Looking for advice

Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

Looking for advice

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
I've been having a meditation of extremes; much success very quickly, and then enormous hurdles perplexing me to neurosis.

On account of the speed of success I've been unable in the past to describe my experiences properly or to comprehend the path and practice well, and as for the hurdles the problem has always been that I've focused too much on concentration without realizing it.

That last point is very important because the basis of this entire post relies upon it. That my practice has changed dramatically since one day little more than a week ago I began noting with an emphasis on understanding that each moment is a new experience, to be spliced from the immediate memory I had of it before. Within only five or ten minutes of this, coupled with dialing in the perfect amount of laxness (which for me means emphasizing the object rather than the investigation), I discovered that I no longer needed to verbally note, it was a hindrance, and as this became easier and my constant re-awareness spliced more finely, without realizing what was happening until afterwards, the meditation took on a life of its own, the spiced awareness kept speeding until I noticed it seemed like I was completely in the present and suddenly it drops out and it's difficult to be aware, but I know I've just entered the third jhana, then with peripheral awareness attempted noting, but it seemed contrived, it seemed that the third jhana, in the state, was beckoning me to note mental processes now, my consciousness, perception, awareness, things that I used to only experience deep in samatha-esque EQ. Then one after another I hit all the classic landmarks, which is interesting because only before have I ever had the fainest sense of Fear and nothing more, and what's more, a sense of why they occurred became clear, that I on account of the dissolution of my body I had to confront my awareness and consciousness and found they, too, to be ephemeral, and thus Fear, and an emphasis on the endings of things, and it sucked and so induced Misery, and at this point it became very clear that my normal life was despicable, which was profound, because I've been there and done that, up to EQ many a time before, but this time the dry insight was so very much more clear, and then Disgust, and while battling I realized it couldn't get any worse and thus I wanted it over, but then I realized that all this wanting and striving was just as empty and I'm thinking, "oh, fuck!" and Re-ob hits, but since I've done the DN so many times before it didn't effect me, I seen that it was just as hollow as my feelings of wanting release and boom I'm in EQ.

Here is the real profundity: Normally in EQ it is opaque white for me, and very expansive, with a sharp diffusion with my body and an infinite space. I feel still and every thought seemed to echo like in a dark room, and eventually formations arise, and even with this I've had my WTF moments with apparent blip outs that seemed like, within a half second, a black slit arose like in a horizon and consumed me, or rather, it felt what was left of me merged with the formation, the last shreds of my awareness as I struggle to count or note my breath or whatever feeble thing is left.

Not that this time was entirely different except that there was no apparent shift between the DN and EQ (although the other day, in one of those samatha states described above, there was a double dip after a very steep drop from Re-ob, which I only know because it was causing me doubts of my EQ, so I checked MCTB of course) and also instead of feeling expansive and three dimensional it felt narrow and one dimensional, but of course, it was chugging along very quickly, about 5 or so minutes till DN, then about 10 minutes to get through it, then maybe another 10 in EQ, normally in the samatha states it takes about 45 minutes. Anyways, I just noted my EQ and anticipation, though they were low, as I've been there and done that, too many times has my sudden heart racing destroyed the formations. Then deep in the formation suddenly, and very unexpectedly, my eyes tighten and I feel like I'm falling forward, only I'm not, it was already black (not opaque) but I feel like it got blacker, it seemed to be a blip out. Not to mention up to this point there was a swelling anticipation like before an APE, then afterwards nothing, I felt so finished that I immediately stopped meditating.

Normally I cycle a lot, a tingling and sometimes tickling knot of energy behind the nose means I'm in the 3C's or A&P, the DN is quite obvious enough, EQ I don't notice too much, except feeling the naivity or carefreeness of a child sometimes, and the lack of motivation to meditate. Now I don't meditate anymore. I did 2 - 5 hours a day, now I have maybe 1 hour in 3 days. I don't seem to cycle either, except I get that EQ feeling here and there, and yesterday while laying down with my gf I felt an anticipation and then that same sinking feeling with my eyes tightening occurred, out of nowhere.

Does this sound like anything?

PS. I forgot to mention that normally I did the samatha thing by accident, I think, after I commenced peripheral noting at the onset of the third jhana, the shift must have been a poor one, prior to that, obviously to get there, though with poor technique, I must have been doing vipassana.

