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stream entry, what do you think?

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stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/2/10 12:14 AM
Hi, I've been lurking around here for a few months and started basic meditation over a year and a half or so ago to tame my very horrid and pretty much pathological "monkey mind." Eventually I reached a state of pretty good clarity but wanted to go further.

Over last summer around July I heard there were more advanced meditation states called jhana and that led me to internet searches (which left me baffingly confused) which eventually led me to the interactivebuddha website and MCTB that cleared everything up and led to my potential stream entry of this afternoon.

I did purely concentration practice from July until December as I wanted to avoid the dark night as I used to have issues with depression and mood problems and I was waiting for a more appropriate time to navigate dark night terrain. I was able to cultivate up to 4th samatha jhana in a lengthy sit (though always somewhat "soft").

From mid-December until last week I did insight as according to the directions in MCTB for about an hour or two a day.

I felt myself having a very deep pull and decided to put in some intensive practice. I meditated on average about 10 hours a day Tues-Mon and today (Mon) I got up after only a few hours sleep as I wasn't tired and sat down and meditated for 5 or so hours continuously non-stop (this wasn't as hard as it sounds as the meditation had become almost effortless). I had kept bouncing between what I had discerned (from the nanas and jhanas excel chart) as High Mastery and High Equinimity the previous day and wanted to kick it in gear.

Also as directly said in the chart "Mild fear of madness and death,
anticipation, joy" were prominent in low equinimity and led to my post about my nirvana neurosis of blinking out after death.

After 5 hours straight I laid down on the couch and soon after there were three "pulses" in quick succession. They had a sort of metallic science fiction whooshing sound to them. Shortly after the three bursts there was an even more pronounced whoosh.

I got up to meditate and suddenly my attention had gone from panoramic to a seeming-molasses like attention (compared to high equinimity) on the breath...I took this as a sign I had fallen back into the arising and passing away. I decided to test if I had attained stream-entry by meditating to equinimity again and then to see if I could attain another fruition.

Soon I felt like I had been given a ferrari (just like is written in MCTemoticon. Everything dissolved into little blips of blippiness and wonderous visualizations of butterflies and dragons dissolving in and out of the "suchness.." I went outside to walk around and it was glorious. I was everything and nothing at the very same time. I sat down by a creek and was within the trees and the creak babbling away. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at how perfect everything was. Someone could have beat me up and mugged me and I still would have kept on laughing!

I sat down to practice samatha meditation but after a few seconds there was an infintiesimal "blip" and suddenly I was back into molasses-like territory with awareness back on the breath instead of the original panoramic perspective.

I got up and walked around, but soon I found it hard to stay out of content and I'm not very good at walking around and staying out of content (as I haven't done much walking meditation). I tried to figure all this enlightenment stuff out intellectually with my thoughts (bad idea!).

Soon it felt like I was in a mild bad-acid trip and I started sort of running in circles out over my nirvana death anxiety and came home with some degree of anxiety. I sat down and meditated for a little while until back in equinimity and everything was fine again.

Note that though I used to have problems with mania and depression, these actually proved to be more helpful for me than detrimental. I had long ago learned the horrid dangers of indulging in circular content and while sitting I can pretty much always avoid it and never seem to engage in content for more than a few seconds without noting, "content," "content kills!", or "content trap!" However, I'm not as good at this while walking around. This needs to be worked on. Also I found the jhanas very beneficial in quenching content spirals gone out of control. Also my former experiences with mania and depression are fairly similar to dark night and A&P, etc. So it wasn't all unfamiliar territory for me and I could deal with it all pretty skillfully. Despite problems with depression in my past, dark night wasn't a big deal at all.

When do review cycles end and then the cycle for next path starts? Will I know when it becomes much harder to cross the territory?

Also I'm having trouble doing samatha practice though it is stated it is good to do them after fruition. When I try in equinimity the vibrations are so swift that they keep ripping away the attempts to solidify the sensations. Should I stick to trying samatha when only in A&P and dark night cycles?

I can now feel myself flipping into high equinimity terroritory again. I'll post if I get more fruitions. It seems to just be cycling by itself, just like is said in the book.

