Some Technical Questions About Cycling...

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Alan Smithee, modified 10 Years ago at 1/8/12 12:51 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/8/12 11:44 AM

Some Technical Questions About Cycling...

Posts: 310 Join Date: 4/2/10 Recent Posts
I have some general questions about cycling. Let's talk for the moment regarding how cycling affects pre stream entry folks.

1) So, once a person makes it to a stage, they will always cycle through the stage they've made it to and the previous ones? For example, say someone makes it through the three characteristics, they will then continuously cycle through mind and body, cause and effect, and three characteristics rest of their lives (unless they make it to a further stage)?

2) How fast do pre stream entry folks cycle through these stages? Do they cycle even if not on the cushion?

3) Is there something about the dark night which is different, such that, once you make it there, you don't cycle through mind and body, cause and effect, three characteristics, and A+P anymore, but only cycle through dark night? Meaning, it becomes a new baseline, or is the baseline always mind and body?

3A) Or, do you continue to cycle through the earlier stages but don't really notice them much (note -- wouldn't you notice going through the A+P again and again since it is associated with weird effects?)?

4) Once past the A+P, the stages begin "happening to you," such that, the dark nights stages of 5-10 will happen regardless of whether you meditate or not?

5) Say a person is a dark night yogi -- after unwittingly going through the A+P when 17 years old after taking acid, or an extreme masturbation session, or a particularly frenzied rave dancing session, etc. -- does this mean they basically only cycle through stages 4-10, or is it 5-10? Also, how fast does this cycling happen?

5A) Clearly, I would consider myself a dark night yogi at this point [500 trips of acid back in the 90s, anyone?]; however, I am much more functional and positive and happy now than I was, say, ten years ago (although I've yet to make it to equanimity). Can someone basically solve or get a handle on the dark night stuff without having gotten to equanimity? Meaning, is there something to "solve" in dark night, or is it truly just happening to you without any ability to control it or master it (pre stream entry, that is)?

6) If you are a dark night yogi, you can still have a new A+P (if it has been a long time since the last one)?

7) If you have any general notes or thoughts about cycling or how it works which you feel may be interesting or enlightening, please include them. Thanks!
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bill of the wandering mind, modified 10 Years ago at 1/8/12 12:35 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/8/12 12:35 PM

RE: Some Technical Questions About Cycling...

Posts: 131 Join Date: 4/14/11 Recent Posts
Alan Smithee:
I have some general questions about cycling. Let's talk for the moment only about pre stream entry folks.

1) So, once a person makes it to a stage, they will always cycle through the stage they've made it to and the previous ones? For example, say someone makes it through the three characteristics, they will then continuously cycle through mind and body, cause and effect, and three characteristics rest of their lives (unless they make it to a further stage)?

2) How fast do pre stream entry folks cycle through these stages? Do they cycle even if not on the cushion?

3) Is there something about the dark night which is different, such that, once you make it there, you don't cycle through mind and body, cause and effect, three characteristics, and A+P anymore, but only cycle through dark night? Meaning, it becomes a new baseline, or is the baseline always mind and body?

3A) Or, do you continue to cycle through the earlier stages but don't really notice them much (note -- wouldn't you notice going through the A+P again and again since it is associated with weird effects?)?

4) Once past the A+P, the stages begin "happening to you," such that, the dark nights stages of 5-10 will happen regardless of whether you meditate or not?

5) Say a person is a dark night yogi -- after unwittingly going through the A+P when 17 years old after taking acid, or an extreme masturbation session, or a particularly frenzied rave dancing session, etc. -- does this mean they basically only cycle through stages 4-10, or is it 5-10? Also, how fast does this cycling happen?

5A) Clearly, I would consider myself a dark night yogi at this point [500 trips of acid back in the 90s, anyone?]; however, I am much more functional and positive and happy now than I was, say, ten years ago (although I've yet to make it to equanimity). Can someone basically solve or get a handle on the dark night stuff without having gotten to equanimity? Meaning, is there something to "solve" in dark night, or is it truly just happening to you without any ability to control it or master it (pre stream entry, that is)?

