping practice at Equanimity is like trying to light a fire with two sticks, and stopping each time smoke starts coming out, rather than continuing.
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
OK, so for anyone who may be interested, here is the wash-up from my recent stream entry attempt. Let's just chalk it up as a learning experience shall we ; )

I've gotta say at this point, I think Tarin's diagnosis above was probably spot on the money. Great advice Tarin. Please forgive my misguided beginners enthusiasm ; ) Yes, I think I now humbly join the ranks of those who have fooled by the A&P.

I might just summarize what I learned from this experience, just in case it's useful for anyone:

What did I learn?

a) That I perhaps overestimated my technical proficiency as a yogi. Time to get back into training.

b) That I perhaps grossly overestimated my understanding of the stages of insight, and my ability to perceive with any degree of accuracy at all which one I may be in at any given time.

c) That the sledge-hammer, crash-through-with-pure-intent approach to getting stream entry is perhaps far from ideal. Skillful means would seem to be an appropriate concept to focus on at this point.

d) On future retreats I will continue to practice NO MATTER WHAT!

e) Don't take your laptop on retreat.

Good times!

Dylan
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Since I guessed Equanimity, and you think otherwise, I'd like to figure out why I may have been wrong so I can be more helpful and accurate in the future. Could you tell us specifically why you now think you were in A&P and why you changed your mind?
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Since I guessed Equanimity, and you think otherwise, I'd like to figure out why I may have been wrong so I can be more helpful and accurate in the future. Could you tell us specifically why you now think you were in A&P and why you changed your mind?


As I understand:

Three Characteristics: pain, solidity, unpleasantness in many forms, uncomfortable heat etc.
A&P: energetic experiences good or bad, overwhelming or not. Rise in mood, fascination with things.
Equanimity: very much the opposite of A&P (as in indifference being the opposite of love, not hate). Spaciousness and "generalness"/inclusiveness as opposed to specificity and detail.

While the circumstances surrounding the event as described by Dylan might seem to warrant a diagnosis of Equanimity, the actual experience will never deceive and always takes precedence. You could say that context never trumps symptoms.

So, taking the actual experience as foundation would lead to diagnosing A&P. After that, you might want to look at the context of the event to strengthen or weaken the diagnosis, but the context will never actually change the diagnosis (in dharma diagnostication).
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Since I guessed Equanimity, and you think otherwise, I'd like to figure out why I may have been wrong so I can be more helpful and accurate in the future. Could you tell us specifically why you now think you were in A&P and why you changed your mind?


Apologies End in Sight for not replying sooner and clarifying why I changed my mind and now think the experience I described was actually an A&P event. I've just been waiting and observing, and not wanting to post anything prematurely.

I've realised quite a lot since this thread started a month ago. I can understand how someone could have come to the diagnosis of Equanimity based purely on my description of my experience in the first post. I've since gone on to realise that my description of the experience may not really be that accurate a reflection of my actual experience. I think it was perhaps clouded by some false assumptions and subject to some scripting – one of the evident traps that stems from knowledge of the Stages of Insight or any cartography of conciousness. Having said that, my specific description of the kinds of sensations I encountered is still pretty accurate.

So, what do I think was wrong with my initial description and why did I change my mind from a diagnosis of Equanimity to A&P?

a) I guess a had a fair bit of (latent) respect for Tarin's opinion on the matter.

b) I can see that I wrote my description wanting to believe that I actually passed through the stages that I said I did, therefore I think I scripted myself into describing my experience in a way that matched up with my (incorrect?) understanding of the stages.

c) I said above “I believe I started the retreat already in the middle of the Dukkha nanas.”

Now, I think I made this claim based on some ill-informed assumptions. The first was that I assumed because I had crossed the A&P on retreat in the past, I must automatically be in Duhkka nana territory, that the Duhkka nanas were my 'baseline', or that if I went through A&P again it would only be fleetingly and would not present with any degree of intensity, or would present exactly as it did in the past and therefore be recognisable.

I might also have given too much weight to the idea of me being a 'Dark Night yogi' after reading MCTB, which I think rather too neatly and conveniently explains the agonising years of depression, angst, dysfunction and soul-searching which followed (and preceded) my first A&P experience, but which perhaps can not be entirely attributed to “Dark Night” issues. (Although I definitely think they were a factor.)

