RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 14 Days ago.

Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 90 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Hi,

I posted here about this some time ago and it seems to me that I haven't resolved the issue yet. I'm trying to navigate from 3rd to 4th jhana.

I sit for 60-70 minutes per day. I work my way through the jhanas. 1st and 2nd are pretty effortless. I can get into 3rd jhana in about 15 minutes from the start of my session. I'm pretty sure that it's 3rd jhana, but I could be wrong. It feels also though everything is very close to me, an intimate feeling. Sensations like sounds are very wide, almost like I'm sitting directly in front of a large tv with the speakers out to the sides. The breath nearly disappears or drops low. 

I can only remain here for a few minutes and then I'm not sure if I'm moving to 4th or back down to 2nd. Today I attempted to remain in 3rd for as long as possible. My mind eventually became tired and then I become lost. 

My question is, how do I know when I'm in 4th jhana, and do I need to power 3rd as long as possible or should 4th just click naturally. I'm not sure if I can tell the difference between 2nd and 4th as I tend to get lost after 3rd.

Sometimes I feel like I go from 3rd into a luminous jhana as well but the nimitta is kind of broad and not very formed.

I know that this sounds confusing. Thanks for your help!

-Kelly
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 1329 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
The jhanas are constructed. What are you constructing at each jhana?
1st jhana is effort
2nd is body bliss
3rd is mental joy
4th is EQ (calm quiet as you hang there. not nessisarily at first, my mind got all chatty at first)

Explain your technique for each jhana and what sign posts you get alond the way. How do you know where you are?
~D
Andy, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 25 Join Date: 12/1/19 Recent Posts
Dream Walker:
The jhanas are constructed. What are you constructing at each jhana? 1st jhana is effort 2nd is body bliss 3rd is mental joy 4th is EQ (calm quiet as you hang there. not nessisarily at first, my mind got all chatty at first) Explain your technique for each jhana and what sign posts you get alond the way. How do you know where you are? ~D


I don't agree with your characterization of the 1st and 2nd. My experience is that the 1st is primarily body bliss and the 2nd is more of an emotional happiness. Though the body bliss is still present in the 2nd but tuned down. Displaced by the happiness as it were.
Martin, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I agree that more details would be useful. There are quite a range of jhana modes, so if we Dhorks have a better sense of how you move through 1-3, and what they feel like, it might be easier to point you to 4. 
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 90 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Yes. I will try my best to describe in detail what I'm experiencing. I could very well be labeling the jhanas incorrectly.

I do an eyes open 4-part breathing transition down to the breath at the nose. When I close my eyes I reach what I think is 1st within about 5 minutes. It's a pretty weak/unstable but pleasant state. Light piti and energy is a bit chaotic. Interestingly, I seem to be in this state constantly when I'm off the cushion, watching tv, relaxing, etc. 

After another 5-10 minutes I feel very strong piti and intense pleasure. It has a rolling/pulsing sort of feeling to it. It's very intense and single pointed. Very strong/fast vibrations. I take this for 2nd.

Following, the intense piti subsides and I experience a much more calm and wide state. It usually only lasts a few minutes. It has a very intimate feeling. The breath seems to disappear. 3rd?

Next I start seeing haze and diffuse light, almost like smoke. These visuals sometimes last a long time and sometimes I don't experience them at all. Again, a very calm/chill vibe. 

Following the haze and light I began to get lost in thoughts, but I only see the end of the thought, and then I forget what I was thinking about. It's almost like waking up constantly from a dream. 

From this point I just stay with vibrations as the object and hang on to whatever I can. Sometimes I'll begin noting sensations, or I'll try to re-enter that calm/wide and intimate state.

Does any of this make sense? I feel like I'm describing a half-forgotten dream to my wife. =)

​​​​​​​Thanks for your help!
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 1329 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
OK, this all sounds great.
Advice - spend more time in the lower jhanas widening the base before moving to the next. If you dont dial in the lower ones the tower gets wobbly and not clear. Spend 15 minutes in each one, Or more. At each transition, notice the differences and look for specific sign posts of feeling seeing hearing, these will let you call them up later just by thinking of the sign post characteristic.
Good luck and tell how it goes.
~D
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 90 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Thank you for this! I did as you advised and this is what I observered.

1. Going into 1st felt as though I lost some solidity in my body. Overall pleasant but suble piti. I remained here as long as I could. It was difficult to not go directly to 2nd as I felt it sucking me in. I already see some haze.

