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A 48 hour Dark Night?
Answer
2/21/12 1:58 AM
Oh hai!

Long read, but it is somewhat interesting.

Things are moving faster than I anticipated.

6 days ago, I crossed the A & P phase with the following symptoms: vibrations in my hands and feet that felt like the static on the television, sparkles in my eyes, shivers and mini-convulsions throughout my body, and overflowing joy and enthusiasm for life that caused me to strip off my clothes (really don't know why I did that) and sprint across my house. It was fantastic! Furthermore, my ability to concentrate was amazingly improved - I could target any sensation with laser-point accuracy, making for very successful meditations.

4 days ago, I experienced a similar A & P with slightly different effects. More vibrations in my hands and feet, less desire to strip off my clothes and streak. It was still an enjoyable experience.

2 days ago, fear was felt. While sitting in a lecture hall with a class full of college students, someone knocked on the door. Shit! There's a gunman that's gonna kill us all, I thought. Luckily, Virginia Tech did not happen all over again. Normally, I am not nearly this paranoid.

And when I went to take care of my neighbor's kittens, things got even stranger. It was about 9PM and quite dark. My overactive imagination convinced me that I was about to

  • Get killed by a wolf
  • Be killed by a meth addict
  • Be tortured and eaten by an alien


My thoughts have never been quite this neurotic before.

Yesterday, at 3PM, I ingested a moderate does of Psilocybin Cubenis. Saw some very interesting fractals, dissolved my concept of ego, and had an all-around good time. The 3 Characteristics were fully understood, as were the 4 Noble Truths. I saw the source of my suffering (attachment and aversion) and what steps I needed to take to rectify the problem. Unfortunately, as some of you likely know, the "enlightenment" from drugs is only temporary. Once you come down, things are back to normal.

Except this time, they weren't. This time, I was fucking miserable. No energy. Borderline depression. Racing thoughts and fantasies. Feelings of powerless and hopelessness. I was a rat trapped in a cage, desperately trying to run away from the pain to the happiness. Disgust too. I hated how I felt, hated how I couldn't make myself feel better, and blamed myself for my problems.

And then, 2 hours ago, I went on a long walk. Bare awareness on my breath, stripped of anything extraneous. In the beginning, my awareness bounced from sensation to sensation. I locked it on the breath, and suddenly, something clicked.

Unsatisfactoriness was the name of the game. If you were happy, sad, angry, peaceful, tired, restless, awake, energetic, shy, confident... it didn't matter. You were unsatisfied. No matter what I felt, did, or believed, I would be unsatisfied. Why spend all that effort chasing happiness? All that work just for a bit of dopamine. It didn't make sense.

And those concepts! I noticed that I was causing myself unneeded suffering by expecting enlightenment, meditation, and an understanding of the 3 Characteristics to feel a certain way. When things didn't feel the way I expected them to, I got angry at myself. Now I understand that there is a huge difference between my concept of what something is and what that thing actually is. Simple, but a stupid mind like my own sometimes has trouble seeing the obvious.

And just like that, I was laughing, smiling, and more or less normal. Not as happy as A & P, but happy enough.

I think that I'm in the beginning of the Equanimity stage. It's strange though... I feel almost the same as before I crossed the A & P. I have a significantly better understanding of unsatisfactoriess and impermanence, yet I still struggle with no-self. I feel as if I have a permanent and separate self, even though I am confronted with evidence that suggests otherwise. With magic mushrooms, I do not feel as if I have a separate and permanent self. This is probably because psilocybin, the psychoactive component in magic mushrooms, decreases blood flow to the part of the brain involved with the construction of a self. This is probably a gross simplification, but that's how my neuroscience friend explained it to me.

Thank you for reading. These are my three questions -

(1) Am I in the Equanimity stage?
(2) After browsing Dho for a bit, I find that most people have significantly longer Dark Nights than my own. Is there a reason for the differences in length?
(3) No-self on drugs is understandable for me. No-self off drugs is a mystery. When meditating, I do not see neither a separate nor permanent self in anything. Yet I continue to feel as if I do have a separate and permanent self. Why is that?

