I think it's working.

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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Some days ago after I went through the A & P I was laying down to go to bed and I noticed this awareness that felt like a jhana with no effort. Last night I continued looking at the 3 characteristics and as usual I found them unpleasant I even sobbed a little thinking about the death of a loved one. Then I noticed that jhana again. It's like a beautiful void where I don't have to put effort to achieve it and I can just look at all 4 foundations of mindfulness arise and pass away and just rest in this awareness. (BTW I'm not some super meditator that meditates for hours). The sadness disappeared and a purifying joy appeared like drinking some nice orange juice on a hot day. The silence was total. No musical ear worms. Just beautiful silence and jhana effects with less effort than concentration jhanas. No need for one-pointedness or sustaining. It's like a more super efficient jhana. It really is like rest and very comforting. I simply rested into it as opposed to working at it. I think it's something I've been developing because I had an event a couple of months ago where I could rest in awareness (I was mentally noting during the day) and it felt like stepping into a beautiful melting sauna after being frozen. It was nice but ultimately dissociative and all the things I normally crave and love became less like craving more like I was satisfied but there was still a lingering dissatisfaction with that. It was almost like I missed that old passion. I went back to what I liked without meditation and with lots of self loathing (like I haven't done in a couple of years) an an addictive fervor almost like a gambler. After some more meditation with this resting awareness/void I feel more free. The old habits are still mentally there but it's less "sticky" (as some here like to call it) and I only want to do them at 5% of the force than usual. The 3 characteristics are more like friends now that I can tap into anytime.

I don't know if it's some form of A & P or fruition or something but I definitely feel less need to meditate. Meditation is just there to solidify what was always there. The desire to stay with awareness is quite strong now and that is totally new to me. Or maybe I'm just craving awareness. No concentration jhanas could do this. Whatever it is I'll just enjoy it while it's here and keep looking at the 3 Cs. I just want to deal with habits now and get on with life.
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working. (Answer)

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Nice work, sounds like it may have been a clear experience of 4th jhana (Equanimity in vipassana jhana terms) but either way it's almost certainly a jhanic state. There's a few things in your post worth mentioning...

I simply rested into it as opposed to working at it. I think it's something I've been developing because I had an event a couple of months ago where I could rest in awareness (I was mentally noting during the day) and it felt like stepping into a beautiful melting sauna after being frozen.

Early stages of Equanimity. Good description of it. emoticon

It was nice but ultimately dissociative and all the things I normally crave and love became less like craving more like I was satisfied but there was still a lingering dissatisfaction with that.

That's good, keep on looking as you're in the perfect place to do the damage and land Path. Keep on observing that dissatisfaction and what it is to be fundamentally dissatisfied with this state, which to your average non-meditator would probably seem miraculous. Even an experience as cool as this one isn't it. Keep going.

I went back to what I liked without meditation and with lots of self loathing (like I haven't done in a couple of years) an an addictive fervor almost like a gambler. After some more meditation with this resting awareness/void I feel more free.

Late Dark Night/tail-end of Re-Observation as it fades out, most likely your baseline at that point in time, moving up into Equanimity. Now, rather than resting in or with that awareness/void look at what it is that's still observing that since it's still transient, luminous phenomena being observed by...what?

The old habits are still mentally there but it's less "sticky" (as some here like to call it) and I only want to do them at 5% of the force than usual. The 3 characteristics are more like friends now that I can tap into anytime.

Would "natural" or "normal" be a reasonable way to describe it?

Meditation is just there to solidify what was always there.

Do. Not. Solidify. Anything...if you're doing insight practice. Be careful, it's all to easy to get complacent and wind up back in Re-Observation until you figure it out.

Investigate it, examine it further, probe it and look at what sensations make that up.

The desire to stay with awareness is quite strong now and that is totally new to me.

Look at that desire and what it is that you're desirous of, much as this may be new to you you're also in a good position to get into this really deeply due to it being so fresh and amazing. It's fine to enjoy it and groove with the spacious, laid-backness but if you want to get Path then keep on investigating.

No concentration jhanas could do this.

Oh they most certainly can, and much, much, much more so don't get lazy and settle for second best. If you're still seeing the 3C's presenting themselves clearly then use it to your advantage, things are super-clear in Equanimity and the way objects just appear without effort provides a great opportunity to see what's at the heart of the thing.

Whatever it is I'll just enjoy it while it's here and keep looking at the 3 Cs. I just want to deal with habits now and get on with life.

The pessimistic response to this is that you're likely to wind up disappointed if you just enjoy it without further investigation, this is because you'll go back to square one and cycle up through the ñanas again until you get it. It's still not permanent, it's still empty and it's still fundamentally unsatisfying so that means it can't possible be "it".

