Need some guidance Think maybe at least 1st path but ..?

Nikolai Stephen Halay, modified 11 Years ago.

Need some guidance Think maybe at least 1st path but ..?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Edited: For major typos and the fact I was wrting this at a million miles per hour.

I sent this email to Daniel Ingram. He has since replied so I am all good but hopefully my experience will prove inspiration to someone else.

Hi Daniel,

Today I just got off a 10 day goenka course.Let's just say it was an unbelievably awesome course.




I hit the ground running. I meditated a lot before the course at home and generally found I was in mid to high equanimity. I had been reading your chapter on high equnimity and following the awesome advice by especially Tarin. I knew i could do it and I fully resolved to attain first path during the 10 days. This is the first time I've sat a 10 day in 2 and a bit years. I have basically sat about 180 days worth of courses in the Goenka tradition and from my first course I have always been sitting and reaching A/P quickly but felt I was a dark night yogi for the past 9 years. I seemed not to get anywhere even when in mid equanimity. I'd always get bored and my practise would get lazy. So cycling through the dark night has been constant for 9 years. Well, with your book and DHO, I found inspiration enough to get where I think I am. Here is what happened...

Day 1, 2,

I was in constant high equanimity from the getgo, noting like crazy mahasi style. ( I used and abused so to speak the centre facilties for my own purpose and didnt follow the goenka instructions-Dhamma bad boy!) My mantra was momentum and I worked like I have never worked before. I have never had so much mental energy in the course. It was more or less constant sampajana using the noting and at the same time sensations throughout the body. It was very effective. I usually have only practised with bare awareness of sensations ala goenka, but the noting really increased the ability of the mind to notice everything arising and passing. When I got into high equanimity I was able to start investigating. You see, this was what I was missing from my practise. The totality of the experience. Attention would be focused on the sensations of Self and pinpoint where they were located, noting anticipation, facination, space, images, the way the eye balls felt as Self accompanied by maybe a sensation of negativity in the throat. This would all dance around as it was observed and rearrange itself in different parts of generally the head area. With this being percived I began to see where the Self was jumping in on the bare experience of sensations with great rapidity.
Day 3

On this day an amazing discovery. I discovered that I had access to the first 4 jhanas. I really don't know how this happened. It just felt like a gift and I really am not familiar with jhanas anyway but I checked and they so correspond to their descriptions. No idea how. One moment I was in high equanimity and the next I just found how I could will the mind into the jhanas. I even experimented with 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th but they felt weak and also I had this strong intuition that they werent neccessary and I basically could use the 1st, 2nd and 3 to get to 4th and from there keep picking away at the sensations of Self. It was so facinating and my resolve to attain 1st path got stronger. But it still wasn't happening. Craving for 1st path came up so intensely it began to push me backward.

Day 4.

So I felt this craving arising for 1st path all morning. I think I may have fallen back to dukkha nanas cos I went through a very rough couple of hours with some heavy chest sankharas. I was getting fed up with the craving for path and then Goenka gave the 2 hour no moving addithana sit and I went through the most hellish pain I have ever experienced. I remember yelling in my mind "I hate you Goenka, fucking stop talking". It was so intense and my knees felt like they were ready to explode. I came out of that sit exhausted and ready to give up. And I did. I unresolved my vow so to speak and just said "Right, whatever, I don't care if I dont attain anything"
The rest of the day I was like that. Totally couldn't give a stuff about path.

Day 5

4.30am to 6.30am

So I begin to practise and its back to high equamity because I am relaxed and I will the mind into 4th Jhana and start observing Self. Have breakfast noting all the way. I am quite relaxed now as I seemed to have stopped craving path.

8am - 10.49am

I continue to work as above and the blipping in and out of Self starts getting slower and about 4 seconds are seen of the Self as just a dance of sensations along with those sensations in the head thast are inbetween blips, so it seems the subject is joining the object and just becoming one massive bare sensate experience.

Then at about 10.50, something clicks and that massive bare sensate experience of the sensations previously known as Self is seen so clearly that this simple insight felt so profound that this amazing feeling of happiness descended on me and I was just like "Woah! This. Is. Awesome." Nothing happens at this stage and the gong for lunch goes and I leave my cell to walk to the dining hall. All the while thinking of this mindblowing insight which has been staring me in the face all a long. I get there at about 11.05, sitting on a bench and then the mind turns on itself again onto that massive bare sensate expeience of all these sensations just dancing about. No Self anymore. Then it just appears naturally. The knowing of the anatta charactersitic. The thoughts....holy shit, this is just fluff. The Self is just so substanceless. Just fluff! Then the knowing of Annica arises directly after it and the thought, Wow, its just sensations dancing about, dissapearing. When I think back it felt like the actual written words appeared in the mind. With these two characteristic immediately Dukkha just made sense but totally!!!!!! And then...

I felt my head pulled back and my eyes went up and I felt sucked up into something and spat out... and with my eyes closed it looked like the sun was right in front of my eyes. I opened them and just thought...What the hell! What was that....? I really just felt massively stunned for several moments. And then started thinking was that it? Was that it? It felt almost like an anitclimax and I had been awaiting something more spectacular. So I am just stunned and waiting in line to be served lunch. And I'm just thinking, Was that it? What happened? ...I sit down and it just hits me.....Something is different! What was it? Then I clearly see that my mind feels like an open sky when it was previously cloudy. And that niggling horribly subtle agitation that seemed to come out my throat had completely dissapeared. It was so unexpected. I was completely stunned. I couldnt eat lunch because any appetite that I had wasn't felt anymore. I went straight to the teacher and he just told me to relax and lie down for some time, be aware of the extremities.

So I soon find out within 30 minutes that I was cycling. Within 5 minutes sitting in my bed there were 3 cycles as this ball of energy or whatever made its way up the body stopping at each of the chakras for lack of better terms and then reaching the top of the head, CONK! I rushed back to the teacher and he just said to be in sampajana. And it seems I am looking for validation as the ego seemed to want that.

The cycles started going on a bit more maybe 2 every 10 minutes. Then slowed down significantly and some heavy crap was felt as this thing made its way up the spine it seemed and stopped at each juncture to what seems to burn out the rotten sensations there. It was so facinating...it really felt like they were being burned out.

