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Help more than welcome for diagnosis

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Help more than welcome for diagnosis
Answer
1/12/14 5:14 PM
I'm posting here what I've posted on this topic about Anapanasati, I think it's more relevant in this category.

I was wondering about some boredom and lack of progress in Anapanasati, and Dream Walker answered me :

Dream Walker:
It sounds like you are doing well in your concentration meditation. Have you worked on insite/vipassana? If you are focusing on the breath without investigating the actual sensations that make up each and every breath then you are mostly doing concentration/samatha. It sounds like you may be getting to a light state of 4th jhana (just a guess, I may be wrong) with your concentration meditation and then you get stuck. This happens to me a lot in equanimity. I then will move to noting practice and break down the sensations that are arising. This sometimes gets different things going for me. From the 16 stages of insite where have you gotten to? Are you cycling? have you passed the arising and passing away? I would reread the section in MCTB on the Progress of Insightand see where you are at. You will get much better advice if you can determine where you are at.


Actually I wouldn't have supposed on my own that one can reach such light jhanas states. I thought it was much more an all-inclusive state or no state at all. So the idea of being in a jhana state with a wandering attention seems rather strange to me, knowing that all factors of jhana might be there indeed, but very weak and subtle.

I'd thought that from first jhana, one would be so strongly focused that mind couldn't be allowed to wander.

Your questions lead me to consider some stages of insights I might have encountered, but it's very confuse now because I had no informations back then to map these stages. I remember encountering those phenomena, maybe you can help me organizing them :

  • I had a period where I could not stand any body postures, I would always feel "unbalanced", like one side of my body is not correctly placed, and moving incessantly to find a comfortable position. I would feel strong pressures in my forehead. My jaws seemed to be constantly tight and grinning. Looks like being aware of the 3 C's, but it's hard to believe because it was rather felt than noticed (intellectually noticed I mean), so it might be that but I can't be sure.

  • deep ups and downs coming with appropriate mood swings : I would feel very excited one day, with lots of unitive feelings, perspectives about the future, uplifting mood; then be very angry and irritative the other day, with everything seeming to be a pain in the ass, reacting in a agressive way to everything. Sometimes I could switch between these states several times in the same day, but more often it was a few days good, followed by a few days bad, and so on. This switch of states has been going on for almost one year I would say.

  • numerous experiences of union and spaceness with my surrounding. For instance I can drive / walk / sit and get lost in the background, feeling I'm both pervading and containing it all. Feels like A&P and maybe a bit of Equanimity now. Don't know if it actually works that way.

  • I had a very powerful dream 2 years ago, starring a huge column of light and fire between the sea and the sky, huge feelings of power and such magnificent colours... I still vividly remember that wonderful dream.


So it's like I've been experiencing A&P than Dark Night, but I've been short of insights practice so I would get back to A&P, then to DN, then A&P again, and so on. Now I feel I have moved one and might have been through some kind of Re-Observation and Equanimity. But some stuff still have to be worked on so I sometimes get back to A&P, DN and all. Is that possible?

I can't really conclude because I'm not even sure I've been through Mind & Body or Cause & Effect, can one go through these states without even be aware of it? For instance I'm sometimes aware that mental phenomena is not me or mine, but it requires some effort and it's not naturally and constanatly noticed and recognized. So if I'm understanding well here, is it that one can go through a state, get the insight, but it doesn't mean one have to master such a state in order to move on to the next one?

Any insight is welcomed on the matter.

RE: Help more than welcome for diagnosis
Answer
1/13/14 2:35 PM as a reply to Jean B..
Jean B.:
I'm posting here what I've posted on this topic about Anapanasati, I think it's more relevant in this category.

I was wondering about some boredom and lack of progress in Anapanasati, and Dream Walker answered me :

Dream Walker:
It sounds like you are doing well in your concentration meditation. Have you worked on insite/vipassana? If you are focusing on the breath without investigating the actual sensations that make up each and every breath then you are mostly doing concentration/samatha. It sounds like you may be getting to a light state of 4th jhana (just a guess, I may be wrong) with your concentration meditation and then you get stuck. This happens to me a lot in equanimity. I then will move to noting practice and break down the sensations that are arising. This sometimes gets different things going for me. From the 16 stages of insite where have you gotten to? Are you cycling? have you passed the arising and passing away? I would reread the section in MCTB on the Progress of Insightand see where you are at. You will get much better advice if you can determine where you are at.