Look at what's still looking, what's still observing these objects arising and passing away, what's still seeing the 3C's playing out? If you're able to observe what you're calling "awareness" then it can't possibly be this awareness as that's not something you can ever observe, it's the observation and everything else so what's left to observe that? Don't fall into the trap of solidifying this into 4th jhana, you'll miss out on a great opportunity and have to work your way back to it again.

Keep on sitting, maintain your practice and don't let up.
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I think I get what you mean. And yes lots of books say "don't lose the momentum, keep practicing). My concentration is improving but there's still a little more that could be seen and nothing can be solidified because this nice state is gone already (though the nice awareness is now always there when I choose to use it). So this "awareness" can dissolve into vibrations?

Basically how I feel now is that I can choose to fuse with thoughts and have fun with that (the usual way with the typical emotional pain and dissatisfaction) or stay in this awareness and develop a weird peace that seems to work quickly. As soon as I look at the slightly granular imperfect nature of vision, sound, and other senses plus the passing away of moods, and thought, then I'm back in the saddle again. So now the saddle has to vibrate? Unfortunately I'm primed from descriptions of no-self being like blending in with the atmosphere which I definitely haven't done yet. If "I" can see the conceptual arising and passing away then there must be more awareness that doesn't feel separate from the universe.

Thanks I wouldn't be able to do this without DhO and KFD.
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Okay an update. The equanimity has been quite good and I've read up on the "stuck in equanimity" thread for some clues. I sometimes get a "strobing" or "flickering" when I stop noting and just stay with concentration. I still analyze dissatisfaction and stay with the "watcher" before the flickering occurs but to me it's doesn't change the equanimity feeling at all and I still feel a sense of separation. I'm probably missing something very subtle or I require tons more practice before a fruition occurs.
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Another update. Lots of sobbing due to that fact that the self is so painful. Every bit of striving and attachment hurts. This sounds to me like "desire for deliverance" to me. There's definitely more to let go of.
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Yesterday was a horrible dark night experience. I'm noting "perishings" all day today. The pain is definitely from attachment. My brain keeps thinking about short term pleasure fixes but that won't do. Everything is disgusting and garbage. I want to get the hell away from everything and just note constantly. Man what a fall from equanimity! emoticon This stuff is real. I feel like a cocaine addict going cold turkey.
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.ca/#!/2011/10/yogi-experiment-riding-wave.html

This is highly recommended during the dark night. Shitty sensations in the chest or throat? Notice how the mind is paying attention to such phenomena. Is it fabricated? Is it tinged with a wanting the sensations to dissapear? Is there a selective paying attention going on? Is there a sense of trying to change those sensations? Make them go away? “I don’t want them there!!”: fabricated paying attention.


Thanks Nick! Really helpful with my reobservation tendencies. I can do this throughout the day and I can start to see aversion loosening.
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Update: I did a "not self" meditation this morning by focusing on the self for an hour. There was lots of resistance (more than usual) but once it got going I hit equanimity fairly quickly. Equanimity is starting to happen on it's own now. The cooling off of my skull and natural letting go just keeps happening. I want to go do something and I just stop because the present moment is so nice. No cessation yet but there's a small pull to just let go of ALL experience. "Not self" is making more sense in that if there is a "knower" then how can it also be known at the same time?
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Okay I need some help here (or maybe I don't:grinemoticon? Okay so yesterday I did some more no self meditations. I got lots of energy, equanimity and lots of strobing helicopter flickering in the eyes (I think the eyes see at 60 frames per second). It was all boring and the "self" got irritated that there was no "cessation". This morning I woke up in equanimity and listened to some nice albums. The satisfaction was there and then I hooked up to Shinzen Young's no self videos on my iPod touch (which I've seen many times but never quite understood). Something happened in that I started understanding what he was talking about partially but I still wasn't quite sure.

Okay so I go to the kitchen to make a sandwich. I started spreading some mustard on the bread and (I can't remember what was so funny) but I thought of something funny and that funny talk just felt like a sensation. Then I noticed that all my talk feels like a sensation. I sat with my sandwich eating away totally blissful. The light entering in the room and all sensations felt extremely interesting like crossing your eyes on a 3D stereogram and voila. The body in peripheral vision seemed not "mine" and all thoughts (including the ones used in making this email) feel like just some slightly annoying sensations that naturally go away leaving just pleasant cool awareness. The cooling feeling in my skull now is all around my skull including the back of the skull. The spinal energy feels more efficient and relaxed than usual. Lots of energy in there. It's like the self arises and passes away from an invisible aura around my head that has no mass or tension. I feel less separate. To tell you the truth I thought I was going to feel literally attached to the universe but it's more subtle than that. It's more like nothing is "mine" but everything is essentially the same.