I remember something Kenneth had written on how to check if you have dipped. Flutter you eye lids and watch for the end of the last sensation. I did this and the mind was immediately pulled into something, there is a clunk out and a wave of bliss 3 seconds later. I also realise that I can will the mind into that build up of energy before that unknown moment in the clunk out and remain in it. I started meditating in it and seemed to be powering through and the cycles got faster. In one sit I had about 40 or so. The teacher just told me to be equaminous and meditate in the cell and not the hall. He wasnt giving any ideas away that he may know what I was experiencing. I also discover that I can will the mind into 8 distinct mental absorbtions whenever I want. And cycle through them quite fast back and forth. I also realise that there is a very superficial state to each and if I want, I can go deeper by just willing the mind.

Day 6

I cant meditate or rather I don't want to. I just feel so relaxed and blissed out. I just don't want to be at the centre. I remember feeling...shit, I cant believe this has happened on the 5th day and I've still got 5 days to go...hahah! I started just playing around with the holding that build up of energy before a conk out and releasing it. If you can imagine me lying on a beach smoking a big joint, that's what it felt like lying in my cell. Heheh!

Day 7
I am still too blissed out and without any desire to meditate. I mention to the teacher that I have access to all the jhanas including this weird one where I can will the mind to remain in that build up before a dip. Is this the 9 Vipassana Jana? Is there such a thing?
The teacher says the Buddha attained enlightenment through doing vipassana in the jhanas and this kind of gives me my second wind and I start practising by cycling through the jhanas and letting this facinating cycling process up the body continue. At this stage I am experiencing between 5 and 30 cycles per hour.

Day 8

I have been sleeping maybe 2 hours a night and on the night of the 7th day I hear this voice in my head start going over the moment that this all started. And this naturally feeling review period starts. I go back to the moment and see that massive bare sensate experience again, no Self, just dancing sensations, all fluff and I experiment switching the characteristics around as this is observed. I become aware that there are three distinct experiences when you dip depending on which characterisitc is being considered last. The anatta one is really smooth and sometimes passes without me noticing. Often when I am trying to go to sleep I am jolted back by this one occuring. The annica one is more the CONK! and the dukkha one which I now realise is what I initially went through, is like a swift sucking up of the head and then release. My least favourite.

I also start obsessing about how and who I am going to tell this to. This goes on all night, 3 or 4 hours of reviewing. Insane! I am not meditating but just sitting and watching what I did repeat itself again and again. The cycles seem to slow down a lot and I cant recall how many passed an hour.

Day 9

Reviewing again until about 1pm and I feel too chilled out to meditate. I am just bored and wanting to go out and tell people but then I get a surge of mental energy and I leave my cell to go sit the 2.30-3.30 group sit with all the other students.

So I start by going up to 4th jhana and cycle up and down the jhanas somewhat. Then something interesting happens. The cycling starts geting faster to the point that all I experience is constant conking out but majorly fast one after the other. It was freaky and when I reacted with fear or any reaction it stopped and when the mind was equanimous, it sped up. It was like this. Dip! Dip! Dip! Dip! Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip! Dip! Dip! Dip! Dip! Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip! These last ones start pushing my whole body backwards and my neck feels like it is being pushed back and down into my torso. I would rearrange myself at the slight interval between dipping fits. My neck still hurts from it. The group sit ends. This has been going on for about 45 minutes and I basically crawl to the teacher right in front of me to ask what the fuck is happening. He just says to go to my cell! So I leave the hall but then I realise the cycling which seemed to have died down starts speeding up and I have my first experience of the conk out while my eyes are opened. I walk out of the hall and manage to sit down on a bench while I am attacked by a massive dipping fit. The teacher walks past and I call out his name but I keep getting cut off by the conking out and he sees me and tells me to quickly shuffle off to the teacher's hall. All the while having these insanely fast cycles while I am walking. My eyelids flick down as I conk out each time. When I react with a "What the fuck" reaction they stop but my mind feels naturally drawn to being equanimouus and they continue.

I reach the hall and by this time the cycles seem so fast my head keeps getting pulled back and my neck strained back as well. He asks me what I am feeling and I cant answer him cos my voice keeps getting cut by the conking out.

It was such a surreal situation. I remember somehow spitting out. I...CONK....am..CONK...equ...CONK..nimous...CONK....
I laugh at it now but I reacted a bit with fear of what the hell was happeneing but equanimity was stronger. This keeps on going for about 15 minutes infront of the teacher.

Eventually the dippings die down and I am told to go to my room and lie down and forget about the rest of the course. There is only one day left anyway.

I manage to get back to my room and lie down. 20 minutes pass and my body is feeling these impossibly subtle sensations that I feel insanely sensitive. But as the dip fit seems to finally dissipate I get up and immediately I realised that I was different. It felt like a massive chunk of me had fallen away and the mind seemed a 100 times more open and clear than the first time. The SELF was still there but I was impossibly lighter in the mind and it feels like all my inhibitions, negativity, worry and a major chunk of craving is not there any more.When I focus on the jhanas I access them at a frighteningly faster speed and they feel mundane as opposed the the Wow factor they had after first dipping.

I also feel a repulsion for this concieted "I" which is popping up generally with the harsh sensation coming out the throat. But it dissipates after 2 hours leaving the whole front of the body feeling free from any negativity.

Day 10-Metta Day
I feel an amazing change in myself. and when people start communicating with me I feel so genuine towards them. I am not pretending anything for anyone. I feel so content to just sit wherever I am. I feel like a big round stone you see in a zen garden. Just sitting there and letting people approach and having these genuine exchanges without any judgements. My stare is unmoving and piercing as I look at people. I dont get tired by all the talking and conversation. I tell two of my closest Dhamma friends what happened and we talk dhamma until late night like it was the time of the Buddha. I feel like the single most important event in my life has taken place. I am shaking my head in wonder but so content. Just sitting there like a stone...but at times real conceited which repels me. I dont feel like meditating at all and there isnt any cycles. Just a pressure between the eyes.

Day 11 -End Today 7th January 2010
In the moring I feel a cycle start and major fear creeps up into the mind. I leave the centre and tell a couple more close Dhamma friends of my experience.

