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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

*woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"

Hello Everybody emoticon 

I’m new to this site, and I gotta say…It is amazing.
The values of this site (as per the intro), and seeing them play out in the consequential discussions is very appealing, and warming frankly, and I’m so happy to have found a group of such honest, earnest, and rational practitioners! I look forward to sharing this experience with you, wonderful discussions, and I wish for your happiness! <3 

Now…I do require a little help, if I may be so bold, being a newbie and what not. As part of my practice, which right now is in a re-assessment, triangulation phase, I am trying to locate where I’m at, which, when known, will co-arise with where to go! Maybe a new paradigm, is needed? I have had some trouble understanding this issue, and am thinking that you, brothers and sisters, might be the ones to talk to.


I was listening to a talk by Daniel (linked above) wherein he outlined some of the earlier stages of the path, and it was the most encompassing, circumambient explanation I’ve found for my experiences. I have taken his quotes and compiled a little list of my commentary on them, as they regard my experience.

I would appreciate any thoughts or insights, and I will answer any questions or needs for clarification (as I’ve had to be somewhat brief, despite the length).

Enjoy emoticon

  1. ‘Noticing mind is a mess’:…Yep.
  2. Thoughts are actually thoughts [‘mind and body stage], yessir, and the (potentially) consequent inquiring about ‘what am I, if not thought?’ Was, and still is, quite a prolific thought pattern. 
  3. ‘Cause and effect stage’: I was having issues with a contracted diaphragm, or abdominal muscles, just a general, significant tightness of gut. I was practicing focus on breath, wherein this started happening at a micro-scale, then switched to Metta after coming into contact with Bhante Vimilaramsi. One day, whilst on that ineffable (yet simultaneously loquacious?) cushion, I had a silent insight (by that I mean an intimation that is articulate enough to be specific, beyond just ‘vibe’, yet before it gets wrapped in language) that the tension was actually in mind, and there was the briefest of blinding lights, than a relaxation. I speculate that I’d noticed that ‘attention messes up the breathing’, as Daniel put it. Daniel goes on to make some interesting movements, and make some comments on weird neck and jaw tension, which have both been noticeably present, and new initiates into my experience. As well as the concern of posture. The Homunculus: ‘Distorted bodily perception…Our lips and hand can feel big’ This most definitely occurred, I had thought up until now that the ‘oven mitts’ were just piti, which I learned from Michael Taft. Daniel mentions some strange vocalisations, and I got a weird thing about this for you guys and gals. So…I’ve essential become a sexsomniac…in that, when asleep next to my girlfriend, I will, in the course of deep sleep apparently awaken, awaken my partner, initiate a sexual act for 15 seconds, then fall asleep! The first time this happened, in the proceeding morning, she was disappointed, and I was none the wiser.
  4. Arising and Passing away’, So, there is something that comes to mind here’ that I haven’t really put words to yet, so bare with me. I have this experience (not necessarily a state) wherein the transience of things is really apparent. It comes out when I’m walking, I enter a loose ‘choiceness awareness and just observe, very little thought occurs, and in a way, my body and mind become a part of the ‘scenery’ so to speak. In that they are seen as just as coming and going as the cars on the road. ’staying up for days’, first time in my life I stayed up for 48 hours straight (‘boosts of creativity’, most definatley, I feel possessed by an energy of vicious intent, or some sembelnce of divine pride. I feel generative, energized, as if I could fight a mountain and only realize it was a bad idea after it crushed me), working on a very interesting mind map assignment for university! No ‘bliss, rapture or orgasmic level rapture pouring through one’s body’, that isn’t consistent and that doesn’t retain for longer than a few minutes…unfortunately. ‘Complex Mandala patterns…Jewel tones’ Yes, very much so. Patterns that are kaleidoscopic and psychedelic just hit me, especially before falling asleep. I’ve learned to assimilate these, and they don’t cause too many issues! I’ve grown to kind’ve enjoy them actually. I’ve also been having dreams that are so prolific that I have to get out of bed and go for a walk to assimilate them! For the first time ever I had a lucid dream (Which of course had Buddhist-Seekery-Loving undertones, and I meditated in it). ‘Magical phase, sexuality increased’, yes and yes. ‘Energy increases, visionary (visual) increase’, yes, even when I’m tired! And yes. ‘They become great philosophers…and tell everybody, [recommend dhammā]’, I hope so, given that its my course. I will say that my philosophising has gotten better, and I’m more in touch with it (as a little Segway, its been wonderful to note how similar, and definitional it is to art! Painting with thoughts, or something), however I blame this on good teachers. I literally talked somebodies ear off for like 45 minutes the other night about Buddhism (quite unskilfully, I must admit).
  5. Great spiritual crash…disillusion, fear, misery, disgust.’, So…’Bodies dissolving, don’t have control of the mind, creepy weird…paranoid…broken brain.’ So, after my most poignant meditation (I have no idea what it was, and there was a lot. I had a practice, since abandoned, of taking a medium dose of mushrooms and meditating. 'During...Psychedlics'. Barebones: first taste of no-self, like literally flew off ‘me’. Divine pride, deity identification and heavy, heavy visualisations (multi head and arm, red body), ‘everyone and everything feels like my child’, and the consequential altruistic impetus that follows (literally went to a primary school to see if I could organise a extra-curricula meditation class for the lil ones), a thing, that again, I don’t have words for that looked oddly similar to the yin-yang symbol, but if Christopher Nolan designed it. AND, I felt as if I knew eternal love, one of the most formative, wonderful days of my life. The only descriptions that have come close are Alan Wallace's decription of deity yoga, and shinzen young's description of the 'folds'…so, after my moist poignant meditation), a few months down the track, I got a ‘psychic-whiplash’. Panic attacks, disassociation, depersonalisation, dangerous (philosophical and maddening) thoughts. I read a Dzogchen text and it felt as if my mind expanded to include (or, was) the entire universe…My mother was worried that I’d become psychotic (I’m epileptic and have had a similar episode, although, the experience was very different that how it appeared, although it appeared to be similar. Of course, my mother cannot know what is going on within me, to any great detail at least) However, my mother actually helped ground me in the end, and I got through it emoticon Bless her. Feeling great now, but definitely the worst I’ve ever been, in like a new way…
  6. Desire for Deliverance’: This didn’t really resonate with me. I am actually going through a phase of re-assessment, which is pre-(uni)assessment! Which I might post to the motivation thread group, if you’re interested. I’m settling into a new impetus for my practice as a whole. 
  7. Re-observation’: This didn’t resonate either, however I don't know what the indicators are.
Thank you for getting this far! I hope it was entertaining ;)

