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Where Am I?
Answer
3/6/12 12:26 PM
Hi Community;

This is my first post. I'm new to this site and path. I meditated previously in the Ramana Maharsi tradition using Self-Inquiry. I would like feedback on where you yogis think I am on the progression map. I seem to have experienced aspects of several stations on the map but not all of the aspects associated with any one level. Also, please forgive any clumsy use of dharma language.

I did vipassana for the first time at a 10 day Goenka course that I completed 2 weeks ago. At the beginning of the course, I experienced gross sensations and much suffering as I identified with the sensations and could sit only 25 minutes. I almost left after the 3rd day, because I was in so much mental and physical discomfort. (I'm REALLY glad I stayed). As I began to understand and experience anicca and the impersonal quality of sensations my experience changed dramatically.

By day 4, I began to experience more subtle sensations and on the 7th day, I experienced waves of flowing vibration throughout my whole body. I also felt the sensations beneath the surface of my skin. The bliss was quite intoxicating and I cried many tears. I had the feeling that my body dissolved and time didn't exist. This feeling continued through the remainder of the course. After I reached this point, a 90 minute sit felt like 10 minutes.

In the two weeks since the course, I have been sitting twice a day for 60-80 minutes each sit. After several minutes of scanning, the edges of my body again seem to dissolve and I feel weightless and non-localized. The "me" as I thought of myself to be doesn't exist. I continue to sweep and scan and feel sensations of flowing wavelets. There are urges to scratch, occasional gross contractions and a flushed sensation when I think a thought of fear. A 60-80 minute sit seems like only 10 minutes have passed. Along with feeling the subtle wavelets, I sometimes feel pressure and warmth in my face in varying degrees. Overall, it is bliss-filled!

Since the course, despite my twice daily practice, I have been feeling miserable, hopeless and angry. Prior to starting vipassana, I wouldn't describe myself as feeling this way. I have been emotionally distant from friends and family and find that I am less inclined to discuss and debate the content of our lives for hours as I did prior to starting vipassana. I thought that my anger and emotion disconnect might be because I was no longer in the womb of the retreat and back on the world, but after reading about the Dark Night, I thought it worthwhile to ask those experienced on this path. Oh, I have also been having highly intense bi-sexual dreams. While they are not too settling, they are new for me.

My goal is enlightenment. So knowing where I am and what I need to do to progress would be useful.

Thank you for any insights.

Shiva

RE: Where Am I?
Answer
3/6/12 1:23 PM as a reply to Shiva R Wheeler.
Hi Shiva, welcome to the DhO

Looks like you've made a great start.

By day 4, I began to experience more subtle sensations and on the 7th day, I experienced waves of flowing vibration throughout my whole body. I also felt the sensations beneath the surface of my skin. The bliss was quite intoxicating and I cried many tears. I had the feeling that my body dissolved and time didn't exist. This feeling continued through the remainder of the course. After I reached this point, a 90 minute sit felt like 10 minutes.


A&P heading into Dissolution - not how I experience dissolution, but it's similar enough. Did you experience any kind of "event" prior to the dissolving feeling?

Since the course, despite my twice daily practice, I have been feeling miserable, hopeless and angry. Prior to starting vipassana, I wouldn't describe myself as feeling this way. I have been emotionally distant from friends and family and find that I am less inclined to discuss and debate the content of our lives for hours as I did prior to starting vipassana. I thought that my anger and emotion disconnect might be because I was no longer in the womb of the retreat and back on the world, but after reading about the Dark Night, I thought it worthwhile to ask those experienced on this path.


Certainly sounds like DN stuff. I'd keep practicing and book another retreat asap. You milage with the DN may vary but my experience of it has been largely doable in terms of daily life. Give it some time and practice, report what happens.

Oh, I have also been having highly intense bi-sexual dreams. While they are not too settling, they are new for me.


A&P stuff. That'll pass.

My goal is enlightenment. So knowing where I am and what I need to do to progress would be useful.


I share your goal! Keep practicing. Build on the habit you've started and make it so ingrained in your system that you can't imagine not practicing.

Best of luck, do post how you get on!

RE: Where Am I?
Answer
3/6/12 1:34 PM as a reply to Shiva R Wheeler.
Hi Shiva,

Welcome to the DhO.

This is my first post. I'm new to this site and path. I meditated previously in the Ramana Maharsi tradition using Self-Inquiry. I would like feedback on where you yogis think I am on the progression map. I seem to have experienced aspects of several stations on the map but not all of the aspects associated with any one level. Also, please forgive any clumsy use of dharma language.


How far did your practice of the self-inquiry go? Do you still practice it? Any changes from it?

