Jen Pearly's Practice Journal - Discussion
Jen Pearly's Practice Journal
Something happened August 8, 2014, that I and a number of other here think was likely stream entry. I'm not running over to the attainments section to claim attainment, because (1) I don't feel the need to, (2) I take seriously Daniel's warnings that even people of much higher attainments are fooled, (3) I'm confused about some of the ways my happening didn't mesh with MCTB descriptions, and (4) if I'm "experiencing" fruitions, I'm totally unaware of them.
So I'll backtrack and lay out some basics: what my practice was like, recent cycle history, the happening of August 8, and what I've noticed since then.
But first I'm going to go watch The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Demension.
I've been meditating for 3 years, never been on retreat, and rarely sit more than 30 minutes a day and only a few times a week. I experienced A&P phenomena during the second or third time I ever sat. Beginner's luck, I guess.
From April through July 2013 I was in a clear A&P phase, with lucid dreaming many nights, culminating in the A&P Event during one of these dreams, in which I meditated. I had all the zealot post-A&P clarity that is classic, and from that point on had intense faith in my eventual awakening. Exactly a week later, and almost a year to the day before this possible SE event I'll describe, I entered DN and cycled around in that twice at the macro level until the second week of June 2014, when it broke and low EQ began.
By the way, I've always been much better able to see the cycling at the macro level than at any micro level--I don't really notice cycling within a single sit--I'm just wherever I am at the macro level throughout the sit, so far as I've been able to tell. Now, during the DN macro cycle from February to June, I did for the first time start clearly noticing a diurnal cycle, with the worst DN around 6 or 7 p.m. each evening. This past DN was so horrible that I entered into severe agitated depression for the first time in 15 years and went on SNRI antidepressants, which helped a ton once they finally kicked in. Otherwise, I may well have ended up on a psyche ward.
From the second week in June, when antidepressants began working, I steadily climbed to High EQ, all the while seeing/hearing/feeling (but mainly seeing) MCTB type "formations," although without being able to clearly see the beginnings and endings . . . until August 8, when things changed and I could suddenly see the beginnings and endings clearly. I saw formations at every single sit for 2 months straight and experienced all the other characteristics of EQ, but assumed that I would fall back down the through the earlier stages again because, honestly, I've put very little total time into my formal practice (yeah, I'm a lazy Buddhist).
Meditation Practice "Techniques"
I'm not precise or purist about technique. I'm not a "noter" at all: I find labeling sensations in "noting" to be a frustrating slog. What I try to do is "notice," meaning that I observe the 3Cs, especially impermanence, without labeling. I pick skin sensation, or hearing, or seeing and just tune completely in. Impermanence will show itself right off the bat--at least it did for me--as flickers, vibrations, nonsolidity. As I've discussed with Eric, I did experience Mind & Body, Cause & Effect, and 3C when I first started insight practices, but, oddly, my experiences started with A&P (second or third sit ever). So it was like this:
I never experienced M&B, C&E, or 3Cs again, only one cycle. Furthermore, After the second A&P above, I never ever experienced any of those early nanas for even a minute during any sit. My sits always began with A&P, always. The fact that my second or third meditation ever started right up with bright, dramatic lights and intense bliss, and the fact that apparently SE happened with less than 100 meditation hours in from practice start to finish, makes me really wonder how much of my prior nonpractice life I've spent cycling and not known it. Can one be accruing insights and not be conscious of that fact? Or maybe there are past lives in some energetics sense, and I'm picking up where the last host left off? Hahahaha!
During a sit, before I ever start "noticing," I enter calm concentration by following the meditation guidance of Thanissaro Bhikkhu. He translated one of his teacher's brief meditation manuals, called Keeping the Breath in Mind. That's basically my technique: TB with "noticing" embedded within TB's framework, which involves moving in and out of concentration states, alternating with insight practice by pulling "out, up, and over" the concentration state a bit. Another good guide by him is With Each and Every Breath. TB emphasizes that a key component of the practice is to assemble one's own practice methods and interpretations of results. I can dig that and do. So the main aids in my practice have been TB's meditation guides and Daniel's MCTB, especially the maps.