So basically, I thought I was a Dark Night yogi because I had had an A&P event and later got depressed, therefore when I meditate I must be meditating in the Dark Night stages.

I suspect this might be a common mistake.

d) I thought the diagnosis of Duhkka nanas was accurate because of the kind of sensations I was experiencing in my meditation – predominately (as I described in my first post) “ intense knots of pain around the throat, chest, and solar plexus chakra areas, as well as the spine, with accompanying emotional sensations of fear and panic et. al...sensations like someone was taking a grinder to my chest plate”.

When, after days of observing these intense sensations, they finally dissolved and subsided, and a state of tremendous calm arose, I think I naturally assumed this was the transition from Re-observation to Equanimity. Well, maybe...but maybe not.

When I said “intense knots of pain”, I meant what I think of as “emotional pain”. I use this term here as distinct from gross physical pain, such as sore back, sore knee, sore shoulder. I kind of identify these sorts of physical pains and discomforts as being at the surface level of the body, whereas the kind of pain I was referring to seems to be located 'inside' the body, predominately at the chakra points or energy centres, seems to be connected to (deep-rooted?) emotional issues, and requires a more subtle awareness to investigate. (Shinzen Young gives a good description of the differences between physical and emotional sensations on this Sounds True podcast, which I well worth a listen for other choice Shinzen tidbits as well.)

I may have made the incorrect assumption that these knots of “emotional pain” automatically correspond to the Duhkka nanas, while Three Characteristics nana is only about gross, surface-level, physical pain. Was this an incorrect assumption? Reading Kenneth Folk's “Idiot's Guide to Dharma Diagnosis” he says:

If you have persistent solid pain, you’re in the 3rd ñana.


Now, I guess I assumed that because my meditation was quite strong, because I didn't have any problems with gross physical pain, because my awareness was quite laser-like and focussed, because during meditation I would regularly perceive my body as quite formless, and because I had crossed the A&P in the past, that this kind of solid, interior emotional pain, which when investigated (in a piercing and penetrating fashion) provoked quite intense emotional arisings, was related to Dark Night stages. Was this an incorrect assumption? Opinion anybody?

e) There seems to have been a qualitative change in the nature of my attention post-retreat, which lines up pretty well with Daniel's description of Dissolution in MCTB (although I am aware, once again, of the danger of scripting here):

Whereas one might have felt that one’s attention had finally attained the one-pointed focus that is so highly valued in most ideals of meditation during the Arising and Passing Away, during the Dark Night one will have to deal with the fact that one’s attention is actually quite wide and its contents unstable. Further, the center of one’s attention becomes the very least clear area of experience, and the periphery becomes predominant...most meditators are not expecting this at all and so get blindsided and wage a futile battle to make their attention do something that, in this part of the path, it simply won’t do.


This is a fair description of what I have experienced in my daily sits post-retreat, as opposed to the laser-like precision of my awareness pre-retreat. I have, however, experienced no on-set of Dark Night symptoms that can be expected, as the common warning goes, to follow the A&P 'like thunder follows lightning'. But perhaps that is because of the conditions in which I live (meditation centre) and the fact I'm maintaining a consistent practice. I don't know.

So, they're the reasons that I changed my mind about the diagnosis. However, the reality is I still have no firm view as to “where I'm at”, and the liberating thing to come out of all of this is that I'm not really worried about it any more, although I do find these cases of dharma diagnosis pretty interesting. My main focus at the moment is trying to practice well, and I have to say that last retreat really cleaned out some deep-rooted stuff, and I'm feeling calmer, more at ease, and more open than I ever have, and I'm getting on far better with those close to me. That in itself is a very good thing.

Dylan
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
One question I guess this discussion has raised for me is whether or not energetic events like I described in the original post are necessarily confined to A&P, or whether they can present in any of the stages of insight? End in Sight suggested that he experienced something similar in Equanimity. Is this possible? Can we get a definitive answer on this one?

Meanwhile, I have been reading Jack Kornfield's "A Path with Heart". Here are few passages that I though were worth throwing quoting:

Through concentration or other techniques of practice one often experiences a buildup of great energy in the body. When this energy moves, it produces feelings of pleasure, and when it encounters areas of tightness or holding, it builds up and then releases as vibration and movement. Thus, rapture may lead to trembling or the powerful spontaneous releases of physical energy which some yogic traditions refer to as kriyas...

