Mind and body?

Jean-François Leblanc, modified 9 Years ago.

Mind and body?

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/23/12 Recent Posts
Hi I have only been practicing for about a 12 days but I have probably spent 15ish hours meditating. I also do small 10-20 second meditations a couple of times an hour while working/doing other worldy things.

About 5 days ago, I was standing at my sink, focusing on my breath when all of all of a sudden I could clearly see the physical sensation and mind sensation of the breath seperately. Also that day my practice had been going very well, before that I had been noting and gotten to the point where even my visual sensations where vibrating, I could feel any part of my body I wanted to with relative ease and everything was just vibrating.

After clearly seeing the seperation between the two sensations and meditating maybe another 10 minutes, I felt a great joy for around 2 hours. I had slept a total of 45 minutes in the past 40 hours and I didn't feel sleepy at all.

Also I find myself getting really frustrated and upset about things I was very cynical about before (student strike in my province, the importance of money for most people, etc.)

Now I'm having trouble getting that focused again, I find myself having little motivation and I have weird mood swings from depression (mainly when thinking about world news/problems, to easily accepting things that happen to me (missing the bus, breaking my shoes)

Also while meditating, sometimes I just stop focusing and let sensations arise like they want, sometimes I focus on different parts of my body and all the sensations that make it up for like 5 seconds at a time, sometimes I find myself wanting to solidify pleasant feelings I get from vipassana meditation or when I get close (or closer as I haven't reached it yet since I've been spending more time on vipassana) to the 1st samantha jana, I find myself switching to feeling all the sensations that make up this state.

So I was just wondering if stumbling across the first stage on the map presented in the book can cause these things or it might be something else? (Even completely unrelated to meditation, like my small but active efforts to train in morality)
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Mind and body?

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Hey Jean-Francois, welcome to the DhO,

Given the length of time you've been meditating for, and based on the assumption that you don't have a lot of meditation experience prior to this since you haven't mentioned your previous practice, it's likely that you got into 1st ñana, Knowledge of Mind & Body. It's not uncommon for this to be quite a big deal if you've never experienced it before so your descriptions make sense, also the following stages of insight, namely Knowledge of Cause & Effect and Knowledge of the Three Characteristics, can be quite unpleasant, particularly the 3rd ñana.

Now I'm having trouble getting that focused again, I find myself having little motivation and I have weird mood swings from depression (mainly when thinking about world news/problems, to easily accepting things that happen to me (missing the bus, breaking my shoes)

Don't strive for what's gone before, it's a waste of time because progress can only happen now.

Look at what it is about your experience that's different when you're feeling "depressed" and when you're "easily accepting things".

Who or what experiences the feelings of being "depressed" or "easily accepting"?

Also while meditating, sometimes I just stop focusing and let sensations arise like they want...

Good, now notice how they arise, where they arise from and where they go to. See if you can stay with the entire sensation, from it's arising to it's passing away, watch it, observe it, look at how each and every sensation that arises is fundamentally the same.

...sometimes I focus on different parts of my body and all the sensations that make it up for like 5 seconds at a time, sometimes I find myself wanting to solidify pleasant feelings I get from vipassana meditation or when I get close (or closer as I haven't reached it yet since I've been spending more time on vipassana) to the 1st samantha jana, I find myself switching to feeling all the sensations that make up this state.

It may be that you're more naturally inclined towards insight than concentraion, it's worth knowing that insight practice will take you through the same jhanic strata as concentration will but not in the same stable, solid way. If you notice yourself wanting to solidify things, just turn the attention back towards those sensations and see their impermanence in the way they all just arise and pass, see how any sensation cannot be that which is observing it and so can't be a self, and how even seemingly pleasant sensations contain an inherent push/pull duality manifesting as mental tension. This is observing the Three Characteristics in real-time and what leads to insight.