Thursday night, the night before the event I'll try to describe, I logged my sit with just the following words to show the sequence of what I noticed:
1. Fast vibrations (seeing, feeling)
2. Intense multilayered hearing of "silence" as particles
3. Flows in the carpet arise, flows in the walls, flows wherever I look (formations)
4. Trying to locate sense of self watching, failing
5. Several feelings of rapid, momentary dislocation
6. Intimacy with the flowing arises
7. Fear arises
8. Remembering to investigate fear
9. Fear alternates with strange rapture
10. Thought arises that I want and expect stream entry but am afraid of cessation
11. Mild nausea arises (physical)
12. Expansive feeling of love arises, nausea vanishes
13. Surprise, wonder blooms
14. Resolve formally to reach stream entry as soon as possible [this was the first and only time I've resolved this.]
15. Bell and stop
Friday, August 8, at a Lunchtime Group Sit at Work (30 Minutes)
The event happened unexpectedly, right after the moment that an intensely clear realization arose about the now slowed-down, almost rhythmic formations I was watching arise and pass away clearly, from beginning to gone. What I call formations are like 3D "blooms." And their passing away is like a concave, inverted bloom that is blank at center--even black, to tell the truth. They are big and constantly fluxing and flowing. Normally they are moving so constantly that I cannot catch the instant of arising or the instant of "gone." Moreover, one tend to overlap another, so this fact makes seeing specific beginnings and endings hard (impossible till this day).
The realization was pre-verbal, but the way I would put it now is that the "gone" I could suddenly watch is actually still a kind of arising, and the reason that it is so is that there is, or was, the frame of reference that was the "real" arising. As far as I can tell, this crystal clear realization ushered me into a kind of collapse of duality.
As soon as I realized that "gone" wasn't actually GONE gone, absolute discontinuity! So I remember up to that moment, and then I remember back to what it was like when reality was coming back online. And that was really the most earth-shattering moment--the rebooting of the world: During those few moments, "I" was dislocated into everything around me, with nothing on "my" side, no center, no sense of within-body or location-grounding. "I" was gone!
I knew something transformative was happening, or had happend. I remembered to try to see clearly.There was this hard-to-describe quality that was visual, I think (but I'm not absolutely sure I was physically seeing), and the closest I can come to describing it is to point to what happens in planetarium shows or movies when they are trying to convey warp speed through the stars, and the stars turn into whiteness bleared out into bright white lines. The difference in this case was that there was no contrasting darkness or outer space background, so I'm not even positive it was visual apprehension of white lines at all. If so, my sense was of white-on-white/clear. I guess sometimes experiences are so unusual that all we can do is grab onto metaphors for them. At any rate, there was a quality of ZOOM! and radical dislocation, or diffusion, of center and ground--no "this" side. I now understand, "In the seeing, only the seen. . . ."
Immediately, and to my confusion, the meditation bell rang. And the oddest thing then was that I was almost paralyzed. I couldn't stop meditating, even when I finally rose, stunned, and we walked upstairs to the cafe and ate!
The "door" was emptiness. I think this because, right before cessation, I was fixed on the passing away moments of formations and seeing that the "nothing you can see" is not the "nothing you cannot see." And I realized that positive formations and their apparent absence were not a duality at all. So it was the nonduality aspect that presented several clear times in a row and then cessation. The other reason that I think the door was emptiness/no-self is, well, look at what happened during reboot--my self was completely gone. Although--it seems in MCTB that all three doors involve some radical dislocation of self. By the way, now that I have had this experience, I find the Three Doors chapter in MCTB just opening on questions, not answers, for me. I don't recall anything like the descriptions Daniel gives of the three doors, except that there was a POW-POW-POW---cessation, the "POWs" being three distinct frame-like apprehensions of the endings of three successive formations.
Does everyone experience Three Doors as Daniel describes if he or she is seeing clearly?
