Is this the DN?

Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
Hey,

For a while I've been under the assumption that when a pre-stream entry yogi begins to meditate, he or she begins by achieving access concentration and nyana by nyana reaches his or her highest previously reached nyana and then attempts to chip away and break new ground.

I've also been under the impression that during the DN phase all descriptions of it being difficult to concentrate and requiring donut-like attention, et al, only applies to the third jhana. This means that if a person's cutting edge is, say, Fear, his or her meditation is only poor during the third jhana, is this correct? If not the following will might my plight much more clear and correcting me will help tremendously!

I ask because I have probably been mistaken about where I'm at on the path, but one pattern is for certain:

I chip away up through the 3C's until I get into A&P territory, then each sit nearly I cycle into A&P pretty easily, I get very confident and spiritual driven, by the book, eventually I'll have some epic bliss out accompanied by a dramatic shift and this brief sense of kundalini bursting out of me like a smokestack, afterwards in subsequent days that A&P becomes a memory and I no longer can meditate well, I usually feel like I'm wasting my time, and often begin dreaming while attempting to meditate. This is now a cycle. Build to 3C's slowly through crap meditation with zero concentration, then A&P goes by fast when concentration is back, suddenly I think I hit Dissolution, then the concentration slips away again from whence it came.

I am very confused by this because I would love to assume that this is DN territory, but wouldn't I have to cycle through the 1st and 2nd jhanas to get there, and yet I rarely hit the 1st during these phases.

To make matters worse, this is only describing my current last couple months, previously I really believed I was experiencing Dissolution and beyond because I'd feel my body disolve, the white lights go out and a drop after the A&P climax, and then after passing through all that (without any negativity, but without positivity as well) I'd pop out feeling equanimous, like my body was diffused into the background and I ironically thought it felt like syrup, which Daniel described as A&P, sometimes I'd get so far reality would become a single pulse which gradually slowed down. I could do that every day, cycling like that to that point, in fact, many times a day, sitting for 1.5 hours at a time sometimes, the background was 99% gone and slowly my sense of self would merge with that pulse, which I then assumed were formations. Eventually I popped out the other side after a black blip. Then I strongly suspected it was SE. Now I wonder if that was just the APE? And perhaps my opening questions were mistaken, that there is no necessary relationship between jhanas and stages of insight, rather that jhanas are only a means of insight, and thus I'm a DN yogi who can no longer hit the first jhana? Or maybe I've just lost all my concentration?

Thanks
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Here's a classic diagnosis: Bright lights, strong concentration, etc, all A&P.

The misery that comes after that, which sucks, is dark night, as you correctly hinted.

It is normal to cycle back and forth between both without any apparent alternative.

The way forward is to go "through" the dark night into Equanimity. The way to do this (the way I've done this) is to meditate with the dark night symptoms until you are able to be equanimous towards them; one day they won't seem so bad, and then soon after that they are gone, replaced by a new kind of mental ability. It is not the fancy super-energetic bliss of the A&P, it is way less fancy and yet much better, for it is devoid of the euphoric rush, the insatiable drive, which characterises A&P. "All is well."

Joshua L.:
Hey,

I chip away up through the 3C's until I get into A&P territory, then each sit nearly I cycle into A&P pretty easily, I get very confident and spiritual driven, by the book, eventually I'll have some epic bliss out accompanied by a dramatic shift and this brief sense of kundalini bursting out of me like a smokestack,

A&P followed by "unknowing event".


afterwards in subsequent days that A&P becomes a memory and I no longer can meditate well, I usually feel like I'm wasting my time, and often begin dreaming while attempting to meditate.

Dark night.


I am very confused by this because I would love to assume that this is DN territory, but wouldn't I have to cycle through the 1st and 2nd jhanas to get there, and yet I rarely hit the 1st during these phases.


You'll have to ask someone else about that. I haven't enough practice with jhanas.


To make matters worse, this is only describing my current last couple months, previously I really believed I was experiencing Dissolution and beyond because I'd feel my body disolve, the white lights go out and a drop after the A&P climax, and then after passing through all that (without any negativity, but without positivity as well) I'd pop out feeling equanimous,


This is dissolution, it is the nana corresponding to third jhana. After this comes the suffering stages, and after those comes real equanimity.

