RE: Argh! Where am I?

Yang-Yang F, modified 2 Months ago at 5/29/22 9:12 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/29/22 9:12 PM

Argh! Where am I?

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/24/22 Recent Posts
I somehow feel like either I've maybe just started to see Cause+Effect (maybe even glimpsed the 3C) after recently kicking my practice into overdrive OR I have been in DN for YEARS with a few periods of accessing EQ. Maybe it's pointless to distinguish because in any scenario I should just be trying to see things as they are, moment by moment, but then if the maps are helpful then knowing where I am should be helpful?

In some ways the 3Cs feel obvious and like I've known them for a long time, but in other ways I'm afraid that my understanding of them is only conceptual. Sometimes I feel like I see them but am not impressed by them and I wonder if this is because I've known them for a long time OR because I'm just not really seeing them.

My history with insight is a bit complex (or maybe not for this crowd; sorry, new to DhO and hardcore dharma) because I have been using psychedelics, meditating, and depressed for a long time (~5 years). I have been experiencing spiritual and existential angst for an even longer time - since I was a kid (although actually I may have been depressed since then, who knows). I feel like I have 3 hypotheses about my trajectory through the progress of insight/life:
  1.  I have just been conventionally depressed, and sought meditation/psychedelics for relief, and those things have helped to varying degrees at varying points in life. For the past 5 years I have not been making tremendous progress with meditation, maybe only developing some basic concentration skills and sometimes seeing 1st nana. Recently, I have been practicing more intensively and with better guidance, and thus have started to see into 2nd/3rd nana.
  2. I was conventionally depressed, tried psychedelics and through them at some point experienced AP, but which led into DN and prolonged/exacerbated/enhanced the spiritual element of my depression, but which I was able to escape from time to time through psychedelics or meditation sending me into EQ. Recently, I have been practicing intensively, and have once again been able to progress to EQ.
  3. As a kid, I experienced a couple weird things that may have been crossing AP (1. around ages of 8-10 I would sometimes see colorful lights before bed - they weren't super intense and there were no bodily sensations; 2. At around 12, I remember being really curious/anxious about death - I was lying in bed one afternoon and decided to close my eyes and try to imagine death and saw something that felt like total emptiness and then was really frightened and cried). Since I was young, at least since around middle school, I was always searching for "meaning", which was because I was in DN after spontaneously crossing AP. This progressed into depression in high school and continued into college and adult life, where I found psychedelics, which may or may not have led to more AP crossings, and to meditation, through which I have been able to progress to EQ and it is just a matter of time before I reach stream-entry.
I guess my main point is I don't feel like I've really entered any super mind blowing territory ever just through meditation - I just did a 2 day retreat and felt something that may have been AP, where I was just watching sensations coming and going one by one, but I didn't feel like it was something super fast or "vibration-y". Over the past week, I have been feeling these periods where my body gets tingly and "vibration-y" and I feel this euphoria. Or could that just be Jhana? What I am hypothesizing to be EQ are periods of being on psychedelics/for a few weeks after them or during meditation where I feel like I am "in the zone" and see that "it's going to be ok". Also feel like that could just be Jhana.

Thank you very much for any thoughts you can provide which may help push me toward awakening for the good of all beings.

finding-oneself *, modified 2 Months ago at 5/29/22 9:24 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/29/22 9:24 PM

RE: Argh! Where am I?

Posts: 253 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
Hello friend. They say that the mere fact you ask the question, and are searching on websites such as this, means you have probably already crossed the A&P. Usually people who don't, don't come searching on this website. I'm sure you'll get a lot of good answers here. Hope you find what you're looking for.

-your friendly noobie meditator.
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 5/29/22 10:24 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/29/22 10:24 PM

RE: Argh! Where am I?

Posts: 2532 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Tingles, vibrations, euphoria sound like jhana factor of piti, typical of A&P (second vipassana jhana). A&P on meditation alone might seem relatively tame compared with psychedelics! It's certainly possible you've been cycling from A&P through DN since childhood. Consistent meditation practice should give you more clarity about the nanas, especially without psychedelics you can see how cycling and DN might be manifesting as depression off cushion (it was like that for me).
Niels Lyngsø, modified 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 1:37 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 1:37 AM

RE: Argh! Where am I?

Posts: 390 Join Date: 11/15/19 Recent Posts
Hey Yang-Yang,

I can see you have begun several threads (no problem emoticon ), so it seems you really need some answers.

My advice would be to try to not feed this desire to know with too much reading and speculation, and too little good practice. Because only good practice will give you the answers.

From what you describe, I can't tell exactly where you're at. It's much easier to find out if you map your journey over longer periods of time.

As shargrol, one of the very experienced yogis on this forum, often says: consistent and non-heroic practice is the key. Check out his goldmine of good advice here.

So, in short: Get a good regular daily practice going, and consider starting a practice log on this forum. Then I'm quite sure you'll get more hands-on, pragmatic advice to help you move forward, wherever your're at. And eventually you'll find the answers you need.

Best wishes!
Super Monkey, modified 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 5:28 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 5:28 AM

RE: Argh! Where am I?

