Cycles/cessations/experiences: Some technical questions

wylo ., modified 8 Years ago.

Cycles/cessations/experiences: Some technical questions

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
Hi, sorry this is a long post (im bad for that) if anyone has any advice on this stuff itd be great, I think having a clearer and clearer understanding of dark night to equanimity may really help my well being and give me more direction and focus. While im trying my best not to dwell too much on the "where I am" question, I think this element of the maps is very important, be it post SE or not, the more you can label different phenomenon the the better handle you have on it.

1. Is this a fair assesment of equanimity?

- Whatever issues I had ,be them ridiculously minor or seemingly "deeper" ones are now completely non issues. As in they are no more than practical , objective situations that should be dealt with rather something that has any effect on me or well being emotionally/thought wise.
- Overall very grounded feeling, no problems
- Just a really great mood and sense of release of any crap that was on my mind, like a much more extreme version of when something is bothering you and when you sleep on it and wake up the next day its no longer bothering you.
- Still some conditioned negative reactions occur, but their effect lasts only seconds and there is no dwelling on even the fact that the reaction occured. There is no personal attachment at all to the reaction.
- A sense of almost a numbness to negativity.
-A much clearer stable view on problematic situations (e.g. if you were annoyed with someone for whatever reason, you suddenly have a much more forgiving attitude to the situation)
-General joy and happiness about everything.



2. Does cycling up through dark night etc etc happen post stream entry and beyond? By all accounts it seems to, if so, when does it happen (if its even possible to answer something like that)? Almost immediately? After an initial "honeymoon period"? (A+P??), And if so, whats the fundamental difference before and after SE?


3. It seems by all accounts that the time length of these cycles vary alot, I hear people going through the whole progress of insight in one sit? Are they doing this during another cycle? a cycle within a cycle? Am I looking into this WAY too much?

Just it sometimes confuses me how people say they were in so and so for several months, yet at the same time you hear of people expecting to go through the progress of insight in one sit.




4. I still cant pinpoint if Im experiencing emptyness, im getting closer and closer to analyzing whats going on.
Is this a fruition/cessation?
- Sitting for lets say 30-40 mins, very deep jhana like state, incredibly relaxed,and peaceful, concentration very good (from the very start now since I think* I got SE) , and basically almost a lack of concentration, not that I would be lost in thought, but almost a cutting out of anything at all for a few seconds, and absolutely no acknowledgement of it until afterwards. And even though its impossible to tell how long it happened for Id be confident it was literally a few seconds, based on how it feels after, and even in terms of actual real time by the clock.

- (very dodgy analogy here) The after feeling would feel like I came out of a daydream, but obviously I have absolutely no memory of what I would have been daydreaming about? So basically a daydream consisting of complete blankness where I was only aware of it straight afterwards?



5. If you were busy throughout your day, is it possible that these would be occuring without you knowing (maybe a slight "hmmm I think I may have had a cessation a second ago)? Especially if you are not from a technical/trained/meditation/insight background? Are they that unnoticeable ? Or would it be really obvious like "Holy crap I just had a cessation!!!"




6. Is it possible with enough investigation, experience and attention to pin point exactly where you are in a cycle, like all the time? Or would even experienced people here find it very tricky at times.
Have you ever just been down about something and it be nothing to do with cycling?





Anyway, I know theres alot there, and it would take time for someone to go through them , but if one of you could I would really appreciate it!. Thanks

*not overly sure, but theres definitely been a fundamental yet subtle shift, it wasnt subtle at the start but it is now, but despite this some of its qualities havent budged a bit, sitting starts at a jhana like state, and even that feeling carries on throughout my day. But I really feel Ive already been through a cycle since, and back in some sort of equanimity now...
http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3036611
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Cycles/cessations/experiences: Some technical questions

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
wylo .:
1. Is this a fair assesment of equanimity?


The MCTB chapter on Equanimity gives a good account of this.

The desiderata you outline are still organized around a sense of self. The term "equanimity" in the context of practice comes from experiencing whatever arises without struggle. For instance, suppose something happens which you are ashamed of. It is possible to experience that shame and equanimity at the same time. This leads to release of the shame, which may make it look to an outside observer like the relationship is now to a "practical , objective situation that should be dealt with rather something that has any effect on me or well being emotionally/thought wise," but actually the equanimity is present in the midst of emotional disturbance. The practice of tonglen explicitly depends on creating this sense of simultaneity in order to break down self-formation.

