Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 3 Months ago.

Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 178 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
I typically sit for 60 minutes per day. I usually practice the samatha jhanas 1-4. Sometimes I practice rapid noting as well.

I made a discovery a while ago while laying in bed as my son fell asleep. The ceiling fan was on and I was laying below it. As I stared at it, it began to change shapes. The blades seemed to speed up and slow down.

After this discovery, I've now learned that I can almost control the fan. I can seemingly change the speed of the blades at will. Also, I see different colors bending in and out. 

Last night it appeared that I was cycling through the nanas as I lay concentrating on the ceiling fan. There was a bright glow behind the fan on the ceiling and I felt very peaceful. At one point the fan became humongous and it looked like it was getting closer and closer to me. It looked like it was coming through some kind of portal. I became very fearful. I simply reminded myself that all of this was just invented by my mind and that helped me to remain calm.

What is happening here and what other objects can be used for the same purpose? Does this have a purpose besides tripping out? 

Thanks for reading this!

​​​​​​​-Kelly
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
It helps in deconstructing the perceived solidness of the world. It's all created by mind, not just these visions.  Of course, some constructs are more consensual than others. When I tilt an entire lake, nobody else seems to notice. emoticon 

It's useful to learn about the mechanisms through which reality appears. 

You can play visually with basically anything. I do it very often. I make the world flat or sort of hyper-3D. I make the pavement turn into large waves. I make vortexes appear in the skye. I tilt the ground and lakes. You can do this with sound too. It might be easiest to start out with the noice on a bus or something like that. I find that it's exceptionally easy to make it sound like whatever phone signal I currently have, since I tend to hallucinate that anyway when I'm under too much stress. Depending on which signals are put in the foreground, basically any pattern can be constructed. 
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 178 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Fascinating! I'll try experimenting with different visual objects and see what happens. When I'm in this state/absorption I find that mindfulness is very high. Almost nothing can penetrate the wonder of what is happening. This seems to intensify the whole thing as no thoughts are interrupting.&nbsp;<br /><br /> 
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Have fun! emoticon
thumbnail
Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 2134 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I don't know anything about willingly changing stuff in the image space emoticon I guess I'm no magician emoticon 

But I did have very interesting open eyes absorption stuff showing up; 

Dark cloud in a doughnut shape coming out of the floor many times one after the other. It would come out very tiny then grow large to about 30cm in diameter and then disappear where it came from. After a while I snapped myself out of it by wondering if there is anything else there to be noted. When I told about this to my teacher Kenneth Folk he said "That's great! Well done for snapping out of it and looking if there is something else in your experience beside that. Great stuff!" emoticon He was not much impressed with the visuals emoticon 

Then I've had the whole room I stare at during my open eyes noting meditation go totally black and white but mostly dark and get get very murky with some objects still visible slightly (their edges can have a white line or white "aura") 

I could get upper part of the open eyes image move left and lower part move right at the same time. Image got kind of drunk I guess emoticon 

And then the usual purple haze Nimitta in the middle and dark lava lamp wax style blobs coming from down and sides trying to penetrate the hazy center ... also center of image vanishing again and again. 

Felt to share emoticon 
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 1005 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I have a picture of a thangka painting of the Buddha that I sometimes meditate by gazing at. After a short time I usually I see his lips moving as if he was speaking. I don't hear anything and I can't read lips so I don't know what he is trying to say. Maybe "Om mani padme hum"?
thumbnail
Not two, not one, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 939 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Kelly, very good stuff.  Linda/Polly's explanation is precisely accurate.  It doesn't mean anything directly, except as a milestone that you are unshackling yourself from the chain of uncontrolled reactions, starting to see how objects are created in your mind, and gaining some control over that process of creation. This is very good and in fact an essential part of the path. You can do it for the other senses too.

Sound is another great one to play around with, moving in and out of sounds, changing the balance of what you are hearing from different sources, making it engaged or distant, hearing the high tones or the low tones. 

