Jhana or Nada?

Ford Lastname, modified 5 Months ago at 12/13/21 1:19 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/13/21 1:19 PM

Jhana or Nada?

Posts: 2 Join Date: 12/13/21 Recent Posts
Earlier this year, I was meditating and everything was going smoothly. Focusing on the breath led to bodily tingling sensations, then I was seeing a pinwheel of colors with closed eyes. After that, I focused on the relationship between the tingling sensations and breath. My thoughts seemed really clear, but not particularly important ("Why am I still thinking, is this a problem?"). There was a continued sense of dissatisfaction ("This is fine, but so what."). Eventually it felt like my bodily boundaries fell away and I was extended throughout space although my consciousness seemed centered somewhere. My discursive thoughts were still clear, and as neat as it all was, it was still unsatisfying. At that point, I wasn't sure whether any of that meant anything or where I should go next, so I just stopped. Since then, I did a some reading, and it sounded like 5th Jhana for whatever that's worth. I haven't been able to get back to that point, and I'm not entirely sure whether I've gotten past what I think is 3rd Jhana since then.

Is that enough information for a diagnosis? Was it anything or nothing important? Any reason it would be hard to get back to someplace that seemed to naturally emerge before?
Martin, modified 5 Months ago at 12/13/21 3:13 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/13/21 2:59 PM

RE: Jhana or Nada?

Posts: 423 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Eventually it felt like my bodily boundaries fell away and I was extended throughout space although my consciousness seemed centered somewhere.

What you describe reminds me of the effect that is sometimes called "big mind" or "sky mind." There is guided meditation for invoking it that you can do here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTjvSp70auo&ab_channel=MissionDharma

Big mind and 5th jhana have a similar flavor, but usually, in 5th jhana, there are no thoughts or other objects, just the space. Whichever label you settle on for that experience, it sounds like a significant experience to me, for at least the reason that it demonstrates that the mind can do much more than just think. 
Any reason it would be hard to get back to someplace that seemed to naturally emerge before?

That is a really good question. Contemplating it could be fruitful. 

[Edit: As part of the contemplation, you might consider this "Consciousness is not-self. For if consciousness were self, it wouldn’t lead to affliction. And you could compel consciousness: ‘May my consciousness be like this! May it not be like that!’ But because consciousness is not-self, it leads to affliction. And you can’t compel consciousness: ‘May my consciousness be like this! May it not be like that!’" from https://suttacentral.net/sn22.59/en/sujato?layout=sidebyside&reference=none&notes=undefined&highlight=undefined&script=latin
Ford Lastname, modified 5 Months ago at 12/13/21 3:24 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 12/13/21 3:24 PM

RE: Jhana or Nada?

Posts: 2 Join Date: 12/13/21 Recent Posts
Interesting. Yes, that there was a stream of thought and the continued tingling sensations seemed out of place for what I read about 5th Jhana even though the expansiveness was there. I'll try the guided meditation and see if it helps get me back to that experience. It wasn't a place that I was interested in staying, and I couldn't tell if it was on the main path or a side road. 

Looking at some descriptions of sky mind, that seems reasonable. I had been practicing seeing my thoughts as if they were perceived from a separate sense (instead of a central part of cognition) and letting them flow by without engaging with them. I haven't been focusing on that practice lately. Instead I've been observing the difference between imagining in the "mind's eye" and the arising of visual phenomena. 

Sounds like there are some good next steps for me to pursue.