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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

I might have just gotten stream entry.

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This seems unbelievably fast, but the path has clearly lined up every step of the way.

Here's my log up to today: http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4647893

As soon as I hit the A&P, I treated my life even more like a constant retreat. The past two days have been really intense. 6+ hours of sitting meditation, walking in between, constant noting, etc.

The DN symptoms were fairly subtle emotionally, but the attentional shifts were not subtle. I felt myself move through each of the stages very clearly. And today, in the afternoon, I had the distinct feeling of breaking through something into an openness and freshness. I kept sitting for a while, then went for a walk. It was the most spacious, beautiful, crisp walk I've ever experienced in my life. There was this large bird flying overhead, and I don't even like animals, but damn, it was noble and graceful and sharp. I had to stand in awe for a while. There was also the childlike pleasure that I was expecting. I felt like this could all be EQ symptoms, so I resolved to keep sitting my ass off. Soon a new sense of something-about-to-happen took place, and I resolved to possibly sit all night in case I was actually close to stream entry.

Then I had some work for two hours, after which I sat down to meditate. At first, I found it hard to get back to where I was. Everything felt lax.

But damn, within 10 minutes, something shifted, and there was an intense full-body shuddering. Then it subsided. Then it happened again. And then subsided. This kept on going -- I kept feeling like I would connect with some dot or thread in my mind, and that I'd get pulled somewhere. They all involved shuddering and tingly experiences. There were a few things that *could* have been blipping-out-of-existence, but how the hell are you supposed to tell? I had a white noise generator going, so I couldn't hear a blip if there was a drop-out. This all struck me as the cycling of fruitions I've read about, so I picked an opportune moment, made an enlightenment-related resolution, and prayed the prayer of St. Francis (I'm not Christian, but I find it powerfully in line with my ideals). This was followed by a few more cycles.

It's possible I'm way off. I guess it takes a little while to tell? Can someone point me towards what I should be looking out for?

Thanks, y'all.

RE: I might have just gotten stream entry.
Answer
9/15/13 8:42 PM as a reply to Seamus O.
More info:

I left my room and went for a walk. I felt nice. I kept having this distinct sense of having forgotten something. But something I didn't want anyway. I have a kind of morbid curiosity about it.

Then I came back in here, thought I might try sitting some more. As soon as I closed my eyes, I felt rapid cycling of attentional shifts every few seconds until it stabilized at a now-familiar endpoint. Then, I repeatedly saw little shapes arise. Gates? I would attend to them, be pulled into them, shudder, and then see a new gate. Felt like I could do this forever, but it wasn't even entirely pleasant. Kind of jarring. I had a sense of not wanting to miss anything. Am I, I dunno, doing anything when I do this? Or is it just a novel but pointless loop?

RE: I might have just gotten stream entry.
Answer
9/15/13 9:39 PM as a reply to Seamus O.
The classic description of stream-entry is a gap in experience or "non-experience", and when you return you get a wave of relief and a cooling of the scalp (similar to equanimity but probably deeper). The classic way people do this is either from consistent noting (probably non-verbal) until your baseline shift occurs and you are naturally at the A & P at all times, or the same result from Shikantaza, (a practice where you don't manipulate anything so this happens on it's own. What you did does seem like just an energetic A & P experience but there are so many different descriptions of it (bright lights/shuddering/etc).

After stream-entry people notice a lack of a sense of self that gradually returns as they review how they got there. They don't believe in rights and rituals/a permanent self/doubt about the Buddha's teaching.

Here's a transcript I did of a Rob Burbea talk on how this process works:

As we cling less perceptions fade. When there is less delusion and identification the experiences begin to fade. Disidentify the intention to pay attention and with consciousness. Disidentify with awareness. Use Samadhi and metta to soften the fear. We need to see the fading of self, thing, time collapse over and over again. The understanding feeds the experience and the experience feeds the understanding. Consciousness = knowing. Consciousness has to fade. When there is no clinging there is nothing for consciousness to lean on. When we have no concepts of self, object, and time the trinity dissolves.


A lot of our experience is projected by our brain. Burbea also talks about time as conceptual because in reality time is movement through space so you can't pinpoint a concrete point in time ever. Time for us is just short-term memory. The purpose of fading the senses with concentration is to prove the impermanence of consciousness. I'm sure we all know that we can go unconscious but to do it with meditation over and over again will help with truly disidentifying with consciousness as a me.

To me the gold standard is self-discipline. If you are able to wean yourself from addictive behaviours with the practice and can start controlling your life in a healthy direction that is the most important thing. In fact if you can do this without enlightenment you're doing fantastic.

I would also seriously look into studying dependent origination. When you have consciousness and sense-organs the brain automatically gets data (contact). As soon as the memory is accessed to decide whether something is worth craving or worth hating (perception/recognition) the amygdala goes off with chemicals to sway you one way or another (dopamine/cortisol). I'm simplifying the chemicals because there are more involved like serotonin. When craving arises the brain dwells on why there is liking and disliking (clinging/rumination) and more chemicals are released swaying your choices. The thoughts (especially when they connect into stories always seem to be a me). The "me" is known by your consciousness so consciousness can't be a me. As Daniel points out, the thoughts pretend to sense other senses when in fact they create sensations with perception and clinging and can't sense what your body actually senses. The thoughts cannot experience anything and the "experiences" the imagination creates only seem important precisely because of the chemicals released. You can only experience what is actually happening. The affect is making you think you are experiencing more than what is happening now.

Phew I'm on a roll!

Good luck and keep practicing!