WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

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Mind over easy, modified 7 Years ago.

WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Hi everyone.

So last night, I decided to do some jhana before bed. Since I'm mainly doing vipassana, my problem with jhanas is that my mind reflexively demolishes the jhanic factors via noting, leaving me with a more vibratory experience. I was working on letting my mind be convinced by the solidity of the jhanas, which worked well. What I did was:
-Got into the jhanas by order, letting each one steep to strong strength for about 10-15 minutes
-After a mature period, suddenly and forcibly choosing to see the 3Cs, and using the perception of them to cause a conscious dropping of the jhana
-After the jhana faded away, the next one would naturally pop up, at which point I switched the switch from 3C noticing to being utterly convinced of the solidity.

This worked very well and I've never attempted it in exactly this way. Anyways, I got up to 4th, and things became less defined and more subjective, hence a little bit confusing. So I got into a pretty visceral EQ, or so I thought it was, where attention was panoramic and the mind was content with watching. I definitely went through an A&P-like thing at this point, and then through some DN type stuff right after that, but still clearly within the wide-open scopes of EQ. Anyways, at some point, I noticed the infamous pressure between the third eye. Not like the coarse stuff at the A&P, more like someone was literally grabbing my eye sockets and tugging upwards. The pressure was building up and the center of it was getting very distorted and pulled upwards. Upwards and to the left actually. This became insanely intense, in a way unlike any A&P stuff I've ever had before. My heartbeat started going mad, and I literally felt as though I was holding on to the brink of death, so fearful yet so right. The whole field was shaking, and the vibrations at the middle of the eyes was so fast, dizzying almost, but somehow smooth as opposed to the coarseness of the A&P things that can happen. Anyways, I don't even really know what happened at this point. I didn't see any conk-out. However, a few minutes later, the pressure was gone, and I was left in the most intense bliss I've ever felt. I was suspended in this extremely grateful feeling, thinking, "Yes, yes, yes, this has to be it". I've never felt so much goodwill/love/compassion/gratefulness. It was the feeling that either: a. I completed it, or b. I had crossed the event horizon and it was imminent. I realized I was a little zoned out, so I naturally brought attention back, and when I did that... oh boy... I started just rolling around, squirming with how intensely good my body felt. It was 1 am or so and I didn't want to wake my parents up, but I would have just laughed out loud for so long if I could have. I sat there feeling so amazingly joyous and buzzed. My face contorted into ridiculous smiles, mouth wide open, hands on my head... EVERYTHING was buzzing so much, without any attempt to see that. I stayed up for hours, unable to sleep due to how intense everything was buzzing. I was going to try to just sleep on it, but it was too intense and joyous, for hours. It was clear that every time I made an effort to even look at my mind/body, I would explode with the joy and rapture. So blissful. As I watched it play out, at one point there was the A&P stuff when I started looking, then maybe 8 minutes later, the same pressure on my skull, like someone was pulling it upwards and I was feeling the tension. I can't definitively say I noticed the conk-out, but there were definitely weird pressure-release things going on, with very odd ways of feeling connected to reality. I was actually insanely tired by this point, but it isn't clear what exactly was tired, because I was almost wide awake with joy and such. I had a strong urge to just get up and go on a walk, but that would have definitely been odd to my parents at 3 am or whatever it was.

In this afterglow, there was a very odd sense that I was watching the watcher, whereas before my core was the watcher itself. This sense of "watching the watcher" seems to be extremely peaceful and almost unshakeable. Getting burned by a fire? Don't dive onto it to put it out, just walk far away from it, and you can watch it without feeling the heat. This rings deeply true with what I experienced and the approach I used to get there.

Woke up today feeling great, everything is still pretty buzzy, and still noticing a tendency to cross the A&P right away when looking. I'll let it play out, but I want to post before I forget the details.

