Strange event while waking from sleep

Graeme M., modified 11 Years ago.

Strange event while waking from sleep

Posts: 9 Join Date: 5/14/10 Recent Posts
Hi Everyone!

I would love to get a diagnosis of this experience (I won't bias results by saying what I think). The interesting thing is that there is definitely some possibility of 'scripting' here, since I have been reading a lot and experienced some deep philosophical realizations lately... but in some ways I think it could also be a case of 'scripted, yet valid'?!?

Practice up til this point:

Concentration practice using visual objects
-I have been using complex objects (such as flowers, plants, cracks in the sidewalk) rather than kasinas
-I think I often reach 1st Jhana: get 'lost' in the object, almost 'swimming' in it, with lots of weird visual effects
-'cutting edge' of concentration practice is noticing a strong feeling of bodily bliss, then tuning into that
-once I was very tuned into the bliss, had closed my eyes, and started to notice that the bliss itself was made of vibrations (a shift into Insight practice, I think)

Insight practise
-I usually do this on the bus to/from work, or while slowly walking around my neighborhood
-I start with some visual concentration to 'get in the mood', then I combine noting with choiceless awareness... once the noting gets fast I let it speed up to ~5 Hz and drop the labels
-I think I often get into Mind & Body: all the different moments of perception (sound, touch, emotional, thought) seem to be 'on an equal playing field' and all seem quite clear; I observe thoughts as beeing in many 'layers' (gross to subtle); most of the gross ones seem very Not Me, clear, and transient, I observe the quick appearance/disappearance of all the different moments of perception
-Since my practice started 'seeming to get somewhere', I often walk around for periods of hours or days thinking 'wow this is great, everything in the visual field seems so colorful, vivid, clear, and three-dimensional'; I find there is a certain method of breathing which really 'powers up' the sense of vivid perception
-My 'cutting edge' of insight seems to be Cause & Effect: I start feeling as if 'the universe is watching me', I feel a sense of guilt and a physical sense of wanting to slump over (ie in a bowing or penitent way)... I am suddenly concerned with 'acting correctly' in every little action and thought
-Interestingly, I don't think I have had many experiences where I really clarified the experience of intention vs. action... I had been thinking this was the 'next thing to do' in order to really clarify Cause & Effect


The Event in question:

-This morning around 3am I was 'accidentally' waking up from sleep...
-Some part of me managed to observe something that happened during that waking up transitional period
-I had a brief series of moments where 'the film broke in the projector'.... its hard to describe yet fascinating, basically it was like suddenly 'turning my attention away from the entire universe', in a flickering kind of way
-at first it was almost like no big deal since I was half asleep, then a moment later I thought 'what the heck just happened' and suddenly felt very awake with my mind reeling... I realized just how 'abnormal' things had seemed, almost 'outside the bounds of sanity'

-here's the big thing: I suddenly had the vivid impression that I had "Shared A Moment of Thought" with Everyone... in other words I had this sense that anyone who 'wakes up' in that weird way would not just be Having an Identical Experience as I just did... but rather they would literally be myself in that moment and vice versa, all partaking from this Same Identical moment of experience (!!) This was not a hindsight-theory, but something that occurred to me within 1 minute or less of having the experience

-another notable thing: the experience was definitely not something I could have consciously pictured, or made up, before it happened, it was a whole new category for me (well except perhaps for some weird stuff in the distant past, but that's another story and I had totally 'lost the feeling' of those past events)

-still dozing on/off, I caught myself having some weird imagery where I was walking around as a rotting corpse, and started worrying what my friends, family would think of that (then I woke up more again and saw the humor in that emoticon )

-then, with eyes closed, a strange shimmering blackness expanded across my visual field, not completely but in different segments
-Notably I wouldn't say I saw white light... although more in hindsight I feel this *impression* of white light, as being something 'seeping through/in the cracks' of that experience (I suppose it's obvious what I'm wondering about when I talk about the presence/absence of white light haha)

-Eventually I went back to sleep

...since getting up today I've been thinking all kinds of elaborate philosophical and scientific theory type stuff. (Which, to be fair, I often do.)


