Lights went out 3 times

Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg, modified 7 Years ago.

Lights went out 3 times

Posts: 131 Join Date: 10/26/13 Recent Posts
The setting is the silent meditation before a satsang at a retreat, I am doing Zen meditation with half open eyes.

Suddenly I 'remember' everything going black less than a second earlier. I didn't 'experience' any blackness, just the period immediatly after. This occurs 3 times in close succession, possibly/probably synchronised with my breath.

At the time I did not pay much attention too it since I was in pretty deep witnessing mode and only reflected on it in hindsight. My first inclination was that it was a power surge causing the actual lights to go out, since this was during the evening, it was pretty dark and there had been power surges previously in the month, though never more than one. This however seemed extremely implausible since even if there had been a power surge that would not have resulted in absolute darkness, with there being other sources of light and this still being late evening rather than night. For some reason I even asked a friend who was present and she said there had been no power surges or anything similar.

It was a very undramatic event, as pointed out, I didn't really pay it any attention or notice anything else about it. The experience, if it can be called that, was more like coming out of complete darkness/blackness and seeing the dark (or gap in awareness) by looking back in time, rather than actually being in the dark/black.

So question #1 is: What is it?

Question #2 is: What does it do?
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William Golden Finch, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Lights went out 3 times

Posts: 558 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Hello Mattias,

It being your experience, no one can say exactly what it was. It does read like someone read something about fruitions and then was trying to describe a fruition with only their previous reading at hand to help them describe, but that may be my own misreading and inaccurate perception. Are you curious to know if you have had a fruition? Maybe you have. It would be good to know more.
As for the second question, what did it do? It is your experience, did anything else happen as a result?
People seem to come here frequently having read a little pragmatic dharma and then describe some experience using the language they have read, and wanting to know where they are at. At times this can be useful: When a meditator has been floundering and practicing for years it can be inspiring and encouraging to have one validation that one has not truly just been floundering and has been moving along developmental lines to a greater freedom. More often people are just looking for another way to reinforce their self-image (ego) by placing it somewhere so they can tell themselves "This is where I am. I know where I am. This is good", in this way reinforcing the sense of self.
You would do best and get the most accurate help (if that's what you want) by beginning and maintaining a practice journal here, in this way avoiding people who really don't know you or your journey giving advice about where you are when they themselves may not know.

Bill
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Lights went out 3 times

Posts: 131 Join Date: 10/26/13 Recent Posts
William Golden Finch:
Hello Mattias,

It being your experience, no one can say exactly what it was. It does read like someone read something about fruitions and then was trying to describe a fruition with only their previous reading at hand to help them describe, but that may be my own misreading and inaccurate perception. Are you curious to know if you have had a fruition? Maybe you have. It would be good to know more.
As for the second question, what did it do? It is your experience, did anything else happen as a result?
People seem to come here frequently having read a little pragmatic dharma and then describe some experience using the language they have read, and wanting to know where they are at. At times this can be useful: When a meditator has been floundering and practicing for years it can be inspiring and encouraging to have one validation that one has not truly just been floundering and has been moving along developmental lines to a greater freedom. More often people are just looking for another way to reinforce their self-image (ego) by placing it somewhere so they can tell themselves "This is where I am. I know where I am. This is good", in this way reinforcing the sense of self.
You would do best and get the most accurate help (if that's what you want) by beginning and maintaining a practice journal here, in this way avoiding people who really don't know you or your journey giving advice about where you are when they themselves may not know.

Bill


Thank you for your post, Bill.

I now re-read MCTB and figure this *could* be a fruition, but a very boring one compared to the others. emoticon As far as I can remember nothing else interesting happened after this event/non-event that would seem obviously connected to it.

My practice has mainly been focused on the suffering aspect, so my fruitions have usually been emotionally/physically intense. The big (and dramatic) fruition happened more than a month before this and was followed by several similar ones that were very obvious and not in any way similar to this event (or non-event).

