Another yogi lost in vibrations...

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Andy Hansen, modified 10 Years ago.

Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Dear DhO friends,

I have been reading many-many of posts with excellent answers, but even though I cannot really come to a solid conclusion about where my meditation is going these days. It seems to me like I am stuck in between DN and Eq.

Firstly, I don't think that I am still in A&P territory, since I no longer get a pleasant inner feeling and a very clear fresh sensation on my skin when accessing concentration. Instead there seems only to be vibrations/shakings in the body and the brain. Also I have earlier had some incidents which could sound like having had A&P moments. The first (from an earlier post):
"...my body was shaking and my breath almost hyperventilating, while having a feeling of ecstasy and seeing fast moving light symbols/shapes quite clearly (having closed eyes). After this meditation experience, I felt a great mood change in the sense that I could always spot negative emotions rising instantly and choose not to follow them. Also very few negative emotions would start rising. Thus, for some weeks I did not experience emotions of stress, fear, anger, etc. unfolding. In fact, it may be the most joyous period I can remember. Also my concentration improved much, and it seemed like I could meditate much more effortlessly - an hour is no problem if sitting comfortable. .... After 2-3 weeks of freedom from negative emotions (i.e. not at one single instance letting them get control), I suddenly got feelings of fear and sadness and fear for no apparent reason - nothing important happened in my life."

At a later occasion during at the end of a week of retreat I got a clear sense that there is not an "I" - like my behavior is not really controlled by the sense of "me". After this my body started to shake intensively, making it almost impossible to meditate for a few days. Here, a month later, these shakings/vibrations still occur during meditations, but not as wild.

After the retreat two weeks went by of not being able to meditate much because of pain and loss of motivation. But I got back two weeks ago and now I can meditate for 10-15 hours a day (at least the five days I have tried) - even reclining without falling asleep, which I was not able to do before. I can clearly see that vibrations in my brain in some way correspond to the bodily vibration in focus at the moment (same frequency). Noting is a bit trivial, since there is not much else to note than vibrations and "what to try now thoughts". When trying to investigate space, it just sense deep and slow vibrations. Also there is a lot of vibration activity in the center of my brain and third eye when I put my focus on the spot. Most of the time, reality feels a bit chunky, and the background seems to be vibrations around 10 Hz. However, for shorter periods of time I managed to stop the vibrations, and got to a very clear and crisp state. But, most of the time I cannot stop the vibrations and the quietness is disturbed by these vibrations/shakings (e.g. belly, chest, neck). I would think that these 10 Hz vibrations were DN territory - however, I can meditate for hours and hours and feel very balanced after having meditated - for instance, pain does not really bother me too much, compared to the weeks before where a similar pain sensation seemed intolerable. Also, if I was still in A&P, it seems strange that this very dominant pleasant and fresh body sensation has totally gone.

My questions:
1) Am I stuck in between DN and equanimity, or could it be something else?
2) Are these shakings just some sort of bodily adaptation, which will stop eventually? ...maybe the kundalini phenomena?
3) Currently in my meditation I am merely observing vibrations/shaking of different body parts and the ajna spot (sometimes noting vibration-vibration-vibration...). Does anyone have other ideas of how to progress?

I have probably left out a lot of relevant information, so just ask ;-)

Best Regards

Andy
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations... (Answer)

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Hey Andy,

It definitely sounds very much like A&P → Dissolution → Dark Night (6th ñana, Knowledge of Fear) based on your descriptions, which I have to say are excellent and indicate that you've got a decent grip of the thing already. I'll briefly go through what you've written and see if I can offer anything useful:

At a later occasion during at the end of a week of retreat I got a clear sense that there is not an "I" - like my behavior is not really controlled by the sense of "me". After this my body started to shake intensively, making it almost impossible to meditate for a few days. Here, a month later, these shakings/vibrations still occur during meditations, but not as wild.

Back through the A&P again, you'll continue to cycle up to Equanimity and back down until you land 1st path so this is perfectly normal. The shaking and vibrations are called kriyas, they don't seem to get a lot of discussion on here but they're common to pretty much anyone who's crossed the A&P. The cause appears to be that one has "awakened kundalini", a.k.a. the A&P in different terminology, and this release of energy, which previously lay dormant within the base chakra, is now circulating through the nervous system. Again, perfectly normal so just note it and move on.

