Something has happened, is happening, and by all indications will continue

T. Merganser, modified 9 Years ago.

Something has happened, is happening, and by all indications will continue

Posts: 22 Join Date: 10/10/11 Recent Posts
Stumbled upon something in my practice that has been pretty profound and would welcome any insights and/or commentary as to what it might be:

During the last two weeks of December, 2011, I attended two weeks of a four-week retreat where the main practices were Tibetan Mahamudra (which has also been my daily practice for the past 5 months or so – if it’s helpful to describe it in therevadin terms it would be somewhat akin to practicing insight meditation in a very expansive, embodied shamatha jhana) and heart-opening exercises (including Tonglen and Maitri). In the months leading up to this retreat, I had also been studying the concepts of the Therevadin maps and trying to figure out where I was on them. This proved to be relatively fruitless as I’ve been meditating for around 15 years and have had all sorts of experiences all over said maps. My best guess was somewhere within one of the A&Ps…So I just left it at making a resolution that I would attain the next “path” before the new year (inspired by Mahasi Sayadaw's "Practical Insight Meditation").

In my first one-on-one conversation with my meditation instructor at the retreat, I described my practice and she asked me if I had ever tried “just sitting”. When she asked me what I thought would happen if I sat with no technique, I figured I would be very discursive. She said to try it, to just “be present”. I asked for more elaboration, as I couldn’t imagine being any more present than in my mahamudra practice. She didn’t answer with words – she “showed” me. She looked at me and began meditating, so I started meditating as well -- just sitting. I quickly became immersed in some very powerful energy, which the only reference point I have for is, alas, LSD (or electricity. Or some combination thereof -- As I became more familiar with the state I could better describe it – my most thorough description, based on much more experience, is below). During this time, my mind was extremely centered.

I’m not sure if it was her intention or if I was just very receptive but this to me seemed a lot like what I have read of “pointing out” or "direct pointing" instruction. I wondered how long it would take me to navigate back to that state on my own.

I messed around with the “just sitting” practice for about an hour a day during the rest of the retreat. I could go into more detail about nuances if it’s helpful but for now I’ll say that for a few days it was tough to come across that same "energy" (for lack of a better word here) – it would sometimes be present, but if I grasped at it, it would disappear. Midway through the retreat I had an extremely vivid dream. I was on a bed, surrounded by glowing feminine presences (dakinis, in the parlance of the retreat). Blissful energy was pouring out of me (particularly my mouth) in the form of bright light. I was convulsing, yet it felt amazing. Several of the dakinis said that I had to go through this, that I was attaining a path. The convulsing stopped and I got up from the bed and one of them kissed me – utterly mind-blowing. Then I woke up, waves of bliss pouring through me. (I have no idea with regards to path attainment and am making no claims).

Throughout the next week I was able to come more into contact with this energy. I came into it by process of relaxing my mind to the point where it felt as if I was synchronizing the frequency of vibrations within my mind with the frequency of vibrations outside. Once this is done, the ears start ringing and the energy descends (or ascends – can’t really tell). By the time I left the retreat I could more or less conjure it at will, as I still can today.

Having spent a good deal of time with the “just sitting” practice in the past month, I can much better describe this energy: Ringing in the ears is synonymous with its appearance; It has a very “electric” feel – when I generate it strongly (via manipulating outbreath) areas of my head will actually twitch; It’s very non-dual in that when I am in touch with it, it seems to be all-pervading and much more substantial than any discrete entities (people, trees, cars, etc.) that may be “suspended” in it; Is very still and pleasant most of the time – I just open my mind into it and it is very expansive, everything else just falls away. Thoughts, even when I get swept away in them, seem insubstantial. These vibrations will also set in eventually when I am doing other practices – mahamudra, heart practices, etc.

All in all it's been a very positive life experience...Not going to lie, it's very similar to brief experiences I've had in the past in my practice that never lasted long and were thus categorized as side effects. This has lasted over a month, however, and seems to be revealing more and more of itself as investigation continues...

