Please Diagnose

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Clayton James Lightfoot, modified 11 Years ago.

Please Diagnose

Posts: 41 Join Date: 1/21/10 Recent Posts
Hey everyone,

I was hoping that someone could tell me if this looks like stream entry. I wrote this on Sunday

Sunday: I would like to write this down before my memory gets a chance to distort the events. I began with unusually strong concentration on the breath. I thought about what it would be like to attain stream entry. I feel like I might have gotton to one of the lower jhanas. Then I started scanning my body searching for the three characteristics. Preassure somewhere between the third eye and the crown chakra. Then I started feeling my awareness wind down almost like I was about to fall asleep then a split second later I would come back to awareness. After this happened maybe 5 or 6 times I had finished my scan and went to 6 sense doors awareness. I have been getting close to what may be formations. I observed the sense doors for probably 10 or 15 minutes. During this time I felt pretty chilled out but nothing out of the ordinary. Now I sit here pondering. Was that stream entry? Was I just almost falling asleep? I didn’t feel that tired. But the total sit was only like 35 minutes… I felt like I could have sat for hours but I just didn’t feel the desire… surely that wasn’t it. It doesn’t matter I know I am meditating tomorrow… I just take life one day at a time anyway

later on that night: Its probably been an hour or so since I last wrote in the sitting journal. I just feel… clear. Yeah I think clarity is the word I am looking for. I realize I have been obsessing so much over the maps and all that—its time to just be. We will see how things continue over the next few days before drawing any conclusions. For one I thought the mind would be hyped up but its just chill. Not sensually very pleasant but just chill.

This Morning (Monday Singapore Time):This morning I had a fine sit. It didn’t have any fruitions. I just sat. Followed the breath got concentrated. A very quick sweep then some free form awareness focusing on the sense doors. Very easy… not rapturous but very cool. I fell like I had been rigorously spending 1-2 hours a day trying to court a women (my practice) and now I can just lie with her… no effort. I realize how pretentious and almost laughable my serious approach to the practice has been. During the day my mind felt really powerful but in a subtle way. Like I have been looking through cruddy glasses and now everything is in HD

Didn't have time to sit formally Monday night lots of unexpected work. Lying in bed mindful of sensations I think I had another fruition. A split second of nothing none of the sense doors were active.. couldn't even have conceived of the sense doors in that moment... then back into consciousness. This was before I started to get tired so I doubt it was a moment of nodding off. Followed by a wave of ease...

Tuesday morning only had about 1/2 hour to sit before school. Nothing to report things were pretty easy. Even the sound of renovation next door didn't bother me...

Now its Wednesday night... something is different... but it was really a subtle shift. I finally feel like I understood the phrase happiness not dependent on conditions... I don't feel like I achieved anything more like I realized something that was already there... I am very tentative to call anything an attainment and would just like some feedback. Any thoughts team? Thanks in advance... ow btw http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/3718624/Another+Sitting+Journal this is a link to my sitting journal going back a few weeks if you want to put it into further context...

Edit: I notice myself cycling... I always get to Equanimity... but don't always have fruitions (assuming what I have experienced are friutions)
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Please Diagnose

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Very interesting descriptions.

That could be it.

The standard criteria apply.

This is straight out of MCTB:

"These are some basic guidelines that may be used when trying to answer the question, “Was that emptiness?”:
If there was any sense of an experience, even of nothingness or something that seemed incomprehensible, particularly anything involving the vaguest hint of the passage of time during it, write it off as something other than emptiness. This is an absolute rule.
Similarly, if there was any sense of a this observing a that, or a self of any sort that was actually present for whatever happened, write it off as something other than emptiness. If you were there, that wasn’t it.
If there was not a complete sense of discontinuity and if it makes any sense to think of time, space, perspective or memory continuing across the gap, write it off immediately as something other than emptiness. On the other hand, if the only way to remember what happed involves remembering just forward to the end of the particular door that presented and then remembering back to when reality reappeared, well, keep reading.
If on continued repetition of the unknowing event over days or weeks it fails the above tests, write it off as something other than emptiness.
If continued repetition of that particular kind of unknowing event over days or weeks fails to give any clear experiences of the Three Doors or to reveal something very paradoxical and profound about the nature of subject and object, be skeptical.
If there was a double-dip into unknowing events with a few profound moments of clarity and altered experience between them, as is characteristic of the A&P Event, with one shift happening half-way down the out-breath and a second shift at the end of that out-breath, write it off immediately as more likely having been that or maybe the early stages of Equanimity.
If the event cannot be repeated, write it off. Those who have attained a path will attain more Fruitions naturally, maybe one to many per day, as they basically can't help but cycle.
If there is not a rather predictable pattern of stages and perspective shifts that begins to become clear (specifically following the course of the progress of insight listed above in some way, particularly as regards shifts in perceptual thresholds) write it off as something other than emptiness.

This brings me to the Cardinal Rule when trying to sort out what all experiences or attainments actually were: try to repeat it again and again and be honest with yourself."

Can you call up ñanas just by trying? Do you start at the A&P now when you sit and progress up to Dark Night to at least Equanimity when you sit?

Can you suddenly access jhanas with a whole different level of ability? (this one not as diagnostic: some people just can't do this as easily)

Let us know how this holds up over time, if you wish. Nice going, whatever it was.
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Clayton James Lightfoot, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Please Diagnose

Posts: 41 Join Date: 1/21/10 Recent Posts
Can I call up Nanas at will? Do you start at the A&P now when you sit and progress up to Dark Night to at least Equanimity when you sit?

