In Ernest: 'Where am I'

Hemant Kathuria, modified 10 Years ago at 3/30/12 4:30 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/30/12 4:17 AM

In Ernest: 'Where am I'

Posts: 25 Join Date: 1/16/10 Recent Posts
Hello Everyone,

I'm practicing Vipassana since past four years. Initially began with Goenka style retreats, and then moved on to mini retreats by Shinzen Young and also changed my practice substantially after listening to Bhante Vimalaramsi (and incorporating his relaxation component in my practice).

I have no clue as to what my level is, just that I know I've gained some progress as compared to the past.

I'm not into purely concentration or insight practice. I switch my theme of meditation given my inner conditions and goal. Here's what happens when I meditate !!

When I close my eyes (a) initially I put my attention on the emotional feel of myself and how am I breathing (if there is a release while breathing I try to absorb and enjoy as much as possible - this relaxes me and put to present moment), then (b) I put my attention spontaneously to whatever that occurs with an undercurrent of whether that is causing me pain or suffering. Usually, there is, so I identify a set of sensations that I can let go (or relax) which makes me more equanimous to the whole idea of 'I have to get rid of this pain' and this starts an automatic cycle where I'm CONTINOUSLY feeling my body and if something intense arises then a part of me automatically puts some attention with a curiosity to know what that is and knowing/noting the intensity/location/'my relationship to that. Usually that subsides and I can feel that my inner self is more relaxed and a sense of comfort and well-being fills my system. (c) A part of me is engaged in knowing from a bigger picture that 'okay there is pain at that place', 'there is this sensation and I know this will go in about this while' and where should my next attention go, and another part is engaged in fully knowing what this pain/sensation/etc is !! This cycle of a-b-c-a-b-c repeats and sometimes my concentration is such that for 15-20 minutes I can put my attention to one place. Normally, distractions are being tackled as coming/going and they rarely make me get up or feel pressurized. Even the images of my bad experiences in life are now tackled much easily.

Years back it was difficult to sit for even 30 minutes and I had to time my sitting. Now, the least I meditate is for 30 minutes and usually it is around 45 minutes before I feel a need to open up my eyes. The pain in my body and legs have also gone so that doesn't interrupt my meditation.

I wish to know if this is first/second jhana/anything else (or may be nothing) . I tried to read some books including MCTB but, I guess, I'm unable to conclude.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

wacky jacky, modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 4:00 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 4:00 AM

RE: In Ernest: 'Where am I'

Posts: 46 Join Date: 2/18/12 Recent Posts
Hi Hemant. Do you feel that you enter the first jhana (sorry to put the question back on you), but do you find that discursive thought has been reduced, that you feel in a different mind state? Your practice sounds like a very concentrated one, and the minimal pain suggests a jhanic state.

I do not know a lot and I am sure the experienced people will chime in. :-)

All the best, Jacki.
Hemant Kathuria, modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 5:02 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 5:02 AM

RE: In Ernest: 'Where am I'

Posts: 25 Join Date: 1/16/10 Recent Posts
Hi Jacki,

Thanks for your response.

Yes, when I sit initially the thoughts are such that I've to fight not getting caught up with them and at some point this fight becomes effortless and that too on an auto-pilot mode.

Case I: When I start meditation, typically following happens: Thoughts coming, I can FEEL I'm stuck in them, I SENSE that mindfulness is weak, they are bothering me at various parts of the mind/body. Can feel the pressure at various points. So I give an effort to pick an object and continuously FEEL it's presence. Thoughts still are coming and distracting me, I'm again fighting. In this process there is a slight stress of push and pull.
On some sitting this phase continues till the end, or it changes to case II.

Case II: At some point in my meditation: I notice that my ablity to stay with an object (say how I am feeling the breadth) has increased many fold.I start enjoying the joy that comes from it and remain aware how in life THIS joy is missing. When thoughts come, they do not pull me that away as they were a while back. And even when they pull, my mindfulness SEES that hapenning, it picks up some sensate reality of DISCOMFORT that has surfaced most apparently inside of me, takes a decision that being with this new reality is good for me, and loses initial object for a small while and start being with this new reality. When that happens, I experience some joyful releases here and there (sometimes lasting for a tiny moment, other times may be as long as some minutes, I don't know) and when I realize that my discomfort is gone I can be with the old object again or pick some joyful state as object from then on.

Sorry to be so elaborate.