Also, normally after a couple days of poor meditation of a complete lack of it, I will slowly get DN feelings and slip back into Reob, by a week I'm in hell. Now nothing. And no urge.

Lastly, for the last month or so, I'll constantly have this pattern where I can't meditate well, and have to slowly hit the 3C's, this might take a week, I'll break into A&P and hit the third jhana within a day usually, then I'll be chilling in low EQ the next day and then I'll be in high EQ within a couple more, maybe this will last a few more days, maybe it won't. Sometimes there's a WTF blip, often times not. Then before I know it I can't meditate one day and the cycle repeats. Maybe that means something?

Hope you all can help!
m m a, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 153 Join Date: 6/9/11 Recent Posts
Hi josh


Here's my advice:


Chill.

You seem to be really keen on dharma diagnoses and matching your experience up to the established stages of insight, but you (and countless other yogis) may have not given enough attention to a canonical piece of advice:

The maps are not the territory.

Spend some time JUST doing the practice, with no meta-analysis of whats going on. Be present in every moment, NOTE EVERYTHING.

There are some clues here that you may be in review - do you think you have stream entry? Have you tried calling up fruitions?

Also, its not clear that there's an issue or problem here, do you perceive one?
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
i wonder if i do have stream entry, but i wouldnt know how to discern so.

i dont know how to call up fruitions.

i have noted the majority of each day for up to a week at a time, i feel compelled to in dark night territory.

my main concern is that ive quit meditating. its destroyed my creative hobbies that im all to eager to return to. those hobbies occupy all my time, and th days roll by without noticing the lack of mindfulness. yet, its different than equanimity, during which i still feel pressed to meditate, however sparse it may be.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
okay, i just sat down to meditate for the first time in something like three days and suddenly the difference between concentration and mindfulness became exeedingly clear as my concentration was locked on my abdomen yet i still kept thinking over my hobbies. finally with great intention i focused on my mind moments and rapidly my awareness sped up over maybe two minutes then it took on a life of its own and then thirty seconds later my eyes tightened then came he sinking feeling. then i stopped. no obvious stages, especially third jhana...
m m a, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 153 Join Date: 6/9/11 Recent Posts
Wow, so much of your posts exactly echo my own experience, especially the bits about hobbies, eye tightness, and motivation to meditate.



Lets see... do you feel a feeling of completing something, or resetting something, that goes with the 'sinking feeling'? Is that why you are putting an end to the meditation at that point?


Anything you could describe as a 'bliss wave'?
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
In the samatha states, which were far more epic, yes I did experience that, the first time in fact I was blissed out for a couple hours and then had trouble falling asleep and for hours kept being waken up by APE-like feelings.

Usually if I haven't been in A&P or EQ for long enough I'll get orgasm-like bliss waves through my body accompanied by cold chills and goosebumps. Often several in succession.

Even the feeling I'm describing now, this vipassana EQ, this Plain Jane EQ, I believe, is old. A couple months ago, but it's hard to say with confidence, I remember I used to meditate from access concentration up to my cutting edge with no experiences of backsliding ever up till EQ in which I remained for some weeks, at which point I started an account here and attempted to relay my experiences. Within a month I had blip outs and posted those, on one Ingram responded urging me to give it time because I could be confusing stages. That caused me severe doubt of everything, then I'd begin posting about having "two different experiences of A&P" while trying to make it clear that one of them may have been high EQ. Well, it was high EQ. And those blip outs might have been real, and they were accompanied by excitement at first, but that wore down. Then recently, one day, I couldn't meditate any longer, at all. I couldn't even get access concentration, it took like two weeks or maybe three to get into the first jhana again, at which point I clearly had a cutting edge again which could be reached easily through only breathing meditation each time (this may have been a product of the DN, a certain Mr. Bagpuss lent me great service in informing me that he reaches his cutting edge without any intermediary stages, so wondering if it was the DN I began meditating in my periphery with great hope, and after five long, doubtful minutes it worked). My conviction of having been in high EQ, that I was correct in my assertion that Ingram cast doubt upon, was confirmed when I crossed the A&P again, then that distant memory of my "kundalini smokestack" feeling of the APE was confirmed, then that peripheral vibe with the unique feeling of third jhana was confirmed, then that old (samatha-esque) EQ came back finally, and that made four distinct phases, confirmed by all the new knowledge I'd gained since my precocious meditations of joining this forum. But my meditation would, like always, falter after a day or two in high EQ, but within three days or so, maybe more sometimes, I'd be back. Like always, I think, unknowingly, I was converting to primarily concentration at the third jhana, and after getting frustrated during one of those cycles where I seemed perpetually stuck in the first jhana, I reread something in the MCTB that helped me before, the impermanence section. After really focusing on mind moments, voila! A clear difference in meditation presented itself after the third jhana, and especially in the fourth, but the pesky heart racing ruined it. The second attempt, the next day, had the eye tightening thing with plunging into an apparent abyss, but nothing else except the resolving of the epic buildup. And apparently I stopped cycling in waking life. But again, I think the eye tightening jig used to happen during those more precocious meditations of several months ago, but the meditations were so wondrous to the newbie I was, and when considering that I used to tighten my eyes so much anyways (in fact, I used to think they were nyana shifts, hehe) I paid them little attention.

