Equanimity, Weird Jhana & Where Now?

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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

Equanimity, Weird Jhana & Where Now?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Hi everyone,

I recently finished a Goenka course where I tried to get through the DN to EQ to Path - I didn't make it but would like to get some help diagnosing my retreat experiences and validating some assumptions. (Or correcting them!).

In the last post in the linked thread above you can see that I went through a lot Re-ob before reaching EQ. My confidence in calling it EQ is based 80/20 on what I went through to reach it and what it was like when I got there. Here's a brief description:

  • Pain and tension drop away, or more accurately tension dissolves, some pain (no doubt caused by the tension) goes, but much remains. It's unimportant now though. Words like "distant", and "vague" spring to mind but there not really correct. The sensation of pain is clear, but it just doesn't "hurt".
  • There is a helicopter blade speed fizzing throughout the body that is pleasant, but not overly so - more pleasant is the lack of pain emoticon but it takes work to maintain. Scanning is easy, but must be continuous. The first few times I made it here it was very clear that I was a hairs breadth from Re-ob and it would be easy to fall back.
  • After some minutes perhaps of this another gradual (but quite quick) shift occurs and the fizzing goes from strobing gently to ultra fine, ultra fast. Like the A&P but sooooo much more refined. In retrospect I really get what Daniel was trying to convey when he described this as Rambo vs James Bond. There are occasional dips like in the A&P and even the odd kriya, but few and far between and understated, not the big bold roller coaster ride of the A&P.
  • Its completely, 100% effortless. I can keep scanning if I want, but there's no need, and it doesn't seem to make much difference. I can keep the mind clear, or think about some stuff. It doesn't matter. Larger sensations (larger than the all pervasive ultra-fine, ultra-fast tingling) are extremely clear but like pain, they do not demand attention in any way.
  • The feeling of well being is very nice.
  • Noises (and there was a ton, including a spin dryer in the next room and a door in the corridor that slammed so hard it rocked the my bed) were unobtrusive and kind of fascinating in a way I have not before experienced.
  • I didn't wholly get the "feeling of spaciousness" thing, but my attention was certainly "panoramic" - very wide, yet still really concentrated in an effortless ease I would have found it hard to imagine before.


Question: Does that sound like i was where I think I was? (low eq then high eq)

The Weird Jhana Thing
One time i was in this for some reason I began to focus on my anapana spot again. I don't recall exactly why. After a minute, the fizzing dropped away and my heart began to pound as excitement built. I tried to surrender into the feeling of excruciating bliss that was threatening to overwhelm me --it was not really nice. Very much like the point of orgasm. The nice bit is the release!

Twice I actually sank into this and at the time I would have sworn blind it was 4th jhana. Utter, total stillness - absolute calm silence amidst actually quite a lot of real noise. The feeling that this was the most profoundly "clear" i had ever been. Again, effortless --I could continue to pay attention to the breath, but it was only lip-service. There was no need. It was sustainable as long as I wanted it to be so (how it felt, not necessarily how it was) and I could pretty much do what I wanted bar go for a quick sprint round the block..

I began to investigate it, buy doing sweeping again and the clarity lasted for a good long while though the fine fizz took some time to build again.

What felt wrong was the way I got into it. And later, I tried 2 or 3 more times and had the same experience but no "4th jhana", just some mild annoyance at having wasted my sit. In the end I gave up. I didn't want to waste time messing around with something I had doubts over when I could be working on the 11th

So, WTF was that?

Where to now?
A week later Im still exhausted. I feel my progress got a little derailed by physical exhaustion on my retreat in the last couple of days but I've started to have some better sits yesterday and today and have some small degree of confidence that I might begin to "blip over" re-ob and make EQ the main experience to work from in my meditation. I probably wont know for sure for another week or so (based on recovery/progress of past retreats) but could really use any advice offered here.

Thanks for reading!

/BTG
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity, Weird Jhana & Where Now?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Bagpuss The Gnome:
The Weird Jhana Thing
One time i was in this for some reason I began to focus on my anapana spot again. I don't recall exactly why. After a minute, the fizzing dropped away and my heart began to pound as excitement built. I tried to surrender into the feeling of excruciating bliss that was threatening to overwhelm me --it was not really nice. Very much like the point of orgasm. The nice bit is the release!

