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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Intense Meditation Experience... what was it/how to proceed.

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I'm basically copying and pasting this from a previous thread to make it its own subject, as I'm very confused as to what happened and more importantly what to do now to continue my practice properly. Here is my description"

"Ok. Check this out i had an extremely interesting experience today. I sat down to meditate today, did maybe 10-20 minutes of breath meditation then felt the urge to switch to noting. I did. I started to note very fast, noticing many, many sensations per second. I understood some of the things ive read about here. Like the vibrations, i could feel my whole body was vibrating and certain things stood out more than others. I understood what noticing crazy amounts of sensations, like 30-40 per second is like. I started to see alot of impermanence and nonself. Impermenance was obvious, every sensation was constantly changing, every time i tried to look at one it would never be the same as the moment before. Non self was there too, but it required more effort to see. There were intermittent moments of clarity where i could see that all the things i was experiencing were just another set of sensations no different from things outside of myself, things that might be "not me", in essence. After this had been building, i found myself with more and more rapture and physical pleasure. Finally, something happened at once, then intensified in about 3 sets of physical and mental sensations. It was a sudden burst of rapture rising up over my entire body, feeling like from the abdomen up. It was accompanied by brightness in the mind/vision. my eyes were open and kind of went out of focus, everything got lighter then darker then lighter again. It may have been the most intense bliss Ive ever experienced, certainly so in meditation. I literally couldnt help smile and feel like i wanted to cry. It was scary at first, like being on the top of a rollercoaster about to go down. I tried to see the impermanence of it and the nonself, and soon it started to fade and was unsatisfactory again. Every sensation that came up i investigated: "Who is experiencing this?" And i couldn't really find "who". It was like i was a blank canvas and everything i felt or thought, experienced were just metaphorical blotches of color, fading in and out of the canvas. Eventually, i came out and decided to get up as the sitting was starting to annoy me. I sat for about an hour and a half, which ive only ever done once before. After i came out i felt weird, in a good way but i also felt the "I" and it being painful again. I sat down for another meditation about 10mins after and couldnt focus again enough to sit for more than 45 mins, certainly didnt get where i did with the last one."

My question was this an A&P or jhana experience. I've been doing concentration practices lately (for the past few months), and recently have had trouble with maintaining concentration. Been experimenting with some insight practices for the past week. As of right now i can't willfully get into jhana. If this was an A&P, should i continue with insight meditation, or solidify jhana first. Thanks

RE: Intense Meditation Experience... what was it/how to proceed.
Answer
6/19/12 12:01 PM as a reply to Brian K..
Hi Brian,

Brian K.:
My question[:] was this an A&P or jhana experience. I've been doing concentration practices lately (for the past few months), and recently have had trouble with maintaining concentration. Been experimenting with some insight practices for the past week. As of right now i can't willfully get into jhana.

Based on your description and your own misgivings about the event being anything more than just a random event, it appears that what you experienced was an A & P event, although it may have had an element of absorption which may be useful for you going forward. If you're not able to consciously sustain the absorption, then it would be difficult for anyone to classify it as a bona fide event. Yet, that is not to say that elements of a bone fide event weren't possibly present.

If you are not willfully able to enter into absorption, and you are aware of that, then you seem to have difficulty distinguishing between the actual elements involved and what you imagine may be involved. This is not unusual in beginning practitioners who are new to learning about this practice. It takes a few experiences and thoughtful reviews of those experiences, before one becomes more self-assured of what they experienced.

As far as what you should do next is concerned, do what comes intuitively natural. Calm and insight go together. Whenever you attain to a calm state, your mind is going to wonder (not wander) about the elements involved in maintaining that state. Such wondering is called "insight," or at the very least the process in which insight can take place. Use those moments to strengthen your discernment and observation of what is occurring.

Otherwise, just carry on as you have been.

In peace,
Ian

RE: Intense Meditation Experience... what was it/how to proceed.
Answer
6/19/12 10:38 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Yea i think I'm going to keep going with insight practices as of right now... I like where they've been going and am getting quite bored with concentration, to be honest. I will experiment a bit with both over the next few days and then review what's been going on.