These spontaneous bodily releases are neither enlightening nor harmful. They are simply what happens when the energy being generated in our practice encounters blocks and tightness where it cannot flow. It is part of the opening of the body...When these spontaneous movements appear, we can begin to respect how deep our physical patterns of holding can be....

It is best to meet these movements by softening, especially relaxing the back and the area at the base of the spine. If the release is only moderately strong, it is often best to try to relax and yet hold the body still in the face of it and allow the energy to push open new channels in the body, rather than be released through movement...

We will feel how the heat, pulsations, and vibrations spontaneously move through our spine to open blocked energy channels and then radiate out to every nerve and cell of our body. We can discover that some of the deepest healing and body work can take place as we sit still and meditate...These energetic processes can take place in a period of hours or weeks or months, and for many students they are a process that goes on for years. They are all a part of an opening and purification that is the natural product of deep spiritual practice.
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Eran G, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 182 Join Date: 1/5/10 Recent Posts
When practicing pure insight the A&P is one of those points in practice where concentration is pretty strong (similar to 2nd jhana) thus is why you're likely to see various energetic phenomena while in the A&P and to a lesser degree just before that in 3C. Later stages of insight parallel 3rd and 4th jhana where concentration can still be strong but the factor of Piti (rapture, joy) is absent and one is less likely to experience those energies coursing through the body. I don't think it's possible to give a definite description of everyone's experience of every stage. We're all different, we practice slightly differently, our minds are different and so our experiences will be different. It's possible to experience all kinds of things in this practice; mapping all of them, however, is not likely. The maps are a rough average based on the experience of many yogis and as such can point out the most likely progression but IMO mapping human experience is more of an art than a science.
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
Eran G:
When practicing pure insight the A&P is one of those points in practice where concentration is pretty strong (similar to 2nd jhana) thus is why you're likely to see various energetic phenomena while in the A&P and to a lesser degree just before that in 3C.


Ok.

Later stages of insight parallel 3rd and 4th jhana where concentration can still be strong but the factor of Piti (rapture, joy) is absent and one is less likely to experience those energies coursing through the body.


So can energetic A&P like phenomena present in these later stages .ie Equanimity?

I don't think it's possible to give a definite description of everyone's experience of every stage.


Neither do I.

We're all different, we practice slightly differently, our minds are different and so our experiences will be different. It's possible to experience all kinds of things in this practice; mapping all of them, however, is not likely.


I agree.

The maps are a rough average based on the experience of many yogis and as such can point out the most likely progression but IMO mapping human experience is more of an art than a science.


I think you're more or less right.

I'll ask the question again (slightly edited).

[Are] energetic events like I described in the original post (and described above by Jack Kornfield) necessarily confined to A&P, or [can they] present in any of the stages of insight? End in Sight suggested that he experienced something similar in Equanimity. Is this possible? Can we get a definitive answer on this one?
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tarin greco, modified 10 Years ago.

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Dylan .:
Eran G:
When practicing pure insight the A&P is one of those points in practice where concentration is pretty strong (similar to 2nd jhana) thus is why you're likely to see various energetic phenomena while in the A&P and to a lesser degree just before that in 3C.


Ok.

Later stages of insight parallel 3rd and 4th jhana where concentration can still be strong but the factor of Piti (rapture, joy) is absent and one is less likely to experience those energies coursing through the body.


So can energetic A&P like phenomena present in these later stages .ie Equanimity?

I don't think it's possible to give a definite description of everyone's experience of every stage.


Neither do I.

We're all different, we practice slightly differently, our minds are different and so our experiences will be different. It's possible to experience all kinds of things in this practice; mapping all of them, however, is not likely.


I agree.

The maps are a rough average based on the experience of many yogis and as such can point out the most likely progression but IMO mapping human experience is more of an art than a science.


I think you're more or less right.

I'll ask the question again (slightly edited).

[Are] energetic events like I described in the original post (and described above by Jack Kornfield) necessarily confined to A&P, or [can they] present in any of the stages of insight? End in Sight suggested that he experienced something similar in Equanimity. Is this possible? Can we get a definitive answer on this one?


yes, it is possible, and i may get around to writing about it when i have the time. or you could check the section in MCTB on the knowledge of equanimity regarding formations, in particular the bit on the 'near-miss' that can occur mid-way through the stage.

tarin
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Eran G, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

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Dylan .:

I'll ask the question again (slightly edited).

