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Samatha-Vipassana: Tranquillity and Insight, Hand-in-Hand

Looking for some pointers re: current practice

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Practice log, for reference

Initially my sits focused on developing concentrative awareness through observation of the breath. However, I've noticed a shift within the past couple weeks and am hoping for input from more experienced practitioners (read: just about everyone!)

First, object has shifted from the breath to stillness itself. This wasn't deliberate, and it took a couple sits to even realize what was happening. Lately, I relax directly into stillness from the word go. I might hit jhana, I might not. The sense of stillness is so nourishing and enveloping that I find myself mostly indifferent in that regard.

Secondly, with stillness as object, my "fields of experience" have broadened significantly. They tend to be much more spacious and inclusive (especially in contrast to breath as object). These fields form, expand, contract and eventually collapse entirely. Increasingly, awareness is drawn toward and rests within the shifting qualities of stillness and space that these fields create, more so than the comparatively frenetic activities of any "discrete" phenomena.

Briefly put, a shift from micro to macro. I hope that makes sense as I'm at a loss for how else to describe it.

All of this feels intuitive enough and the gains in concentrative steadiness are notable. I've hit a couple states as a result of this practice that were absolutely solid and imperturbable. Left to my own devices, I'd no doubt continue down this path. However, I can't quite shrug off the feeling that I might be fooling or otherwise short-changing myself, perhaps having veered too early from pure concentrative development. Or, is this a reasonable foundation from which to pursue insight?

Any and all thoughts welcome!

RE: Looking for some pointers re: current practice
Answer
3/30/14 12:26 AM as a reply to John M..
John M.:
First, object has shifted from the breath to stillness itself. This wasn't deliberate, and it took a couple sits to even realize what was happening. Lately, I relax directly into stillness from the word go. I might hit jhana, I might not. The sense of stillness is so nourishing and enveloping that I find myself mostly indifferent in that regard.

Secondly, with stillness as object, my "fields of experience" have broadened significantly. They tend to be much more spacious and inclusive (especially in contrast to breath as object). These fields form, expand, contract and eventually collapse entirely. Increasingly, awareness is drawn toward and rests within the shifting qualities of stillness and space that these fields create, more so than the comparatively frenetic activities of any "discrete" phenomena.

Briefly put, a shift from micro to macro. I hope that makes sense as I'm at a loss for how else to describe it.

All of this feels intuitive enough and the gains in concentrative steadiness are notable. I've hit a couple states as a result of this practice that were absolutely solid and imperturbable. Left to my own devices, I'd no doubt continue down this path. However, I can't quite shrug off the feeling that I might be fooling or otherwise short-changing myself, perhaps having veered too early from pure concentrative development. Or, is this a reasonable foundation from which to pursue insight?

Kinda sounds like Equanimity...a little insite; a dash of 3 C's and some EQ and BAM...you got a recipe for stream entry. The unfolding sounds like it's going well...see what comes up next. (could also be A&P depending on your jhanas definition)
This link came to mind.... - Herding chickens Kenneth Folk
Good luck,
~D

RE: Looking for some pointers re: current practice
Answer
3/30/14 3:36 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:

This link came to mind.... - Herding chickens Kenneth Folk

An extremely interesting read -- I have to say that this served to un-muddy the water. Thanks very much for passing it along.

I also went over the MCTB's descriptions of the nanas (material I hadn't revisited in some time) and Daniel's description of "formations" under Equanimity were eerily congruent with my own "fields of experience." Still, I tend to be reluctant to declare myself as experiencing any particular insight territory for fear of supplanting what is for what should be. After all, isn't a misapprehension of our interpretation of reality for reality itself the whole god damn problem?

That said, I popped through an A&P during a dream last night. Typical coursing, turbulent somatic energy stuff followed by a complete fracture and collapse of perceptual awareness, reminiscent of experiences one might encounter on psychedelics. Woke up to bliss waves for a short time thereafter and then immediately into dukkha nana territory. Rode these out doing samatha in savasana and it was oddly enjoyable in spite of the territory covered, like hearing a good ghost story. This morning I awoke in jhana with heavy piti and sukha, so dense I wasn't able to determine the position or location of my body for some time.

For the moment, feels an awful lot like equanimity, but who knows!