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1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?

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1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/23/12 6:50 AM
I don't mean to coarsen the nature of debate around here, but, is the 'piti' felt at the threshold of the 1st jhana often experienced as as a tingling sensation in the, ummm, genitals?

What does one do when noticing it? Leave the breath and focus on the tingling in the hope that it will expand?

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/23/12 12:04 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Not at all unusual. But there are two stages to it: there's the pleasant feeling onto which you shift your focus in order to bring up piti, and then there's the piti kicking in. The pleasant sensation is something you manufacture by starting with a part of you that feels good (some people smile, others focus on the palms of the hands; I focus on warmth at the heart center). Once the piti energy arises, it can hit anywhere. The genitals are by no means off-limits. I'd say watch the tingling and whatever just wash through you wherever it arises. Keep breathing and allow it to intensify, but if it gets too intense, back off. The first time I got hit by an extreme piti sensation I actually doubled over crying. That was too much; I pulled out of it. But it hasn't been like that since.

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/23/12 12:32 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Robin Woods:
I don't mean to coarsen the nature of debate around here, but, is the 'piti' felt at the threshold of the 1st jhana often experienced as as a tingling sensation in the, ummm, genitals?

Well, that's going mighty low on the physical chart to try to locate piti (rapture/elation). Is that how you view the experience of piti? As a physical sensation that could be placed anywhere in the body? That seems to be a bit of a wide variance, perhaps above and beyond that suggest in the discourses.

Piti and sukkha are generally characterized (according to my understanding and view from having read the suttas) as mental phenomena. Placing them anywhere other than in the region of the head (as in a pleasant "alpha sensation") may be problematical. Or at the very worse, ingeniously inventive! (Sorry, but I don't agree with Laurel here. You might be better off focusing on the head region rather than on any other region of the body. It's all about control, once you understand how these processes arise and display.)

Although, if you can make it work, who knows. . . ?

Robin Woods:

What does one do when noticing it? Leave the breath and focus on the tingling in the hope that it will expand?

No. Follow the breath always, but note the arising pleasant sensation and just watch where it takes you as the first jhana morphs into the second jhana which is without effort or toil. In other words, be aware of and watch both together, maintaining primary focus on the breath while not discounting the arising sensation.

The second jhana "feels" like a feedback loop that just carries on by itself. When there's no longer any need for vitakka and vicara (directed attention and sustained attention), then the absorption process proceeds on its own without the need to manufacture it.

Until you experience this, you may not know what I'm talking about.

Good luck.

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/23/12 5:18 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Ian, I don't mean to claim that piti is the same as sexual arousal. But even though I understand it as a product of the mind, for me it manifests as warmth or tingling and it can flush over the top half of the body, or else sometimes affect the legs, or else other parts (in other words, it could manifest anywhere--on the face, below the waist, anywhere). I have had shivery or even prickly energy sweep over the whole body. Perhaps I misunderstood the question. Or perhaps we're dealing here with different definitions of piti.

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/23/12 5:33 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Robin Woods:
I don't mean to coarsen the nature of debate around here, but, is the 'piti' felt at the threshold of the 1st jhana often experienced as as a tingling sensation in the, ummm, genitals?

Yes, sometimes it happens that the scrotum start tingling during meditation.
Pretty much any area that have some hair can feel the tingling

Question: Do you apply or ever applied any pressure in the perineum area before?

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/23/12 8:38 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Leave the breath and focus on the tingling in the hope that it will expand?


It's possible to bath your body in bliss this way, if you wish, but generally you'll get a "bliss scorch" if you overdo it (as Laurel says) and this may not suppress the hindrances properly or may even make them temporarily worsened. Just stay on the breath until the effort disappears, and then things will happen automatically without any input on your part. Eventually the breath will become extremely shallow or disappear altogether. (Though your body will still be breathing).

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/24/12 1:54 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Robin Woods:
I don't mean to coarsen the nature of debate around here, but, is the 'piti' felt at the threshold of the 1st jhana often experienced as as a tingling sensation in the, ummm, genitals?

What does one do when noticing it? Leave the breath and focus on the tingling in the hope that it will expand?


If you're noticing a tingling sensation (meaning, a rapidly changing set of sensations that arise and pass), beware, paying attention to it = insight practice, which (from a previous thread) I believe you're trying not to do.

If you're experiencing a sexual feeling (beyond generic tingling that you could experience anywhere and which would be equally at home anywhere) there's a fair chance you did insight practice in order to generate it. (Could be very early A&P.)

What you want to do is pay attention to your breath in a way that's peaceful and relaxed and spacious and tranquilizing. Breathe, and CHILL, without zoning out. (Notice how having tingling feelings and sexual feelings are out-of-place in this description of samatha.)

I, personally, don't think that most westerners who are beginners are highly likely to figure out samatha without ending up somewhere in the progress of insight at some point. And my guess is that you're hanging out somewhere in the progress of insight already, but don't know it. So be prepared, and if something unpleasant happens to you, don't think "oh no! this is terrible!", but think "oh, this is probably the DN, can't seem to avoid it, but maybe I can plow through it...".

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/24/12 5:49 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
F*ck me- just got my first blast of jhanic bliss! Haha- we're not talking about a gentle 'tingling' here are we!? Overwhelming. Elicited by starting to smile very slowly in access concentration.


Although as end in sight says, perhaps I'm already too far down the road and should have heeded the warnings in mr Ingrams book more closely. Will keep a jar of anti psychotics close at hand I think and try not to focus on anything that's not 'solid'?...

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/24/12 5:59 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
For me piti begins as a warm feeling in my abdomen. But it's really different for everyone.

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/24/12 7:02 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Robin Woods:
Will keep a jar of anti psychotics close at hand I think and try not to focus on anything that's not 'solid'?...


Analyzing what's "solid" and what's "not solid" is insight.

Just be calm and relaxed. Like taking opiates after visiting the dentist...no worries...barely any thoughts...just aimless pleasantness...

Try not to zone out, but if you're getting an effect that's really different from the picture of placidity I'm trying to paint, running a higher risk of zoning out will allow you to run a lower risk of inadvertently doing any (more?) insight stuff.

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/24/12 8:02 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Although as end in sight says, perhaps I'm already too far down the road and should have heeded the warnings in mr Ingrams book more closely. Will keep a jar of anti psychotics close at hand I think and try not to focus on anything that's not 'solid'?...


Okay, he has a personal belief (and that's all it is) which will influence your intention. Just keep your intention on practicing samatha and that's it.

After your sit. All of these things should be absent (from a fair to large degree) for some period of time (or even a significant period of time):

sense desire
ill will
sloth/tiredness
restlessness
doubt

If you find any of these increasing immediately or shortly after a sit, you're not doing it right. If they are unchanged or less prominent, then you're doing it right.

RE: 1st Jhana and Piti: lowering the tone?
Answer
10/25/12 8:26 AM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Robin Woods:
F*ck me- just got my first blast of jhanic bliss! Haha- we're not talking about a gentle 'tingling' here are we!?



No, we're not! I get the "blast" part. The one thing I should say, though, is that it doesn't always manifest that way. It did that for me the first time I really got 1st jhana, but that experience didn't repeat itself in subsequent sits. Good luck with it.