The sudden loss of concentration is a hallmark of the beginning of the dark night. Well done! emoticon
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
Great response!

It's worth considering that the kundalini smokestack feeling and the pulsating reality are two very distinct states, and for what's its worth, what I used to believe was equanimity was very distinct from what I believed was A&P, it really elucidated the simile of a still lake with only the occasional ripple. It may also be worth considering that the smoke stack feeling, if I remember well, had a kundalini feeling both physically and with the lights, it would exert a sort of pressure upon with, clenching my head and jaw to the upper right like during the 3C's, conversely during the pulsating reality I thought I remembered a cataract-like opaque white background at first, very subtle with little left to note but awareness itself until I finally just counted my breath. The pulse would become apparent and I'd stay with it or bare awareness, at this point it is difficult to recall on account of both memory and the vagueness of the actual experience's subtlety. After a few days of that, however, it seemed that I merged with it completely for a moment and the blip, of course, to say completely is difficult because it was subtle business. That night, and only that night ever, whatever that experience was, I couldn't sleep, because I kept experiencing it in my dreams.

I want to be confident that it happened a few weeks before that, but more subtly, and that I'd begin a new cycle time lasting a week resulting in better clarity until finally on the third or fourth cycle I had that experience. My meditation was never the same, it crumbled, and I had to work through the first nyana. I really wondered if I had SE, I posted about it, Daniel was hesitant, over time I agreed, but now I'm beginning to wonder again.

I really hope somebody can clear all this business up!

@ Bruno, don't you have at least SE? May I ask how you achieved that without the jhana experience, or are you just being humble? Is it because you don't note, is it some Goenka thing?
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
I would just rehash "The sudden loss of concentration is a hallmark of the beginning of the dark night," it is, for me, an excellent indicator that Dark Night is soon to follow, or is already established.

As for stream entry, I got it by powering through the nanas with momentary concentration. I had been stuck in the dark night for a year, and was in a quite desperate make-it-or-break it situation. I suppose you could say I have jhana (jhanas will occasionally spontaneously arise during meditation), but I don't have the kind of control that some people in this site have ("I want 4th jhana ... there it is"), nor have I been successful at the kind of practice which is recommended to achieve such control, hence I am not at all familiar with the details of transitions between jhanas, nor the relationship between jhana and nana (which pertains to one of your original questions). I am certainly not trying to be humble, as SE is no reason to be proud, it was just a big relief from a horrid state-of-affairs.
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Dodge E Knees, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 71 Join Date: 9/25/11 Recent Posts
It's hard to be certain, but if you had got SE your concentration would probably have dramatically improved, not got worse.

You are probably close to or have already gone through the A&P event. Do the vibrations in your body feel different, or do you you feel a bit wierd?

When I was pushing through the A&P I didn't notice the first much nanas either. The further your cutting edge, the quicker you tend to burn through the early stages. Also, I didn't really know what to look for, and the early stages seemed subtle compared to the sledgehammer of the A&P!

Personally, I found that my concentration got quite a bit better after the A&P. You don't really want to be stuck in DN for a year if you can help it, and improved concentration/ tranquillity will probably help you through it.


Maybe try specifically developing Samatha on it's own, or in tandem with Vipassana when your concentration generally feels good. Just enjoy the breath, relax and concentrate, go back to the DN when you feel more confident.


Good luck.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
Ive got a subtle anxious feeling 24/7 which arbitrarily consumes me. I feel depersonalized and sick without the coughing and whatnot. This is accompanied with a dharma neurosis, at times I feel compelled to note like I breathe. This also happened a month ago and it progressed into so.ething for more discordant then, it would appear that Ive fallen back and just crossed te A&P again. Last time my folly was the same inability to access jhanas like Im again experiencing. sigh.

On a good note I think I just hit the second jhana via Goenka.
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Dodge E Knees, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 71 Join Date: 9/25/11 Recent Posts
Sick and wobbly, that's DN alright!

Try working on jhana for a while , but don't get uptight about it, you have to relax.

