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Sky flickering after concentration meditation?

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Sky flickering after concentration meditation? William Quixote 9/10/13 12:05 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/10/13 3:27 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/10/13 5:31 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/10/13 6:14 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Simon Ekstrand 9/10/13 8:02 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/10/13 11:11 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Christian Calamus 9/10/13 7:25 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/10/13 8:54 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Christian Calamus 9/10/13 9:26 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/10/13 10:21 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Christian Calamus 9/10/13 1:24 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/10/13 2:48 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Christian Calamus 9/10/13 3:26 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/11/13 3:01 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/11/13 6:00 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/11/13 8:48 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/11/13 10:24 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Dream Walker 9/11/13 2:26 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/12/13 4:18 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/13/13 3:41 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Jenny 9/14/13 1:27 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/14/13 3:30 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Jenny 9/14/13 11:19 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/14/13 1:50 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/14/13 2:07 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/14/13 2:22 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/14/13 4:07 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/15/13 3:02 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/15/13 3:51 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Nikolai . 9/15/13 3:44 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/15/13 5:04 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? sawfoot _ 9/15/13 11:38 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Nikolai . 9/15/13 4:10 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Nikolai . 9/15/13 3:51 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Jenny 9/21/13 8:53 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 9/22/13 3:01 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Jenny 10/6/13 9:30 PM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? Bruno Loff 10/7/13 6:13 AM
RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation? William Quixote 9/21/13 8:30 PM
I think I’m one of the least experienced meditators on this site, so apologies in advance if I’m asking something super basic. I started meditating late July / beginning of August this year and have been trying to do samatha practice to build up strong concentration before starting insight practices. Today after practice I looked up and the sky was rapidly flickering. This was not something I expected from concentration practice. If anyone who is more experienced could read my description of practice today (pasted below from my log) and tell me what just happened to me I’d be very thankful. Thanks so much!

Meditation log date: September 9, 2013
Style: Concentration
Time: 45 minutes :
Location: Outside on a rooftop

Subjective Notes:
First day of practice after getting back from vacation. External conditions are finally under my control again, no more meditating in hotels, planes, etc.

Went for slightly longer session than usual (I typically do 25 to 35 minutes), 45 minutes of solid practice of focusing on the breath. I had a lot of white light behind my eyes but only a little bit of pleasant sensation. The initial part of session was standard seeming. I focused on the breath in my nostrils. Midway in, I started focusing harder; really feeling and concentrating intently on the intake and outflow of every breath. I then had a period of better than usual concentration with a somewhat weird experience.

My usual situation when concentration feels good is sometimes not being distracted and sometimes a thought comes up, but I don’t let it distract me and keep my focus on the breath. Today I would have my focus on the breath and it felt like I could feel a thought / distraction begin to be thought and move my attention back to the breath before I even thought the thought which would have otherwise distracted me. I’m not sure how long this lasted, maybe 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Its really hard to say.
After stopping meditation I lay down on my back and my head felt exceedingly clear. Lying down, I looked up at the sky and just looked at it and the sky seemed to be flickering / strobing. I didn't have a clock so I can’t say exactly what its pattern was, but I’d guess about 8 flickers per second maybe. At the time I was clam about this and just watching it flicker, but after the fact writing this up I’m a little surprised / alarmed. This flickering reminds me of descriptions I've read of what happens in insight practice, but my practice so far has all been concentration practice (or at least I had thought I was doing concentration practice).

Is this normal? Could I be doing insight practice by mistake, is that even a thing that can happen? Can concentration spontaneously cause the sky to flicker after you’re done?

I would be very grateful for any clarity any of the more experienced site members could provide. Thanks!

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 3:27 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
Just to state the obvious - the sky isn't flickering - it is your perception of the sky that is flickering. This experience is due to what is happening in those areas of the brain that are involved in producing your visual experience. Your meditation practice induced some short term changes in the properties of these mechanisms. It is probably harmless so I wouldn't worry about it.

In regard to your broader question - yes you can do insight when doing concentration practice and do concentration practice when doing an insight practice. There isn't a hard line between them, and individuals can be predisposed to one or the other.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 5:31 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
You can find it described on this thread and several others (search for strobing, flickering).

I have it very often, regardless of whether I meditate. For a few months in my life the strobing was really intrusive, but nowadays it isn't. I have always wondered what it was, and never got a satisfactory answer.

If you notice carefully, the strobing seems to start in the middle of the brain. And if you notice even more carefully, you can trace it all the way down to the base of the spine, and you can feel the strobing there. When felt at the base of the spine, a person once referred to it as being the "kundalini energy" which is so talked about in some brands of yoga, though I am not confident in the knowledge of the person who told me that.

I was focusing on the strobing in the middle of the brain when I got stream entry. I have met one person whom, after reading that I had done this, made it his practice to focus on that strobing in the middle of the brain, and got stream entry that way also. I have had Kenneth tell me that learning to correctly take in that strobing is what needs to be done to progress on MCTB path model (though it was a long ago, and I could be misrepresenting what he said). I have also had a yogi who was post-stream entry, and after hearing about this strobing in the middle of the brain, and experimenting with it, told me "I think I just learned how to induce fruitions at will"; I don't know if that is still the case with him nowadays.

So this strobing seems to be important to some people sometimes... but what it is exactly: I haven't the faintest idea.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 6:14 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno,

When you say you haven't the faintest idea, does this mean you are unwilling to commit to any possible explanation because all are equally likely?

One possibility is that our spirit-energy-mind-soul is sensing invisible and undetectable vibrational energy of the universe.

Another possibility, is that this experience is due to activity in our brains. If so, then it is problematic to say that the vibration happens in the middle of the brain, or at the base of the spine. It may be felt there given our phenomenological body-model in our conscious experience, but the experience is generated by activity in somato-sensory cortex (in the cause of bodily felt vibrations). There is no exogenous activity causing it (i.e. there is no pressure or heat on the skin) but rather it is internally caused. Given its vibrational quality it seems it would likely reflect rhythmic oscillations of populations of neurons.

In the first possibility, I haven't the faintest idea of how this happens. In the second possibility, it seems like we have a basis for an account of the causes and mechanisms behind such experiences and a coherent and explanatory framework to think about them.

With that framework, we might have a better starting point to address the question of how such activity links to spiritual insight and experiences such as yours (of strobing leading to stream entry).

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 7:25 AM as a reply to William Quixote.
I had some similar experiences while trying to develop concentration on a kasina. For some resaon, I chose images like this one instead of the traditional monochrome color discs. When I look at this image for a while, visual strobing, flickering and morphing begins, colors light up and fade, the geometry warps around, foreground and background switch around etc. These movements in the visual field are accompanied by subtle strobing/morphing sensations in the body which I notice especially around the head. (I haven't investigated this, but I suppose it could be that these movements originate in the center of the brain, as Bruno suggests.)