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/2/10 4:58 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Holy crap, you weren't kidding when you said sensory reality gets more intense. I feel like my nerves are coming out of my head. I can't sleep, I feel like my head is going to explode.

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/2/10 9:23 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Thomas Allen Vitale:
I got up to meditate and suddenly my attention had gone from panoramic to a seeming-molasses like attention (compared to high equinimity) on the breath...I took this as a sign I had fallen back into the arising and passing away. I decided to test if I had attained stream-entry by meditating to equinimity again and then to see if I could attain another fruition.

Soon I felt like I had been given a ferrari (just like is written in MCTemoticon. Everything dissolved into little blips of blippiness and wonderous visualizations of butterflies and dragons dissolving in and out of the "suchness.." I went outside to walk around and it was glorious. I was everything and nothing at the very same time. I sat down by a creek and was within the trees and the creak babbling away. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at how perfect everything was. Someone could have beat me up and mugged me and I still would have kept on laughing!

I sat down to practice samatha meditation but after a few seconds there was an infintiesimal "blip" and suddenly I was back into molasses-like territory with awareness back on the breath instead of the original panoramic perspective.

I got up and walked around, but soon I found it hard to stay out of content and I'm not very good at walking around and staying out of content (as I haven't done much walking meditation). I tried to figure all this enlightenment stuff out intellectually with my thoughts (bad idea!).

Soon it felt like I was in a mild bad-acid trip and I started sort of running in circles out over my nirvana death anxiety and came home with some degree of anxiety. I sat down and meditated for a little while until back in equinimity and everything was fine again.


Hello Thomas,

It's hard to say whether or not what you've experienced was stream entry, and whether or not the "blips" you describe are/were fruitions.

For example, you state above that you sat down to do samatha meditation and after a few seconds there was a blip, and then you were "suddenly" back in "molasses-like territory." This doesn't sound like fruition to me at all. In fact, it sounds like a shift into access concentration and then the first insight stage, Mind & Body. I say this because Mind & Body always feels really sticky and slow for me. The A&P stage, as well as what I call the post-fruition afterglow, are nothing like molasses.

Prior to stream entry, I used to be able to make it up to Equanimity for a while, but then I would transition to the very beginning of the cycle and work my way back up. This went on for maybe a month. If I were to guess, based on the info you've provided, I'd say this is what's happening for you. I could be wrong, though.

I suggest getting up into high equanimity the way you've been doing, and simply making the resolution to get a fruition. Then, sit back and just feel the waves of experience as they happen. Forget you even made such a resolution. Let us know what happens. After fruition, after a few moments or minutes you'll cycle back around to the A&P stage, where the swift arising and passing of phenomena is quite clear. Not like molasses, but more like the body is purely effervescent.

Like I said, I could be wrong. This is just my best guess based on your post.

Practice well,
~Jackson

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/2/10 2:12 PM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
Yes, this may be it too.

Hey, thanks a ton. I'm definitely experiencing some clear cycles doing their own thing and it gets pretty intense sometimes.

I will try to make a resolve to reach fruition at high equinimity like you said and see what happens.

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/3/10 1:09 PM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
Hey, I sat down last night and tried to resolve to reach fruition. It didn't quite happen but I did realize something interesting. The vibrations became so swift that I was able to see how the illusion of duality is maintained.

A bit of "suchness" gets solidified into a "self" and a sort of gravitational well forms around it. This is inherently a painful gravitational well. By going back at that little point of "self" the well disappears and peace is maintained. After this I fell asleep and woke up back in the molassses, jerky like territory. In this territory there is a sort of sense that reality is a sort of joke or illusion that was always there before, but now seems more clear. I would definitely now say you're right and this is not the arising and passing away as the feeling is too continuous and smooth and "jerky."

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/3/10 2:54 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Thomas Allen Vitale:
Hey, I sat down last night and tried to resolve to reach fruition. It didn't quite happen but I did realize something interesting. The vibrations became so swift that I was able to see how the illusion of duality is maintained.