After the retreat two weeks went by of not being able to meditate much because of pain and loss of motivation. But I got back two weeks ago and now I can meditate for 10-15 hours a day (at least the five days I have tried) - even reclining without falling asleep, which I was not able to do before. I can clearly see that vibrations in my brain in some way correspond to the bodily vibration in focus at the moment (same frequency). Noting is a bit trivial, since there is not much else to note than vibrations and "what to try now thoughts". When trying to investigate space, it just sense deep and slow vibrations. Also there is a lot of vibration activity in the center of my brain and third eye when I put my focus on the spot. Most of the time, reality feels a bit chunky, and the background seems to be vibrations around 10 Hz. However, for shorter periods of time I managed to stop the vibrations, and got to a very clear and crisp state. But, most of the time I cannot stop the vibrations and the quietness is disturbed by these vibrations/shakings (e.g. belly, chest, neck). I would think that these 10 Hz vibrations were DN territory - however, I can meditate for hours and hours and feel very balanced after having meditated - for instance, pain does not really bother me too much, compared to the weeks before where a similar pain sensation seemed intolerable. Also, if I was still in A&P, it seems strange that this very dominant pleasant and fresh body sensation has totally gone.

Lots of good stuff here, if you're meditating to this level then you're well on your way to stream-entry.

The sensations in your belly, chest and neck area are what I generally experience when moving through Dark Night, and the movement into the chest and neck usually tells me I'm moving into Re-Observation while Equanimity moves up into the head area. The descriptions you give after this point all sound like classic Equanimity territory; pleasant, balanced and slow, the vibrations you mention are related to the formless jhanas and the level of detail with which you're perceiving is impressive so this is just a matter of tweaking your technique to land 1st path. You appear to have awesome momentum going so this should happen pretty soon, try this and see if it's of any use:

Rather than paying close attention to the vibrations, turn the focus towards what's observing this as it happens. Beware of becoming complacent or zoning out while in Equanimity, there can be little blank outs which can fool you into thinking they were fruitions so stay aware of what's going on. This ñana is about balancing concentration with insight, you're not noting like a maniac a'la A&P 'cause it's much more normal feeling and laid back, almost boring at times which can lead to drifting off on mental tangents or, as may be the case with what you're doing right now, solidifying the sensations and ending up in 4th jhana rather than doing insight practice. If you catch yourself solidifying into a jhana then look at the 3C's and watch the object vanish, keep bringing the attention back to what's observing this as it happen, awareness is panoramic in the 11th ñana so make use of this by seeing the whole thing as it arises and passes away. Just adjust the focus, pay attention and look at what's looking until you see it for yourself.

1) Am I stuck in between DN and equanimity, or could it be something else?

Equanimity.

2) Are these shakings just some sort of bodily adaptation, which will stop eventually? ...maybe the kundalini phenomena?

You got it.

3) Currently in my meditation I am merely observing vibrations/shaking of different body parts and the ajna spot (sometimes noting vibration-vibration-vibration...). Does anyone have other ideas of how to progress?

See above.

All in all it sounds like you're doing great though, keep going and this will happen without a doubt. Keep us updated and let us know how you get on with this as it'll be great to see you get stream-entry!!
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Andy Hansen, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Dear Tommy,

Thank you very much - this was exactly what I needed to hear to keep me going!!! More specifically, I was beginning to question if I was on the right path, since this equanimity stage in some ways feels so "normal", compared to the first jhanas. This should be seen in the light of that I spent more than a year visiting the first jhana daily without knowing that there was somewhere to go after that. Thus, the absence of the intense pleasurable feelings in equanimity still feels a bit strange to me. On the other hand, vipassana is a newer territory for me - I did not really understand it before stumbling on DhO a few months ago (the analytical meditation I was taught in the Tibetan tradition was much different).

I really like your advice - I think you may have saved me from "solidifying the sensations and ending up in 4th jhana rather than doing insight practice". I am glad I wrote this mail. So, I have had four 45-60 minutes sessions after reading your answer, in which I have focused on investigating who or what the observer is. This triggers very strong vibrations in the center of my brain - but at moments it seems to almost stop. This feels like progressing, getting closer to something essential. Also, I have noticed how vibrations may follow a pattern of moving up through parts of the body as my meditation session progresses.