I have found that this type of visual concentration / kasina practice is good for developing an alert type of concentration, which can then easily carry over into noting practice. For some time I started my sits with 15 minutes or so of this practice.

Nowadays I can intentionally tune into a subtle version of this visual strobing in most situations; this works best with bright objects like the sky, a computer screen etc. It sometimes happens spontaneously and I take it as a sign for increased concentration.

Regarding your questions, I suppose that concentration on visual objects produces a type of perspective where anicca tends to present itself spontaneously.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 8:02 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
One possibility is that our spirit-energy-mind-soul is sensing invisible and undetectable vibrational energy of the universe.


They're not terribly undetectable if you're sensing them now are they.

Sorry, couldn't resist.. emoticon

Simon

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 8:54 AM as a reply to Christian Calamus.
Christian B:
I suppose it could be that these movements originate in the center of the brain, as Bruno suggests.


The centre of the brain? Is that where "you" live? Where "you" are? If I touch my forehead, and the back of my head, is that the point I can imagine that lies halfway between the two? So in the centre of the skull?

Admittedly, I have had headaches where it feels like I can localise the pain, such as near the top of my skull, below the scalp. But where is the pain? Where does it originate? Is the pain at the top of my brain?

Simon E:
They're not terribly undetectable if you're sensing them now are they.


Ok, fair enough, emoticon, poorly worded, so scrap undetectable. I think you get the point though.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 9:26 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

The centre of the brain? Is that where "you" live? Where "you" are?


No; and I don't see why you ask that. Could you elaborate?

sawfoot _:

Admittedly, I have had headaches where it feels like I can localise the pain, such as near the top of my skull, below the scalp. But where is the pain? Where does it originate? Is the pain at the top of my brain?


I'm not sure what you're after with these questions, but I tend to think that, in general, investigating what phenomena actually do (how do they behave, how are they conditioned, to what do they lead etc.) is more worthwhile than speculating about what phenomenon xy is (is it spirit-energy, brain activity, localized, embodied, objective subjective etc.). The strobing could be anything in terms of a scientific or esoteric explanation, but what is more important (for me) is that it seems to be related to concentration and insight in a meaningful way.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 10:21 AM as a reply to Christian Calamus.
Christian B:
sawfoot _:

The centre of the brain? Is that where "you" live? Where "you" are?


No; and I don't see why you ask that. Could you elaborate?



I am just trying to get a sense of what is meant by centre of the brain. Intuitively we (or at least I) have a tendency to locate "me" - the centre of my consciousness - behind my eyes and between the ears, which is what might give rise to the expression "centre of the brain".

sawfoot _:

Admittedly, I have had headaches where it feels like I can localise the pain, such as near the top of my skull, below the scalp. But where is the pain? Where does it originate? Is the pain at the top of my brain?


Christian B:

I'm not sure what you're after with these questions, but I tend to think that, in general, investigating what phenomena actually do (how do they behave, how are they conditioned, to what do they lead etc.) is more worthwhile than speculating about what phenomenon xy is (is it spirit-energy, brain activity, localized, embodied, objective subjective etc.). The strobing could be anything in terms of a scientific or esoteric explanation, but what is more important (for me) is that it seems to be related to concentration and insight in a meaningful way.

I am after a few things. Partly it is about trying to give a good answer to the OP.

Partly I am trying to get the bottom of why people say things like "it could be anything" or "I haven't a clue". Surely some explanations are more probable or better than others? Just because we can't know for sure, with 100% confidence, does that mean that "anything goes", and all possible explanations are equally likely? Do you think it is likely the strobing is being caused by a the tickling of a giant spaghetti monster?

And if you have an interest in how things behave and what do they lead to, how can you not be concerned with what is causing them? Surely a good answer to this can help to understand how things behave and what they lead to? And provide a better answer than "haven't a clue" to why such phenomena are related to concentration and insight in a meaningful way?

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 11:11 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
sawfoot, I happily agree that these vibrations are probably caused by neuronal activity of some kind, possibly together with changes in blood flow, oxygen distribution, etc, you name it.

Nonetheless, I still don't have any clue what these vibrations are, in that I don't know how to fit them with any of the various ways I have to think about meditation. They don't fit into the theravada approach, there is no mention of this strobing anywhere I read, including MCTB. They don't fit in a more classical budhist approach — buddha never talked about strobing sensations AFAIK. Even in yoga and chi kung I found no specific mention of strobing, with the exception of that sole conversation about strobing at the base of the spine, in the root chakra, as a signal that kundalini is active in someone. And even then, despite that conversation, there is no systematic treatment of what these vibrations mean (in the context and paradign of, say, kundalini yoga).

That this is the case, despite this strobing having a particular significance for me and a few other yogis I have met (as I described earlier), is a bit odd, in my opinion.

Maybe it really means nothing and it was just random chance and suggestion that made it something more? I doubt it, because people have brought this matter up for discussion even without any input from me.

So, that is to say, I don't really have a framework to place this apparently/maybe significant phenomenon.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 1:24 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

And if you have an interest in how things behave and what do they lead to, how can you not be concerned with what is causing them? Surely a good answer to this can help to understand how things behave and what they lead to? And provide a better answer than "haven't a clue" to why such phenomena are related to concentration and insight in a meaningful way?


I agree, it would be great to have a reliable explanatory framework for all the strange stuff that can happen in meditation. Only, as far as I can see, no such framework exists, and instead, the search for comprehensive explanations (of the kind you mention) regularly leads to a proliferation of perspectives, interpretations, theory, concepts and so on, as well as a proliferation of debates around these topics, identifcation with specific views, arguments, confrontation etc.

This can be interesting and even helpful at times, but it almost always leads away from practice and can even complicate practice in unnecessary ways, when for example certain techniques are associated with certain world views, so that people wonder if they have to embrace the theory in order to be able to (legitimately) practice some technique, or if they have to first figure out what exactly meditation does to ones brain before sitting down on the cushion.

I wouldn't read the answers that were given regarding the OP's questions as "haven't a clue", as you suggest, but as something more like: "I don't know how it is in general, but in my experience it is like xyz, and for people I know it was like abc" etc. In the absence of a reliable overarching theory, I think this type of modest, pragmatic approach is as practical and as helpful as it gets.

Or do you believe there is a framework that can explain all the weird stuff that is talked about around here in a helpful way?

