Flickering surfaces

Dan Latner, modified 29 Days ago.

Flickering surfaces

Posts: 20 Join Date: 3/17/21 Recent Posts
Hi!

I've been noticing for the past few weeks that surfaces seem to flicker. I don't know exactly how to describe it. If the surfaces are textured, things jiggle around like I'm tripping a little, but if they're very smooth, it's like looking at a flat piece of tinfoil moving around in the light. It's pulse, kind of like gas moving around in a puddle,  static on a TV, or the optical equivalent of rapid vibrato on a note, shimmering within the boundaries of the pitch.

Historically I'm not such a visually inclined person, and I can't remember if this is how surfaces always were. Things have been shifting around the past while. I think I'm post A+P, pre- Stream Entry. I'm curious if this sort of thing corresponds with a stage of insight or hase a Pali name or anything like that? I've definitely seen surfaces do stranger things when I'm altered. It's quite pleasant, not distracting, and very mild compared to some of the other emergent phenomena I've heard described, but it does seem to be always happening. 

Thanks!
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Kaloyan Stefanov, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Flickering surfaces

Posts: 69 Join Date: 2/18/21 Recent Posts
Hi Dan, thanks for sharing! Indeed, visually stuff starts to flicker once you are progressing on the Path. It is one of those things that points to the fact that nothing is solid, nothing has inherent existince, that everything is "empty". It is one of those things that when you notice it the first few times, can be really creepy, then you get used to it and it actually becomes very beatufil and exciting in a "Oh woow" kind of way.

(Spoiler alert) And then at some point you realize that it has always been like that, you just didn't notice (End of Spoiler)

If you look very carefully, it is the same across all sense doors - sounds also flicker, they are these little tiny vibrations that break down into even tinier flickering vibrations you cannot actually find as inherently existing and stable. Body sensations and emotions flicker, etc. "Nothing lasts even a mili-second" as Daniel Ingram says.

I am not an expert on the detailed phenomenology of Progress of Insight, or on Buddhist technical dharma and Pali canon, so can't help too much there. It was heavily the case for me during A&P, and also sometimes during DN and EQ. I can't remember very accurately, but I believe I had it during my fist A&P and DN/EQ as well, and of course it comes into play even more heavily on subsequent paths as well. From one point onwards it is "always there" if you decide to use that on demand "way of looking" - if you just incline in the direction of seeing everything as flickering, boom - it is flickering. And if you decide to zoom-out of that way of seeing, e.g. when you drive a car or whatever, it is not so much in the foreground and things look more "regular" but still ephemeral/empty.
Dan Latner, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: Flickering surfaces

Posts: 20 Join Date: 3/17/21 Recent Posts
Cool! Thanks for the reply. It seems always here, but I'll keep watching
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 28 Days ago.

RE: Flickering surfaces

Posts: 5922 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Kaloyan gave an excellent reply, and you Dan described it very well. For me it started in the tactile sense gate. I remember how amazed I was when it became common in vision as well, even though I could also recall having seen it as a kid. Now I wonder how I could ever think that stuff looked solid. Like, what kind of weird drug was I on? 
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Dream Walker, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Flickering surfaces

Posts: 1342 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
There are 3 speeds of mind to play with - speed of thought, speed of the attentional system, and speed of awareness.
When you reach the attentional speed -
Sight has visual snow and stuff
Hearing has the Nada sound/meditative tinnitus
Feeling has vibrations upon and in the body
Smelling and taste ??? I've not investigated thoroughly enough to hang my hat past speculation, only that I know people who make claims.
Play and have fun with them.
~D
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Flickering surfaces

Posts: 5922 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Smells and tastes definitely flicker. I haven't investigated the exact pattern of it, though. 

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