Also, what the hell was that thing that happened afterward and why is it not on any map?
Thereafter, I felt different--and not subtlely different, but very different. Specifically, I feel noticeably less concentrated/localized within the boundaries of my body and immediate reach. I flow out further into the far off. Saturday I experienced cycling sensations of being diffused into all that surrounds me, feeling intense gratitude and weepy love for everyone (and telling them), and feeling a little bit scared/queasy at the sheer intensity of whatever has happened. At the restaurant I ate in Saturday, I could distinctly hear all the voices and conversations at once, individually, hearing each so acutely that "I" was there in the sound, not where I usually am, in me. It is hard to describe, but something is very, very different now.
I had a migraine headache all Saturday and most of Sunday. I sat only about 25 minutes Sunday night and again Monday night--but was itching, restless, aching, and unable to see even vibrations that I always do, both times. So I started to feel doubt. I guess I assumed one stayed in EQ for a bit after SE. Whatever the event was, after 2 days of afterglow, it kicked me out of EQ. However, the diffused sense of "me" remains. If this was not SE, it was a stunningly convincing imitation--especially given that my "progress" through the stages to that point was "by the book" and I have zero doubt that I was in High EQ.
1. Feeling "different" from the way I felt before the likely SE event--this is constant, so far "permanent"; specifically, my former "boundaries" seem diffused and extended into the environment, with none of the former frequent sensations of chest/heart contraction around emotional responses formerly identified with as "myself."
2. About 99% of the time I no longer feel the need to convince others of my views, but when I do feel the need to discuss then the right words flow out of me as if I'm channeling a prepackaged perfected message.
3. I'm no longer ruminating and worrying continually--and I'm normally a very anxious worrywort.
4. I completely stopped posting on Facebook, which formerly was an addiction. I have no draw whatsoever to idle chatter.
5. I'm very aware of an acute sense of hearing--this is very weird, especially considering that I'm a bit hard of hearing normally. I think that maybe this is just the auditory dimension of Number 1. In any crowd--restaurant, cafe at lunch--I can hear each voice of other people distinctly, such that it seems I'm more located in the surround-sound than I am in my body. This is not subtle.
6. At a macro level of cycling, I'm defininitely back in the A&P; I'm exuberant in that almost hypomanic way that A&P was last year, with intense faith in the dharma, need for very little sleep (3 or 4 hours!), feeling like I can sit all night, and seeing/hearing/feeling fine fast vibration with a few lights. My A&P last year was characterized in part by frequent lucid dreaming that stopped after the A&P Event. Last night--lucid dreaming involving flying through space. Also trembling and twitching during sits--top of my neck feels so week and trembling that my head feels like it is going to pop off and float away.
7. As of last night's sit, incredible concentration states--like nothing I've ever experienced. No discursive thoughts arise at all. The clarity is amazing. Normally I find it difficult or impossible to really stabilize these states because I have a tendency to see the 3Cs and am drawn to them. But last night, when I tried to do insight practice, it was as if I was pulled into these jhana states instead, regardless of what I intended.
But no fruitions. MCTB says subsequent fruitions must show up within a week after a suspected stream entry. Do you think Daniel will give me an extention?
[EDITED to undo vertical list format, because it cuts off the text on the left margin.]
Oddly, after experiencing several nights of unprecedented inpenetrably solid concentration, last night's sit was just very difficult for almost the whole hour.
It started with extremely fast fine vibrations.
Soon Fear arose--free-floating fear not clearly connected with any object of fear. So it seemed that at least I was going to clearly see and be able to investigate the cycling that is supposed to occur after Path. Interestingly, earlier in the day I drove on the Interstate with no fear, and this is normally a phobia for me, so to have free-floating fear arise so clearly during a formal sit, connected with no apparent object, does strike me as a call up of the Stages of Insight (Review, cycling). Also, since the event of August 8, I've totally lost the sense of contraction around the heart that is associated with all strong emotions. This was the first time I felt this in more than a week, which is interesting.