When you enter DN, just let the sensations rise and fall on their own, good and bad, try not manipulate what is happening. Concentrate on the sensations themselves and try not to let your mind wander too much. Even in the midst of the nastiness you can sometimes find oases of calming sensations. Let good and bad arise and fall equally and ride it out.

All the best.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
I do feel better a lot, it seems lie every other day and mornings are better. I can usualy feel if the day will be very DNish early on.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
At work that DN feeling descended upon me, I proceeded to focus on it, it was made exeedingly clear that I'd cycled into Fear.

I really hope Goenka works for me.
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Dodge E Knees, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 71 Join Date: 9/25/11 Recent Posts
If body scanning doesn't work, you might want to try choiceless mindfulness of whatever sensations come up. Try to stay calm inside the storm, watch what happens and ride it out.

Try not to be intimidated by the onset of DN, it might not be half as bad for you as a lot of the accounts you've probably read.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
I try to make my motto: "Who is it who feels this way?"

Fortunately those DN episodes only happen sparsely, very sparsely. Ive notice Fear is preceded by a great self awareness that Im only sense organs followed by my entire body tingling and finally a subtle disolving feeling. But I dont want to risk projecting things Ive read in place of reality so take that for a grain of salt.Perhaps though this sounds familiar?
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
One thing you may find moving to the Goenka technique Joshua is that your experience of the DN becomes much more of a physical thing. Im not certain if this is the same for everyone doing body scanning, but certainly in my own case I had only minimal emotional upheaval during the day - some anger, stress etc --mostly its all been unpleasant sensations.

I may well have not had my last DN yet as Im pre-path and in EQ right now --count that as a disclaimer of sorts emoticon
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Dodge E Knees, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 71 Join Date: 9/25/11 Recent Posts
The DN was almost entirely physical for me too.

One thing you may find in the 3rd jhana/ vippasana jhana is that you can no longer direct the attention to a specific spot like you could in the A&P.

At this point I started simultaneous whole body mindfulness rather than body scanning, building the concentration first. I found that all the nasty sensations were from the neck and shoulders up, while in the legs an undercurrent of pleasantness could still be detected.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

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Dodge:

At this point I started simultaneous whole body mindfulness rather than body scanning,


Yes! I'd forgotten that. I found the DN easier to traverse (at home anyway) by just doing anapana and alternating anapana with full body awareness --I imagine it depends on your background but I figure I'd done so much scanning already that the awareness of teh body was really habitual so less need to actually scan at all. As Dodge points out, the focus is really at the edges, so allowing it to widen out to the whole body seems very natural and intuitively right.

I also could not do any jhana type states up until very recently in EQ, whenver I did anapana I just went straight up to whatever my cutting edge was at the time (in terms of the stages of insight) for the most part.

This may not be the the same for Joshua as he has a noting background but it's worth bearing in mind as you work on this.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
its interesting that you say that as I swore it seemed yesterday that the third jhana just popped up, but I dismissed it for impossibility.

Thanks for the advice everybody, it is very appreciated!

I will be alone tonight and I don't work tomorrow. Hopefully all this candle light kasina practice ad Goenka will pay off, if so Ill know to switch to full body awareness.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
Ugh, after much neurotic practice, I can concentrate significantly better.

You know what my new plight is? No matter how quiet my mind seemingly is, no jhanic states seem to arise, not when I note nor when I body scan.

It feels like that DN feeling is long gone, physically and mentally, but I never passed the third jhana. It seems like when I meditate I hit some state now that seems jhana-ish, in that it's still and opaque white, but thoughts can still arise and I know by comparing my past experiences that it gets 10 times deeper than that. It's like I'm in the first nyana but with a spaciousness and white like A&P.

I know the DN is supposed to make a person doubtful, but I seriously doubt everything now. It's debilitating because I've sacrificed almost every part of my life at this point, all my hobbies and pursuits, all my spare time and even a healthy relationship with my fiancee to get past this DN phase and it seems like the harder I try the less I get. I've grown largely ambivalent towards it though, in terms of the DN neurosis, but it still irritates me to no end that what I spend hours doing each day is apparently worthless. I dream about it, if I wake in the middle of the night I'm thinking about it, I note fast, I note slow, I patiently wait for sensations at the crown while trying not to have expectations created by my first and solely successful body scan, all of which end in failure.

