Perceivable shifts between the stages of insight

Pavel _, modified 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 9:06 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 9:06 AM

Perceivable shifts between the stages of insight

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
Lately I have been noticing particular differences between some stages of my insight practice - when I start my sit I generally only observe the breath along with other physical sensations, but there is almost no thought activity, and pretty much no visual activity that arises, then suddenly there is all this flickering visual activity, very bright and light, with some interspersed thoughts and the physical sensations get faster. After a while there is a dullness, heaviness of sorts and the visual activity gets slower and changes in brightness, with thoughts becoming much more dominant and unpleasant, the physical sensations I notice most often are pain, itchiness, dullness and everything gets a bit more chaotic and uncentred. After that there is a certain okayness to all of what was certainly not okay before, very little change in the nature of the sensations, except that I get loads of mental activity, thoughts and fantasies that I continuously get immersed in.

Two things I have been wondering about - is it that the predominant sensations (ie. which sensations occur moment-to-moment, as well as particular senses over others) are dependent on the stages of insight, or is this something that I am mistakenly connecting (ie. is it that I choose which sensations to pay attention to or do the sensations that arise predominantly change)?

Other thing, is there a perceptible shift between the stages of insight? It seemed as if there was a build up of sorts, or a crash down of sorts at particular moments after which certain things changed.
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Florian, modified 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 10:32 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/22/10 10:32 AM

RE: Perceivable shifts between the stages of insight

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Pavel,

Shifts which are particularly obvious to me are:

Mind and Body: after a few minutes of settling down, the object pops into clear focus. Noticeable shift.

This clarity deteriorates over the course of 3C (unpleasant sensations, pain itches) and Cause-and-effect (worries, bad conscience), until it returns at A&P (second shift): things are in focus again, and going smoothly.

The end of A&P / entry into dissolution is another shift towards noticing "outside" sensations again.

Clarity then deteriorates again over the next few nanas, and the last big shift is that into equanimity, when clarity returns, things are still shaken up but clearly perceived, and sensations start to stand out on their own, or become "sparse".

Predominant sensations: To me, the meditation object presents in subtly different ways over the course of this development: the breath can be very mechanical in some stages, present in short or longer pulses, and so on. The "inner sound" will be focussed or diffuse, chorus-like, bell-like, etc.

The build up/crash thing, provided we're talking about the same thing here, is likely "energy release" or subtle tension or attention breaking into places that were obscure so far, or however you like to frame it.

Cheers,
Florian
Pavel _, modified 12 Years ago at 4/23/10 9:53 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/23/10 9:53 AM

RE: Perceivable shifts between the stages of insight

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot Florian!

Mind and Body: after a few minutes of settling down, the object pops into clear focus. Noticeable shift.


I think that I have noticed this one before - there was a change in where I was perceiving thoughts, instead of them being at their usual location, it was as if they have moved forward, becoming easier to observe as something other (ie. not my thoughts, just other sensations). I have not noticed this shift in a while.

I am not certain whether I notice a difference in clarity - there is a difference in how sensations appear (sharper/duller) and my attention changes too, I will have a look at this some more. There is also a change in propensity to become immersed in something (visual/thought/pain/misery/analyzing/planning), which changes from time to time (ie. there is something else that I am more likely to immerse in rather than observe it). If I stopped enjoying/hating certain parts of the process, it would all be a lot easier :-)

Predominant sensations: To me, the meditation object presents in subtly different ways over the course of this development: the breath can be very mechanical in some stages, present in short or longer pulses, and so on. The "inner sound" will be focussed or diffuse, chorus-like, bell-like, etc.


This is not entirely what I meant - for example, I get a humming noise in my ears a lot but it only seems to fit into a certain part of my meditation (I suspect A&P but I am not at all certain that my attempts at identifying stages are anywhere close to home at the moment), equally visual activity changes a lot (it can be flickering, sometimes it is very vivid, sometimes there are black blotches here and there quickly coming and going).

The build up/crash thing, provided we're talking about the same thing here, is likely "energy release" or subtle tension or attention breaking into places that were obscure so far, or however you like to frame it.


That would make a lot of sense, the first time I noticed the shift was when I went running and there was a perceivable change (a build up of sorts) between being in pain and being caught in feeling miserable to catching second breath (disembedding from the pain and a shift from misery to acceptance) - it wasnt just that one changed into the other, there was a shift in between. I have sometimes (rarely) noticed something similar during a sit.
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Florian, modified 9 Years ago at 5/9/13 8:53 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/24/10 5:25 AM

RE: Perceivable shifts between the stages of insight

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Pavel:
Thanks a lot Florian!

I am not certain whether I notice a difference in clarity - there is a difference in how sensations appear (sharper/duller) and my attention changes too, I will have a look at this some more. There is also a change in propensity to become immersed in something (visual/thought/pain/misery/analyzing/planning), which changes from time to time (ie. there is something else that I am more likely to immerse in rather than observe it). If I stopped enjoying/hating certain parts of the process, it would all be a lot easier :-)


Noting the attraction or aversion, the desire for it to be easier, is useful and leads to progress, at least in my experience. Noticing this is noticing the "suffering" characteristic.

Pavel:
Florian Weps:
Predominant sensations: To me, the meditation object presents in subtly different ways over the course of this development: the breath can be very mechanical in some stages, present in short or longer pulses, and so on. The "inner sound" will be focussed or diffuse, chorus-like, bell-like, etc.


This is not entirely what I meant - for example, I get a humming noise in my ears a lot but it only seems to fit into a certain part of my meditation (I suspect A&P but I am not at all certain that my attempts at identifying stages are anywhere close to home at the moment), equally visual activity changes a lot (it can be flickering, sometimes it is very vivid, sometimes there are black blotches here and there quickly coming and going).


Well, sometimes experience conforms to the maps, sometimes it doesn't. It's vastly more useful to keep noting whatever happens right now, than to get sidetracked by looking for landmarks. (I.e. I try to just note "expecting" whenever I notice myself doing this during a sit, and try to see clearly how I'm doing all this theoretizing and expecting right now: even if I'm remembering some description I read about, I'm remembering right now).

Cheers,
Florian
Pavel _, modified 12 Years ago at 4/24/10 9:16 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/24/10 9:16 AM

RE: Perceivable shifts between the stages of insight

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
Thank you again!
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Constance Casey, modified 12 Years ago at 4/26/10 10:51 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/26/10 10:51 PM

RE: Perceivable shifts between the stages of insight

Posts: 47 Join Date: 9/21/09 Recent Posts
A few responses come to mind here:
-- I'm reminded of how I taught one of our sons to dive. I climbed up there and threw myself forward as far as possible out into the air, no analysis, just did it.
-- Yes, there is shifting happening in a myriad of ways. The body is in a constant flux, depending on how strong your able to balance concentration and relaxation, there is more to perceive and feel.
--thank you for your practice,
Constance

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