Am I Missing the Obvious?

Mark Lev, modified 11 Years ago at 9/18/11 6:08 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/18/11 6:08 PM

Am I Missing the Obvious?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 10/9/09 Recent Posts
Hey all,
Been lurking a while, finallydecided to post as I am in what I think is Dark Night territory.

Not sure which path I'm in, not particularly interested at this point in time either.
Current practice: 1-3 hours a day after a long stint of sporadic/inconsistent practice, lost track of where I was after what I thought was Stream Entry, but maybe just A&P.

During my last sit: Full-body observation, feeling of swirling/whooshing energy throughout torso/head, very harsh, wide, "helicopter blade"-speed strobing vibrations in the center of the body. Painful, harsh vibrations in back of the neck and pressure inside the skull. Observing all of this in some sort of Jhanic state, however the "central observing apparatus" is very much intact, feels as though awareness is somehow stuck to a wall, and everything else is occurring "in front" of that.

General feeling of "make it all stop" prevailing, yet am unable to see through the centerpoint, cannot perceive formations yet.
How do I go about shifting perspective to penetrate the central observer/"self"? In other words, it still feels very two-dimensional, even though sensations within the body are being followed with ease and precision.

My guess is early Dark Night or falling back to Re-Observation? There are times of very accepting, patient Equinimity, which sort of accepts and tolerates the harsh vibratory stuff, yet it does not feel like Iike I am making any progress toward a Fruition. Strong knowledge of misery/fear/disgust, strong desire for Deliverance, but a prevailIng "stuckness".

Please help. Where to direct attention? I can be more specific about this also, this seems rather vague at this point as compared with other descriptions I've read on DhO about this topic.

Mark
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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 9/19/11 3:58 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/19/11 3:58 PM

RE: Am I Missing the Obvious?

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
During my last sit: Full-body observation, feeling of swirling/whooshing energy throughout torso/head, very harsh, wide, "helicopter blade"-speed strobing vibrations in the center of the body. Painful, harsh vibrations in back of the neck and pressure inside the skull. Observing all of this in some sort of Jhanic state, however the "central observing apparatus" is very much intact, feels as though awareness is somehow stuck to a wall, and everything else is occurring "in front" of that.

Late 3rd jhana, most likely Re-Observation.

General feeling of "make it all stop" prevailing, yet am unable to see through the centerpoint, cannot perceive formations yet.

9th ñana, Desire for Deliverance.

How do I go about shifting perspective to penetrate the central observer/"self"?

This isn't easy to do while in Dark Night as the focus of attention is very much pushed out to the sides, the center point is difficult to see and to force it is to make a mistake which can be easily avoided. Rather than trying to fight with it, learn to make use of the natural focus and pay attention to what's happening 'out there' because trying to force the focus to be anything other than it is at this point will cause unnecessary suffering.

In other words, it still feels very two-dimensional, even though sensations within the body are being followed with ease and precision.

That's fine, just continue to note accurately and it will open up naturally as you move into 4th jhana.

My guess is early Dark Night or falling back to Re-Observation?

I'd say it's probable that you're getting into Re-Observation, possibly getting a whiff of Equanimity but not quite.

There are times of very accepting, patient Equinimity, which sort of accepts and tolerates the harsh vibratory stuff, yet it does not feel like Iike I am making any progress toward a Fruition. Strong knowledge of misery/fear/disgust, strong desire for Deliverance, but a prevailIng "stuckness".

It's worth remember that one of the factors of the 3rd jhana is equanimity, if you can tune into that then you're doing well and it's worth making use of that when the harsh vibrations of 10th ñana appear, observe them with equanimity and see them as being no more or less important than any other pattern of sensation you've experience so far.

Note those sensations of "stuckness", what is it that's "stuck"?
You say that "it does not feel like I am making any progress towards a Fruition" - What do you think would indicate that you were making progress?

Where to direct attention?

Work quickly and precisely and observe how every sensation is subject to the Three Characteristics. The endings of sensations will be more prominent at this stage, pay attention to this and see how every single sensation, even the pattern which create the impression of there being an observer, passes away in the same mechanical, predictable fashion.

By the sounds of things you're doing fine so far, but I don't think that you've gotten stream entry yet, based on what you've said so far at least, so your priority should be to get the momentum up for landing 1st path. If you improve your practice and just stay at the sensate level observing the 3C's then you will absolutely get this done, and I don't think you're a kick in the arse away from it if you're not already there. Either way, the 3C's is the way to go.

Your descriptions are fine, don't worry about it.

Best of luck.
Mark Lev, modified 11 Years ago at 9/24/11 3:03 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/24/11 3:03 PM

RE: Am I Missing the Obvious?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 10/9/09 Recent Posts
Hey again,

So I think I may have gotten SE. If not, then it is certainly a super-strong Equanimity period right now.
A few nights ago I did some very focused practice after reading an artcle by Kenneth Folk, which pointed out that it is easier to attain SE by focusing on the area behind the eyeballs and seeing the strobing action back there.
So I did that, and after a while noticed a sort of squirming, jerking pattern of sensations behind the eyeballs, as if something was violently avoiding being observed. I amped up the shamatha and was able to see this pattern more closely, and it was literally like a violent splashing of vibrations that was preventing the surrounding energy from connecting. While this was being observed, the rest of the head was surging with intense vibrations, my body tensed up and became very "vertical", and my awareness sort of plunged upwards into the splashing/squirming mass of energy in the center of the head. This pattern then slowed it's pulsations or the vibrations could be seen more fully, and it was as though I could perceive the spaces in between the pulsations, sort of the downward dip of the wave, and during these parts of the wave there was a real sense of stillness, softness, vastness. As attention became drawn toward those spaces of stillness, it felt like all of my awareness was being sucked into them, everything sped up like crazy, rushed upwards to some indeterminate point, and then all the vibrations in my body seemed to "normalize". No more violent, Dark Night-style patterns, instead a feeling of alertness, lightness, and relief. Not exactly a "Bliss wave", and as far as I could tell, no discontinuity experience. Maybe high Equanimity? Just a speeding up, a little bit of fear associated with the vortex phenomenon, and then relief. After this, a feeling of just flying directionlessly through space, completely at ease, and able to access the first four Jhanas within seconds of just wishing/intending it.

The past few days Ive tried to replicate the experience, but there almost seems to be no need as my awareness is somehow just "flying" around throughout the day, unperturbed, without the crazy Dark Night dissolving agonizing stuff. A completely different experience, I feel like a camera with a body.

What's up? Stream Entry? Almost? Delusion? Try again?
Exciting and fascinating, would very much appreciate some perspective.

Best,
Mark