Equanimity will definitely not correspond to "numbness to negativity." Equanimity concerns experiencing everything just as it is, without struggle. You may be confusing it with detachment, which is a decayed form of equanimity.

If you're looking for more on equanimity in general, you might find the first two talks in this series helpful (though it comes from a very different approach than MCTB.)
wylo ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Cycles/cessations/experiences: Some technical questions

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
fivebells .:
wylo .:
1. Is this a fair assesment of equanimity?


The MCTB chapter on Equanimity gives a good account of this.

The desiderata you outline are still organized around a sense of self. The term "equanimity" in the context of practice comes from experiencing whatever arises without struggle. For instance, suppose something happens which you are ashamed of. It is possible to experience that shame and equanimity at the same time. This leads to release of the shame, which may make it look to an outside observer like the relationship is now to a "practical , objective situation that should be dealt with rather something that has any effect on me or well being emotionally/thought wise," but actually the equanimity is present in the midst of emotional disturbance. The practice of tonglen explicitly depends on creating this sense of simultaneity in order to break down self-formation.

Equanimity will definitely not correspond to "numbness to negativity." Equanimity concerns experiencing everything just as it is, without struggle. You may be confusing it with detachment, which is a decayed form of equanimity.

If you're looking for more on equanimity in general, you might find the first two talks in this series helpful (though it comes from a very different approach than MCTB.)




Thanks fivebells, Ill check out those talks. Yes its tough to diagnose, it would be very tempting for me to go and find all the bits in MCTB or wherever else that qualify this as equanimity, because I sure can relate to SOME of it. But at the same time, there are other bits that I probably couldnt say for sure that that is my experience, and if I did Id be probably only exaggerating or lying to myself.

Its tough to call, "numbness to negativity" for instance , sort of meant that I experience the experience but am sort of numb/detached to it, i.e. its ok and is inevitable. Again though, that could be a case of "Im feeling so good that I dont mind feeling these minor feelings", i.e. not actual equanamity, just me being in a really good mood and ignorant.

An interesting thing happened this morning, I sent a personal text regarding money/finance to a friend, and for a split second I thought I sent it to a customer (im running a business), an instant shot of fear went through me. And within seconds I was looking at it thinking "well there ya go , this stuff is inevitable, there is no point in even resisting what just happened", and the experience was nothing more than something interesting.

Dont get me wrong, all Im trying to do here is get a better understanding of how the cycles occur, because I really believe if I can pinpoint "where im at" at any given moment, then I can adjust my attitude to it appropriately.

Its not just equanimity im interested in.
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Cycles/cessations/experiences: Some technical questions

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Yep, tough to diagnose. The only effective way seems to be to stay curious. "I'm afraid and it's OK" sounds like it's on the right track, though.

Dont get me wrong, all Im trying to do here is get a better understanding of how the cycles occur


Hopefully other people can address the other phases, because equanimity is the only part I have direct experience of. I come from a tradition where it's more like foundational material and insight practice is more like the capstone. Either approach can make sense for the right kinds of people, of course.
End in Sight, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Cycles/cessations/experiences: Some technical questions

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
wylo .:

1. Is this a fair assesment of equanimity? (...)


It seems consistent with it. It doesn't sound like High Equanimity, but somewhere a bit below that.

One way to look at Equanimity is that it's a state of concentration that happens without you trying. If you have a grip on what concentration is like, then you can ask yourself "is this like concentration meditation in some way?"

When you concentrate to a fair degree, your issues come to seem unimportant, things are pleasant, when worries come up they tend to go away soon afterwards, etc.

2. Does cycling up through dark night etc etc happen post stream entry and beyond? By all accounts it seems to, if so, when does it happen (if its even possible to answer something like that)? Almost immediately? After an initial "honeymoon period"? (A+P??), And if so, whats the fundamental difference before and after SE?


Cycling generally happens immediately, though potentially there could be post-path phenomena (bliss, whatever) that make this murky.

