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Letting go End in Sight 11/25/11 10:21 AM
RE: Letting go Bruno Loff 11/25/11 10:26 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/25/11 11:36 AM
RE: Letting go Brian Eleven 11/25/11 4:24 PM
RE: Letting go (D Z) Dhru Val 11/25/11 4:47 PM
RE: Letting go Steph S 11/28/11 1:58 AM
RE: Letting go Hazel Kathleen Strange 11/28/11 2:54 AM
RE: Letting go Bagpuss The Gnome 11/28/11 4:43 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/28/11 8:15 AM
RE: Letting go Bagpuss The Gnome 11/28/11 9:06 AM
RE: Letting go Bruno Loff 11/28/11 8:53 AM
RE: Letting go Bagpuss The Gnome 11/28/11 9:08 AM
RE: Letting go Bagpuss The Gnome 11/29/11 3:46 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/29/11 8:02 AM
RE: Letting go Bagpuss The Gnome 11/30/11 2:47 PM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/30/11 7:24 PM
RE: Letting go Bruno Loff 12/1/11 4:30 AM
RE: Letting go bill of the wandering mind 12/3/11 11:44 PM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/28/11 9:24 AM
RE: Letting go )( piscivorous 11/28/11 9:58 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/28/11 9:40 AM
RE: Letting go josh r s 11/28/11 7:17 PM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/28/11 7:49 AM
RE: Letting go Hazel Kathleen Strange 11/28/11 8:56 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/25/11 4:58 PM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/25/11 8:03 PM
RE: Letting go Nikolai . 11/25/11 8:25 PM
RE: Letting go Matt L 11/27/11 3:57 AM
RE: Letting go Brian Eleven 11/25/11 9:50 PM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/26/11 7:15 AM
RE: Letting go josh r s 11/25/11 10:55 AM
RE: Letting go (D Z) Dhru Val 11/25/11 11:32 AM
RE: Letting go Villum (redacted) 11/25/11 12:46 PM
RE: Letting go Tommy M 11/25/11 5:13 PM
RE: Letting go josh r s 11/25/11 9:02 PM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/26/11 7:36 AM
RE: Letting go This Good Self 11/27/11 2:59 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/27/11 7:54 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 11/27/11 10:45 AM
RE: Letting go Martin M 12/29/11 4:23 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 12/29/11 6:51 AM
RE: Letting go Martin M 12/29/11 8:08 AM
RE: Letting go End in Sight 12/29/11 8:22 AM
RE: Letting go Martin M 12/29/11 8:34 AM
RE: Letting go bill of the wandering mind 12/29/11 6:12 PM
Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 10:21 AM
Dualistic tension is felt in various places in the body. For example, Kenneth's Witness practice involves generating and fixating upon a kind of tension in the head, which (when not seen clearly) is mistaken for a kind of transpersonal consciousness that observes experience. But when seen clearly, it is observed to be a quasi-physical tension with a particular spatial location that (nonetheless) is co-incident with the inclination to believe that there is a transpersonal consciousness that observes experience.

When one "tries" to concentrate, or "tries" to hold attention in a certain way or on a certain object, this produces a similar dualistic tension in the head. The same goes for many other experiences.

When dualistic tensions are dropped, it is experienced as if there is something that one was actively doing, which one has stopped doing. Hence, "letting go"...one lets go of the action one appeared to be doing, and poof, less suffering.

This is most easily seen in the case of dualistic tensions associated with the head. If one observes such a tension, one can relax "effort", one can find a way to stop "holding on", and, if successful, there will be a palpable sense of relaxing and not-doing (almost as if the muscles of the face have relaxed), along with the lessening of whatever kind of dualistic experience there was that was co-incident with the tension.

While this is easily seen in the case of dualistic tensions associated with the head (as they are often associated with personal will, and it is clear how personal will is "doing" and the lack of it is "not doing") this is also the case with dualistic tensions in other parts of the body. Fear in the stomach, for example, is something that (upon its resolution) can be seen as something that 'you' were doing, which 'you' have stopped doing, if you look at it in a certain way.

There is a way of inclining the mind that lets go of dualistic tensions in the head. This letting go is experienced as not generating them, and their resumption is experienced as actively creating them. What is the analogous way that the mind can be inclined in order to let go of dualistic tensions in the rest of the body? What is the experience of actively creating them like? What is the experience of ceasing such active creation like? These are worth finding. Experiment with generating and letting go of tensions in the head, and try to do something analogous with various tensions rooted in the rest of the body.

When you do this successfully, you may observe that a solid feeling in a certain part of the body has become fizzy or vibratory, or a fizzy or vibratory feeling in a certain part of the body separates into a "heavy" and "light" fizzy or vibratory feeling. This is like peeling layers off an onion; you will likely find that every tension has a very large number of layers, and one will have to peel off very many of them to get to the end. (One you "peel" a certain layer and generate this "fizzy" experience, or whatever, stay with that way of experiencing things until you figure out how to "peel" the next.)

This practice can be done while walking around, but also in context of breath meditation.

It is important to recognize that, when one is not fully liberated, one is walking around with a full set of body-wide dualistic tensions; one can learn to let go of incidental feelings that come up due to circumstance, but the real power of the practice is seen when one works on letting go of the default stuff that one is always experiencing and does not think much of.

(As an addendum, here is a simplified list of body parts and some of their most prominent corresponding tensions that I observed in my own practice. The details may be idiosyncratic or not; it would be interesting to compare others' "tension maps" to see how much variation between people there is.

Note also that the cessation of tensions in various parts of the body corresponds with the presence of various PCE qualities. The PCE qualities can be looked at as the absence of dualistic tensions, rather than qualities with some positive reality. When one is not experiencing certain PCE qualities, one can assume that one is experiencing some dualistic tension that is occluding those qualities.

Finally, keep in mind that each body part can be subdivided into sub-locations, and the sub-locations seem to be the things that give rise to the major diverse qualities of dualistic experience. It appears to me that one's body is like a xylophone, and all dualistic experience, affect, etc. is synthesized out of various simple and complicated temporal patterns of tensions hitting different regions.