I have no idea about paths. I thought I got stream entry awhile back, but I don't remember things being quite this intense. Could've been:

1. Stream entry (my feeling at this point)
2. 2nd path
3. Just the fact that I did jhana, and I was actually just experiencing falling back down to the A&P with a higher level of concentration, but I doubt that, due to how the bliss, joy , and strong buzzing were persisting for hours, with no attempt whatsoever to meditate.
4. Some other option that says it was not a path at all but a transient thing

Some reservations on posting a possible path claim, but in the end, if I was wrong, it doesn't matter and I keep going.



Thoughts as to practice:
There seems to be a "release fabrications" muscle, and I feel like suddenly releasing a jhana due to seeing the 3c's is a powerful way to move forward in practice. It's much easier to be mindful of a pleasant jhana, and then break it apart, doing that to get the mind to an equanimious point. Perhaps fruitions could be more consciously won by learning to train this release muscle.
A D R, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

Posts: 685 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:
Hi everyone.

So last night, I decided to do some jhana before bed. Since I'm mainly doing vipassana, my problem with jhanas is that my mind reflexively demolishes the jhanic factors via noting, leaving me with a more vibratory experience. I was working on letting my mind be convinced by the solidity of the jhanas, which worked well. What I did was:
-Got into the jhanas by order, letting each one steep to strong strength for about 10-15 minutes
-After a mature period, suddenly and forcibly choosing to see the 3Cs, and using the perception of them to cause a conscious dropping of the jhana
-After the jhana faded away, the next one would naturally pop up, at which point I switched the switch from 3C noticing to being utterly convinced of the solidity.

This worked very well and I've never attempted it in exactly this way. Anyways, I got up to 4th, and things became less defined and more subjective, hence a little bit confusing. So I got into a pretty visceral EQ, or so I thought it was, where attention was panoramic and the mind was content with watching. I definitely went through an A&P-like thing at this point, and then through some DN type stuff right after that, but still clearly within the wide-open scopes of EQ. Anyways, at some point, I noticed the infamous pressure between the third eye. Not like the coarse stuff at the A&P, more like someone was literally grabbing my eye sockets and tugging upwards. The pressure was building up and the center of it was getting very distorted and pulled upwards. Upwards and to the left actually. This became insanely intense, in a way unlike any A&P stuff I've ever had before. My heartbeat started going mad, and I literally felt as though I was holding on to the brink of death, so fearful yet so right. The whole field was shaking, and the vibrations at the middle of the eyes was so fast, dizzying almost, but somehow smooth as opposed to the coarseness of the A&P things that can happen. Anyways, I don't even really know what happened at this point. I didn't see any conk-out. However, a few minutes later, the pressure was gone, and I was left in the most intense bliss I've ever felt. I was suspended in this extremely grateful feeling, thinking, "Yes, yes, yes, this has to be it". I've never felt so much goodwill/love/compassion/gratefulness. It was the feeling that either: a. I completed it, or b. I had crossed the event horizon and it was imminent. I realized I was a little zoned out, so I naturally brought attention back, and when I did that... oh boy... I started just rolling around, squirming with how intensely good my body felt. It was 1 am or so and I didn't want to wake my parents up, but I would have just laughed out loud for so long if I could have. I sat there feeling so amazingly joyous and buzzed. My face contorted into ridiculous smiles, mouth wide open, hands on my head... EVERYTHING was buzzing so much, without any attempt to see that. I stayed up for hours, unable to sleep due to how intense everything was buzzing. I was going to try to just sleep on it, but it was too intense and joyous, for hours. It was clear that every time I made an effort to even look at my mind/body, I would explode with the joy and rapture. So blissful. As I watched it play out, at one point there was the A&P stuff when I started looking, then maybe 8 minutes later, the same pressure on my skull, like someone was pulling it upwards and I was feeling the tension. I can't definitively say I noticed the conk-out, but there were definitely weird pressure-release things going on, with very odd ways of feeling connected to reality. I was actually insanely tired by this point, but it isn't clear what exactly was tired, because I was almost wide awake with joy and such. I had a strong urge to just get up and go on a walk, but that would have definitely been odd to my parents at 3 am or whatever it was.

