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A&P or Stream Entry?
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4/20/14 6:47 AM
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5430222

I'll start by linking my other thread in case it helps to understand my current situation. It's actually kind of funny timing that this new event happened so soon after I posted that thread, but weird/significant timing seems to be a thing for me, haha...

Anyway, long story short so you can TL/DR my epic novel, I've been operating under the assumption that I already crossed A&P territory because of an experience I had around new years. The main feature of that experience was a cascading flood of rapturous and pleasant feelings followed by a few hours of complete emotional relief. I sat around for most of the night just fascinated by how good I felt. I wasn't formally meditating when the experience happened, I was actually trying to let go of anxiety (a common problem for me and a driving force behind why I'm practicing).

After this experience things didn't change too dramatically for me, but it's possible I went through DN symptoms. It was hard for me to tell because I already had a lot of DN style issues with my "normal" emotional state. I should mention that, even though I was meditating on a daily basis, I really hadn't done much research into Buddhism in general, so I wasn't expecting anything like what happened. After it happened, though, I started practicing in earnest and was able to repeat the experience regularly - though often at a lower intensity. The emotionless/relieved feeling began showing up randomly in daily life, and my anxiety in general seemed to be getting a lot better, though there were still bad days. Forr a while I've been having interesting experiences during meditation where my boundaries dissolved, and I was thinking I was practicing jhana and hitting formless realms.

Recently a new quality of experience emerged in daily life that's like a quiet contentment. In my other thread, Katy pointed out to me that this was probably high equanimity. This led me to wonder what would happen if I tried letting go of this experience in the same way I'd been treating my anxiety.

Anyway, as I was laying in bed the other day, I felt very relaxed, and my mind was kind of drifting in an unfocused way. I think I was in a formless experience because I had little body sensation. I don't really remember my state of mind, specifically, because I was so relaxed. I was just watching the swirling purple blobs that were moving around in the darkness behind my eyes. Then it felt like I fell backwards and imploded. At some point before or after the implosion there was a ring of light, and then my whole body jerked and I came back to reality. It was a really bizarre feeling, like everything was ripped away and there was nothing left. When I came out of it there wasn't any kind of blissful afterglow, more like a kind of sick or unpleasant feeling.

I went back and read the MCTB chapters on the nanas, and some things caught my eye.

When the emptiness door predominates with suffering as its second aspect, then a very strange thing happens. There is an image on one side staring back, and then the universe becomes a toroid (doughnut), and the image and this side of the toroid change places as the toroid universe spins. The spinning includes the whole background of space in all directions. Fruition occurs when the two have changed places and the whole thing vanishes.


Could this have been the ring of light I saw?

The suffering door aspect has to do with fundamental attachment, dropping attachment like a hot coal that one finally realized one was holding, really letting go...


"Letting go" describes the whole of my practice.

When the suffering door aspect predominates with impermanence present, then the three moments in which the universe is ripped away from us are distinct. When the suffering door predominates, the experience is always a bit creepy.


I don't remember three distinct moments, but it felt just how this is described. I felt like everything vanished because my body/mind had imploded and there was nothing left. It seemed pretty clear that it was a non-experience, but it all happened pretty quickly so it's hard to say for sure. It was very dramatic, though, like being smashed - not a blip so much as a BOOM.

Anyway, I haven't been able to repeat it, but it's only been a day or so. The after effects of the event left me in a state of hyper-awareness. I was trying to fall asleep, but I felt like I was hyped up on caffeine and my mind was glued into the present moment. I also couldn't really tell how I felt. I felt kind of afraid/disturbed, but it wasn't really a feeling, more like a physical sensation thrumming away in my chest. My head was just kind of empty. Yesterday and today I've had a kind of unsettled feeling, too, so it's been hard to find a state of mind relaxing enough to repeat the event, but TBH, I'm not sure I even want to... O_O

So what do you guys think? SE, A&P, or none of the above? Maybe I'm just finally getting into the dark night and have been clinging to A&P stuff?

RE: A&P or Stream Entry?
Answer
4/20/14 4:35 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Alright, A&P can include "unknowing" events that mirror fruition. This makes it very tricky. Fortunately, there are a number of clues in your post that can help sort this out.

I've been operating under the assumption that I already crossed A&P territory because of an experience I had around new years. The main feature of that experience was a cascading flood of rapturous and pleasant feelings followed by a few hours of complete emotional relief.

This does sound A&Pish. However, there is no sign of the following DN stages afterwards, though you did say that it is a possibility. Tentative guess would be immature A&P, especially considering...

The emotionless/relieved feeling began showing up randomly in daily life, and my anxiety in general seemed to be getting a lot better, though there were still bad days.

Doesn't sound very much like the usual Dark Night pattern.

Anyway, as I was laying in bed the other day, I felt very relaxed, and my mind was kind of drifting in an unfocused way. I think I was in a formless experience because I had little body sensation. I don't really remember my state of mind, specifically, because I was so relaxed. I was just watching the swirling purple blobs that were moving around in the darkness behind my eyes. Then it felt like I fell backwards and imploded. At some point before or after the implosion there was a ring of light, and then my whole body jerked and I came back to reality. It was a really bizarre feeling, like everything was ripped away and there was nothing left. When I came out of it there wasn't any kind of blissful afterglow, more like a kind of sick or unpleasant feeling.

The Three Doors are silent and subtle. In fact, it takes a good deal of concentration skills to even perceive them, particularly in the earlier paths. This experience, however, seemed rather dramatic. Especially the ring of light, bright lights tend to be very A&P.

Now, what's interesting is how you feel *after* this experience. The sick and unpleasant feeling is textbook Dissolution, entrance to the Dark Night. The hyper-awareness/anxious feeling is almost certainly the 6th nana, Fear, which of course follows right after Dissolution.

I can say with a fair degree of certainty that you are in the Dark Night. Nice, yes? Complex harmonics, interesting periphery. Sure, the emotional/psychological stuff can be unpleasant but that's what this is all about, coming to know the extent of our suffering and then using that knowledge to overcome it. Stick with physical sensations, keep practicing, you will be in EQ in no time.

Keep in touch.