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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Is this calm that arises with everything the after effects of SE?

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If you want to skip the background info the last paragraph is basically the after effects of what I think may or may not be stream entry. I shared some history because I have never really shared any of those experiences with anyone besides one of my teachers, a facilitator on a retreat and maybe 2 or 3 other people who had no clue how to respond to that info.

First I want to share a little background on my meditation. I did a little research on the different stages and will describe some pretty fascinating experiences. I am just going to go through them briefly as some of these experiences happened a about three months ago.

The extreme event that happened to me was a feeling of oneness with everything, I literally would walk around the block and feel like my insides were in synch with the outsides. My emotions would synch with the radio, a thought about something would arise and it would happen literally that moment. When I was happy, I loved this, but when I was scared or tripped out, it would be horrifying. I felt like there was a battle between good and evil going on inside of me. I was meditating about an hour - two and a half hours a day at this point. At one point it was happening literally nonstop and I mentioned this to my teacher (I was extremely freaked out at this point, I thought I lost my mind) we exchanged some words on how perhaps I was unskillfully judging things and try to come from a more middle ground perspective. As I hung up the phone there was a shot of energy in my body, it no longer felt like I was making the choice to walk. I was very delusional about reality at this point, since I was experiencing almost overwhelming synchronicity at times I started to look for it and try and get signs out of it. As this energy overcame me and I was walking my head turned to the side and I saw a women holding a little girls hand, she was crying (so was I in fear, inside) I could almost see through them. I heard the women speaking to the little girl very VERY clearly, even though she was a ways away. She said "It's okay, you're just lost. I was lost once too." as I walked out of the parking deck everything got very bright and had a milky visual flow to it. My insides were completely synching with my outsides. At one point I was walking by a restaurant and I asked inside my head "Have I lost my mind? I don't even know if I care anymore, this is beautiful". Immediately Gnarls Barkley "Crazy" (check out the lyrics to that song by the way, it's kinda awesome given what I was experiencing) came on the speakers. Literally the moment I said that. I could see people disappearing and reappearing as I walked on the board walk as well. I have no clue how to really illustrate that. I diagnosed this after researching a little here as A & P, especially given what followed. I didn't really want to talk about this to anyone for awhile, but after discussing this kind of thing with Shinzen and my other teacher, I realized that this kind of thing just happens to some people.

After that experience I had a very very terrifying dark night, that continued to have a synchronicity of inside and out theme. I stopped meditating for a little bit during this time, thinking perhaps I had just been meditating too much. I wanted so badly for this deep fear to just leave. Finally after a week and a half or two, it started to calm down and finally vanish. I just so happened to change my diet to vegan right as this happened and got the shingles after that week passed. I think from not eating enough during those weeks and the stress of the fear. I felt no pain what so ever and didn't even know I had it till it blistered and I went to the doctor. He was a little shocked that it took me that long to notice and me declining pain meds.

After a little while of cycling in and out of A & P, DN and equanimity finally one day I felt completely empty. Unlike anything I had ever felt. Instead of doing my usual meditation methods of working with visual, auditory and physical flow for awhile and then just noting the vanishings/do nothing. I decided to do nothing the entire time given that I felt extremely empty, peaceful and restful. I lost all concept of time in this sit, it was like I vanished. Nothing arose, I had literally no thoughts, no emotions and if any physical body sensations happened, I didn't notice them. It was a calm I could never have fathomed was possible to experience. It was like I didn't exist. When I opened my eyes it had been an hour and a half EXACTLY, but didn't even feel like 30 minutes had passed. The next morning when I woke up I was looking at my wall, just enjoying the peacefulness that was still with me, when all of a sudden everything went black for a split moment. I didn't really think much of it, but sense that sit there is ALWAYS a hint of peace with everything I do.

I have done a 10 day retreat with Shinzen Young since that happened and it just elevated the amount of emotional acceptance.
The only way I can describe this is an emotion arises, I am very aware of it, but I don't feel the eurge to react towards it anymore. The stronger an emotion gets, the more I notice this hint of peace that comes along with it. It is almost like the emotion arising isn't even happening to me, it's just a happening. The since of peace and calm always there now. If I am not aware of it in a moment I can call on it on command. I am starting to not even see my emotions or thoughts as me anymore. As an emotion arises and gets stronger, there is this emptiness that gets smaller. As a sound gets louder, there is a silence that gets softer. As it fades, the silence gets more noticeable. I can't help but see the ability to control the insides as the exact same things as my outsides. I can't literally control the sun or the sounds arising, they are just waves of something arising and passing. That is all my insides are to me now and it is so freeing! I finally feel like I am in a state of surrender, most of the time.

So basically my question is, did I get stream entry? I haven't really been too concerned with where I am at because one of my teachers says that will just hold me back, but just this peace hasn't left and it has made me curious if this is what people are talking about

RE: Is this calm that arises with everything the after effects of SE?
Answer
1/29/12 10:50 PM as a reply to Braxton.
First of all, welcome to DhO!