6) If you are a dark night yogi, you can still have a new A+P (if it has been a long time since the last one)?

7) If you have any general notes or thoughts about cycling or how it works which you feel may be interesting or enlightening, please include them. Thanks!


Ok I'll bite with my limited pre-path experience emoticon

1) It seems to me that it depends on how you practice - what does happen is that once you have 'unlocked' a nana and go through it a few times it seems to get easier and easier to slip into. If you are practicing daily then what will happen is you will notice yourself going up and down the maps but there will be a mid-point that seems to be the center of the orbit, and as time goes on IF you are practicing enough/correctly for you the midpoint will rise to a higher and higher nana until eventually a good chunk of your up/down will reside in the 11th nana, depending on the continuity of your practice and factors we don't yet understand. If you don't do any insight practice you may find your midpoint falling down, and it may fall back to the lower nanas but what I found is that since I had been through them alot it was easy to 'accidentally' cross A&P doing something else and find myself going up through the maps off-cushion for a few days only to fall back down again. No idea why some people seem to rise and fall quickly or slowly - I can tend to rise quickly and fall slowly, so I have spent lots of time in some fairly difficult territory. Could be because I have a habit of practicing quite a bit off-cushion. Who knows.

2) Speed seems to depend on things I don't understand - I seem to cycle up within a day or so at times when not doing insight, faster when doing it - fast noting can move me much faster up the maps, although it doesnt seem to help me fall back down quicker. Yes - many of us have found ourselves going UP or down the maps off-cushion, sometimes in indistinct ways that are unclear until we hit something obvious and then put together the puzzle pieces, and sometimes in clear ways. Again no idea why the differences, although concentration seems to add clarity to the nanas in my experience.

3) If you are practicing every day a good amount then you may not notice yourself going 'back down' - your midpoint may be high up there. Some people seem to drift back down quickly though so they might start each day down at the bottom. Again I have experienced both things and seemingly didn't have much control over them. 3A) - could be true also that the lower nanas become harder to notice. I'm not sure.

4) Seems that way sometimes but other times it seems to go dormant. I was able to do 2-3 weeks of pure concentration without cycling at all (it seemed) but then one day I hit a strong concentration state, and found myself going up the maps and back down over a few days. I have had that happen alot with concentration, but other's experience may not be the same. If you totally stop sitting I suppose you would fall back down eventually but you will really notice yourself closing up and some part of you will be miserable that way, at least that was my experience. I don't think I could ever stop sitting emoticon

5) I've had nanas happen over weeks when doing less sitting and more open-awareness type stuff - I've also had things occur that in retrospect weren't nanas at all but might be mistaken for them. Opening up often exposes all sorts of mental and physical stuff that is unpleasant that we were hiding from - going from numbness to seeing everything very quickly by having an A&P, even if you don't cross A&P, can open up a can of worms of things you weren't used to experiencing. It would be easy to mistake this stuff for 'dark night', but its sometimes all conditioning and hindrances. 5A) Every attempt to solve or control dark night stuff seems to add fuel to the fire, in my experience. - I am currently working on concentration, but when things get wild and hairy I can see clearly that anything I add to the thoughts and feelings only brings more suffering.

6) I think you can have another big one if its been a long time, although I think what may have happened to me was that I got up into A&P territory a bunch of times without getting past there, and from 5) above got mired in difficult 'stuff' that wasn't really dark night. When I crossed it it was very very clear I had crossed it, and the dark night was very obvious for a while, the mind strong for weeks, and everything was particles, vibrations, energy, etc. I think people vary alot on this one.

7) Answered in 1 above.

As I am fairly inexperienced feel free anyone here to correct me emoticon
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 1/8/12 4:47 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/8/12 4:47 PM

RE: Some Technical Questions About Cycling...

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
1) So, once a person makes it to a stage, they will always cycle through the stage they've made it to and the previous ones? For example, say someone makes it through the three characteristics, they will then continuously cycle through mind and body, cause and effect, and three characteristics rest of their lives (unless they make it to a further stage)?

