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Where on the insight map am I?
insight meditation map
Answer
3/22/14 4:33 PM
Background
I meditate in the Mahasi Sayadaw noting tradition with the abdomen as anchor and sometimes I practice 'choiceless awareness'.
During my first 10 day retreat I experienced a lot of pain during the first 3 days because I didn't had a proper meditation cushion and my legs didn't had support. So I suffered great pain, but suddenly in the evening of day 3 a shift had taken place during meditation. Almost all the pain was gone in just a second and the pain that didn't go away was reduced by at least 50%. I was calm and felt great. I quesss this was the 3th nana.
Before my second retreat I meditated a lot and noticed that I could see everything arise quickly.
During my second retreat I was meditating and suddenly I had a black out. When I came back I was overwhelmed with enthousiasme, rapture and bliss. Maybe 4th nana A&P.
After my second retreat I had a year of really changing moods in the negative way. I didn't want to go to school and work, but I just did. I told myself everytime 'everything is changing' 'this too shall pass'.
During my third retreat I prepared by meditating 6 hours a day a week before the retreat(offcourse I did also meditate one hour a day over the entire year) so I already had momentum during the retreat. But during the retreat I experienced a lot of sleepiness because I spend to much effort.
It was like Sayadaw U Tejaniya said in 'Food for thought':
22. The more you concentrate or focus on an object, the more energy you use. This makes the practice diffi cult and tiring. Your mindfulness may actually slacken. When you then become aware of this, you will probably try hard to build up the level of mindfulness again. Which, of course, means using even more energy, and this snowball effect burns you out during a long retreat. 23. When you put in too much effort to be mindful, you will spend your energy too quickly and therefore you will not be able to maintain mindfulness throughout the day. If you practise in a relaxed way, you will conserve energy and be able to practise for long periods of time. If you are a long term meditator you cannot afford to waste your energy. Meditation is a life long under taking; it is a marathon, not a 100 metre dash. 24. See each and every moment as a valuable opportunity for the
development of awareness but do not take the practice too seriously. If you are too serious about it, you become tense and are
no longer natural.


I took the practice to seriously and spend to much effort. That's why my mindfulness slacked and I became sleepy. The teacher could not help me, and said that it had to do with the first days on a retreat. But I already had momentum because of the intense practice before the retreat. So I decided that it was better to leave the retreat at day 4.

I have had pain in my butt, upperback and neck for more then one year(on and off). In my meditation I just got straight to my abdomen as anchor or was practicing 'choiceless awareness.' I accepted the pain and it was never as painfull as in the retreat so I didn't bother to investigate this pain for a long time. Sometimes I looked at the pain but never longer then a few minutes.

EDIT: I wrote more detail on the background after reading this: http://alohadharma.wordpress.com/the-map/equanimity-2/.
I thought that I was in 3 nana, because of the pain and stifness, but I read that this can also be the lower equanimity.
This made sense when I thought about my past experiences. I can look at the pain and then there will be vibrations, warm, moving. I can sit for more then one hour. There is much stifness but it doesn't bother me that much just as I descripted above.
I never saw lights, so I assumpted that I wasn't that far. The meditation sometimes was boring during the second retreat after the black out because I could note very much but there was nothing special after that. Maybe because the nana's/insights were not so spectaculair and just subtle I felt like I didn't made progress. I am still insecure though but can see the thougts and feelings and laugh at it. Sometimes I do things even if I feel insecure, I don't identify so much with my experience. But sometimes I still get a red head or are sweeting when talking to many people. Hmmm....what do you think?

RE: Where on the insight map am I?
Answer
3/22/14 8:58 PM as a reply to John Power.
John Power:
Background
During my first 10 day retreat I experienced a lot of pain during the first 3 days because I didn't had a proper meditation cushion and my legs didn't had support. So I suffered great pain, but suddenly in the evening of day 3 a shift had taken place during meditation. Almost all the pain was gone in just a second and the pain that didn't go away was reduced by at least 50%. I was calm and felt great. I quesss this was the 3th nana.

With the 3rd nana there is actually a lot of stiffness and pain, particularly in the neck and back. There may be irritability as well. I'd say the disappearance of your pain was likely the beginning of 4th nana, but could even be the first, Mind and Body. Can you describe this shift in a little more detail? emoticon

Before my second retreat I meditated a lot and noticed that I could see everything arise quickly.
During my second retreat I was meditating and suddenly I had a black out. When I came back I was overwhelmed with enthousiasme, rapture and bliss. Maybe 4th nana A&P.

A&P, definitely. Nice work!

After my second retreat I had a year of really changing moods in the negative way. I didn't want to go to school and work, but I just did. I told myself everytime 'everything is changing' 'this too shall pass'.

Dukkha nanas, as can be expected after A&P. Be present with the sensations, accept them, and keep noting.


During my third retreat I prepared by meditating 6 hours a day a week before the retreat(offcourse I did also meditate one hour a day over the entire year) so I already had momentum during the retreat. But during the retreat I experienced a lot of sleepiness because I spend to much effort.