So I was just wondering if stumbling across the first stage on the map presented in the book can cause these things or it might be something else? (Even completely unrelated to meditation, like my small but active efforts to train in morality)

Yes, what you're saying is accurate but it's worth being aware of the possibility of "scripting" yourself into experiencing things in a certain way. The Buddha taught morality as the first training so perhaps your efforts are paying off!

Practice well and let us know how you get on.

T
Jean-François L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Mind and body?

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/23/12 Recent Posts
Thanks for your input.

I just finished a 30 minute session and it really sucked. I could pinpoint accurately if I wanted to but mostly I just tried to sense the sensations that were arising on their own. They were mostly unpleasant, feelings of boredom, tiredness and general lack of motivation were very present although I did my best not to get caught up in them and just take notice of them like everything else. I also feel a weird pressure on my nose and a small pain in my back but that one is always there. I don't have the same sense of calm that I usually do after meditating.

Also I am aware of scripting, but then I confuse myself into wondering if I felt them that way or if i imagined that i felt them, or am I imagining that I imagined them and just end up looping. So I'm not thinking about it too much and just staying with what I am feeling right now. When something stumps me when I'm meditating I just try to be aware that it's impermanent, that it isn't me and that it's unsatisfying.

I'll keep on practicing at least twice a day and let you know.
Adam . ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Mind and body?

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
in my opinion it isn't too important where you are on the maps, you don't necessarily have to track your progress super-precisely through the maps, the best way to use them in my opinion is just to keep in mind that there are these stages which happen automatically which you don't have too much control over, this allows you to let what is going on go on without blaming yourself or resisting too much.

may be you are in the dark night, don't resist it or assume it is your fault, understand that it will unravel itself if you are mindful and alert and don't resist it.

then again - maybe you aren't, but the advice is the same, as long as you know that these stages go on of their own accord you can take the resistance out of the equation as much as you can given your current stage (whatever it may be)
Jean-François L., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Mind and body?

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/23/12 Recent Posts
I have no idea where to put this so I'll just post here. I started reading about AF 2 days ago and I think I might concentrate only on actualism. I mean it sounds better than arahatship. If I find out I don't like it (which reading all the reports I don't see why I wouldn't) I can always switch back.

I guess I am wondering if any one has comments or better advice?

Edit : well I just read the thread about tarin not being AF and Daniel and others quitting full on actualism. I guess if you could go back would you develop skill in PCE and then go through A&P using that skill to navigate the possible Dark Night way easier? Or is it too long to get sufficient skill in PCEs for it to be useful? Also what's up with that all over the place website they have?
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Mind and body?

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Jean-François L.:
I have no idea where to put this so I'll just post here. I started reading about AF 2 days ago and I think I might concentrate only on actualism. I mean it sounds better than arahatship. If I find out I don't like it (which reading all the reports I don't see why I wouldn't) I can always switch back.

I guess I am wondering if any one has comments or better advice?

Edit : well I just read the thread about tarin not being AF and Daniel and others quitting full on actualism. I guess if you could go back would you develop skill in PCE and then go through A&P using that skill to navigate the possible Dark Night way easier? Or is it too long to get sufficient skill in PCEs for it to be useful? Also what's up with that all over the place website they have?

Do whatever makes the most sense to you, both routes are worthy of investigation depending on what it is that you're looking for. There's a couple of things I'd like to point out here which should hopefully save you a whole load of hassle in the long run:

1. If you're interested in actualism, stick to that model and work with it. You don't need to worry about the Buddhist/AF hybrid approaches that some of us use, it'll make more sense to you as you practice.

2. Do not get involved or caught up in the bullshit politics, nonsensical, childish arguments related to AF, or AF vs. Buddhism. Seriously, avoid it 'cause you'll waste your time. They're two different models of reality, nothing more and nothing less.

3. Don't bother trying to line up an actual freedom with arahatship, they're not the same thing and it's another waste of time trying to do so.

4. Don't try to line up the Progress of Insight maps with the AF approach. Why? See above.

5. Go back to square one and ask yourself what it is that you want these practices.