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I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)

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I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
3/17/14 9:22 AM
On March 5th, I believe I had my first awakening and won stream entry as a consequence. My journey to this point was a bit unfocused (two years of 20-60 minute sits daily), but nevertheless some stars were seemingly aligned. It’s probably wise to take some time to let things settle to see if it is indeed indicative of the first path. Some posts on DhO allude to folks taking the proverbial year and a day to see how things proceed. Sayadaw Vivekananda relates that Sayadaw U Pandita takes seven years to verify/certify his stream winners. The range seems wide, but probably not imprudent :-) Nevertheless, here's part of the story:

The days leading up to this event were very inspiring. There was a bit of study regarding dependent origination, and emptiness, some felt sense of understanding and then a light bulb moment during a sit when I saw that all the isolated phenomena coming through the sense doors could be taken in aggregate to compose a tableau. I surmised this could then be allowed to arise and cease, at the base level of the interaction between consciousness and nama-rupa. This thought snapped me out of it, though, and produced a small amount of fear and excitement.

Three days later, I recommitted to all my precepts, and reading many suggestions that relaxation was key during this moment, I really just let everything go. I widened the scope of my awareness as much as I could and about 40 minutes in, got to equanimity. I took in everything: sound, bodily sensations, thoughts, there was also an attunement to the meditative tinnitus I’ve been noticing for a few months now, and then suddenly a slow rise of energy up the spine, through the back of the head, a sizzle and… everything dropped away. I opened my eyes as waves of pure joy and bliss began to arise. Each time one overcame me, I would grin and giggle. This lasted a good 45 minutes. Skeptical doubt was overcome in that moment. I saw with absolute surety that this path was real; I had walked it and come to a profound release.

That night I woke up after two hours and spent the rest of the night/morning reading everything I could find about this process. I started writing a whole host of essays about the path. Most of which I’m glad I didn’t post to DhO. For a good eight days after this, I was tingling. Random waves of joy and happiness would arise. It didn’t matter if I was at work, sitting in my car, or riding the public transportation system. Every time I sat down to meditate, I would begin with an experience very reminiscent of my A&P event (which took the form of ragged breathing and orgasmic waves of pleasure). Even now as I write this, with a minimal effort I can tune into pulsations which are rooted somewhere near the sex organ (sacral chakra?). For the past 10 days or so, I’ve tried to learn the different stages along the path, and how one feels moving between them as well as skipping from one to another. Concentration is strong and so I began trying to learn the first four Jhanas.

During the first few days, there were a lot of realizations. Along with the skeptical doubt being uprooted, the sense of self was greatly attenuated. It just seemed wispy and nothing seemed to stick: sensations, events, everything just seemed to flow through. The self never disappeared, but almost instinctively I understood it’s nature to be continually (re-)generated out of past and present causes and conditions (my view of a dependently originated self).

I was never one to cling to any rites or rituals, so I thought I had that one licked before I even started. Upon reflection, however, it was clear that a great part of my life was built around rites and rituals to soothe and salve. How many dhamma talks and books had I downloaded or bought (or downloaded surreptitiously) over the previous two years? Whatever compulsive behaviors I had adopted throughout my life, all of it came into question. Unwholesome acts were seen as ones to be abandoned.

In retrospect, it felt like I was in a highly functional altered state of mind for that first week. To be honest, there was just a hint of seeking for some of the more sublime sensations, and just a bit of nervousness about how long the review phase is going to last. I can’t force or make anything happen, but I did make a verbal resolution to familiarize myself with the stages and the four Jhanas.

I’ve come back down to earth a bit, and while the clarity of seeing suffering and joy in the mundane perfection of our world seems more like a memory now, I don’t see how I am not changed forever by this experience. That is probably the most important thing. Even if this doesn't turn out to be a realization of the dhamma, it is a huge turning point in my life.

With much respect to all those who have blazed trails for me, with whom I walk alongside and who are yet to come.

RE: I am Sotapanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
3/17/14 4:06 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
You are a what?

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/5/14 10:58 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
So, how's it going?

You might want to read Adyashanti's book, The End of Your World. It's all about the rather taboo subject of awakening and is meant to help those that have the experience. It can be quite shakey at first. Been there, done that. I felt like I was euphorically drunk for a good part of two years. 

