Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Liam O'Sullivan, modified 8 Years ago.

Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 213 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Dan's thread Mind Maps mentions a 'mini dark night' within the Equanimity nana. I can imagine what Dan is talking about here, considering the various effort-rapture-surrender-equanimity sub-cycles that I've experienced meself.

I'm interested in peoples' experiences of this; can many people identify with this concept? What was it like in terms of phenomena? Did it require any changes in practice? Was it uniformly experienced at a certain point (i.e. is it a sub-nana)? Any particular stumbling blocks/barriers to progress?

This may well be a topic worth covering in MCTB 2, I'd suggest.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 3169 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
It is covered, just really, really briefly, and I will beef up that section a bit.

It is also covered in Practical Insight Meditation, where people regress again and again at times, particularly those who know the maps, unfortunately...

See PIM page 41.

In MCTB, notice the line in Equanimity: The arising of some sort of fear of madness and death is not uncommon at this stage, but usually does not cause too much trouble and may even seem comical or welcome. A related and common feeling in the early part of this stage is the general sense that something big is about to happen, though this feeling is also common before the A&P Event.

This was way, way less than is possible.

I watched a few of the meditators who sat here run into the Equanimity Dark Night again and again: knowing they were close, getting frustrated, backing off, backing off too much, trying to power it, failing, psyching themselves out, bargaining, etc.

Strong concentration, but not tight concentration, flowing, stay with it however it happens concentration, helps somewhat, as does really opening up and just letting things happen, along the lines of this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVdKQ0I35qo which is funny as hell and for that stage has real wisdom to add.
Adam . ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
The arising of some sort of fear of madness and death is not uncommon at this stage, but usually does not cause too much trouble and may even seem comical or welcome.


experienced this many times... doesnt cause trouble as you say
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Fitter Stoke, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
I remember this while going for stream-entry. It was about a week after I hit early equanimity, and I was really starting to get into it. Maybe an hour into my sit, I developed this strong feeling like I was half-cocked. Hard to describe exactly. I felt like I had just stepped on an elevator and was going down, down, down. And I said, "Holy shit! What is this!" and really psyched myself out. There was also a feeling like experience was about to be turned inside-out. I was watching the sensation, and then I was watching the noticing of the sensation, and then I was watching the thought of the sensation, and then I was watching the watching of all this, and then I was watching the watching of the watching, etc. It was pretty messed up. I fired off a panicky e-mail to my teacher who reassured me all was going according to plan and I just had to loosen up a bit.

Probably the hardest thing about equanimity is figuring out that there's nothing else you can do, that no matter how much harder you put your foot on the gas, it's not going to do anything, because the whole point is to see that there is no foot and there is no gas pedal. That everything is on the side of the observed and no-thing is doing the observing. For me, that's what that whole mini-dark night was - just being with that and not freaking the hell out.
A D R, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 678 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVdKQ0I35qo which is funny as hell and for that stage has real wisdom to add.


Haha that made my day!
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 3169 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/3529030

Is a new thread split off of the Minda Mind Maps thread, as it seemed relevant
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I'm interested in peoples' experiences of this; can many people identify with this concept? What was it like in terms of phenomena? Did it require any changes in practice? Was it uniformly experienced at a certain point (i.e. is it a sub-nana)? Any particular stumbling blocks/barriers to progress?

Aye, I'm definitely familiar with that and I know a few others on here who've noticed it before too. I'd describe it as being something like a ramp or a gradient at the start of Equanimity, you can take a runner at it, i.e. note like crazy and try to catch everything that arises, but that ends up being counterproductive. Dan's advice here is spot on, in my experience:

Daniel:
Strong concentration, but not tight concentration, flowing, stay with it however it happens concentration, helps somewhat, as does really opening up and just letting things happen...


Phenomenologically, for me it's like a high-speed run through the whole of Dark Night, almost like a guided tour just in case you missed something on the way through, but if you just stay concentrated and observe without getting into the content, which can be pretty bizarre (I remember one time getting this distinct impression of being kicked out of Re-Observation and into Equanimity by the boot from Monty Python) it takes the edge off it.

If I remember rightly, Nikolai and the HP guys spoke about this in one of their podcasts a while ago but I can't recall exactly when it was. I think it was in one of the Dark Night discussion they had but I can't be sure, but it's worth a listen anyway.
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jenny v birkett, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 9 Join Date: 3/2/10 Recent Posts
Hey Liam,

I hope you don't mind but I read your post about Satipanya and forwarded it onto Bhante.. The post that's in wiki - not the one in the retreat center discussion thread.
He seemed quite chuffed to be honest and remembered you well...
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Simon T., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
I'm having some difficulties dealing with this dark night. After being stuck in low equanimity for months I'm finally able to cross the "mini-dark night" once in a while and get to high equanimity. The first few times were extremely difficult. It can be compared to some of my most difficult re-observation. The center of my brain is pulsing but then snap and this cause extreme pain. I found myself crying quite a few times. Unlike re-oberservation where you generally cry once and it's enough to get out of it, in this case it was much more persistent. To make a comparison, I would say getting out of a difficult re-obersrvation is like falling on his knees after walking in the snow for days lost on the Montain. The mini-dark night is more like being alone dying in your isolated cabin knowing nobody will come save you.
A D R, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 678 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
I don't know if this counts or not, but over the past few months I have repeatedly meditated (usually lying down) until I reached a point where I experienced enough pain in my back and abdomen (usually like a spear right through my solar plexus) that I would have to stop and change positions. Any effort would just make things worse.

Usually I would move and then become angry and disheartened that somehow I had failed. I have now come to the realization that I can't heal this kind of thing through my own striving, and that in and of itself is comforting.
A D R, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity 'Mini Dark Night'

Posts: 678 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
A D R:
I don't know if this counts or not, but over the past few months I have repeatedly meditated (usually lying down) until I reached a point where I experienced enough pain in my back and abdomen (usually like a spear right through my solar plexus) that I would have to stop and change positions. Any effort would just make things worse.

Usually I would move and then become angry and disheartened that somehow I had failed. I have now come to the realization that I can't heal this kind of thing through my own striving, and that in and of itself is comforting.



But then again, this statement could also be seen as just glossed over doubt. So its really not comforting.

And I have no idea where I am on the maps.

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