I'm looking at what you are describing and explaining similar experiences that I have encountered....it does not mean I am accurate in my assessment of where you may be at...only you have enough knowledge to accurately evaluate where you have been and where you are now. The more information available the better guesses we can make.
Jean B.:
Actually I wouldn't have supposed on my own that one can reach such light jhanas states. I thought it was much more an all-inclusive state or no state at all. So the idea of being in a jhana state with a wandering attention seems rather strange to me, knowing that all factors of jhana might be there indeed, but very weak and subtle.

There are big differences of opinions on what constitutes a jhana state. Some think that unless you are full absorbed in the jhana from 4 hours of continued unwavering practice you are not there. From my own experience there are very light versions of jhanas 1-4 but 5-8 takes a certain level of absorption. There are states described as the vipassana jhanas.

search the site by googling this---> site:www.dharmaoverground.org vipassana jhanas

Hare is a link to a mind map that show the link up between the nanas and jhanas The √Ďanas and Jhanas General Map
Jean B.:

I'd thought that from first jhana, one would be so strongly focused that mind couldn't be allowed to wander.

People believe different things. Investigate these mind states you are getting into and find out directly. I spent 20 years or so in the dark night and never noticed the cyclical nature. I got to stream entry and did not notice the cycles. Only after reading MCTB did I have a vocabulary and conceptual model to understand my experiences. Direct observation then showed what should have been obvious.
Jean B.:

Your questions lead me to consider some stages of insights I might have encountered, but it's very confuse now because I had no informations back then to map these stages. I remember encountering those phenomena, maybe you can help me organizing them :

  • I had a period where I could not stand any body postures, I would always feel "unbalanced", like one side of my body is not correctly placed, and moving incessantly to find a comfortable position. I would feel strong pressures in my forehead. My jaws seemed to be constantly tight and grinning. Looks like being aware of the 3 C's, but it's hard to believe because it was rather felt than noticed (intellectually noticed I mean), so it might be that but I can't be sure.

  • deep ups and downs coming with appropriate mood swings : I would feel very excited one day, with lots of unitive feelings, perspectives about the future, uplifting mood; then be very angry and irritative the other day, with everything seeming to be a pain in the ass, reacting in a agressive way to everything. Sometimes I could switch between these states several times in the same day, but more often it was a few days good, followed by a few days bad, and so on. This switch of states has been going on for almost one year I would say.

  • numerous experiences of union and spaceness with my surrounding. For instance I can drive / walk / sit and get lost in the background, feeling I'm both pervading and containing it all. Feels like A&P and maybe a bit of Equanimity now. Don't know if it actually works that way.

  • I had a very powerful dream 2 years ago, starring a huge column of light and fire between the sea and the sky, huge feelings of power and such magnificent colours... I still vividly remember that wonderful dream.


So it's like I've been experiencing A&P than Dark Night, but I've been short of insights practice so I would get back to A&P, then to DN, then A&P again, and so on. Now I feel I have moved one and might have been through some kind of Re-Observation and Equanimity. But some stuff still have to be worked on so I sometimes get back to A&P, DN and all. Is that possible?

Again, read up on it and investigate it directly...from this point on. If you are cycling it will become more and more obvious.
Jean B.:

I can't really conclude because I'm not even sure I've been through Mind & Body or Cause & Effect, can one go through these states without even be aware of it? For instance I'm sometimes aware that mental phenomena is not me or mine, but it requires some effort and it's not naturally and constanatly noticed and recognized. So if I'm understanding well here, is it that one can go through a state, get the insight, but it doesn't mean one have to master such a state in order to move on to the next one?

What do you mean master an insite? You can notice the ah ha moments and the states or not. I remember clearly an ah ha moment on LSD when I was 18-19 or so. "There is more to external reality than I ever knew" this was directly experienced and changed my state. Definitely A&P without me knowing what A&P was.
Past experience may fit with the model or not....pay attention moving forward and see what you can see with the new concepts you are learning.
Good luck,
~D

RE: Help more than welcome for diagnosis
Answer
1/13/14 3:51 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Thank you for your help.

I've read about vipassana jhanas and the links between jhanas and nanas, but it is now more concrete as I can cross it with my own experiences.

I think I might be in 1st or 2nd Vipassana Jhanas, because access concentration is fastly reached, then some bliss and rapture, but it's not very intense and I stay stuck here.

Now let's practice!

RE: Help more than welcome for diagnosis
Answer
1/13/14 4:41 PM as a reply to Jean B..
Look at the transition between the bliss going away and the vibrations becoming dominate...investigate this.
~D