Just be aware that it happens to ordinary people and it is probably harder for them to adapt than it is for a monastic. Your life gets confusing for some time afterwards.

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/6/14 12:22 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
Sounds like a classic kundalini type event.
-Eva

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/6/14 3:06 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
Howdy SS,
many of the great descriptions of your experiences are familiar to me. the euphoric rushes, the bliss waves, the dropping interest in rites and rituals, starting practice sessions with A&P, the attenuation of "self" etc. 

nevertheless i do not clearly experience cessation and the following nanas.  nor have i experienced clearly the 'by the numbers' climb through the nanas and the larger cycles of path1, path2 ...

so, am i sotapanna?  i dunno.  maybe.  i think that your absolute statement about abolishing doubt in the dharma is an excellent achievement / realization and that alone should carry you farther.

so wherever you are good work and keep it up!

tom

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/7/14 2:50 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
Thanks for the comments, one and all. Since March, I've continued to practice: daily sitting between 60-90 minutes, maybe a little more on the weekends. As everything calmed down and settled, the greatest change is the notable spaciousness about things, leading to a lot of joy in simply being.

I did wind up reading Adyashanti's The End of Your World, as well as Kornfield's After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and Smith's Awakening: A Paradigm Shift of the Heart. It put many things into perspective, but mainly that if it was a genuine awakening, great! ... more work to do. If not, well... more work to do :-)

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/6/14 10:03 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
Just curious what your bread and butter techniques are/were?  Also, did you have any "near misses" leading up the big one?  Like where something builds and feels like it might pop, but then your clinging gets in the way and the buildup fades.  I've had enough of those that they have almost become a realm of practice: staying equanimous at the brink of emptiness.

Congrats and keep us posted.

-T

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/7/14 2:57 AM as a reply to Teague.
Thanks! I'm really holding off till March 2015 to set the declaration in stone though ;-)...

As far as technique goes: what got me here is concentration using the breath as the object, insight using open awareness (more so than noting) and metta. Very early on, I realized that noting leaves me feeling very spun up, so I moved more towards open awareness (while still trying to catch the felt sense of the predominant object of attention).

I had a few near misses leading up to the moment of awakening, so I know that sensation you described so nicely. Reaffirming my commitment to the precepts and also reading an excellent older post (Tarin's slacker guide, maybe?) about relaxing and letting go seemed to grease the path. Letting go seems counterintuitive in a way, since the rest of the path up to that point seemed like a lot of hard work and striving to me. Nevertheless, let it all go and see what happens :-)

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/7/14 3:06 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Sounds like a classic kundalini type event.
-Eva
Yes, except that I haven't found a consistent definition for what makes up a "classic kundalini type event."

I asked four different Buddhist teachers here in the SF bay area about my so-called A&P event in December. Not a one pointed me towards kundalini, so thank goodness for the Internet to help thoroughly confuse me :-)

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/8/14 12:31 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
kundalini: a word for what we call the a&p

 when i read your description i thought, "a&p."

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/8/14 10:16 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
Small Steps:
Eva M Nie:
Sounds like a classic kundalini type event.
-Eva
Yes, except that I haven't found a consistent definition for what makes up a "classic kundalini type event."

I asked four different Buddhist teachers here in the SF bay area about my so-called A&P event in December. Not a one pointed me towards kundalini, so thank goodness for the Internet to help thoroughly confuse me :-)
I don't see much talk on kundalini in the meditation boards, it's just not a focus at all I guess.  Maybe it's just my impression, but most meditation groups seem almost exclusively mind and consciousness oriented with body stuff being sort of almost ignored as just a side effect that one should not get attached to.  Concentration is on what happens on the mat often with not much about what happens off the mat.  Or maybe that is partially an American habit with every activity kind of scheduled and segmented into its own slot.  Whereas in yoga schools, the movement of kundalini through the body is the main issue, blockages of the kundalini path causing 'dark night' type issues.  Emphasis almost exclusively on body stuff and body health, not so much mind stuff there other than fixing  your crap in general.  But apparently people do find enlightenment going that route too.  Might be interesting if someone where to actually think about combining the two to some extent.  I personally don't see much in either than would go against the other one.  And I do think that there is a physical process to enlightenment that follows certain commonalities between people and that emphasis on healthy living and fixing your crap are both good ideas for the overall path.  Of course you will also get the arguments about which chakra and meridian is what, all the typical arguing about details that goes on in any group..  