So, any takers?


emoticon Graeme
Dan K, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Strange event while waking from sleep

Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/15/10 Recent Posts
The "broken film" sounds like a train of cessations. This is supported by your statement that it seemed like no big deal at the time, but seemed very strange and profound upon reflection. It can be quite startling when you are unable to find your way back to a previous moment.

I am not sure what to make of the "shared moment with everyone", especially since it's hard to know if it was a unitive experience or a non-dual experience. I'm inclined to think it was a unitive experience in the wake of a cessation.


I think I often get into Mind & Body: all the different moments of perception (sound, touch, emotional, thought) seem to be 'on an equal playing field' and all seem quite clear; I observe thoughts as beeing in many 'layers' (gross to subtle); most of the gross ones seem very Not Me, clear, and transient, I observe the quick appearance/disappearance of all the different moments of perception


Since my practice started 'seeming to get somewhere', I often walk around for periods of hours or days thinking 'wow this is great, everything in the visual field seems so colorful, vivid, clear, and three-dimensional'; I find there is a certain method of breathing which really 'powers up' the sense of vivid perception


These quotes are clearly indicative of Equanimity, but I am worried about prejudiced observation/recollection on your part to be in accordance with Equanimity.


My 'cutting edge' of insight seems to be Cause & Effect: I start feeling as if 'the universe is watching me', I feel a sense of guilt and a physical sense of wanting to slump over (ie in a bowing or penitent way)... I am suddenly concerned with 'acting correctly' in every little action and thought


I don't understand what this has to do with cause and effect.


Interestingly, I don't think I have had many experiences where I really clarified the experience of intention vs. action... I had been thinking this was the 'next thing to do' in order to really clarify Cause & Effect


Don't feel bad about not understanding cause and effect. It's a worthy topic of investigation, but also one that will likely not be complete even by 4th path.


...since getting up today I've been thinking all kinds of elaborate philosophical and scientific theory type stuff. (Which, to be fair, I often do.)


Ravenous intellectual appetite is indicative of path.

It's seems clear to me that you think you have gotten stream entry. It's possible. Keep an eye open for cessations during insight practice or in bed, and also experiment with concentration practice to see if your abilities have improved substantially.
Graeme M., modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Strange event while waking from sleep

Posts: 9 Join Date: 5/14/10 Recent Posts
Thanks very much indeed for your reply, Dan. It was very helpful.

Here's the interesting thing:
I must have given people the wrong impression, because I never actually suspected that my experience indicated stream entry!!!
That was far from my mind.

In fact, I was only thinking it likely that my experience was an A & P event.
That's why I commented on the lack of 'white light' involved in the experience.

And I want to make it clear for other readers-- I am pretty sure that was *not* stream entry. My observations since the event back that up further, since they match the descriptions of Dark Night a lot more than post-fruition stuff I have read.


So I guess it may be time to re-frame my questions, since I still do have some:

--is it possible for cessations to happen 'out of order' in the progress of insight?
--do A&P events sometimes have a very eerie and shocking 'falling off the reality horse' quality, without much 'white light' emphasis?
--is there perhaps a separate category of events where one happens to 'observe the self before/after re-assembly' during the waking-up process; and it seems very intense, shocking and profound? Or could that be considered A&P?
--if we assume that was not stream entry; why do I feel like all the MCTB explanations of fruition make sense to me at an experiential level in a way they previously did not? Many of Dan's particular phrases (to do with 'wrenching away' and 'a feeling of something very wrong happening' and 'seeing between frames') seem to make sense and resonate strongly now.


I don't mean to give the impression that I am obsessing over the significance of this event; it is just very intriguing from an intellectual point of view.


------

Regarding the 'shared moment with everyone'... yeah that was basically just a poetic way of trying to convey a certain element of the hard-to-describe flavor of the event. I wrote that at the time when my mind was still spinning from the strangeness of it all. I'm glad I wrote it down since I still find it carries a certain flavor of the inexpressible, which I might have forgotten later on.

