Aproaching Equanimity

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Che Guebuddha, modified 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 3:15 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 3:15 AM

Aproaching Equanimity

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
Hallo friends emoticon

First of all thank you for all the work offerend. Its priceless.

I have been practicing daily Shamatha-Vipassana (a mix of Calm-abiding, awareness of the whole body breathing and present moment awareness) since March 2010. I managed to organise only one 3-day solo retreat which caused me to panic the 3rd day because I lost the breath totaly so I ended the sitting and kept crying for a few hours.

At some stage the whole world collapsed into negativity so much my wife wanted to divorce me. Thanks to a friend who read the Maps by D. Ingram, me and me wife reading through the part describing The Dark Night brought some light into our relationship again and into the practice of mine.

I kept rolling through the Dark Stuff day by day, moment by mement. It would come and go. This lasted for several month, almost a year.

I clearly passed all the stages passed the re-observation (which was very disturbing) and am feeling like the storm is over (whispering here).
It feels like all the dark clouds have passed away. I know they will return but this time I feel I know how they circle around. I have obsreved that this map (in my case at leasy) has something to do with the Moon's Phases. The Dark Night seems to happen on the first week of the becoming of the Full Moon for some reason. This is of no big importance it is just a helping reminder not to take the Dark Stuff seriously so to avoid unnecessry bleedthrough which often happens.
If sensing uneasy emotions bubbling up I make sure to look up at the sky and see where Mara's Moon is emoticon
If aproaching full moon, I make sure to keep an awake eye on the inner "Werewolf".

I realised that Shamatha wouldn't do much in the Dark Night but rather cause more frustration so I switched to sitting instead of 40mins at once (my usual pass) to 25min sit x 10 min walk x 25 min sit (zazen style) and would repeat these words as a Mantra "Do I allow myself to take refuge in this present moment?" through out the whole practice. It seems to be keeping me anchored quiet well must say. Still the Dark remains Dark, and that is the way it is.

Now that Im aproaching Equanimity I felt to join this community and ask you to give me a hand through tips. I see most of you passed this stage and I count on some actual wisdom here emoticon

Im back to sitting 40 mins streight instead of the 25x10x25 mins. I also let go of the mantra and am only sitting with Silent Pressent Moment Awareness sensing the Whole Body Breathing as part of the Present Moment. So as you see it is very wide.

All suggestions and critique are welcome, more than emoticon

May all beings be free from suffering
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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 4:23 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 4:23 AM

RE: Aproaching Equanimity

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Hey Che, like the pic by the way emoticon

At some stage the whole world collapsed into negativity so much my wife wanted to divorce me. Thanks to a friend who read the Maps by D. Ingram, me and me wife reading through the part describing The Dark Night brought some light into our relationship again and into the practice of mine.

I know that situation all too well, it's great that your wife has been able to see how all this negativity fits into the process and get some perspective on it. It takes a strong relationship to have that level of mutual understanding so you've already got something there which may prove invaluable along the way.

I clearly passed all the stages passed the re-observation (which was very disturbing)

Would you mind saying a bit more about what actually happened during this period?

It feels like all the dark clouds have passed away. I know they will return but this time I feel I know how they circle around. I have obsreved that this map (in my case at leasy) has something to do with the Moon's Phases. The Dark Night seems to happen on the first week of the becoming of the Full Moon for some reason. This is of no big importance it is just a helping reminder not to take the Dark Stuff seriously so to avoid unnecessry bleedthrough which often happens.

Correlation with Dark Night and the full moon may be purely coincidental although I also notice that the full moon affects my mood, often making me either really down or hyperactive and manic. I don't know how that fits within the cycle as a whole and I wouldn't worry to much about trying to line it up with the maps, as long as you're aware that you're more prone to extremes in mood during this period of time then you've got a head start and can deal with any negative stuff as it arises. Most importantly, you've got the "no bleedthrough" thing down, this alone is very effective.

If sensing uneasy emotions bubbling up I make sure to look up at the sky and see where Mara's Moon is
If aproaching full moon, I make sure to keep an awake eye on the inner "Werewolf".