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/8/14 12:30 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
I guess it's luck of the draw who you wind up connecting with in these communities... I've taken yoga classes and spoken with yoga teachers and never gotten a hint of kundalini from them either. The focus on the subtle body is practically non-existant in more mainstream American venues, not surprisingly.

So, to relate my experience in the terms of kundalini... Someone with more experience or a better handle on the language, please feel free to correct this:

- My A&P last December was some kind of kundalini opening (presenting as very rough non-ejaculatory orgasmic waves).
- It was followed for a week or so by involuntary body spasms and residual visual and auditory oddness: kundalini moving through the body and encountering blockages?
- Between December and February, this calmed down a bit. In February, I was feeling peak-ish again, and I think I might have helped create another opening (by relaxing into it and just 'encouraging' it's arising). This was followed again by the same after effects (body spasms, etc)
- In March, another awakening of sorts, with the path between what I'm thinking is the sacral chakra and the crown chakra cleared out (resulting in possible 'stream entry'?)
- This was followed by eight days of very powerful after effects: bliss waves arising throughout the day, both on and off the cushion, enhanced concentration, ability to start each meditation with a very powerful presentation at the sacral chakra (kundalini says, "all systems go!")
- Eventually this came to a (kundalini) closure
- During a 7 day retreat in April, on night 2, I lay in bed and had another opening. As I sat for the rest of the week, I felt cycling and energy moving. On day 6, with paths sufficiently cleared again, I felt a rush of energy up the body, tingling along the sides of my neck, followed by a head rush that lasted two seconds, and then visual field strobing in and out for about two seconds. Felt pretty happy/serene/sated afterwards. Another movement of kundalini through a cleared path?
- Since then, with just a bit of experimentation I think I can almost re-create the opening at will now. Last times were late Monday and Tuesday nights. This most literally feels like 'mental masturbation,' though it's not nearly as ecstatic as the first few times. Following this, for the last few days, sitting meditation has again a more energetic feeling. Kundalini exasperatedly asks, "you... again?!?"

As an aside, I've heard warnings about not trying to force kundalini along, and I wonder if I'm somehow skirting something ontoward or potentially dangerous. However, if we weren't talking about kundalini, would any of this sound dangerous? In terms of progress of insight map e.g., I don't see any reference to opening energy channels. I'd have to look to kundalini or qi gong to learn about any of that. So, any monastics in Burma go nutty or crazy due to something like this, or are they all a little cuckoo? ;-)

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
8/8/14 2:03 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
Small Steps:
I guess it's luck of the draw who you wind up connecting with in these communities... I've taken yoga classes and spoken with yoga teachers and never gotten a hint of kundalini from them either. The focus on the subtle body is practically non-existant in more mainstream American venues, not surprisingly.

So, to relate my experience in the terms of kundalini... Someone with more experience or a better handle on the language, please feel free to correct this:

- My A&P last December was some kind of kundalini opening (presenting as very rough non-ejaculatory orgasmic waves).
- It was followed for a week or so by involuntary body spasms and residual visual and auditory oddness: kundalini moving through the body and encountering blockages?
- Between December and February, this calmed down a bit. In February, I was feeling peak-ish again, and I think I might have helped create another opening (by relaxing into it and just 'encouraging' it's arising). This was followed again by the same after effects (body spasms, etc)
- In March, another awakening of sorts, with the path between what I'm thinking is the sacral chakra and the crown chakra cleared out (resulting in possible 'stream entry'?)
- This was followed by eight days of very powerful after effects: bliss waves arising throughout the day, both on and off the cushion, enhanced concentration, ability to start each meditation with a very powerful presentation at the sacral chakra (kundalini says, "all systems go!")
- Eventually this came to a (kundalini) closure
- During a 7 day retreat in April, on night 2, I lay in bed and had another opening. As I sat for the rest of the week, I felt cycling and energy moving. On day 6, with paths sufficiently cleared again, I felt a rush of energy up the body, tingling along the sides of my neck, followed by a head rush that lasted two seconds, and then visual field strobing in and out for about two seconds. Felt pretty happy/serene/sated afterwards. Another movement of kundalini through a cleared path?
- Since then, with just a bit of experimentation I think I can almost re-create the opening at will now. Last times were late Monday and Tuesday nights. This most literally feels like 'mental masturbation,' though it's not nearly as ecstatic as the first few times. Following this, for the last few days, sitting meditation has again a more energetic feeling. Kundalini exasperatedly asks, "you... again?!?"