I wonder if this was all review, all of the above, and my glorious expectations weren't met, that the path is simple, and my having gotten so much better was nothing but simplication of all the crap I'd imbued my practice with, all my expectations and hopes and all the mystical seeming stuff.

On to some pedantry..

You know, I used to meditate over a year ago, not knowing how to or what to do, but I found an object, a fan's hum, and I locked on. For some reason, I persisted and eventually got good at it; and without knowing what had happened I hit the A&P. I Googled around and learned about the jhanas and so assumed it was the first or so, and obviously I aimed for the fourth. I practiced hard and then one day, very abruptly, I turned into a very nasty dude who stopped meditating completely and after shit talking some people on another Buddhist forum I was frequenting at the time, but right before that a friend sent me MCTB. About 8 months later I read it and started meditating again and on day one I was at the A&P, so, perhaps it's very possible that I got a lot of success quickly on having crossed the A&P before and without knowing what the hell was happening. Actually back then, I'd lucid dream a lot, and then if I began meditating, I'd experience much stronger A&P's than I ever have in waking life. All that stopped this meditation round though.

I definitely feel like viscerally my idea of the self is destroyed, even if it's difficult to verbalize with convincing precision, and that I know exactly what vipassana is. I do still get pissed off.
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Path moment of some kind. Make sure you don't loose your concentration skills by slacking off on your review phase. You should be able to go deeper than before.

If it was stream entry, a very powerful A&P might be lurking around the corner. Beware of unitive experiences, mystical conceptualization, and "spreading the word of god". Beware of all kinds of mental fabrication and fermentation. For me it was a great opportunity to find out just how much euphoria can suck emoticon
m m a, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 153 Join Date: 6/9/11 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:
Path moment of some kind. Make sure you don't loose your concentration skills by slacking off on your review phase. You should be able to go deeper than before.


Sorry to hijack this thread, but i'm sure its relevant to josh as well.

bruno, this is pretty much where I'm at now. After path-moment (which i only came to identify months later, and i'm still a bit unsure exactly what went down), meditation totally lost its appeal and I fell out of practice, down from ~3 hours a day to 3 hours a month. Now, after reviewing MCTB, talking with a meditation teacher, and returning to practice, I'm fighting to get my concentration and motivation back, both of which are still lackluster compared to my pre-path practice.

Any advice other than 'PRACTICE!' for myself (and Josh)?
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
m m a:
Any advice other than 'PRACTICE!' for myself (and Josh)?


Not really. I also quit practicing after stream-entry, not so much because I was unmotivated, but because the energetic euphoria was so overwhelming that I would easily overload with bliss and orgasms and fevers and rushing vibrations of kundalini — and get really scared.

If something like that happens to you, I have some extra suggestions to give, other than that, none other than "keep practicing".
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
I've had crazy experiences like this before, but they never lasted more than a couple hours at a time.

