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Equanimity?
Answer
10/26/11 9:31 PM
Hi,

This sounds to good to be true?

I started meditating a few months ago after a decade long lay off. Into A&P territory almost straight away. Crossed the A&P a few days ago.

Since then I've been trying to work on Samatha to build up the skills (and courage) to tackle the Dark Night. Tonight on the nightshift I find myself with some spare time and decide to go for it..my first venture into Dark Night territory. Horrible pain in my neck and shoulders, but I think I made it to Equanimity!

A massive blissful transition, then a series of blackouts. Unfortunately 'I' was still present. the pain was over. Instead, every so often, a sensation seems to freeze and create tension, then a blackout. Again and again. I thought I would make it all the way at one point. in fact I will have another go now!

If this is equanimty then I want to push for SE while the iron is hot. Are what I'm experiencing 'formations'? I am so new to all this, what is the best way to proceed?

Cheers
x

RE: Equanimity?
Answer
10/26/11 11:59 PM as a reply to Dodge E Knees.
hi dale,

the best way to proceed to stream-entry is to found your practice on continuous uncompromising mindfulness, and to use tranquility and energetic effort to balance each other's excesses.

what is mindfulness? 'mindfulness' here refers to both attentiveness here-and-now and a sustained remembrance of your goal (to keep paying attention here-and-now). it is the bedrock of the practice; assume that you cannot dispense with it at any time.

what is tranquility? 'tranquility' here refers to the qualities of mind that are calming, soothing, stabilising, and/or sensitising. these qualities should be cultivated when you are disturbed, agitated, restless, or heatedly distracted.

what is energetic effort? 'energetic effort' here refers to the qualities of mind that are rousing, stirring, invigorating, and/or empowering. these qualities should be cultivated when you are sluggish, sleepy, dull, or otherwise lacking energy.

keep your practice well-tuned to the balance between tranquility and energetic effort, understanding that without this balance you are likely to either lose traction or accumulate too much friction. learning what the right balances are is an organic process built by trial and error.

further, keep your approach predicated upon mindfulness, understanding that your practice will not go anywhere without mindfulness to both get it going from behind and guide it on from in front.

once you have comprehended the above, the final thing to understand is this: in the context of insight practice (vipassana), the specific qualities or details (aka the content) of what you are experiencing don't matter. what matters is the manner in which you attend to their experience; to be attending directly to the general, universally applicable qualities of the sensations that make up what you are experiencing is to be doing insight practice. what are these general qualities? they are for you to discern for yourself, but useful guidelines do exist, and here are some hints you may find helpful (and hopefully, familiar):

inconstancy
momentariness
undeniable visceral-ness
spontaneity
uncontrollability


one last thing: the answers to whatever questions which may come up are found in the general qualities of the sensations that make up those questions.

tarin