I'm afraid of this

Peter ABC, modified 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 3:05 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 3:05 AM

I'm afraid of this

Posts: 4 Join Date: 9/22/21 Recent Posts
Hello everyone,

2 months ago I hit an A&P while reading MCTB, some passage about "it's in the seeking itself". The world synced up perfectly, everything made sense, everything had its place. It lasted for a few days. I can recall those days remarkably clearly. Since then I've been practicing daily. Some days a little more effortful, some days I'd slack. I had read the chapters on the dark night a few times knowing they were important but nothing really stuck. I've never been in the dark night then so much of what was described made little sense.

I knew I was in the dark night, but never sure on what stage. I remember seeing my therapist (who's a life-long meditator but not so much in pragmatic dharma) and reported the feeling that it just felt like I was saying goodbye to a dying old friend. I wasn't ready to see them off. A lot of grieving and tears. Week after week I'd say the same thing.

I recently attended a retreat knowing I needed to complete an insight cycle. I left after 2 days when I hit another A&P (overwhelming energy flowed through my spine to my head - noticing everything is just sensations), followed by a whole bunch of nasties.

The first night at the retreat I had an overwhelming sensation that I was losing my mind. I was hearing sounds of birds chirping in heavy rain. I was seeing through my eyelids. I was seeing random sparks of light.

Just today I had these weird spirographs of flies emerge from nothing.

I'm afraid. I don't have strong supports for this stuff. And worst yet, I have a history of mental illness, meaning I don't know whether this is dark night or some early stages of psychosis or schizophrenia.

I know there's no way back. But I'm fucking scared and I wished it wasn't like this.
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 7:31 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 7:31 AM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 1761 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
That probably felt good to type out. emoticon

Hopefully the maps give you some confidence that you aren't the first person to feel this way. Hopefully they also give you a heads-up that strong experiences of fear (Fear Nana) are normal and expected.

I invite you to become a member of my club, it's called the "no big deal" club. Membership simply involves having a consistent, gentle, daily, non-heroic practice and when good or bad things show up during sits we remember to say "no big deal". emoticon   When we hit the Fear nana, we remember to say "no big deal". When we hit reobservation and we're feeling reactive we remember to say "no big deal". When we are blissed out in third jhana we say "no big deal". When our body disappears in a formless jhana we say "no big deal". After stream entry we remember to say "no big deal". When we reach complete and utter enlightenment we also remember to say "no big deal". 

But if you don't want to join, that's no big deal.
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Chris Marti, modified 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 11:37 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 11:37 AM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
I'm afraid. I don't have strong supports for this stuff. And worst yet, I have a history of mental illness, meaning I don't know whether this is dark night or some early stages of psychosis or schizophrenia.

Peter ABC, with your self-reported history of mental illness, are you still seeing your therapist? I hope so. I don't think trying to go at this alone and using meditation as your only tool is what's best for you.
shargrol, modified 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 12:17 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 12:17 PM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 1761 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
+1 (agree)
Peter ABC, modified 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 1:49 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 1:43 PM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 4 Join Date: 9/22/21 Recent Posts
It did feel good to write it down. The act of indulging my content gives me relief even though It's simultaneously worrying.

It cannot be overstated how helpful the maps and the stories on this forum have been. I seriously thought the dark night and whatever could arise was overblown when I was reading it. It was like I staring at a danger/turn-back sign at a crossroads and went "eh, can't be that bad".

I'll take you up on your club membership, but as rookie, I might flout the one rule from time to time till I get a better handle on this. But it's certainly VERY reassuring to hear ANYONE not worried as I am.

As for seeing my therapist. I've stopped. She didn't get what was happening. The thought that awakening resembles anything like this is far from a lot of people's conception still I'm sure. I was referred on to others.

I do have the support of a mental health team should I feel I need it. It's a tricky situation because sharing these experiences to a psychiatrist (how do you explain the flies without appearing nuts), I feel, puts me at more risk of instability/uncertainty if I'm blending the 2 fields willy-nilly.

Now that I think about it, in the grand scheme of things, I have the support of many people actually. But for different reasons and for different circumstances.

I'll throw some more insight at this and if it doesn't seem to work I'll de-robe and head over to the suits and ties -- long enough till I get my footing again.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 1:58 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/10/21 1:58 PM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 2449 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Best wishes Peter! emoticon May you and all beings be free from suffering, awaken and be happy!
Martin, modified 7 Months ago at 11/11/21 12:56 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/11/21 12:56 AM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 443 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I just wanted to say that I too have had overwhelming energy flowing through my spine to my head, an overwhelming sensation that I was losing my mind, seeing through my eyelids, and seeing random sparks of light.

I have not seen spirographs of flies emerge from nothing, but I have seen a guy who was totally not there talking to me. The mind, it turns out, can do a lot more than just think. Like the body, if we start exercising it in new ways, it shows us new abilities. In a manner of speaking, the mind is creating the whole world, so it's no big deal for the mind to throw in a little bit of seeing through eyelids, and random sparks of light. The other day, I was driving (with the windows closed) and it was raining, and I felt the drops of rain on my face and hands. I think it's a type of minor hallucination that falls into the same category as seeing through closed eyes -- a kind of overflow of the capacity to fill things in (seeing through closed eyes has stuck with me for years now). 

My first experiences with this kind of stuff were quite scary, and I had to stop meditating and then meet a senior teacher before recommencing carefully, with just ten-minute sits and lots of swimming and yoga. Now, having got used to seeing the mind do more, from time to time, it's just kind of fun now. Here's wishing that things are fun for you, or at very least less scary, soon. 

I'm glad that you also have a support team. Doctors and counselors have helped me so much. We are lucky to have them. 
Peter ABC, modified 7 Months ago at 11/11/21 2:10 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/11/21 2:10 AM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 4 Join Date: 9/22/21 Recent Posts
Believe me the stories here have been such a huge relief. Just to know I wasn't the only one who felt like this was.
 
Today I fell into EQ (don't know whether low or high) and I could see my entire visual field morph inwards, outwards, encircling towards a centre etc. But I was okay -- just another thing to notice. It culminated with some strange breathing patterns -- inhalation, hold breath, inhalation x10 followed by a big exhalation. Eventually the pressure in the head sort of stopped. I took a nap and feel much better. Much less irritable.

For the most part now the nasties seem to have subsided. I don't think it's stream-entry. I don't think I hit a cessation, nor would I know how that would be, but I keep noticing sensations and will continue to not make a big deal over the strange experiences to see how far I can go.

Many, many, many thanks to the wonderful people here. I hope my gratitude is palpable.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 7 Months ago at 11/11/21 4:07 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/11/21 4:07 AM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 2449 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
" ... to see how far I can go"

Spoiler alert emoticon there is nowhere to go but right here and now. Like ever emoticon 

It could be of more benefit to imagine being a doorman who is politely and with smile opening doors to all sorts of customers (experiences) coming and going. They come in and you give them a "welcoming smile" and they go away and you have but "best wishes" for them. 

Thinking that you have to go somewhere from here to another place to attain something can lead to anxiety and other neurosis. Best to be curious and welcoming in the present moment. It all happens "right here" emoticon 

Best wishes! 
Peter ABC, modified 7 Months ago at 11/11/21 4:39 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/11/21 4:39 AM

RE: I'm afraid of this

Posts: 4 Join Date: 9/22/21 Recent Posts
Thank you! Great advice.

There are some real gems in this place.