If this is only equanimity then I'm really going to get stuck here because it's SO GOOD. emoticon I'm assuming this will fade and then I'll crave more of this relief. Any mental movement to meditate more or to want anything else (other than food) seems not necessary. Yet I know that all mental movements and talk is just a bunch of 3C sensations that go away. I don't have to try and stay present.
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Richard B:
Okay I need some help here (or maybe I don't:grinemoticon? Okay so yesterday I did some more no self meditations. I got lots of energy, equanimity and lots of strobing helicopter flickering in the eyes (I think the eyes see at 60 frames per second). It was all boring and the "self" got irritated that there was no "cessation".

Hi Richard,

Then next time you experience the 'self' getting irritated due to no 'cessation', prepare yourself beforehand by making the resolution to also be aware of no-self in the compounding of 'anticipation' and 'expectation'.

Include those feelings of 'wanting cessation' as part of the panoramic field of experience rather than them being the actual result of not including them in the panoramic field of experience. They arise, persist and continue to interrupt the flow of mindfulness because they are not being paid attention to appropriately. Pay attention to the 'wanting cessation'. What is it made up of?

I would keep doing what you described but with the added intent to include every single mental movement that occurs, including the mental movements to crave 'cessation'. Allow those compoundings to arise, and even recognize the aversion towards them, watching the whole process of their arising, being, and then their cessation. Pay attention for their 'cessation', meaning the very moment those arisings end. Shift the mind away from expecting some 'special cessation' that one is imagining, and watch the actual 'cessations' of each and every mental movement that is occuring centre stage. If the thought of "the mind movements are too fast, can't catch them in time" arises, then pay attention to the cessation of that very thought , that very mind movement.

Lots of energy in there. It's like the self arises and passes away from an invisible aura around my head that has no mass or tension. I feel less separate. To tell you the truth I thought I was going to feel literally attached to the universe but it's more subtle than that. It's more like nothing is "mine" but everything is essentially the same.


There is no concrete thing called the self. There is no self that actually arises. Look at the experiecne like so looking for what it really is. Not 'self', but perhaps sensations, images, mental movements that glom together to create the illusion of continuity of something termed 'self'. Start to break it down. What experience am I calling 'self'? What is it really? What is compounding together. Linguistically when we term something, give it a name, that linguistic habit often solidifes the experience, compounds it even further. Look into whether or not this is happening. What am I calling 'self' still? Does this re-enforce it still? Break it apart and see it for what it really is.

If this is only equanimity then I'm really going to get stuck here because it's SO GOOD. emoticon I'm assuming this will fade and then I'll crave more of this relief. Any mental movement to meditate more or to want anything else (other than food) seems not necessary. Yet I know that all mental movements and talk is just a bunch of 3C sensations that go away. I don't have to try and stay present.


Pay attention to the very ending (cessation) of it 'feeling SO GOOD'. Pay attention to when it fades and dissapears. Ten do the same for what follows, such as the craving you say might follow it. Observe the endings of the mental movements to meditate as well, regardless of position of body, sitting, standing, walking, pooping. Pay exclusive attention to the endings/cessations of everything that is the field of experience. Shift all expectations away from imagined results to the actual tangibly experienced reality of what is happening NOW. Watch as expectations and anticipations arise, be, and end, paying closer attention to their endings more than anything else. The very moment they dissapear. Pay attention to that in everything.

Good things happen that way.

Nick
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
Thanks Nick,

Before you posted I tried some basic concentration on the breath practices and the brain almost wanted to drop out around 4 times. I think these are what Tommy M describes:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2890486

Tommy M:
It's easy to drift off or get complacent while you're in Equanimity just because everything seems so natural and effortless, there's also little dropouts which you can mistake for fruitions so staying alert and curious about what's happening will, hopefully, prevent mistaking things or losing focus.


It's really weird to have the "self" cool off in the brain and recede on it's own but then how could the self be seen and still be believed in? It's such a strong habit. Oh well if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. emoticon 3Cs all the way!
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Richard B, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
UPDATE: Okay there is definitely more to let go of. When I started to note throughout the day I noticed some more reobservation sensations and got back to equanimity with daily noting. Equanimity is solidifying. Now the strobing waves are not just in the vision but feel like they are happening in body sensations as well and are becoming slower and more noticeable. My brain is starting to like the gaps inbetween but I'm not quite at cessation yet.
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Richard B:
My brain is starting to like the gaps inbetween but I'm not quite at cessation yet.


Pay attention to the possible way your mind is subtly establishing a mindset just by this one 'belief'. Watch the very moment it drops away (as a thought). Is the mind fussing over what is cessation or not cessation then? This subtle expectation could be the very thing unaddressed that never gets looked at and objectified that keeps the door locked.

Nick
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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: I think it's working.

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
UPDATE: Still working on Shinkantanza and noting "gones". The equanimity is feeling more common like a guaranteed refreshment after a two hour sit and noting mind states and thoughts is easier. Daniel's map note on forgetfulness is no joke. I feel like Inspector Clouseau. emoticon