As an aside, I've heard warnings about not trying to force kundalini along, and I wonder if I'm somehow skirting something ontoward or potentially dangerous. However, if we weren't talking about kundalini, would any of this sound dangerous? In terms of progress of insight map e.g., I don't see any reference to opening energy channels. I'd have to look to kundalini or qi gong to learn about any of that. So, any monastics in Burma go nutty or crazy due to something like this, or are they all a little cuckoo? ;-)


You might be right on the average yoga schools, I have  most of my contacts online because while I'm interested in the theory and what might be happening, I don't actually do any yoga myself.  A while back, I found this site: http://www.swamij.com/kundalini-awakening-1.htm  which I found interesting.  If you read through, you'll see there are stages associated with specific mental states, and they talk about various mood tendencies (kinda like jhanas) and there are stages of cycling, etc.  From a very very general perspective, IMO they are barking up a similar tree to the 4 paths, but I don't know where their stuff came from way back in history and it may  have even developed from a similar source,  But you can see they kind of flip it on its ear with mental states considered a bit more of a side effect to the physical movement of energy, instead of the mental being the primary object of attention and the physical being almost ignored other than sitting straight.

One thing that really surprised me with this whole enlightenment thing, I guess I had gotten an assumption from the meditation people I knew locally that it would be kind of mental thing of loving kindness and whatnot.  I don't think those people had actually gotten to enlightenment though, I get that feeling now, so I would guess they were just repeating common lore on it themselves.  But actually to a large extent it has been oh so physical, kind of like the best feeling sex and drugs ever invented combined.  Mixed with times I felt like crap like I'd been run over by a truck.  Repeat that cycle for a long time!  ;-P  Seems like it's finally starting to even out now though.  But I do think that there is a huge physical aspect to it and some of that stuff from the website, at least at the general level do seem to be me like something like that might be happening in the process.  

As far as  'going too fast' with kundalini, in the yoga schools, there seems to be two basic attitudes towards that issue.  One seems to be more like run as fast as you can towards the wonderful enlightenment goal and deal with the aftermath later.  No pain no gain, life is short and it's worth it!  Another seems to be more like respect the kundalini and be cautious because you could really hurt yourself or go a little or even a lot insane in the membrane if you go too fast.  You can read the book by Gopi Krishna for free on the internet to get an idea of possible physical side effects.  I don't know if any school is fully in just one camp without considering the other camp, but you'll see quite a lot of variation between which side a group tends towards in that regard.  You'll find that like any subject, there tends to be a lot of between group disagreements and angst over all kinds of things including little tiny picayune stuff, so it can be hard to separate wheat from chaff. 

But I can certainly see how one might find it hard to resist that oh so good feeling that is like nectar of the gods and want to reach for it hell be damned like Gopi Krishna did that one time.  The thing is, I think we as a society know close to nothing about what is going on exactly.  Seems like the enlightenment systems have figured out ways that for some will yield a kind of evolution but knowledge of the specifics of what is going on is badly lacking.  Yes, I can certainly understand concerns about getting attached to side effects and weird sensations for fear of getting wrapped up in that to the neglect of further progress, but on the flip side, I am not sure that long term, to completely dismiss all those weird things as not important and to stifle curiosity about them completely is the best way to understanding and long term evolution as a society in general.

Oh yeah and edited to add: I also think that at least sometimes, you have to actually ask a senior person in a group if you want information on kundalini and/or more 'advanced' types of information.  Otherwise even if they have more information, they can sometimes assume you are not there yet or not ready or not interested so why bother.

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
9/12/14 11:22 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
My browser is flukey, so this may be a double post. Anyway...

small steps,
The time immediately following awakening can be confusing. Old thought and emotional patterns will break down and the world may seem new and unfamiliar in some ways. It is always good to rely on your basic training: RELAX AND LET IT GO.

Don't try to analyze your mind so deeply that it is no longer enjoyable.