Misery stage is harder for me to pinpoint, but after Fear there was not emotional Misery but physical Misery--uncomfortable, with sevel jolts of migraine-like ice pick pain through my head, crawling scalp, hyper-awareness of this body and its failings.
Disgust stage arises as physical nausea for me lately, and it did again at this point into the sit.
Desire for Deliverance arose, I guess, as desire for fruition. And then, interestingly, this evolved into desire to stop desiring fruition.
Reobservation stage I did not see.
Equanimity stage--maybe I had a few moments of Low EQ during the final minutes of the sit.
I'm not experiencing post-SE fruitions that I can tell, but I don't think it is helpful for me to continue to hyperfocus on this fact. I feel so different from the way that I did before the event, both perceptually and emotionally by the way, that I don't care what anyone calls it or whether it is vetted as stream entry. If it wasn't stream entry, and I still think it was, then it was nonetheless what I have most needed. So I think that I now should bring more nonresistence to my sits and tweak the way I'm "looking for " fruitions.
I feel floaty, with smeared-out boundaries; gone is the contraction in chest or heart that I formerly identified with as myself.
This sit was rocky, or alternately rocky and smooth, perhaps mainly because of poor planning. I didn't decide ahead of time what kind of meditation to do (concentration or insight), so I kept changing my mind. I'm also just very weird currently, in the kind of way that A&P makes me weird and a little crazy. The oddness of the new baseline is probably contributing to this sense of being just weird now.
Early in the evening I ate some supper at Whole Foods. I was still and paying attention, and it did seem some Fear was cycling around. I do suspect that the micro-level of cycles is probably happening inside the larger A&P that I'm clearly now in, but I'm just not good at noticing it yet. The cycles seem to be speeding up.
My sit alternated between calm, deep concentration states that were wide (I'm really not positive I know how to mark the boundaries between jhanas yet), and impulses to notice. I really don't know what I should be doing in this Review stage. Daniel says to keep a journal and pay attention, which was the idea I started acting on the night before the SEE (stream entry event), coincidentally.
Perhaps the oddest thing that I'm noticing now is that there is simultaneous peace (post-SE) and overexcitement (A&P stage). It is like meditation is continuing on one track all the time, whether I'm trying to meditate or trying just to do my daily activities, while discursive thought is on overdrive on a separate but simultaneous track even when I'm formally meditating. I have never experienced this double-track mind before August 8. I seem to be able to meditate and think at the same time without either activity interferring with the other.
Intuitively, I feel like I want to nail down some jhanas, but MCTB suggests waiting till after mastery of the insight nanas.
I’ve been feeling rather “stuck” and confused about my meditation practice since SE. I’ve sensed the double-track mind and experienced indecisiveness about what kind of meditation to do and how I should approach doing it.
I spent 20 minutes in concentration meditation, which feels wicked deep now and seems effortless, even though I sometimes realize that I’m not in the moment but instead remembering, thinking, or fantasizing. It is very odd to be thinking yet feeling somehow deep in mediation at the same time. I guess I should ask someone about this if it keeps occurring. It is so strange. By feeling that I’m “in meditation,” I mean that I feel enmeshed with surroundings, spacious, flowing, and concentrated despite thoughts. I feel that way in daily life now, except for “concentrated.” I still tend to be ADD in daily life, so I wouldn’t say that I’m always concentrated. I’m always much less in my body now than before, though. Sensations are like a bodily aura instead of bodily core. It is like “inner” and “outer” have flipped to some extent.
I tend to have poor discernment of which jhana I’m in, but I think the reason for this may be that I hang out in 3 and maybe 4 most of the time that I practice concentration (even pre-SE). I usually feel like I go straight from access concentration to third jhana, maybe fourth. And that is no different now, except that whichever one happens is much more intensely itself now. Oddly, I’m not seeing the nimitta anymore, though, just solid blackness. I’m not seeing even the usual patterns behind my lids. Anyway, I seem to skip over the intense bliss and even pleasure (1 and 2) to something more spacious and peaceful, even though I never set out intending to “skip” any of the jhanas. Tonight my sense of a body disappeared rather quickly. I couldn’t even feel my hands’ contact with my thighs and vice-versa when I deliberately checked for the sensation. I had been like this for a few minutes, but when I recognized that I wasn’t feeling my body, the recognition jolted me out of the concentration.