In this afterglow, there was a very odd sense that I was watching the watcher, whereas before my core was the watcher itself. This sense of "watching the watcher" seems to be extremely peaceful and almost unshakeable. Getting burned by a fire? Don't dive onto it to put it out, just walk far away from it, and you can watch it without feeling the heat. This rings deeply true with what I experienced and the approach I used to get there.

Woke up today feeling great, everything is still pretty buzzy, and still noticing a tendency to cross the A&P right away when looking. I'll let it play out, but I want to post before I forget the details.

I have no idea about paths. I thought I got stream entry awhile back, but I don't remember things being quite this intense. Could've been:

1. Stream entry (my feeling at this point)
2. 2nd path
3. Just the fact that I did jhana, and I was actually just experiencing falling back down to the A&P with a higher level of concentration, but I doubt that, due to how the bliss, joy , and strong buzzing were persisting for hours, with no attempt whatsoever to meditate.
4. Some other option that says it was not a path at all but a transient thing

Some reservations on posting a possible path claim, but in the end, if I was wrong, it doesn't matter and I keep going.



Thoughts as to practice:
There seems to be a "release fabrications" muscle, and I feel like suddenly releasing a jhana due to seeing the 3c's is a powerful way to move forward in practice. It's much easier to be mindful of a pleasant jhana, and then break it apart, doing that to get the mind to an equanimious point. Perhaps fruitions could be more consciously won by learning to train this release muscle.


I have encountered something that sounds quite similar to what you describe on several occasions..like my face is getting distorted and pulled in different directions. I have pegged this and a few other "forcy" kind of states to almost every stage possible, as they have occurred in a variety of contexts ranging from good to horrible...

I would be curious as to what other, more experienced practitioners might call this energetic thing.

My vote would be no to any path related thing.
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fivebells ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
In my experience these forces represent tension related to the effort of maintaining the current experience. Third eye tension gets particularly strong when there's an effort to fabricate fabrications of refined mental states.
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Mind over easy, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
I've experienced distortion in the 3rd vipassana jhana mostly, and even in 5th jhana, but 5th jhana is more low key for me, like my whole sense of body is inflating and expanding up like a balloon. The best description I have is the feeling that someone had two fingers in my eyeholes, like a bowling ball, and was pulling up, causing pressure. The pressure consisted of very fine, quick vibrations. It was largely the sense of the whole picture getting distorted, but it seemed to stem from that upward pressure, evolving into very fine vibrations. It felt a lot like my awareness of sensations was trying to match the speed of those vibrations, which was extremely fast and fine, almost like a million grains of sand flowing, each coarse, but together, very soft and fluid. It almost had a "pulling out the plug" style feeling to it. Pulling up and out is a great way to say it. The flashing bright lights and almost blinding, vortex-like feeling of the A&P was not present in this. After the supposed event, when I was watching it happen, I got an A&P (many, actually), followed out through 3rd vipassana jhana, to 4th, and then witnessed the same pressure/fine-vibration feeling again. It was a good chance to see them side by side and I'm confident that it is not the A&P. A&P is like blasts of vortex-like energy or something, but this is more like everything is turning to fine, clear, quick moving grains of sand slipping in and out of awareness, in a much more open way.
End in Sight, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:

4. Some other option that says it was not a path at all but a transient thing


Without any further information, this is the explanation I would most strongly consider. Maybe you just released some persistent psychological tension and experienced your mind overshooting in the opposite direction. It happens, and a lot!

What if you do it again?
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Nice setup. I think that taking the time to really set things up makes things more interesting a lot of the time. Bill Hamilton used to take hours to very slowly reign in the mind in order to do his unusual work.