HEAD
Forms of tension: the Witness, sense of being the thinker, sense of trying / straining / effort, dullness, boredom, constriction, 'consciousness'

THROAT
Forms of tension: sense of being an agent, desire for agentive behavior, anxiety-restlessness

CHEST
Forms of tension: selfishness, greed, motivation for self-centered thinking and behavior

SOLAR PLEXUS (a bit below the breastbone)
Forms of tension: visceral restlessness (such as the desire to inhale deeply), variations on some tensions experienced in the throat and abdomen

ABDOMEN
Forms of tension: fear-restlessness, anxiety, uneasiness, resentment of and dissatisfaction with one's experience

LOWER ABDOMEN / UPPER PUBIC REGION
Forms of tension: vulnerability

As an example of PCE qualities appearing when dualistic tensions cease...when there is no tension in the head, one experiences the absence of the qualities of those tensions, which are egolessness, clarity, arupa qualities (boundlessness etc.), unlocatedness, and so on. When there is no tension in the abdomen, one experiences safety, peace, etc.)


EDIT: This gives a very different perspective on what the common exhortation "don't be attached to your body!" is about...as dualistic experiences such as the ones listed here appear to me to be forms of attachment to the body (ways in which one is actively holding onto the body, the holding on itself being the dualistic tension.)

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 10:26 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Thank you, it is good to find a description that lines up exactly with my experience. All the talk about self versus no-self, or emptiness and luminosity never appealed to me, as I could never quite see the point or relevance of these concepts. To me it has always seemed that the problem to be solved were these tensions (or blockages or impurities), and no other.

I can verify that I have the same kind of stuff showing up in the head, the solar plexus, and abdomen.

Although the sense of thinker/agent is sometimes in the head, sometimes in the throat, and I don't really find a way of separating them.

The chest is a mystery to me. And although it is quite obvious I have a deep insecurity, I can't quite pinpoint its location.

I could add that sexual desire manifests to me as a tension in the lower abdomen / upper pubic region. I have tried to let go of it many times in many ways, but so far I haven't been completely successful.

Maybe this thread is an appropriate place to gather together all that we can about how to let go of these tensions. I have thus far failed to have anything work consistently and repeatedly. Although these tensions steadily subdue, the process is slow, painful, confusing, and a lot of things happen along the way that seem unconnected or even counter-productive.

It seems to me that until an effective, efficient, and euphoria&depression-free method is devised to deal with suffering, the contemplative path is doomed to fail as a solution for widespread individual peace. What is the catalyser?

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 10:55 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
that map is so helpful, seems to line up very accurately

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 11:32 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Thanks for writeup. Have been working on this lately, so it is a big help.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 11:36 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Thank you, it is good to find a description that lines up exactly with my experience. All the talk about self versus no-self, or emptiness and luminosity never appealed to me, as I could never quite see the point or relevance of these concepts. To me it has always seemed that the problem to be solved were these tensions (or blockages or impurities), and no other.


Agreed. (And it also minimizes the possibility of miscommunicating when using all one's fancy terminology...)

Maybe this thread is an appropriate place to gather together all that we can about how to let go of these tensions. I have thus far failed to have anything work consistently and repeatedly. Although these tensions steadily subdue, the process is slow, painful, confusing, and a lot of things happen along the way that seem unconnected or even counter-productive.


I'm curious what kinds of relaxation-oriented body-oriented practices you've tried (yoga asanas etc.).

Do you have any interest in the kind of concentration practices I've been talking about recently? Their key feature is that they reduce or eliminate these body tensions ("maximum" jhana = no dualistic body tension = PCE-variant = graceful demonstration of the relationship between the Pali suttas and AF).

It seems to me that until an effective, efficient, and euphoria&depression-free method is devised to deal with suffering, the contemplative path is doomed to fail as a solution for widespread individual peace. What is the catalyser?


If anyone has any thoughts, it would be great to hear them.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 12:46 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Very interesting thread, EiS. Now that you have pointed it out, i would definitely agree that various tensions correspond to PCE-qualities. I do find the heart to be related to vulnerability/sadness, which might either be lack of discernment or a real difference.

I have been experimenting with tensions a lot lately. I have, so far, come to the conclusion that tensions persist while being understood as seen from the outside. However, experiencing is everywhere present and has no range. It does not reach out and experience tensions.
When the tensions are (seen as) experiencing themselves, they dissolve.

I lucked into inventing a series of tricks for dissolving tensions, as described in this thread.
Vulnerability and Transmutation
With some practice, it has been Mumuwu's and my experience that these tricks will allow you to dissolve almost any tension in literally seconds. For me they soon rearise, i think because of lack of proper discernment - However, my relationship with the tensions seem to be changing. In any case, no matter how powerful, these tricks are intermediary and do not seem to bring an end to suffering (other than temporarily) by themselves.
However, my experience has been that they combine very favorably with both AF-like methods and EiS' PCE-jhana. In both, dissolving distracting tensions and tuning into the coolness/clarity that replaces them seem very productive.
I would especially recommend dissolving the tensions behind the eyes (they can be noticed by trying to see back into the head). When this is done, the sense of a seer in the seeing goes away, and PCE-like states seem to be quite a bit closer.

Quick version of the basic trick: Look at a tension. Ask how you know. Allow *that*.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 4:24 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
At the risk of starting to sound like an evangelist for Bhante Vimalramsi, this is exactly what he addresses. His answer is to return to the Suttas, and forget the commentaries.
He tried Mahasi noting for 20 years, but was unimpressed with the results. I believe he's talking about technical 4th path and it's incomplete nature. He returned to the Suttas and developed a practice based on those, which he has been practicing and teaching for the past 15 years. My knowledge is very weak compared to most others around here, but I can say from personal experience that the practice is, so far, effective and efficient, for me.
http://www.dhammasukha.org/

Metta,
Brian.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 4:47 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Very interesting, took a little rooting around on that site to find the technique. Here is the direct link, for anyone else interested.
http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/Articles/anatta.htm

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 4:58 PM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
At the risk of starting to sound like an evangelist for Bhante Vimalramsi, this is exactly what he addresses. His answer is to return to the Suttas, and forget the commentaries.
He tried Mahasi noting for 20 years, but was unimpressed with the results. I believe he's talking about technical 4th path and it's incomplete nature. He returned to the Suttas and developed a practice based on those, which he has been practicing and teaching for the past 15 years. My knowledge is very weak compared to most others around here, but I can say from personal experience that the practice is, so far, effective and efficient, for me.
http://www.dhammasukha.org/


Bhante V and Sister Khema:
Meditation (Bhavana) is “observing how mind’s attention moves moment-to-moment in order to see clearly and precisely ‘HOW’ the impersonal (anatta) process of Dependent Origination (Paticca Samupada) occurs.” Seeing and understanding ‘HOW’ mind’s attention moves from one thing to another is what the main thrust is in Buddhist Meditation! This is why Dependent Origination is so important to see and understand.


