How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Callum John Greet, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 1:50 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 1:50 AM

How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 9/27/23 Recent Posts
I've now picked up a more consistent practice after being stuck at re-observation for the last year or so. My experience is plagued by extreme neurosis, a restless indecisive mind, and ear worms. Every so often I crash through into equanimity and the mind becomes all inclusive, spacious, and well. The problem is this taste of equanimity doesn't last very long and i find myself thrown back into re-observation only to repeat the afformentioned cycle. This has been going on for some time. My question is how to stabilise equanimity and not revert back into re-observation? Thanks
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supermonkey :), modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 7:33 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 7:33 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 142 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
It's not so much about how to stabilize Equanimity, but what led to it. Your mentioned cycle is a good indication for that - the mind needs to gather more information from Re-Observation. It needs to get what causes the transition. That's a visceral process and cannot be forced, just like Equanimity cannot be forced to stay.
You can imagine the cycling as a mill wheel. As long as the water keeps coming, the wheel will turn. And the water is practice that builds awareness. In the end, it's all about the mind becoming aware of greed, aversion, delusion. Hint: in Re-Observation it's mostly aversion.

Now, the question is: what do you practise, and is there anything, despite consistency, that can make it become more suitable to building awareness of greed, aversion, delusion?

Apart from your actual practise, you could ask yourself: how much am I trying to manipulatie my experience? Are earworms really a problem? Do I really have to get rid of them? Is an indecisive mind something to abandon? Is it something to hate, or can I develop some compassion and understanding towards it? Is it understandable that when it feels like I am being torn apart, the mind becomes neurotic, because it thinks it needs to do something about it and doesn't know what? And further: is the experience of being torn apart something you need to or even are able to avoid, especially when considering that the apparent development from Dark Night to Equanimity is a movement from narrow and contracted to open and spacious mind?

Or you could ask: what is missing? Am I aware of my surrounding? Could it be that what makes the mind contract is a sense of threat in the periohery? Could it be helpful to develop awareness of the periphery to develop towards open and spacious? If the periphery seems scary, where is the actual threat? Is it the feeling or the aversion to the feeling that makes you avoid it? Or you could notice something like: "a while ago, when I was in A&P, I felt great in this room...now it feels like I am being in danger... but I'm still just sitting here... the transition to EQ seems to make everything feel broad and spacious.... maybe I'm simply sitting in a necessary transition phase and precisely what occurs is what I need to be with..."
So I have no idea what you are practising, but from a jhanic perspective it's pretty straightforward: in 2nd, focus in the middle is perfect. In 3rd you get a sense of narrow surrounding and the middle feels difficult. In 4th that is resolved. That's it. If you learn to really be with narrow and difficult for a while, you win. emoticon

Theses are just some ideas, hopefully something is interesting for you.
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 7:47 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 7:47 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 351 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
The Housecleaning Phase. So, you've probably have experienced all the Progress of Insight nanas in some way. But merely experiencing them is different from the true "knowledge of" the nanas. You sorta know about the Dark Night nanas of Dissolution, Fear, Misery, Disgust, Desire for Deliverance, and Reobservation... but you still kinda hate them. You know about Equanimity but you have trouble dwelling in EQ. And everytime you spend time in EQ for a while, you seem to get sent back into the dukka nanas again. What's the deal?

