investigation of visual field / kasina practice thread

john doe, modified 8 Years ago.

investigation of visual field / kasina practice thread

Posts: 36 Join Date: 2/9/11 Recent Posts
Hi All,

I'm a lurker around the DhO over the last few years but my practice has gotten a bit more serious so I will likely start posting more often. I'll give a brief intro and then explain where I am in my practice and what I'm doing. Hopefully you guys can give me some technical guidance. Sorry if I'm a bit long winded, but I figured I'd err on the side of including details so if anything useful comes of this other readers have something to compare against... skip to the *** if you don't want to read it all.

-- Background --

I went through an A&P event two years ago and then fell into the dark night for a while (that seems to have toned down over the last year). Shortly after my A&P event I started exploring meditation and eventually I ran into the hardcore/pragmatic dharma movement.

Now that I've finished college I have a lot more time to devote to daily meditation and my stress levels in general have fallen. So my plan is to focus on mastering the first jhana. Afterwards, perhaps I will explore some of the higher jhana's or maybe I will switch over to insight meditation. In any case it seems like the first jhana is the springboard from which to launch seriously into either, so full steam ahead!

That being said, I've been practicing both anapanasati and kasina.

-- Anapanasati Notes --

I have a very hard time sensing airflow near under my nostrils / on my upper lip, so I usually focus on the rising and falling of my abdomen for anapanasati (I believe this spot is called the tandem). With some focus I can get to the point where the breath becomes very subtle and then eventually turns into these discrete, choppy events. On a few rare occasions I have gotten to the point where the breath disappears entirely. After this happens I seem to completely black out and then come back alive somewhat explosively (there is a distinct "holy crap I'm ALIVE and this is all REAL!!!" experience that follows... perhaps the result of amateur entry into the 4th samatha jhana?).

In any case, I generally practice anapanasati while laying down, usually after waking up and generally before falling asleep. I think I'm able to enter at least the first jhana through anapanasati because once my concentration sort of locks in (I assume that's access concentration), shortly there after I start getting waves of goose-bump sensations of pleasure that flow across my body, synchronized with the breath.

-- Kasina Notes --

I find kasina practice much more fun as it seems easier for me to get into (I'm a very visually oriented person/thinker). Usually I can get into access concentration in 1-2 minutes, get a solid retinal burn, close my eyes and focus on the after-image. With increased concentration the after-image of the kasina seems grow little triangle-gears on it's border and sorta-rotate (this happens in 3-4 minutes from starting... from experimentation I found that sitting in access concentration after a certain amount of time doesn't seem to improve my later abilities, so I just move along).

From reading some of D. Ingram's posts on other kasina practice threads, I think this means I might be getting slightly into the second jhana territory. In any case, eventually the after-image fades away, so I try keeping my attention focused roughly on the spot where it was. Sometimes a faint white light (by "white" I mean bright white like the computer monitor, not normal retinal fady-white) starts to sort of appear. I think this might be a nimitta... I have a hard time getting this to appear brighter... normally I switch over to anapanasati and experience the bliss waves and enjoy that for a while and then try and understand how to improve my technique to get the supposed-nimitta to be brighter and more stable (so all this happens in about 15 minutes), and then I repeat the entire process.

*** Now what is exciting for me is that I think I've worked out how to make this kasina practice way easier (in fact I'm not sure I even need a kasina!). First, I noticed while concentrating on the kasina that once I close my eyes I'm really focusing on the after-image moment-by-moment, so I decided that before I close my eyes I'd focus on the after-image. Trying this has revealed to me that *it is possible to direct the circle of primary visual attention independently of the focus point of your eyes.* This is only easily done once I've gotten access concentration (or perhaps even just on the verge of the first jhana).

This relieves a huge amount of eye tension that would normally build up, because now what I strive for is to let my eyes sorta defocus and take in the entire visual field and then use my attention on a spot on the visual field. Next I notice that I can actually control where the visual-attention spot is no matter what crazy stuff is going on in the actual sensory-visual field. In practice this seemed to advance things quite a bit, as the eyes defocus (in fact the eye-tension dissolves in a pleasurable way) and I soon seem to go into visual-imagination-land (this is the mental realm where I can use my mind's eye to study geometric objects and models when working on math/physics), yet even in visual imagination land I can still control the visual-attention spot (even after having lost track of my eyes). So this is great as I now have the ability to sustain my attention on something even after entering into meditative-states where normal visual-sensory stuff gets a little confusing and I don't have objects to focus on the way I normally would.

Regarding Piti: For both kasina and anapanasati, once I get to the point of feeling piti (goosebump waves and general happiness), I find it difficult to sustain piti if I focus on it. If I focus on my original object then the piti continues, but if I focus on the piti it seems to dissappear... I'm a little confused as others on the DhO suggest focusing on piti to create a positive feed back loop?

Suggestions on how to refine this exploration would be much appreciated!
Mario Nistri, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: investigation of visual field / kasina practice thread

Posts: 210 Join Date: 3/3/12 Recent Posts
Regarding Piti: For both kasina and anapanasati, once I get to the point of feeling piti (goosebump waves and general happiness), I find it difficult to sustain piti if I focus on it. If I focus on my original object then the piti continues, but if I focus on the piti it seems to dissappear... I'm a little confused as others on the DhO suggest focusing on piti to create a positive feed back loop?


Same problem here...
If you vipassanize it, that will probably happen.
If you want to concentrate on it, attention should be more something like enjoying piti, sinking in pity, resting in piti...
Hope I gave the idea.

Bye!

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