Bhante V:
When the "craving" arises in the mediator's head [as tension or tightness] it also arises in their mind [as tension or tightness], and this tightness is the subtle way our false idea in a "self" or "ego" arises. It is "the I like it or I don't like it mind"!


Winning!

Thanks for the link, Brian. It looks like Bhante V has some effective methods.

How long have you been practicing according to his instructions?

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 5:13 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
There are times along the way that I've had to stop completely, let go of everything and drop everything I thought I knew. Reading this post, and following your question about the dharma in another thread (I'll reply to that separately when I get a chance so as not to clog up this thread), is one of those golden moments. This thread alone, followed by reading that link posted by Brian and DZ, has blown me away and made me go back to square one, and your question about what my understanding of the dharma was prior to stream-entry sent me off into breaking down the beliefs I've held regarding that.

That point in the other thread about all dharmas being empty just fucked me up good and proper, but in the most wonderful, wonderful way. Thank you for this, now I know what needs to be done.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 8:03 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
It looks like Sister Khema (of Dhamma Sukha) has paid us a visit in the past: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/401038

And here is one interesting thing she wrote:

Sister Khema:
With this clinging as condition, emotions start here. Emotions are not feelings.They are emotions ( anger, frustration, sadness, depression, happy, ) This is interesting....


So, emotions are conditioned by clinging, clinging is conditioned by craving, and craving (and all it conditions) is eliminated in the arahant.

I am surprised that, when the Buddhists said it, we did not listen (or even notice), but when some non-Buddhist fellow in Australia says it, then we take note...

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 8:25 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
It looks like Sister Khema (of Dhamma Sukha) has paid us a visit in the past: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/401038

And here is one interesting thing she wrote:

Sister Khema:
With this clinging as condition, emotions start here. Emotions are not feelings.They are emotions ( anger, frustration, sadness, depression, happy, ) This is interesting....


So, emotions are conditioned by clinging, clinging is conditioned by craving, and craving (and all it conditions) is eliminated in the arahant.

I am surprised that, when the Buddhists said it, we did not listen (or even notice), but when some non-Buddhist fellow in Australia says it, then we take note...



Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 9:02 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
i've been experimenting with all the different tension centers you mentioned, the one i can't really seem to affect at all is the head, any basic ideas to start from in terms of experimenting with the tension up there?

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/25/11 9:50 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
EIS,
Sadly I've only been practicing this about 6 weeks. I first heard of him about a year ago, but had to bang my head against a wall good and proper(on KFD) before I was ready to hear what he was saying. The good news though is that I've already seen pretty significant changes. A Huge decrease in stress and an increase in happiness and equanimity.
My greatest weakness in practice is my tendency to try to force results, Bhante V's TWIM (Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation) has stopped this, and helped me relax into the present with acceptance of what is. This has always been one of my greatest difficulties. Bhante V also teaches a forgiveness practice that I've found to help me lighten up a great deal.
The following is a link to Bhante Vimalaramsi's Blog, which also has some great stuff:
http://begintosee.blogspot.com/
Dhamma Sukka also has a yahoo group if anyone is interested in talking to more experienced practitioners. Bhante V and Sister Khema are currently leading retreats in Asia, but Sister seems to check the group daily, if able, so you may be able to converse directly with her if you're interested.
Interesting point about Richard and AF. It almost seems like the pragmatic Dharma community is just slowly working through the Dharma and realizing that what the old guy(Buddha) said originally was pretty damn spot on!

Matta,
Brian.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/26/11 7:15 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Having read more by Bhante V / Sister Khema, I realized that, while their explanation of dependent origination does not agree with mine, theirs may be better.

They claim that craving is tension, and clinging is cognitive elaboration about that tension ("personal stories", mental proliferation). From my perspective, tension can be analyzed into three component parts (craving, clinging, becoming), and cognitive elaboration is a very high-level process that doesn't get it's own entry in dependent origination.

While I think my perspective is more correct in terms of explicit analysis of experience, I think their perspective is a lot more useful for one who doesn't practice hardcore vipassana. (One does not necessarily need to see all the gory details; one just needs to get rid of the tension.)

So, their method in brief is

* Stop the cognitive elaboration (stop clinging)
* Release the tension (stop craving)

and that sounds pretty snazzy to me!

Thanks again for the link, Brian. It is always good to see that others have discovered the path long before we did.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/26/11 7:36 AM as a reply to josh r s.
josh r s:
i've been experimenting with all the different tension centers you mentioned, the one i can't really seem to affect at all is the head, any basic ideas to start from in terms of experimenting with the tension up there?


Head tensions can be usefully categorized in this way:

* Headache-tension
* Dullness-tension
* 'Consciousness'-tension

For headache-tension, there is no specific way that I know of for one to stop doing it, apart from reasoning by analogy concerning how one stops doing the thing that produces other tensions, or by obliterating it with pleasure (which does not teach how to let go in a clear way).

For dullness-tension, it can help to recognize that when one feels tired or murky or whatever, there is a sense that one is "resting on" those states, relishing those states, "relaxing into" those states...and so, the solution is not to do that, not to rest anywhere. (Rashed has talked about things in his practice thread, such as the perception of the mind being "on" an object of meditation, that are similar to this.)