Looking at MCTB maybe it was an experience of “emptiness”? I haven't noticed it happening again, but on the other hand haven't really been looking for it either since as far as experiences goes it's pretty 'mjeh' compared to the others. Like stepping out of a dark room and sort of remembering that it was dark a second ago but not actually experiencing being in the dark room. Won't be able to sell anyone on meditation practice with that. ;)

From a mind/intellectual viewpoint I'm a bit interested in the function/purpose/causality of this thing. Other fruitions (if this was/is one) are quite obvious and educational, this was like the opposite. In a way I guess it IS the opposite, a (or rather three) complete non-experience(s). Basically it's complete lack of interestingness is what makes it interesting to me... what is it, what does it do?
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William Golden Finch, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Lights went out 3 times

Posts: 558 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Hello Mattias,

Haha, cool. Thank you for providing more information. I'm really not sure what it was, nor what it will do for you in your life. Some of this is contextual: I don't know anything about your practice, or you. Please keep us posted.
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Pål S., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Lights went out 3 times

Posts: 196 Join Date: 8/16/10 Recent Posts
I'm not the OP.
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. Jake ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Lights went out 3 times

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:


My practice has mainly been focused on the suffering aspect, so my fruitions have usually been emotionally/physically intense. The big (and dramatic) fruition happened more than a month before this and was followed by several similar ones that were very obvious and not in any way similar to this event (or non-event).


Hi Mattias emoticon

What are the 'fruitions' that you are referring to?
In MCTB lingo, as best I understand it, fruition is connected to cessation, i.e., everything (the whole of experience) completely blinking off and then coming back on-line. What are the fruitions you are describing and why do you call them fruitions?

There are definitely many different versions of 'fruition' in different Buddhist traditions. Generally Buddhism uses a threefold description of Base, Path and Fruition. The Base of any given style of meditation is the basic orientation, the basic reality that one is orienting to. The Path includes methods that set up conditions for spontaneous releases/realizations. Those spontaneous realizations which leave lasting changes in the way mind functions are generally referred to as Fruitions.

In the Theravada system that MCTB is based on, the method is Vipassana as in seeing clearly the true nature of sensations in real time (i.e., they are empty and impermanent and clinging to them as if they weren't is suffering). The fruition is the cessation of all conditions, all sensations, which alters the way that mind functions at the roots, conferring some degree of lasting awakening, i.e., a second meaning of cessation: the (at first partial) cessation of those mental processes which obscure the true nature of sensations, thus reducing suffering.

So... what are you referring to with the term fruition?
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Lights went out 3 times

Posts: 131 Join Date: 10/26/13 Recent Posts
. Jake .:
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:


My practice has mainly been focused on the suffering aspect, so my fruitions have usually been emotionally/physically intense. The big (and dramatic) fruition happened more than a month before this and was followed by several similar ones that were very obvious and not in any way similar to this event (or non-event).


Hi Mattias emoticon

What are the 'fruitions' that you are referring to?
In MCTB lingo, as best I understand it, fruition is connected to cessation, i.e., everything (the whole of experience) completely blinking off and then coming back on-line. What are the fruitions you are describing and why do you call them fruitions?

There are definitely many different versions of 'fruition' in different Buddhist traditions. Generally Buddhism uses a threefold description of Base, Path and Fruition. The Base of any given style of meditation is the basic orientation, the basic reality that one is orienting to. The Path includes methods that set up conditions for spontaneous releases/realizations. Those spontaneous realizations which leave lasting changes in the way mind functions are generally referred to as Fruitions.

In the Theravada system that MCTB is based on, the method is Vipassana as in seeing clearly the true nature of sensations in real time (i.e., they are empty and impermanent and clinging to them as if they weren't is suffering). The fruition is the cessation of all conditions, all sensations, which alters the way that mind functions at the roots, conferring some degree of lasting awakening, i.e., a second meaning of cessation: the (at first partial) cessation of those mental processes which obscure the true nature of sensations, thus reducing suffering.

So... what are you referring to with the term fruition?


I think the part I bolded in your text is a good categorization for what I mean when I use the word fruition. The technical terms and definitions are definetely not my strong side and I've used a whole barrage of different methods working on my development which makes it hard to be sure of the direct causality. Only one of the fruitions was an obvious and directly correlated result of a specific method (intensive awareness practise with the "Who is in?"-koan) and the rest have more or less seemed to be spontaneous results happening within the context of intense but diverse practise. I guess it would be more accurate to describe the aftershocks as intensive rather than the event itself, which is as you point out, almost instant.

Anyway... I seem to be in re-observation right now so with a bit of luck and effort there should be one happening soon. For some reason the whole technical side of it that used to be very interesting and important to me has completely dwindled and I feel that what used to be an effortless and joyous thing has become dry and boring. Indeed, both constructing words and having inter-personal communication takes effort and is kind of unpleasant at this time. The body mainly wants to rest and the mind mainly wants to distract itself with movies, videogames or what-not. I will probably be semi-indulging it for a while and then go on a retreat or something that will provide a more stimulating environment and increase motivation.
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Eric G, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Lights went out 3 times

Posts: 132 Join Date: 5/6/10 Recent Posts
Nirodha?