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what was that?
Answer
6/18/12 7:25 PM
swaying forward and back
body shaking
hands clenched, pulling in opposite directions
head pulled up and to the right
feeling of a rod through the shoulders
vision of body dripping away from itself
vision of light and the word “lonely”
moments of heavier breathing noted
watching without judgment or fear

RE: what was that?
Answer
6/19/12 8:54 AM as a reply to chris h.
Sounds typically "A&P Event" related to me, but it's difficult to say with any certainty since there's no indication of your practices before, or after that happened. The A&P diagnosis is purely for convenience and would only be relevant if you'd been doing insight practice, however it'd be much more helpful to know what you've been doing before this happened, and how things seem after the fact.

Moar detail!!

Welcome to the DhO, tell us a bit about yourself and where you've come from practice-wise; if we know that, it'll be much easier to suggest how best to proceed according to what you're looking to achieve.

RE: what was that?
Answer
6/19/12 11:24 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
thanks tommy, i've been doing a daily insight practice for about three years. this happened on the third day of my first retreat (a few weeks ago). i never experienced anything at all like that before (i had an experience, about a year ago, when i was just walking, that felt like insight into non-self... a warm glowy experience of the absurdity of identity which felt different than a thought, felt like a direct experience of it). for a few days after the retreat i felt like the experience was still close, like i could get back there... but now i'm back to my usual. i've only recently been exploring a goal-oriented approach to practice, been reading stuff and taking a mapping class. my teacher said it sounded like a&p and suggested meditating more and doing another retreat before long. i just thought i'd post it here and see... thanks for responding. -chris

RE: what was that?
Answer
6/19/12 12:11 PM as a reply to chris h.
Ah, in that case I'd definitely chalk that up as an A&P Event; there's a fractal element to 4th ñana so you've likely hit the A&P Event itself, which would be like the peak of the ñana, then passed through the mature stages of it in the following days before hitting the early stages of Dissolution.

Clearly you've made progress, but if this is the first time this sort of thing has happened then what were you doing previously in your practice? I'm assuming that either you've refined your technique, perhaps having been practicing in a less than effective way previously, or the retreat environment and ability to practice solidly without distraction has allowed you to really go for it.

Either way, what you're likely to notice in your daily life and sits is that attention will have spread out towards the periphery, it'll be more difficult to note what's going on in the center of the perceptual field but you can use that to your advantage. When you're in A&P territory, attention is like a single point focused right there in the center but with the ability to still observe pretty much the entire field; don't try to force your attention to go back towards the center 'cause it'll just cause you more hassle, relax into it and let whatever happens happen. Continue to note accurately and observe objects as they appear, their cessation will be more readily observed than their arising so don't stress if you're not able to catch them as they appear.

The big thing I've learned about passing through "Dark Night" territory, 3rd vipassana jhana, is to surrender willingly to the experience without reservation; imagine it as a big wave that could either crush you, or pass by peacefully depending on whether you struggle against the tide, or let it carry you wherever it pleases. You're on the ride, now let go of the wheel and cruise your way, attentively and with an eye for the Three Characteristics, towards Equanimity.

Useful?

RE: what was that?
Answer
6/19/12 12:40 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
yes, thank you very much. and, yes, the retreat environment and ability to practice solidly without distraction allowed me to really go for it in a way that i haven't before... there was an instruction before the meditation to "stop meditating" that caused me to take a slight edge off the whole thing which i think was helpful. i'll take your advice, surrender willingly, and see where that goes... nice to have this forum.

RE: what was that?
Answer
6/21/12 1:19 PM as a reply to chris h.
i have been experiencing the cessation of stuff more but, it's funny, when i read that here i don't, at first, connect it somehow, as if it doesn't really apply to me. i'm skeptical maybe that there are these stages or that i'm going through them... i don't know.

i have a question. when i had the experience that i described above, i would notice, for example, my hands clenched, pulling apart... and i didn't have the thought of trying to relax that. everything that was happening, i just allowed to happen. i have the thought that if i had adjusted, relaxed... i wouldn't have continued on that ride. i just meditated and noticed my right hand clenched and pushing against my left and, again, i didn't think i needed to do anything about it, almost like i couldn't. then i had the thought to go ahead and try so i did and i slowly relaxed the hand. it was kind of cool. anyway, i noticed, also, the ankles tightening up and other contractions and i wonder if you suggest trying to relax the body or letting it do what it wants.

RE: what was that?
Answer
6/21/12 6:11 PM as a reply to chris h.
i wonder if you suggest trying to relax the body or letting it do what it wants.

The shaking, clenching stuff are sometimes called "kriyas", but the meaning of the term differs depending on the tradition. It's totally normal though, try just staying attentive to the whole body and seeing if you can stay with the entire movement; if you struggle, the body tightens more so go with whatever happens and stay present.