For 'consciousness'-tension, these things help:

* Relax
* Stop doing anything (including "looking")
* Surrender personal will

In general, the best way in my experience to see how to stop making 'consciousness'-tension is to generate a lot of pleasure in context of concentration...eventually, one can work out how the pleasure is more interesting than the tension, and slowly start preferring to pay attention to the pleasure than to generate the tension. (This is the beginning of the "paralysis" that I have talked about.) So, perhaps you could see whether you could stop generating this form of tension in context of concentration, and then remember how you did it.

Another thought for 'consciousness'-tension is...if you can generate the Witness, and you fixate on it long enough, eventually the tension will fall apart. (This is just a way to pay attention and get rid of the tension by paying attention.) However, according to Kenneth this is a long-term sort of thing and so perhaps not as helpful as other ideas if its sole purpose is to learn how to let go of tension.

Keep in mind that the three categories I delineated are just a useful conceptual model. Some tensions have qualities of two or three categories, or seem to sit on the border between categories.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/27/11 2:59 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Thread summary: relaxing the muscles is good for calming down. emoticon

I agree, relaxing is helpful if you're stressed.

Oh boy.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/27/11 3:57 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:


Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!


Oi! Oi! Oi!

(compulsive response is compulsive)

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/27/11 7:54 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Thread summary: relaxing the muscles is good for calming down. emoticon

I agree, relaxing is helpful if you're stressed.

Oh boy.


Only if 'you' and 'your' self-identity is a tensed muscle. emoticon

CCC:

Unless the fear is extreme, it's possible to choose just not continue with the bodily reaction. But no one believes this! Instead they use all manner of special techniques to treat it.

At some level, when anxiety continues beyond a few seconds, it is because we allow it to continue. And we allow it because we believe it has meaning and so shouldn't be interfered with. (...) No one needs a special spiritual path, all that's needed is to overcome fear. Fear is the only impediment to growth in all aspects of life, I've realized. And guess what? This is my own experience over many years - I didn't read it anywhere! Came up with it all on my own! Fear is the software of the ego. Fear is all the ego has to work with. Fear is the only thing that holds it in place.


Actually, you get this pretty well.

But, why not raise the bar a bit?

Unless the fear is extreme, it's possible to choose just not continue with the bodily reaction. But no one believes this! Instead they use all manner of special techniques to treat it.

At some level, when anxiety occurs at all continues beyond a few seconds, it is because we allow it to occur or continue. And we allow it because we believe it has meaning and so shouldn't be interfered with.


emoticon

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/27/11 10:45 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
I wanted to add one more thing to my original post. It deserves special mention.

Where are the positive emotions on the list I provided?

Is there such a thing as a positive emotion, or are all such experiences just different kinds of tension?

This could be the entire path: stick with any experience that is not a source of tension and suffering, abandon anything that is, investigate carefully to discern the difference.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 1:58 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
D Z:
Very interesting, took a little rooting around on that site to find the technique. Here is the direct link, for anyone else interested.
http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/Articles/anatta.htm


In Bhante V's anapanasati talk on that website he recites MN 118. I read that sutta on the Access to Insight page, and the notes at the bottom lists MN 119, which I also read. This one specifically details that jhana awareness shall be in the entire body, which confirms Bhante V's instructions (from the link you provided quoted above) that jhana should not be a mentally one-pointed focus, but full body. Below is a passage excerpted from MN 119:

"And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. He sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness. Just as if a man were sitting covered from head to foot with a white cloth so that there would be no part of his body to which the white cloth did not extend; even so, the monk sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by pure, bright awareness. And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body."

MN 119
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.119.than.html

MN 118
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 2:54 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Many thanks Steph - great inspiration for me. I start a 15 day retreat tomorrow at Gaia House and my goal is 4th Jhana. Have been trying onepointed concentration with the breath and I'm always also aware of sensations on the body - I can relax into them now!

metta
H

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 4:43 AM as a reply to Hazel Kathleen Strange.
This thread is quite a revelation for me also. Thanks EIS.

Can I ask a couple of identity questions?

I get 3 types of head tension as far as I recall. I don't know what any of them are, but I do know that I don't really ever seem to have any feelings or thoughts about a watcher or witness, or any idea where my "sense of self" is located. Maybe i've not looked hard enough / skilfully enough, or maybe my level of awareness is just not there yet.

Here's what I do feel though:

  • Tightness at the outside top edge of the right eye. This is tight now, and is often tight, like the skin is being drawn up. On retreat, or during really intense body scanning this has swelled to a melon sized swirling lump of tense uncomfortableness. It pulsates, gyrates, and feels "alive" with a spatial dimension all it's own. Attached, but mostly outside the body.
  • Tightness is a inch wide band across the forehead, that at least on one occasion when paied close attention to seemed to tighten down to a thin vertical line, then dissipate and reappear on the top of the head in a wider band. I have thusfar just thought of this as a concentration symptom...
  • Crushing tension at the temples. Most prominent during the latter stages of the DN. At home it's pretty numbing and "dulling", on retreat it felt like my head was in a vice. The only strategy that seems to work is to try and relax into it, and let it play out.


Any idea what those might be? I've tried to not pay them any special attention for the most part, bar a few deep explorations from time to time, but now I'm inspired to read the links above and try and actively release them. Seems like a no brainer really (so i must have no brain!)

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 7:49 AM as a reply to Hazel Kathleen Strange.
Hazel Kathleen Strange:
Many thanks Steph - great inspiration for me. I start a 15 day retreat tomorrow at Gaia House and my goal is 4th Jhana. Have been trying onepointed concentration with the breath and I'm always also aware of sensations on the body - I can relax into them now!

metta
H


My advice: do not relax into the body sensations, relax your attention away while letting the body sensations be. (The relevant body sensation for 4th jhana is neutral feeling.)

The instructions of relaxing into the body sensations tends to produce the phenomenon of focusing on the fact that one's attention is "on" the body sensations, which is a kind of dullness-tension. I don't know whether that's how you would take those instructions, but that's how many people do.