Now today at home...
I get to my parents house but find it vacant and locked. My mind is an open sky and there is no agitation for having to wait aroundfor them to arrive. I start talking to myself and reviewing insights I had gained. So content just to be anywhere.

Later..
My forehead hurts and pressure is felt between the eyes.My body feels not of my own and my sense of self keeps warping in and out and the body feels like it is in the ocean and being rocked back and forth by the waves. The senations are intense, almost too intense but the mind seems to stay equanimous. I am not freaking out but would be if I was normal. Hehehe! Am I normal?
Oh and I have also discovered that if I focus attention on any phenomena within the body with one of the three characteristics, I get one of those conk outs. Example...watching the end of the touch of breath in the nose...CONK!


So what the hell happened to me?

This is where I am right now.

I feel so much gratitude to you, Daniel. Thankyou and to Tarin too. Something he said got me across the line.

Nikolai Stephen Halay

P.S. Forgive the lack of ability to write more clearly. I am writing this as my body feels like it is being hit by waves of intense energy and within the forhead is uncomfortable pressure.nd
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Mitch Jacinto, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think I have hit 2nd path but no idea

Posts: 138 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
congrats!!! 2nd path came for me about 1 month after streamentry. the Reviews ended 1 week after streamentry. I don't know if you got to 2nd path but that would be awesome!
Nikolai Stephen Halay, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think I have hit 2nd path but no idea

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Thanks mate! God knows where I am but god it feels great.
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Yadid Bee, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think I have hit 2nd path but no idea

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
Hi Nick,

This is very fascinating and I thank you for your excellent report.

I also practice Goenka style and would love to hear a more detailed description of how you were noting + doing body sweeping.

mudita,
yadidbee.
Nikolai Stephen Halay, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think I have hit 2nd path but no idea

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Hello Yadid,

It has always been easy for me to feel all the sensations on the body in an out...the subtle flow of vibrations for the past 9 years. I was in banga a lot and well...a dark night yogi since my first course. But with the maps and turning my attention to the sensations of "I" , which I had never considered before, I seemed to start really making progress.

So for years I felt like every time I went to a course, it was just to clear out sankharas, as Goenka puts it. There was no drive to achieve something important. This last course, I had the momentum and drive and faith that I could do it. I realised it was tricky looking at the sensations of "I" in just a bare sensate way and I would not realise the subtler moods and sensations like , space, anticipation, boredom (which always made me a lazy meditator), basically EVERYTHING that was being experienced that gave a sense of "I". I started coupling the noting technique with my already strong bare awareness of the flow of sensation. I could easily pinpoint where an arising of sensation was which seemed related to the colour of a thought or emotion. The noting focused my mind much more quickly onto the sensation of whatever I had noted. At one stage my mind was noting so fast, I couldn't keep up with percieving what "mood" I was noting and I reverted to just noting with the word "noted!", "noted!', "noted!" as things arose in quick succession. It was a very powerful way of meditating. Feeling the subtle flow of snesation was still key for me, but the noting pushed me further into territory i hadn't considered or got lost in previously.

I was always feeling the entire body and would on occasion do a quick sweep here and there, but these sensations of "I" where my focus. I just payed attention to where these sensations arose and realised that I could not supress the"I", but it was more about seeing the sensations which would arise anyway as being just sum parts of what sanna, the percieving part of the mind saw as "I". That was the entire focus of my meditation up until the moment some sort of conk out (I am not good at describing my expereince) occured.

It was like I smashed the lock on the door with that profound bare sensate experience where subject and object became one, just a bare snsate experience without any "I" blipping in. The sensations that "made it up" where still there but it seemed the percieving part of the mind saw it for what it really is and then the opening of the door was seeing it all as anatta, annica and then dukkha...then sucked up and spat out! And I poked my head through a door and came back a different person.
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Yadid Bee, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think I have hit 2nd path but no idea

Posts: 258 Join Date: 9/11/09 Recent Posts
And how is returning back to life now after the course? must be kind of intense while you're getting down from the high of such a strong retreat.

Do you still experience these fruitions on an hourly / daily basis? any sleep? and do you still access the 8 Jhanas now off retreat?
Nikolai Stephen Halay, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think I have hit 2nd path but no idea

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Hi,

I wrote to Daniel and gave him this description of where I am. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it. It is real for me and there seems a strong "Ehipassiko" pull to show people what I did.


Hi Daniel,

Thankyou for your reply. I am certainly not the same person before the course. I have begun to feel more grounded since it ended which was only 3 days ago. At least today as the mind was quite blissed out for a bit. I feel like a normal human being again but with some substantial changes. There seems to be a whole chunk of negativity and craving gone. It's like I am completely content in the moment anywhere, anytime. I seem to have no inhibitions and am completely genuine with people I am interacting with. Anyway, these changes are massive compared to how I was. There is substantially less misery.

My meditation: Well, I don't feel like sitting at all. Or rather it doesn't occur to me to do it. There is no intention yet to do it. There is meditation going on all the time. I am always aware where I am in a cycle, whether I am in the banga state or when the negative sensations arise in order, the bottom of the stomach, then the top of the stomach, the chest area, the throat area, by now I am in what is a very equanimous state and then it feels like it passes behind my eyes and forehead and then shortly after there is, for lack of a better term, a conk out. This conk out has like an intial build up of energy and then something unknown and not remembered then a release and I get a wave of bliss about 3 seconds after which permeates the body and leaves me chilled out.. I seem to be able to hold the build up before it and it seems the mind flicks in and out from the build up and something else unknown which I can't explain. I can only hold this for a couple of seconds then there is a release. I can also choose to will the mind INTO the build up and it kind of envelopes the mind in it and it feels like a definite mental absorbtion where the mind seems stuck in one spot. No thoughts will fly by but one can think a thought if wanted. This one is hard to explain. I can still feel the cycle continue in this one but I have a tentative memory of whether I have got the conk out at the end of one or there wasn't one at all during the cycles. I have had no interest to get into that state at the moment so I havent investigated further. I will do so and get back to you.

