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Maps Reliable?

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Maps Reliable?
Answer
10/3/20 12:55 PM
I have been tracking phenomenology for the past six weeks since I noticed sensations and attention characteristic of the third vipassana jhana. I'm pretty noobish to the world of insight practice, but the maps seem to be remarkably accurate to my experience. 

That being said, I seemed to be working through Equanimity for a few weeks and it seemed as though cessation was somewhat close. I hit a mini dark night a couple days ago and continued forward from there back into what seemed like EQ. Interestingly today my sit was clearly pointing to arising and passing. Attention and awareness were completely different from what I have been experiencing prior. 

This begs the question, how am I now in second vipassana jhana terriotry, and how much thought should I place in mapping if it only works some of the time? Is it possible that this is a subjhana of the fourth?

It might be worth mentioning that I had a traumatic visit to my dentist yesterday. It's not clear how much that could affect my practice.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

RE: Maps Reliable?
Answer
10/3/20 1:33 PM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
Very minor thought should be placed in mapping, unless there is a problem showing up in meditation. Where you are on the map rarely changes the practice instructions of most meditation methods, which is usually some version of: pay attention, don't cling or push away,  investigate how the situation creates unnecessary suffering, investigate resistance to experiencing pleasure/joy. 

Sometimes the maps are good reminders to turn problems into something that can be noticed and note and investigated with curiousity.

The maps are also good reminders that it is natural to feel certain experiences so that we don't get identified with them, such as rapture in the second vipassina jhana, numb bliss in the third vipassina, clarity and spaciousness in the fourth vipassina jhana.

RE: Maps Reliable?
Answer
10/3/20 11:09 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Very minor thought should be placed in mapping, unless there is a problem showing up in meditation. Where you are on the map rarely changes the practice instructions of most meditation methods, which is usually some version of: pay attention, don't cling or push away,  investigate how the situation creates unnecessary suffering, investigate resistance to experiencing pleasure/joy. 

Sometimes the maps are good reminders to turn problems into something that can be noticed and note and investigated with curiousity.

The maps are also good reminders that it is natural to feel certain experiences so that we don't get identified with them, such as rapture in the second vipassina jhana, numb bliss in the third vipassina, clarity and spaciousness in the fourth vipassina jhana.
Thank you for the clarification. These suggestions are helpful. I think that I was getting excited for cessation after working through the second, third, and fourth vipassana jhanas. When attention changed it felt like a curveball. 

RE: Maps Reliable?
Answer
10/4/20 7:08 AM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
Practice is never linear. We go up and down the nanas and the vipassina jhanas. Sometimes even up and down many times during a single sit. This is totally normal and not a failing of the practice if it happens. It's common, especially off retreat. 

You can basically assume that each sit starts at mind and body and then will quickly move to whatever the mind knows needs working on. And then from there might go up or might go back down and "refine" lower nanas -- it's important to trust that the mind knows where to go.

Sometimes people worry about "falling back into the dark night nanas" -- but this fear simply shows that the person really hasn't understood the lessons that the dark night teaches (that fear is just fear, misery is just misery, desiring deliverance is just desiring deliverance, etc.).

Often, when someone is starting to develop clarity of mind and clues into their psychology, the mind will take the meditator into the dark night nanas so that they can use this new clarity of mind to have insights into stuff that was missed the previous times through.

It's really interesting the way the mind works.

RE: Maps Reliable?
Answer
10/4/20 8:36 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Shargrol - Thank you for the information and validation!

RE: Maps Reliable?
Answer
10/4/20 10:23 AM as a reply to Kelly Gordon Weeks.
welcome!

RE: Maps Reliable?
Answer
10/5/20 10:00 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Practice is never linear. We go up and down the nanas and the vipassina jhanas. Sometimes even up and down many times during a single sit. This is totally normal and not a failing of the practice if it happens. It's common, especially off retreat. 

You can basically assume that each sit starts at mind and body and then will quickly move to whatever the mind knows needs working on. And then from there might go up or might go back down and "refine" lower nanas -- it's important to trust that the mind knows where to go.

Sometimes people worry about "falling back into the dark night nanas" -- but this fear simply shows that the person really hasn't understood the lessons that the dark night teaches (that fear is just fear, misery is just misery, desiring deliverance is just desiring deliverance, etc.).

Often, when someone is starting to develop clarity of mind and clues into their psychology, the mind will take the meditator into the dark night nanas so that they can use this new clarity of mind to have insights into stuff that was missed the previous times through.

It's really interesting the way the mind works.

Wow this comment is saving me alot of unneeded grief from trying to game the system. I have been thinking that I need to change up my practice while in the Equanimity nana to keep pushing to stream-entry, treating meditation like going to the gym or a race, but my mind needs time to work through the things it needs to work through, and that's ok. Thanks for the thread Kelly, and for this answer Shargrol.