The only thing noteworthy is that yesterday, after 3 or 4 hours of failed meditation, my last one seemed to climb close to or in early A&P (although I have two notions of A&P, one is what I used to regard as Equanimity which was far deeper for me, so this is confusing for me) and when I was abruptly forced to stop I felt like what I've imagined a PCE to be. Completely void of all feeling, my sense organs simply delighting in sensation, this lasted for around an hour.

..

I'm being impulsive, and I apologize. I appreciate all the help very much and I suppose I'm trying to accomplish displaying my desperation. If any of you understand music theory, I feel like a goddamn minor 9th begging for resolution. I feel like there's a stream before me, but try as I might, I just cannot hop into it.
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N A, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 157 Join Date: 7/10/11 Recent Posts
Joshua L.:
I appreciate all the help very much and I suppose I'm trying to accomplish displaying my desperation. If any of you understand music theory, I feel like a goddamn minor 9th begging for resolution.

I'm in a similar situation as yours, doubting everything while practice continues to suck, and I can't give any advice from experience and can only regurgitate stuff from books, but come on, MCTB talks in exactly the same terms!

"Just like listening to discordant, chromatic jazz with lots of jarring harmonies and instruments playing more at odds with each other than together takes some getting used to, the quality of attention in the Dark Night is an acquired taste [...]"

This is twenty-first century, we should be able to appreciate minor 9ths for what they are without a need to resolve them. Easier said then done of course... But per MCTB that's the direction you should take, more accepting DN than "getting past" it.

- a fellow musician emoticon
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
Hehe.

I guess my perspective of the DN was always that I'd have glorious meditation, hit the third jhana and then it would go to hell due to an inability to re-adapt my technique. I also thought that off-cushion symptoms would remain frequent as an indicator that, when in doubt, you're obviously a DN yogi.

More often than not I feel like I never meditated at all a day in my life now, except this impossible discord, an impending requirement for resolution until my life can resume. In fact, before meditation I was more disciplined in behavior and thought, it got incredible during A&P and now it's more than gone. I feel more like my late teenage self than the 24 year old dude I was. The husk of discipline, tolerance, patience, etc, has been stripped from my mind. Maybe that's proof enough I'm in DN. I never imagined that I'd get a taste of the physical sick-like symptoms and absolute discord, just for them to disappear leaving me more neurotic than ever, wanting to be miserable so that I can be confident that I'm at least a DN yogi, because that's an excuse for poor meditation. Except for this neurotic impulse for resolution, I feel empty inside now. Not depressed or happy, just ambivalent. I feel like I did when I was this dude who discovered vipassana and is now endeavoring to build access concentration, but I obsess over how I'm supposed to be breaking into the fourth jhana.

The task is impossible. I'm convinced I'm doing absolutely nothing right, except for that conviction which has thankfully been diagnosed as a DN symptom in advance to leave room for hope. The DN is truly terrible, not in the misery, but in the mind tricks and deceit. I feel like I'm being toyed with as part of an elaborate divine joke.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
D Z:

What are the sensations that make up the feelings of doubt ? or anxiety ? or irritation ? Are these sensations inherently bad ?


I'd like to hear this too Joshua. Can I add (as I've gotten a bit confused with this thread now..)

  • What technique your using now (noting vs scanning)
  • DZ's questions as it relates to that formal meditation
  • When you say Jhana, do you mean Samatha jhana or vipassana jhana?
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
I begin by noting if that fails I scan as I usually have great access concentration at that point.

I dont know how to answer the second beyond that those sensations are mental and rely upon memory, self-identification and impulse. I seem to want to answer this philosophically, but Id imagine youre looking for something for practical, could you help me out?

As far as jhanas go Id like to hope theyre vipassana. Yesterday I hit 3C's somehow and it was definitely vipassana, black background and three obvious stages requiring sustained effort lest I fall back to the first. Most importantly the insight was clear. Conversely lately Ill hit this white state with no energy or insight, its weak but easily sustainable. Perhaps despite my noting that was the first samatha jhana?

So then maybe my investigation isnt in balance with my concentration? Maybe the opposite is sometimes also true resulting in irritation?

