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how fast does rapture happen?

how fast does rapture happen?
3/18/12 12:15 AM

I'm practicing concentration. My breath becomes shallow and imperceptible at the nose very quickly, like thirty seconds after the start of the practice. Then, I start focusing on the spot between my eyebrows to strenghten the concentration. When I feel that my concentration is good, i start focusing on the pleasant sensation of bodily "ethereal" calm. Now is it normal for it too take weeks for rapture to apear, or should it be imediate? I've felt a bit of rapture on my genitals (yes, pretty funy... emoticon), but it fades within 10-15 seconds.

RE: how fast does rapture happen?
3/18/12 9:31 AM as a reply to Modus Ponens.
Modus Ponens:
Now is it normal for it too take weeks for rapture to appear, or should it be immediate?

From my experience, rapture (or elation) is a factor that appears only during certain types of approaches to samatha (mental calming concentration) meditation, when one is attempting to experience the pleasure involved in focusing on the breath in order to increase concentration to use one example. You find these descriptions in the discourses all the time (the bathmans references at MN 119, for instance). But there is more than one way (one method, if you will) to enter samadhi. Don't become hung up on the fact that you aren't able to identify rapture (or elation). Don't let that stop you from practicing and striving to gain more discernment of these subtle factors along with the development of insight, which is more important.

I'm not sure that one can identify piti every time one enters samadhi. And therein lies the rub. The trick is: in being able to identify it to one's own satisfaction. What is rapture? How do you perceive rapture to be experienced? These are questions that each individual must find answers for himself. Therefore this may vary from individual to individual. Sometimes, yes, this may take several weeks to several months before your perception is sharp enough to be able to determine that rapture is "happening" as opposed to when you are not able to identify its presence. That doesn't mean that it isn't happening to some extent while you are calming the mind during samatha meditation. It may very well have occurred (very quickly), but you missed noticing it!

What I'm saying is: don't let "missing it" become a hangup for you. Once you are able to calm the mind down, you are able to begin performing insight contemplation. The purpose of concentration exercises it just that: to develop concentration. Once concentration is developed (that is, once the mind is at ease and focused, once it is under your control), turning (or inclining) the mind toward matters of insight is what is most important on the road to self realization. Not the fact that you may not have been able to identify whether or not you have experienced piti. That ability to discern these subtle factors may come later, much later in some instances. See?

I know it can be somewhat disconcerting not to be able to identify these subtle factors, as you'd like to be able to follow the instructions given in the suttas one step at a time in order to verify them from your own experience. But often it doesn't work out that way, and you must be able to adjust your objectives in order to achieve your overall goal which is the realization of relief from causing yourself suffering.

I hope that has provided you with some food for thought about this matter.

In peace,

RE: how fast does rapture happen?
3/18/12 7:11 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Thanks Ian. Helpful as usual. emoticon


RE: how fast does rapture happen?
3/19/12 7:01 AM as a reply to Modus Ponens.
Hi Modus,

Very good advice from Ian ! I think the word 'rapture' also can be problematic for some - the first few times I experienced piti in my practice (anapanasati) I recognized how it could be described as rapture, but for me, I identified more with terms like 'satisfaction', 'happiness', 'relief', 'contentment' The other thing is that piti can come and go in samadhi. The first time I really got piti was after practicing following the breath and having a touching point (tip of nose / abdomen) for a while, then switching to intense metta. My teacher recommended this to get past the whole 'waiting for something to happen' barrier. Samadhi / jhana states can be quite subtle too. As Ian recommends, the key thing is to keep going and just notice what happens. If you feel like you are getting a bit 'stuck' something like metta might help you disengage the 'I' a bit. Hope that helps - just my experiences from the last few months of my own practice. Good luck !