Pay attention to those uneasy emotions, let them arise and observe them, don't try to fight with them or push them away 'cause this doesn't do anything useful. Note them, objectify them and see that they're impermanent, empty and unsatisfying.

I realised that Shamatha wouldn't do much in the Dark Night but rather cause more frustration so I switched to sitting instead of 40mins at once (my usual pass) to 25min sit x 10 min walk x 25 min sit (zazen style) and would repeat these words as a Mantra "Do I allow myself to take refuge in this present moment?" through out the whole practice. It seems to be keeping me anchored quiet well must say. Still the Dark remains Dark, and that is the way it is.

Mantra comes under concentration really, so you're still doing a variant of samatha. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as it's useful to have access to jhana when you're feeling a bit raw and tender during DN territory, but what's more effective for helping this to pass is constant, precise attention to the sensations as they happen. Zazen may not be as useful for you at this stage in development although I stand to be corrected, due to my experience I have a bias towards vipassana. If you're feeling grounded and anchored with concentration then that's fantastic, turn the attention on the sensations arising and see them for what they are. This will lead you through DN quicker if done correctly and accurately, without a doubt. It may make the ride a little rougher for a short period but it's effective.

Now that Im aproaching Equanimity I felt to join this community and ask you to give me a hand through tips.

How do you know you're approaching Equanimity? Could you describe your experience of what happens in your current practice, not speculation or interpretation, just the basic facts 'cause that makes it a bit easier to get an idea of what advice would be most effective.

Im back to sitting 40 mins streight instead of the 25x10x25 mins. I also let go of the mantra and am only sitting with Silent Pressent Moment Awareness sensing the Whole Body Breathing as part of the Present Moment. So as you see it is very wide.

Perhaps increase your sitting to a full hour if you can manage it. Another useful approach is to bring your practice into daily life, that way you can make the most of the opportunities through the day. Getting stream-entry is a lot to do with gaining momentum and a solid practice schedule will make this more likely. It's absolutely and completely possible to do this, I'd recommend starting up a practice thread on here describing your meditations in terns of what actually happens, just simple descriptions of what sort of sensation you're noting throughout the sit.

May all beings be free from suffering

Hell yeah!

Best of luck and welcome on board!

T
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Che Guebuddha, modified 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 5:32 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 5:32 AM

RE: Aproaching Equanimity

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
describing your meditations in terns of what actually happens, just simple descriptions of what sort of sensation you're noting throughout the sit


Thanks for the reply mate emoticon

Im not sure what terminology you use when describing sensations. I never notice intelectualy but rather intuitively, in a way of gently gliding in the presence of all whats arising from withing or from without. Its a rich experience.

Let me try though and recolect what I observed today;
At the start the sense of self trying to find the "right way" to meditate. Calming down the body with each in and outbreath observing the sense of self passing or that tendency passing away. The belly breathing is shallow at start and kind of hard, softenes with time. Very little daydreaming. The Awareness is prety much stable, many in and outbreaths arise n pass before a thought (in form of thoughts intelectualy Noting this or that) appears. Very itchy spots on body arising to the point of body jerking. They pass away. Short breaths. Long pause after outbreath.
Some sort of light apearing tendency behind the closed eyes arises but pulles back into the dark very fast.
Feeling the whole body like a vibe.
The feeling of the Self as an observer is behind the eyes space.
Outside noise doesnt cause irritation as it used to (i was so sensitive to sound i had to use earpluggs back when i started practicing). There is no tendency to judge the sounds.
Strong pain yesterday and today in the area of the left shoulder blade (stiff kind of).
Some sort of vibrational preassure inside the ears.

Im not sure if this is what you are asking for?

Im following the Insight Maps for some time now. And the Fear part realy brought out the paranoia i suffered big time through the life which actualy disapeared with the AP stage. Even in the DN i was able not to get lost in its content.

What more can i say about this time...
3days ago after reading about the dying children in Africa i cried for several hours, the realisation that these kids go through such great suffering broke the macho "no-crying" policy.
Im becoming sensualy compassionate, but non the less seeing the self-centerdness very clearly in all of us. We all suffer so much because of it.