2. I inclined forward and moved into 2nd. It felt like I lost a bit more solidity. Very strong piti in my chest and a sense of being pulled forward by energy. Almost felt like I was being pulled into an energy field. Again I remained here for a while. It's hard to say how long. I saw a very acute nimitta briefly for a few seconds and then it disappeared. 

3. I inclined back and wide. I imagined floating on my back in a pool of water with my ears below the surface. Piti started to spread out from my chest over my body and I could feel it in my limbs. A lot of things happened here as I stayed in third for quite a while.

4. Everything started to become abstract. I began to forget what I was doing. The breath vanished. I started seeing imagery but only the ends. Almost no stability in the body. My mind moved from the end of one sensation to another. Lots of visuals. I saw a haze vortex pulsing away from me for about 1 minute, like traveling through a wormhole. I started to become edgy. Piti felt unpleasant. I briefly saw a very bright strobe in my right eye for a split second. I tried to incline forward to see how that would affect things but I'm not exactly sure what it did because so much happened in such a short time and I kept forgetting everything that happened.

​​​​​​​Again. Thank you very much for helping me to understand this! ​​​​​​​-Kelly
Martin, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 294 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Damn. I wrote a long reply and Liferay ate it. I will have another go later. 
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 13 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 90 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Dang! Thanks for trying anyway.
Scott Kinney, modified 12 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 112 Join Date: 4/7/15 Recent Posts
Thanks. the advice in this thread has been very helpful in my practice as well.  

For reference (at least my reference)
Meditation process:
Autogenic relaxation
Prayers and intentions
Following the breath and associating the breath with a pleasant feeling (I call it 'taking refuge')
The pleasant feelings intensify into a whole-body blissful feeling, with a sense of electricity dancing on my skin and through my body.
Then I switch focus to that feeling and let it do its thing, I'm thinking that's 1st jhana
At some point I will exhale that electric feeling down to my heart, where it becomes a sort of radiating light and warmth, without the electric feeling, and I'm thinking that's 2nd jhana.
At some point I will exhale that down to my lower abdomen, and the feeling is like I've fallen into my body and I have a strong whole body feeling, quite subtle and a little fuzzy at the edges. I'm thinking that's 3rd jhana. Like the original poster, this is a bit fragile. A strong inhale will sometimes disturb it.
When I can stick with it, the boundaries start to expand. When I can't stick with it, I bump back up to the prior focus.

I can take the advice to stay in and "soak" in the earlier states and really get more deeply familiar with the state before moving.

​​​​​​​Thanks all.
thumbnail
David Matte, modified 8 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 75 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
Fourth jhana is quiet stillness or tranquillity.

"Further, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and grief, one enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, which is neither pleasant or painful and contains mindfulness fully purified by equanimity." (DN 2)

You know you're in forth when piti and sukha have been abandoned completely. ("abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and grief")

The mind will naturally will incline to find the forth once it tires of the third, but that could take a while so to willfully make the transition, completely let go of any piti and sukha until there is only a neutral feeling tone. Doing so, I get a sense of the body dropping down. Sometimes I will visualize my body sinking down to a sandy bottom of a beach and resting at the bottom. Forth jhana is very quiet, restful, still, and equanimous. 
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 90 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Hi David,

Thank you for this helpful reply. I've determined that I need to get into and stay in 3rd as long as possible and do like you say, abandon piti and sukha. I think that I was trying to power through 3rd too quickly without letting it fully develop.

The past three days I've been able to get into 3rd and remain there for 20 or more minutes. Today I felt as though I was about to transition to 4th as piti was slowly decreasing, but then I had to poop suddenly. lol. Sorry, too much information I guess!

I'll try again tomorrow if my body and mind are willing!
thumbnail
David Matte, modified 7 Days ago.

RE: Getting Lost After 3rd Jhana

Posts: 75 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
Hey.

Ah true, you will need a progressively greater level of concentration when moving up the jhanas. To do so you can either stabilize the current jhana to a greater degree before moving on up OR spend more time in access concentration before first entering jhana. Good luck!

​​​​​​​Also an interesting tangent is according to the suttas, the legend is that the Buddha himself passed away in 4th jhana. Having first experienced the forth jhana, I too could understand the allure of spending the last moments of one's life in such a state. 

Breadcrumb