Interrupted Session, now what?

Eric Michaels, modified 9 Years ago at 1/1/13 8:56 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/1/13 8:56 PM

Interrupted Session, now what?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 10/16/12 Recent Posts
Brief background: I experienced a spontaneous A&P event in the dream state about a year ago, recently went through a horrible dark night, and now feel that I've dropped back down into the lower nanas.

I have little time for formal sitting, but I resolved to do some noting practice earlier this evening. I resolved to break through to Equanimity.

After about five minutes, I felt warm, uncomfortably warm. I began sweating. (Three Characteristics?) I noted these uncomfortable sensations and decided to do some body-scanning. The warmth faded after a few minutes and I suddenly became aware of my arms. They felt as though they suddenly grew bigger and were "buzzing" at a fast rate. A ringing in my ears arose and grew to a high pitch, also "vibrating" at a fast rate. (Arising and Passing Away?) I noted all this and took some time to investigate my arms strobing in and out of reality. This stage passed within a couple of minutes, which means the dark night was coming, how fantastic.

I was still doing some body-scanning, but suddenly my awareness shifted and I was aware of my entire body all at once. Then, my entire sense of "body" and position in space vanished, and not in a good way. I felt disoriented and destabilized. (Dissolution?) This was noted. Within a few moments I began to feel fear. (Fear?)

Right, so all this puts me at the dukkha nana of Fear.

I had some momentum going and I was hoping to keep moving through the dark night, but I suddenly had to break off my sit to deal with something. It only took a few moments. I returned to my cushion only to find that the "fear" was more or less gone. I felt as though I had interrupted something important. I tried more noting and body-scanning, but I was too distracted, so I had to give up.

So, did I drop back below the dukkha nanas, or am I still within the Fear nana? I went through the entirety of the dark night about a month ago, so I don't think I've dropped back. I will note that there is a vague feeling of unease, but it's not nearly pronounced as it was during the sit.

Does an interrupted session ruin any chance of breaking through to Equanimity?
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 9 Years ago at 1/1/13 9:15 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/1/13 9:15 PM

RE: Interrupted Session, now what?

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Hey Eric,

My advice would be to drop all such ideas. My experience with similar types of thoughts and pushing myself very hard in the body scanning area is that you should very much stick with the idea that "if the practice isn't pleasant, you are not practicing correctly." (to quote a great teacher I admire)

In other words, if your body scanning feels like hell and you want to get up and eat a sandwich, there is nothing stopping you from doing that (and I bet you could even find some pleasant sensations to mindfully enjoy while doing that).

Of course, if you enjoy pushing hard then there is nothing stopping you from doing that either. It's up to you and what you want to do.

I am by no means an expert on meditation, but this is my experience and current understanding.

Ona Kiser, modified 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 5:10 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 5:10 AM

RE: Interrupted Session, now what?

Posts: 66 Join Date: 1/18/10 Recent Posts
In my experience the process will carry on despite occasional interruptions. There isn't a specific length of sit or frequency of sits that is necessary, though of course if you never sit or constantly get up that's a different story. I used to sit for 30 minute sessions four to six times a day (rather than single longer sessions, which some people prefer) and I found that a momentum would build across the sits, with each one picking up more or less where the previous had left off. So those "interruptions" (during which I would attend to work and chores and daily stuff) were not really interruptions. And on occasion someone would ring at the door or I'd fall asleep or have to go to the bathroom or shut the window because a storm blew in, and in the bigger picture - over a course of days or weeks - it wouldn't make a difference in "progress."
Eric Michaels, modified 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 1:24 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 1:24 PM

RE: Interrupted Session, now what?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 10/16/12 Recent Posts
I had uneasy dreams last night with a fearful theme, and today has been marked by a vague sense of apprehension, so I think I'm still in dark night territory. Life has been busy so I don't necessarily have the clarity of mind to experience all this in its fullness. I plan on another sit tonight, hopefully I can break through to Equanimity. My goal is to reach First Path by summer, though that may be a bit lofty considering I have no time for retreats, etc. All part of the fun, I suppose. emoticon