Please tell me if there is something specificly there you are interested to know, concerning sensations. Excuse my ignorance i just never realy verbalised the sensations i noticed.

Thank you and be well emoticon
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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 3:18 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 3:18 PM

RE: Aproaching Equanimity (Answer)

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Im not sure what terminology you use when describing sensations. I never notice intelectualy but rather intuitively, in a way of gently gliding in the presence of all whats arising from withing or from without. Its a rich experience.

I should really have provided some examples of the sort of thing I'm talking about[1], but the descriptions you've given are fine anyway. Just bear in mind that the most anyone can really offer you is an opinion based on experience so don't take my words as being absolute or anything, get feedback from others and make the most of the variety of experience levels on here.

Let me try though and recolect what I observed today;
At the start the sense of self trying to find the "right way" to meditate. Calming down the body with each in and outbreath observing the sense of self passing or that tendency passing away. The belly breathing is shallow at start and kind of hard, softenes with time. Very little daydreaming. The Awareness is prety much stable, many in and outbreaths arise n pass before a thought (in form of thoughts intelectualy Noting this or that) appears. Very itchy spots on body arising to the point of body jerking. They pass away. Short breaths. Long pause after outbreath.
Some sort of light apearing tendency behind the closed eyes arises but pulles back into the dark very fast.
Feeling the whole body like a vibe.
The feeling of the Self as an observer is behind the eyes space.
Outside noise doesnt cause irritation as it used to (i was so sensitive to sound i had to use earpluggs back when i started practicing). There is no tendency to judge the sounds.
Strong pain yesterday and today in the area of the left shoulder blade (stiff kind of).
Some sort of vibrational preassure inside the ears.

What do you mean by the "sense of self", you refer to it a few times and it'd be interesting to hear your interpretation of what this sense of self is.

It's difficult for me to suggest exactly which ├▒anas you're going through in your sits but I can see that you're getting into access concentration, and I can see symptoms I'd associate with going through 1st - 10th ├▒anas. The comment about "self as an observer is behind the eyes space" suggests Equanimity, but it could equally be A&P related, and the vibrational pressure inside the ears sounds like what happens in Dark Night territory for me. Again, this is all just speculation and I stand to be corrected at any time here.

What more can i say about this time...
3days ago after reading about the dying children in Africa i cried for several hours, the realisation that these kids go through such great suffering broke the macho "no-crying" policy.
Im becoming sensualy compassionate, but non the less seeing the self-centerdness very clearly in all of us. We all suffer so much because of it.

No shame in having a right good cry if you need one, machismo is all bullshit and posturing anyway emoticon

Seeing how the sense of self causes so much shit is a wonderful insight as it strengthens your resolve to be rid of it. All the sense of self "is" is a pattern of sensations we've learned to misread, it doesn't even exist in the first place and you see this for yourself in real-time with these practices. Someone can point it out to you, you can understand it intellectually and think you've figured it all out but until you understand it through experience it's just words so you now have the tools to make this happen.

Please tell me if there is something specificly there you are interested to know, concerning sensations. Excuse my ignorance i just never realy verbalised the sensations i noticed.

I've put a few links and other things underneath this with some links which may be of use to you in seeing what I'm talking about. There's my own practice threads and some other info so have a dig around and see what works for you.

Don't apologize for any sort of "ignorance", the thought never entered my head!! I came to this site never having done any serious Buddhist practices in my life and it took me ages to learn how to describe this stuff in a way that others could understand, we've all been there and that's why we help each other out. Do what you can and focus on your practice, a practice thread is useful for keeping track of progress and getting advice from others who've been there but it's not the be all and end all.

Thank you and be well

You're welcome, and the same to you.

[1] A link to an article by Kenneth Folk about detailed noting.
My first practice thread on here.
Another practice thread.
Yet another practice thread.

Hope that's useful.
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Che Guebuddha, modified 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 3:48 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/19/11 3:48 PM

RE: Aproaching Equanimity

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
Thanks Tommy emoticon
I think i understand now how you communicate sensational phenomena here on DhO after reading some of the stuff in your Journal emoticon

I think its best I start a Journal and take it from there.

Thanks again.
Be well