Message Boards Message Boards

Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

What is this and how to use it in insight practice?

Toggle
Hi,
I have been doing concentration for a couple of years on and off and then ended up in a Goenka retreat in an effort to get out of a Dark night that lasted almost 2 years. The Dark night was, at least thats how I understand it now, precipitated by a very rapid series of insights induced in a shamanistic setting that I was totally unprepared for ('nough said :-)). I guess the saying "Be careful what you ask for coz you might get it" is very true :-). Anyway.

During the retreat I worked very diligently and I could feel by the 3rd day how sharp my mind was getting. I got the hang of scanning quickly and although I wasn't consistent in my abilities to run a scan things went well. I completely broke down on the 10th day in the morning after gaining insight into something that bubbled up. I knew that something changed in me forever in exactly the same way I knew it after my shamanic adventures. I kept up the practice when I returned home. Long Dark Night over!

Enough background :-).

Recently I started noticing that I can, for lack of a better word, "light up" my body with sensations. What I mean by that is I can move from one point concentration on the breath to a certain "diffused" kind of awareness in which I'm aware of all of my body vibrating at the same time (sometimes with blank spots, although these blanks are getting narrower by day). I can then move my attention to almost any very small part of my body and sense whats going on there. I remember Goenka talking about this in one of the discourses and basically giving the prescription to verify the state by attempting to pinpoint as I explained above and if I remember correctly there was something about running the attention along the path of the spinal cord (but I'm not sure).

Now, what is this state, how can it be useful? Its certainly pleasurable but I kind of intuitively feel this is a trap. How do I use it instead of it using me emoticon?

RE: What is this and how to use it in insight practice?
Answer
1/3/14 4:22 PM as a reply to AT SkyWalker.
AT SkyWalker:
Hi,
I have been doing concentration for a couple of years on and off and then ended up in a Goenka retreat in an effort to get out of a Dark night that lasted almost 2 years. The Dark night was, at least thats how I understand it now, precipitated by a very rapid series of insights induced in a shamanistic setting that I was totally unprepared for ('nough said :-)). I guess the saying "Be careful what you ask for coz you might get it" is very true :-). Anyway.

During the retreat I worked very diligently and I could feel by the 3rd day how sharp my mind was getting. I got the hang of scanning quickly and although I wasn't consistent in my abilities to run a scan things went well. I completely broke down on the 10th day in the morning after gaining insight into something that bubbled up. I knew that something changed in me forever in exactly the same way I knew it after my shamanic adventures. I kept up the practice when I returned home. Long Dark Night over!

Enough background :-).

Recently I started noticing that I can, for lack of a better word, "light up" my body with sensations. What I mean by that is I can move from one point concentration on the breath to a certain "diffused" kind of awareness in which I'm aware of all of my body vibrating at the same time (sometimes with blank spots, although these blanks are getting narrower by day). I can then move my attention to almost any very small part of my body and sense whats going on there. I remember Goenka talking about this in one of the discourses and basically giving the prescription to verify the state by attempting to pinpoint as I explained above and if I remember correctly there was something about running the attention along the path of the spinal cord (but I'm not sure).

Now, what is this state, how can it be useful? Its certainly pleasurable but I kind of intuitively feel this is a trap. How do I use it instead of it using me emoticon?


I also experienced this growing subtle awareness of bodily sensations. Once I turned it on, I couldn't turn it off, ever. And I would sense sensations in every living part of the body regardless of the stage or state. Though what would become obvious is a clustering of sensations in a particular part of the body which would act as support for mental state of this or that. Due to that subtle awareness I think I had a better chance of breaking down the compoundings of mental states, emotions etc into their 'parts', mental and physical. * years practicing in the goenka tradition and I got very good at scanning and being aware of the entire body buzzing with vibrations. But I would miss the subtle mental overlays and mind movements and mind states that needed to be paid attention to in order to progress onwards through the stages of insight.

What is your current practice? Have you tried noticing (and perhaps noting) the mind states that accompany such experiences of the whole body buzzing with sensations? Such as noticing the mental pleasure? Or the 'intuitive trap feeling'? What does your current practice look like?

Nick

RE: What is this and how to use it in insight practice?
Answer
1/3/14 5:08 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:


What is your current practice? Have you tried noticing (and perhaps noting) the mind states that accompany such experiences of the whole body buzzing with sensations? Such as noticing the mental pleasure? Or the 'intuitive trap feeling'? What does your current practice look like?

Nick


Hi Nick,
Thanks so much for your reply - this my first time here and I'm grateful I found this place. In terms of practice I'm sitting at least twice daily (2 hrs). I also maintain some Muslim/Sufi practices - reciting Quran, prayer, contemplation of the Names/Qualities of Allah [I have a muslim background which I began to see in a completely different light after shedding it then rediscovering it again through clearly seeing the undercurrent that pervades all spiritual traditions - to me most religions are like George Orwell's Animal Farm, if you're immature you see only the story about the animals and completely miss the point :-)]. Anyway....

My practice has been both concentration and insight (since I finished my first retreat in October I began insight). I fluctuate between them depending on how I feel about my ability to focus depending on whats going on in my life and my psychology.

I recently found out about noting (I guess when the student is ready the teacher appears! oddly enough I found out about noting and about MCBT at the same time - I'm just about to finish MCBT after I type this and it certainly gave me fresh perspectives on things I have not considered before) so I began to play with that but I don't want to cannablize my yet immature scanning abilities by scattering my effort during my sittings - so I started adding noting sporadically during the day (while walking, eating, thinking, etc - which I find intriguing as I started having strange experiences during sleep - but thats another topic and I yet to see if it persists - too early to comment about it).

I will test drive noting as you indicated and come back and report. It just seems to me that although I feel that something is going on, I cannot articulate it to myself and I sometimes doubt if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. But then again I've learned through experience over the last few years that things will unfold as things will unfold since God/Dharma (whatever you wanna call it) only works best if you allow it to work unobstructed by illusions of control or "personal" contribution. I just want to do what I can so that I'm not actually the obstruction - hence my question here :-).

Thanks again.
AT (Ahmed).