First 'different' experience - thoughts?

Greg H, modified 10 Years ago at 3/15/12 1:44 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/15/12 1:01 PM

First 'different' experience - thoughts?

Posts: 3 Join Date: 3/10/12 Recent Posts
Hello Everyone,

This is my first post, so I just wanted to thank all the people here for coming together and participating in a place like this - Every time I read something here I learn more.

Anyways, I am a beginner to formal meditation practice and I am pretty excited to be starting formal practice.

Quick notes :
1. I am going at this alone, as no one I know is even remotely interested in taking this journey with me.
2. As far as I know, there is not meditation group where I live, but I will keep searching.
3. The closest thing to teach I have are books. I am on my second read through of MCTB, and have been reading most of the recommended books from there. So please bear with my unguided and uninformed descriptions.

I will try to limit the "OH MAN THIS AMAZING THING JUST HAPPENED" moments, but as I am new at this; everything is amazing, or scary, and sometimes both.

So I am not yet trying to develop insight, as I want to hone my concentration abilities first. Since I am going at this pretty independently, I figure good concentration will help me in the long run.

Last night feels like it was one of my most productive sits, and I will try to describe what happened as best as I can. Any advice or insight it to where I might be or what happened would be very much appreciated.

I set my timer for 20 mins and began to relax and bring my focus to my breath. I started counting the breath cycles on the pause between the in and out breaths, restarting every time I became distracted. I restarted a lot. Nearing the end of the 20 mins, I started to feel drowsy, but I kept bringing my attention to my breath whenever I drifted into thought - when the timer went off, I resolved to continue sitting.

After an unknown amount of time, probably 10 mins or so, I began to hear a ringing in my ears, it got very strong and then I felt a gentle "lifting" sensation in my eyes and body. As if my eyes where as open as possible without actual opening my eyelids - all the drowsy sensations vanished into the background at this point. And it was incredible easy to stay focused on my breath, each in and out seemed clear and loud in my awareness.

I also became very aware of pain and tension in various places in my body. Especially my leg, where I get a pinched nerve that causes a numb feeling after my sits. I kept focussed on my breath, allowing the pain sensations to drift away to the back of my awareness and trying to allow the tense parts to relax.

Suddenly the ringing was back, this time it seemed to pulse with my in breaths and it was accompanied with very pronounced colours in my visual field, like stars flying towards my eyes. This continued for a few cycles of breath and then the ringing subsided and I felt a sensation flow over my body like a gentle wind after you have been sweating in the sun . And I felt like I was numbed to the rest of my body, like any kind of physical movement would be difficult. However, I was mentally invigorated, and I attempted to stay with this feeling for as long as I could - until I was interrupted by my 6 month old daughter waking up.

So that is it, what I feel is a very productive meditation session, but I have no idea what happened.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!


EDIT : I have refrained from putting any guess as to what things where or where I might be, because I do not know - though I have some ideas, and I wanted to make sure that what I described was taken at the basic, unflavored, level that I experienced it. I hope that is cool with everyone.
Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 10 Years ago at 3/15/12 1:49 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/15/12 1:49 PM

RE: First 'different' experience - thoughts?

Posts: 154 Join Date: 3/15/11 Recent Posts
I will leave the diagnosis up to those who have a lot more experience with jhāna and A&P than I, but I want to share a story with you. I think I heard it in one of Ajahn Brahm's videos.

A man starts a new job. He goes to work on Monday, works hard all day, and when he gets home, he says to his wife, "This job is no good. I worked so hard, and I didn't even get paid today. I'm not sure if I should go back tomorrow."

Tuesday he works all day again, and again he doesn't get paid. The same thing happens on Wednesday, and he's thinking about quitting. After the same experience on Thursday, his wife has to convince him to just give it a little more time, so he reluctantly goes back to work on Friday. When he comes home, he's elated: "Today I got a huge paycheck! This is great. From now on, I'm only going to work on Fridays."

To put it in simpler, more pragmatic terms: "Good meditation does not equal pleasant meditation."

Stick with it, and don't be afraid of noting. Concentration training is useful, but don't underestimate the value of the momentum you are bringing into your practice right now that, to use your words, you are "excited" about trying this new thing. This kind of momentum can carry you all the way to stream entry, if you practice daily or better yet, several times a day, for the next few months. Let's face it, what you need to get through the Dark Night is not so much perfect concentration as plain motivation to sit every day, even if your sessions are unpleasant, boring, and it feels like you haven't made any progress in weeks.
Greg H, modified 10 Years ago at 3/15/12 2:05 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/15/12 2:05 PM

RE: First 'different' experience - thoughts?

Posts: 3 Join Date: 3/10/12 Recent Posts

Thank you for your words. It definitely gives me something to think about, as I do have a lot of energy to put into this right now.

I would be kidding myself if I said that reading about the "Dark Night" didn't put some fear into me, hence wanting to beef up my concentration to be ready for it.

I will try to muster up some courage and give insight a go.

Again, much appreciated!