The conk out. Well, it seems I can willfully get one when I want by observing one of the three characterisitic of any phenomena in the body. That is, mental image or physical sensation. For example when I observe the end of the touch of breath on the tip of my nose, and I am aware of the annica of the sensation, I get a conk out which feels exactly like the word "conk out". It is like the is a slight build up of some senstation on the crown of the head and then something occurs I can't see nor explain, and then a sensation of release eminating from the top of the head and then a bliss wave some seconds later. The head jerks slightly. The dukkha characteristic when observed feels like my head is pulled up swiftly and then released back down. I can't obsevre what is in between because it seems to happen very fast. The anatta experience is much smoother than the other too and is like a smoother version of the anicca experience. After all of them I get a bliss wave which is very soothing. The whole top of my head after these releases and consequent waves of bliss feels like it is encompassed in pleasnat light sensations.

The cycles I have been experiencing have varied between maybe 5 an hour and , here I am not fibbing, maybe 20 or 30 in a very short time. I call these dip fits as they come uncontrollably fast and only occur when I am equanimous and aware of one of the characteristic in a phenomena. again the conk out experience differs depending on the characterisitc observed.

My mind is a 1000 times more concentrated than before. I have always had good concentration in my sits but now I close my eyes and there is nothing but a blank mind so to speak. It's a completely clear and still state. It feels like awareness encompasses all around the head in and out. Hard to explain.

The 8 mental absorbtions I seem to have fast access to are something that I haven't fully explored yet. After I had the intitial experience of conking out there was a wow factor but now I don't seem to have any interest to visit them. But I will do so. Sitting here I seem to be able to get into each one even with my eyes open except the last. I discovered that if I stay in one of them, it goes deeper into a more absorbed state and the mind gets pulled into it. But I haven't really investigated yet as the interest hasn't arisen. They seem strangely mundane. But when the interest arises I will explore them. For now I can access a very superficial state of each. Even with eyes open except for the 8th where the eyes close automatically. I will attempt to explain how they feel as I experience them now.

The 1st one has very gross pleasant sensations all over the body like the sensations of banga.The eyes feel pulled downward slightly almost looking directly to a centre point slightly downward above the nose.. The second one the gross pleasant sensations dissappear and there is a subtler pleasant sensation and the eyes remain as they were, looking at the same centre point. The 3rd one has the eyes unfocus and take in the whole picture. It's a wide focus and I tried focusing on one thing but it feels like the eyes strain to do it. ...hard to explain. There is also a sensation which stops after passing from 2nd to 3rd but I need to investigate more to really tell what the difference seems to be. The 4th one is very equanimous and similar to the high equanimity I said I was experiencing. It is the most comfortable and I like to sit in it when i sit and meditate. It feels the most natural. The eyes are looking forward kind of not focused on anything in particular and very relaxed. The focus is a little wider than 1st and 2nd. The sensations are subtler than all the previous absorbtions.
The 5th the eyes look upward and there is a sense that the head or mind has opened upward and out. The 6th one has the eyes look forward but the focus seems almost like I cross my eyes, hard to expalin but it feels like I am looking inward. The 7th, the eyes relax and unfocus and really dont take in anything. You can see the whole picture but it also seems like there is no object. It is a very nice feeling of no focus, again hard to explain. The 8th one is shut down. That is the eyes go downward quickly and almost strain as they reach their limit of movement. In the superficial state of this one it feels like a darkness envelopes the mind and there is nothing going on. Again hard to put into words.
I apologise for my lack of explanation skills. After further investigation, I will try and attempt better ones.

My positive personality attributes seem to be intact like my goofy humour but without any negativity. Hard to explain. It is a feeling of such contentness that I lack the words to describe it.

When I said that in the current state of being that I am living there is still a self, I meant that the illusion of self seems intact still. But I seem to be able to go back to the initial experience before the first conk out occured when the bare sensate experience of "I" was being observed for what it really is.Just a dance of sensations. When I do that, I usually conk out in the specific way of the charactersitic that is being considered of the sensations of "I".

I know you have to consider if I am lying or if I really just experienced a whole lot of A/P events but say I am telling the truth, ( and I assure I am but I am ok with you not believing) is it possible for someone to get to sotapanna then have a whole lot of what I termed "dip fits" (very fast cycles one after the other) and get to the 2nd stage? Because this state of being is a thousand times better than the 1st one experienced.

And is it possible for those who have gotten at least 1st stage to have such fast cycles at all? Or is it a different experience for each person? Is it even possible?

This current state of being which appeared after the 1st "dip fit" is completely different to the 1st state of being after the initial conk out. The concentration is a much much more powerful and there is defintiely a significant reduction in aversion and craving. And access to the 8 mental absorbtions seems lightning fast. also when I hold the build up of energy before a conk out and then release it the bliss wave has lost its wow factor and feels similar to how the whole body feels anyway. The wow factor was much more in the 1st ste I was experiencing.
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Mitch Jacinto, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think maybe at least 1st path but ..?

Posts: 138 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
hi how are you?
how are the cycles now?

When i got to 1st and 2nd path, my 'review cycles' were crazy. I thought it would never leave. I felt i was
living life 2 times the actual rate of life. Like if real life was 30fps, i was on 60fps.
When my review cycles ended on 2nd path, cycling has turned to roughly 1 cycle to 7 days. I think the pattern is:
its gotten slower and slower. Early 2nd path reviews were fast. Then down to 2 a day, then one a day. then one in 3 days.
Then one in 5 days. Now 1 cycle in 7 days? I thought it stopped moving when it hit 5 days but now im confused
as well. Do u notice this pattern also happening to you?

Now, a few months later, I feel more like my old self. Sometimes, I can barely distinguish the
difference of when i first practiced to where i am now. Probably, i don't remember that clearly what
it used to be like, but i think the things that happen are a lot related to how one is
practicing in a given time, and less on what path they are in. ( at least this is comparing to
where i am now. i can't speak for 3rd path)

on another note, digging up the same intensity and motivation that i once had to practice hard in daily life
has become harder.

this is also because of being able to handle the dark nights better and being "driven less by fear"
so the 'cool stuff happening level' has gone down a couple of notches, 2nd path or not. emoticon
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Nikolai S Halay, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think maybe at least 1st path but ..?

