Magenta nimitta

Mankirat Singh, modified 5 Months ago.

Magenta nimitta

Post: 1 Join Date: 5/15/21 Recent Posts
Hi Dharma Overground!
I have been learning from dharma overground and of course Daniel Ingram's MTCTB2 for some time, and finally recently created an account.
A quick background on my practice and life that may be relevant to this post:-
- I follow the TMI method under Culadasa, and peg myself currently around stage 6 (although I appreciate the various biases that may go into this assessment)
- 29 yo male, single, work full time, and currently training in a professional field (I have to fight the forces that be to create retreat time for myself haha)
- meditating seriously for the past 2.5 years (completed approximately 1000 hrs daily practice, and another ~200 hrs retreat time). All mainly TMI, with occasional noting here/there to mix things up.
- My outcome is to achieve the luminous jhanas or "visuddhimagga style jhanas"
- Followed by exploring the mind in jhanas, esp the 4th jhana (e.g. Sariputta becoming an arahant by practicing jhanas Sutta 111 Majjhima Nikaya)

After a recent self-retreat, I experienced a violet nimitta for the first time during a metta meditation. I am now experiencing this almost every sit - a magenta circular ball beneath eyelids (not due to sunlight on my eyelids I have excluded that), that progressively becomes larger and more bright. This ultimately distracts me from my meditation object, resulting in the ball dissipating. Sometimes, if I switch my attention to the nimitta, I experience a headache between my eyes and central forehead area - perhaps due to my eyes aligning to 'see' the nimitta, causing an uncomfortable strain.

I have a level of stillness, and whole body relaxation, and fairly stable attention on the meditation object, but have not yet experienced extreme bliss i.e. piti or sukha. When I mention attention to the breath, I use whole body breath awareness (Thanissaro-style), and when my awareness/mindfulness is strong enough, switch it to the sensations of the breath at the nose. I still have some discursive thoughts here-there whilst experiencing this and have awareness of my peripheral senses (sound, touch etc).

Also, I have a history of a bit of social anxiety, and the majority of my thought content tends to be quite self critical and ruminating over previous events. I am finding that increased concentration has the tendency to result in 'dark jhanas' whereby I get really 'into' the thought content and am able to stay with it and it impacts me more. This has meant I need to be even more mindful and aware and not let myself be swept up by thought content.

Questions for the advanced concentration practitioners on this forum
1. What should I do once the magenta nimitta has arisen? Continue focussing on the breath indefinitely? How to do this when the nimitta is distracting?
2. Any experience or tips with dealing with concentration induced 'dark jhanas' whereby it can potentially exacerbate a mild mental health condition?
3. Any other miscellaneous feedback that you feel may be helpful for this situation.

Thank you - very much appreciate all your input
Josef C, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Magenta nimitta

Posts: 72 Join Date: 6/16/20 Recent Posts
Hello Mankirat !

I admit I am still a newbie in regards to practice but I believe I can help some of  your questions.

For question number 1 :
Advice varies based on the goal of the practice. Based on some of what I have read if you want to get into jhana you focus on the nimitta, while  for some nimitta should just be ignored and focus on the breath and to continue with the practice. Sources that you could look up include : Pa Auk Sayadaw's book ( free online)  , Ajahn Brahm's Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond, Shaila Catherine's Books. ( Pa Auk and Shaila Catherine are categorized to have practiced the "hard jhanas" or  "Visuddhimagga jhanas".)

For question number 2 here are some sources from DhO :   (this one gets into concentration and mental health condition) 

Hope my reply may have helped emoticon .
David Matte, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Magenta nimitta

Posts: 90 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
Dear Mankirat Singh, Hello and welcome emoticon ​​​​​Seeing a coloured nimitta is a sign your concentration may be deeper than you presume.
1. What should I do once the magenta nimitta has arisen? Continue focussing on the breath indefinitely? How to do this when the nimitta is distracting?

​​​​​​​As you have noticed, the preliminary nimitta is not stable enough to take as a focus object. Continue keeping your attention on the breath/main focus object to cultivate the nimitta further. You have mentioned seeing it get larger and brighter — good! But just keep attention on the main object while letting the nimitta be in peripheral awareness.

How to do this when the nimitta is distracting?

Check out page 321 of TMI where Culadasa mentions this alternating of attention with the nimitta and breath. He says it's ok and it actually let's you know that the nimitta is maturing when it can accept your attention without fading. Eventually the breath and nimitta will come together as one and will be stable enough to completely take as the focus object. At this stage, you may move the nimitta to a more appropriate location the visual field with your intention.
2. Any experience or tips with dealing with concentration induced 'dark jhanas' whereby it can potentially exacerbate a mild mental health condition?

As you already mentioned, just be as mindful and aware as possible to not have this happen. Strong mental noting may come in handy!

​​​​​​​Metta to you.
metta 1 1, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Magenta nimitta

Post: 1 Join Date: 7/15/21 Recent Posts
I face the exact same thing as you Mankirat. Here's my practice lately:
  1. been meditating an hour or do daily for the last month (prior to that on and off)
  2. leigh b/ajahn b influenced breath meditation
  3. a few minutes into meditation following factors appear:
    1. piti (goosebump style across arms, head, upper body... though piti also stays off the cushion off and on);
    2. nimitta (mostly magenta colored, oval shaped right near nose/eyes... becomes bigger, smaller with intensity of focus, i can also change the placement of it with intention, sometimes its greenish in color; rarely it becomes as big as my face and moves from magenta to very faint white/gray. mostly can be generated and maintained during the entire 1 hour sit without losing it but doesn't grow to luminous fully drenched states that leigh b/ajahn b talk about)
    3. one pointedness - i can sustain attention on breath for 5-10 minutes at a time (after that thoughts or dullness come so there's a break but i can quickly go back to breath soon after without nimitta completely going away) 
    4. sukha - i don't know if it really is sukha but i do feel relaxed and focused 
​​​​​​​My biggest question is - can nimitta and thoughts co-exist? or do i have false nimitta?  My focus currently is to try to increase the length of time to be with breath without mind wandering. Today I tried mind counting synchronized with breath (1 through 6 and then starting over with 1). it seemed to have helped but reached a dead end after a while. Would love to hear others experiences and advice.
SigmaTropic, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Magenta nimitta

Posts: 149 Join Date: 6/27/17 Recent Posts

That nimitta sounds like a beautiful thing. I'm glad you're experiencing such blissful states. Happy for you emoticon