Equanimity visions, possible fruition, SE doubt, Dark Night kicking my ass

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Mind over easy, modified 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 12:52 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 12:52 PM

Equanimity visions, possible fruition, SE doubt, Dark Night kicking my ass

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
A week or two back, I was in what I thought to be equanimity when I had a vision where my mind was hopping from animal to human, like a pogo stick. It was more daydream-esque than vision-esque, but still really interesting. There were no thoughts about reincarnation or anything like that, just an interesting picture presenting itself.

Then, just yesterday, I decided to hit the jhanas. When I got to 4th jhana, the most interesting thing happened. Most of the stuff I've seen has been more daydream-esque, but this time, I saw smoke around my center (eyes closed), slowly drifting and dissipating. It was very beautiful and also interesting, since it was like I was literally seeing smoke rise up in the darkness of my mind. I take this as a sign that my concentration is improving. I switched to vipassana practice at that point. It amazes me how quickly the peace of jhana is broken when you switch to vipassana. Almost immediately, my body went from being almost imperceptible to being itchy, sore, achy, and all of that jazz. Just within a few seconds, as though I switched off the peaceful switch. Anyways, after a bit, I was in equanimity. I was just sinking into it and watching things as inclusively as I could. There was a moment when I kind of "regained consciousness", where I quite suddenly thought, "where was I just now?". I don't know if it was a fruition, but it certainly seemed like a discontinuity in my experience. There was definitely a little bodily bliss, but I don't know if it's just because I was looking for it. It could've just been a near-miss though.

To the matter of stream-entry, which I thought I got around Christmas... More and more, I doubt I got it, since there are some doubts:

1. The powerfulness of the mind afterwards wasn't exceptionally noticeable
2. I can definitely get into jhanas 1-5 and possibly 6, but they aren't just instant, and they're not very stable. The stability problem is most certainly because I mainly practice vipassana.
3. The A&P happens often, when I'm not doing anything and my mind wanders off to investigation. However, it doesn't always happen instantly when I investigate. (but even so, I can get it within minutes usually)
4. It's been almost half a year, and there haven't been any signs of a new cycle, which I'd imagine would have shown up by now if I did indeed get stream entry.
5. It's hard to say if suffering has been permanently reduced. I did feel quite well and unstoppable for a few weeks after the supposed stream entry, including a sense that nothing could really bother me or shake me, a pervasive sense of equanimity and empty, hollowness inside my head whenever I looked, and near-instant A&P's upon investigation (<15-30 seconds), even after largely stopping vipassana.
6. Inability to call up/recognize fruitions. This is a confusing one, because I'm almost certain that I can get up to equanimity within 20-30 minutes, or less. When I get there, it's like everything goes down, down, down, like I'm spacing out or going to sleep. But I'll get this thing where I'm suddenly "jolted", where I suddenly gain very strong, calm attentiveness, in a shocking/startling way. It happens almost instantly, with very high intensity that is gone in an instant, and leaves me feeling very quiet and highly alert. I don't remember anything like this before the supposed stream entry. If I had to guess, I'd say it would fall under an impermanence cessation. The description of slipping and suddenly falling through the ground does it justice. There is also the thing I mentioned at the top of this post, where I suddenly think, "where was I just now?", like I left my mind for a second. This one is very gentle, but still gives me that highly alert/acute and calm feeling afterwards, with a bit of bodily bliss. However, I don't ever remember getting an intense bliss wave after these things. They don't happen to me when I'm not meditating, or I just don't notice them.
7. Uncertainty on cycling. I do feel like I can just get on the cushion and rise up the nanas, even when I don't practice for a long time. And I definitely notice a background cycle when I just go about my day, however, this isn't very consistent, and I don't have very good mindfulness of it or how quickly it happens. Yesterday, I remember feeling very A&P esque after playing piano, then 30 minutes later, I had some really intense dissolution stuff, where everything looked like a bleak film, and all the endings of motion and sounds was completely obvious, with a lot of compassion (I seem to associate compassion with this stage more than any). Then, when I got home, late dark night stuff was apparent, with a lot of negative feelings, anxiety, and trapped feeling. There was the sense that there was something wrong in the center of me. That's when I decided to do some jhana (that is, after frolfing... in the rain).
8. Uncertainty with fetters. The dogma thing (rites and rituals) does seem to be the most blown away. Meditation is whenever I'm looking at what's happening, there doesn't need to be a particular sitting position or set time or certain mood or anything like that. Practice on and off the cushion are seen as indistinguishable. There's a sense of dissolution with religions of all sorts, including Buddhism. We're all just people trying to get happier and better, and religions are just the trails left by people who had some success at that. Nothing is holy or sacred at all, and reverence really seems to be a fake thing. There's just a sense of compassion for those wonderful people who tried to make things better. Wisdom is seen in almost all traditions. I have utter confidence in the enlightenment process, and practice that leads to enlightenment. There's no doubt at all, and getting more enlightened seems to be a matter of simply doing it, not worrying about conditions. The self is definitely hard to find, but what I do find as self seems to match up with the description of "the watcher". I can see the watcher any time, even through painful emotions, distraction, powerful feelings, etc... it's like when you're watching a movie or playing a game or something, and in the theater, you suddenly get the feeling of being not immersed in the content, where you regain awareness of your body and see your reactions to stuff. So in a way, it's like the dualistic split between the stuff and the watcher is always clear if I look. It's like the true self is always sober, like a camera or something. When I close my eyes, vibrations are visually apparent, almost always. Plus, there is the sense of vastness, like I'm looking at the empty space in my head, like my true self is somewhere deeper, just watching it all.