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hi Mitch,

Yeh, I am in exactly the same boat. The cycles after my course, for at least 2 weeks, after where quite common during the day. I was experiencing a lot of fruitions. But in the last week or so, it has slowed down considerably and I am not really counting them but I would say maybe 2 or 3 a day. It seems for me, what I observe is that the sensations that would move up the body at the points that correspond to the chakras would stay in one spot for a very long time, sometimes hours and hours. It really colours my mood if I react to them. The dark night of 2nd seems quite intense but at the same time the mind is so on top of those sensations that there isn't much opportunity for any mental reaction to them.

I have just listened to the hurricane ranch Dhamma discussions again and from that I decided to go with no dog and the simplest thing, 2nd and 3rd gear from Kenneth's teachings. I have seen something happen when no-dog is taken for a walk. I often take the mind back to the moment I got 1st path. The illusion of "I" was being seen as just a mass of sensations dancing about here, dancing about there. I can revisit that experience when I want, where subject and object are one. That for me seems to be no-dog or maybe the simplest thing, not too sure. But anyway, when I do that the cycle seems to pick up some speed. Yesterday, I was wondering to myself...hey, when was the last time I experienced a fruition? It had been a day or so, so I turned my attention to the body and saw this flow of negative sensations at the solar plexus. I then turned the mind to that initial experience of subject and object becoming one, no "I" and the sensations at the solar plexus started bubbling and spitting and shifting and then dissipating and then the cycle moved up to the chest and stayed there for not too long, then up to the throat then spent some time at my forehead ...this sometimes really makes it hard to concentrate because of the pressure it creates. Do you get this?. It sat there for a while and then up to the crown followed by a fruition and back to AP/dissolution ( a pleasant gross buzzy vibration all over the body) then it started again. It seems to sit in the solar plexus a lot and the forehead a lot these days. When I do sit to meditate, I go into 4th jhana and then take the mind back to the experience of the sensations of "I" being observed and the cycle seems to speed up. I think that is what i'll be doing from now on until whatever path happens next. It seems intuitively to be the right thing to do.


I too have had less drive recently than I had before the course to progress. I mean before all of this I was so psyched up to get first path and there was alot of drive to achieve it. Now, there is like there is no craving for path. I know I want to progress but there is no craving for it, more like a feeling that it will eventually happen and so I''ll go with the flow. It is weird how you feel so normal now. I have that feeling too. Just as I woke up this morning, I thought how I can't remember well how I was before getting path. I feel so normal and at times I have to remind myself that I did it by getting a fruition independent of a cycle by observing the annica, anatta or dukkha characteristic of a phenomena within the body. Like the eyelid flickering that Kenneth talks about.


I do notice though a huge change in how much I suffer. I certainly have less craving and aversion than I did before my course. That is quite obvious. What about you, Mitch? What changes have you seen in your way of being?


By the way, I had to get another account because my original account got locked for some reason. Does anyone know an administrator so they can unlock it for me? I wanna use my original account.
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Nikolai *, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Need some guidance Think maybe at least 1st path but ..?

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Seeing as this thread has been linked elsewhere and I can't access my old account anymore which I posted this in, here is a revised version of the post above taken from here:
http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/page/An+account+of+stream+entry


An Account of SE

This is an account of a 10 day Vipassana course where I got stream entry. This was over New Year’s 2009-2010. It was originally posted at the Dharma Overground website. This is an edited version with extra info. I originally wrote it as an email to Daniel Ingram asking for advice. Some of the language I used was a bit off as I was still reeling from such a strong course and I really didn’t know how to describe the experience very well.

Just a bit of a background. I started practicing in the Goenka tradition of Vipassana in the year 2000. I was a dhamma bum for many years. I spent at least 2 years all up living in the main Goenka Vipassana centre in Australia. I went to India to study Pali and live, serve and sit at Dhamma Giri, the main Vipassana centre in India in the Goenka tradition for close to a year. I was a devout hardcore Theravada convert. I did it all. Pilgrimages to the holy site twice, became a monk for 2 weeks in Burma, followed a fairly segregated life for some time, very anal about observing sila. I sat over 180 days worth of courses in that tradition. I was a dark night yogi for a long time. Never knew what was going on. It got too much and I stopped meditating for on and off 3 years. Suffered a lot but still had no idea why, since I had stopped meditating. A classic chronic dark nighter! Then…

In the beginning of 2008, I had moved to Chile, South America and was feeling the pull to Dhamma again. Found a podcast called Buddhist Geeks which led to Daniel Ingram's website: A frickn arahat was answering emails? Ok, so I asked him a question skeptical as hell. Hi advice struck a cord with me for some reason which led me to the Dharma Overground and to people who were saying they had gone and done it. It was possible!!! A light was seen in the distance of the very, very dark tunnel I was stuck in.

From then on I started including the Mahasi noting technique into my daily sits with awareness of the subtlest sensations /vibrations in the body. At one stage I started also practicing with a kasina for concentration, following Kenneth Folk’s simple instructions to just stare at a break fast bowl. I had read Daniel's book, Mastering the Core Teachings of The Buddha and asked questions to people who claimed to have done it too at the Dharma Overground. I believed more than ever that awakening was possible and resolved to get it done on this course. The course was from late December 2009 to early January, 2010. So here is the account of what I did on that 10 day meditation course:

The Course (Originally an email to Daniel Ingram)

I hit the ground running. I meditated a lot before the course at home and generally found I was in mid to high equanimity. I had been reading your chapter on equanimity following the awesome advice by especially Tarin (to note everything, including the subtlest of mind states that previously were not paid attention to like anticipation, boredom, spacing out, space, investigation etc). I knew I could do it and I fully resolved to attain first path during the 10 days. This is the first time I've sat a 10 day in 2 and a bit years. I have basically sat about 180 days worth of courses in the Goenka tradition and from my first course, I have always been sitting and reaching A/P quickly but felt I was a dark night yogi for the past 9 years. I seemed not to get anywhere even when in mid-equanimity. I'd always get bored and my practise would get lazy. So cycling through the dark night has been constant for 9 years. Well, with your book and DHO, I found inspiration enough to get where I think I am. Here is what happened...