Sleepiness could also be a part of EQ but it's impossible to know without a more detailed description of this retreat.

I took the practice to seriously and spend to much effort. That's why my mindfulness slacked and I became sleepy. The teacher could not help me, and said that it had to do with the first days on a retreat. But I already had momentum because of the intense practice before the retreat. So I decided that it was better to leave the retreat at day 4.

What led you to leave the retreat? Perhaps getting some extra sleep and backing off on the noting a little bit would be a better choice, but obviously you know the situation better than I do, so perhaps leaving was the wiser choice.


EDIT:I wrote more detail on the background after reading this: http://alohadharma.wordpress.com/the-map/equanimity-2/.
I thought that I was in 3 nana, because of the pain and stifness, but I read that this can also be the lower equanimity.
This made sense when I thought about my past experiences. I can look at the pain and then there will be vibrations, warm, moving. I can sit for more then one hour. There is much stifness but it doesn't bother me that much just as I descripted above.
I never saw lights, so I assumpted that I wasn't that far. The meditation sometimes was boring during the second retreat after the black out because I could note very much but there was nothing special after that. Maybe because the nana's/insights were not so spectaculair and just subtle I felt like I didn't made progress. I am still insecure though but can see the thougts and feelings and laugh at it. Sometimes I do things even if I feel insecure, I don't identify so much with my experience. But sometimes I still get a red head or are sweeting when talking to many people. Hmmm....what do you think?

Okay, so for me Equanimity was like this... I was in Re-Observation, my mind was like a washing machine from hell, where these negative mental states just kept cycling over and over. Then, somehow, everything became the same thing, and it felt like a knot came loose in my chest, and a fog lifted. When I say everything became the same thing, what I mean is that I could look at a table and a pillow somehow they were both made of the same suchness. There was profound equilibrium. Does this make sense?

Being bored after A&P is typical of the 5th nana, Dissolution, the "couch potato" stage.

Your retreat history is interesting but that is the past... How are things now? Are you still practicing?

E

RE: Where on the insight map am I?
Answer
3/23/14 3:40 AM as a reply to Eric M W.
Eric MW
With the 3rd nana there is actually a lot of stiffness and pain, particularly in the neck and back. There may be irritability as well. I'd say the disappearance of your pain was likely the beginning of 4th nana, but could even be the first, Mind and Body. Can you describe this shift in a little more detail? emoticon


Well before the retreat I only meditated for half a year for 30 minutes a day. In the retreat I didn't had proper sitting material.
I had pain in my lower back, upper back, neck, upper legs, lower legs, feet. It was just hell, but I continued. I also had much emotions of sadness and desire to leave, but also the desire to get rid of my suffering, that was why I did a retreat in the first place. I was with my dad and he snores really loud so that frustrated me. I couldn't sleep in fast. I cried in front of the mirror but also laughed a bit after that. I felt like I couldn't take it any longer and I didn't made progress and I talked to the teacher. He said that this is something that he and everyone has been going through and that progress is like a wave, ups and downs, everytime. There is no bad meditation, every meditation is valuable. So I kept going and going.
In the evening after the dhamma talk I sad and had a lot of pain but suddenly the pain vanished and I thought 'the pain is not so bad!'. I investigated the places were normally the pain would have been and were the pain was strongly reduced. I felt a great relieve and had a lot of joy investigating the differents in the body.
-> Maybe I will explain this further when I am home and have acces to my notes.

Eric M W
Dukkha nanas, as can be expected after A&P. Be present with the sensations, accept them, and keep noting.


Actually now I think about it, during the second retreat after the black out, there were a lot of emotions and I told to myself 'This too shall pass'. Then when I left the retreat, I thought I didn't made progress because I just experienced one 'special' thing and the rest of the retreat were changing emotions. Like I said when back in daily life, the changing emotions kept coming. In the morning I felt like I don't want to go to work and school, an hour later I was joyfull, a few hours later there was another emotion.

Eric M W
Sleepiness could also be a part of EQ but it's impossible to know without a more detailed description of this retreat.


I signed in for a retreat with a certain teacher, but the teacher was ill and the substituut-teacher didn't 'matches' with me.
But nevertheless I kept doing the work, but like I said I prepared with a lot of meditation and had gained momentum already.
At the first day I already wanted to leave. There was a strong aversion towards meditation, but I decided to stay and see how it plays out. I was getting sleepy and tense, but I still had momentum and could note almost everything. When I sat I couldn't concentrate long on my abdomen and there was a vage image and sometimes it seemed like I was moving, when my body was not. But I didn't had rapture or joy, I just noted it and returned to my abdomen, but vage thoughts come and my attention went to the thoughts. I was dull and sleepy, but off the cushion could notice many things. In walking meditation there were also a lot of thoughts and I noticed them and get back to the feet. I thought to myself 'how can this happen, my mindfulness is worse then at home'. The teacher just told me that it was because of the first days that you get sleepy and because of the new environment. I felt so much aversion to meditation and desire to go home, that I packed my backs and went to the teacher.
The teacher said that thought about it and how it can be like this while 'you are trying so hard'. He said: try to do nothing special, just walk and sit sometimes and see how it will go tomorrow. I had so much desire to go home and that is what I did, because I didn't think this would work out well.
Looking back, I maybe should have tried the doing nothing and then I could go home the next day if it didn't worked out.
But looking back is easy and at that moment this was the decision I made, and it is unwholesome to feel bad about it.
I actually feel pretty good about it that I had the courage to do what I then thought that was wise.