Braxton Massey Dudley:
So basically my question is, did I get stream entry?


I don't feel qualified to comment on your question directly, but others will very likely chime in soon. In the meantime, have you had a chance to read Daniel Ingram's book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha? It is available free online, as well as in print. There is one chapter in particular, Was that Emptiness?, which may help you answer your question.

Good luck, and do keep us posted on your progress.

RE: Is this calm that arises with everything the after effects of SE?
Answer
1/29/12 11:42 PM as a reply to Tarver .
Thank you for the warm welcoming and the link, it was very informative. Perhaps I did get it after all, I am still skeptical though. Despite what the answer is, it really doesn't change anything. It doesn't change the equanimity I have developed or the fact that there is still work to be done. I know my question really has little purpose or point and isn't going to change the way I feel about my practice at all. There is still a spark of curiosity of other cultivator's perspectives. I never really get a chance to share or reflect on other peoples perspectives.

RE: Is this calm that arises with everything the after effects of SE?
Answer
1/30/12 4:16 AM as a reply to Braxton.
Hiya Braxton, welcome on board!

After a little while of cycling in and out of A & P, DN and equanimity finally one day I felt completely empty. Unlike anything I had ever felt. Instead of doing my usual meditation methods of working with visual, auditory and physical flow for awhile and then just noting the vanishings/do nothing. I decided to do nothing the entire time given that I felt extremely empty, peaceful and restful. I lost all concept of time in this sit, it was like I vanished. Nothing arose, I had literally no thoughts, no emotions and if any physical body sensations happened, I didn't notice them. It was a calm I could never have fathomed was possible to experience. It was like I didn't exist. When I opened my eyes it had been an hour and a half EXACTLY, but didn't even feel like 30 minutes had passed. The next morning when I woke up I was looking at my wall, just enjoying the peacefulness that was still with me, when all of a sudden everything went black for a split moment. I didn't really think much of it, but sense that sit there is ALWAYS a hint of peace with everything I do.

The first two lines I've emboldened sound very much like Knowledge of Equanimity experienced with strong concentration, the formless aspect of things ("it was like I vanished") in particular reminds me of High Equanimity. The last line I've put in bold could very well have been 1st path as it, combined with the other comments you've made about how that sense of peace has remained ever since, sounds like you're describing cessation which led to Path. You mention a few other things which cause my ears to prick up too...

The only way I can describe this is an emotion arises, I am very aware of it, but I don't feel the eurge to react towards it anymore.

Sounds promising.

It is almost like the emotion arising isn't even happening to me, it's just a happening.

Good insight into the empty, selfless nature of things as they are!

The since of peace and calm always there now. If I am not aware of it in a moment I can call on it on command.

What is it that prevents that sense of peace and calm from always being there?

I am starting to not even see my emotions or thoughts as me anymore.

Anatta! Investigate anything which still implies a "me".

I can't help but see the ability to control the insides as the exact same things as my outsides. I can't literally control the sun or the sounds arising, they are just waves of something arising and passing. That is all my insides are to me now and it is so freeing! I finally feel like I am in a state of surrender, most of the time.

Nice, it's great when there's no longer than distinction happening automatically as things can be seen much clearer. Look at how the senses just operate without "you" having to "do" anything; the light of the sun hits the eye and seeing occurs, a sounds hits the ear and hearing occurs but there's no "you" in that either!

So basically my question is, did I get stream entry? I haven't really been too concerned with where I am at because one of my teachers says that will just hold me back, but just this peace hasn't left and it has made me curious if this is what people are talking about.

While I admit that a goal orientated approach is useful, it's also potentially distracting so I think you're overall approach is a good one. Some people work better with a goal to work towards but others don't so just do what works best for you. It's useful to know "where" you are as it means that you can see more clearly how best to progress, but it's not the be all and end all so just roll with it. For what it's worth, I think you've probably gotten stream entry based on the way you describe things.

Stick around and let us know how you're getting on, and well done on (probably) landing 1st path!

Tommy

RE: Is this calm that arises with everything the after effects of SE?
Answer
1/30/12 2:00 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
I really appreciate the time and energy you put into replying to my post. I will definitely be sticking around the board. It seems like a nice little community you guys have on here. Just wanted to answer the only thing I found to be a direct question (perhaps it was rhetorical though).

What is it that prevents that sense of peace and calm from always being there?

I think I chose my words poorly there, the only time the peace starts to subside (because there is at least always a hint of it I can tune into if I want) is when something feels like it is happening TO me. I.E. as my meditation practice and I grew, my relationships fell apart. There would be some seldom moments when I would feel the desire to be surrounded by people who I could relate to which would cultivate an idea of "I am alone". When a sense of "this is happening to me" arises that is when the peace stops being as apparent. The sensations of "It is happening to me" are very manageable though and only last briefly. It isn't like it is even a problem so much anymore, it's just when the peacefulness contracts. That makes complete sense to me now haha. That was a good question.