To Kasina or not to Kasina

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HouseOnFire, modified 9 Months ago.

To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 21 Join Date: 10/29/20 Recent Posts
Hey all. 

I'm at a crossroads. I started meditating again in October after taking a long break since being hospitalized post Goenka course in January. My spring and summer were hell. I drank fairly heavily and was in a deep depression. The meditation practice has helped me get back into my body and become mentally stable. I also quit drinking, smoking weed, and caffinating, all of which have helped me get to a place where I honestly feel pretty good. A couple weeks ago I crossed the A&P again, albeit much less dramatically than last time, and then had fun in the dark night for a good ten days or so. I really do mean it was fun. I was feeling some heavy Vampire Lestat vibes. Then yesterday the vibrations flipped back to positive affect so I figure I'm out of the dark night, though I don't know whether I'm in EQ or dropped back to an earlier stage, but the latter seems more likely. 

But now I'm having this problem for the first time in my meditation career. I'm bored. I was meditating to save my life a few months ago... but I think it's basically worked. Things don't feel life or death for me anymore. I'm pretty sure I could meditate much less and still be mentally stable. Obviously the part of me that wants to win the game of meditation and become a stream enterer and all that wants to keep going hard, but my original motivation was much more immediate. So I'm thinking of switching things up. I don't plan to abandon body based vipassana altogether but I'm just not feeling motivated enough to do it 2 hours a day right now. So I'm thinking about trying fire kasina for my evening sit. I still want to do body based vipassana in the mornings because the somatic awareness it lends me is super therapeutic. But fire kasina just sounds fun. 

So what do you all think? Any problem with doing one style for one sit and another for the other? Anyone want to tell me that this is the moment I should double down and stick to what's been working?

Tim Farrington, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
So I'm thinking of switching things up. I don't plan to abandon body based vipassana altogether but I'm just not feeling motivated enough to do it 2 hours a day right now. So I'm thinking about trying fire kasina for my evening sit. I still want to do body based vipassana in the mornings because the somatic awareness it lends me is super therapeutic. But fire kasina just sounds fun. 

So what do you all think? Any problem with doing one style for one sit and another for the other? Anyone want to tell me that this is the moment I should double down and stick to what's been working?
The short answer seems obvious: try the switch and see what comes of it.

You mentioning boredom reminded me of a thread Steph had going for a while called "Fun with Boredom." I admire her practice a lot, and think her thoughts on boredom might be helpful here:
Steph

I don't know about all y'all, but one of the hardest collection of sensations for me to slug through is the ones associated with boredom - even more so than overt anger, fear, sadness, and much of the other stuff generally considered unpleasant. When I get to a point in a sit where it seems boring or dull, sometimes I'll tune out/zone out and let the mind loops rip or just want to get up. But other times I feel more compelled to investigate it. And boredom is totally unboring under a microscope.


Really it's a very deep dive into subtle anger and restlessness. It feels like craving/aversion/clinging are having a temper tantrum at the edge of a cliff when you look closely. A pattern of push-pull between them. The areas of the heart, solar plexus, and gut all have these concentrations of tensions that feel like they push outward (like they're grasping forward) - part of that forward motion feeling that makes you feel like you want to get up. Then add to that, the glutes and backs of the legs have tension that seems like it's trying to propel the body up and forward. This can get really intense when you first focus in on it, which is why it makes ya feel like you need to get up immediately, especially when it's interspersed with a forward pulling tension in the gut. 

Mental formations do this thing where they seem to turn back away from themselves - the zone out. And kinda throughout the body there's a dull, cloudy feeling that when you look at more closely is actually a very subtle buzzing of anger. It's like this low level hum of anger that moves really slowly and seems dense until you zoom in and it starts to pixelate. Wild stuff.

Just some thoughts and something to look at next time you're bored on the cushion.
Emil Jensen, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 306 Join Date: 7/16/20 Recent Posts
Epic reference to Stephs thread!

Gotta remember to investigate boredom like this next time it shows up emoticon
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HouseOnFire, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 21 Join Date: 10/29/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for showing me that, Tim. Her openness and curiosity are really inspiring. A good reminder to put on my detective hat!
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Steph, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 669 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Yea, if you are indeed in equanimity (unfortunately one of my skills doesn't include figuring out where people are)... just sit with the boredom. The key with equanimity is open, broad, spacious, gentle. Flow with it and see that the entire field of experience as a whole (all sensations, including space!!), they're all connected and fluxing softly. You're not trying to lazer beam into every single sensation like with A&P, so don't do that (it doesn't sound like you are, but just a disclaimer). When you get into the bordeom phase of it, just ride it out, see the whole field, and don't probe it too much. Again, gentle is the key. 