Smell, too. You can follow the location of the smell from your nose, out to the air, or the distant source, or back to your nose, and then into your brain.  Move around between the cognizing of the smell, the sense organ that detects it, the molecules that carry it, and the source that generates the molcules.  Which one is the real smell?

Same for you Papa in exploring your visuals. But I wouldn't want to interfere with KF's guidance. 

And Jim - to know what he is saying, move into the thangka and trade places with the Buddha.  Then you will know!

:-) Love and peace

Malcolm
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 178 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for this Malcom! I just want to make sure that I'm not harming anything by exploring it. I'm curious to try the other senses as well. I'll try that and report back!
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I look forward to reading your reports.
thumbnail
Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 2134 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Malcolm emoticon KF was my teacher for a while in 2019. As in ex-teacher now. You can feel free to suggest stuff! 
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 5896 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Then I'll suggest something too, but if Malcolm doesn't agree with me I'd go with Malcolm's advice instead.

Snapping out of visual trippiness is good in several instances:
- for shamatha with an object if "distortions" are disturbing your focus
- for vipassana if it's disturbing your investigation
- for seeing the ground of being
Thus it is indeed good to be able to snap out of it. Getting stuck in the trippiness is a rabbit hole.

In other cases, you can learn a lot from playing with the trippiness as long as you don't take it too seriously or get stuck in it. I'd say that you'll need to do it at some point, because "normal" reality need not be taken too seriously either. I would definitely not want to get stuck there. I want to stay open to multiple realities and see the emptiness and form of them all (perhaps I am a magician... but I think we all are; people just assume that the collective and consensual magick isn't magick). 
thumbnail
Not two, not one, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 939 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Well, to paraphrase Uncle Sid ... "Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö the moderator is wise Papa Che, a gender vague person of great discernment. If you had asked me those things I would have answered you in the same way. That is the meaning of those things.That is how you should remember it."

... and to add a little more. To me this deconstruction of perception is a pre-requisite for the blossoming of third path. But that is not to say that it has to wait until then, or that it doesn't have benefit before then (think Fire Kasina). I see it as princinpally an unbinding from Salayatana, which in turn supports unbinding from Namarupa (to access Emptiness) and Vinnana (to access Nonduality). 

So if you are working on concentration specifically (stage 11 of anapanasati or TMI), then it is not the right time for it.  Similarly, if you are ferociously targeting cessations for first and second path through vipassana, it is not the right time for it. If you wish to dwell in the ground of being, playing with perceptual mutability will draw you into a very subtle contraction. If you wish to prepare for third path with 72+ hours of high frequency vipassana of sensations, including during sleep, contracting sensations into fun objects is a distraction from the task.  

But equally, opportunities to unbind from any of the twelve nidanas can present themsevles in daily life, including discovering the mutability of perception. If they do not distract you from some other task, then it is worth taking them as they arise. Each one is an opportunity to move closer to the remainderless fading and cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, abandonment, release, letting go of the chain of dependent origination that leads to craving accompanied by passion and delight, that in turn creates binding to samsara and thus dukkha.
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 178 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Hi Malcolm,

This is most interesting.

It's uncertain as to which path I'm currently on. I lost track after stream-entry. It seemed for a time that I was cycling DN and EQ and that I was about to gain 2nd, but alas, my experience no longer follows the maps. I am unable to discern "where I am."

Since I've no clue as to where I am, therefore, I don't know where I'm going. It would be nice to know which path I'm on (2nd?). It's doubtful that it's 3rd since I haven't experienced cessation in a really long time, which is interesting because my concentration is so much better than it used to be. 

Anyway, regardless of which path I'm on, I practice each day by keeping an open mind and allowing the process to unfold on its own. The mutability of perception is fascinating to me. I do it, like mediation, because it's unexplored territory. I want to see how far I can push the framework of my mental structure without becoming insane (might be too late =)) or using psychedelics.