Twice I actually sank into this and at the time I would have sworn blind it was 4th jhana. Utter, total stillness - absolute calm silence amidst actually quite a lot of real noise. The feeling that this was the most profoundly "clear" i had ever been. Again, effortless --I could continue to pay attention to the breath, but it was only lip-service. There was no need. It was sustainable as long as I wanted it to be so (how it felt, not necessarily how it was) and I could pretty much do what I wanted bar go for a quick sprint round the block..

I began to investigate it, buy doing sweeping again and the clarity lasted for a good long while though the fine fizz took some time to build again.

What felt wrong was the way I got into it. And later, I tried 2 or 3 more times and had the same experience but no "4th jhana", just some mild annoyance at having wasted my sit. In the end I gave up. I didn't want to waste time messing around with something I had doubts over when I could be working on the 11th

So, WTF was that?


Stillness, clarity, no "fizz", self-stable (able to do normal stuff during it)...sounds close to a PCE.

The entry you described is uncommon but I've had such things happen before.

Regardless of what it was, did you learn something from it?
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity, Weird Jhana & Where Now?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:

Regardless of what it was, did you learn something from it?


Only really that it seemed a distraction from my main task at the time. It's a state I'd like to be able to reproduce for sure, but I don't find such things easy and my mind seems to want insight, not concentration -- every time i try to do concentration anapana i just start going through insight territory - where im at now, (dark night, but hopefully moving forward!) I have to widen the attention to the whole body so that I can feel the breath...

When I do anapana (or even when I listen to music at night, or read a book when it's quiet) I get my "insight itch" - a tightness to the outside of the right eye/eyebrow i've come to associate with insight rather than concentration..

BTW, I don't know what a PCE is?
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity, Weird Jhana & Where Now?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Bagpuss The Gnome:
End in Sight:

Regardless of what it was, did you learn something from it?


Only really that it seemed a distraction from my main task at the time. It's a state I'd like to be able to reproduce for sure, but I don't find such things easy and my mind seems to want insight, not concentration -- every time i try to do concentration anapana i just start going through insight territory - where im at now, (dark night, but hopefully moving forward!) I have to widen the attention to the whole body so that I can feel the breath...

When I do anapana (or even when I listen to music at night, or read a book when it's quiet) I get my "insight itch" - a tightness to the outside of the right eye/eyebrow i've come to associate with insight rather than concentration..

BTW, I don't know what a PCE is?


Heh, maybe there should be a sticky about this.

I don't have time to write a full answer now (maybe someone else can?). But, basically, an experience in which craving (the cause of suffering, according to the second noble truth) is temporarily reduced or eliminated.

It is not exactly a concentration attainment or an insight attainment. It has elements of both. I have gotten them from doing straight-up vipassana.
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Teague Anderson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity, Weird Jhana & Where Now?

Posts: 104 Join Date: 8/1/11 Recent Posts
Bagpuss The Gnome:
Hi everyone,



  • Pain and tension drop away, or more accurately tension dissolves, some pain (no doubt caused by the tension) goes, but much remains. It's unimportant now though. Words like "distant", and "vague" spring to mind but there not really correct. The sensation of pain is clear, but it just doesn't "hurt".
  • There is a helicopter blade speed fizzing throughout the body that is pleasant, but not overly so - more pleasant is the lack of pain emoticon but it takes work to maintain. Scanning is easy, but must be continuous. The first few times I made it here it was very clear that I was a hairs breadth from Re-ob and it would be easy to fall back.
  • After some minutes perhaps of this another gradual (but quite quick) shift occurs and the fizzing goes from strobing gently to ultra fine, ultra fast. Like the A&P but sooooo much more refined. In retrospect I really get what Daniel was trying to convey when he described this as Rambo vs James Bond. There are occasional dips like in the A&P and even the odd kriya, but few and far between and understated, not the big bold roller coaster ride of the A&P.
  • Its completely, 100% effortless. I can keep scanning if I want, but there's no need, and it doesn't seem to make much difference. I can keep the mind clear, or think about some stuff. It doesn't matter. Larger sensations (larger than the all pervasive ultra-fine, ultra-fast tingling) are extremely clear but like pain, they do not demand attention in any way.
  • The feeling of well being is very nice.
  • Noises (and there was a ton, including a spin dryer in the next room and a door in the corridor that slammed so hard it rocked the my bed) were unobtrusive and kind of fascinating in a way I have not before experienced.
  • I didn't wholly get the "feeling of spaciousness" thing, but my attention was certainly "panoramic" - very wide, yet still really concentrated in an effortless ease I would have found it hard to imagine before.