Many thanks to all who read through this, and many thanks to any who respond...Your insights are most welcome...
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 Tarver , modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Something has happened, is happening, and by all indications will conti

Posts: 262 Join Date: 2/3/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for the detailed report, and sorry you aren't getting much discussion around it yet. Insofar as it is more stable and reproducible than these sorts of things usually are, clearly "something" is going on, but what? I am still integrating the experience of a 10-day retreat I got back from a few days ago, and your post reminds me of one moment I had put out of mind: I was getting dressed at one point and got the momentary impression that some feminine "force" or "energy" was trying to pull off my underwear. Just a fleeting thought, in response to which I distinctly thought "Dakini?" I immediately dismissed this as a makyo of some kind, but I find it curious to have stumbled on your report so soon after. My experience was downright homeopathic compared to yours, but evidently such things do happen! All I can say is, make good use of it while it lasts, as all things are impermanent.
Where was this retreat?
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Something has happened, is happening, and by all indications will conti

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
I am far from any kind of an expert, but the state you describe sounds like high equanimity to me.
T. Merganser:
I’m not sure if it was her intention or if I was just very receptive but this to me seemed a lot like what I have read of “pointing out” or "direct pointing" instruction. I wondered how long it would take me to navigate back to that state on my own.


It seems the same to me as well.

T. Merganser:
Midway through the retreat I had an extremely vivid dream. I was on a bed, surrounded by glowing feminine presences (dakinis, in the parlance of the retreat). Blissful energy was pouring out of me (particularly my mouth) in the form of bright light. I was convulsing, yet it felt amazing. Several of the dakinis said that I had to go through this, that I was attaining a path. The convulsing stopped and I got up from the bed and one of them kissed me – utterly mind-blowing. Then I woke up, waves of bliss pouring through me. (I have no idea with regards to path attainment and am making no claims).


Did the "utterly mind-blowing" stuff had an orgasm-y feel to it? It could be that this has to do with the two polarities within to have come together.
Hi T.

You might like to read An Eternal Now's blog Awakening to Reality for excellent discussions on maps of awakening with an emphasis on "direct pointing" or the "direct path", which you may find more appropriate to your recent experience. There is also some really excellent comparing and contrasting with Theravadan models.

This excellent talk by Rob Burbea might also be relevant to you: Realizing the nature of mind

A few little things...

You say "I’m not sure if it was her intention or if I was just very receptive but this to me seemed a lot like what I have read of “pointing out” or "direct pointing" instruction. I wondered how long it would take me to navigate back to that state on my own."

Remember, the point of direct pointing is to recognize the nature of present experience, and is not about a particular state. Trying to get back somewhere, or to get anywhere at all is a type of contrivance or fabrication that will prevent the types of realization that this practice aims to cultivate.

You seem to be taking the energetic and dakini experiences lightly, which is good. Take especially lightly any seeming confirmations of "you" having "attained" things, especially when you have had such goals in mind. These realms are tricksy and fickle, as are many beings you may meet on the way. It is passing scenery, albeit wondrous and at times ecstatic.

If the experiences aid conviction in awakening and the path you are on, take them and use them as inspiration, let them boost your wonder and appreciation at just how utterly indescribably rich, nuanced and mysterious this ever changing moment is. Just be aware of the tendency to use said experiences to reify or solidify a "self" in relation to said experiences. The investigation / appreciation / knowing of what is in this moment arising has always been the path, is now the path, and always will be.*

Best,

Thom

*This temporally embedded perspective is nothing more than that, and shouldn't be taken as an absolute...use it if useful...
T. Merganser, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Something has happened, is happening, and by all indications will conti

Posts: 22 Join Date: 10/10/11 Recent Posts
Thanks all for the responses. I'll answer questions as best I can:

Aman -- The retreat was with Reggie Ray's Dharma Ocean community in Crestone, CO. The "utterly mind-blowing" bliss didn't have an orgasmic feeling. It was much more on par with MDMA, times a thousand. Just a full-bodied bliss wherein the full-body might not be the best description as it was rather not contained by the bodily shell, so to speak.

Thom -- Thanks for pointing me towards those resources. I will definitely check them out.

"Remember, the point of direct pointing is to recognize the nature of present experience, and is not about a particular state. Trying to get back somewhere, or to get anywhere at all is a type of contrivance or fabrication that will prevent the types of realization that this practice aims to cultivate."

Thanks for this. I've only read about direct pointing and had no real idea of what it actually entailed.

Thom W:
You seem to be taking the energetic and dakini experiences lightly, which is good. Take especially lightly any seeming confirmations of "you" having "attained" things, especially when you have had such goals in mind. These realms are tricksy and fickle, as are many beings you may meet on the way. It is passing scenery, albeit wondrous and at times ecstatic.