------

Regarding the aspects of Cause and Effect I attempted to describe-- in those situations I seem to suddenly develop a vivid awareness of something like Karma. In that stage I suddenly have a very direct/visceral perception that every thought/word/deed I have or do immediately leads to a feeling of attachment/impurity in my mind unless I am very deliberate to engage in only 'clean' or 'unattached' thinking/doing. I had assumed that other people experienced that during Cause and Effect due to a comment in MCTB (something about 'the workings of karma'). Perhaps a key point is that I have been walking around in the world during mediation when this happens, so the emphasis may be more on this 'macro' level of karma rather than say, vibratory physical sensations. Has anyone else experienced this type of thing in Cause and Effect? Or am I misinterpreting my experience with respect to the maps?
Dan K, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Strange event while waking from sleep

Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/15/10 Recent Posts
To be honest, I am not particularly proficient in my knowledge of the Theravada four path model. I'm hoping that someone more knowledgeable will jump in.

That said, some of the stuff in your OP was suggestive. That you could see vibrations is evidence that you have experience with the A&P. That you could note at 5 hertz is evidence of 2nd or 3rd insight jhana. And there was the other stuff that was suggestive of 4th jhana.


is it possible for cessations to happen 'out of order' in the progress of insight?


I don't know. I wouldn't place too much stock in where you think you are in the cycle. If you do any kinds of drugs, you may have gone through some stages and not even noticed. It's possible that funny stuff can happen during sleep.


is it possible for cessations to happen 'out of order' in the progress of insight?
--do A&P events sometimes have a very eerie and shocking 'falling off the reality horse' quality, without much 'white light' emphasis?


I don't know. White light is not a necessity. It seems strange to me that an A&P would be eerie.


is there perhaps a separate category of events where one happens to 'observe the self before/after re-assembly' during the waking-up process; and it seems very intense, shocking and profound? Or could that be considered A&P?


This is something you didn't mention before. This is a big insight, and it's explicit nature suggests that the mind fully accepted it, at least for an instant. This contrasts with A&P stuff, which tends to be a euphoric episode following some sort of vague or unknown penetration.

What you saw sounds like an insight into how things [appear to] come into being. Let me guess. This vision occurred after the "projector broke". You were left with the striking impression that, for an instant, you completely understood how something very basic and important worked. You were then frustrated by your inability to remember what it was you had figured out. Am I close?


if we assume that was not stream entry; why do I feel like all the MCTB explanations of fruition make sense to me at an experiential level in a way they previously did not? Many of Dan's particular phrases (to do with 'wrenching away' and 'a feeling of something very wrong happening' and 'seeing between frames') seem to make sense and resonate strongly now.


I am not assuming that it is not stream entry. I'm really not sure.


Regarding the aspects of Cause and Effect I attempted to describe-- in those situations I seem to suddenly develop a vivid awareness of something like Karma. In that stage I suddenly have a very direct/visceral perception that every thought/word/deed I have or do immediately leads to a feeling of attachment/impurity in my mind unless I am very deliberate to engage in only 'clean' or 'unattached' thinking/doing. I had assumed that other people experienced that during Cause and Effect due to a comment in MCTB (something about 'the workings of karma'). Perhaps a key point is that I have been walking around in the world during mediation when this happens, so the emphasis may be more on this 'macro' level of karma rather than say, vibratory physical sensations. Has anyone else experienced this type of thing in Cause and Effect? Or am I misinterpreting my experience with respect to the maps?


During "cause and effect", people are able to briefly penetrate the type of thing you are talking about.

____________

It's possible that the pattern of cycles won't quite match up to your experience. It only matched vaguely for me. If you're like me and you use philosophical questions as a subject of meditation as opposed to doing raw insight practice (or if you did so at the time of the A&P), then the whole thing is bound to be more complex and less predictable. I never once had a relaxing, sustained review phase because I was always obsessed with big questions which were not settled by fruitions, and also I had no familiarity with the maps at the time. I suspect that people who are really focused on what the cycle and fruition is all about (perception of sensations and three characteristics) are more likely to experience the insight stages in a more straightforward, predictable way.
Anon Anon, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Strange event while waking from sleep

Posts: 40 Join Date: 5/26/10 Recent Posts
Graeme M.:

--do A&P events sometimes have a very eerie and shocking 'falling off the reality horse' quality, without much 'white light' emphasis?


I have had many experiences like these when waking from sleep. The distortion of cognition can be so profound that reality seems like it spontaneously shattered and then pieced itself back together somehow---though words cannot really capture how bizarre the experiences I'm referring to have been. They have all been A&P events...
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Strange event while waking from sleep

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
A&P.

D

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