For sure I will keep you posted about my progress. Unfortunately work starts Monday after a long vacation, but I should be able to squeeze in a minimum of 20 hours of sitting plus some walking each week. I hope this is enough to keep momentum. However, the funny thing is, for the first time in months, I am not overly desperate to get to stream entry here and now - as long as I get it eventually.

Best Regards

Andy
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Thank you very much

You're more than welcome!

Thus, the absence of the intense pleasurable feelings in equanimity still feels a bit strange to me.

I know what you mean, but if you pay attention to what's going on in the body you'll find that there are more refined, pleasurable feelings still going on. It's just that they're not as "WHOA!" as you get in the A&P, but then again there have been A&P's which I've thought were Equanimity only to have my arse kicked up and down the place as I hit Dark Night shortly after. Ha!

I really like your advice

Remember it's only the opinion of one guy, there's loads of advice to be had so ask around and get as much info as possible.

So, I have had four 45-60 minutes sessions after reading your answer, in which I have focused on investigating who or what the observer is. This triggers very strong vibrations in the center of my brain - but at moments it seems to almost stop. This feels like progressing, getting closer to something essential. Also, I have noticed how vibrations may follow a pattern of moving up through parts of the body as my meditation session progresses.

A few things here:

- The pattern of movement through the body is a useful indicator of whereabouts you are during a sit, but don't let it lead you away from the practice itself as, in my case at least, this became a distraction because I put too much importance on it while on the cushion. Note the specific sensations you're aware of within the meta-sensation of "movement", this is where the good stuff is.

- Note those vibrations in the center of the brain, pay attention to what happens when the vibrations stop. Do to notice any sort of 'flickering'?

- Note the sensations implying "getting closer". Closer to what? Note questioning. What's still left? Note wondering. Look at it. Note seeing/perceiving. You're so close where you are right now that it takes a combination of that momentum you've been building and the precise noting with concentration taking up the slack.

Unfortunately work starts Monday after a long vacation, but I should be able to squeeze in a minimum of 20 hours of sitting plus some walking each week. I hope this is enough to keep momentum. However, the funny thing is, for the first time in months, I am not overly desperate to get to stream entry here and now - as long as I get it eventually.

What you might find useful is carrying your practice over into your daily life too, I found that off-cushion noting provides so many sensations to note which may not usually be so clear during a sit and it's great for keeping the momentum up. Even having ten minutes in work while you're taking a dump to work on concentration is worth it, be creative and you'll find lots of fun and useful ways to incorporate your practice into your day.

The majority of the serious work I did between 2nd and 4th path happened through noting constantly whenever possible while off the cushion and then going for it big time when I formally sat. A friend of mine said the same thing and he also landed 4th shortly after me so I'd say it's worth a shot at the very least, even if just to experiment and see if it works for you.

Don't lose your passion for 1st path, it's easy to get complacent while in Equanimity but keep your resolve like you have so far and don't get distracted by the scenery just yet. There's plenty of time for that after you get stream-entry, and in fact it's very useful to explore and gain some mastery of the territory after you get it as, as Daniel says in MCTB, the mind is incredibly powerful at this point. Basically stay focused, take advantage of that sense of normality and relax while keeping your eyes on the prize, you can't think this part out as it's beyond thought so chill out, enjoy it but don't lose sight of what's right in front of you. Just keep on watching until it drops.

A'ra best,
T
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Andy Hansen, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Dear Tommy,

I really appreciate you taking the time to guide a complete stranger ;-) Here is what happened since yesterday.

It seems that during my next sitting, after having written my last mail, I experienced yet another A&P event. What happened was that, after having done a bit of questioning "what is observing?", I decided to try to quiet down the vibrations, which I succeeded in doing, after which I kind of dozed of enjoying the silence. Suddenly I snapped back to full consciousness having a clear sensation of rocketing into space at a high speed - a bit like on a rollercoaster, but without bodily sensations. I actually looked for bodily sensations, but could not find them - like being in some sort of vacuum. After some time it stopped and I was left with a extremely pleasant state of peacefulness and bliss. Nothing like my first A&P event, this was much more like a cool refreshing shower, which seemed to last for 5-10 minutes or so. After have gotten up I had this "what the f... was that?" feeling, and I felt somewhat different - in an extremely good mood, peaceful and having and with sharper perception of reality. In my next meditations I got right into access concentration before even having counted five breaths.

