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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

possible fruition or maybe not.

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possible fruition or maybe not.
Answer
1/7/10 10:25 AM
Hello,

I have not posted for a while, but I've continued to meditate an hour or so each day and well things have been happening. I was hesitant to post this, but then I read that fascinating post by Nikolai and thought what the hell I could do with some input and I have no teacher to talk with. Here is a progress update, please skip to the last few paragraphs if you can't be bothered reading through it all.


After a few days of meditating with more refined energy I think I must have spun off into the dark night. After reading about the dukka nanas it became very obvious to me when I was experiencing fear, misery (though that was more like sadness) and disgust, they all felt seperate and distinct once I was aware what to look for. I had just started my Christmas holidays and had grand ideas about really going for it and spending hours meditating every day, but in the end I had to really struggle to even manage anything at all. I remember one day I wasted hours just sitting yet not meditating and fighting with myself, and in the evening finally managed to meditate.

This is the point where I would usually have given up the meditation, but knowing it was a valid stage on the way helped me keep things up. I decided to follow the advice in Pema Chodrons books, and use the energy of difficult emotions as an object to meditate on. I'd found it useful in facing fear in my everyday life so I thought I'd give it a try. I sat down with fear first, and just tried to notice all the physical and mental sensations that made up the emotion. It started to become more like a burning energy in my stomach area than an emotion and eventually was released like in previous kundalindi experiences. The next time I felt sad I meditated with that, and the energy seemed to be at my throat, I felt a gentle sadness and empathy with the suffering of other people and myself.

The feelings of disgust and revulsion with my body and the world proved much harder to deal with, I just wanted to be anywhere but the present and kept engaging in activities to blank the present out. I did eventually meditate on that feeling but it was a real struggle and did not seem to resolve itself immediately. However I kept up the actual noting meditation too, and when I managed to sit down I found it relatively easy. It felt kind of like my everyday life was stuck in dark night yet in meditation I could get to what felt like equinimity, a kind of almost bored okness. I remembered reading that the stage you get to in your practice tends to colour your whole day, so I resolved to sit for long enough each day to get to equinimity. This seemed to just about work, I felt I was scraping along the bottom, falling just below then back up over Christmas/New year time.

In the meditation I felt a sense of space, and the 'watcher' presence. Intensive noting felt a bit redundant and I dropped it after I felt sufficiently concentrated and just tried to notice whatever came up. I used the 'who am I' to go after the sense of self. It seemed to be the tension in my eyes, then moved down to energy in my heart area, then my hands, legs, like it was trying to find a place to go. I generally felt ok and didn't really care where I was, though logically assumed it to be equinimity.

I carried on like this, and wasn't even practising that much meditation due to social events. Then the night before last I sat down to meditate, after a few days of not much practice at all. Here are the notes I made afterwards -

Very quickly fell into concentration states (jhanas) with counting the breath.
Felt 3D space in front of me, observed patterns of light and sound.
I felt a surge in my stomach when I recognised the end of a visual image
sound started whooshing, then fell into a beat like whoosh-whoosh, started speeding up.
Dropped into a space that felt very deep down and dark, sense of self seemed very weak, and my head felt tight and hot.
Rapid visuals and sound.
Very gently looked at self with 'who'. Seemed to move from eyes to heart to hands. For the self to be in my hands seemed inherently absurd.
Then there was a very bright light, fine shaking and a sense of build up in my head, my face pulled in a grimace -
Black
then light again, a fizzing noise in my ears.
Pleasant waves over body.

I thought - was that it? I hadn't been expecting or even wanted a fruition, but something felt different, like a new kind of lighness and space in my head. I decided to see if I could repeat it and I did, twice. I felt quietly certain at the time, but now I am more doubtful. On the one hand I can keep repeating the experience and did so again this morning, and the intense feeling of craving for something/there being something missing appears to have gone. On the other I feel pretty normal, not especially happy or blissed out like others seem to be with this experience. My meditation obsession has brought some tension in my personal relationships and last night I had an arguement and acted out in my usual ways, though I felt strangely detached at the same time.

I guess I feel a little bit lost and not sure what to do next. If it was a fruition, I'm not really sure how to go about reviewing it or what to do next. If it was something else I wonder what it could have been and how to practice when my meditation goes space - nothing - that experience.

Any thoughts would be welcome.

RE: possible fruition or maybe not.
Answer
1/7/10 6:10 PM as a reply to Nicole M.
Though I haven't had the experience you are describing, I think the the part where you say "black" is key to whether or not it was a fruition.
Also look at Dr. Ingram's book for the chapter on the three doors and one of the descriptions may be close to what happened to you.
I hope it WAS fruition....

RE: possible fruition or maybe not.
Answer
1/7/10 9:25 PM as a reply to Nicole M.
Hi Nicole,

What you wrote sounds a lot like fruition, even if it wasn't. The fact that the experience has repeated itself is a sign that you could be right.

Tell us more about these repeat fruitions and the process leading up to them. When you sit down to meditate, do you effortlessly access A&P territory soon after? Can you review each of the stages of the dark night, and then equanimity, prior to the next fruition? The Three Doors stuff was difficult for me to notice until after 2nd Path, but it might be clear for you if you pay attention.

Regardless of what occurred, it sounds like your practice is moving along quite nicely. Way to go!!!

~Jackson

RE: possible fruition or maybe not.
Answer
1/9/10 3:52 AM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
Dear Nicole,

Sorting out what is what is not always easy. The big questions tend to swirl around sorting out the Arising and Passing Away and Fruition, as well as 3 Characteristics and Re-Observation. In fact, I'll bet 20 threads in the last few months have revolved around this sort of question. Answers are not always immediately forthcoming, and it can take time for those of us on the diagnosing end to try to figure out how people describe things and what might be what. It is not a perfect science.

I'll lend my impressions:

Your sense of Equanimity before it could have either been Equanimity or the Equanimity Sub-├▒ana of the A&P (2.4 in jhana.sub-jhana notation). The fact of seeing aspects of the sensations that imply Watcher makes me think Equanimity. The cycling rapidly and the vibrations and bright lights make me think A&P, though things like that can happen as we sort of cycle around trying to get a Fruition.

Repetitions can happen in the A&P as the cycles die down. Fruitions can also repeat: typically after full insight cycles from the A&P up to Dark Night to Equanimity to a Fruition, though after a Fruition some can stay up in that pre-Fruition space and catch a few more Fruitions, though usually this only comes after some practice, everyone is different.

Jackson's questions are important ones: what happens next? Do you have the abilities of a stream enterer? Can you sit down in an abbreviated version of the A&P and cycle naturally up to a Fruition? Do you suddenly have access to all that in a way you didn't before?

Both the A&P and Fruitions can be life-changing and lead to a real sense of something being different.

Again, context and what follows help sort these things out.

Keep posting, if you wish, and we can see how this thing plays out. One way or the other, it sounds like you have talent, are strongly engaged with your reality, practice very well, have drive and, if this wasn't a Fruition, those all will make getting to stream entry much easier. Great work.