As I see it, the experience of "attention" itself (as an object in experience) is something typically with qualities of dullness-tension and 'consciousness'-tension.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 8:15 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:

  • Tightness at the outside top edge of the right eye. This is tight now, and is often tight, like the skin is being drawn up. On retreat, or during really intense body scanning this has swelled to a melon sized swirling lump of tense uncomfortableness. It pulsates, gyrates, and feels "alive" with a spatial dimension all it's own. Attached, but mostly outside the body.
  • Tightness is a inch wide band across the forehead, that at least on one occasion when paied close attention to seemed to tighten down to a thin vertical line, then dissipate and reappear on the top of the head in a wider band. I have thusfar just thought of this as a concentration symptom...
  • Crushing tension at the temples. Most prominent during the latter stages of the DN. At home it's pretty numbing and "dulling", on retreat it felt like my head was in a vice. The only strategy that seems to work is to try and relax into it, and let it play out.


I don't know precisely what these are, but I would emphasize that they are not actually part of your body and not physical (as all the experiences on my list are not actually body experiences and not actually physical, although they appear that way). The first one doesn't even correspond with the actual dimensions of your body, but is a distortion of those dimensions, based on a distorted body-image.

They all sound like instances of headache-tension, which is hardest to do anything with in my experience. (EDIT: To be precise, by "dullness-tension" I mean something that is experienced as mental dulling or unclarity, rather than a dull pain. Boredom is dullness-tension, for example, and it does not typically feel like dull pain in the head.)

My advice would be: confirm for yourself that they are not physical tension in the normal sense (put your hand in those areas and confirm that, if you unclench all your facial muscles, the experiences remain), but in this specialized way. If you investigate them, do it in a very gentle way (just keep them in experience without looking in a "hard" way), see if you can relax the experiences away in a way that would be analogous to relaxing your facial muscles. Your goal should be to release them, but they might be released in some way by themselves after stream entry.

My experience with stuff like this is that these idiosyncratic tensions (the first two) are never completely done away with all at once...you release them by lessening them over time. You might get a moment where they totally go away, but they are highly likely to come back in the future. So, don't worry about removing them completely if you can't do that, just focus on reducing them over time.

As for where your self of self is located: ultimately, everywhere you experience these tensions, including the places you experience them but can't yet see! The Witness is not uniquely your sense of self, 'consciousness'-tension is not uniquely your sense of self...suffering is your sense of self, however it arises.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 8:53 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:

  • Tightness at the outside top edge of the right eye. This is tight now, and is often tight, like the skin is being drawn up. On retreat, or during really intense body scanning this has swelled to a melon sized swirling lump of tense uncomfortableness. It pulsates, gyrates, and feels "alive" with a spatial dimension all it's own. Attached, but mostly outside the body.
  • Tightness is a inch wide band across the forehead, that at least on one occasion when paied close attention to seemed to tighten down to a thin vertical line, then dissipate and reappear on the top of the head in a wider band. I have thusfar just thought of this as a concentration symptom...
  • Crushing tension at the temples. Most prominent during the latter stages of the DN. At home it's pretty numbing and "dulling", on retreat it felt like my head was in a vice. The only strategy that seems to work is to try and relax into it, and let it play out.



Thing to try: "channel" those tensions first to the side of your face, then down your jaw(then down the throat, then chest, solar plexus, abdomen, lower abdomen, perineum, though if something happens in the jaw it will be enough to notice a tangible difference). Make particular note of tension in the joint that joins the jawbone to the cranium.

A general observation: sometimes the tension must be relaxed not by relaxing the place itself, but some adjacent nerve or tendon or joint. Another good reason for panoramic attention.

---

EIS: with regard to your question: yeah, I'd love to be able to do jhana, but I was so far unable to get deep pleasure, (i.e. my concentration sucks ass). It seems that the mind gets sucked into the tension. When I tried to do a concentration retreat a while back it just turned into vipassanish fiercely looking at the tension which becomes worst and worst ("dark night") until I break into crying and give up (which preceeds "equanimity").

During my meditation career thus far, I have found pleasure to be either unsatisfactory and short-lived, or overwhelming and disturbing. If I have too much of it, I find it quite unsatisfactory, because it is accompanied by a rush of sorts --- even the equanimous affective-peace kind of pleasure. This is a fault that simply isn't there in apperception.

I am interested in your alternative approach to jhana, which seems to put emphasis on eliminating tension rather than generating bliss (or generating anything at all). Though I haven't quite figured out if I understand the set-up correctly. To wit, the technique is:

(1) Notice PCE-like qualities, and let them be in "the background", do not investigate them with focus, i.e., do not attempt to "touch" the clarity with the attention wave/vibratory focus, ... while simultaneously:
(2) Investigate the energetic/vibratory/tension/attention wave-like qualities by paying attention to them (in the "foreground"), including to the sense of focus itself, and the goal here is that these qualities subdue and eventually disappear, leaving only the crystalline perfection.

Is this basically it? A few things aren't clear to me: what activities should (if any should) be emphasized in the investigation? Do I try to relax these tensions? What do I do about the apparent sense of agency (which seems to imply that "I" am doing this investigation)? You also mention using pleasure to eliminate tension, for instance: Do I need to generate pleasure? What kind of pleasure (I'm not fond of bliss, it perturbs my calm)? How? Is there any particular aspect of the energetic phenomena that I should notice more (e.g. shifting of focus as Bhante Vimalramsi suggests)? How do I tell if I'm doing it right or wrong? (because the PCE always seems somewhat far in my current mode of experience, though when I set my mind to it I can recognize that it is always somehow in the background) What to do about sleepiness? (which has always been a problem for me, and for which I am yet to find a solution, since the "increase effort" approach of the suttas only makes me more tense and tired)

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 8:56 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
thanks for advice end in sight

I used the wrong words, I think. Certainly did not mean I would rest in the sensations, but rather allow them to be there and come in and out of the foreground whilst keeping attention on the breath. I had been trying to keep them in the background and keep the breath in the foreground, but they are often like demanding children tugging at your skirts while you are trying to make a meal!

Certainly concentration is better now I am combining relaxing the tension in head and body with observation of the breath.

with metta
H

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 9:06 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
EIS:
My advice would be: confirm for yourself that they are not physical tension in the normal sense (put your hand in those areas and confirm that, if you unclench all your facial muscles, the experiences remain), but in this specialized way. If you investigate them, do it in a very gentle way (just keep them in experience without looking in a "hard" way), see if you can relax the experiences away in a way that would be analogous to relaxing your facial muscles. Your goal should be to release them, but they might be released in some way by themselves after stream entry.