If the experiences aid conviction in awakening and the path you are on, take them and use them as inspiration, let them boost your wonder and appreciation at just how utterly indescribably rich, nuanced and mysterious this ever changing moment is. Just be aware of the tendency to use said experiences to reify or solidify a "self" in relation to said experiences. The investigation / appreciation / knowing of what is in this moment arising has always been the path, is now the path, and always will be.*


Thanks also for this. In doing further research on whatever might be going on, what I am experiencing definitely fits the bill of the descriptions I've read of "kundalini awakening." Different traditions seem to treat this differently -- In Therevadin/MCTB terms, it mainly seems to be relegated to the area of A&P side effect. In Siddha Yoga/Kashmir Shaivism, it seems to be seen in terms of a necessary propellant to true awakening. And in the Tibetan forms I'm most familiar with, it's hardly mentioned (unless it does have something to do with essential nature of mind, something I'll look into further). Many parties mention that it can indeed make one crazy. Good fun!

..In any event, I'm not hitching my wagon to any of these things. Just, like you said, investigatin' and appreciatin'.
I've experienced this many times before, in fact it almost seems like on most of my long sits I've had it happen.. I've had people say it sounded like A&P or jhana a bit before, but I'm not really sure it's either.

My concentration practice is focusing on the feeling of air against my upper lip and beneath the nostrils. I find this is very easy to become intensely concentrated here, as the feeling or air brushing my lip hair on the in breath and the warm air coming out on the out breath are often so very subtle your mind stays fully engaged or you won't feel it.

At around the one hour mark or on long sits, all of a sudden I'll feel this sort of "excited anticipation" feeling in my body. Followed by intensely pleasurable tingling at some part that sort of moves through me in a wave. I can never hold onto it for more than a 20 seconds or so, and I find it happens and grows stronger on the in breath, then dissipates a bit on the out.

Breath regulation may have something to do with sustaining it, I've thought next time I sit of taking quick outbreaths and long in as prolonging the in breath seems to grow it's intensity in me. It's interesting you say your out breath controls it, does your grow stronger on the outbreath or the inbreath or both?

After feeling it in this last sit, I actually was able to reproduce it a bit later by simulating the anticipation, as if merely making myself think it was about to happen again, and it did. Although it still lost steam again later.

My vision also seems almost to become clearer when I feel it and I hear the ringing too.
T. Merganser, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Something has happened, is happening, and by all indications will conti

Posts: 22 Join Date: 10/10/11 Recent Posts
Matt N:
Breath regulation may have something to do with sustaining it, I've thought next time I sit of taking quick outbreaths and long in as prolonging the in breath seems to grow it's intensity in me. It's interesting you say your out breath controls it, does your grow stronger on the outbreath or the inbreath or both?


Hi Matt -- I've found that directing the outbreath in a certain way ramps up the intensity (although I've found that the outbreath can be used to manipulate many sensations during sitting practice). I had an experience months before this current energetic situation where I came into contact with what I assume to be the same type of energy, really ramped up the outbreaths, and found myself in a wild, electrical storm-like situation (albeit completely silent). My head, above my temples on both sides, was strongly twitching. Following that experience I had a cracked-out, speedy feeling for a couple of days, followed by a bit of a crash. I assumed at the time (and still do, I guess) that it was an A&P event leading into the dark night. It's interesting to think of that event now and it's easy to perceive it as energy blasting through blockages, as the "kundalini" effects I am feeling now seem steady, moderated, and flowing without any such hindrances.

In thinking about what you have said, as well as Jane above, my feeling about this "kundalini awakening" (don't really know what else to call it although again, I'm making no claims as such) is that it seems to exist independently of what I know of jhanic states or insight stages. Granted, what I know of those things comes mainly from books and all of this is dubiously subjective. Nevertheless, I've been sitting for many years, can work through a series of mind-states that do seem to be jhanas, and can seem to identify when I have passed through certain of the insight stages.

In this case, the energy/kundalini is easy to come into contact with relatively quickly, and can be present in any of what I understand to be jhanas. In terms of insight stages, it makes sense to me that since the retreat I've come through a fairly spectacular A&P period and am now surrendering my way through the dark night. This amazing, unitive energy has been a part of all of it.
Luna Swift Arrow, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Something has happened, is happening, and by all indications will conti

Posts: 5 Join Date: 3/7/12 Recent Posts
I have had similar experiences from Tibetan initiations. Because of this, I wonder if anything in meditation which seems out of the ordinary is not due to the effect of another mind on our own, in the sense that Trungpa referred to when he stated that the Guru shares some of his subtle body with you during Wongkur, and this is what empowers your meditation. I can't recall the book he mentioned this in - 'The Art of Tantra', or some title like that.

What I experienced is partly in the Book of Genesis. Go and look through it, and see if it makes any sense to you, which it will if you see it as a road-map for the creation of a man/woman in the image of God.

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