RE: A 48 hour Dark Night?
Answer
2/21/12 3:05 AM as a reply to Jordan David Vig.
Hi Jordon, welcome to DhO

My first trip across the DN took 1hr 15mins. I've since crossed it many times without getting to stream entry though. It does sound like you're in equanimity to me, but i'd like to see what other says also.

Good luck, keep up the good work!

RE: A 48 hour Dark Night?
Answer
2/21/12 3:49 AM as a reply to Jordan David Vig.
(1) Am I in the Equanimity stage?

Maybe, probably, doesn't matter. Getting stream-entry is more important.

(2) After browsing Dho for a bit, I find that most people have significantly longer Dark Nights than my own. Is there a reason for the differences in length?

Length varies from seconds - years. The length could also change if you backslide back to dark night or could be longer on the next path.

(3) No-self on drugs is understandable for me. No-self off drugs is a mystery. When meditating, I do not see neither a separate nor permanent self in anything. Yet I continue to feel as if I do have a separate and permanent self. Why is that?

Because you're not enlightened...yet.

P.S. Be careful interpreting your experiences on the shrooms after the experience. You may very well be mis-interpreting your experience via memory (or not, it doesn't really matter). Don't give any particular experience much worship after it's done and gone (after-thought, cognitive load), no matter how abnormal it may have appeared.

RE: A 48 hour Dark Night?
Answer
2/21/12 9:41 AM as a reply to Jordan David Vig.
Hey Jordan,

4 days ago, I experienced a similar A & P with slightly different effects. More vibrations in my hands and feet, less desire to strip off my clothes and streak. It was still an enjoyable experience.

Possibly moving through A&P into Dissolution.

2 days ago, fear was felt. While sitting in a lecture hall with a class full of college students, someone knocked on the door. Shit! There's a gunman that's gonna kill us all, I thought. Luckily, Virginia Tech did not happen all over again. Normally, I am not nearly this paranoid.

Almost certainly 6th ├▒ana, Knowledge of Fear.

Yesterday, at 3PM, I ingested a moderate does of Psilocybin Cubenis. Saw some very interesting fractals, dissolved my concept of ego, and had an all-around good time. The 3 Characteristics were fully understood, as were the 4 Noble Truths. I saw the source of my suffering (attachment and aversion) and what steps I needed to take to rectify the problem. Unfortunately, as some of you likely know, the "enlightenment" from drugs is only temporary. Once you come down, things are back to normal.

Except this time, they weren't. This time, I was fucking miserable. No energy. Borderline depression. Racing thoughts and fantasies. Feelings of powerless and hopelessness. I was a rat trapped in a cage, desperately trying to run away from the pain to the happiness. Disgust too. I hated how I felt, hated how I couldn't make myself feel better, and blamed myself for my problems.

Sounds like a fairly heavy comedown, which isn't unusual from psilocybin, probably made worse by being in Dark Night territory before you took the 'shrooms.

(1) Am I in the Equanimity stage?

Hard to say based on this amount of information.

(2) After browsing Dho for a bit, I find that most people have significantly longer Dark Nights than my own. Is there a reason for the differences in length?

Lots of reasons, but mainly through good practice and accurate observation of things.

(3) No-self on drugs is understandable for me. No-self off drugs is a mystery. When meditating, I do not see neither a separate nor permanent self in anything. Yet I continue to feel as if I do have a separate and permanent self. Why is that?

You're not seeing clearly enough to bring this understanding into your life, try to see how anything you can possibly perceive cannot be "you" purely because it's being perceived by this sense of an observer. Look at what that sense of an observer is. Can you observe that? How can that be you then? What else is left?

What sort of practice are you doing just now? Could you describe what goes on during your sits? What sort of things are being noted or observed?

It'll be much easier to offer advice using practice based, phenomenological descriptions of what goes on during a sit for you, and also knowing what sort of techniques you're using.

Welcome on board!