They don't seem physical that's for sure. Though saying that, there is a certain amount of tenderness when i press at the temples. This could be the exception, or a mix of physical and mental.

Thanks for your detailed reply! I read the linked page now and it's pretty good stuff. I just read MN 118 for the first time as well. When you take out [of the breath] it does seem to make more intuitive sense (will probably have to play with this a fair bit more though).

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 9:08 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno:
Thing to try: "channel" those tensions first to the side of your face, then down your jaw(then down the throat, then chest, solar plexus, abdomen, lower abdomen, perineum, though if something happens in the jaw it will be enough to notice a tangible difference). Make particular note of tension in the joint that joins the jawbone to the cranium.


Interesting. One tension did move location, but i've not tried willing it to move. Will report back when I get an opportunity to work this out.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 9:24 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:

I am interested in your alternative approach to jhana, which seems to put emphasis on eliminating tension rather than generating bliss (or generating anything at all). Though I haven't quite figured out if I understand the set-up correctly. To wit, the technique is:


Perhaps I should write all this down somewhere in particular, as it seems to be easily misunderstood.

You are talking about a technique I described that can only be employed once some degree of jhanic experience is stabilized. The stillness and the PCE qualities are actually the jhanic experience, not something that is attended to in order to produce the jhanic experience.

This is the advice I would give you:

1a) Recognize that you're not fond of bliss because your experiences of it have been contaminated by the attention wave, and the attention wave perturbs your calm;

1b) Recognize that the attention wave is the only thing that can cause feelings of perturbation or irritation or dissatisfaction or lack of calm;

2a) Bliss, apperceived as a physical sensation of pleasure, is as satisfying or unsatisfying as anything else you might experience during a PCE;

2b) You already likely have experienced bliss, apperceived as a physical sensation of pleasure, during past PCEs;

3) If you can generate bliss, you can pay attention appropriately and recognize that it has two components: static unmoving physical pleasure, and attention wave-related stuff that vibrates "over" or "on top of" it.;

4a) If you can generate bliss and analyze it into these two parts during the experience, then, if you breathe in a very relaxing way and pay attention to that, and don't do anything to aggravate the attention wave, the physical pleasure can become stronger;

4b) Not aggravating the attention wave means literally ignoring all the vibratory, affective stuff that comes up (while making sure not to "rest" on it or in it in a subtle way);

5) As the physical pleasure becomes stronger, you will be more able to stop generating the attention wave, either automatically or with minimal effort;

6) The less attention wave you generate, the more PCE-like your experience will be (by definition), and in this context, that is jhana;

7a) Once you have a stable jhana, you can do all sorts of stuff, but a starting recommendation is to just let the jhana be for as long as possible, with no expectations, and take note afterwards of what that does.

7b) The suttas rarely describe decomposing or investigating jhanas; the most obvious example is MN 111, but that is what Sariputta does, and his strongest faculty is wisdom (discernment), not concentration. In my opinion an enormous amount can be accomplished just by letting jhanas remain without investigating them for as long as possible; and that seems to be what the suttas usually describe anyway.

Helpful? (If you want to talk about this at greater length, let's do it in your practice thread.)

How do I tell if I'm doing it right or wrong? (because the PCE always seems somewhat far in my current mode of experience, though when I set my mind to it I can recognize that it is always somehow in the background)


At the beginning, you use the magnitude of physical pleasure to judge whether you're doing it right.

Later, you use the experience of "stillness" (reduction of the attention wave) to judge whether you're doing it right...but, at this point, you will probably not be judging very much.

What to do about sleepiness? (which has always been a problem for me, and for which I am yet to find a solution, since the "increase effort" approach of the suttas only makes me more tense and tired)


Try some green tea, or (if it isn't overstimulatory) coffee or straight caffeine.

Alternatively, you can notice that sleepiness is dullness-tension caused by the attention wave, and see if you can stop the experience of resting your attention on it and go back to paying attention to your breath. (A better cue might be "stop paying attention to the experience of sleepiness".)

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 9:58 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
This entire thread is gold. Thanks to everyone.

Bruno Loff:

Thing to try: "channel" those tensions first to the side of your face, then down your jaw(then down the throat, then chest, solar plexus, abdomen, lower abdomen, perineum, though if something happens in the jaw it will be enough to notice a tangible difference). Make particular note of tension in the joint that joins the jawbone to the cranium.

A general observation: sometimes the tension must be relaxed not by relaxing the place itself, but some adjacent nerve or tendon or joint. Another good reason for panoramic attention.


I've been dealing with energy/tension phenomena similar to Bagpuss although mine seems to range from extremes of my throat up the crown of my head, but tend to stay between the palate-third eye (maxillary) region. They're partly physical, sometimes with strong muscular contractions. They can be spooky: tugging my head about, twisting my head, pushing and poking my face, fluttering across my forehead and eyes. They're corruptions of insight I think (I only recently learned of these), like the lights I used to see which finally drove me away from meditation over a year ago.

I have been able to channel some of this energy, usually up into the crown and scalp where it has actually become pleasant and sent me off into jhana. Confrontation with involutionary noting seems to reinforce the tension:

Bruno Loff:

When I tried to do a concentration retreat a while back it just turned into vipassanish fiercely looking at the tension which becomes worst and worst ("dark night") until I break into crying and give up (which preceeds "equanimity").


This is very nearly my exact experience. Less direct methods are helping. I've had more success with:

  • Less Concentration
  • More panoramic perspective (instead of tight focus)
  • More Mahasi noting
  • More 6R Releasing, Relaxing, Re-smiling, &c.
  • Constant anapana off the cushion*

*Well, near constant. Because anapana usually sets off these concentration energies, it's easier for me to deal with them off of the cushion than on, as a kind of background noise as I sit here typing, for example. The next time I sit for concentration I seem better able to do anapana without the crazy energy and noise.

