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Jhana? Or A&P Event?
Answer
6/28/12 3:35 PM
In January, I had a meditation experience that I've been trying to wrap my head around ever since. After it happened, I did some Internet research and came to the conclusion I'd reached some sort of "Jhana." I've been reading "Mastering the Core Teachings" the past few weeks and I'm starting to question that original diagnosis.

At the time, I had been practicing in Shambalah-style Samatha Vipassana for about four months ... strict focus on the breath as an object. I was about 20 minutes into my sit one night when I decided to turn my attention to my body, something I'd never really done before. It went well. Real slow at first, then I became aware of the fact that I could perceive physical sensations as a very quick flicker. I made a conscious decision to just sit in this flicker, almost "surrender" to it.

My wife had been watching TV next door, so I'd been loosely conscious of the sounds from the other room. For whatever reason, I was paying attention to the sound from the TV for a particular second, and I noticed a very perceptible slowing down of the music and words. Like a record grinding to a halt. Warped and shuttered.

Immediately after this happened, I became aware of a blue-orb type light in the center of my field of vision. Again, I made a conscious decision to just "go with it" and see what happened, even though it was all very unusual. What followed was a full-body warmth and all-out general bliss. It felt very much like that warm, fuzzy feeling you get during the peak of a psychedelic trip. I focused on that and the blue orb, which by this point felt like it was radiating from the center of my head. I tried to think about my legs underneath me, and I got a real weird sense like they weren't even there. I enjoyed the ride, grin on my face, for another 20 minutes or so, and I just kinda lost it. Rang the gong. Ended the session.

I didn't say anything to my wife for a few days, because I still really didn't grasp what had happened, but I knew that "something" had happened. I did some research on the internet, and came to the conclusion it was a jhana. But now, based on what I'm reading, I'm thinking A&P event?!?

Which would actually make a lot of sense based on some of the other things that have gone down since January. I got real flakey on my wife, just kinda absent. Lost control of my drinking on several occasions. I went a month or two without sitting, lost interest in my dharma readings (I blamed this on a busy work schedule at the time). Anyway, nothing too crazy, but I've definitely been "off."

I don't know. I guess in the back of my head I don't think it's possible for me to be that far along the path. I still feel like a total amateur at all this.

Anyway, I'd be curious to hear what others think ... Thanks in advance for your time and help.

RE: Jhana? Or A&P Event?
Answer
6/5/12 12:18 PM as a reply to C. Wilson.
Christopher Wilson:

I didn't say anything to my wife for a few days, because I still really didn't grasp what had happened, but I knew that "something" had happened. I did some research on the internet, and came to the conclusion it was a jhana. But now, based on what I'm reading, I'm thinking A&P event?!?

Which would actually make a lot of sense based on some of the other things that have gone down since January.

Based on what you have written and the level of experience you've outlined, it is highly likely that what you experienced was an arising and passing away event. Nothing to become excited about. Get back to focusing on quieting the mind. Don't worry about achieving absorption states just yet. It sounds like you have other issues yet to work on. And until those are smoothed out, jhana may not be achievable or even a warranted goal to go after. You've got your work cut out for you in other areas, just based on what you have written here.

RE: Jhana? Or A&P Event?
Answer
6/17/12 7:13 AM as a reply to C. Wilson.
Hello Christopher,

what you described sounds familiar and I think it`s especially related to narrowing concentration to a small point and staying with it for longer periods of time.

subtle or no awareness of the body
concentration nimitta (it doesnt seem to necessarly occur)
senses feel tangible and are perceived changed like beeing very distant, echoing, distorted or other weird things
peace, relief, stillness

I cant`t say if this falls under the label of A&P, but perceiving senses like a changing/flickering texture happened for me sometimes during sitting or after that. But it`s not always like this. Seems just like experiences as a result of doing meditation.