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New kid on the block ... @ 60
Answer
12/2/12 11:00 AM
It's about three years ago now that i walked into a Buddhist Gompa to learn more about meditation, little knowing it would send me on a life changing roller coaster ride!!! I'm a sixty year old man that suffered a massive mental breakdown some twenty years ago and have since been in the slow process of re establishing myself. Meditation came up several times during this period but none of it saw me get anything like a proper practice going, then i saw there was something called a meditation society in town and that was my start with the Ananda Buddhist Centre ... Long story short ... presently i'm sitting from 3 to 5 hours a day, large majority of days it's 4. Totally obsessed with it all. Now i feel, after being put onto Dharma Overgound, that there is a way ahead --- Maybe i can resurrect something out of this wasted life in whatever time i have left. Five heart attacks and a triple heart by pass tend to concentrate the mind on the fact that life is fleeting.

I need help something shocking!!! I thought that i had found Buddhism to late and that it was going to be a matter of many life times before i could do anything positive for myself --- And now you guys tell me i can earn stream entry and maybe even more!!! I can achieve these lofty heights ??? I have both the time and the inclination to do whatever is necessary to get a favorable re birth, or even if it is possible to leave this hellish place that is Samara. Why is it that nobody around me seems to have this all encompassing obsession to take this thing to it's logical conclusion. I am a slow learner so i am only now starting to get some concentration. I am able to hold my mind single pointedly for an hours sit. Anapanasati on the breath, at the nostrils, is or has been my focus for some twelve months now. They say that i can't get into Jhana states outside of retreat ... is this correct??? Tried sitting with a kasina meditation just a couple of days ago and was pleasantly surprised at how strong a feeling i got from an hours sit. Concentration came in the last 20 minutes period.

The reason i'm here for is because of one sitting about 18 months ago ... I was meditating and listening to an old cassette on meditation in the Jhanas by Ajahn Brahmavamso, i remember the tape turning off and then ... I was sitting in a blue sphere where everything about and surrounding me was illuminated from within. No sound penetrated. No joy. No nothing! I just WAS... extremely comfortable but immensely aware that i just WAS. Normal sits at the time were 30 minutes, i was down for an unprecedented One hour twenty minutes all up, now all i want to do is get back there!!! I've become a meditative junkie, i'm doing it, or reading about doing it for 7 to 8 hours a day! I now live alone with few to no interruptions. I thing i'm on the cusp, awaiting enough concentration so as to be able to learn insight meditation techniques .... Half way through first read of MCTB Whoow!

RE: New kid on the block ... @ 60
Answer
12/2/12 11:26 AM as a reply to Stuart Charles Law.
Hi Stuart, welcome to the DhO!

I must applaud your resolve. You may not have many around you with such a burning desire to get it done, but this place is full of us emoticon

There is much in your post I will leave for more experienced folks to address. But I'll pick up this one: "They say that i can't get into Jhana states outside of retreat ... is this correct???"

It rather depends on your definition of Jhana, but most folks round here will tell you that the "soft" jhanas are indeed possible. Soft as opposed to the kind of hard jhanas talked about in the visuddhimagga. They're sometimes referred to as "sutta jhana" as they appear to be more similar to what the buddha describes in many discourses to what the commentary is talking about.

Keep reading MCTB, it's a great starting point.

And thanks for talking about your inspiring efforts!

RE: New kid on the block ... @ 60
Answer
12/2/12 1:39 PM as a reply to Stuart Charles Law.
Welcome! I'm in your age group as well, started meditating two years ago, and have gotten two paths (which makes me a slowpoke by the standards of this crowd). So here's to getting things done! Which you will do if you hang out with the right people and do the right kind of practice, one that moves you along the insight path. Soon you will be spending less time thinking about your misspent life and more time getting into the experience of each moment. emoticon

One thing about your jhana experience: it's common to have had some kind of blow-out experience and want to get it back; however, everyone will tell you that what you need to do is focus on exactly whatever is happening right now. Quite often it's going to be stuff you wish weren't happening. I am a veteran of avoidance and denial in all of its guises, and I expect to continue to slide into that way of dealing many times before I'm done. But the more you can face what is happening, and break it down with razor-sharp attentiveness, the more you can come to terms with it.

Keep reading MCTB. I am just about finishing re-reading it for the 5th time or so. Every time I go through it I have a new experience of the book because I'm bringing new perspectives to it. You may also want a few Skype sessions with a teacher. That can help point you to the things you need to work on most. There are other forums on the internet that you can check out as well: Kenneth Folk Dharma is a place I visit every day.

Best, Laurel

RE: New kid on the block ... @ 60
Answer
12/2/12 8:43 PM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Thank you for the welcome Bagpuss. My outlook on Jhana comes in vast majority from Ajahn Brahmavamso in Western Australia and his books Open the door of your heart. Mindfulness bliss and beyond, a meditator's handbook, and smaller booklets like The Jhanas. www.what-buddha-taught.net/books/Ajahn_Brahm_The Jhanas.htm.

It wasn't till i got here i started to hear about soft or hard jhana, could you please explain or direct me to an explanation of the difference between the two? Again thanks for taking the time to speak with me.

Kind regards

Stu

RE: New kid on the block ... @ 60
Answer
12/2/12 9:29 PM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
G'day Jane and thanks a! So you think it was a Jhana event too! ... Yes i found myself craving for a return to this wonderful place and advancement in meditation promptly stopped until i realised i was craving and that this had become a very effective brake.

Now please Jane ... tell me, what do you mean by
focus on exactly whatever is happening right now.
I don't mind trite or mundane, i'll do anything to advance my practice --- Anything

And time with a teacher whooow. That would be awesome but not yet, i've got to figure out where I am first.

Thank you