I'm not sure if there's a fundamental difference (depends on what you have in mind by "fundamental").

3. It seems by all accounts that the time length of these cycles vary alot, I hear people going through the whole progress of insight in one sit? Are they doing this during another cycle? a cycle within a cycle? Am I looking into this WAY too much?

Just it sometimes confuses me how people say they were in so and so for several months, yet at the same time you hear of people expecting to go through the progress of insight in one sit.


The cycles can be fractal-like, so there can be a big Progress of Insight cycle that takes months to work through, and yet there can be smaller cycles that one works through in a day, or an hour, or whatever, embedded inside of the big one.

I found that knowing this was useful, but trying to work out the details / specifics wasn't.

4. I still cant pinpoint if Im experiencing emptyness, im getting closer and closer to analyzing whats going on.
Is this a fruition/cessation?
- Sitting for lets say 30-40 mins, very deep jhana like state, incredibly relaxed,and peaceful, concentration very good (from the very start now since I think* I got SE) , and basically almost a lack of concentration, not that I would be lost in thought, but almost a cutting out of anything at all for a few seconds, and absolutely no acknowledgement of it until afterwards. And even though its impossible to tell how long it happened for Id be confident it was literally a few seconds, based on how it feels after, and even in terms of actual real time by the clock.

- (very dodgy analogy here) The after feeling would feel like I came out of a daydream, but obviously I have absolutely no memory of what I would have been daydreaming about? So basically a daydream consisting of complete blankness where I was only aware of it straight afterwards?


Everything you're saying is evidence for having attained MCTB 1st path, at least.

5. If you were busy throughout your day, is it possible that these would be occuring without you knowing (maybe a slight "hmmm I think I may have had a cessation a second ago)? Especially if you are not from a technical/trained/meditation/insight background? Are they that unnoticeable ? Or would it be really obvious like "Holy crap I just had a cessation!!!"


Seems possible to miss them.

6. Is it possible with enough investigation, experience and attention to pin point exactly where you are in a cycle, like all the time? Or would even experienced people here find it very tricky at times.
Have you ever just been down about something and it be nothing to do with cycling?


I think it's rare to have a strong and clear guess as to where you are (in the Progress of Insight fractal), but common to know where you are (in a single cycle) if you use technical criteria (= the way things vibrate).

People get happy or sad all the time without it having anything to do with the cycles. But, if you're sitting and meditating all day and shifting between different moods throughout the sit, there's a fair chance that cycles are playing a role, rather than any of the normal things that might shift your mood around.
wylo ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Cycles/cessations/experiences: Some technical questions

Posts: 166 Join Date: 11/18/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:


Cycling generally happens immediately, though potentially there could be post-path phenomena (bliss, whatever) that make this murky.

I'm not sure if there's a fundamental difference (depends on what you have in mind by "fundamental").


Not sure really, I guess a very strong detachment and ability to get through it much much easier.



The cycles can be fractal-like, so there can be a big Progress of Insight cycle that takes months to work through, and yet there can be smaller cycles that one works through in a day, or an hour, or whatever, embedded inside of the big one.

I found that knowing this was useful, but trying to work out the details / specifics wasn't.

Thanks, thats really helpful



Everything you're saying is evidence for having attained MCTB 1st path, at least.

Cool, although it doesnt seem to be that frequent or solid as it was in that description anymore, that said from reading different text around here, it seems that its not always easy to spot.
Sometimes I think Im fooling myself, and thinking that I just lost concentration for a split second and started to daydream. Im not TOO hung up on it, because even though Ive been going at this intensely for the past while hoping for some official SE fruition moment, every day in the background all the other things are growing stronger and stronger, i.e. less suffering/clarity/insight/equanimity.



People get happy or sad all the time without it having anything to do with the cycles. But, if you're sitting and meditating all day and shifting between different moods throughout the sit, there's a fair chance that cycles are playing a role, rather than any of the normal things that might shift your mood around.


Cheers

Again, its because of your advice in terms of giving simple focus and awareness of how a lack of focus leads to tension , I am where I am now. I probably wouldnt have weighed such importance on simply being focused and clear,so even though I arrived here with somewhat of a bickering ego attitude I want to eat a massive humble pie now!! emoticonThanks