Yes. I was sitting in class and inclined my mind towards 11th nana very pleasant. I was sitting just now... started off getting centered then moved to A&P (this doesn't neccisarily have to be as profound as my most memorable A&P does it?) although it obviously was arising and passing. Then 5th nana up to fear... then decided to see if I could move back to dissolution... no problem. then up the dark night to 11... found myself shifting back into 10 twice but was able to bring it back to 11 with ease.

Can you suddenly access jhanas with a whole different level of ability? (this one not as diagnostic: some people just can't do this as easily)

Uh... I basically do dry insight. But I have noticed a profound shift in concentration (and I believe my perceptual threshold) since the event.

My experience seem to line up with "was that emptiness" almost to the T. (badass book by the way... I am so glad I found it) The only thing that leaves me wondering if it was Stream Entry is the fact that I have only had one Fruition(??) since the event... (4days ago) as opposed to one or more a day as you describe... it may be pertinent to note that I am not on retreat just doing daily practice perhaps that has something to do with fewer fruitions or are different people just inclined differently?

Your advice seems well grounded in traditionally waiting a year and a day to decide. I will just relax and see how this plays out...

Clayton
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Please Diagnose

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Well then, keep going, see how it pans out.

Basic mindfulness of what is going on now helps.

Resolutions are also interesting, such as to have Fruitions, if that is what they were, or to master whatever you have attained.

Do let it settle, see what happens, keep up some sort of mindfulness practice, and let us know.

Nice work regardless.

Glad you liked the book.
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Clayton James Lightfoot, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Please Diagnose

Posts: 41 Join Date: 1/21/10 Recent Posts
Well two nights ago I had another fruition that was pretty clear. I had been sitting for 40 minutes. Then decided to lay down mindfully. Then Blip... and then happiness not based on any conditions. Different than pleasure based concentration or sensual pleasure... Earlier that night I told myself... its Ok to have attained stream entry. Its nothing to worry about. Just be present. Making resolutions to experience fruitions tends to generate craving for me. Perhaps I will resolve instead to master what I have attained. I like that wording better. I'll keep an open mind, perhaps I am deluding myself but I will take the attainment of Stream Entry as my working Hypothesis

Everything I read basically talks about consistency instead of specific practices. I think now I plan to:
Work on my concentration
Become familar at identifying each nana (this is already getting a lot easier)
Develop a more compassionate practice (More Metta)
And Basically let the practice unfold from here... Even going through the rougher cycles I now have a real confidence that there will eventually be an end to my insight illness...

Thanks again all....
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Clayton James Lightfoot, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Please Diagnose

Posts: 41 Join Date: 1/21/10 Recent Posts
Hey Daniel (or anyone else who wants to weigh in),

I wanted to give an update and get some input. Well I went through all your criteria and have been going through the cycle every time I sit etc... since my experience in question. I have been having more and more 'fruitions' they have been getting to happen most days for the last two weeks or so. Interestingly enough they usually don't happen while I am sitting formally but instead while I am just relaxing afterward. I notice the afterglow more than the blip... but it is still noticeable... although even the afterglow is really not as exciting as it was... My concentration is very strong, although I have no formal mastery of the jhanas I find myself entering strong concentration states while practicing vipassana. In fact during this evenings sitting I felt like it was hard to watch things flicker because they were solidifying... Somehow I have the fear that I might be being pulled towards a second cycle... I have the sense of coming back down to a more solid level... Almost everyday I make the fervent resolution to stay in review (if thats where I am) Do you have any insights to offer? I have not been praticing as strongly since my believed Stream entry, and I really don't want to go back to sitting close to two hours a day... two half hour sits are a lot easier to manage... but sometimes the dharma really doesn't seem to give us much choice does it...

I am keenly aware that I might be 'scripting' everything up to this point. So feel free to ask some pointed questions if you think it will help you clarify anything...

Clayton
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Nikolai S Halay, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Please Diagnose

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
When I got first path, the review period lasted only short time then I was dropped into the next insight cycle without knowing it. I think Daniel has said that you can delay it somewhat with resolutions but ultimately you can't hold back mother nature. It will happen regardless if you want it to or not. I don't know why you would not want to. Even though some have said that 2nd path is not much of a change, I feel 1000 times happier getting 2nd path than stream entry. And now that the review period of 2nd path ended, which was well over a month ago, I feel I am on my way to 3rd. 2nd path usually happens quite soon after 1st path as far as I have seen with many practitioners here and elsewhere. Trust me, it's better than 1st path.

Mate, your concentration should be so much better like you have mentioned. Practice getting it more powerful. Access all the jhanas and the dark nights wont be as bad as they were pre-path. If it really was stream entry, it is going to progress regardless without your input. Just go with it or you'll cause yourself unnecessary grief.

Edited to add. I only practice max, an hour a day these days as I feel I am meditating quite a lot anyway in my day to day activities. You dont have to sit 2 hours a day if it is too difficult. Man, you got stream entry supposedly and if this is the case, relax and let the progress happen, develop your concentration abilities and enjoy the weird and wonderful ride. Constancy not heroics to quote Kenneth Folk.
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Clayton James Lightfoot, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Please Diagnose

Posts: 41 Join Date: 1/21/10 Recent Posts
Hey Nikolai,

Thank you so much for your response. About 20 minutes after I posted I thought wow what a terrible, whiny, Neurotic post. But I decided to leave it up anyway because it was how I was feeling when I wrote it. Yes most people do report jumping into the 2nd cycle rather quickly. To use Goenka's terminology insight practices are like surgery and I would rather hang out and let everything happen than go back under the knife. But in Zen speak after stream entry you have to learn to ride the ox backwards... basically its time for me to come to grips with wherever I am in my practice right now. I will try to do some more jhana work. Thank you for your encouragement about 2nd path...