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 2:48 PM as a reply to Christian Calamus.
Christian B:
it would be great to have a reliable explanatory framework for all the strange stuff that can happen in meditation. Only, as far as I can see, no such framework exists, and instead, the search for comprehensive explanations (of the kind you mention) regularly leads to a proliferation of perspectives, interpretations, theory, concepts and so on, as well as a proliferation of debates around these topics, identifcation with specific views, arguments, confrontation etc.

...
Or do you believe there is a framework that can explain all the weird stuff that is talked about around here in a helpful way?


Yes, I believe we have a framework - that of a conventional scientific materialist worldview. In such a framework, weird stuff no longer is so weird.

Now the question of "useful" - at this stage its use might be quite limited pragmatically speaking, because linking science and spirituality is still in the early days. But if we are going to have a reliable overarching theory I don't see another game in town, and by rejecting it or being agnostic it feels like delaying the inevitable, and choosing to keep ourselves in the dark for short term benefits. So I can see some negative aspects, as you point out, about adopting a position and trying to work out what is going on in the brain has its limitations, and avoiding the endless go-nowhere arguments about metaphysics. But it seems ultimately short sighted, depending on what the longer terms goals of this community are.

I have harped on about related issues before:

http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4451315

Bruno Loff:


sawfoot, I happily agree that these vibrations are probably caused by neuronal activity of some kind, possibly together with changes in blood flow, oxygen distribution, etc, you name it.

Nonetheless, I still don't have any clue what these vibrations are, in that I don't know how to fit them with any of the various ways I have to think about meditation.



So thinking about what is happening in the brain is very good way to think about meditation, and that lack of a coherent account in the usual frameworks (which have been around a long time) highlights inadequacy in those frameworks. Right now the brain-based framework is still developing, and while not predominant in spiritual circles like the DhO, we are the point that we can say useful things about these phenomena.

So in my speculative opinion, I definitely think it is significant, though I can't really say why it isn't mentioned (much/at all?) in sutras etc...

My perspective would be that various sensory phenomena like flickering in the visual field, ringing in the ears, vibrations around the body ("kunadlini") etc... may be reflective of similar origins in types of meditation practice. These may include both concentration and insight practices, depending on how are done. As a "side effect", they reflect increases in power in certain frequencies of oscillations of neuronal populations - increases in neuronal excitability and synchrony - which can have short term (meditation state) and longer lasting temporary effects (off cushion stuff flickering while looking at the sky ). They may be linked to plasticity that can induce more lasting changes, and focusing on them could lead to a form of feedback loop which induces more widespread changes in neuronal synchrony and network configuration in your case - aka stream entry.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/10/13 3:26 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

Yes, I believe we have a framework - that of a conventional scientific materialist worldview. In such a framework, weird stuff no longer is so weird.

Now the question of "useful" - at this stage its use might be quite limited pragmatically speaking, because linking science and spirituality is still in the early days.


Yes, I have read your "conventional wisdom" thread. And I do believe that researching this stuff is important, as in actual empirical research on/with meditators, that is done by people who know what they are dealing with, not only theoretically, but in terms of personal experience. I think it's great that there are people (like you, maybe) who are passionate about this. It would be wonderful if people who have the means of doing this kind of research were passionate in the same way. I just want to point out that this is a very high goal and there are many obstacles (social inertia) that will constrain progress in this direction in all kinds of ways.
On the other hand, progress in insight does not (so much) depend on one's place in society or on what others might think and want. Stream entry for example is IMO a reasonable goal for everyone who is diligent and willing to commit some time and effort to the practice. Meanwhile, I believe it's highly doubtable that mainstream science will sometime soon develop in a way that is helpful for people who want to get stream entry. So I would say that science should by all means try to prove its usefulness to meditators, while meditators should feel free to use (or stop using) any framework that helps them get what they aim for in whatever stage of practice they find themselves.

Also, it seems that we've kind of hijacked William's thread, so apologies for that ; )

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/11/13 3:01 AM as a reply to Christian Calamus.
I was considering earlier starting a new one, but it became too late, so sorry to William but in my reply to Bruno I kept his question alive with an answer to it, which alleviates my guilt somewhat.

"science should by all means prove its usefullness to meditators".

Mainstream science will really only be interested when/if the practice(s) becomes mainstream. It has happened with mindfulness practices derived from vipassana, so perhaps it will happen with more hardcore practices, but I would say it would have to be exponentially more popular than it is now. And additionally the practice needs scientifically interesting - such that meditators can be useful for science. There have been some in-roads here, though at the surface the outcomes appear to be mainly result from members of the community being a useful sample of really good meditators.

But the attitude you espouse is revealing, in saying that science needs to prove itself, or could develop in a way that would be helpful. My point (or one of them), is that the relationship needs to go both ways to get somewhere. Take as a starting point a position which allows that bridge to be made. Don't reject (or be agnostic about) conventional wisdom, instead reject superstition, uncritical thinking, magic, and fairy tales. Otherwise pragmatic dharma could end up being just another kooky new age thing which won't be taken seriously.

In the meantime, I still think that having reasonable (i.e. non magical) ideas about how these things work can be useful, so for example, if the goal is stream entry, having a better understanding of what causes it and what changes (in the brain) may lead to better practice - knowing what is important and what is less so, making predictions about kinds of practices that will be effective and so on. A witch doctor through trial and error or word of mouth could figure could out that particular herb is useful for a particular problem, and not might care how it works or have a poor theory, but having good theories about how the body works and how the chemicals in the plant interacts with the body makes for better medicine.

Though I feel like I am in the minority here, with science having 16 posts in the category list and magick and the powers with 63, or "energy body practices" having 57, for example.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/11/13 6:00 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
lol thread was superhijacked emoticon

sawfoot: As far as I know, for all practical intents and purposes, the available scientific understanding of what exactly happens in the brain during stream entry still hasn't produced one practical recommendation. Not one.

Pragmatism is my touchstone when it comes to talk of meditation. What works and what doesn't? What leads to what? When science has something to offer to the practice itself, I will gladly experiment with it for myself. The various brain and nervous-system measuring gadgets I've bought over the years are a testament to that (and, so far, they are all quite disappointing, practice-wise).

As for your attitude towards talk of "magick" and "bodily energies"... it is based on prejudice, it is dogmatic. There is really something there to understand, something practical and useful, in the exploration of those two subjects. And the best way to serve scientific thinking is through rigorous exploration, rather than holding views based on authority (even the authority of science itself).

Your approach to these two subjects does not have to be superstitious. Those who approach them superstitiously might do so due to ingrained cultural views (think 7yo tibetan monk), or just due to stupidity and lack of rigor (think dumb tarot-blonde rambling about chakras). For instance, you could think the following way: it might be that chakras and chi energy and so on are all completely imaginary, but there is a set of exercises that work with these "imaginary" energies, and these seem to have actual, concrete (non-imaginary) consequences in the lives and mode of experience of the people who do energy practices... why? how does it work? how far can it go?