Maybe that big experience was actually Stream Entry and now you're cycling? Yeah!!!!! No, no, no, no, no, no, no! Don't believe it. It's very easy to create fantasies of progress to cover-up our feelings of lack of progress. Don't do it. Just be honest and clear: you have made progress but now you're feeling stuck.
You've entered the Housecleaning phase of practice.
It's the refinement phase. You're not learning something new, you're learning things _well_. After a meditator has had an A&P big experience and has suffered through the dukka nanas and has touched on EQ and now has no doubt that there is something to the Progress of Insight map... there is still a lot of work to do. Sorry, but I'm being honest.
The housecleaning phase involves what seems like an eternity of going through dukka nanas, reaching Equanimity, experiencing a new clarity of mind, and then going back through the dukka nanas and seeing something new that was overlooked before. Each trip through the dukka nanas involves less suffering and more acceptance. Each trip through the DN makes us realized even more deeply how our reactive habits create our suffering. Each trip through brings an increased ability to be in the presence of discomfort without overreacting. It's not uncommon to eventually go up and down several times in a single sit.
This isn't post-Stream Entry cycling, this is pre-SE housecleaning.
Here's my best metaphor for this phase: It's like you have a dirty rag and you are going through your house and cleaning all the surfaces, then you get to the sink and trickle of water comes out of the faucet and you can rinse out your rag a little. Then you see how dirty the house still is and so you go through the house with your slightly clearer rag and you wipe down the surfaces again. Maybe you start seeing what is below the dirt a little more... You eventually get to the sink again, and there's a little trickle of water, and wash the rag a little again, and you can see that the house could be a little cleaner so you wipe down the surfaces again...
This is what happens every time we touch on Equanimity. Our mind gets a little cleaner, we are a little more sane, we see our reactive patterns a little more clearly. But our reactive patterns are still seductive and confusing, so we need to re-experience all our bullshit again to see it more clearly as the bullshit it is. And the insights don't happen all at once. It takes a lot of _refinement_ over time. And it can even feel like things are getting worse, because we're starting to see our reactive patterns more and more clearly.
Sort of like how the more you clean your house, the dirtier it seems. There's all this dirt you didn't notice before you started cleaning.

It's worth checking at shargrols full backlog of stuff

https://shargrolpostscompilation.blogspot.com/
Callum John Greet, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 8:18 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 8:18 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 9/27/23 Recent Posts
That's very insightful, thanks. I previously had this feeling that these neurotic patterns of seeking and aversion were in some sense beyond me and can't be forced/willed. It seems like they play themselves out, bang their heads of the wall and capitulate to then reveal EQ. I suppose only once you are completely aware of the defilements and can't reify and invest in them anymore can they fall away. It's quite torturous in a way.

Up until the A&P I practiced basic mindfulness breathing at the abdomen, mantra meditation and some breathwork. After hitting the dukkha nanas I dropped practice completely and suffered tremendously for nearly a year. Now I am practicing a mix of freestyle noting and body scan vipassana. Though I am basically self taught and never had any instruction so I imagine I'm missing a few bits...

​​​​​​​I appreciate the questions that you have listed, I am going to journal on them. Very enlightening...
Callum John Greet, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 8:24 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 8:24 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 9/27/23 Recent Posts
This post was super helpful. I would beat myself up for cycling back to the DN, but I can now see it is necessary as I still have a lot of bullshit that needs to be cleaned up. It is a painstaking proccess though and it does feel like it is dragging on and on. I am expecting to just meditate my way through this, but surely other modalities are useful for dealing with hinderances and defilements? I am thinking of therapy, lifestyle changes, journalling etc. Can you share about your experience in the dukkha nanas, were you able to hit stream entry, did it take a while? 

​​​​​​​Thanks again
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Sha-Man! Geoffrey, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 9:39 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 9:28 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 351 Join Date: 10/30/23 Recent Posts
other modalities are useful for dealing with hinderances and defilements

Well, I think viewing them as 'hindrances and defilements' makes them worse than they need to be. When you're on the cushion, what is actually so bad about being sleepy or restless or what have you? Perhaps they are unpleasant. Perhaps they create a weird solidity to them. Perhaps they generate thoughts like "oh I hate being sleepy, this is bad meditation!". But what is actually so bad about that that they warrant such a terrible notion as hindrance or defilement?

I found therapy to be useful myself.

