Strong sense of self (what was that?)

Martin, modified 7 Months ago.

Strong sense of self (what was that?)

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Recently, I have been encountering a strong sense of self at times during concentration practice. It is more common for me to feel a decreased sense of self, a lack of boundaries and/or a sense of delocalization during concentration practice but for the past few weeks there have been stretches of time in my concentration practice where I have been experiencing the opposite. It's like a sense of "Wow, I feel really, really present as a presence!"

This morning, I had a very strong and, one might say, pure sense of that. I was in a state without verbal thought or bodily sensations but there was a sense of wide space and some non-image type visual elements (pretty standard stuff) and then the sense of being something became very strong, until there was nothing else. This felt bounded and finite, but not separate in that there was no other non-self thing to be separate from. I felt neither threatened nor protected. Basically equanimous, but the exact opposite of non-self.

In the moment, there was no descriptive commentary going on but, looking back, the sensation seems similar to being a kid, rolled into a warm ball under the covers, or (I know this is an odd way to put it) being an egg.

Has anyone had something like that go on? Is there anything interesting or useful to do with it, if it comes up again?
agnostic, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Strong sense of self (what was that?)

Posts: 1893 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Interesting. What would you like to do with it?
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Tommy M, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Strong sense of self (what was that?)

Posts: 116 Join Date: 12/1/20 Recent Posts
Smells like jhana, nice concentration chops! emoticon

Becoming aware of yourself as existing as the body is actually very, very useful and can help keep you grounded. It also helps to really feel what it is to be a physical being in this world, which can help avoid getting too caught up in the mental side of things or losing contact with reality.

Basically equanimous, but the exact opposite of non-self.

Anatta/not-self/emptiness points to a much deeper realization, but I do understand why you've phrased it in this way and so please don't take this as being snarky or sarcastic. What you've described sounds, to me, like you've connected with the bodily formations to which there is clinging/attachment/misperception-of-body-as-self. If you're able to become aware of those sensations, you'll probably find it much easier to gradually deconstruct them via vipassana.


Martin, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Strong sense of self (what was that?)

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks, Tommy and Agnostic. That is helpful Tommy. And it goes a way to answering Agnostic's question. A teacher I spoke to recently told me to look at the components that make up the things that happen in concentration. So, I would, ideally, like to have been able to, as Tommy mentions, deconstruct that sense in real-time but, at that point, there did not seem to be any analytical thought available to me and, to the extent that there was a "what is this?" thought or curiosity,  the result of that looking was that the state did not seem to have more than one component (which is not what I find to be the case with states in general). I guess I will have another look if it happens again.

Mostly, I wanted to check to see if anyone would say, "Oh, yes, that xyz." I want to avoid reinventing the wheel when I can.  
agnostic, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Strong sense of self (what was that?)

Posts: 1893 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
The thing that struck me was that you described it as being an egg - a symbol of new life and creative potential. It could be a sign that there is a need in you to manifest in some particular way.
Martin, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: Strong sense of self (what was that?)

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
That's interesting. I think it was egg-like because it was self-contained. But a kind of "pre-birth" thing would not be out of keeping with the experience. One of the things that keeps me happily engaged with my practice at the moment is that I really don't know what is going on. 

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