Day 1 and 2

I was in constant equanimity of formations from the get-go, noting like crazy Mahasi style. My mantra was momentum and I worked like I have never worked before. I have never had so much determination on a course. It was more or less constant sampajana using the noting and at the same time awareness of sensations throughout the body. It was very effective. I usually have only practised with bare awareness of sensations (Goenka), but the noting really increased the ability of the mind to notice and objectify everything arising and passing. When I got into a highly equanimous state, I was able to start investigating. You see, this was what I was missing from my practice previously. The totality of the experience.

Attention would be focused on the sensations of the illusory "Self" and pinpoint where they were located, noting the mind states; anticipation, fascination, space, images, the way the eye balls felt as "Self" accompanied by maybe a flow of negative sensations at the throat or chest. This would all dance around as it was observed and rearrange itself in different parts of generally the head and chest area. With this being perceived I began to see where the illusory "Self" was blipping in and out of the bare experience of sensations with great rapidity.

Note: When I say "Self" I mean the sum of mental and physical phenomena that make up the sense of an illusory "I".

Day 3

On this day an amazing discovery: I discovered that I had access to the first 4 jhanas. I really don't know how this happened. It just felt like a gift and I really am not too familiar with jhanas anyway but I checked and they so correspond to their descriptions. No idea how. One moment I was in high equanimity and the next I just found how I could will the mind into an absorbed version of the 11th nana which I intuitively knew as the 4th jhana. I even experimented with 5th, 6th, 7th and maybe 8th but they felt weak and also I had this strong intuition that they weren’t necessary and I basically could use the 1st, 2nd and 3rd to get to the 4th again and from there keep noting away at the sensations of the illusory "Self". It was so fascinating and my resolve to attain 1st path got stronger. But it still wasn't happening. Craving for 1st path came up so intensely it began to push me backward.

Note: It is my experience and the experience of other yogis that noting can get you into jhanic territory at the same time as practicing insight. Very effective in my opinion. Also, specific nanas have a corresponding jhana. For example, the 11th equanimity of formations nana corresponds to the 4th jhana. Since I was in high equanimity a lot , when I stopped investigating and noting and let myself be absorbed in the sensations, the mind shifted into the 4th jhana. For a good explanation of this see Kenneth Folk's explanation here :

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/page/Jhana+and+%C3%91ana

Day 4

So I felt this craving arising for 1st path all morning. I think I may have fallen back into the 10th Re-observation nana because I went through a very rough couple of hours with some heavy and negative flow of sensations at the chest area. I was getting fed up with the craving for path and then Goenkaji gave the 2 hour no-moving addithana sit and I went through the most hellish pain I have ever experienced. I remember yelling in my mind "I hate you Goenka! Please, stop talking!" It was so intense and my knees felt like they were ready to explode. I came out of that sit exhausted and ready to give up. And I did. I unresolved my vow so to speak and just said "Right, whatever, I don't care if I don’t attain anything" The rest of the day I was like that. Totally couldn't give a stuff about 1st path.

Note: I should have included the craving sensations into the noting...but I was still somewhat of a noting novice. Still got it done though.

Day 5

4.30am to 6.30am

So I begin to practise and its back to high equanimity because I am relaxed and I will the mind up to what I believe was the 4th Jhana and start observing "Self". I have breakfast noting all the way:tasting, tasting, feeling, swallowing. It really was non-stop noting.I am quite relaxed now as I seemed to have stopped craving path.

8am - 10.49am

I continue to work as above and the blipping in and out of the sensations of the illusory "Self" starts getting slower (or rather they are not being read as "Self") and about 4 seconds are seen of the "Self" as just a dance of sensations along with those sensations in the head that are in between blips, so it seems the subject is joining the object and just becoming one massive bare sensate experience.

Then at about 10.50, something clicks and that massive bare sensate experience of the sensations, previously known and seen as "Self", as "Nick", is seen so clearly. This simple insight felt so profound that this amazing feeling of happiness and pleasantness descended throughout the body. Nothing happens at this stage and the gong for lunch is sounded and I leave my cell to walk to the dining hall. All the while thinking of this mindblowing insight which has been staring me in the face all along. I get there at about 11.05, sitting on a bench waiting to enter the dining hall.....and then the mind turns in on itself again onto that massive bare sensate experience of all these sensations just dancing about. No "Self" anymore. Then it just appears naturally. The knowing of the Anatta/Non-self characteristic. The thoughts...."Holy crap, this is just fluff. The "Self" is just so substanceless. Just fluff!". Then the knowing of Anicca/Impermanence characteristic arises directly after it and the thought, "Wow, it's just the sum of sensations dancing about, as soon as they arise they stop dead." When I think back to this moment, it felt like the actual written words appeared in the mind. With these two characteristics known fully, immediately the Dukkha/Unsatisfactoriness characteristic just made complete sense!!!!!! And then...

I felt my head being pulled up slightly at the crown of the head and I felt like something "big" was about to happen. There was a mental reaction of anticipation and I managed to start noting it, but as it all happened so fast I only managed to note it with the word "noted"......and I felt sucked up into something unknown and spat out....... and with my eyes closed it looked like the sun was right in front of my eyes. I opened them and just thought..."What the hell! What was that....?". I really just felt massively stunned for several moments. And then started asking myself "Was that it?"

It felt almost like an anticlimax and I had been awaiting something more spectacular. So I am just stunned and waiting in line to be served lunch. And I'm just thinking "Was that it? What happened?" ...I sit down with my food and it just hits me.....Something is different! "What was it?". Then I clearly see that my mind feels like an open sky when it was previously cloudy. And that niggling horribly subtle agitation that seemed to constantly come out my throat had completely disappeared. I felt no craving for enlightenment. No desire to get it done. It was so unexpected. I was completely stunned. I couldn’t eat lunch because any appetite that I had wasn't felt anymore. I went straight to the teacher and he just told me to relax and lie down for some time, be aware of the extremities.

Note: There is a definite change in perception here. The sensations within the head gives the impression that there is more space, more room within. Like your mind has opened up and out. The illusory "Self" though still felt intact and still "sticky". When I closed my eyes, it was like just one big open space. All sensations throughout the body were insanely obvious. There was also quite a blissful feel to the whole experience as well. I just felt like I was "home". The body was buzzing with subtle blissful sensations.