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/11/13 8:48 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Yes, I am not sure William really wanted to know what was a suitable grounds for the answering the question "Can concentration spontaneously cause the sky to flicker after you’re done?"...

bruno:

As far as I know, for all practical intents and purposes, the available scientific understanding of what exactly happens in the brain during stream entry still hasn't produced one practical recommendation. Not one.


As I far as I know, there is no available scientific understanding of what exactly happens in the brain during stream entry! So no wonder it hasn't produced any practical recommendations. If you have any pointers to attempts at an account (it doesn't even have to have the "exact" part, just a rough idea) I would be interested to hear.

I too have gizmos that lie in the cupboard...

I would reject the claims of being dogmatic and prejudiced, though would accept not being open minded - if you take being open minded as being able to value any possibility as being equally likely. I totally buy that "energy", chi, kunadlini etc... are terms for things that exist, in the sense they have can be employed at the psychological level and have observable consequences, and be powerful tools in practice. And I am really interested in the questions surrounding the why these things can work, and how they work and how far can it go. And my point again is that we have a really good framework to deal with such questions, but I consistently sense a reluctance to embrace such a framework in the DhO (and elsewhere where matter of the spirit come up) which means that we don't end up with very good answers to those questions. Maybe somewhere down the line that framework will have problems in dealing with such phenomena, but at present that doesn't appear to be the case (to me). Rigorous explorations work from a backdrop of our best existing theories about how the world works (authority?), such as the idea that activity in brains through interactions with the environment gives rise to perception and conscious experience, such that in the absence of a flickering sky we can assume that internally generated brain activity is giving rise to the perception of the flickering, and this seems like a better explanation than the idea that meditation is allowing our soul to "see" directly the changing impermanent fabric of the universe, or whatever non-materialist explanation that one could come up with.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/11/13 10:24 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I think that whether an explanation is better than another depends on the purpose you want to use this explanation in.

For instance, two different explanations of how to take care of a garden; one of them is very prescriptive ("this kind of plant needs to be watered every other day when it is small, and every day when it is big"), and the other very scientifically precise ("the rate of transpiration of this kind of plant is 39 ml/cm^2 every day" or whatever). They might be used for the same purpose (to know how often should one water the plant) but the former is better for the hobby home grower, and the latter is better for the industrial garden owner.

As things currently stand, I think it is much more productive for a meditation practice to make full use of the subjective descriptions that are available, to try and understand and work with those concepts, than to be guided by the psychologist or psychiatrist's view of what is happening. That might one day change, and I hope it does!

I really think that some of the models that exist (such as chi energy, magick, jhanas & nanas, kundalini energy, etc) are of value on their own terms, and point to very concrete things that happen in people's experience. And the practices around these concepts actually help and allow us to work with these things, in a way that just knowing that "it happens in the brain somehow" doesn't do.

Furthermore, it is possible to work with all of these things without ever taking up the view that "science can't explain everything" (I do so). For instance I am currently experiencing with prayer, to see the effects that it has, how it works, what the experience is like. I have also in the past worked with chi kung, kundalini yoga, you name it. And I do these things despite being agnostic leaning on atheist — my guess is that there is no god, just like there is no [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot]teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between earth and mars, or microscopic green men in the engine of my car, and that every saint's vision of god is no more than a result of their desires, intentions and interpretations.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/11/13 2:26 PM as a reply to William Quixote.
Interesting stuff....I wonder what our visual sample rate is and if it is modifiable by meditation...could we be relaxing so much our sample rate slows down from 16 hz to a slower rate where we start to see the strobing? Hmmm...or is meditation speeding up our minds to a faster frame rate. If you shut down all the extraneous junk happening in the mind and get focused on just the bare minimum ...maybe this makes it possible to experience phenomenon more clearly.
wiki -
Flicker_fusion_threshold
Persistence_of_vision

Reminds me of everything arising out of the void and then passing away back to it....and in the void, there you might find nirvana. Take a look and tell us what happens..

anyway...just some thoughts....
~D

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/12/13 4:18 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dreamwalker:

I would say the brain is working with lots of different frequencies - what happens in meditation is that the power in different frequencies changes - which by that I mean greater numbers of populations of neurons engage in firing at a particular frequency. I wouldn't describe this in terms of sampling, but more as a means for parts of the brain to communicate with each other and coordinate activity.

My guess is that actually concentration practices involve some increases in power in higher frequency ranges, so that in that sense you could see it as a "speeding up" of the brain.

How a particular frequency in the brain relates to our experiencing of the frequency of vibrations is an interesting one, which I don't have a clear answer to.

It seem like a nice idea for an experiment though - seeing if different meditation states changes your flicker threshold.

Bruno:

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I have my scientific inkling of what happens in jhana practice, and I don't think that knowledge helps in any way (if anything is a hindrance) and don't imagine a fully worked out account of what happens with jhanas will be much more help in achieving those states compared with dharma ways of thinking about them (though one day I imagine pharmaceuticals will help!!). It is reasonable to assume the same may be true of stream entry, though since there is a lot we don't know about stream entry at the dharma level I would say the jury is still out.

For some practices, I think that considering what happens in the brain is probably not the most useful level of description, say for cognitive behavioural therapy, or even aspects of Magick. For things like energy practices, which involves our perceptual systems more directly, I think relating perceptual experience to the brain is more helpful, and by helpful I mean in understanding what is happening as opposed to using it for a particular ends.

In the end, it does come down to your goals in practice, going back to the conventional wisdom thread - do you just want to get enlightened and be happy, or are you searching after "truth" (whatever that is), and for sure thinking too much about the "how" takes us away from the direct experience of "what is".

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/13/13 3:41 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Bruno:

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I have my scientific inkling of what happens in jhana practice, and I don't think that knowledge helps in any way (if anything is a hindrance) and don't imagine a fully worked out account of what happens with jhanas will be much more help in achieving those states compared with dharma ways of thinking about them (though one day I imagine pharmaceuticals will help!!). It is reasonable to assume the same may be true of stream entry, though since there is a lot we don't know about stream entry at the dharma level I would say the jury is still out.

For some practices, I think that considering what happens in the brain is probably not the most useful level of description, say for cognitive behavioural therapy, or even aspects of Magick. For things like energy practices, which involves our perceptual systems more directly, I think relating perceptual experience to the brain is more helpful, and by helpful I mean in understanding what is happening as opposed to using it for a particular ends.

