Breakthrough in my practice

Alex More, modified 9 Years ago.

Breakthrough in my practice

Posts: 4 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
I had an amazing series of experiences recently that I'd like to share and get feedback on from any who have had similar experiences or thoughts about what happened. I practice vipassana/insight meditation. 30 mins in the morning 5 days a week, 60 minutes 2 days a week.

First occurrence, about a month ago:
I sat for 30 minutes, and it started out a very normal sit--various distracting thoughts, tunes stuck in my head, what have you. I'm not sure where it started--I was doing a light body scan, noting various muscle tension, releasing mental attachment to it--when I noticed a sensation something like the room spinning. That's not exactly it--kind of like being in a centrifuge, like an ethereal wind blowing through me. I have felt this before; noted it as somewhat amusing and let it go. This time, however, triggered by whatever impulse, I thought about letting this ethereal wind "take" me wherever it would, letting it efface me, letting myself disintegrate as it blew through me. The sensation amplified, transforming into this surge that I felt throughout my body, my entire nervous system tingling. It was, frankly, one of the most intense sensations I have ever had. More intense than an orgasm. Each breath I took amplified the sensation to new heights. It was intoxicating. As I let myself relax further into the sensation, allowing it to take me wherever it would, the thought skittered across my mind that this is what dying feels like (I do not believe this to be objectively true, just another miscellaneous distracting thought). I became apprehensive. I realized my sit was surely coming to an end, and I noticed feeling torn between wanting to ride this wave as long as possible (for hours, if I could) and, on the other hand, my alarm about to go off, needing to go to work, etc. I let these feelings go and I brought my attention to two anchors: my spine, which was the only part of my body that felt stationary and solid, and the sound of something mechanical in the background. The sensation stopped intensifying, but also did not subside, it simply plateaued, where I resided for another few minutes. I remained entranced in the sensation I described, and it did not give way, until my alarm went off and I chose to leave it all behind... I sat dazed for a minute, and my spine still tingled for a good 30 minutes afterward. I have no idea whether there is any meaning to attach to this experience, but I do know that it was simply astonishing.

Since then I have had similar experiences, but lighter and less intense. Not every time I sit, but with some regularity. Feedback appreciated!
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wacky jacky, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Breakthrough in my practice

Posts: 46 Join Date: 2/18/12 Recent Posts
Hi Alex!

I've had that feeling of being sucked into a vortex recently too. accompanied by different things, one time blackness descending over me accompanied with extreme exhilaration; another time tingling on my forehead and intense flashing light that felt like my frontal lobe was being rewired; one time the vortex came over me when i was walking the dog, and my knees wanted to collapse under me, i went home feeling very disoriented and and experienced my vision as if it was through a large round hole over most of my face, and then my head being peeled off and being momentarily headless.

These are dramatic and intense experiences, and, i am told by people who know, these things can be a result of having very good concentration, i.e. not necessarily stream entry. as soon as you mentioned the centrifuge your experience sounded familiar.

I think basically it means that you should keep meditating and good things are on the way.

Keep an online practise journal here or elsewhere so advanced people can follow your progress and give you both guidance and an idea of where you are on the journey to stream entry and beyond. By the way I am not an advanced person; i've just had similar stuff happen. so hopefully others will chime in here too.

Good luck.
Jacki.
Alex More, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Breakthrough in my practice

Posts: 4 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Thanks for the feedback! Yes, a vortex is another apt description. I actually had the experience again while sitting this morning... felt like the room was spinning around me and that I had become dislodged from the ground. I let the feeling do its thing and although it was intense at times it wasn't overwhelming or quite as strong as my initial experience a month ago. I still feel some residual effects a few hours later. Actually, paradoxically, makes me feel grounded (in the present moment, not in a physical sense). I hope you're right that it's a sign of good things to come. I'm going on a retreat in a month and I look forward to deepening my experience further. Some people have written about the potential dangers of Kundalini awakening, which from my reading sounds like one possible diagnosis of my experience, but I am not really worried about it. Should I be? I'd be lying if I said that the feeling of losing myself does not produce some anxiety, but like any other feeling in meditation, I feel capable of impassionately observing it and letting it pass. Am I doing it right?
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Breakthrough in my practice

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
You are going to lose yourself, you know, if you keep this up emoticon . I'm not trying to be glib (all appearances to the contrary), but ultimately that's what you're aiming for--losing your identification with the separate self. The prospect produces a strong side effect of anxiety in many people; your policy of just observing your reaction is a good one.

As for your experience: could be the Arising and Passing Away. I don't know the many forms this can take; in my case, there was a whole lot a shakin' goin' on, but no spinning. If it's the A&P, sooner or later you'll start to get the dukkha nanas, which I suppose would be one way of knowing.
Alex More, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Breakthrough in my practice

Posts: 4 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
And I guess that's part of my question--is it bad to lose yourself? As an intellectual matter, I already don't believe that my "self" is real in the traditional sense. I don't think that my decisions, my life, what have you, are the product of my conscious thought or freely acting self, but rather that they arise from a combination of social and biological influences. Meditation helps suspend those influences, stripping away the self, until you're just left with the void, and that's exactly what the "self" really is--a void. A brain scientist I read a few years ago likened the brain to a quantum computer--neurons firing, sometimes at random, with our "consciousness" as such existing in the ever-shifting network of the connections between the neurons themselves. We are certainly not consciously aware of this activity, but we are built and trained to be comfortable with it nevertheless. To believe in free will, agency, decision-making, etc. But if my analysis is correct, through meditation we should be able to suspend even this false sense of self and find ourselves surfing the ever-changing and quite possibly nonsensical quantum flow--the unconscious part of ourselves that actually drives our lives, even though we normally don't perceive it.

At that level, we are all interconnected, not just as people but also interconnected with all of existence, which, at the quantum level, is chaotic and simultaneously expressive of all possibilities. I find this notion liberating. Hopefully not too rambly.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Breakthrough in my practice

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
A&P: gotta love it!

Daniel
Alex More, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Breakthrough in my practice

Posts: 4 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
A&P: gotta love it!

Daniel


Ah! A response from the man himself! Thanks dude, I appreciate it.