PS. Id like to apologize for the bad formatting, typos and any awkward language, Im forced to use a Kindle most of the time which is completely terrible for internet use.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
Although I feel like my newbie self ifs a start, am I doing this right? Ill anchor my breathing and flllow my diaphragm and eventually latch onto tingles, usually in my hands, them amplify them nd work my way between each tingle.

Should my breath be in the foreground or background, should I note it or the tingles or should it be 50/50? I know this wont matter in the a&p but crossing the 3C's again will take finesse.

EDIT: After two straight hours of meditation Im nowhere. How does a guy who at minimum crossed the a&p, who steadily dropped all his hobbies so he could meditate five plus hours a day end up in my predicament?
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Hi Joshua --firstly please note that Im not the best qualified to answer many of your questions due to a) not being familiar with noting at all and b) not being that much further along the path than yourself! DZ might be better able to help on some of this stuff or other regular DhO'ers

That said, there are a couple of things Im happy to pick out of your last 2 posts and comment on. Just bear the above in mind:

I begin by noting if that fails I scan as I usually have great access concentration at that point.


I'd be inclined to want to pick one or the other and stick with it no matter what. If someone tells you there's water 100ft down, you don't dig 4 x 25ft holes. You dig 1 x 100ft hole --I don't know where the hell that came from but it sounds pretty sutta-ish! Having said that I know Kenneth Folk for one has argued the case for doing both simultaneously. For me, I like to keep things simple. The less chance "I" have to get in the way and over think it the better.


As far as jhanas go Id like to hope theyre vipassana. Yesterday I hit 3C's somehow and it was definitely vipassana, black background and three obvious stages requiring sustained effort lest I fall back to the first. Most importantly the insight was clear. Conversely lately Ill hit this white state with no energy or insight, its weak but easily sustainable. Perhaps despite my noting that was the first samatha jhana?


On the theme of keeping it simple. I'd want to put all thoughts of the first three stages of insight to one side and just keep doing vipassana till I hit a clear A&P event -- See MCTB: A&P chapter - same goes for samatha jhanas. You don't need them and it's so easy to waste time chasing them. I did exactly this, and really wish I hadn't! I still dont have good control over these things and have got pretty good at going through the DN without their help emoticon

After two straight hours of meditation Im nowhere.


Please define "nowhere".
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
Yeah I hear you about sticking to the one practice philosophy, in fact, that is what I enjoy about Goenka, that it is simpler than noting. Noting feels very rigorous to me and requires a lot of mental energy to get over certain points, like the 3C's, which, when I'm fortunate enough to confront the few times I have in the past week, I can't seem to surmount.

I've been in formless states before, when my meditation was good, and Goenka seems to lack as something all inclusive in that respect, with noting, although more difficult initially, it functions as an omni-hopper; and you can't go wrong with those.

Although from my little experience, it does appear that scanning and noting have more parallels than not, and when in foreign territory I doubt I'll purposely circumvent scanning if it feels right, for example, once I'm in a fine A&P I usually drop noting unless I'm losing my mindfulness, it's at that point that distinguishing between the two seems vague, but so is my idea of meditation.

When I hit the A&P this round through, I will note the hell out of any rapturous surges. I thought I already learnt that lesson, but now I see there is much room for improvement. I really missed that A&P, now I know that I just miss the feeling of equanimity.

By nowhere I meant there was no apparent improvement in meditation, although, I confess my concentration is returning, but it is directly unproportional to feeling like I'm in the DN, in other words, as I become more convicted that I've lost all cutting-edge and am now required to re-traverse the 3C's I find that I'm simultaneously making baby step improvements in concentration. That's probably a tell-tale sign of backsliding. Although at work today, for a short moment for 15 minutes or so, I completely felt that dark night feeling, physically and mentally, but maybe I was just depressed for a moment? At any rate, DN cycling or not, it's rapidly diminishing, so, no meditation progress, maybe I'll hit the 3C's per every 3 hours of meditation practice, no insight, increasing confusion of everything I thought I knew, increasing feelings of making a supreme blunder of everything in my life, the meditation messed it up, I want the meditation, but it's gone, it's sucky. That's what I mean by absolutely nowhere.

..

PS.