Also, forgiving myself for not knowing how to release or let go has helped tremendously. Oddly enough emoticon

cheers,

Matts

[EDIT: spelling, anapana addendum]

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 9:40 AM as a reply to )( piscivorous.
[quote=)( piscivorous]
  • More panoramic perspective (instead of tight focus)


Tight focus = paying attention to an object called "tight focus" in experience = paying attention to an object that has qualities of dullness-tension and 'consciousness'-tension

No surprise that this has not led to satisfactory experiences for you.

For all concentration practices, this is an important thing: the experience of "focus", narrow or wide, is keeping you from paying attention to the object (usually breath), and is aggravating the attention wave, and is the main flaw in the MCTB approach to jhanas.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/28/11 7:17 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
speaking of letting go, i just listened to a thanissaro bhikkhu talk called "letting go" it seems to be the opposite of "grounding," in which you breath through the physical and let the mental just fall away

http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/090402%20Letting%20Go.mp3

seems alot more satisfying, very similar to the "6 R's" practice which have been very useful for me recently

another talk fear and anger goes further into the same thing, this one i would suggest even more strongly, a very pragmatic look at dealing with emotions, starting with the physical aspect, then the verbal aspect, then the conceptual/perceptual/mental aspect. the theme of dealing with physical tension first and foremost is very strong here

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/29/11 3:46 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:
Bruno:
Thing to try: "channel" those tensions first to the side of your face, then down your jaw(then down the throat, then chest, solar plexus, abdomen, lower abdomen, perineum, though if something happens in the jaw it will be enough to notice a tangible difference). Make particular note of tension in the joint that joins the jawbone to the cranium.


Interesting. One tension did move location, but i've not tried willing it to move. Will report back when I get an opportunity to work this out.


Yesterday evening I did manage to channel the temple tension somewhat. I made it travel down to my jaw, along the jaw bone, then kind of dissipate at the mouth. 2 things to note:

  • It kept coming back, and I wonder if this was just a diversion from practice rather than as useful as I would have hoped
  • This was during the last 2 stages of the DN. So I wonder if it constitutes "not accepting my current reality as it is" ie. Im trying to manipulate my reality rather than accept it.


Having said that, I did break out of the DN eventually so it can't have done any harm!

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/29/11 8:02 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:

  • This was during the last 2 stages of the DN. So I wonder if it constitutes "not accepting my current reality as it is" ie. Im trying to manipulate my reality rather than accept it.



One thing to keep in mind is that these tensions are your mind's ongoing craving-reaction to experience, and not just things which are happening innocuously.

When you try to generate equanimity, you are manipulating your reality, albeit in a good way. I see removing these tensions along the same lines.

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/30/11 2:47 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Very good point.

Here's a question that's just come up: Can tensions like these come up during Equanimity?

RE: Letting go
Answer
11/30/11 7:24 PM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:
Very good point.

Here's a question that's just come up: Can tensions like these come up during Equanimity?


Anytime you are having an experience of 'self', there is going to be some kind of tension in your experience somewhere. So, in Equanimity, there is bound to be something.

Sometimes, these tensions wax and wane depending on where in the progress of insight you are, and sometimes they don't. I don't have a good theory to predict this sort of thing. But, I wouldn't make not having these tensions a criterion of being in Equanimity, unless you test this out repeatedly over a long period of time and confirm it to be true for you.

RE: Letting go
Answer
12/1/11 4:30 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
btw:
Bagpuss The Gnome:
  • (1) It kept coming back, and I wonder if this was just a diversion from practice rather than as useful as I would have hoped
  • (2) This was during the last 2 stages of the DN. So I wonder if it constitutes "not accepting my current reality as it is" ie. Im trying to manipulate my reality rather than accept it.


(1) is normal. Do it again and again until there is a permanent baseline shift. When that shift happens, the tension will be permanently reduced or even gone. If it is still there (albeit reduced), there is likely to be some other blockage (not necessarily the jaw) keeping it in place; or maybe the jaw needs more clearing. Looking at the area panoramically is always a good idea.

(2) irrelevant. What is relevant is: are you feeling better from the tension that caused you pain?

RE: Letting go
Answer
12/3/11 11:44 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
hmm - in this video B. V. states also that progress to jhana is phenomenally fast using the 6R technique, which should accomplish letting go of tension (reducing it)..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeJ2LaFaDCY&feature=related

RE: Letting go
Answer
12/29/11 4:23 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Just rediscovered this post from Chelek on KFD from about a year ago, sounds pretty similar doesn´t it?


Direct perception mode, jhana, and insight
Sep 30 2010, 1:51 PM EDT
Kenneth mentions in his video that these are separate practices. But I have found that they can be integrated - provided one incorporates a tweak and accepts a few definitions. So this is about how I integrate these in my practice.

CheleK
1. RE: Direct perception mode, jhana, and insight
Sep 30 2010, 1:52 PM EDT
The tweak:

Relaxation response: When placing your attention on the energetic charge in the body, follow this up with relaxing the body - looking for tension and relaxing. Pay particular attention to the face, head, jaw, shoulders. Lightly smiling helps quite a bit. This is easy to test: just shift your attention right now to a light smile and note a sensation of lightening/brightening in the mind - relax around this - doing this breaks the pattern of tension. So the technique is that once you recognise the charge (of anxiety for example) then relax the body, face, head, etc., brighten/relax the mind with a soft smile, and then place your attention on the area where you noticed the charge while maintaining a whole body awareness.

Definitions:
Whole body awareness: This is the anchor. It helps the mind/body from contracting around the area of tension. The other reason for a whole body awareness is that it allows you to keep open to where areas of tension are in other parts of the body. They have a habit of popping up and when they do, that is where I go.

Jhana - a calm, tranquil, alert, open, spacious state where awareness is grounded in the body. As the body takes on an increasingly energetic quality, awareness is grounded in this energetic quality. The mind becomes more and more still and the stillness allows the entire process to be experienced much more clearly.

Insight: Experiential knowledge of how the mind/body contract around thoughts and tension, and the process of letting go and releasing this tension as well as the sense of relief that comes from this release. It also includes an ever subtler sense/understanding of what stress actually is.