Thank you for your detailed explanation!

-Kelly
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 2027 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Well if it was "3rd" you also wouldn't know where you are going, so it's all good emoticon

Exploring the fear of insanity is a good idea!
 
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 178 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Good call! I could very well be on 3rd path? I'm not sure how to confirm that. Regardless, my knowledge of the Buddhism and the path is quite limited. I'm a meditation noob, relatively speaking. 

I'm considering doing a retreat so that I can focus on this for several days without interruption. However, I have fear of pain. I sit in a chair and am terrible at sitting on the floor. I probably wouldn't make it a day!

There were several of what I call "near-death" experiences that I had while on the cushion. I'm not sure if that's related to the same fear or not. It seemed that when I got deeper and that there were less and less objects, my mind would panic as it had nothing to grab onto. I've since passed on from this stage. 

Thanks George!
thumbnail
Not two, not one, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 939 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Kelly, I wouldn't worry about paths.  Lots of people find the space after stream entry diverse and mucky.  It's kind of like "One, Two ... Skip a few ... Unbinding!"   Some of the path descriptions and criteria are more summary description of effects, rather than an attainment, and the order and depth of these effects depends on your background and practice. 

I'm not a Mahasai style practitioner, so take my comments with a grain of salt if that is your approach, especially as I went through the not-self door rather than the impermanence door.  However, having said that, my own experience was that 2nd path was very much like stream entry, but deeper with different after effects - it was like for me stream entry was not-self in world, and 2nd was not-self in self.  I wasn't sure at the time it was 2nd path, but in retrospect it is pretty clear.  As I got lucky with those path moments (well, lucky off the back of decades of breath and concentration practice), then I had to settle down and do all the hard work I had skipped. 

So I wouldn't worry about where you are, or lack of cessations if you have had them before.  Just keep exploring the way the world and your perception of it is contructed - doing the hard work.  If you find that too difficult, then do more concentraiton and morality as a support.  George's advice is also very good, once you are at the point of being ready to turn inwards rather than outwards.  For me, I like the idea of thoroughly understanding the perceptual construction of the world, and the construction of your own reactions and habits, first.  But there are lots of paths, on the path.  Your subconscious will guide you, if you can open yourself to it.  It's smarter than we are!
Kelly Gordon Weeks, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 178 Join Date: 8/9/20 Recent Posts
Thanks, Malcolm!

Sometimes I find it difficult not "knowing where I am" because I like to know "where I'm going." I'm a teacher and I read instruction manuals for fun! I'm okay with a certain degree of vagueness but I also find that having some kind of map is inherently motivating. Even if my practice doesn't follow exactly.

I'm not sure if I can gain any additional insight from impermanence unless I do like you said, sit for 72 hours rapidly noting sensations. I've recently gotten into the idea of emptiness. I'm hoping that will help me to understand and perceive things differently. However, I'm not sure how to explore that through meditation as of yet. 

I'm reading "Seeing That Frees" but it's a little too heavy on the philosophy side and light on practice. I'd like to gain insight from actually sitting and not from trying to understand things by trying to wrap my mind around them. I find philosophy helpful for reinforcement of ideas but it's of little use in my current fast-paced stay-stay-at-home dad and small business owner lifestyle.  

I appreciate you taking time out of your day to share your knowledge!
thumbnail
Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 2134 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Thank you Malcolm and wise Linda emoticon 

However I'm nowhere near the stages/paths you describe. 

I will now retreat back into my cave emoticon 

​​​​​​​
thumbnail
Not two, not one, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Absorptions With Eyes Open. Hallucinations or Jhana?

Posts: 939 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko Thank you Malcolm and wise Linda emoticon&nbsp; However I'm nowhere near the stages/paths you describe.&nbsp; I will now retreat back into my cave emoticon&nbsp;

You have a cave?  I'm so jealous.  I want a cave! :-)

Breadcrumb