Clearly much of that is A&P territory, pulling, movements, chakral pressures, seriously buzzy stuff, high as a kite, can't sleep, amazing bliss, all that: almost always A&P. Which A&P is your question, which brings up the next question, that related to paths, which is harder to answer without knowing lots more about you and sometimes hard even then.

More interesting is what did that experience teach you or tell you about reality, what the mind can do, the true nature of sensations, things related to deconstructing Subject-Object dualities? Whatever lessons those were are more important than what you call it.

Anyway, it sure is fun to play with this stuff once you have a handle on some of it, isn't it? Amazing that more people don't find high-level practice more compelling, given that it can provide experiences that are that remarkable and create lasting transformations of the most essential thing to our happiness: our fundamental perception of the world and how that is processed.

Even from a purely recreational/adventure point of view, you totally gotta' love it!
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dream walker, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

Posts: 1312 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:

I have no idea about paths. I thought I got stream entry awhile back, but I don't remember things being quite this intense. Could've been:

1. Stream entry (my feeling at this point)
2. 2nd path
3. Just the fact that I did jhana, and I was actually just experiencing falling back down to the A&P with a higher level of concentration, but I doubt that, due to how the bliss, joy , and strong buzzing were persisting for hours, with no attempt whatsoever to meditate.
4. Some other option that says it was not a path at all but a transient thing

Some reservations on posting a possible path claim, but in the end, if I was wrong, it doesn't matter and I keep going.

I just reread (again) these portions of MCTB and I have to recommend doing so. Where I am each time changes and different aspects are more important for that moment. So much to learn and reflect upon....
Thanks Daniel.

MCTB Was that Emptiness
Daniel on The Types of Stream Enterers
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Mind over easy, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: WHOA! Possible path moment while doing/releasing jhanas

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
Okay, I'm still trying to work this out. As much as I realize that I'm on whatever path I'm on, I feel deep enough into practice and interested enough in the prospect of attaining paths that I really want to figure out where I'm at. So bear with me as I recount it all. Checking MTCB resources such as those you gave me, reading other people's experiences with paths, etc... One problem I immediately notice is that even though this community is a massive resource compared to what it would be if there wasn't some sort of pragmatic, open-experience community, there are still simply too few data points to come to conclusions, especially since a lot of the people here are MTCB'ers, bringing me to this quote (still not sure who said it though): "You get what you optimize for".

So, someone can go through all the nanas, just doing pure noting, and besides the odd flavors, not really noticing particular states/stages, and especially not being able to understand the implications of them, hence, not having a good understanding of exactly why or how experience (or baseline experience) has changed. Thus, the hardcore yogi who goes on lots of retreats, gains powerful experience with going through the nanas in a concentrated, focused setting, and clearly sees the insight stages. They cultivate strong resolve to hit SE, even within a certain time frame (within a retreat, etc.). They hit SE, see a clear conk-out, and immediately recognize/utilize the afterglow energy to get into jhanas, master the stages of insight at that path, make resolutions, get repeat fruitions, etc... But then you have someone from a different tradition, practices with some kind of mindfulness, and then experiences some sort of shift or change, but doesn't know what it is, still doesn't see the fruitions or nanas or increased ability for jhana, and might not ever see them unless they make an effort to practice with those models/states/stages/attainments in mind.

My practice has always been fairly inconsistent, so this is a factor. I've never had a teacher, and my resources have been MTCB and discussion on this forum. Around the first few times when I started trying vipassana, I clearly crossed the A&P, with shaking, a vision of a radiant Buddha in the center of my vision, intense spinal shaking, flashing light, etc... Clearly the 1st path A&P event. I continued to cross the A&P in practice fairly consistently, but never with that intensity. Up to around when I think I hit SE, I was mainly doing balls-to-the-walls noting, trying to note as much as possible through the day, and building up momentum every so often, doing multiple 1hr+ sits and noting all day. However, I have probably done formal sits 1 out of 6 days since I've began my vipassana journey. I could clearly see myself crossing the A&P, clearly see dissolution, clearly see dark night stuff, and clearly see a release from that stuff into panoramic attention, with formless experiences occurring, mostly without the intention for this to happen. Up to the point of SE, I was obsessed with the idea of enlightenment, desirous of jhanas, and generally feeling like I wanted to go higher and higher, that going into these states and stages was the way for me to improve my life.