And to address what you said earlier about feelign relatively out of the woods with depression right now. I'm not a medical professional, but I do have depression and am on an SSRI for it. I feel really good right now in general and it's tempting to think I don't need my meds, but that's probably not true. Thinking that you feel okay enough to just chill out and not meditate can be a tricky one.. because that's when it can sneak back up on you. There can be some tinkering around to figure out the right balance between vipassana and jhana. Dry vipassana (just doing vipassana only) can be pretty rough for people with mood disorders. It can be a much easier road to travel if you do a mix of vipassana and jhana. I know this from experience. I also know from experience that meditation alone can't solve depression. It sounds like you've quit using some substances lately and that's great if it's making you feel healthier. Meditation can plunge deep into our psyche and so even if you're feeling good right now, it could knock you on your ass again in the future if you don't manage your depression... whether that's through meds, therapy, or some combo of that. Again, not a medical professional here so I can't give you medical advice.. just some empathy from someone who has been humbled deeply by depression and learning that it often takes a multi-pronged approach to really manage it.
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HouseOnFire, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 21 Join Date: 10/29/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for the advice, Steph. 

On the mental health journey, when you start to feel good, it is indeed wise to remember who brought you to the party in the first place. In my case a mix of meditation, therapy, and sobriety seem to be doing the trick. That's why it's so hard for me to imagine leaving body based vipassana behind. Regardless of whether it's leading me to awakening the moment to moment awareness of my body sensations and mind states does so much for my mental health. 

Cheers!
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Steph, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 669 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Good for you. Carry on then. 

When you're feeling balanced with the approaches you're using, body based vipassana is really good for seeing through the patterns of depression. It's really hard to see all that clearly and not just spin out while in the throes of it, but the fact that you're doing therapy, etc will hopefully clear the mind enough so you can get some better insight into how all that works. So you can really deeply go into the body and feel your emotions fully and see how they play out. I gather you've already seen this to some degree.. it's like peeling back the layers where as you go along it can feel like you're covering the same territory but uncovering subtler strata of that territory. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 2173 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
If indeed you know that you have crossed into EQ Nana and you feel boredom with it all then you are very close.  Now is not the time to give up knowing/noting/noticing that boredom. You don't need more concentration and absorption practice here. Just keep sitting daily with that boredom and be ok with it all. 

Some go open awareness in this stage. I on the other hand kept on with gentle bored as fuck noting emoticon 
Edit; you can every so often ask "who is being bored" or any other such self oriented questions. Just gentle and curious. That boredom is home. 

Best wishes! 
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HouseOnFire, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: To Kasina or not to Kasina

Posts: 21 Join Date: 10/29/20 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko:
If indeed you know that you have crossed into EQ Nana and you feel boredom with it all then you are very close.  Now is not the time to give up knowing/noting/noticing that boredom. You don't need more concentration and absorption practice here. Just keep sitting daily with that boredom and be ok with it all. 

Some go open awareness in this stage. I on the other hand kept on with gentle bored as fuck noting emoticon 
Edit; you can every so often ask "who is being bored" or any other such self oriented questions. Just gentle and curious. That boredom is home. 

Best wishes! 

You know I didn't really think I was in EQ until this morning's sit. I figured I'd just dropped back to pre-A&P. My concentration really isn't all that strong so it's hard to imagine that a mind wanderer like me could really be in EQ. But today I decided to dispense with my normal 20 minutes of concentration practice and jump straight into slow noting/open awareness with occasional body scanning. Huge difference. I found it very easy to just be open and curious. The vibrations were light but pleasant and at a very high frequency. I could even hear a high pitched tone. Instead of the oh-my-god-I'm-melting quality of the A&P I just felt like I was floating and very whole. Thoughts, emotions, sensations, vibrations, all seemed to be interconnected and easily accessible. So I think you're right. It's not time for a huge switch up right now.

So... I'm still pretty new to all this... is it really possible to break through to SE in daily sits like this? I'd imagined that one had to be on retreat and super concentrated.

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