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Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/11/14 2:50 AM
Hi

I have been dipping into the buddhist mindset for a few months now, especially after Finding Daniel's great eye-opening book MCTB.

For as long as I can remember i have had this love/hate relationship with the spiritual side of things causing me to explore spiritual practises (or at least read about them) As far back as my early childhood. say around the age of 7/8.
And times of discarding it all together..

For most of my life I feel I have been in some stage of the dark night. feeling numb, depressed, disengaged and frankly just baffled by the world as it presents itself.

Even though I have this undercurrent of a sense that there has to be more to it all, I cannot reccolect any one experience that resembles what I read about the arising & Passing away which in my mind should stand out as a crossroads that resembles taking of either morpheus's red or blue pil in the Matrix.

That way I could blame myself for not taking the red pil back to ignorance emoticon
I am asking really is it possible to have missed such an experience that led me to live in the dark night for most of my life?

With Love
Eelco

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/11/14 3:29 AM as a reply to Eelco ten Have.
It is written in MCTB that, though not hard science, most people who read the book (or post on this forum) have likely, at some point, crossed the A&P.

Yes, it's possible at some point you crossed it and don't remember the particular occurrence. However, it is not particularly important whether you have at some point previously crossed the A&P since you can easily just cross it again (or cross it for the first time) if you have the desire to do so.

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/11/14 6:15 AM as a reply to Eelco ten Have.
I was in the same situation when I started to be serious about this path. It turned out that indeed, I spent most of my life in equanimity, and I suspect I crossed the A&P at around 5-7 years old. It's only once I got stream entry that I was finally able to reliably say where I was on this path. Still, If you are into this stuff, if nothing else really make much sense but this path, A&P or not, you are on the path anyway. If you cannot find satisfaction in the mundane, then you don't have much alternative.

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/11/14 9:50 AM as a reply to Eelco ten Have.
The A&P can be subtle for some. A few of mine were. One was just a second or so of some strange buzzing thing through the back of my head and down my spine for a little ways and that was the entire thing. Others blew my doors off, but certainly not all of them.

Some have it happen somewhere in early childhood. As there is wide variation in the quality and quantity of childhood memories, there will definitely be people who had it happen but don't remember it.

I have this ongoing speculation within myself about some memories I have from being about 4 year old that seem more jhanic than insightful, but there was this heavy period of fear after that which I continue to think may have been my first Dark Night, though sorting out external circumstances from insight effects at this distance is really tricky.

The thing that helped me was going back on retreat, really paying attention to the phenomenology, crossing the A&P a bunch of times in much more controlled conditions and with much greater awareness of what was going on. Suddenly, numerous memories that had been filed in various unrelated boxes all started to make sense, and I realized that I had crossed it a bunch of times and had no idea what it was. I suggest the same for you for numerous reasons, with figuring out what the A&P can and may have looked like for you being only one of them.

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/11/14 11:43 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

The thing that helped me was going back on retreat, really paying attention to the phenomenology, crossing the A&P a bunch of times in much more controlled conditions and with much greater awareness of what was going on. Suddenly, numerous memories that had been filed in various unrelated boxes all started to make sense, and I realized that I had crossed it a bunch of times and had no idea what it was. I suggest the same for you for numerous reasons, with figuring out what the A&P can and may have looked like for you being only one of them.


Thanks for all the responses.

As it turns out one of the reasons i ask is I am sort of loosely trying to figure out where i'm at as I will be going on my first 15 day retreat around the middle of febuary. Its at the Dhammacari-vipassana centre in Germany.

I had it planned or a few months now, but had let go of the idea for a few weeks when i stopped meditating for a while.
Just 2 weeks ago decided to go ahead anyway. And have the trip planned, booked and travel tickets in the house.

Trying to relax about the idea, As of last week i am sitting once or twice a day again to get a feel for it, but not too much as to not get stuck on an idea of what or how it should be.