Sounds like the A&P, my friend. Many people attribute "false-awakenings" to this stage. You were once in sticky, clunky territory, and now there are all these swift vibrations and feelings of lightness and release. This is all well and good, but there's more...

Thomas Allen Vitale:
A bit of "suchness" gets solidified into a "self" and a sort of gravitational well forms around it. This is inherently a painful gravitational well. By going back at that little point of "self" the well disappears and peace is maintained. After this I fell asleep and woke up back in the molassses, jerky like territory. In this territory there is a sort of sense that reality is a sort of joke or illusion that was always there before, but now seems more clear. I would definitely now say you're right and this is not the arising and passing away as the feeling is too continuous and smooth and "jerky."


Right. The lower ñanas move from slower smoothness (1st ñana) to jerky and mechanical (2nd ñana), and then to tensions and blocked energy channels (3rd ñana). The energy channels start to open, vibrations get swift, and energy, release, and pleasant excitation become promient in the A&P (4th ñana). That's what it sounds like you're describing to me, at least in the the latest comment. Sound close?

~Jackson
"Lying is a science; truth a paradox."

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/3/10 5:17 PM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
Yes, this is perhaps correct. Perhaps it is just A&P, there are a few other factors in play.

I have also gone through phases where my body seems to decay and rot and I turn into a skeleton. Later, I also see fully 3-D dimensional visualizations in real-time. They have also been sometimes in full intricate full-blown color. Wouldn't this indicate fourth jhana? Again, I'm not completely sure how all of this works, so if it's possible for this to happen in the lower nanas then that would be good to know.

Also, It could be I haven't passed fully through dark night territory but have traversed into it, and keep falling back into A&P. Because my concentration skills are pretty strong, I am seeing 3-D visualizations in A&P and dark night territory.

Perhaps the last paragraph is correct?

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/3/10 6:28 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Thomas Allen Vitale:
Yes, this is perhaps correct. Perhaps it is just A&P, there are a few other factors in play.

I have also gone through phases where my body seems to decay and rot and I turn into a skeleton. Later, I also see fully 3-D dimensional visualizations in real-time. They have also been sometimes in full intricate full-blown color. Wouldn't this indicate fourth jhana? Again, I'm not completely sure how all of this works, so if it's possible for this to happen in the lower nanas then that would be good to know.

Also, It could be I haven't passed fully through dark night territory but have traversed into it, and keep falling back into A&P. Because my concentration skills are pretty strong, I am seeing 3-D visualizations in A&P and dark night territory.

Perhaps the last paragraph is correct?


I don't have enough information to make any sort of authoritative assesment. There are a few things to keep in mind.

3-D visualizations may be a common symptom of the Equanimity ñana, but they can happen any time. Some of the clearest visualizations I've had in my practice occured in the A&P.

The decaying, rotting, and skeleton visualization stuff actually occured for me prior to my first A&P event. These sorts of disgusting and disturbing things happen in the Dark Night stages as well.

I can say, based on our conversation, that nothing you've posted suggests to me that you have attained stream entry. Whether or not you've cycled up to Equanimity is unknown to me, but it could very well be the case. Don't worry about it too much.

Just keep practicing, and don't stop when things get all shiny and please after having been through a rough patch. If you still need to cross the A&P, you'll need to keep practicing through the pleasant stuff. If you stop to enjoy it too much, and thus zone out, you may end up falling back again and again. Keep noting, stay with it, no matter where you are, and you'll push past whatever is holding you back.

~Jackson
"Lying is a science; truth a paradox."

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/3/10 6:49 PM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
Yes, thank you. I became aware of what you just said in my last sit. Things were very pleasant and I was somewhat indulging in it and then I realized that these very sensations were also manifesting suffering and impermanence and started to look through those as well.

This would indicate that I jumped the gun and have only just crossed the A&P event. My previous experiences of "mania" were similar, but I was too caught up in a conception of solid self for this sort of deep insight to occur and they likely never went beyond the first few stages of A&P.

I will try to prevent myself from getting too enraptured in all this as I'm fully aware that that would lead to an equivalently potent crash in the dark night.