RE: what was that?
Answer
10/25/12 12:04 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
i'm just back from a seven day retreat... i did several 2 hour sits that all started with swaying back and forth (sometimes very forcefully) and a lot of movement... head pulling up to the side, hands clenched... at one point my arms/hands opened up like i was holding a bowl and my head dropped down into my hands, lots of stuff like that all of which i was just watching, all of which i could have stopped but just allowed it to go on. there was not the severe shaking and rod though the shoulders that i experienced on the last retreat and no vivid visions, no grand finale, though there were some subtle light shows.

if the last experience and/or this one was a&p, i have not had anything like the dark night experiences i've seen described here. my level of equanimity has felt very high for some time. i have noticed a bit more of a "nothing matters" point of view but not in a dark or depressing way...

any thoughts?

RE: what was that?
Answer
10/25/12 12:28 PM as a reply to chris h.
Hi,

Once you have passed the A&P and progressed through the nanas, each time you re-cross it, it becomes less of a big deal. You may experience it as only a slight bump. This will continue until you reach SE and start a new cycle.

The DN doesn't always have horrible symptoms, my first one certainly didn't.

This is not a diagnosis, but the head dropping thing, feeling high and the sense that nothing matters seem indicative of the EQ nana to me. I would not be surprised if you passed straight through the DN.

Good work, keep going!

RE: what was that?
Answer
11/7/12 9:27 AM as a reply to Dodge E Knees.
if i have passed through the DN to the EQ nana, do i understand correctly that the next "thing" is total momentary cessation? i just meditated for 2 1/2 hours, it's so easy to sit... and i feel like i could go away... is there any advice? or is it just a matter of keeping at it and not delaying progress with thought or expectation...

RE: what was that?
Answer
11/8/12 6:41 PM as a reply to chris h.
or is it just a matter of keeping at it and not delaying progress with thought or expectation...


well done

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/9/16 9:19 PM as a reply to Bailey ..
three and a half years later, i haven't reached cessation. i have been practicing every day, done some retreats but no major developments... my level of equanimity continues to feel very high and i often have a sort of "nothing matters" point of view but not in a dark or depressing way... i feel a lot more than i used to but the emotions move through me very quickly. i almost never get caught up about stuff... i just thought i'd check back in here. i meditated for two hours today and as is often the case, particularly with longer sits, i had a lot of kriya stuff and even some growling... any thoughts? is all this kundalini energy, or whatever you call it, getting in my way? it's been going on for years.

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/10/16 1:52 AM as a reply to chris h.
chris h:
three and a half years later, i haven't reached cessation. i have been practicing every day, done some retreats but no major developments... my level of equanimity continues to feel very high and i often have a sort of "nothing matters" point of view but not in a dark or depressing way... i feel a lot more than i used to but the emotions move through me very quickly. i almost never get caught up about stuff... i just thought i'd check back in here. i meditated for two hours today and as is often the case, particularly with longer sits, i had a lot of kriya stuff and even some growling... any thoughts? is all this kundalini energy, or whatever you call it, getting in my way? it's been going on for years.
Have you considered getting a teacher? There are different ways to get things done and having someone to talk to, one on one, can help a lot. They keep you honest and motivated.
 
As far as kudalini getting in your way, there are people who make that thier primary practise for awakening.

Might help if you told us what your practice is.
Good luck,
~D

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/10/16 8:46 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
i'd love to get a teacher, have had a little bit of one-on-one but it's too expensive right now. my practice has been generally to do concentration (usually the breath. have had some success with a mantra-like phrase and metta) when concentration is weak. and if concentration is strong i just stay aware, check my awareness (tejaniya).

lots of kriya stuff over the years, shaking, jerking... and ive never gotten any clear instruction as to what to do with that or whether or not it is moving me forward or getting in the way

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/10/16 10:15 AM as a reply to chris h.
chris h:
i'd love to get a teacher, have had a little bit of one-on-one but it's too expensive right now.

Most teachers don't require payment... maybe the occasional donation... but that is always to do with your ability to pay. My teacher works with many many homeless people and requires no payment from them.

Finding a teacher and explaining your financial situation should take care of that issue.

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/10/16 10:59 AM as a reply to chris h.
chris h:
my practice... if concentration is strong i just stay aware, check my awareness (tejaniya).
Have you considered investigating the sensations that make up reality? Really incline the concentrated awareness to the 6 senses as they unfold in all their detail?
I personally consider the first path to be a shift in no longer identifying with the 5 senses as you/self/mine.

