RE: Trying to make sense of past experience

sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Trying to make sense of past experience

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
Jon Berghain:
I know I didn't reach Stream Entry but I believe I reached Equanimity and now I guess I am back looking for another A&P, given what happened was an A&P. Could be some dopamine overload crap too? Fact is I don't know. Maybe you guys have a clue? Is it possible to have an A&P even if it happens in the context I was in?


You are probably the best person to judge what the experience was. Conceptualising it as an A&P makes sense, given your description, and gives you a way of thinking about the experiences before and after (in the sense of stages of insight), but in your descriptions, you haven't talked much about "insight" (into yourself, your mind, the world etc..) associated with the before, during and after experiences.

You often hear people describe their first "A&P" as under the influence of drugs (e.g. LSD or whatever). I have a naturalistic perspective on this (so bear in mind this is just my take), and so "some kind of dopamine overload crap" is probably a pretty good description of what an "A&P" is, at one impoverished level of description. So it is a bunch of neurochemicals in your brain getting released in quantities outside the range of normal experience, and A&P "type" experiences may be be triggered by a variety of circumstances and factors (which include neuropsychiatric disorders, drugs, intensive meditation etc...). But what makes considering it as an "A&P" interesting, is that rather than some kind of brain fart, it can be considered part of a predictable set of experiences (and insights) associated with the stages of insight. Specifically, insight into the arising and passing away of mental phenomena.

Glad those articles helped, as there is some good and sensible advice in there I think. In one sense engaging in intensive meditation (and with taking recreational or non-recreational drugs) is "messing with your mind" and can have profound consequences so obviously if you are bipolar you need to careful. You say that you could get hypomania "despite meditation", before yet it seems like (based on some of those articles) that (hardcore) meditation could also be a risk factor for hypomania. Could you perhaps say why you are looking for another A&P? Your description describes some (possible) positive long term consequences of that particular event, yet also you describe a lot of negative aspects to it. So am curious to know what you are looking for and if you would want to repeat something like that?
Jon Berghain, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Trying to make sense of past experience

Posts: 2 Join Date: 3/21/14 Recent Posts
Thanks for the reply!

If what I experienced was the A&P I feel that I didn't follow through as I could have. I kept a daily journal and I kept on meditating (after a weeks break). When I go back to it now I can see that I had some experiences that map out with the stages following the A&P but I didn't go all the way. Perhaps I am still in the Dark Night, I don't know, but it was really bad for a while and then it went more or less over. But I have no clue to be honest.

All in all it doesn't really matter what it was or where I am. All I have to do is keep on practicing and just be mindful and observe. Chances are it was just a freak accident, a brain fart, a dopamine overload crap or whatever. I don't know and posting here was some form of last resort on trying to get an angle on it. But ultimately it doesn't matter. I am much better equipped now reading through parts of this forum & the articles and of course also the MCTB itself.

But I must say, starting to meditate has been the best thing for me in regards to my mental health and personal exploration. The amount of 'mental chatter' that went through my mind 2 years ago was absurd to say the least. I went from seeing my condition as some form of mystical force driving through me to just having an overactive mind that couldn't be quiet and so reached either manic peaks or depressive slopes.

You are right that I have to take care of my mind. I like to think that I do but the recent cocktail was a bit too much. I am off the Wellbutrin now as I mentioned. I have also cut back on cannabis but I will probably never go completely without it. In the past I experimented with all sorts of drugs. I had a naive hope that a real intense trip would kick my mind into order but it never happened. That is when I decided to give meditation an honest try, to make a practice out of it. And if I ever have kids the two things I will have to teach them is how to meditate and how to be a good person and funny enough they seem to go hand in hand.