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Jhana Question
Answer
7/4/14 10:22 AM
Hello,
I've been consistent with a daily 30 minute - 1hour Anapanasati routine for over a year and would like to begin Vipassana. While I can proficiently maintain awareness on the sensation of breath at the point between the nostrils, considering long, short, light, heavy - I have yet to experience any visual Jhana. About 10 minutes into meditation I do experience a strong sensation of "fullness" in my head that persists until I end my session. I feel like there is something specific I should do to progress further; but I don't know what it is. Any advice?

RE: Jhana Question
Answer
7/4/14 12:08 PM as a reply to Jim Bracken.
Hi Jim,

Love your "introverts unite" avatar.

So as a complement  to Pawel's experience, what I would do in this (and have done for "iron skull" or "octopus on my head" feeling) is just let it be, no special attention, no investigation. Just let it be. For me I came to know this sensation as anticipation; by focusing on it as if it was something that held something special to it, it just made it more there. To me, byy practicing the brain comes to know there's a goal and you're working on it and "we're gonna get something outta this." So pressure is building up for that BREAKTHROUGHMOMENT (caps).

For me, it was absolutely when I completely just sat (out of habit) with no expectation that the brain-knot really loosened usefully away from controlling. I had the feeling of giving up and just sat one full moon morning looking at the moonlight on water. Imagine it you were in a system that taught "Running five miles o hurdles every day is a systematic means of ending dukkha" so we run those hurdles every day for a year; it's interesting, there are highs and lows, but at the end of 12 months, we're just like, "Whaaat? Nada. Nothing happened." So we stop for three weeks out of just give-up-ness. Then one morning, the air is nice and out of habit we just go run hurdles, no expectation. And that run, or one just like it, just that practice plain and pleasant, *poof* something useful clicks on its own (through the prior discipline).So the practice eventually let's go of itself into something useful like only that. There is no way I could've have given up like that dliberately. I had to get to "give up" via strong, long effort then complete nearly dejected giving up. : ) My two cents. (and this continues to be my practice, the beginning all over again, in sum). One thing I think I know is that people generally have a next step/practice effort in mind for themselves, which is perfectly apt for themselves.
____ 
So if you do vipassana now, it would be the discipline phase, wherein some people do experience the "let go" right in the middle of strong effort, e.g, retreat periods, consistent suffusive home pratice, and other people experience the "let go" and the insight sometime after the discipline/adopting new disciplines/repeat.
Good luck.

RE: Jhana Question
Answer
7/4/14 5:53 PM as a reply to Jim Bracken.
DISLEXICS of the Wold UNTIE!

If you want visual experiences, take a visual object. Try candle-flame meditation: look at the flame for a while, close your eyes, concentrate on what emerges where the flame was, when it fades or is gone, open your eyes, look at the flame, close your eyes, concentrate on what visually emerges, repeat again and again and again and again. Also, when waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night, pay attention to the colors on the back of your eyelids and play with those.

Second, concentration is not necessarily enough to get jhana. You must incline to jhana, incline to bliss, incline to silence, incline to rapture, incline to stuff that feels good, and resolutions for those things to arise helps, and taking any little bit of them as object and building it up to more than it started out being also helps.

RE: Jhana Question
Answer
7/7/14 6:12 AM as a reply to Jim Bracken.
I personally like:  Dyslexics of the world UNTIE!

but i digress...actually my opinion falls on the side of Katy here.  i read a post here recently in which Nikolai chimed in on this theme and pointed to the following external post:
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/yogi-tool-box-letting-go-approach-to.html

its an approach i have been using for a while now and believe it to be the right way to deal with this as the other way (deeper concentration, vipassana) tended to solidify these types of sensations for me.  i had been clinging to the belief that these sensations were a sign of progress and so should be fostered instead of just noted with equanimity.

good luck

tom

RE: Jhana Question
Answer
7/7/14 8:18 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
DISLEXICS of the Wold UNTIE!

If you want visual experiences, take a visual object. Try candle-flame meditation: look at the flame for a while, close your eyes, concentrate on what emerges where the flame was, when it fades or is gone, open your eyes, look at the flame, close your eyes, concentrate on what visually emerges, repeat again and again and again and again. Also, when waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night, pay attention to the colors on the back of your eyelids and play with those.

Second, concentration is not necessarily enough to get jhana. You must incline to jhana, incline to bliss, incline to silence, incline to rapture, incline to stuff that feels good, and resolutions for those things to arise helps, and taking any little bit of them as object and building it up to more than it started out being also helps.

Came here to say this. A candle flame or kasina object is best for visual imagery during jhana. I also was going to recommend watching the backs of the eyelids but it looks like Daniel beat me to that one too. emoticon

Also, keep a dream journal and do some Active Imagination. These will really flex your inner eye muscles.