In the end, it does come down to your goals in practice, going back to the conventional wisdom thread - do you just want to get enlightened and be happy, or are you searching after "truth" (whatever that is), and for sure thinking too much about the "how" takes us away from the direct experience of "what is".


Yes, and I do agree that eventually, sometime in the future, meditation will be powerfully helped by some kind of helmet you put on, and that science will understand the mind to the point it also understands what the various kinds of meditation do... assuming we don't all die from an ecological catastrophe, which, come to think of it, seems likely to happen sooner emoticon

That said, I didn't quite get your last sentence. I personally want to get enlightened to be happy, to be reliably happy while causing the least possible harm to others. Thinking about how to do it seems really important to me at this point, I think some forms of practice can really lead a person to weird mental territory, and I want to avoid those. As for searching after "truth" ... I think of it more like searching for a helpful and harmless way of interpreting my experience... no absolutes for me, thank you very much emoticon

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
vibrations migraine auras
Answer
9/14/13 1:27 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Hi, guys. I've seen strobing most of my life. The name for this is, um, "migraine." Strobing vision is a very common aura of migraine, and people can have them persist for hours, days, and even months at a time--without headache, too. Meditation certainly induces this in me, particularly if I'm noticing the Three Characteristics of phenomena. When I take a calcium channel blocker for migraine prevention, this dramatically reduces the likelihood of seeing the strobing effect.

I've seriously started to think that "vibratory" perceptions from meditation are always the same, neurochemically, as migraine aura.

Because migraine aura is due to cortical spreading depression following neuronal hyperexcitability, and because this changes blow flow/volume in the brain, it makes sense to me that anything that "speeds up" perception could be producing this excitability that manifests as strobing, vibrations, visual snow, etc. I was discussing this with my migraine neurologist, and he said that migraine can pretty easily be induced even in people who don't have a migraine diagnosis.

One caution: migraine aura is far from benign. So if you are seeing strobing regularly, or even a few times a year, you really should see a neurologist for evaluation. Migraine aura has recently been found to be the second-biggest risk factor for stroke and heart attack, after hypertension. It is a degenerative brain disease and should not just be ignored.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/14/13 3:30 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:
Hi, guys. I've seen strobing most of my life. The name for this is, um, "migraine."


Hmm... I don't think that calling it migraine is appropriate.

Jen Pearly:
I've seriously started to think that "vibratory" perceptions from meditation are always the same, neurochemically, as migraine aura.

(...)

migraine aura is due to cortical spreading depression following neuronal hyperexcitability


While I respect the fact that you have a lot of experience with migraine, and I understand that this strobing and other vibratory effects accompany your migraine attacks, that doesn't mean that it is equivalent to migraine. For instance fatigue and muscle pain happen when you get stomach flu, but they also happen in other contexts, and they are certainly not equivalent to having stomach flu.

It is true, though, that during the period that the strobing affected me the most, it was often accompanied by pain in the middle of the head. At that time the strobing was really intrusive and noisy and made it hard to pay attention to things.

However, through meditation eventually that pain dissolved, and yet the strobing remained and was still a nuisance sometimes. Eventually the strobing became OK, and nowadays it is sometimes even pleasant and soothing to tune into it.

So I think calling it migraine is not a good description, in terms of accuracy, or in practical terms of what to do about it. I think that going to the doctor and telling him I have this strobing in the hope he'll give me drugs is generally a really bad idea. I would only do this if it was really really bothering me, because the current state of the art in psychiatry are these generic-purpose sledgehammer drugs full of potential side effects, which psychiatrists have but the faintest idea why they work. And I'm not ditching psychiatrists, they really know a lot of stuff, and still that's like 5% of what still needs to be discovered... really tough job.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/14/13 11:19 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
So I think calling it migraine is not a good description, in terms of accuracy, or in practical terms of what to do about it.



Everyone has to suit himself or herself, but the visual effect you describe, Bruno, is in point of fact well documented as diagnostic for migraine aura, regardless of whether you find it pleasant, which accords with what 3 local neurologists I've seen over the years have explained. The occasional head pain you describe lends support to the role of neuronal hyperexcitability in producing this visual effect. Migraine aura is due to "speeding up" brain activity, in medical parlance "neuronal hyperexcitability." My neurologist says it is easy to induce aura in people with anything that causes this "speeding up."

Now, here is what MCTB says about neurological side effects of practice in general:

Unfortunately, I must admit that I do not know the exact odds of these side effects happening to you. I do know firsthand that they happen and that if you cross the A&P Event you are fairly likely to run into at least some of the them.

These side effects are no fantasy. When they show up they are as real and powerful as if some dangerous drug had seriously skewed your neurochemistry, and I often wonder if that might be something like what happens.


Now back to your comment, Bruno:

I think that going to the doctor and telling him I have this strobing in the hope he'll give me drugs is generally a really bad idea. I would only do this if it was really really bothering me, because the current state of the art in psychiatry are these generic-purpose sledgehammer drugs full of potential side effects, which psychiatrists have but the faintest idea why they work.


One doesn't go to a psychiatrist for evaluation for this; one goes to a neurologist, preferably one with a subspecialty in headache disorders and migraine. Diagnosis is by history, presentation, and sometimes (but certainly not usually) tests to exclude other causes. The first-line medication to prevent this aura stuff is not a psycho-active drug, as you incorrectly assume. It is a simple calcium channel blocker, usually used as a mild hypertension reducer, with a very old safety profile. It is benign, particularly in that it doesn't affect emotions or thinking (ie, it isn't one of the psychiatric sledgehammer drugs, and I do know what you talking about regarding those beasts). Some people just don't want to take any prescriptions at all, no matter what. That is a personal choice, but I believe more information to consider is better than less when making personal choices.

In my case, I have multiple debilitating manifestations of migraine, and it is important to acknowledge that migraine with aura is always dangerous. Even if I happened to find the visual effects pleasant or neutral, I don't want the huge risk factor for stroke. That's my personal informed choice. Other people on this thread, like the OP, may want to stop this strobing effect after evaluating with a doctor whether it is a risk factor for stroke and heart attack. I'm not a doctor, so I'm not prescribing independent action or nonaction. I'm just saying, Hey if anyone is interested in stopping the effect or, more important, preventing stroke and cardiovacular events, then that person may want to consult a neurologist, as opposed to doing nothing or getting on the medical merry-go-round with GPs and other kinds of specialists.

Lastly, you are claiming that this strobing--or yours at any rate--is not a side effect of neuronal excitability and consequent cortical spreading depression. Please explain what your strobing visions indicate (since mine have been shown to be migraine, for they stop with CCBs) and how you know that yours don't involve this neurochemistry somewhere along the chain and fundamentally differ from mine.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/14/13 1:50 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen,

If you read through my posts you can see some hints that I am bascially in agreement with you that these kind of symptoms result from excessive neuronal excitability.