CheleK
2. RE: Direct perception mode, jhana, and insight
Sep 30 2010, 1:53 PM EDT
The Practice:
As a practice, the mind will drift off and get caught up in thoughts from time to time. In my experience, this is always due to a mind/body contraction. When I get caught up in a thought there is always some bodily tension that has popped-up and gone unrecognized on the conscious level. It is as if it has been converted into thought-energy in order to makes itself known. When ever this happens it is important to cycle through the relaxation response. This breaks the sort of mind/body inertia of that tension state which allows you to then ground it more deeply.

The more you do this, the more open, relaxed, and spacious the mind and body become. This is the jhanic quality emerging. The energetic quality of the whole body becomes more apparent and this can then be used in place of the whole-body awareness - actually it slowly becomes how you experience the whole body. At this point, areas of tension arise as a sense of pooled energy. For example, there you are sitting with the whole body as energy and you come to realize you got lost in some thought - relaxing and coming back to the whole body as energy you will notice an area where there is a kind of charge or pool of energy. You can relax around this and kind of open up to it and allow it to dissipate/ground.

In the beginning, you have to keep focusing on your attention - maintaining the attention on the whole body, evaluating or scanning for where there is a sense of tension, and intentionally working with it. This is the first jhana phase of the practice. As the 'whole body as energy' begins to develop and you start becoming aware of the fluctuations of energy in the body and are able to stay with them and ground them without getting lost in thoughts then this is the second jhana emerging. In order to do this it takes close attention to the subtle sensations and seeing how this process works is the insight.


CheleK
3. RE: Direct perception mode, jhana, and insight
Sep 30 2010, 1:54 PM EDT
Don't dwell on states - if you are, then really investigate where the tension is and why you would ever want to hold on to them (be willing to pay the toll).

Another way of looking at this:
Resentment, anger, frustration, etc. all require an identification with a flow of thoughts. When caught up in these, there is tension and stress (hand is not on the switch). Anchoring awareness in the body, the mind is no longer able to identify with a thought stream. Attention can only attend to one mode of experience at a time. When awareness is anchored in the body, the mental component of anger or frustration for example fall away and we are left with the physical sensations (hand on the switch). When the apparently solid sensations are let go of (the relaxation response fits in here) and we are able to stay with the subtle energetic sensations (grounding) then there is a real sense of freedom and release. Subtle sensate experience always carries a range of interestingly pleasant qualities (which provide the basis for jhana). In practice, the hand will fall off the switch again and again (and one is caught up again in thoughts). Insight arises in learning why and how this happens (experientially) and learning how and why this happens is the skill that opens up the path.

Another way:
From stillness comes activity and from activity, stillness. The snow melts, 'ahh, spring time has come!'. The night brings cold and ice, you fall on your ass. It goes like this. On and on. A shovel digs into the ****. It digs in, picks up the ****, and flings it. There is release. There is stillness. Turning, see more ****, dig in, repeat. It's a deep pile. Turn away and you can't escape it. Dwell on it and you can't fling it. Flinging **** is an art form, it takes practice. **** is not actually **** - the proof is hidden in the flinging.


RE: Letting go
Answer
12/29/11 6:51 AM as a reply to Martin M.
Very similar.

But, I would want to ask what is meant by this:

The more you do this, the more open, relaxed, and spacious the mind and body become. This is the jhanic quality emerging. The energetic quality of the whole body becomes more apparent and this can then be used in place of the whole-body awareness - actually it slowly becomes how you experience the whole body. At this point, areas of tension arise as a sense of pooled energy. For example, there you are sitting with the whole body as energy and you come to realize you got lost in some thought - relaxing and coming back to the whole body as energy you will notice an area where there is a kind of charge or pool of energy. You can relax around this and kind of open up to it and allow it to dissipate/ground.

RE: Letting go
Answer
12/29/11 8:08 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Very similar.

But, I would want to ask what is meant by this:

The more you do this, the more open, relaxed, and spacious the mind and body become. This is the jhanic quality emerging. The energetic quality of the whole body becomes more apparent and this can then be used in place of the whole-body awareness - actually it slowly becomes how you experience the whole body. At this point, areas of tension arise as a sense of pooled energy. For example, there you are sitting with the whole body as energy and you come to realize you got lost in some thought - relaxing and coming back to the whole body as energy you will notice an area where there is a kind of charge or pool of energy. You can relax around this and kind of open up to it and allow it to dissipate/ground.


I understood it to be the non-affective pleasure you were talking about, but I do have to investigate it more thoroughly in my own experience.

RE: Letting go
Answer
12/29/11 8:22 AM as a reply to Martin M.
I would never think to describe non-affective pleasure as energy (or an energy experience), but perhaps that's idiosyncratic.

The best description I have for non-affective pleasure is "pleasure". It does not appear to me to be much more than distilled pleasantness, sometimes "bright" (piti + sukha), sometimes not (sukha).

RE: Letting go
Answer
12/29/11 8:34 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
I would never think to describe non-affective pleasure as energy (or an energy experience), but perhaps that's idiosyncratic.

The best description I have for non-affective pleasure is "pleasure". It does not appear to me to be much more than distilled pleasantness, sometimes "bright" (piti + sukha), sometimes not (sukha).


Well, as I see it, all forms of perception are ultimately (physically) some kind of energy, i.e. neurons firing (electro-chemical) signals to cells and other neurons.
But I do agree that the word "energy" is used quite ambiguous and Chelek might have had something different in mind all together.

RE: Letting go
Answer
12/29/11 6:12 PM as a reply to Martin M.
"The more you do this, the more open, relaxed, and spacious the mind and body become. This is the jhanic quality emerging. The energetic quality of the whole body becomes more apparent and this can then be used in place of the whole-body awareness - actually it slowly becomes how you experience the whole body."

Huh. I have an experience that might match this - when doing lots of relaxing whole body concentration as of late what happens to the body is the sensations seem to dissolve in a 4th/5th nana sort of way on and off the cushion (think tiny particles flashing and mistyness/diffuseness/unclear boundary) , but don't seem to precede DN - sometimes I get a pleasure/warmth sensation that is 'teeming' that seems to fill the space outside the body in a radiant way. Not sure if that teeming/radiant experience is what he calls 'energy' but that always seems to be the obvious word to use when I describe it. (this kind of experience has been happening for so long I cannot remember when it didn't occur sometimes - I assumed it was normal)