Next was stream entry, I think. Here's the post I made afterwards...

I've been practicing vipassana lately, with a combination of noting, just paying attention to whatever sensations are most obvious, and looking into mental states, including formless stuff that has come up in practice, in what seems to be high equanimity. The past few days up to today, there had been a lot of dizziness in equanimity, perhaps having to do with what felt like a massive gravity between my eyes, which sometimes got very intense during practice.

Today, I was doing some simple concentration on the breath, then switched to vipassana. I got into what seemed to be equanimity, and switched to trying to see the whole frame at once. I remember humming along, with the feeling of presence that I associate with basically anything I've ever done. There was this tiny moment though, less than a second long, where perception made a smooth, sudden, yet obvious shift. I've heard this next phrase used before, but I can't remember in what context. Maybe this was the context. In that small moment, it seemed like "no one was home". Then, I was just sitting there in an almost anticlimactic way, wondering what that sudden thing was. Then, this calm and happiness washed over me. It felt like a waft of pleasant perfume had risen up and suffused my body. It was a bit comparable to the body pleasure in 3rd jhana, except much more fine, bright, and simple. I didn't really know what it was, and I was about to go to a buddy's place, so I just figured I'd play with it later.


I got home not too long ago. I got in bed and started meditating. Within seconds, I got A&P stuff, except it was a lot less heavy and perhaps more pleasant. Each nana appeared discreet and separate from the surrounding nanas. Due to the speed of rising through the nanas and the concentration, I was able to see the transitions for the first time. I got up to EQ in about 10 minutes. I was hanging out there, with the intention in the back of my head to see a fruition. I was just cruising along, with the sense of presence. Then, there was the same type of sudden, shifted perspective that lasted less than a second. This one was a different species from the last. It was more shocking, like cold water to the attention. It was over right away. I didn't notice any blip or conk-out or anything like that. However, after, I sat there, anticlimactically again, just thinking, "what was that?". Then, the lightness and bliss suffused me again, like a balloon being slowly, but surely filled with helium.


A lot of the telltale stuff is for sure there. I still remember it clearly. Sitting in high EQ territory, hitting formless realms, sudden, silent and profound, quick event that strongly hints at no-self, an anticlimactic, blank feeling, then the feeling of bliss rising up in my body, automatically and without any intention, and a light, humorous feeling, like all the seriousness was gone, like I pulled the bathwater plug and drained out the waters that built up ever since that first A&P event. The next few days, I was able to go through insight stages very clearly and easily, with quick access to the A&P I noted the particular intensity of fear and re-observation, the most clear insight stages after the ones that correspond to jhanas. It took less than half an hour until EQ. From there, I definitely got the same sudden perspective shift with a blank slate and bliss rising up through me. I distinctly remember how my mind felt so wide, like there was a big hole in my head. I described it as a mix of the perspective of dissolution, and equanimity. I remember being fascinated with this for a month or two. It was clearly nothing like my previous baseline. If I closed my eyes, even when not thinking about practice or anything, there was a weird feeling of "gone". Now that I recall this detail, I can still see this phenomenon now, except it feels normal and not profound, which is probably normal since it became a baseline, I think. I lost a lot of drive to practice because I felt so fine with things, like getting to be an innocent, carefree child again. I indeed felt quite enlightened. Looking back, it was probably a mistake not to dive deeper into practice at that point, since review right after a fruition gives extra mental power. Whatever though, it felt great to be on vacation from always feeling like I was failing for not noting, feeling equanimious all the time, never getting upset and feeling super calm, not feeling like if I stopped practice, that I would fall back and lose my ability to concentrate and notice sensations. That all stayed without me practicing, so I can confidently say, yes, there was a change that outlasted any states or stages. Limitations were clear though, and I went through a lot of doubt. Why could I still get upset with my family? Why wasn't I suddenly good at everything? Why did my mind not feel so powerful that it might explode? Most importantly, why was I left with these events that seemed like fruitions but weren't seen very clearly? I look back now and see that these events would clearly leave me back at the beginning of the insight cycle, bring me back to mind and body then the A&P.