Bagpuss, could you please describe to me in as much detail as you feel inclined to give your typical meditation experience, from the intention to meditate, to your butt hitting the cushion, to getting access concentration, the big bit about finding something to scan, then the scanning and finally up till Equanimity if you'd be so inclined and enormously patient?
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Joshua:
Bagpuss, could you please describe to me in as much detail as you feel inclined to give your typical meditation experience, from the intention to meditate, to your butt hitting the cushion, to getting access concentration, the big bit about finding something to scan, then the scanning and finally up till Equanimity if you'd be so inclined and enormously patient?


Best thing for in-depth look at my practice is my practice thread. It starts at the DN, just after I got back from my last retreat.

To answer your question here though (albeit in the readers digest version) here you go:

  • Motivation: I have a burning desire to get stream entry. It can be best summed up by reading this.
  • I sit 2hrs a day, every day at roughly the same times of day. No motivation needed. That's just my schedule.
  • Im not sure what you mean by "finding something to scan". I use the U Ba Khin style of body scanning. Starting from the top of the head and working down to the toes, over and over again whether I can feel anything to begin with or not.
  • I currently seem to start off in low equanimity. If I do hit other stages first, they are not noticeable to m at present.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
The night before last I was scanning and it seemed like I might be hitting the 3C's, as phenomena sped up I could sense every neural signal in my body simultaneously it seemed, it felt like I was pixelating, does this sound familiar? I'm definitely in 3C's now anyways, I can tell a mile away, the left side of my jaw always hurts so bad, it grinds when move it and it hurts to eat, it sucks so much.

With some practice I've discovered that it's quite possible to hop from noting to scanning, in that order, but more difficult to go from scanning to noting, but it can be done with a little extra mindfulness.

I had some questions again..

* Because you say you begin your meditations at your cutting-edge, does that mean that all the advice about having panoramic awareness during the DN mean that I ought to apply that right off the bat? Because my perception was that I should wait until I'm in the third jhana.. which was already saturated with perceptions of deep jhanic absorption and diffusion leading to dissolving bodily sensations from past experiences--but if those perceptions are wrong, or especially if I'm anticipating two previous jhanas including an A&P then I might not see what is right in front of my face.

* For noters, and I don't think this is the appropriate thread to get this answered, but I'll try here first, it appears that one thing I've learnt through all this is to learn to balance my abdomen/breath between the foreground and background to fine tune it with another primary object, as rapid as those objects may or may not be, and it requires constant attention to get the most of your practice. Does this sound right?

* And for anybody who has at least one attainment already, when you begin a new path, do you lose all your concentration and feel like a newbie? Not that this is what I believe has happened to me, but I am curious if it has happened to me. Especially after I read this thread where Tarin was comparing EQ to feeling like being the last person to leave an empty, quiet building and when mixed with the four distinct phases of my meditative experience and a kundalini smokestack feeling that leads into the diffusion and donut awareness which bottoms out to that empty building feeling, it sounds like I've been everywhere before.. except that in the empty building feeling, I've gone much deeper until reality is a steady pulse, and I've merged with it until I was gone except some vague perception of my breath or awareness, which I managed on, I believe, a number of occasions, but most definitely once, to have a complete black blip which affected me off the cushion for a bit. This whole thread would make a lot of sense if I just hit the DN of second path, and found that it massacred my concentration.

By the way, concentration in meditation is an interesting thing. I've discovered that you can only get as much as your "physio-energetic circuit" thing will allow you, to use Folk talk. This means, in my case, that although I know quite well how to meditate, when the path throws me a speedbump somehow, maybe to overcompensate I'll triple my meditation time, and re and reread everything I've ever read about meditation to fine tune what I'm doing incorrectly, but if I'm looking for quick success, it will be to no avail. The path allows, if it has spat me out pre-Mind and Body, only that sort of concentration, which is chipping away at developing solid access concentration. Now that I'm in 3C's again, I feel the kundalini building, I feel the knot of energy behind my nose all the time, I can meditate solidly when I drive again with great confidence that my next sit and especially tomorrow it will be very fine, and within a week I'll be at A&P. And although I know how to go beyond A&P, the path won't let me, or rather, my physio-energetic circuit won't.