Kundalini comes and goes. Confusion comes and goes. Euphoria comes and goes. Let them do what they do while you keep your mind relaxed, not grasping experience. And don't make any big plans right now. You will return to an approximation of your pre-awakened state, but with a more expansive and penetrating view. However, things will continue to unravel as your insight deepens. If it was a genuine awakening, that process is inevitable.

What are your feelings toward rites and rituals? How do you feel about your old notion of "self"? Do you have doubt about the veracity of Buddha's teaching?

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
9/14/14 2:47 PM as a reply to lance.
lance:
My browser is flukey, so this may be a double post. Anyway...

small steps,
The time immediately following awakening can be confusing. Old thought and emotional patterns will break down and the world may seem new and unfamiliar in some ways. It is always good to rely on your basic training: RELAX AND LET IT GO.

Don't try to analyze your mind so deeply that it is no longer enjoyable.

Kundalini comes and goes. Confusion comes and goes. Euphoria comes and goes. Let them do what they do while you keep your mind relaxed, not grasping experience. And don't make any big plans right now. You will return to an approximation of your pre-awakened state, but with a more expansive and penetrating view. However, things will continue to unravel as your insight deepens. If it was a genuine awakening, that process is inevitable.


This has very much been my experience over the past few months. I just take it all in as part of the continual unfolding process of life. It's a wonder, and I feel very grateful to be alive. Relax and let go is pretty much my working instruction set.

lance:

What are your feelings toward rites and rituals? How do you feel about your old notion of "self" Do you have doubt about the veracity of Buddha's teaching?


Rites and rituals: In the month or so after the awakening, there was a clear sense of purpose and understanding about what got me where I wound up and what didn't. Realistically, practice and real inquiry into the heart of the dharma is what will further my progress. The rest is window dressing, and I give myself some leeway to indulge in some aspects of it.

Self: There's a much more expansive feeling regarding the "self" in it's constituent parts. I have a better sense of how the aggregates interact and intersect with life as it continually arises and passes away. This has led to self judgments dropping to an all-time low. As the sense of "self" thins, there is more compassion and understanding for life.

There've been times where it completely drops away, and there's a sense of merging or just being part of the environment. This never lasts long, but it is inspiring. Pro-tip: Don't do this when driving.

There's also a curiosity regarding the idea of the conceits "I am," "I am less than," and "I am greater than." To that end, my relationship to social media changed dramatically. FB, Twitter and the rest just became really uninteresting.

Faith: This one hit almost immediately. "Wow, the path is real." I really have no doubts to speak of.

In the end, I still reserve the right to cancel this claim to attainment, as it really doesn't seem all that important any more (more lack of faith in rites and rituals?) Having the time and resources to practice, and the safety and ability to share in the dharma seems so much more meaningful.

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
9/14/14 8:26 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
I know what you mean about the faith hitting almost immediately. I thought, "Holy Cow, he isn't shitting us! It's just like he said. I better pay attention to what he said." 

So, awakening is cutting the first three fetters: rites and rituals, self-identity and doubt. According to the Pali Canon, it's three down, seven to go. Only seven more rebirths at most, none in the lower realms. Most likely some of those in the higher realms. Buddhahood guaranteed after seven rebirths at most. Reversal is impossible after awakening. 

The odd thing for me is that I certainly did not expect anything of the sort. I was unfamiliar with the Pali Canon and did not know the precursors to awakening. Now, when I read them I can't say I recognize them clearly. I did not think of myself as someone who had a mind capable of deep samadhi, but then, I don't know the mind states of others. I suppose I thought those necessary states were some kind of rarified spiritual conditions that I had not even begun to experience. Still, the awakening experience was absolutely unmistakable. 

It's been three years since then and at times now it seems like nothing happened, except my dharma b.s. detector is keen and I continually see flaws in myself and I am quietly happy in spite of what happens.

There was a shakey period of several months afterwards when It seemed like the dharma eye was closing, but I relaxed with that. Now, I don't have the huge emotional kick from the experience, but that is a relief. Things seem almost normal, but now I see my foibles as they arise and I see them as not-self. Now I notice they are just old habits and I see that they are dissipating. As the Buddha said, they will rot and fall away like old rigging on a sail boat. Once that process starts, it is irreversible. 