It seems to me that a yogi who stops at a baseline of equanimity could possibly have this kind of confusion, and it's possible that that's exactly what happened. I don't know really. I'm in more of a position to say I didn't get stream entry, but I cannot fully rule out that possibility since a few of the signs seem to be there.

Dark Night, kicking my ass:

So I did jhana and then vipassana last night, and had an unusually strong vipassanic experience. I went to bed in what seemed like EQ. I woke up this morning on 8 hours of sleep, feeling like I got 4. I could hardly get out of bed. But when I did, it was apparent that I was in some kind of dark night stuff. I just hated everything. It was almost impossible to move my body. Everything was awful. My mind was so reactive. I felt trapped and imprisoned in negativity and inaction. There was so much despair. I skipped school, there was no way I could go. I laid in the garage. I hit my head on a wall over and over. I sat with my head on the windowsill, unable/unconcerned to close my mouth, just drooling onto my socks, feeling apathy and negativity. I did some gentle noting. I said fuck it and got some donuts and coffee, then did a little job hunting, which slightly helped. There was a strong sense that nothing could really make me feel better though except time and endurance. I feel alright now. However, I hate dark nighting so much because afterwards, I look back and say, "shit, I missed class, I ate some junk, and now I'm regretting it since I'm not feeling bad anymore". It's so contradictory, to feel like hell and act out of that, and then hours later, to feel fine, regretting the bad choices made from the DN. But I don't know. It's just hard to do school when I'm in DN.

I'm considering taking up Ron Crouch or someone as a teacher, although I'm broke as a joke so I'll need to take care of that first. In hindsight, I shouldn't have started this practice until I had some better guidance, or a retreat to be at. I thought Daniel's excessive warnings were quite excessive, because what the heck, it's just a little meditation, could it really be that bad? Yes, it can definitely be that bad. Negativity doesn't stick for long though.

Thanks for reading. I like to post here because I don't have anyone to tell these things. Like Tommy said, tell yer ol' uncle DhO!

