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Insight and Wisdom

Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"

Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/24/20 11:20 AM
I think that I may be close to cessation. I have been paying close attention to phenomenology and mapping over the past month. Attention and awareness are pointing towards the fourth vipassana jhana.

When I sat today I felt like cessation was close. I've been here before, but it has been several months since I have experienced this. It felt like awareness was settling deeper and deeper and thoughts/sensations were becoming fainter. A familiar feeling of fear/anxiety started to build in my chest and grow stronger. It was a fear of death. Since this has happened before I began calming that feeling by saying "it's okay, it's okay friend, you are beautiful." This helped.

I'm unsure if this emotion is a natural resistance to cessation. Perhaps it's a necessary insight? Is there a better way to process this emotion? The feeling still remains off the cushion as I type this. It's difficult to describe because it's a mixture of several emotions. Sadness, grief, but also wonder, joy, and deep appreciation.

Thank you for your help.

RE: Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/24/20 12:01 PM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
Hello,

You can use this as a way to get back up there : probably, you know what to do to get back to that fear. It's probably a good sign, so get back to the fear, and just note it to disembed, if you are where you think you are, this objectification should be enough to move beyond it.

Not necessarily a sign of cessation though. Ever heard of the equanimity mini-dark night aka ñ11vj3 ?

emoticon

Cheers

RE: Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/24/20 1:20 PM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
Hello,

You can use this as a way to get back up there : probably, you know what to do to get back to that fear. It's probably a good sign, so get back to the fear, and just note it to disembed, if you are where you think you are, this objectification should be enough to move beyond it.

Not necessarily a sign of cessation though. Ever heard of the equanimity mini-dark night aka ñ11vj3 ?

emoticon

Cheers

Hi Olivier - Thank you for taking the time to write this. When you say "get back up there" are you referring to high EQ? I've had this same fear several times in the past. Each time it comes as I have less and less objects of awareness. It rises up and engages the fight/flight response. When it comes again I'll note it and see what happens. 

I have not heard of the EQ mini-dark night. I'll look into that. 

Cheers!

RE: Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/24/20 2:22 PM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
Kelly Gordon Weeks:
[quote=]When you say "get back up there" are you referring to high EQ? I've had this same fear several times in the past. Each time it comes as I have less and less objects of awareness. It rises up and engages the fight/flight response. When it comes again I'll note it and see what happens. 


Yes I mean get to that place of progressively more unfabricating where it seems your self might disappear too in a visceral way, which I would call mid-EQ rather than high (not that it matters much).

I'm saying that the fear response thing can be a way to actually move to that level more easily - when this kind of death fear used to happen to me regularly in my sits (it was actually more of a fear of madness for me), I used the fear response as a kind of landmark to go for, because "following the fear" was actually pretty easy and could bring me to that place more reliably ! 

So yes, my advice is basically what you said : if this happens again, very good, note its impermanence, note that it's not you.

Also, actively looking for this visceral but benign fear, without inventing the experience of course, can bring enough boldness as to make moving through it without aversion/clinging more easy. Learn to engage with that fear with curiosity, on a sensate level, knowing it is actually not gonna harm you emoticon 

Where is it in space ? How does it relate to the sense of observer ?

Hope it can be helpful.

RE: Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/24/20 6:21 PM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
Kelly Gordon Weeks:
[quote=]When you say "get back up there" are you referring to high EQ? I've had this same fear several times in the past. Each time it comes as I have less and less objects of awareness. It rises up and engages the fight/flight response. When it comes again I'll note it and see what happens. 


Yes I mean get to that place of progressively more unfabricating where it seems your self might disappear too in a visceral way, which I would call mid-EQ rather than high (not that it matters much).

I'm saying that the fear response thing can be a way to actually move to that level more easily - when this kind of death fear used to happen to me regularly in my sits (it was actually more of a fear of madness for me), I used the fear response as a kind of landmark to go for, because "following the fear" was actually pretty easy and could bring me to that place more reliably ! 

So yes, my advice is basically what you said : if this happens again, very good, note its impermanence, note that it's not you.

Also, actively looking for this visceral but benign fear, without inventing the experience of course, can bring enough boldness as to make moving through it without aversion/clinging more easy. Learn to engage with that fear with curiosity, on a sensate level, knowing it is actually not gonna harm you emoticon 

Where is it in space ? How does it relate to the sense of observer ?

Hope it can be helpful.

Thank you for the clarification!

RE: Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/25/20 1:18 AM as a reply to Olivier.
...ñ11vj3...


Thank you for this, Olivier. Brings back nice memories of some DhO retreats and discussions : ) Wish we can all retreat again in person soon enough

RE: Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/24/20 3:34 PM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
Kelly Gordon Weeks:
I think that I may be close to cessation. I have been paying close attention to phenomenology and mapping over the past month. Attention and awareness are pointing towards the fourth vipassana jhana.