Posts: 40 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
There is a lot of fluctuation between the ñanas, and unless you practice a lot (which is 2-3 hrs a day for me), it's difficult to exactly tease out where you are and it's a wise idea to spend your energy in other ways. One option is to note "questioning thoughts", but don't worry if you can't really do that (yet), it's difficult.
I'd say by upping your practice you landed  semi-stably in A&P territory (3Cs feel obvious, vibration-y..) and your somewhat compulsive trying to figure things out has a dark night flavor.

Quite likely you've been cycling through POI for a long time, but keep in mind that those insight stages have to be worked out to some degree before you really get the insight knowledge. And that's what regular practice does.
And that's why it's no problem to be in dark night - it's just another stratum of mind that needs to be worked out. How that specifically looks is mostly individual. Most important is that, given you have a reasonable practice, you don't stop giving energy into the practice too early - and that includes phases of failing over and over again. The practice shows you what you need to see - how could it be otherwise?!
Pepe ·, modified 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 7:49 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/30/22 7:49 AM

RE: Argh! Where am I?

Posts: 590 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Yang-Yang, see if this helps you to identify which ñanas you have been visiting:

​​​​​​​Daniel Ingram's List of symptoms for ñana diagnosis.
Yang-Yang F, modified 2 Months ago at 5/31/22 1:38 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 5/31/22 1:35 PM

RE: Argh! Where am I?

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/24/22 Recent Posts
Thanks for the responses, friends. I had an inkling that ultimately the thing to do would be to just practice and I think your responses helped confirm that.

To provide a little more context in case anyone else might want to chime in others might find this post interesting/useful: I started practicing in 2016 using Headspace, just like 20 minutes a day relatively consistently, but with some weeks/months of straying away from the path. I felt some benefit and wanted to take it a little further and took up Full Catastrophe Living/MBSR in 2019, ramping up my practice to basically every day for 40 minutes. I felt like I was able to concentrate much better and that it gave me much more clarity/joy in life for about half a year, and then shit went down with my sleep/health for a couple months and I kinda stopped practicing during that period. When I got back into it I wasn't practicing well or at least it didn't feel like I was making any progress. Then, stuff got really bad again this past winter - it eventually started to get managed with medication and therapy and a little time off from work, which ended with a 9-day retreat at home. I had already been practicing better since my mental health had improved but then during that retreat I really felt like I worked some stuff out with my method and was able to concentrate. I hit some stuff that felt like cosmic love - it wasn't super vibration-y but it felt really really good, almost orgasmic - which I know Daniel would probably label as AP. I came out of that retreat feeling like I needed to "go hard" at meditation - resolved to sit for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, found r/streamentry on reddit, which led me to buy MCTB2 and TMI. Then I practiced TMI for a month while reading MCTB2. I felt like I def made some good progress with TMI, getting to stage 3/4, but MCTB2 got me really excited about dry practices, so I decided to hop on the Mahasi train and bought MOI. And then after just a couple days of noting (just during daily practice, not yet on weekend retreat), I felt what I described as that intense vibration-y stuff again - and then again - and then again, during multiple sits and while running (during which I also try to note). And then on the weekend retreat I mentioned I felt like I was seeing things arise and pass away one after another.

These past few days I've been practicing well (at least in the evenings - mornings I still feel a bit groggy) - and during a bike ride yesterday I really felt like I was seeing the world (I mean literally seeing) in a whole new way (not really new, because it felt like the kinda high resolution colorful vision you get on psychedelics). Now I suppose I'm just waiting for DN to kick in...

Also - one more quick question that has been bugging me - I don't really know if I get what Daniel means when he talks about "vibrations". The vibrations I am talking about feel like literal vibrations through my body, or literal vibrations ringing in my ears, or the kinda visual static you can kind see flickering if you're really concentrating - but kinda hard to imagine what he means when he talks about the vibrations "being in the periphery" instead of the center, as with 3rd/4th vipassana jhana.
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 6/1/22 9:59 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 6/1/22 9:59 AM

RE: Argh! Where am I?

Posts: 2532 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
 Yeah vibrations occur in all sense doors. As you put a brake on the process of proliferating perceptions in your experience, you start to detect a kind of background vibration - static/flickering in vision, ringing/hissing in hearing, vibrations/buzzing/tingling/energy in the body, energy of proto-thoughts in thought-space etc. You can also detect there's a part of the mind which labels each experience as "sight", "sound", "physical sensation", "thought", "taste" or "smell", and you can kind of turn it off, so you lose the ability to distinguish between the sense doors (temporarily!) It also kinda feels like merging the sense doors if that helps. It can feel a bit weird, it's a sort of pure senseless objectless vibration, bare sankhara (formations). It also exists on different wavelengths. When it's coarse/short-wave it's more like physcial sensations (except you can feel sounds in the body etc.), as it gets finer/longer it's experienced as energy (piti), emotion (sukha) and then light (citta). Awareness of vibration in the physical body is like first jhana (requires effort), in the energy body it's like second jhana (wow, effortless), but when you shift into the emotion body it's get more diffuse, like you've become a cloud of emotion without a center. (That can be really blissful when the emotion is sukha, but more creepy ("dark night") when the emotions are fear, sadness or anger.) Fourth jhana is where you make peace with vibrations/formations and just let them be as they are, faint ripples in a perfectly still bright mind.