I look foward to hearing your thoughts! 

Much love, new friends,

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/22/20 9:53 AM as a reply to Noah Simon Bretnall.
Do you meditate? Using what process? What's that like?

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/22/20 11:12 AM as a reply to Noah Simon Bretnall.
Welcome to DhO friend emoticon and thank you for sharing with us! 

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/22/20 1:33 PM as a reply to Noah Simon Bretnall.
Hey Noah, 

are you familar with Culadasa book 'The Mind Illuminated'? 
I just recently send him a message. I was asking for his opinion on the Dark Night and very interestingly, it seems like, that we westeners tend to fall into the trap of scripting and having expectations towards what will happen and that makes the entire process worse. He states, that with good practice one should be able to avoid a pathological Dark Night. It might not be too late for you yet and you can start working together with a TMI teacher and start practicing Shamatha correctly. 

All the best,

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/22/20 1:39 PM as a reply to Oatmilk.
Because only a TMI teacher knows how to do samatha correctly?  emoticon

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/22/20 4:57 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thank you Papa emoticon
Glad to be here!

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/22/20 5:03 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hello Chris emoticon

I do, for about three years now, never been on meditation retreat, but I've been to a sort've dhamma talk/meditation hybrid four day retreat, in the Melbourne, which was not meditation intensive.

My practice has been focus on breath, then shamata (as taught by alan wallace), then choiceless awareness (during walks mostly), then metta meditation (as taught by Bhante Vimalaramsi), with a little warmup in the sessions of body mindfulness, as it helps me set my posture!

I love it emoticon Its like anything, a mixed bag, but its mostly been good for me, thankfully. I've seen great changes in my attitude and behaviour towards others and my-self (of course, there's still a ways to go), more loving from the metta, which has been helpful at work. Sometimes it is really calming, quiet and peaceful, sometimes there is bursts of bliss, sometimes I get really irratated by my hips, and fidget, sometimes I get really concentrated! I hope this answers your question.

Thanks for getting back emoticon 

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/22/20 5:07 PM as a reply to Oatmilk.
Hello Oatmilk! 

I have not read that text, but it is interesting that he claims that the dark night can be avoided. I can see that it is plausable, but I don't really have the experience to respond with anything meaningful.

What is a TMI teacher? What is this acroynm?

Thank you for getting back O,
and thank you for making my breakfast delicious ;)

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/23/20 8:05 AM as a reply to Noah Simon Bretnall.

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
11/23/20 3:37 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hey Thanks Chris! I'll check it out emoticon

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
12/2/20 7:55 AM as a reply to Noah Simon Bretnall.
Speculation here, so take it for what it's worth...

Your descriptions seem to point to the 4th ñana, Knowledge of the Arising and Passing Away, followed by the typical cycles through 'Dark Night' and a glimpse of Knowledge of Equanimity when you read the Dzogchen text.

Be wary of assigning too much importance to the models discussed. It's all too easy to script oneself and set up expectations as to the way in which this thing unfolds. Yes, crossing 4th ñana tends to be followed by a drop into the various dukkha ñanas, but knowing about them in the first place can be both a help and a hindrance.

Based on what you've written, your practice seems more concentration-based than vipassana, which may explain why the nuances of the later dukkha ñanas don't resonate with your experience. Your psychonautic experiences may well have been the 'spark' that took you across 4th ñana, but again this is speculation on my part.

It sounds like you're getting yourself mixed up in trying to map your experiences to the Progress of Insight model. You're clearly intelligent and can analyse your experiences retroactively in detail, but that in itself can lead to confusion. After all, intelligence is basically the ability to recognize patterns, so it's not surprising but it also shouldn't be taken as a sleight if someone suggests you're not where you might think you are.

In my experience, a solid practice is a blend of both samatha and vipassana; stability of mind with energized attentiveness, continually directed to whatever arises in awareness at any moment.

I'd recommend starting a practice thread and logging your results there as it'll be helpful to others who might be able to help.

Welcome on board!

RE: *woosh* "What was that?!", "Dhammā, you say?"
12/2/20 2:56 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Thank you Tommy, 
Pleasure to be here, and make your aquaintence!

That's good advice emoticon

This is my first encounter with map-theory, and I was quite excited by being able to give some sort of order to the happenings. I do see how straddling the middle with them would be benefical as either overtly relying on them, or, overtly denying them, or being blatantly ignorant about them might lead to unskillful progression henceforth. Use the maps wisely.

I think I'm ready for vipassana. I don't think I'll keep a log on here, but I'll certianly reach out when necessary.

Thanks again,

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