[Are] energetic events like I described in the original post (and described above by Jack Kornfield) necessarily confined to A&P, or [can they] present in any of the stages of insight? End in Sight suggested that he experienced something similar in Equanimity. Is this possible? Can we get a definitive answer on this one?


Apologies for not being clear enough. What I was trying to say is that i believe energetic events like that are possible almost anywhere on the map, they're just more likely at certain points than others. In addition to the specific point in Equanimity that Tarin mentions above it has been my experience (I wonder if anyone could confirm this) that the very beginning of Equanimity (especially the first few times it is reached) can also be quite energetic and pleasant, quite similar to A&P in some ways. However, I never found this to last very long (around 30s maybe).
Angler ~, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

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Hi Dylan,

I came across another thread that talks about something that sounds a little bit like what you mentioned. You might want to check it out:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2135924

I also experienced something kind of like what you're talking about but kind of not. I posted it on that thread but will repeat it here as well.

Does anyone think I may be mistaking Equanimity for A&P too?

I had an experience that sounds similar but I do not think it was the A&P.

A year ago I awoke from an overwhelmingly explosive sensory bliss out. I cannot help but to self-diagnose, and take this to have been an A&P followed (and actually preceded too) by chronic dark night. Over the last month or so I have really stepped up my noting and concentration practice. To my surprise, over the last couple of weeks, the 1-3rd, 4th, 5th, 6-10th, and 11th nanas have become more and more clear and predictable. I can see a certain release and 'ahhh' common to both A&P and Equanimity, as well as see how they are quite different.

I have also been able to reach what seem to be the samantha jhanas simply by 'solidifying' sensations during the 1-3rd, 4th, 5th, and 11th nanas.

The experience that seemed like yours occurred when I was in what I take to be Equanimity. I was calm and concentrated, with the vibrations fine and the sense-field unified. Then my heart began pounding, I grew excited anticipating stream entry (though saying I 'never experienced such overwhelming excitement' would be an overstatement), and there was a sudden darkening, almost collapse, of the visual field into a smaller area in which vibrations were still present. The collapse magnified these vibrations, almost as if looking at them with a microscope. This then subsided. I was back in typical Equanimity within a minute.

I do no think this was A&P, again because it occurred in a distinct, refined, and calm stage, and because no dark knight followed. If anything, I am more calm than in months, or years, as I can reliably work my way to the 11th nana a couple of times daily and ride the relaxation out from there.

Of course, I do not want to deceive myself or you either, so critique or comment is welcome!

My practice: years of light zazen prior to 1 1/2 years ago; since then an average 1 hour of noting daily and a couple short retreats; and over the last months 2 hours daily warmed up with 10-15 minutes of concentration on the breath or candle kasina.
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tom moylan, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

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hi dylan,
i just read your post and can relate. i just got off a wekk-long self retreat where i passed the A&P, entered dissolution, flew over the dukka territory (basically unnoticed) and found myself in territory which seems lik equanimity to me.

i could really "focus down" on the intracranial sensations and call up energy events similar, but a bit less dramatic, than the A&P event. i took these to be the near-misses referred to in MCTB transition from low to high equanimity which daniel describes.

i hope i'm right and am trying to stay on it til i know.

good luck amigo
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

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Hey Tom,

Yeah, I just read your post - definitely some similarities there. Still not 100% sure how to locate my experiences on the maps, but I'm gearing up for another 10-day in about 6 weeks, so we'll see what that brings.

Practice well mate.

Dylan

[Edit: added link]
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tom moylan, modified 10 Years ago.

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Dylan, I'm very psyched for you mate. Good luck and good work on your upcoming retreat. I am really interested in fnding out about these post A&P "energy" events. Is that still A&P? Am I fooling myself thinking that I have skipped over Dukkas? We shall see. Stay focused.

tom
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Do you think this was Stream Entry? Any opinions appreciated..

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tom moylan:
I am really interested in finding out about these post A&P "energy" events. Is that still A&P? Am I fooling myself thinking that I have skipped over Dukkas? We shall see.


Yes, we shall see indeed. These are the kinds of questions I'm asking myself - further practice will reveal all I suppose. For me it is helpful though to know that these energetic events can possibly present in other stages (such as Equanimity - thanks tarin, Eran and EiS). That might be a handy thing to be aware of at some point.

Cheers,

Dylan

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