I'm still in EQ, but I'd say I'm in a more stable/mature end of it (although that's my personal opinion). There are two tricks I used. When I was mostly in the DN and could occasionally come up for air in EQ I did a lot of this

While you are practicing just sitting, be clear about everything going on in your mind. Whatever you feel, be aware of it, but never abandon the awareness of your whole body sitting there. Shikantaza is not sitting with nothing to do; it is a very demanding practice, requiring diligence as well as alertness. If your practice goes well, you will experience the 'dropping off' of sensations and thoughts. You need to stay with it and begin to take the whole environment as your body. Whatever enters the door of your senses becomes one totality, extending from your body to the whole environment. This is silent illumination."
One of the interesting things you'll notice if you do this, is it takes you to a 'spacious awareness'. I kept doing that until one time on retreat I was basically able to flip my default, so instead of being 'in my head' as my baseline, and occasionally feeling space, I was usually in space and occasionally 'in my head'. Then from there it really was, when these big feelings would come up, I'd tried to hold them in spacious awareness. A lot of times it was unpleasant, but what happens as you hold these things there for longer and longer is that first the aversion goes away, then the feelings of solidity go away (and with the solidity the felt sense of shittiness. hmm.....), then you see the raw sensation, and you know it's not too bad. As you keep doing this for more and more stuff, it keeps flipping over 'to the other side', and you are more and more equanimous more of the time.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 10:18 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 10:16 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 2710 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Uh oh!  "Stabilize" is the main issue here my friend! There is nothing to stabilize here! Just keep noting in accordance with the tempo of the Stage at hand. If its EQ then just keep noting with THAT tempo (will arise on its own, nothing to do about it but note/clearly comprehend it). I would not drop Noting too soon! Actually, no need to drop noting all the way. But do drop that desire to stabilize anything emoticon Acceptance of it all just as it is!  ​​​​​​​Best wishes! 

EDIT to add; instead of dropping the urge to stabilize, just keep noting it and all its made of! emoticon Yes! Thats the way! emoticon 
Callum John Greet, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 10:29 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 10:29 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 9/27/23 Recent Posts
I initially thought it wasn't the best wording. Maybe I should say "How to not revert into re-observation after touching equinimity?" Yes, acceptance of phenomona (which I'd also call EQ) has been growing here during practice along with sensory clarity. Concentration is not siper though. Thanks
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 10:38 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 10:37 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 2710 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Concentration at this stage is irrelevant at least in the way we look at concentration as in a very sharp clear seeing emoticon So let it spread wide and far, as far as it wants. 


"Maybe I should say "How to not revert into re-observation after touching equinimity?"  "

But you did use the wording correctly. You indeed are trying to "stabilize". DON'T emoticon

​​​​​​​Instead NOTE the sensations that make up that sentence above! Thats the safest ticket to ride! emoticon so look! "how ... to ... not ... revert ... into ... re-observation ... after ... touching ... equanimity ..." look at all the sensate stuff that makes that experience! DO NOT CLING TO EQUANIMITY! emoticon 

Bets wishes! (you can do this) ... acceptance, loving acceptance of all fear of losing stuff like equanimity etc ... its all good! 
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Pepe ·, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 2:35 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 2:35 PM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 713 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Kenneth Folk's Essence Noting is a nice combo: you're still doing some kind of noting (*) but you're cultivating a positive mind-state (of open receptivity) while you're also practicing to embrace all incoming phenomena.

(*) sometimes jumping into noticing too early in EQ is not a good idea. Any level of concentration you achieve could quickly transition into dullness, and subsequently into DN
Adi Vader, modified 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 10:59 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/6/24 10:59 PM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 274 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Think of samsara as a way in which we relate to our sensory environment.

Our relationship is characterised by mental positions or postures or stances.

In the dukkha nanas we discover these stances.

For example the experience of fear comes about when we hold a particular stance. When awareness meets its objects in a particular way. I like to use the word expectation. When awareness meets its objects with an expectation of outcomes either good or bad - the result is the affective response of fear.

By accepting the dukkthenanas as a learning classroom, and denying the urge to 'hack' the dukkha nanas, we actually get a lot of knowledge which carries us into equanimity.

So to stabilize equanimity, accept and make a sincere attempt to learn from fear, misery, disgust, desperation. This learning is rock solid if you approach it as a student rather than as a hacker.

​​​​​​​Hope this helps. 
Callum John Greet, modified 3 Months ago at 1/7/24 2:27 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/7/24 2:27 AM

RE: How to stabilise equanimity after re-observation?

Posts: 16 Join Date: 9/27/23 Recent Posts
Yes this helps. It's good to make a resolve to learn from these feelings and textures, because I think we can all be prone to trying to brush them out the way.

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