That said, while I know that you can get migraine aura in the absence of migraine, meditation practices aren't typically associated with migraines - they wouldn't be very popular if they were. And from my reading:

http://migraine.com/migraine-aura/migraine-aura-without-pain/

It doesn't seem that a lot of these experiences and prototyical accounts of auras are reported (or if so, so very rarely) by meditators to my knowledge.

Furthermore, excessive neuronal excitability is associated with a variety of other disorders, such as psychosis and epilepsy, and not unique to migraines. So, I agree with Bruno that calling it a kind of migraine needs some qualification, as the causes are likely different even though they all lead to excitability and therefore similar symptoms (though they can interact, as you experienced). I am not sure about the link with CSD - it seems to be linked with the pain you get with migraines so my guess is it not an important factor in meditation induced symptoms.

Generally, symptoms like this (while for some might be pleasant) are signs of neurological dysfunction, and there may be risks associated with regularly producing them, though I suspect the specific risk factors to stroke and heart attack may be linked to dysfunction specifc to migraines.

In this particular case of the OP, the experience as described was a short lasting one that followed meditation, therefore if the OP wanted to stop this happening in future he wouldn't need to see a doctor or take drugs - he could just not meditate, or adjust his practice.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/14/13 2:07 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Hmm well, I've given more consideration to your migraine aura hypothesis, and looked at the web pages 1 and 2.

Of those symptoms which I thought were prone to being tested, I have none. Of those symptoms which are not really useful (such as "sensations in the legs"), I have all of them... or maybe none of them, its hard to say (I would be amazed if "sensations in the legs" were used as a diagnostic criteria).

Jen:
Lastly, you are claiming that this strobing--or yours at any rate--is not a side effect of neuronal excitability and consequent cortical spreading depression. Please explain (...) how you know that yours don't involve this neurochemistry somewhere along the chain and fundamentally differ from mine.


You are turning it around. It is you who has to provide evidence, in the form of some medical article or something of the sort, that this strobing is a side effect of neuronal bla bla bla, that it really is a symptom of something which needs to be checked.

Maybe people who have no migraine have this all the time... every post-path (MCTB model) meditator I asked, ever, can bring it up. In fact for a while I have associated it with the 8th jhana (neither perception nor non-perception), because I asked Clayton once to go through the 8 jhanas in front of me, and upon reaching the 8th, his eyes twiched in the characteristic manner that happens when I experience this strobing and look at the center of my forehead with my eyes closed.

I'm hypochondriac enough as it is, highly alert to the signs of my own body, and prone to check everything which feels wrong. I don't really need to become worried about something which doesn't feel wrong, unless there is a compelling argument for me to do so. You have not presented this argument. All you said was "people who have migraine sometimes have this strobing" (migraine and strobing sometimes come together), what is missing is "strobing is always a sign of migraine" (whenever strobing happens, you have migraine and are in risk of stroke).

That said, I would prefer to discuss this through skype or something of the sort, so we can compare the experiences. What do you say to a skype call? (I'm bruno.loff on skype)

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/14/13 2:22 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:


Clayton once to go through the 8 jhanas in front of me, and upon reaching the 8th, his eyes twiched in the characteristic manner that happens when I experience this strobing and look at the center of my forehead with my eyes closed




Just curious for clarification - you can get low level flickering/strobing in your visual field, you can then shut your eyes, look upwards, and then your eyes will start twitching? How does the visual experience change with eyes open vs. shut vs. shut and twitching?

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/14/13 4:07 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Here is a film: link.

In the beginning, I position my eyes while they are open, so you can see what I do when they are closed. I proceed to do that. Notice the immediate eye twitching / flickering — it is similar to the eye twitching you will see when someone is dreaming.

The rhythm at which the twitching happens is the same rhythm as the visual strobe; there is a tactile sensation that corresponds with this twitching; it is itself a (tactile) strobing that begins at the center of the brain and goes to the middle of the forehead (ajna chakra). Currently I don't really have the visual strobe going on in a noticeable way, it interferes nothing at all with my activities; however, if I focus internally on the sensations of the tactile strobe — which is usually very subtle unless I focus my eyes on the middle of the forehead — and look in my visual field for something happening with the same rhythm, then I will notice subtle strobing / flickering there also.

A fruition, for me, happens when the (tactile) strobe suddenly acquires a "releasing" quality, and then suddenly fades and disappears, and a moment after the mind refreshed and a little bliss rises to the crown chakra, and the strobe restarts. I have never ever read of anyone describing a (MCTB ) fruition like that, which has led me to believe in the past that maybe I didn't get stream entry after all. But then I've met this guy who got stream entry by working with the (tactile) strobe, and this student of kenneth who had gotten stream entry and learned to have (whatever it was he called) fruitions at will by working with it... (not to mention the amazing feeling when it happened the first time! nowadays it's more "meh...")

If I just keep my eyes closed while looking at the ajna chakra, it sometimes happens that I see visual stuff... erm... it looks like concentric rays of white light / electricity converging on the ajna; if I have a "fruition" at that point it is like a sudden and brief flash of white light, and then a moment when its dark, before the strobe restarting and me feeling refreshed.

Also, it is possible for me to trace the strobe down the spine all the way to the base of the spine. Sometimes I will have a "fruition" there also, and then it feels like the energy is absorbed downwards into the perineum, and then the strobing stops for a brief moment, and then resumes. When that happens it makes me feel more grounded.

I don't think these things are migraine auras. But I have no idea what they are.

EDIT: I have also heard of this very same eye fluttering happening during hypnosis. In that context, it supposedly signalizes that the subject is in a deep trance.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/15/13 3:02 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Thanks for the video Bruno.

What you are describing appears closely to linked to epileptic seizures, rather than migraine aura. I am not saying you have epilepsy, rather than the experience seems to have a lot in common and the neurophysiology is likely related. And I would guess that taking anti-seizure epilepsy medication would disrupt your ability to induce such states (though some of these drugs are also used treat migraines, showing that they are linked).

Upward eye deviation and eyelid myoclonus (fluttering) is linked with various kinds of epileptic disorders, and is particularly associated with absence seizures - which in some cases can be deliberately induced. Based on my non-first hand knowledge of absence seizures and of fruitions they seem to be very similar in character.

I suspect that the fact that the somatosensory strobing and the visual strobing is at the same frequency indicates some brain oscillations that are quite widespread and modulating activity across different regions. As I suggested earlier, paying attention to them might create a feedback loop that increases their power. That you can induce fruitions through the somatosensory avenue is interesting. The ability to induce seizures via seeing a particular frequencies of flashing light (photo-sensitive epilepsy) is well known, but there are reports of inducing seizures through tactile means. By the way, what do you estimate the frequency in hz to be?

