Kasina (fire, water) practice with eyes open, will it lead to insight?

Joseph Ernedal, modified 2 Years ago at 1/30/21 3:10 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 1/30/21 3:04 PM

Kasina (fire, water) practice with eyes open, will it lead to insight?

Posts: 5 Join Date: 1/28/21 Recent Posts
Hello emoticonI have been experimenting a bit with kasina practice, spending a lot of time laying looking at a window and the eyes closed image (generally, the painted blue outline of the window frame against the white wall is what shows up as a negative, usually as a sort of red outline with a more "blank" space in the middle where the window was), as well keeping my eyes open for longer periods of time during formal sitting meditation of the fire kasina with a candle. I have also been sitting by a river a lot lately, and find that it is quite pleasant to watch the visual effects from staring at a still area of water. I am doing a lot of metta meditation, as I think it is good for my mental disposition in general, and the sitting by the river is also kind of related to that, working on building up a good concentration/tranquility practice. I have had some quite interesting visual experiences by the river, with big flushes of energy/joy/waves of pleasure mixed in.

When doing the fire kasina practice today with eyes open in a darker (not completely dark) room, I started to have the visual effect of first the image becoming blurry/wavering. This is a common experience when concentrating with eyes open on almost any object and has been happening a lot more recently (I can shift the screen in and out of this focus relatively quickly while sitting here typing), I am using the breath at the nostrils as a backround point of focus since that is the usual point of concentration in my practice, sometimes sweeping the body for feelings and sensations, and listening to the "sound of silence" ringing "noise" in my head (Ajahn Sumedho is big on talking about this as a point of focus). i always wonder while shifting my focus of my sight like this, if it is just my mind making up something and if I am just messing with my visual sensory field in a somewhat “normal” fashion, or if this is actually a side effect of added concentration?

Back to the candles and the blurry/wavering image during formal sitting meditation, after a bit it then turns into two distinct candles that I seemed to be able to control a bit with my concentration. The more my concentration became one-pointed, the more the second image would shift over to the right. Eventually, the one on the right became blurry, wavery, and shifted back and forth from left to right, shooting out a bit of refractory light back towards my eye that is wavering a bit and unstable. I shifted my focus to this light, and tried quieting my thoughts (which were quite fascinated with this whole experience, and with thinking of this future sharing of it haha), and focusing a little on my body at the same time to check and see how it was there. Usually when doing breathe meditation, I experience waves of pleasure, or a general quieting feeling serenity at some point in my mind and body, but this was missing from the experience being focused on the candle, almost no pleasant feelings at all.

It then shifted to the point where I was doubting if my eyes were even open anymore because the image was so far away from the original candlelight, with the flame becoming replaced by two glowing circles, and almost seeming to be looking like the two eyes of a snake glowing. It was quite a fascinating experience, seemingly quite primal or what I imagine is witchlike, especially noticing that the more I got excited about the image, the less it appeared, but the more I was able to concentrate and focus my mind, the more it became clear and had this fascinating, sort of “freaky” otherworldly feeling to it.

Anyways, I had the thought afterwards and even a bit during this process of “ok, I am trying to se into the nature of anicca, dukkha, anatta, but will this really lead me there, or am I just getting lost in the coolness of some weird funky visual effects that my body naturally produces?” Basically, I am just wondering if this will lead me anywhere if I continue trying this out, especially since I am trying it with my eyes open which isn't written about so much. There is some doubt in my head, I read the fire kasina book and was interested and have been trying it out, but want to know other peoples experiences here and where this has lead for them. I just feel a lot more confident with my standard concentration subject of breath meditation, but feel like I am at a point where I would like to develop my insight practice more. I have also tried following the instructions in the fire kasina book and doing it that way, and understand generally where that will lead, but will this be the same way? Will I get anywhere with this?

I hope this makes sense, I am new to this way of talking about the dharma after reading parts of mctb2, not really having real life dharma friends to share in this way, so it might sound a bit unclear in parts. Sorry that I am a bit unclear where I am on the mapping. I know it could be helpful to know where I am at to advise me, but I can say that I have had some significant spiritual experiences (a feeling of letting go for real for the first time in my life after many years of on and off meditation that continued for quite a long period of time afterwards in November 2019, it felt like a permanent shift in my mental states and reality, for quite a while afterwards felt like “wow, I will always be different now! Nothing will affect me, I am free of everything,” which of course faded with time) and have also had some extremely difficult periods of meditation and just life in general while meditating on and off the last 8 years or so, I am 32. I have also had some significant spiritual experiences with psychadelics in my early 20's which led me to be interested in meditation in general and led to the spiritual path. Have read tons of spiritual books and am especially drawn to practices from the Plum Village tradition and the Forest Monk Theravada tradition (been watching a lot of Ajahn Sona's dharma talks lately). I am certain I am getting into the Jhana's (which of them, I don't know) during breath meditation, but otherwise I just can't say where I am at really, except that I feel a lot happier, at ease, less attached to life, easier time focusing even off the cushion and maintaining right mindfulness and concentration in everyday life/activities.
Hector L, modified 2 Years ago at 1/30/21 4:12 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 1/30/21 4:03 PM

RE: Kasina (fire, water) practice with eyes open, will it lead to insight?

Posts: 138 Join Date: 5/9/20 Recent Posts
I came across Time Space and Knowledge which is an open eyed Tibetan practice where you gaze at blue sky.
Sometimes for light kasinas you can look at tree leaves blowing around in the wind against the sky (without the sun in it, can hurt your eyes),
the after image of the light and dark still has the same kind of nimittas as fire kasina.
Any reflection will work too, just be sure not to hurt your eyes with too bright sunlight.
Some traditions do it with a bowl of water or a crystal ball. The vishuddimagga has a whole list of stuff to look at including blue
dots and different kinds of corpses. If you need corpse suggestions vishuddimagga chapter 6 has a whole bunch of them