Working with formations

Sean Lindsay, modified 10 Years ago at 8/23/11 12:24 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/23/11 12:24 PM

Working with formations

Posts: 46 Join Date: 11/3/09 Recent Posts
The last several months, my daily vipassana practice has remained steady in equanimity. When I practice more intensely, I shift into perceptions of formations, when I practice less intensely, such perceptions are relatively brief. For a couple of months, I was fine with that level, as it was a relief from the prior 14 months of A&P/Dark Night cycling.

In recent weeks, I've found a renewed intention to realize fruition on this path (second, I think -- stream entry realization occurred a couple of years ago).

A question arises about how to move beyond equanimity this time through. The first time through, equanimity was a very brief process -- as I first became aware of formations, the aspect of attachment/clinging associated with them was immediately apparent, and almost automatically released as soon as it was perceived. This process proceeded through three or four levels of ever deeper formations/attachment perceptions, and then the nothingness of stream entry.

In recent meditation periods, I've reached what seems like approximately the same kind of formation-perception stage that I flitted through on first path. But the results seem different this time.

From this morning's meditation journal entry: "Quiet start; open awareness, shikantaza style. Then vipassana practice. Soon reached formations arising. Then shifted back and forth between subject/object formation and momentary subjectless seeing, accompanied by a familiar but uncommon eye motion that seems associated with the shifts. In the brief subjectless seeing moments, seeing connected with objects and would re-form subject/object mind structure. Sense of time and most of body-space awareness disappeared for duration. [From external referents, this period apparently lasted about a half hour.] Once the formations mode subsided, a sensation of full-body, very fine vibration arose, kundalini-like, but much much finer-grained, more permeating, and thorough. Then the bell."

When this mode first arose a week or two ago, I wondered if the back-and-forth shifts with the unexpected tiny "blips" were actually fruitions, but I tentatively concluded that they weren't, as none of the unstructured nonduality events I experienced with first path arose following them.

Today, I'm hoping to get some practice ideas for how to work with this -- apparently -- recurring stage of practice.

Questions or recommendations?
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 8/23/11 1:42 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/23/11 1:42 PM

RE: Working with formations

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
from my experience, the equanimity nyana is all about samatha. and i've noticed that, when getting to this stage, be it with candle kasina or not, i just need to put a lot of effortless effort into it, concentrate as much as i can (though not forcefully, but effortlessly), and at some point it snaps into a fruition. it's like a little hump that has to be gone through (note this is my experience for review fruitions, not for new paths)

so try this - just really really concentrate as much as you can, try to observe every tiny detail of every part (though all at once) of the vibrations/formations currently occurring.. by doing this at this stage you will automatically be doing vipassana as well (seeing each tiny part of each vibration = impermanence.. seeing it all happen effortlessly = selflessness.. seeing that putting any effort into it (the 'self' putting any effort into it, vs. letting the mind do it itself) causes disturbances = suffering).

also try reading this post about equanimity, specially going from low to high and into the fruition, before a sit: its eloquent wording inspired me to do a really nice review cycle
Sean Lindsay, modified 10 Years ago at 8/24/11 9:08 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/24/11 9:08 AM

RE: Working with formations

Posts: 46 Join Date: 11/3/09 Recent Posts
Thank you. Your suggestions and those in the alohadharma piece about the field of awareness help me see the attachments embedded in the mind-stance I've been using. I can work with that. (sort of; ironic, right?)