So I soon find out within 30 minutes that I was cycling. Within 5 minutes sitting in my bed there were 3 cycles as this ball of energy or whatever made its way up the spine stopping at each of the chakra points for lack of a better term and then reaching the top of the head, CONK! I rushed back to the teacher and he just said to be in sampajaña. And it seems I am looking for validation as the ego seemed to want that.

Note: Here is where my language is a bit off. That "conk" was a fruition/cessation moment when the mind shuts down. Nothing is remembered of that fraction of a moment , only before and after it. For a good explanation of fruitions see :

http://bit.ly/b5GkAU

The chakras seem to be real. There is something going on at each of the points that the chakras correspond to. I never was a big believer in such things until I started experiencing so much activity in each spot. These days, it's all happening at the brow, third eye area and the top of the head at the crown. The cycling is what ones goes through as an insight meditator. You cycle through the nanas/knowledges/stages of insight again and again until you get up to the equanimity of formations/sankharas stage enough times for insight to mature and then the path moment/stream entry occurs out of the blue. For someone pre-path, they cycle through the nanas up and down constantly, sometimes staying in one nana for long periods. Without practice, you will need to start from the 1st nana and make your way up again. That is why momentum is key. If you stop meditating , you make no progress. And it sucks if you have crossed the Arising and Passing nana and Dissolution nana and you have to dwell in the following dukkha nanas for long periods, which was my case for years.

After stream entry the cycling starts always from the 4th nana, The Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away up to Knowledge of Fruition/Cessation and then back to the 4th. When you are ready to move to the next stage of enlightenment, 2nd (Sakadagami), you drop back into the 1st nana, Knowledge of Mind and Body to start another insight cycle, or a lot of insight cycles again and again until the next path is achieved. Back to the course....

The cycles started going on a bit more maybe 2 every 10 minutes. Then it slowed down significantly and some heavy crap was felt as this thing made its way up the spine it seemed and stopped at each juncture to what seems to burn out the rotten sensations there. It was so fascinating...it really felt like they were being burned out.

Note: I was still very much attached to the idea that you "eradicate sankharas". My opinion has since changed concerning this notion in order to get stream entry. However, I am not against the idea of coming out of sankharas eventually further down the path. ;)

I remember something Kenneth Folk had written on the Dharma Overground on how to check if you have dipped. Flutter you eye lids and watch for the last flutter and the end of the last sensation. I did this, the mind was immediately pulled into something unknown, there is a conk out (fruition) and a wave of bliss 3 seconds later. I also realise that I can will the mind into that build up of energy before that unknown moment in the conk out(fruition) and remain in it. I started meditating in it and I seemed to be powering through and the cycles got faster.

Note: This weird jhanic state is still weird. I discussed it with Daniel Ingram at the Dharma Overground and a few others at Kenneth Folk's site. Here are the links:

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/3671599/Nirodha+Samapatti+VS+Phala+Samapatti.+Is+there+a+difference%3F

and

http://bit.ly/brPf44

In one sit I had so many (fruitions) one after the other. The teacher just told me to be equanimous and meditate in the cell and not the hall. He wasn’t giving any ideas away that he may know what I was experiencing. I also discover that I can will the mind into 8 distinct mental absorptions whenever I want. And cycle through them quite fast back and forth. I also realise that there is a very superficial state to each and if I want, I can go much, much deeper by just willing the mind.

Day 6

I can't meditate or rather I don't want to. I just feel so relaxed and blissed out. I just don't want to be at the centre. I remember feeling..."Damn, I cant believe this has happened on the 5th day and I've still got 5 days to go...hahah!" I started just playing around with the holding that build up of energy before a conk out (fruition) and releasing it. If you can imagine me lying on a beach smoking a big joint, that's what it felt like lying in my cell. Hehe!

Day 7

I am still too blissed out and without any desire to meditate. I mention to the teacher that I have access to all the jhanas including this weird one where I can will the mind to remain in that build up before a fruition. The teacher says the Buddha attained enlightenment through doing vipassana in the jhanas and this kind of gives me my second wind and I start practising by cycling through the jhanas and letting this fascinating cycling process up the body continue. At this stage I am experiencing between 5 and 10 cycles per hour.

Note: Still don't know what that weird jhanic state is. But many things can be experienced using the state just before a fruition occurs as a jumping point. Including jhanas other than the usual 8. See here for an explanation:

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/page/20+Major+Strata+of+Mind

Day 8

I have been sleeping maybe 2 hours a night and on the night of the 7th day I hear this voice in my head start going over the moment that this all started. And this naturally feeling review period starts. I go back to the moment it happened and see that massive bare sensate experience again, no "Self", just dancing impermanent sensations, all fluff and I experiment switching the characteristics around as this is observed. I become aware that there are three distinct experiences when you dip (have a fruition) depending on which characterisitc is being considered last. The anatta one is really smooth and sometimes passes without me noticing. (It feels very smooth as there seems to be a build up of sensations/energy just an inch or so below the crown of the head as well as an inch or two behind the brow area and then the cessation moment occurs and then a bliss wave 2 or 3 seconds after spreads through the body). Often when I am trying to go to sleep I am jolted back by this one occuring. The annica one is more the CONK! (This feels a little more obvious than that anatta fruition and is focused more at the crown) and the dukkha one which I now realise is what I initially went through, has swift sucking up sensations an inch below the crown occur , in the brain, then the cessation moment and then release and bliss waves.

Note: There are three doors to fruition/cessation that correspond to the characteristics. I went through the dukkha door for stream entry.

I also start obsessing about how and who I am going to tell this to. This goes on all night, 3 or 4 hours of reviewing. Insane! I am not meditating but just sitting and watching what I did repeat itself again and again. The cycles seem to slow down a lot and I can't recall how many passed an hour.

Day 9

Reviewing again until about 1pm and I feel too chilled out to meditate. I am just bored and wanting to go out and tell specific people but then I get a surge of mental energy and I leave my cell to go sit the 2.30-3.30 group sit with all the other students.

Note: What happened to me next has only happened then and maybe once or twice after in the following week. It hasn't happened since then. But concerning this first episode , I havent heard any other yogi having had this experience. So I have no idea what happened to me. I would love an explanation, so Kenneth and anyone else, feel free to speculate.

