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Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem

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Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
stream entry formations eqanimity
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3/22/13 2:04 AM
Howdy DHO friends,
well, i had hoped for a different type of post but the fact is that my just ended SE retreat did not land me path and this post is a request for a post mortem analysis and aid to help me tune my technique.

i used a couple of semi-precious holiday weeks to try to gain path. i did a self-retreat for 14 days following (pretty damned strictly) the schedule in Tarin Greco's Reformed Slackers Guide.

it was an up-and-down affair from the beginning and perhaps i will post a more comprehensive compendium of the highlights and lowlights later but for now I would like to get help on "how close I was" and where can improve.

Methods - Anapanasati and Mahasi noting.

i started my early sits with the first (in and out breathing) body contemplation to get into the "progress of insight". the later sits (after about day 8) would start in high EQ after just a couple of breaths). i have always had trouble with "where i am" on the maps but traditionally, for me, a sort of "face scrunching" energetic (sometime expressed as a yawn) would serve as my marker for the A&P having been passed. (comments?)

EQ is, phenomenologically, for me a calm mental space widening with the depth of the state and accompanied by temple and strong forehead / hairline vibrations. visually it is marked by swirling, undulating cloudlike mental objects with changing characteristics but generally tending to vanist towards the midle of the visual field. these, i realized during this retreat, are formations.

around day 6 i was clearly seeing "formations" during closed eye sitting and realized that they were arising against a background which appeared to be a "starfield": almost a perfect night sky including winking stars. i realized these "stars" were only winking when i looked at them and then only winking "out". under closer observations the were not dissappearing but "streaking off" like very fine metorites. at a further level of clarity i noticed that these streakers were, in fact, the "substance" of the formations, and these would "swarm around" either "inbound" (toward the observer) or "outbound" toward whatever. later they would bee seen as the "substrate" of the 4th vipassana jhana.

so i'll set aside all of the tricks i was doing and the amazement i was enjoying during such highlights. at some point i noticed that the swirly formations had sharper definitions in them at some places which seemed to be defined by a "masking" something or other. this looke very much the way certain "Nebulae". seen more closely at one point these "individual" formations seemed to acrete or aglomerate onto / into a more "massive" grouping of formations which looked like biological cells and formed a mass which moved slowly across the visual field almost like a huge starship. the impression i had during this process was that my brain was being remapped like a file system rebuilding. in any case upong further inspection the "Cells", or "individual" formations could be seen to be blinking on and off in certain locations, almost regular locations, and that the blinking when seen clearly was again this "masking" effect.

the next level of clarity was that the formations clearly held much more information (eg: rooms full of moving people, eating dinner and other very very detailed experience). this was about as detailed a view as i got into the mental object visual formations in this way.

later (around day 11-12) high EQ was as easy as closing my eyes, focusing on the calm space, seeing the starfield, focusing on the vibrations and i was there. at this point i was getting frustrated / bored and was trying to "just let it happen", gently observing and noting but did often indulg my tendancy to use brute force.

during walking i had very ramped up abilities to note such things as "intention to lift", experienced as a physical sensation on my scalp and a fine web of vibrations covering whichever side of my body was active. during sitting things in the visual field were flashing in synchrony with the breath and i could feel that same "wave" pulse anywhere in the body i focused my attention on (foot, arm etc.)

many times i tried to zoom in on the flashing of the visual formations and got down to a point where the flashing was very slow (end or beginning of the breath). by "tightening down" on the focus, i was trying to "see the gap" but was successful in only getting to a point where things seemed to condense to a vanishing point with the distinction that "images" or "pictures" were zooming by with tremendous velocity, barely cognizable. these "efforts" would usually end in an energetic "whoosh" bliss wave which i described above as my "face scrunching" A&P marker but never did i feel as though "I" or the "Universe" were gone.

so , was "over-efforting" my error? is it a time / ripening thingy that needs to happen on its own? am i a complete loser?

So, thanks for reading. and tips as to how to move on would be greatly appreciated.

If it is not already obvious. Very very deep gratitude to Daniel and Tarin and all of you who have helped me even when you didn't know you were doing it.

Humbly, Tom Moylan

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/22/13 4:54 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
You did not fail at anything. You succeeded in advancing your practice. Keep practicing on your normal schedule. I got SE three weeks after a retreat, at home, in an evening sit, when I wasn't expecting it.

Other people may be able to comment in more detail on your actual practice. I'll just tell you to keep up the good work.

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/22/13 7:09 AM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
Hi Jane,
thanks for the encouragement and the larger perspective. i do have to admit to being somewhat goal oriented :-) but some dose of that is necessary for me to move th eball down the field. on another note, i've read quite a few of our posts and always find you to be encouraging and insightful. so again, thanks for the encouragement andyour presence here.

tom

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/22/13 9:59 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
Have you tried shinzen's technique of noting 'gone' (principally on disappearing sounds) when you suspect you're in EQ?

I got SE incredibly quickly this way, almost by accident- presumably this takes you in through the impermanence 'door'.

That said- after the afterglow of SE wore off- I'm now more depressed than I've ever been in my life so make what you will of that...

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/22/13 10:34 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
Tom, thanks for posting this description and starting this discussion. I am hoping to do a similar SE attempt in the future, so it is appreciated.

However, I likely have less meditation experience so I have relatively little to chip in with at the moment. Best of luck with your practice!

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/22/13 4:10 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
It sounds like you are very close. 2 things - the last bit is not something you can "do" by doing....so don't get in your own way. Second - make a very strong intention to experience SE and be open to any help from any beneficial means
Good luck...
~D.

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/23/13 7:07 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Howdy Dream Walker,
Thanks for the advice. The "not getting in your own way" point speaks definitely to a charachter trait of mine which seeks to "manage" or "control" or at least understand the linkages between things. I have read in MTCB that at this point one should "gently note things like space, awareness, curiosity..." and have read similar advice on Ron Crouche's essay on equanimity namely: (I paraphrase) "there is nothing one can do at this point to speed up the process". Additionally I had made many affirmations in advance that I would attain SE asap. Ok so , I guess its more of the same. Mille Grazie!

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/23/13 7:09 AM as a reply to Mike H..
Hi Mike,
thanks for your encouragement and straight back at you. There are LOTS of folks around here who have lapped me already you have a very good chance of joining that crowd!

tom

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/23/13 7:12 AM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Thanks Robin, I hope that you see some bright sides to things again soon. I am a big fan of Shinzen since aquiring his "Science of Enlightenment" series some time back. I don't know this particular technique but bet I could find it on youtube or something. Thanks for the help.

Cheers, Tom

RE: Busted SE Retreat - Post Mortem
Answer
3/28/13 1:38 PM as a reply to Robin Woods.
Robin Woods:
Have you tried shinzen's technique of noting 'gone' (principally on disappearing sounds) when you suspect you're in EQ?


Hey Robin,
I just tried this after YouTubing SY, really cool technique. It got me into high EQ really quickly and points to some interesting "feelings" at the endpoints (dissapearances). Thanks for the tip.

tom

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