P.S.
I've dropped the noting convention of "thinking". If you're thinking a thought, you're actually just hearing it, seeing it, or feeling it. This seems to be much more helpful, to me at least.
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 4:49 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 4:49 PM

RE: Equanimity visions, possible fruition, SE doubt, Dark Night kicking my

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:


Then, just yesterday, I decided to hit the jhanas. When I got to 4th jhana, the most interesting thing happened. Most of the stuff I've seen has been more daydream-esque, but this time, I saw smoke around my center (eyes closed), slowly drifting and dissipating. It was very beautiful and also interesting, since it was like I was literally seeing smoke rise up in the darkness of my mind. I take this as a sign that my concentration is improving. I switched to vipassana practice at that point. It amazes me how quickly the peace of jhana is broken when you switch to vipassana. Almost immediately, my body went from being almost imperceptible to being itchy, sore, achy, and all of that jazz. Just within a few seconds, as though I switched off the peaceful switch.



Watch out for the smoky colored light of the hell realm of attainment.


And if it makes ya feel any better, I have had tons of doubt over my stream entry, going back and forth. I would just try to see these thoughts as dark night content and just stay with what makes you happy.
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Mind over easy, modified 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 5:00 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 5:00 PM

RE: Equanimity visions, possible fruition, SE doubt, Dark Night kicking my

Posts: 239 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
A D R:

Watch out for the smoky colored light of the hell realm of attainment.


Ehhhh?

A D R:

And if it makes ya feel any better, I have had tons of doubt over my stream entry, going back and forth. I would just try to see these thoughts as dark night content and just stay with what makes you happy.


Oh really, why was that? What made you doubt and what made you so sure? I'm interested.

There's all the technical things that seem to change for stream enterers, but I suspect I had very high, unrealistic expectations as to what would happen.
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 8:05 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 8:05 PM

RE: Equanimity visions, possible fruition, SE doubt, Dark Night kicking my

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Its from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, just a correlation I have made to my own practice.

As for the Stream Entry stuff, I feel pretty confident that I get fruitions. Also cycling happens. I can't really call up fruitions, though, and I didn't get much of a honeymoon. Oh well emoticon
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Jake , modified 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 8:42 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 8:42 PM

RE: Equanimity visions, possible fruition, SE doubt, Dark Night kicking my

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
If I knew then what I know now...

I would say that whether in EQ or post-path, it is wise to shift to a different mode of cultivating, particularly if one is experiencing big mood swings and behavioral changes along with the cycling. The thing to do at that point is discover a 'non-doing' kind of practice, of letting-be. sort of a relaxed, all inclusive openness to experience as a whole.

It's very helpful to find a mode of practice that allows mental-emotional content to just flow through mind without resistance, without ignoring it OR perpetuating it (ruminating, figuring it out, rehashing stuff, rehearsing for how better to handle it next time, etc). For this I have found it useful to tune into the naturalness of things like breathing, the feeling of aliveness in the body and in the events that happen around one, the posture of sitting. Taking time to cultivate a mellow but clear appreciation for just sitting, breathing, being alive and awake. Like body is a mountain, and mind is an open sky, surroundings are a landscape and thoughts/feelings just blow on through without really being as important or dramatic. Taking some time each day to cultivate like that, sitting quietly.

You might still notice cycles in the content of thoughts/feelings, but like weather, they become simply natural phenomena which define your nature less and less. The simplicity of just being alive, breathing, noticing things happen within and around one becomes more vivid and the content of dramas and stories become more like little cartoons playing in one's open mind.

Then to stabilize this mode of being, actualize it in daily life; that is, behave in the light of the truth that mental-emotional arisings-- moods, opinions, beliefs, stories, identities, dramas-- are really quite insubstantial in comparison to that living breathing awake and connected-to-others-and-the-whole-wide-world simplicity. Act in a way that reflects that, which just means doing your best in daily life. The less substantial your own mental-emotional stories are, the easier it becomes to care actively about other folks' well being and be effective in basic things like hygeine, cleaning your house, working, school, and relationships of all sorts.

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