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Pulses, shifts and judders (continued) - any advice welcome

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Dear All,
 
In January this year I wrote an account of ‘pulses, shifts and judders’ that I have experienced since completing first path last year [http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5147768]. I’ve recently returned from a two week retreat where I was mainly working on shamata and the effects are now more pronounced than before and I would welcome any advice.
 
By way of background, whilst the fruition I experienced last year had the hallmarks of EQ/blip/bliss wave and notable after effects [http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4463897] the increased existential angst/anxiety that followed took me by surprise [http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4608704]. Quite a few on DhO subsequently advised me to concentrate on shamata practice, which felt noticeably harder as though any previous ability had disappeared. With that in mind, on this last retreat, I really took it upon myself to work on following the breath as well as developing metta (in separate sits). After a few days I became more absorbed with first jhana being my usual staging ground (and much ‘harder’ than before). Most interestingly (for me) was the fact that shamata jhana started to present quite differently. What I mean is that when I became absorbed on the breath, it was clearer that in reality there is no breath (other than noticeable bodily movements of breathing). The truth of not-self also became as obvious as it ever did in high-EQ before fruition last year. Overall, it felt like vipassana was informing the shamata experience? Rather like summoning a lift and then stepping out into an empty shaaaaaafffttt!
 
Similar to my report in January this year, I also started to experience notable pulses/ ‘phases’ during my day-to-day. As before, they were/are hard to describe but one analogy would be standing on a boat navigating a strong swell but believing I was on land. Waiting for the bus the other day and leaning against a post (resting on my sitting bones, standing just off perpendicular) set up a constant sensation of pulses so that they almost merged as one. Even sitting here now and resting my hands between typing shifts me into the same phenomena – like the experiential reality of ‘space’ is no longer a constant plane but one with waves gently rolling along it, coming to meet ‘me’. Possibly unfolding into something new…
 
I realise that overall, it’s just more phenomena to note and investigate but it sure is odd. Going out on a limb I wonder if I am starting to experience more clear shifts between the vipassana jhanas or even nanas? (Certainly Dream Walker said he noticed similar pulses/shifts during moves between the v. jhanas). I ask this because whilst many report after first path they learn to navigate the nanas during review (and call them up at will), I’ve not been able to. At times, this has led me to question my belief that I experienced fruition last year but things have been markedly different since the event (now over a year since) that I know something has changed irreversibly. Another alternative is the start of second path, certainly my left trapezius muscle has been incredibly tight and painful recently? Of course, I may also just have an inner-ear infection?! Although, joking aside, I doubt that ;)
 
Once again, any help would be greatly appreciated. Please note, the effects aren’t causing me any suffering but are just a fascinating/weird experience! Overall, the last retreat has helped a lot to boost my confidence and greatly reduce (accept) the painful existential feelings that have come up since last year.
 
Thanks again,
 
Nick

RE: Pulses, shifts and judders (continued) - any advice welcome
Answer
6/16/14 6:09 PM as a reply to Nick Green.
Whew....that was a reading fest and a half...with following all your links...and they have links too...wow...nice rabbit hole of history.
Here is one more possibility that came to mind. (I hate to be all liberal but I usually am) You may be close to third path.
You can't get to third doing what you did to get to first and second in that the cycles of progress do not lead to that particular selfing process.
Go to this thread - Looking for help getting to 3rd path
I would start with happiness at the belly to get to second jhana and move to metta heart center for third....calm into EQ and then -
I tried vipasannaizing three proprioceptive sensations of self in space
  1. The sensations that suggest a center point
  2. The sensations that suggest an outside limit of the self/body...(check the skin and right above the skin)
  3. The sensations that suggest a personal bubble of 'your" space.

I applied the three C's liberally to each...over and over as I could tease out the sensations.
I also did and still do the panoramic vision thing....still doing it a lot....trying to put everything into it to get to nondual. Kinda having some luck finally teasing out some sensations of dual....just a little this vs that showing up...spinning that...playing around with how I put what where....investigating space, investigating rules, breaking rules,  questioning why thoughts feel here and not there...etc
Good luck,
~D
EDIT: I might be totally wrong on where you are but I see no harm in noting sensations of the sense of self as they arise....see what you can see.

RE: Pulses, shifts and judders (continued) - any advice welcome
Answer
6/17/14 6:54 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Hi Dream Walker,
 
First of all, thanks very much for your reply and the fact that you read through all the links. I posted them for info if required but thanks again – much appreciated at this end! You know, whilst I haven’t considered myself in third path territory, much that you write resonates with recent practice. I have previously read that useful 3rd path post you highlight and the advice therein (in particular, I was deeply moved by “see those patterns in the head, chest, stomach, throat, etc. as more shifting, fresh patterns: that freshness keeps you honest, keeps you really paying attention in that slightly violating, slightly personally-taboo way that really helps in the end”).
 
Probably with that advice in mind, on the last retreat after getting somewhat absorbed, I started playing with/looking for the felt sense of space around me (i.e. with my eyes shut, what in my experience tells me that I’m sitting in an open and spacious meditation room)? After locating the sensations, I started to investigate their impermanent and not-self character… at first this caused me to freak out a little as it felt like the whole of space was closing in (like the walls in the Star Wars film)! However, my meditation interviewer reminded me that the sensations of ‘freak out’ could similarly be investigated, which led to some real fun…
 
Just as you advise, applying the three C’s to each started to open things up in new and fascinating ways. Being a controller/perfectionist by nature, it was also lovely to explore these sensations of desire as rules started to be seen through. Now that you mention it all, I wouldn’t be surprised if this work has led to more of what I describe in my first post (i.e. internal pulses, shifts and movements).
 
Anyway, how great to enjoy the exploration on and off the cushion and to see where it may go. After a year of pretty strong angst, it’s been lovely to feel less vulnerable and more interested in experiencing the here and now emoticon
 
Thanks again,
 
Nick