Eric M W
What led you to leave the retreat? Perhaps getting some extra sleep and backing off on the noting a little bit would be a better choice, but obviously you know the situation better than I do, so perhaps leaving was the wiser choice.


See the answer above.

Eric M W
Okay, so for me Equanimity was like this... I was in Re-Observation, my mind was like a washing machine from hell, where these negative mental states just kept cycling over and over. Then, somehow, everything became the same thing, and it felt like a knot came loose in my chest, and a fog lifted. When I say everything became the same thing, what I mean is that I could look at a table and a pillow somehow they were both made of the same suchness. There was profound equilibrium. Does this make sense?

Being bored after A&P is typical of the 5th nana, Dissolution, the "couch potato" stage.

Your retreat history is interesting but that is the past... How are things now? Are you still practicing?


I am still practicing, see my practice log: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5333256
But until I read the article about lower equanimity I thought I was at the 3C's nana, but while reading I remembered more of my past experiences and how they fit. I didn't want to read all the insights because I thought they may be to distracting for my practice but was interested in equanimity I thought that it couldn't hurt because I was just at the 3C's.
So I didn't read about the dukkha nanas yet, because I am not sure yet were 'this process of experiences that are arising and passing away called JP' stands.
I try to be mindful during the day as much as possible and next to that try to meditate one hour a day. Or more if possible.

RE: Where on the insight map am I?
Answer
3/23/14 7:58 AM as a reply to John Power.
John Power:

In the evening after the dhamma talk I sad and had a lot of pain but suddenly the pain vanished and I thought 'the pain is not so bad!'. I investigated the places were normally the pain would have been and were the pain was strongly reduced. I felt a great relieve and had a lot of joy investigating the differents in the body.
-> Maybe I will explain this further when I am home and have acces to my notes.

I suspect 3C's -> immature A&P. It sounds like a positive shift, at any rate. Progress!

Actually now I think about it, during the second retreat after the black out, there were a lot of emotions and I told to myself 'This too shall pass'. Then when I left the retreat, I thought I didn't made progress because I just experienced one 'special' thing and the rest of the retreat were changing emotions. Like I said when back in daily life, the changing emotions kept coming. In the morning I felt like I don't want to go to work and school, an hour later I was joyfull, a few hours later there was another emotion.

I struggled with oscillating highs and lows in the dark night as well.

Eric M W
Sleepiness could also be a part of EQ but it's impossible to know without a more detailed description of this retreat.


I signed in for a retreat with a certain teacher, but the teacher was ill and the substituut-teacher didn't 'matches' with me.
But nevertheless I kept doing the work, but like I said I prepared with a lot of meditation and had gained momentum already.
At the first day I already wanted to leave. There was a strong aversion towards meditation, but I decided to stay and see how it plays out. I was getting sleepy and tense, but I still had momentum and could note almost everything. When I sat I couldn't concentrate long on my abdomen and there was a vage image and sometimes it seemed like I was moving, when my body was not. But I didn't had rapture or joy, I just noted it and returned to my abdomen, but vage thoughts come and my attention went to the thoughts. I was dull and sleepy, but off the cushion could notice many things. In walking meditation there were also a lot of thoughts and I noticed them and get back to the feet. I thought to myself 'how can this happen, my mindfulness is worse then at home'. The teacher just told me that it was because of the first days that you get sleepy and because of the new environment. I felt so much aversion to meditation and desire to go home, that I packed my backs and went to the teacher.
The teacher said that thought about it and how it can be like this while 'you are trying so hard'. He said: try to do nothing special, just walk and sit sometimes and see how it will go tomorrow.

One of the paradoxes of the DN is that you feel like your mindfulness is crap, but in reality your mindfulness is just fine, it's just that the center is murky but the periphery is wide and complex. I suspect part of it may have been normal sleepiness due to the retreat schedule as well.

[quoteI had so much desire to go home and that is what I did, because I didn't think this would work out well.
Looking back, I maybe should have tried the doing nothing and then I could go home the next day if it didn't worked out.
But looking back is easy and at that moment this was the decision I made, and it is unwholesome to feel bad about it.
I actually feel pretty good about it that I had the courage to do what I then thought that was wise.
You are right, there is no sense in feeling bad about it, it is what it is. There's really no way of knowing which was the better decision, but you stuck by what you felt was the better one, and that's what matters. emoticon

I try to be mindful during the day as much as possible and next to that try to meditate one hour a day. Or more if possible.

That's good, keep on truckin.'