/BTG


This sounds a lot like what I experienced as EQ during and after my last Goenka course (in September). I've spent the last couple months exploring the territory of equanimity and trying to see what's beyond. What I've found is that scanning becomes limiting in EQ. I use scanning in the beginning of a sit to work my way up, but if I hang onto that technique, I find that it keeps me in a low-feeling equanimity. If I let go of scanning and just sort of let the whole experience wash over me (maybe a with gentle reminder of a characteristic every now and then) then it feels like I get even deeper.

My experience of "deeper" is this:
-I start to get visceral understandings of the 3 marks. It's hard to describe them. For Annata, I feel all my sensations sort of melding together with no subjective importance that I can notice. For Anicca, it becomes obvious how every moment of perception is different from the one before it. I feel like I've had moments of feeling each of these very clearly, but not simultaneously, which, as I understand, is what causes the flip. I haven't felt Dukkha in quite the same way as the other two.
-When I start feeling the 3 marks, i get strong state shifts that feel like they're leading somewhere. Accompanied with the state shifts is a feeling of excitement/anticipation/apprehension in my chest, which usually attracts my attention and spurs a desirous thought or two, thus preventing further depth. I'm slowly cultivating dispassion towards all these sensations, and even toward the desire for stream entry, because this anticipation feels it's holding me back.
-Sometimes, when I really let the experience wash over me, I can feel brain activity becoming very minimal. Tarin described it once as feeling like your the last person to leave an office building and feeling the quiet and aloneness as the lights go out. That's what it feels like to me. There is very little "me" in these moments, and time becomes hard to measure. A couple times I've thought it could have been a full shutdown (fruition), but I could always trace a thin thread of awareness.
-I can tune into vibrations of feeling, seeing, and hearing, but I haven't gotten the shaky field of perception that I've heard people talk about... at least it hasn't been prominent or sustained enough to make me think, "ah, my field of perception is shaky."

I'll be curious to hear more of your progress, because it sounds like we're neck and neck.
May you attain the insights to awaken soon.
Metta,
Teague
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity, Weird Jhana & Where Now?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Teague:

If I let go of scanning and just sort of let the whole experience wash over me (maybe a with gentle reminder of a characteristic every now and then) then it feels like I get even deeper.


Yes. I've found that I can often rise up through to my cutting edge just using a mix of anapana and full body awareness, and that scanning is only seriously useful when cutting brand new ground so to speak. I tend to mix all three techniques intuitively these days and it seems to work.

Teague:

For Annata, I feel all my sensations sort of melding together with no subjective importance that I can notice. For Anicca, it becomes obvious how every moment of perception is different from the one before it. I feel like I've had moments of feeling each of these very clearly, but not simultaneously, which, as I understand, is what causes the flip.


I have not thought/noticed it so specifically but this is pretty much my exact same understanding/experience. Particularly Anicca. You really feel more mindful of the present moment than at any other time. Hard to describe, but very clear at the time.

Teague:

Tarin described it once as feeling like your the last person to leave an office building and feeling the quiet and aloneness as the lights go out. That's what it feels like to me.

Hah! That's a very good description. I concur.

Teague:

I'll be curious to hear more of your progress


Likewise. Last night I managed to break up through Re-Ob into low EQ but that's my best progress since coming back off retreat. Im still quite exhausted. Hopefully I won't have to go through the entire DN nanas every time I sit after a while!

Thanks for the comments Teague. I'll keep an eye on your practice!

/BTG

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