Fast forward a bit. I practiced on and off, always had moments of spontaneous mindfulness, had spontaneous (or not) jhanas arise, even when walking. Inclination towards rising through stages and states was strong. Sitting, then noticing phenomena, then noticing rising through nanas/jhanas... I guess this is really cycling. Cycles aren't so apparent, except the A&P, and dark night stuff. Equanimity appears without practice.

Then, after getting fascinated some more, and feeling like I could work things out further, I started to practice some more, and then came to the event described in the first post. So, my current theories are-

1. My previous SE claim was SE (fairly certain)
2. This event was a fruition of 1st path, and having not experienced it for awhile, the afterglow bliss was intense
3. This event was the A&P of 2nd path. I haven't found much on how these things play out from path to path, but I know 100% well that it was an A&P like nothing I have ever experienced, even after setting things up with jhana.
4. Hell, maybe it was 2nd path. Not so sure here, as I would assume fruitions, cycling, and the like would become increasingly clear. I don't know how powerful the 2nd path shift is compared to 1st path, but there was certainly the extremely lighthearted, lightbodied, humorous, release of vipassana tension which I've never really known to follow the A&P, although this feeling of lightness and humor certainly followed the SE event.

Random detail- About a week after this event, I remember some unusually strong DN stuff happening in daily life. I dealt with it fine, but it was incredibly strong and overpowering. Normally this happens after strong, sustained, momentous practice, but since pre-1st path, there hasn't even been a feeling of needing to get that kind of practice going, and there hasn't been any feeling of falling off the mindfulness train, losing access to easy jhanas and nanas, that kind of thing. There is obviousness though, that this practice is the real deal, no big deal, no holy deal, but the real deal nonetheless. There is a visceral feeling of what the path is and what it can change.


Random detail- I've definitely gotten the feeling described as skull-cap after (but never before) this event, where the skull feels like it's being crushed, like there's a bunch of psychic tension up in the cranium. I seem to remember this from KFD, and some path that it was associated with, but I can't find the thread.

Random detail- The watcher is obvious and easy to find. It's just the point at which one side seems to be watching the rest. It doesn't feel significant at all, but it's clearly different than pre-SE (or pre-event in my original post), where finding the watcher was some illusive goal of insight into no-self. Pre-path, trying to find the sense of self was like trying to find the hay in the haystack, so to speak. If I play with the sense of watcher, I get very weird perspectives, and after letting go of it, I'll continuously get these weird moments of feeling disconnected from reality and suddenly "becoming" part of the experience, like suddenly getting lucid or suddenly finding yourself somewhere and realizing it. I have no idea if this touches on the non-dual, but it sure seems like it might. I remember that a week or so after the event in the original post, I was experiencing quite some trouble looking at the sense of self, with a lot of suffering instantly and intensely resulting. I don't know what that was about but it was also within what seemed to be a dark night episode.

I used to feel very hesitant to post stuff about experience, especially interpretations of events and claims to attainment, but I'm glad I've done so, since at the least, it is useful for me to see when certain things happened, what other things happened, and whether or not things have permanently changed.

Ta-ta

(Still experiencing moments where the mind seems to slow down a lot, get very disconnected and floaty and big, daydreams take over, then there is that sudden, quick event, followed with a feeling of blank-ness (corresponding well to release-of-tension), followed by being in mind and body, or 1st jhana. Rise up to this thing, then back to the beginning.)

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