I did vipassana for the first time at a 10 day Goenka course that I completed 2 weeks ago. At the beginning of the course, I experienced gross sensations and much suffering as I identified with the sensations and could sit only 25 minutes. I almost left after the 3rd day, because I was in so much mental and physical discomfort. (I'm REALLY glad I stayed). As I began to understand and experience anicca and the impersonal quality of sensations my experience changed dramatically.


Sounds like a normal 1st goenka course. And it sounds like (without much detail) dealing with the 3rd nana.

By day 4, I began to experience more subtle sensations and on the 7th day, I experienced waves of flowing vibration throughout my whole body. I also felt the sensations beneath the surface of my skin. The bliss was quite intoxicating and I cried many tears. I had the feeling that my body dissolved and time didn't exist. This feeling continued through the remainder of the course. After I reached this point, a 90 minute sit felt like 10 minutes.


'Waves of flowing vibration throughout the body" and 'intoxicating bliss' sounds like what Goenka calls 'udayabbaya', the 4th nana of Arising and Passing. Having the experience of the body 'dissolving' sounds like 'bhanga', the 5th nana of Dissolution. The experience of time can be affected at these stages as you describe.

In the two weeks since the course, I have been sitting twice a day for 60-80 minutes each sit. After several minutes of scanning, the edges of my body again seem to dissolve and I feel weightless and non-localized. The "me" as I thought of myself to be doesn't exist. I continue to sweep and scan and feel sensations of flowing wavelets. There are urges to scratch, occasional gross contractions and a flushed sensation when I think a thought of fear. A 60-80 minute sit seems like only 10 minutes have passed. Along with feeling the subtle wavelets, I sometimes feel pressure and warmth in my face in varying degrees. Overall, it is bliss-filled!


Sounds like classic 4th and 5th nana. Wavelets=4th nana onwards. Thinking of 'fear' may indicate you are pressing onwards into the 6th nana of Bhaya, the nana/kownledge of fear.

Advice: the 4th nana in particular involves navigating and not getting trapped by the 10 imperfections of insight. Check the 4th nana for the 10 imperfections in the link. Become aware of the potential traps. Getting wrapped up in the 'blissful' factor of the 4th nana can delay progress. Goenka referes to this as the 'game of sensations'.


Since the course, despite my twice daily practice, I have been feeling miserable, hopeless and angry. Prior to starting vipassana, I wouldn't describe myself as feeling this way. I have been emotionally distant from friends and family and find that I am less inclined to discuss and debate the content of our lives for hours as I did prior to starting vipassana. I thought that my anger and emotion disconnect might be because I was no longer in the womb of the retreat and back on the world, but after reading about the Dark Night, I thought it worthwhile to ask those experienced on this path. Oh, I have also been having highly intense bi-sexual dreams. While they are not too settling, they are new for me.


Feeling miserable, hopeless and angry sounds like classic 7th nana of Misery (also known as the nana/knowledge of danger). You are pushing into the 'dukkha nanas'. The anger and emotion disconnect seems related to the 'dark night'/dukkha nanas. Highly intense 'bisexual dreams' may be related to the 4th nana. Seems like you are cycling through some of the stages you discovered on your 10 day course.

Check the link above as well as Daniel Ingram's book Mastering The Core Teachings Of The Buddha in the wiki section of the DhO for more details on the nanas and the stages of insight.


My goal is enlightenment. So knowing where I am and what I need to do to progress would be useful.


What is your current practice and what is happening in your sits/daily life phenomenologically? You could use this thread or start another thread to document your practice towards 'enlightenment' and you will receive advice from experienced yogis here. If you wish to keep practicing within the Goenka tradition, there are a few yogis who have experience of progressing to stream entry and beyond within that tradition.

Nick

RE: Where Am I?
Answer
3/6/12 1:41 PM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Thanks for the input!

"A&P heading into Dissolution - not how I experience dissolution, but it's similar enough. Did you experience any kind of "event" prior to the dissolving feeling?"

The event that I recall prior to dissolving was that my breathing changed to jerky, heavy and interrupted for several breathes.

I'll continue to daily practice. I won't be able to attend another 10 dayer until next year, but will look for local 3 day sits.

Thanks again.

RE: Where Am I?
Answer
3/6/12 2:05 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hey Nick,

Thanks for welcome! And thanks for the insights and resource references.

With Self Inquiry, I experienced "non-Self" ("Me") for approximately 7 days. I thought it would continue. I started vipassanna thinking it might enhance my self inquiry practice. Since vipassana, however, I have been unable to whole heartedly practice Self Inquiry. It seems vipassana opened an interior path that is dissimilar to the path I traversed via Self Enquiry. So, Self Inquiry practice is in flux.

I will look at the Mastering The Core Teachings Of The Buddha and references to nana as you suggested.

I will start a new link with my daily practice. I'm not sure of continuing in Goenka tradition or not. I experimented with noting a few times and found it quite effective.

Thanks
Shiva