It varies depending on where you are, pre-Path you'll cycle from 1st ├▒ana to your current "cutting edge" depending on where you've made it to at that point. Once you get 1st path, and until you start the cycle for 2nd path, you'll cycle from A&P to Fruition.

2) How fast do pre stream entry folks cycle through these stages? Do they cycle even if not on the cushion?

I did a lot of different practices before getting stream entry, none of which were vipassana proper and none of which were within the Buddhist model of things so my take of this may a bit different to those who've gone the insight route from the start. In my experience, cycling happened and I was aware of it ever since the first time I crossed the A&P which, like lots of people, I did without any training or experience with meditation. It was only on finding MCTB that I found out about the maps, stream entry and all this insight stuff and went "Oh, right so THAT'S what was happening". In terms of how quickly pre-Path people cycle, it's likely to depend on a variety of factors so I suggest just being aware of how it happens for you.

3) Is there something about the dark night which is different, such that, once you make it there, you don't cycle through mind and body, cause and effect, three characteristics, and A+P anymore, but only cycle through dark night? Meaning, it becomes a new baseline, or is the baseline always mind and body?

No, only after Path do you cycle from A&P up to Fruition and back down. The baseline is whatever stage you're currently in, don't worry about trying to figure out where you are as repeated cycling through each stage will make it abundantly clear over time.

3A) Or, do you continue to cycle through the earlier stages but don't really notice them much (note -- wouldn't you notice going through the A+P again and again since it is associated with weird effects?)?

Yes, but how much you notice them will depend on how strong your concentration is and how closely you're paying attention to what's going on, on a moment by moment basis at the sensate level. It's worth knowing that the A&P doesn't always happen in exactly the same way, sometimes it passes really quickly without incident and sometimes it kicks your ass. Don't expect things to happen the way you've read them described in someone else's words, it's all there in your own experience if you pay attention to it.

4) Once past the A+P, the stages begin "happening to you," such that, the dark nights stages of 5-10 will happen regardless of whether you meditate or not?

Pretty much, yes. Think about it this way: Seeing the arising and passing away of the whole fabric of reality, right in front of you in the most undeniable and direct way, makes people realize that things aren't what they thought they were. That sort of shakeup in worldview can be quite earth-shattering to some and lead to difficult times as they begin to question everything they've ever accepted as true. Dark Night is a convenient, and oddly accurate, way of describing what usually happens after a big 'spiritual' experience.

5) Say a person is a dark night yogi -- after unwittingly going through the A+P when 17 years old after taking acid, or an extreme masturbation session, or a particularly frenzied rave dancing session, etc. -- does this mean they basically only cycle through stages 4-10, or is it 5-10? Also, how fast does this cycling happen?

How they got there isn't a big deal, what's going on right now is what counts. As I've said, the factors which cause cycling to happen quicker or slower will vary for each person, but I think that a solid and regular meditative practice will almost certainly help.

5A) Clearly, I would consider myself a dark night yogi at this point [500 trips of acid back in the 90s, anyone?]; however, I am much more functional and positive and happy now than I was, say, ten years ago (although I've yet to make it to equanimity). Can someone basically solve or get a handle on the dark night stuff without having gotten to equanimity? Meaning, is there something to "solve" in dark night, or is it truly just happening to you without any ability to control it or master it (pre stream entry, that is)?

Dark Night, in my experience, comes down to learning to surrender to what's happening. Stopping trying, let things be and accept things as they happen because this will lead to equanimity, people want to fight with Dark Night and try to control the unpleasant sensations which might show up but that just leads to more tension and suffering. There's nothing to "solve" in Dark Night, it's just another stage of the process which pretty much everyone will experience to some extent, don't let it become a big problem that you need to do something about 'cause that's the opposite of what needs to be done. With sufficient acceptance and the ability to discern the three characteristics, Dark Night can be considerably more pleasant and easy going than you might think.

6) If you are a dark night yogi, you can still have a new A+P (if it has been a long time since the last one)?

Yes.

Hope that's of some use to you.

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