Good luck,

~D

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/11/16 3:35 AM as a reply to chris h.
chris h:
... i just thought i'd check back in here. i meditated for two hours today and as is often the case, particularly with longer sits, i had a lot of kriya stuff and even some growling... any thoughts? is all this kundalini energy, or whatever you call it, getting in my way? it's been going on for years.

chris h:
... and ive never gotten any clear instruction as to what to do with that or whether or not it is moving me forward or getting in the way

I've been experiencing a variety of kundalini stuff mostly on a daily basis for about five years now. It usually dosen't bother me. Only when I practice more intensely (on retreat for example) and go through the third vipassana jhana (dukkha nanas). It might get in the way of progress if you get (too) obsessed with it (check out the corruption of insight). But if you actually have a more or less consistent access to the fourth vipassana jhana (equanimity) that shouldn't be a problem. It's definitely not something that keeps progress from happening: My first fruition showed up almost two years after the kundalini stuff started. But getting to fruition, especially the first one, is sometimes a tricky process: The more you crave it, the less it's likely etc. Working with a teacher at that time was very helpful and probably did speed the process up. So I would try to find someone who doesn't charge a lot (or nothing at all).

As DW said: You could also pursue a path that takes kundalini as a gateway to awakening. I don't really know a lot about it, but the AYP-guys seem to be into it.

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/11/16 8:04 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
yes tricky, i think from the moment i heard about cessation, it's been right there in the front/back of my mind. it had been suggested to me by a teacher that i'd hit SE based on a unique direct experience of no-self (combined with no doubt and the ritual thing) but that is a different model. i have felt close many times, like i was going away... but still no. thanks for the responses regarding kriyas and teachers. thanks, timus, for the link. i'll check it out. yeah i've gotten used to the kriyas but i had just read somewhere that they might be a block (rather than an unblocking).does anyone suggest a good/accesible teacher in los angeles? actually it could be anywhere via skype, i forget... i know several teachers in l.a. but they are busy and/or expensive. 

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/11/16 12:28 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
chris h:
my practice... if concentration is strong i just stay aware, check my awareness (tejaniya).
Have you considered investigating the sensations that make up reality? Really incline the concentrated awareness to the 6 senses as they unfold in all their detail?
I personally consider the first path to be a shift in no longer identifying with the 5 senses as you/self/mine.

Good luck,

~D

thanks, i tried this tonight. it's kind of what i do already but the way you put it, the instruction, alters it a bit... i find that when i notice sensation that some of the observer moves its location to the sensation and this creates energy (fear, excitement) that can result in a kriya zap which causes the body to jerk or twist. 

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/11/16 8:30 AM as a reply to chris h.
I feel it’s  hard to find any sort of really helpful experiential advice from teachers who haven’t had a lot of energetic stuff - I just got a kind of mixed bag of truisms that were not super practical beyond grounding and avoidance.   Never found someone (a buddhist teacher) to address it (energy issues) locally in Los Angeles tho.  Ended up finding an accupuncturist/yogi who helped me a lot but he is not free - (i am here too). I am pretty familiar with both the scene here and energy stuff, tho if you want to get in touch you can PM me somehow i think…

Oh, free/dana based teacher wise,  Thanisarro Bhikku just came to mind - he wast the first teacher who gave me advice that really helped, and that was kind of a turning point… (wasn’t a big outward movement but instead a chronic popping sensation in my head).  He comes to Against the Stream a couple times a year for day-longs  - and his monastery is only about 2.5 hours away.  Anyway what he said: imagine the energy going well beyond the painful area, just totally overshooting it.  That helped.  You’ll find a section in his book “each and every breath” that covers “problems” that might be good to read and that is freely available.

Generally it seems, if you put your attention right on the area of discomfort/action my experience is that the attention itself kind of causes an oppositional force (at times it seems exaserbating the stuckness/pressure/repetition etc).  I have found (this approach is from Rob Burbea) that keeping your attention large, like a bubble around your body will sort of allow the energy to do what it will/needs to. The energy stuff is like an attention magnet, you’ll still have a sense of what’s shifting or not even with 90 something percent attention pushed out around the body… but you sort of step out of the way in this manner, and then a block has a chance to become a release.  this helps me almost every time.  You have to keep pushing it out into bubble form, it will tend to collapse

Both Rob Burbea's talks on the energy body and the emotional body may offer some approaches.

My concentration was very strong and i habitually “attended” to the energy stuckness i had in a laser way.. i think it made the discomfort last longer etc. i am sure.  Unlike physical pain for example (which often "breaks  apart" with a lot of looking), it seems the attention itself impacts the energy  and creatively playing with a variety of ways of attending to it in the end helps things shift. 

RE: what was that?
Answer
5/11/16 10:35 AM as a reply to : ladyfrog :.
thanks, i'll search out and experiment with the rob burbea approach. i sat with thanissaro bhikku at ats the time before last... i don't see the energetic stuff as necessarily a problem but i just wondered if it represents a blockage or a release... sounds like it could be either (you say: a block has a chance to become a release). i recall, at some point, focusing exclusively on any pain or discomfort i was having, as an experiment, and i found that i had much less kriya action but it didn't seem to be getting to anything. it felt like i was just managing it, if that makes sense, and i got bored and went back to just being aware. it may be that i try too many different things and should just stay with one approach for a year... i also think, in general, i need to more diligent in the way that daniel ingram and others here seem to be. i can sit for hours but i bet some could "get more done" in 20 minutes.