This guy has a detailed neurological account of the "visual stuff" - which he describes as a form of seizure - not sure how closely your specific visual experiences match his but I imagine there are some similarities (as he links his experiences to those reported in mystical traditions in his book).

http://www.philipnicholson.com/home/meditation--light-visions--search-options/meditation-and-light-visions--table-of-contents
http://religiousvisionsoflight.com/index.html

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/15/13 3:44 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:


A fruition, for me, happens when the (tactile) strobe suddenly acquires a "releasing" quality, and then suddenly fades and disappears, and a moment after the mind refreshed and a little bliss rises to the crown chakra, and the strobe restarts. I have never ever read of anyone describing a (MCTB ) fruition like that, which has led me to believe in the past that maybe I didn't get stream entry after all. But then I've met this guy who got stream entry by working with the (tactile) strobe, and this student of kenneth who had gotten stream entry and learned to have (whatever it was he called) fruitions at will by working with it... (not to mention the amazing feeling when it happened the first time! nowadays it's more "meh...")


This is how I experience 'fruitions' at will and spontaneously as well. I haven't done it for a couple of years, but the eye flickering technique does still trigger a 'blip' in consciousness and a quite long period of reboot (at each past baseline shift, the reboot has just got longer and longer fro a few seconds to a few minutes to longer).

I like this explanation as well of the entry experience from a past participant at old KFD.

"The first is a momentary discontinuity, a “blip” in awareness. It is preceded by what feels like a build up of charge between two capacitor plates somewhere in the head (behind the eyes, forward of the pineal gland, about where the pituitary gland is located). There is also the sense of a physical flexing of some structure in the same location. When the charge builds up to a certain threshold, there is a very quick (milliseconds) discharge of energy during which consciousness winks out. After the discharge, there is the sense of the same structure relaxing."

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/15/13 3:51 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Here's something really similar: link, though the person reports being somehow locked in, and by the sounds she is making she lost control of several functions.

sawfoot_:
Upward eye deviation and eyelid myoclonus (fluttering) is linked with various kinds of epileptic disorders, and is particularly associated with absence seizures - which in some cases can be deliberately induced. Based on my non-first hand knowledge of absence seizures and of fruitions they seem to be very similar in character.


That could be the case.

sawfoot_:
I suspect that the fact that the somatosensory strobing and the visual strobing is at the same frequency indicates some brain oscillations that are quite widespread and modulating activity across different regions. As I suggested earlier, paying attention to them might create a feedback loop that increases their power. That you can induce fruitions through the somatosensory avenue is interesting. The ability to induce seizures via seeing a particular frequencies of flashing light (photo-sensitive epilepsy) is well known, but there are reports of inducing seizures through tactile means. By the way, what do you estimate the frequency in hz to be?


Funnily enough, the point at the middle of the brain where the strobing happens does feel a bit like a router sometimes. Like it decides into which area the strobing is channeled, and how.

Frequency is 5-15Hz, though it might have sudden spurts that are like 40hz or something.

Interesting that there is such a coincidence with seizure like symptoms. That doesn't mean that fruitions are the same thing as seizures, or migraines, but there is probably a connection.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/15/13 3:51 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:


Maybe people who have no migraine have this all the time... every post-path (MCTB model) meditator I asked, ever, can bring it up. In fact for a while I have associated it with the 8th jhana (neither perception nor non-perception), because I asked Clayton once to go through the 8 jhanas in front of me, and upon reaching the 8th, his eyes twiched in the characteristic manner that happens when I experience this strobing and look at the center of my forehead with my eyes closed.



If you watch me transitioning from what I'm calling 7th jhana to 8th you will notice my eyes (although closed) point inwards and almost go cross eyed and twitch subtly. This subtle movement/vibration still occurs when the mind is directed to the 8th. It's like eyes are looking back into the brain which then triggers the strangeness of what I call the 8th jhana. Watch from 04.38.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB-0ewI_VFE

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/15/13 5:04 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Bruno Loff:


A fruition, for me, happens when the (tactile) strobe suddenly acquires a "releasing" quality, and then suddenly fades and disappears, and a moment after the mind refreshed and a little bliss rises to the crown chakra, and the strobe restarts. I have never ever read of anyone describing a (MCTB ) fruition like that, which has led me to believe in the past that maybe I didn't get stream entry after all. But then I've met this guy who got stream entry by working with the (tactile) strobe, and this student of kenneth who had gotten stream entry and learned to have (whatever it was he called) fruitions at will by working with it... (not to mention the amazing feeling when it happened the first time! nowadays it's more "meh...")


This is how I experience 'fruitions' at will and spontaneously as well. I haven't done it for a couple of years, but the eye flickering technique does still trigger a 'blip' in consciousness and a quite long period of reboot (at each past baseline shift, the reboot has just got longer and longer fro a few seconds to a few minutes to longer).


That's good to know. So it seems I got MCTB stream entry after all.

If that is so, it is relevant to note that, in my own case, reaching stream entry didn't really help me much with my concentration. I did not attain easy access to jhanas or anything resembling that. Though other aspects are similar to what Daniel describes (such as cycling, some decrease in suffering).

I would say that the most profound difference that it made was a very marked increase in the ability to see experience from the phenomenological perspective (as opposed to the personal narrative perspective).

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/15/13 11:38 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:


This is how I experience 'fruitions' at will and spontaneously as well. I haven't done it for a couple of years, but the eye flickering technique does still trigger a 'blip' in consciousness and a quite long period of reboot (at each past baseline shift, the reboot has just got longer and longer fro a few seconds to a few minutes to longer).

I like this explanation as well of the entry experience from a past participant at old KFD.

"The first is a momentary discontinuity, a “blip” in awareness. It is preceded by what feels like a build up of charge between two capacitor plates somewhere in the head (behind the eyes, forward of the pineal gland, about where the pituitary gland is located). There is also the sense of a physical flexing of some structure in the same location. When the charge builds up to a certain threshold, there is a very quick (milliseconds) discharge of energy during which consciousness winks out. After the discharge, there is the sense of the same structure relaxing."


Curious to know what is your experience of the "rebooting" - especially when it lasts for longer time periods?

Typically absence seizures last from 5-30 seconds, with around 10 seconds being quite common. From what I have read, the blips in fruitions are very short - either a few seconds or less?