The reason I write it off as being SE is that I could not get to any kind of cessation or bliss experience during the next five meditations the same day. I tried at least five different approaches, rolling back the eyes, trying to make the ajna center quiet, focusing on no-self, looking for the self, and seeing images of myself in my head. Instead, the vibrations of body parts and the brain seemed to increase in strength for each meditation after the possible A&P experience. My first meditation today was also quite noisy because vibration/shakings, but my last two meditations the sense of silence has again become predominant - a quit background where I watch vibrations come and go.

I relation to your question - I do not think that I have noticed flickering, but I am not sure how to differentiate between vibrations and flickering? When I close my eyes, I see vibrating light most of the time.

I get the feeling that I am missing something in order to get SE. It may be that, while I have strong concentration, the insight part of my meditation is too weak. I find it very difficult to note other than physical sensations and rather explicit thoughts, most often "planning thoughts". So bringing my practice more into daily life may be a solution, as you suggest. Here, emotions are often manifested as physical sensations, which I do not experience during meditation.

Also I am afraid that I intellectualize anatta, rather than experiencing it. When I ask "what is it that is observing", I find it hard not to tell myself that "what is perceived as observing is merely a sensation". So this "what is observing?", is it like a koan or an attempt to see something? If so what is it I should expect to see, vibrations, images, or?

Again, thanks for taking the time ;-)

Best regards

Andy
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I really appreciate you taking the time to guide a complete stranger

No worries, if ever I can help then I'm more than happy to do so. We're all in this thing together.

I admire your willingness to question your experience and your honesty when describing it, you could just accept my suggestions at face value and go away thinking you've gotten stream-entry but you've got the integrity to question it and to publicly discuss it. That in itself is a skill which will stand you in good stead in future.

After have gotten up I had this "what the f... was that?" feeling, and I felt somewhat different - in an extremely good mood, peaceful and having and with sharper perception of reality. In my next meditations I got right into access concentration before even having counted five breaths.

That "what the fuck was that?" feeling followed by having "felt somewhat different" could very well have been 1st path. Again, this lines up with my experience of this but let me respond to your comments below:

The reason I write it off as being SE is that I could not get to any kind of cessation or bliss experience during the next five meditations the same day. I tried at least five different approaches, rolling back the eyes, trying to make the ajna center quiet, focusing on no-self, looking for the self, and seeing images of myself in my head. Instead, the vibrations of body parts and the brain seemed to increase in strength for each meditation after the possible A&P experience. My first meditation today was also quite noisy because vibration/shakings, but my last two meditations the sense of silence has again become predominant - a quit background where I watch vibrations come and go.

Due to the roundabout way I came to SE it's hard for me to be able to say what happens right after the path moment in terms of change in practice. I got SE before knowing anything about vipassana and only began serious practice a few months later so this is a bit of a gray area for me. What I can say though is that it took me a few weeks of sitting and posting a practice journal on here to finally be able to even identify a 'normal', as in not a path moment, fruition or any of the ñanas, and the same applies to willing a fruition to happen which is something it took me a long, long time to learn for some reason.

The method of rolling the eyes back does not always work for every yogi, it's a hit and miss approach for me but others swear by it. Personally, resolutions are what works for me so have a play around with that and see how it goes.

Your descriptions of a typical sit shows that you're getting into Equanimity at the very least so, just as I've said before, even if you're not there already then you're not a kick in the arse away from it. I recommend starting a practice journal, record the phenomenological details of your sit and it'll be easier to get a look at where you're at.

while I have strong concentration, the insight part of my meditation is too weak

Concentration leads to insight, insight leads to concentration.

I find it very difficult to note other than physical sensations and rather explicit thoughts, most often "planning thoughts"

Try noting in the way Kenneth Folk describes here. This made a huge difference to my own practice.

Also I am afraid that I intellectualize anatta, rather than experiencing it. When I ask "what is it that is observing", I find it hard not to tell myself that "what is perceived as observing is merely a sensation". So this "what is observing?", is it like a koan or an attempt to see something? If so what is it I should expect to see, vibrations, images, or?