Are you thinking this is SE then, I mean, the lynchpin of my entire argument rests upon some weird eye tightening deal accompanied with a sinking feeling. Is that what a fruition feels like?
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Bruno Loff, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
I never noticed eye tightening, for me it is preceded by a peculiar type of spacing out, then there is a blip or two, and a pleasant sensation of being refreshed, like attention was reset.

My guess that it is a path moment is not only due to your description of cessation, but due to the very typical description of what happened preceding it, and due to the sense of resolution (which, to my knowledge, could not have come any other way). Stream-entry is not that WOW OMG SUPER. You should notice that it is more easy not to get upset, and that you have unprecedented access to your internal world.

If I am right, your need to meditate will come back; A&P and Dark Night will come back. Why settle for first path? You clearly got talent, so make use of it.
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

Posts: 49 Join Date: 2/11/11 Recent Posts
Thank you Bruno.

Maybe this is important? I can't seem to meditate in such a way as to investigate the three characteristics well without the eye deal happening, after which I can meditate. The eye thing seems to only occur once in short bit, maybe five minutes or so I can induce it, but I haven't really tried hard to speed it up because I have a strong sense of not wanting to, also the eye tightening is such that it is discomforting and can cause a little agitation afterwards, especially if done repeatedly. When I'd gotten your first message, a couple days ago, I tried to hold it, and I realized I can maintain it for a bit longer than normal, energy built and the black began to whiten, but it was too intense and my eyes too tight, either I stopped or it did. Immediately after I attempted to meditate again and I could, but I felt compelled to take it easy. After some hours passing I cannot meditate without it happening, like I said.

Yesterday it seemed that I had slight DN feelings, and some times I still get weird EQ feelings, but they are very, very subtle. Also sometimes my jaw is tight and hurts, which always happens in the 3C's. I dunno..

..

Thank you for encouraging me. I do intend to continue at some point, but I really wanted to confirm SE in order that I may take a break to develop certain hobbies I've mostly sacrificed in the last several months. After I've tired of those, I'd very much love to get more serious about second path, if hypothetically I do indeed have first. Notwithstanding I do still intend to begin meditating once or twice a day, even if but for a collective hour, it's just that I really don't feel like it, at all. And anyways, all the toil of maintaining EQ and the neurosis caused of backsliding and the DN need to remain an old memory for a moment. Ugh, I hated that; and so did my gf.

I only wish I could be sure. emoticon
Joshua L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Looking for advice

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

That eye tightening and sinking feeling Deal are still occurring. I had began trying to note either deliberately poorly in order to circumvent the Deal, like trying to avoid a deer on the highway, or I had been shifting entirely to samatha meditation, which, by the way, seems to have acquired a remarkable facility. With this practice I began to decrease the amount of the Deal's recurrences, and, eventually, my meditation began to return, in fact, I noticed how new it felt, like literally the first time ever in the first jhana. Actually, the first time I was certainly in the first jhana again since the Deal and it's complications, I began noting without verbalizing and with spectacular results, just splicing reality away. I noticed that, in addition to it all feeling like the first time again, my insights were certainly not new, it felt like all the time before, even in EQ I was noting by reaching out at objects, like they were entities, whereas now it's all about my awareness, like they are lucid projections, that is exactly why I didn't have to note, at least at first, eventually I thought I was seriously in the A&P but intense, like the first time ever, and with the momentum I thought I might be crossing the A&P, but I had to begin supplementing my investigation with noting to cross the barrier, just then I notice it feels like there's a goddamn baseball sized knot of energy that feels like it's trying to squeeze through my fucking neck, it felt that bad too, and I got it through, but it got even more intense, and that's when I realized I crossed the 3C's and had only now just entered A&P (or I think?). Needless to say, it was exhausting, and I stopped. I thought I'd pick up on it the next day. Well, my meditations aren't going quite so well now, and I'm feeling like I'm in the DN now.. Although, my desire to meditate is still null, no desire, when in DN I become impressively neurotic, especially about meditation. Maybe this is the 3C's?

Well, anyways, does anybody know what's up? Do you think I got stream entry and this is second path, do you think this is review of the first, or do you think that the eye Deal above coupled with my lack of meditation for 1.5 weeks caused me to backslide and this is all still first path?

I know that's a hard question, and that I should just practice, but you know, just curious! Hope you can help!