Another account, with their post-blip experience:

When the mind is in high equanimity (11th nana) and one truly lets go and is okay with everything, there can be a little discontinuity, a "blip" where one loses time, perhaps a fraction of a second. A common response is "what was that?" It is as if the mind lets go of the "self" for a moment, or "reboots". In that moment there is nothing - no seeing, no hearing, no taste, no smell, no physical sensation, no thought, no sense of time or space. If eyes are open, it's kind of like a blink.

But it is very brief, and the mind has this strong bias to assume everything is "normal", that things are continuing as before, and so you have to really be aware and see things as they are in order to notice this. But it's not like you really see it, it's more like you pick up the edges of the event horizon on either side of the black hole, you perceive the glitch, and you may pick up on some clues as to the lost time - i.e. "wait, my breath was at the bottom, now it is at the top". This is sometimes followed by a sometimes blissful wave of sensation through the body.

http://insanebraintrain.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/stream-entrycessationfruition-awareness.html

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/15/13 4:10 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Nikolai .:


This is how I experience 'fruitions' at will and spontaneously as well. I haven't done it for a couple of years, but the eye flickering technique does still trigger a 'blip' in consciousness and a quite long period of reboot (at each past baseline shift, the reboot has just got longer and longer fro a few seconds to a few minutes to longer).

I like this explanation as well of the entry experience from a past participant at old KFD.

"The first is a momentary discontinuity, a “blip” in awareness. It is preceded by what feels like a build up of charge between two capacitor plates somewhere in the head (behind the eyes, forward of the pineal gland, about where the pituitary gland is located). There is also the sense of a physical flexing of some structure in the same location. When the charge builds up to a certain threshold, there is a very quick (milliseconds) discharge of energy during which consciousness winks out. After the discharge, there is the sense of the same structure relaxing."


Curious to know what is your experience of the "rebooting" - especially when it lasts for longer time periods?

Typically absence seizures last from 5-30 seconds, with around 10 seconds being quite common. From what I have read, the blips in fruitions are very short - either a few seconds or less?


The rebooting period is conscious. The blip is a blip. It never lasts more than a brief moment for me. Don't know how to lengthen the turning off of consciousness. But I did play around with how to lengthen the reboot period. The rebooting period has no mental overlay/filter/urges/impulses to become as I see it. It is a pretty clear experience of in the seen just the seen etc. This last quite a while now, maybe 10 to 20 minutes these days after a 'blip' depending on whether it was spontaneous out of the blue or called up. Then slowly mental urges, very subtle ones one after the other arise and give form to a mental overlay, a slightly foggy 'lens'.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/21/13 8:30 PM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen,

Thanks so much for your concern. I had painful migraines in high school, but thankfully grew out of them. The aura for my migraine never presented as anything look the strobing that I mentioned in this post. It always presented as holes in my vision that didn't update as things moved through them.

So I don't think this is related to migraines for me. Thanks very much for the warning, I wasn't aware of the link before. I'll watch out for if I get anything that does resemble my old signs,

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/21/13 8:53 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
You are turning it around. It is you who has to provide evidence, in the form of some medical article or something of the sort, that this strobing is a side effect of neuronal bla bla bla, that it really is a symptom of something which needs to be checked.

Maybe people who have no migraine have this all the time... every post-path (MCTB model) meditator I asked, ever, can bring it up. In fact for a while I have associated it with the 8th jhana (neither perception nor non-perception), because I asked Clayton once to go through the 8 jhanas in front of me, and upon reaching the 8th, his eyes twiched in the characteristic manner that happens when I experience this strobing and look at the center of my forehead with my eyes closed.


You want me to hunt down and start posting textbook aura descriptions to prove that they exist, that I'm not just making up or lying about something so well documented and that I've had diagnosed myself? That is a funny request. Having no basic medical textbooks on hand, I'm not sure I'll find recent journal articles specifically about the strobing aura, because it is such a long-established symptom of migraine, back at least to the 19th C. It is common medical knowledge at this point, and familiar to all the neurologists I've seen as a patient. Maybe I can borrow a source from my neuro when I see him in a couple of weeks. When I was in the ER recently, the head ER doctor came by and talked to me. He was trying to make sure I had not had a stroke. He was reassured it was migraine because, and I quote, "When there are any positive signs, something going on in the visual field--such as flashing, strobing, or distorted vision--then it is migraine; with stroke you just don't see."

It is worth reiterating, perhaps, that auras do happen in epilepsy, too, as Sawfoot indicates. Many of the auras that happen in migraine also happen in seizure disorders, and vice-versa. My neurologist told me that the current theory of classic migraines, in fact, is that they are "slow-motion seizures." I think I've said already, too, that what I'm pointing to in saying all this is the neuronal hyper-excitability root of auras and other manifestations, such as hypomanic states. I never said that you or anyone on here definitely is having migraine. I simply said it may be something to consider, because evidently vipassana can result in hyperexcitability of neurons. Ethically, I felt (and still do feel) I had to at least mention the possibility, because I suffered many years with neurological symptoms I didn't understand, and because auras are not benign as they were once thought to be. I wish someone had clued me in earlier. Please disregard my input if you know it simply doesn't apply to you.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
9/22/13 3:01 AM as a reply to Jenny.
I'm sorry Jen, you are right in pointing out the connection, and that could be helpful to someone.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
10/6/13 9:30 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I recently read some little medical articles on positive visual phenomena (PVP), also referred to as persistent positive visual phenomena (PPVP) when they persist, such as this one here.

What these articles reminded me was that migraine aura is a "diagnosis of exclusion." This means that there is no test for it. Instead, once other tests exclude other causes, migraine is settled on. Also, migraine can have almost any "hallucination" as its aura. The more common ones are scintillating scatomas, which involve a blind spot in the center of vision, with brightly colored zigzag lights along the periphery of the visual hole. I've had all kinds, from this classic kind, to visual snow, to strobing ("venetian blinds") vision, to total blindness, to donut vision, to cubist vision, to outright formed beings, to my recent metamorphosopia. My point here is that PVP can manifest in different ways, even within the same person at different times. Aura spans the full range of visual phenomena, formed and unformed.

I usually have visual snow or strobing of some degree going on. Anyone with a history of headache or the other types of auras may want to consider all this when new visuals come up, with or without headache.

MCTB mentions vibratory states quite regularly. Since my recent "aura" was preceded by A&P and vibratory perceptions, this whole thing is confusing to me. Currently, my vision seems more normal, but I think this is because my brain has adapted and compensated for it. I can see the vibrations and even a bit of warping almost at will, or if I meditate that way. I realize it may take me years to sort this all out.

RE: Sky flickering after concentration meditation?
Answer
10/7/13 6:13 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Sorry if someone already asked you this, but: have you tried tranquility meditation? You know, sustaining focus on the breath and getting things to calm down and relax.