Note: The "Conks" and "Dips" where fruitions/cessation moments that happened repeatedly one after the other uncontrollably. This was my way at the time of describing them. I have never heard of any other yogi going through this. Weird!

So I start by going up to 4th jhana and cycle up and down the jhanas somewhat. Then something interesting happens. The cycling starts getting faster to the point that all I experience is constant conking out but majorly fast one after the other. It was freaky and when I reacted with fear or any reaction, it stopped and when the mind was equanimous, it sped up. It was like this. Dip! Dip! Dip! Dip! Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip! Dip! Dip! Dip! Dip! Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip! These last ones start pushing my whole body backwards and my neck feels like it is being pushed back and down into my torso. I would rearrange myself at the slight interval between dipping fits. My neck still hurts from it. The group sit ends. This has been going on for about 45 minutes and I basically crawl to the teacher right in front of me to ask what the hell is happening. He just says to go to my cell!

So I leave the hall but then I realise the cycling which seemed to have died down starts speeding up and I have my first experience of the conk out while my eyes are opened. I walk out of the hall and manage to sit down on a bench while I am attacked by a massive dipping fit. The teacher walks past and I call out his name but I keep getting cut off by the conking out and he sees me and tells me to quickly shuffle off to the teacher's hall. All the while having these insanely fast cycles while I am walking. My eyelids flick down as I conk out each time. When I react with a "What the hell!" reaction they stop but my mind feels naturally drawn to being equanimous and they continue. I reach the hall and by this time the cycles seem so fast my head keeps getting pulled back and my neck strained back as well. He asks me what I am feeling and I can't answer him because my voice keeps getting cut by the conking out. It was such a surreal situation. I remember somehow spitting out;

"I...CONK....am..CONK...equ...CONK..nimous...CONK...."

I laugh at it now but I reacted a bit with a few moments of fear which interrupted the strange conking out. Equanimity, however, was stronger and it continued for about 15 minutes more in front of the teacher.

Eventually the fruitions die down and I am told to go to my room and lie down and forget about the rest of the course. There is only one day left anyway.

Note: The teacher also said that I should go back to my room and "review" what had just happened. He still was not verifying anything for me.

I manage to get back to my room and lie down. 20 minutes pass and my body is feeling these impossibly subtle sensations that I feel insanely sensitive and blissed out. But as the "dip fit" seems to finally dissipate I get up and immediately I realised that "I" was different. It felt like a massive chunk of "me" had fallen away and the mind seemed a 1000 times more open and clear than the first time. The sense of illusory "Self" was still there, but in a sense that it felt like it was at the back of the mind, like a mor impersonal "witness" or "observer"; still somewhat "sticky" but impossibly lighter, with the mind feeling "bigger", more spacious and powerfully concentrated. It also feels like all my inhibitions, negativity, worry and a major chunk of craving is not there any more. When I focus on the jhanas I access them at a frighteningly faster speed and they feel mundane as opposed the the "wow factor" they had after first dipping (Path Moment).

Note: This was weird time. I really thought I had gotten another path. Who knows? It is too soon for some to say that. Usually 2nd path occurs a number of months after 1st path in the experience of many yogis I've read and heard about, as far as I know. But since then I've have had big perception shifts after specific "fruitions". These days, I feel obviously very normal as the mind has acclimatizedbut directly after this experience, the mind felt "otherwordly". The space which I previously mentioned was felt in the mind was now all encompassing. Much, much bigger than after the first fruition experience. Today the mind is still similar to this, with perhaps the feeling of "I" much less than before but still very subtly there at the back of the mind. Just much, much more impersonal and seen with ease to be just a pattern of sensations. In fact I feel so normal. I can't really remember well how the mind felt pre-path. The illusory "I" was more solid and the centre of experience . Anyway...back to the course..

I also feel a repulsion for this conceited "I" which is popping up generally with the harsh sensation coming out the throat. But it dissipates after 2 hours leaving the whole front of the body feeling free from any negativity.

Day 10-Metta Day

I feel an amazing change in myself. and when people start communicating with me I feel so genuine towards them. I am not pretending anything for anyone. I feel so content to just sit wherever I am. I feel like a big round stone you see in a zen garden. Just sitting there and letting people approach and having these genuine exchanges without any judgements. My stare is unmoving and piercing as I look at people. I don’t get tired by all the talking and conversation. I tell two of my closest Dhamma friends what happened and we talk dhamma until late night like it was the time of the Buddha. I feel like the single most important event in my life has taken place. I am shaking my head in wonder but so content. Just sitting there like a stone...but at times real conceited which repels me. I don’t feel like meditating at all and there aren't any obvious moving through the nanas. Just a pressure between the eyes is felt.

Note: I also discover the efficacy of utilizing the bliss waves that occur after a fruition/cessation moment to generate metta.

Day 11 -End Today 7th January 2010

In the morning I feel a cycle start from the A/P nana to dissolution to a major fear which creeps up into the mind. I leave the centre and tell a couple more close Dhamma friends of my experience.

Later today at home...
I get to my parents house but find it vacant and locked. My mind is an open sky and there is no agitation for having to wait around for them to arrive. I start talking to myself and reviewing insights I had gained. So content just to be anywhere.

Later..
My forehead hurts and pressure is felt between the eyes. My body feels not of my own and my sense of "self" keeps warping in and out and the body feels like it is in the ocean and being rocked back and forth by the waves. The sensations are intense, almost too intense but the mind seems to stay equanimous automatically. I am not freaking out at all.

Oh, and I have also discovered that if I focus attention on any phenomena within the body with one of the three characteristics being pondered on, I get one of those conk outs (fruition). Example...watching the end of the touch of breath in the nose...CONK!

Note: This was all written the day the course ended. So I was still feeling the after effects of such an eventful course. There are a few things I left out in the initial write up. I forgot to mention that at one stage during day 2, I found a toilet roll and ripped it in half and put it at the bottom of my meditation cell door and put two cushions on either side. The light shining under the door came directly through the toilet roll giving me a light kasina to stare at. I did that up until day 5 when the path moment occurred. I stopped after that. But it got me very concentrated and I believe it was a key influence in what happened later on.

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