When I sat today I felt like cessation was close. I've been here before, but it has been several months since I have experienced this. It felt like awareness was settling deeper and deeper and thoughts/sensations were becoming fainter. A familiar feeling of fear/anxiety started to build in my chest and grow stronger. It was a fear of death. Since this has happened before I began calming that feeling by saying "it's okay, it's okay friend, you are beautiful." This helped.

I'm unsure if this emotion is a natural resistance to cessation. Perhaps it's a necessary insight? Is there a better way to process this emotion? The feeling still remains off the cushion as I type this. It's difficult to describe because it's a mixture of several emotions. Sadness, grief, but also wonder, joy, and deep appreciation.

Thank you for your help.

Hey Kelly, like Olivier says, observe the fear, note the 'void' or however this fear is manifested.  Understand that this fear, and the void, is fabrication.  I would avoid thinking about it as cessation or anything like that, since fear/emotion is perceived, that is not 'it'.  For me anatta practices are helpful here, for instance, meditation on the emptiness of the self, investigating the emptiness of the body, things like that.  This whole egodeath game is a little melodrama we create for ourselves, in my experience working on loosening our grip on our 'selves' helps remind me of that and helps make the fear more malleable.

Totally normal, in fact, I would take it as a good sign, so give yourself a pat on the back.  
As far as processing the emotion, I would say just surf the wave.  Trust yourself, don't push too hard, but also don't be afraid.  Remember also that maps have their limits, now may be a good time to try thinking less about that stuff because it can cause you to lose focus or get overly wrapped up in it.  Also, familiarity helps, the more you come to expect and understand these emotional patterns the deeper you can go.

Just my 2 cents, hope it helps.

with love
JW

RE: Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/24/20 6:22 PM as a reply to J W.
J W:
Kelly Gordon Weeks:
I think that I may be close to cessation. I have been paying close attention to phenomenology and mapping over the past month. Attention and awareness are pointing towards the fourth vipassana jhana.

When I sat today I felt like cessation was close. I've been here before, but it has been several months since I have experienced this. It felt like awareness was settling deeper and deeper and thoughts/sensations were becoming fainter. A familiar feeling of fear/anxiety started to build in my chest and grow stronger. It was a fear of death. Since this has happened before I began calming that feeling by saying "it's okay, it's okay friend, you are beautiful." This helped.

I'm unsure if this emotion is a natural resistance to cessation. Perhaps it's a necessary insight? Is there a better way to process this emotion? The feeling still remains off the cushion as I type this. It's difficult to describe because it's a mixture of several emotions. Sadness, grief, but also wonder, joy, and deep appreciation.

Thank you for your help.

Hey Kelly, like Olivier says, observe the fear, note the 'void' or however this fear is manifested.  Understand that this fear, and the void, is fabrication.  I would avoid thinking about it as cessation or anything like that, since fear/emotion is perceived, that is not 'it'.  For me anatta practices are helpful here, for instance, meditation on the emptiness of the self, investigating the emptiness of the body, things like that.  This whole egodeath game is a little melodrama we create for ourselves, in my experience working on loosening our grip on our 'selves' helps remind me of that and helps make the fear more malleable.

Totally normal, in fact, I would take it as a good sign, so give yourself a pat on the back.  
As far as processing the emotion, I would say just surf the wave.  Trust yourself, don't push too hard, but also don't be afraid.  Remember also that maps have their limits, now may be a good time to try thinking less about that stuff because it can cause you to lose focus or get overly wrapped up in it.  Also, familiarity helps, the more you come to expect and understand these emotional patterns the deeper you can go.

Just my 2 cents, hope it helps.

with love
JW
Thank you for the encouraging words! =)

RE: Close To Cessation " Death Feeling"
Answer
9/26/20 3:04 PM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
Kelly Gordon Weeks:
A familiar feeling of fear/anxiety started to build in my chest and grow stronger. It was a fear of death.


What substance is there here? I guess you will likely answer with, 'feeling is the substance here' because it is that feeling which gives substance via language to the experience of you via the five kandhas - form, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness. Let's break down your sentence because it is rather intriguing...

A familiar feeling - past

fear/anxiety started to build in my chest and grow stronger - present

It was a fear of death - future

The kandhas are able to move dimensionally through space and time, in fact space and time is their creation. They are the creators, caretakers and forerunners of space and time. This gives the appearance of flow; a continuity that is rooted in deception and this is precisely how, within this self-replicating context of past, future and present, you create your own fear. 

One of the ways we can hijack the kandhas is through carefully observing our thoughts and the language that is used in our internal monologues and dialogues. One does not need to involve the observing faculty within the mind activity. It should be used as a 'knowing' tool devoid of judgements and commentaries. The observing should be silent - neither move away from it nor towards it. The same can be said of feelings - hold them delicately but neither claim them nor push them away.

In this way you are no longer buying into the useless annals of your conditioning, you are no longer playing the game of me, you are no longer unconsciously colluding with its deception. Only one destination awaits for someone who declines to play those repetitious games, the same games that leads society into calamitous rhetoric of an order that repeats itself century after century amongst various narratives but astonishingly goes unquestioned! 

I'm not sure if you warm to seeing things at this level. Nevertheless, here it is.