I know where you're coming from. Anatta is a simple fact, observable at any time and in any sensation - Nothing which can be perceived can be a permanent or seperate self, and since our entire experience is made up of objects coming into contact with the sense doors, the only way in which we can perceive the world in which we live, there is no self to be found anywhere.

My suggestion to you wasn't intended as a koan, I'm literally saying that you need to turn the attention towards the sense of there being an observer to experience this moment. All the time when you're noting, you're objectifying and labeling sensations in a systematic, clinical and precise way, as each object arises and passes away there is pattern of sensations implying that someone/thing is observing this. Investigate this.
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Andy Hansen, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
It happened about an hour ago, a clear "bump" where everything stopped followed by a long bliss rush - beyond doubt, I experienced a discontinuity. The experience of the bump and the bliss was exactly as I have read about it so many times - it felt surreal myself experiencing it!

I am not really sure how I got there this time - I tried a lot of stuff in meditation for 1.5 hour before the event. It may have been that I tried very concentrated to calm the mind and let every sensation go until there was nothing but empty space and one vague pulse left. After relaxing in this state for some time, observing the pulse, it happened out of nowhere.

This is experience is beyond my wildest dreams! I am grateful to you, Tommy and Tarin, who have taken time to answer my mails - but also to all the other guys at DhO who have contributed with excellent reading, not the least Daniel.

I hope I will get the chance to meet some of you ;-)

Best Regards

Andy
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
It happened about an hour ago, a clear "bump" where everything stopped followed by a long bliss rush - beyond doubt, I experienced a discontinuity. The experience of the bump and the bliss was exactly as I have read about it so many times - it felt surreal myself experiencing it!

Fuckin' A! Well done, Andy, that's excellent mate!!

I am not really sure how I got there this time - I tried a lot of stuff in meditation for 1.5 hour before the event. It may have been that I tried very concentrated to calm the mind and let every sensation go until there was nothing but empty space and one vague pulse left. After relaxing in this state for some time, observing the pulse, it happened out of nowhere.

In the long run, it doesn't really matter how it happened, the fact is that it looks like you've done it. That last vague pulse is exactly what I was pointing at, you note that last pattern which is still implying an observer and bump the whole thing drops out.

This is experience is beyond my wildest dreams! I am grateful to you, Tommy and Tarin, who have taken time to answer my mails - but also to all the other guys at DhO who have contributed with excellent reading, not the least Daniel.

Awesome. We're all in this game of ending suffering together, the great thing about this site is that you've got the experience of so many yogis at so many different stages of the path that can offer an opinion or point out some potential pitfalls. I'm just happy that you did it and it's a pleasure to have been able to contribute in any way to this, welcome to the stream!

What I would advise post-1st path is using this time to get some mastery of the jhanas, ñanas and practice calling up fruitions. There's no rush to get to 2nd path, in fact a lot of the people I know, me included, made a mad dash for 2nd path and probably lost out on some really important stuff which can be learned at this point so just enjoy it and make use of the time you've got.

Once again, well done, I'm so happy for you.

Peace.
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Andy Hansen, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 22 Join Date: 6/15/11 Recent Posts
Thanks again,

I was totally exited yesterday, as my mail may indicate. The combination of the experience leading up to the discontinuity (the deepest Eq state I have tried), the clear experience of the discontinuity and the long bliss wave got me fully convinced. Furthermore, I may also tell that in between the experience 13/8 and 15/8, I have been able to review earlier jhanas, both in sequence and by calling them up. At first they were very vague, for which reason I had some doubt if I really called them up or just manipulated my mind someway. However, the 15/8 (about 1.5 hour before the discontinuity), they came up rather clear.

I am not really sure of what to do of myself, but it is ok, I fell veeery good ;-) Right now I am most inclined to do as Daniel states "Take the time to heal the old wounds you discovered in yourself or created in your life while you were in the Dark Night. Also, go out and have some fun! Enjoy the richness of friendship, exercise, leisure, work, entertainment, service, and life in general". I have neglected all this stuff for the last six months - so now may be a good time to fix some of the damages. Obviously, also I will work with the jhanas and try to find a faster way of calling up fruition.

Best Regards

Andy
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Dylan ., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Another yogi lost in vibrations...

Posts: 31 Join Date: 7/9/11 Recent Posts
Nice work guys. Inspiring stuff. I love this place.

Dylan

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