WIth Love
Eelco

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/11/14 11:54 AM as a reply to Simon T..
Simon T.:
I was in the same situation when I started to be serious about this path. It turned out that indeed, I spent most of my life in equanimity, and I suspect I crossed the A&P at around 5-7 years old. It's only once I got stream entry that I was finally able to reliably say where I was on this path. Still, If you are into this stuff, if nothing else really make much sense but this path, A&P or not, you are on the path anyway. If you cannot find satisfaction in the mundane, then you don't have much alternative.


Now there's an idea I have not concluded before, spending life in equanimity..
It feels like it though. Makes total sense somehow..

Up until now i am on and off the path, That is spiritual paths, not neccisarily buddhist didn't seem to make much sense either after my initial happines of finally finding what I was looking for. I am guessing bhuddism will be the same, the only difference now is that I am older, and the goals and path seem much more realistic than some of the stuff I have been involved in in the past.

With Love
Eelco

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/12/14 6:41 AM as a reply to Eelco ten Have.
Eelco ten Have:


As it turns out one of the reasons i ask is I am sort of loosely trying to figure out where i'm at as I will be going on my first 15 day retreat around the middle of febuary. Its at the Dhammacari-vipassana centre in Germany.

I had it planned or a few months now, but had let go of the idea for a few weeks when i stopped meditating for a while.
Just 2 weeks ago decided to go ahead anyway. And have the trip planned, booked and travel tickets in the house.

Trying to relax about the idea, As of last week i am sitting once or twice a day again to get a feel for it, but not too much as to not get stuck on an idea of what or how it should be.

WIth Love
Eelco


Hey,
Dhammacari is a great place for practice. Don't waste that opportunity.
When I went there, I reached A&P territory after a few days and was like "Oh nice, this looks familiar indeed". This was before I knew about the vipassana nana terminology.
Don't worry about where you are, and about practice beforehand. The basic course needs no previous knowledge or practice.

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/17/14 5:41 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:

Hey,
Dhammacari is a great place for practice. Don't waste that opportunity.
When I went there, I reached A&P territory after a few days and was like "Oh nice, this looks familiar indeed".


Do you want to share some of your experiences there?

With Love
Eelco

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/17/14 11:59 AM as a reply to Eelco ten Have.
Eelco ten Have:
bernd the broter:

Hey,
Dhammacari is a great place for practice. Don't waste that opportunity.
When I went there, I reached A&P territory after a few days and was like "Oh nice, this looks familiar indeed".


Do you want to share some of your experiences there?

With Love
Eelco


My basic course there was more than 2 years ago, so I'm not sure about the details any more (:
Or is there anything specific you'd be interested in?

One more remark about the course:
They explain (after the course) that their method is designed to lead meditators through the different nanas more quickly, so it is unlikely that you spend much time in one nana. I guess that's a quite practical way to do it for lay people. I think it's no use trying to figure out where you are now - the basic course leads many people straight through nanas 1-11, and if it does not, it doesn't matter because the teachers know what they're doing.

If you want to read more reports from people who've been there, you could start by reading this one, but maybe it's a better idea to just go there without any expectations. (I unintentionally did, and my practice was much more balanced than when I finally knew some theory about it all.)
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2795962

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/18/14 5:04 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Nah not interested in anything specific except for experiences.
I had read the story you referred before and was one of the reasons I signed up for the basic course at Dhammacari.

I was looking for a few more retreat writ-ups there and the Ajahn Tong method in general. There isn't much on the web I could find. Which struck me as odd seeing that Ajahn Tong is a well respected and even famous monk.

With Love
Eelco

RE: Dark Nights without A&P ?
Answer
1/18/14 6:04 AM as a reply to Eelco ten Have.
Eelco ten Have:

I was looking for a few more retreat writ-ups there and the Ajahn Tong method in general. There isn't much on the web I could find. Which struck me as odd seeing that Ajahn Tong is a well respected and even famous monk.


If you go there, you will find that they strongly recommend not sharing your experiences (neither online nor offline), so people don't come there with lots of expectations, which puts you in a much better situation to practice. Maybe that's the reason why so few reports are on the net.
(I'm undecided though, if the advantages of no-expectations outweigh the disadvantages of low-trust created by the informal no-disclosure policy.)