Looking a little bit up on the table. I have hints of the ultimate and three doors and faith that realization can now be obtained. Cool, now I know I'm on my way.

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/3/10 9:58 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Hi Thomas,

It sounds like you were able to gain some clarity about your practice via our conversation. I'm really happy it worked out this way. I think you're going about your practice in the right way. Don't ever hesitate to post your experiences to the forum. There are a lot of people hear who really enjoy helping others to get things sorted out.

I'll keep my eye out for any threads you start in the future. Feel free to contact me via private message too, if you think that would be helpful.

Keep up the good work!

~Jackson

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/4/10 12:00 AM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
All that has a strong A&P ring to it.

Some people can get into some really gooey-slow-like narcotic syrup stuff in the A&P: I was prone to it.

Head going to explode, not sleeping: very likely A&P.

Really fast stuff: likely A&P.

In all, I think A&P: it can really blow people's doors off.

Daniel

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/5/10 9:11 PM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
I think I may have attained to stream-entry. I created a few universes, and accidentally destroyed them and felt bad. I traveled down into my subconscious through the dark night, but it was effortless. I guess karma decided I had enough of that already. I went through some kind of black hole, then a wormhole, had a long sort of relationship chat with the watcher behind me (that may now actually be the new I), came out the otherside went through some realm with universes in bubbles floating around and then flew straight for the light. I flew and flew and there was a brief blip event which I assume may have been conformity? I then went through whooooozh in my brain that sped up my processing. It was just like the A&P event, I flew all the way up to the bright light, but my perceptual abilities were not good enough to note out the impermanence surrounding it. I then began to fall back and back, and it all happened automatically. However, I haven't obtained "fruition". Should I meditate to equinimity (which I assume I already passed) and try to wait for it?

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/6/10 12:22 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Okay, I just got a fruition. Holy smokes, there is no end to how fast you can perceive sensations....I never would have thought this possible..

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/6/10 1:16 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Accessing that level of territory, the more powersy end of the thing, can make evaluating where people are more complex, though it is obviously much more interesting.

Getting back to fundamentals: see my chapter in MCTB on Was that Emptiness?

It has all the criteria for stream entry, which should involve repeat fruitions, cycling natually 4-15th ñanas, etc.

See how it settles or practice hard or do what feels right. Let us know how it holds up to time and further development if you wish.

Traveling out of body, flying, bright lights, whooooozhs, things being sped up, and all that still make me think A&P, just A&P done with a relatively heavy powersy vibe and very strong concentration without much attention to blasting any and all experiences to pieces with insight practice.

Keep going...

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/6/10 1:32 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I second Daniel's advice. This all sounds very A&P like to me.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Keep going...


Word.

~Jackson

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/7/10 11:25 AM as a reply to Jackson Wilshire.
Hey, can someone help me. I'm feeling kind of out of it. I thought I passed A&P, and went through the knot, but now I'm stuck in mind and body.

Also all this stuff is making me kind of out of it. I think I pushed it tol hard and it's going all too fast. I feel like I have too much energy and can't sleep at all. It's not channeling very well and I feel really dislocated. I'm not taking very good care of myself and haven't been eating well, etc...

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
2/7/10 12:07 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Hey,

Mind and Body tends to be neat, some degree of simple, clear, profound, possibly unitive, and nice. Just about everyone likes it. Thoughts are suddenly out there, naturally, obviously. These are general guidelines.

However, post A&P you seem to describe dark stuff, feeling stuck, not sleeping, not caring for yourself, feeling dislocated, etc.

That sounds about standard for Dark Night to me. Why do you think it is M&B?

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
3/29/10 6:21 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thomas, how's your practice going ?

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
4/1/10 9:24 PM as a reply to Michael Zaurov.
Hey, I am in the dark night and it isn't that bad so far. I stopped practicing for a while and have just started up again.

RE: stream entry, what do you think?
Answer
5/26/10 12:17 PM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Hey Thomas,

I just read this thread and it sounds very familiar. I went through a similar experience and I am just now trying to get out of a 4 month dark night.

How has it been going? I am curious on your progress since your story seems very simmilar to mine.

Let us know!

-Anthony