I've also learnt that I've been rationalizing my mystical expectations into completely non-mystical expectations, I think that may be one reason the DN catches me off guard, especially when it spits me out at pre-M&B, when I can't even hit the first jhana anymore I lose my grip on reality and become a neurotic mess.

..

PS. Sometimes, in (a) certain phase(s) of meditation, I'll begin rocking my body forward and backward pretty hard, if I'm seated, it keeps banging against the seat, for minutes, does this sound like any nyana? I know deep into the third, it's sort of like intertia pushing me back in a fast car, and my face always turns to the top right, whereas, if I remember correctly, when I thought I was in third jhana before, I would slouch. But rocking about?
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
UPDATE:

My question for noters above I can answer generically.You will have to balance many factors together with great diligence to achieve first jhana, but this will require a tremendous amount of effort and dedication, upon reaching the first jhana those balances need not be considered so much but with a focus on noting speed. Once the A&P is reached and the meditation "takes on a life of its own" neither matter so much.

..

The same guy who couldn't get anywhere no matter how much effort and care were applied can now, with a tenth of the effort, easily hit the A&P. I stress my point that the path only let's you go so far, even if you were once capable of more and still retain those abilities but have backslidden. If anyone in the future is ever reading this and is experiencing the plight of my opening post, rest assured, all will be well. I have a new sympathy for newbies, I'd forgotten how rough it can be at first.

As an example, while driving today, lazy noting and mindfulness of the abdomen got me nearly to the APE and then I began cycling down and got to the C3's before my ten minute drive was over. Now an hour later, with only that, I've cycled up to A&P while typing this. I'm obviously going to have a lot of momentum this time.

..

Thanks everybody for the advice, it would appear that I ought to be back in the DN by Christmas, I'll definitely apply the advice.
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D Z, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
Joshua L.:
I dont know how to answer the second beyond that those sensations are mental and rely upon memory, self-identification and impulse. I seem to want to answer this philosophically, but Id imagine youre looking for something for practical, could you help me out?


The stuff about sensations was more a pointer to get you back on track on what you need to examine through mindfulness.

We are talking about examining sensations at a physical / bodily level, so rather than 'fear' one might first see the broad bodily sensations ie tightening of the chest, twitching in the head, etc.

And then take it further by examining at a progressively smaller level, i.e. What are the sensations that make up the 'tightening of the chest' etc.

Thee point of all of this is, to show your brain that something like 'fear' is just a bunch of body mind sensations put together.

Taken separately these sensations are not good or bad, once your brain understands this, the state of mind automatically progresses to Equanimity.
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D Z, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
Joshua L.:

I know the DN is supposed to make a person doubtful, but I seriously doubt everything now. It's debilitating because I've sacrificed almost every part of my life at this point, all my hobbies and pursuits, all my spare time and even a healthy relationship with my fiancee to get past this DN phase and it seems like the harder I try the less I get. I've grown largely ambivalent towards it though, in terms of the DN neurosis, but it still irritates me to no end that what I spend hours doing each day is apparently worthless. I dream about it, if I wake in the middle of the night I'm thinking about it, I note fast, I note slow, I patiently wait for sensations at the crown while trying not to have expectations created by my first and solely successful body scan, all of which end in failure.


Sacrificing the other parts of your life and relationships is a bad idea.

You are making progress, but can't connect the dots yet. Doubt your own doubt. Stop thinking of it as this big scary Dark Night or what it is making you do. That is mostly a distraction.

What are the sensations that make up the feelings of doubt ? or anxiety ? or irritation ? Are these sensations inherently bad ?
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Is this the DN?

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Joshua L.:
Ive got a subtle anxious feeling 24/7 which arbitrarily consumes me. I feel depersonalized and sick without the coughing and whatnot. This is accompanied with a dharma neurosis, at times I feel compelled to note like I breathe. This also happened a month ago and it progressed into so.ething for more discordant then, it would appear that Ive fallen back and just crossed te A&P again. Last time my folly was the same inability to access jhanas like Im again experiencing. sigh.

On a good note I think I just hit the second jhana via Goenka.


This is dark night. You have effectively crossed the point of no return. Stream-entry will make it all better.