I don't have a teacher handy, but I found lots of things that helped thru the initial phase of awakening. You might find them helpful now. One is a free pdf, The Island available at:  http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=10&ref=deb
This pdf describes the fetters, their falling away and what you can expect. It will be very helpful to clarify your experience if you are at all like me. Dumbfounded that it happened to me, because if it happened to me it could happen to anyone. Then, too, the experience in itself pulls the rug out from under you.

One of the authors of The Island has a nice video regarding stream entry on YouTube at:
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YdRFlLupUM


Also on YouTube is another video regarding stream entry you might enjoy. I know I did. It's humorous to me the hear an Aussie give advice about stream entry, but he is quite learned, actually. Also, the introductory music is light-hearted and humorous. That's at:
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQYbwp4V3Js

I'd be interested to hear your description of your moment of awakening some time.

Hang in there!

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
4/6/15 12:29 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
Since it's been a bit over a year now, thought I'd weigh in with a few reflections.

Maybe it was SE, maybe not. As Daniel pointed out, might just have been a big A&P moment. I stopped caring some time during the past year, and just happily hop along the path now.

What seems more important: live ethically, practice every day, grow kinder. Maybe this is some maturation on a couple of different levels... Or maybe I'm just deluding myself and worries about attainments, path maps, etc. really are important ;-)

Will update my (not intentionally abandoned) practice log later.

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
12/14/17 10:53 PM as a reply to Small Steps.
I'm almost positive I experienced sotapanna for a few days but I think fear drove me out of it.Im working on the fear now.I can't be there now but I know it's true and there but I can't get there anymore or as long as I was at one point.Is it possible to experience it for a few days like I think I have?

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
12/15/17 2:07 AM as a reply to Jose.
It's a one way ticket, Jose. Look at the sufferings having attained stream-entry can release you from and strive towards those. Some forms of fear should go away as well. The attainment is meaningless by itself...

Much Metta to You

RE: I am Sotāpanna, and so can you ;-)
Answer
12/16/17 11:31 AM as a reply to Jose.
Jose, I've had two instances that I could have easily mistaken for awakening. However, at those times both Buddhism and meditation were unknown to me, so I did not interpret those instances as awakening. The first instance lasted for three months before it faded completely. It was characterized by great energy, telepathic ability and charisma. It was followed by a long period of negative emotions. The second instance lasted only three days, but the state of peace was remarkable. It was followed by only a mild longing after the loss of that state of peace. So, there are strong mental phenomena that can happen and can be difficult to interpret.

In awakening, your mind momentarily traverses the links of becoming in both directions, to Nirvana and back. That takes less than a second. After that, your mind begins examining and assessing what happened in those brief instants. Did that happen?

The best advice is to just maintain your practice and equanimity. Fear is the ego's last ditch defense. (A sotapanna is not yet completely free of fear, so it's presence is not necessarily an indicator, one way or the other.) In addition to maintaining your practice, you could seek out accounts of awakening. Adyashanti wrote a book of such accounts, "The End of Your World". YouTube has reliable teachings that discuss sotapanna, tho there is dreck there, too. I can point out some reliable sources if you are interested.

None of this is to say that you did not awaken, but what is more likely is that you experienced nimitta, such as I described in the two instances I experienced. There is a personal test you could use-- check to see if you understand connections between teachings. Do they now seem simple and obvious? Are the connections so obvious your earlier inability to see them as related is embarrassing? Do you wonder if what you experienced was different than what the Buddha experienced upon first awakening? Do you think that rites and rituals have inherent spiritual properties that lead to awakening? Be absolutely honest with yourself here, in spite of your fear, but give yourself some time to relfect and examine.

If you did not awaken, your experience might indicate that you are on a correct path in your practice. Not that all of your practice is perfect, but nimitta do arise along the Eightfold Path. You can take encouragement to keep going from that. 

I don't know what the other poster meant by saying that awakening, in itself, is meaningless. In the suttas, the Buddha regards awakening, in itself, as very significant. In fact, once awakened, one can expect only seven more rebirths at most, before on will become fully awakened, more or less, automatically. That is because the awakened mind's insight sees thru ego and awakened mind's wisdom abandons egoic attachments sooner or later. Those attachments will be seen as distasteful, unwholesome and dangerous. Awakening, in itself, is the only turning point that determines and guarantees your course toward full enlightenment. There is no other instant in this or any lifetime that is as significant as awakening.