This jolt reminded me of the insight stage of Fear. Oh, yeah! I’m supposedly in Review stage. This means that I should be reviewing and mastering, right? So I opened my eyes at around the 20-minute mark, to try to discern an insight stage. I was receiving mixed signals, so I decided to try actively intending to experience certain stages. After all, if I’m in Review, then I should probably feel free to experiment. So I called A&P and did feel some bliss and see sparkles in the carpet. I went for EQ, and started seeing what I call formations again and investigating panoramic peace sensations. Investigating peace was a little strange because it was paradoxically a bit stressful, and the floor kept seeming to spin a quarter spin, like I was getting some vertigo. So then I called up Fear, and my heart started palpitating, which scared me in earnest. Soon after this, I stopped my sit. It was far past bedtime, and this sit, though short, sapped my energy.
When I could feel my body, though, it was still and very comfortable, like I could sit all night. Effortlessly, I sat straight up the whole time, with open-hearted posture. My crossed legs fell asleep, though, which is always annoying when I unfold them and experience the pins and needles. Still, it is nice to have the body at peace throughout a sit. I actually had quite a bit of restlessness and body pain back when I was in Low EQ.
Her case's merit is obvious. She is Chief of Operations of a bureau, but all her male counterparts, with less in the way of experience and credentials, make significantly more money than she. Worse, a man with little experience who actually reports to her makes 12K more a year! She has been struggling financially. We were all shocked when the trial court judge dismissed her case!
After that sit, I was sure the decision would be reversed. And it was.
I'm wanting further guidance on the ethics of this sort of thing, though, especially concerning big, big things. For example, my husband's brother has Stage 4 rectal cancer. Do I intend for him to fully recover? Any questionnable ethics here since he would not know I'm doing this?
I found out in February that, very unfortunately, I'm one of the estimated 1.7% of people who have two copies of the major risk allele for Alzheimer's disease, and this genetic profile means that, if the disease is going to occur, it will likely start soon (within a few years). This news was devastating to me because it was nowhere on my radar. Only my mother's father's mother had dementia in her 70s. I've been struggling to accept that I may start losing my mind in a few years. It is hard. I don't want my son and husband to suffer through such a horrible "long goodbye." Do I practice magick over such a thing, and repeatedly? Or do I work toward acceptance?
My crossed legs fell asleep, though, which is always annoying when I unfold them and experience the pins and needles. Still, it is nice to have the body at peace throughout a sit. I actually had quite a bit of restlessness and body pain back when I was in Low EQ.
On the subject of Alzheimer’s: There is a talk by Shinzen Young in his series "The Science of Enlightenment" (I can't tell you which talk exactly) where he talks about mindfullness in a state of dementia. I can’t remember all of the details, but there is some kind of medication he has to take all the time (for thyroid, I think), and a group wanted to do a study on people when they went off the medication in a controlled setting. What happens when people go off is that they fall into a state of severe dementia (basically Alzheimer’s), but they come out of it as soon as they resume the dosage. Shinzen thought it would be interesting to see if his spiritual attainments would persevere into that state. He reported that they entirely did; even though he didn’t know what was going on around him he was perfectly content.
I’m sorry to hear that news, but at least you’ve reached some attainments that could help.
That is interesting about Young's report. I'll look for that. I found out about the genetics by accident. I would never have expected that result since, as I say, I know of only one person on either side of a large family that had any dementia, three generations up. Many people who learn of that profile become clinically depressed after learning, which is what happened to me, too, in February (all mixed up with DN subcycles, too). It happens particularly when they aren't expecting it. I am very attached to my 19-year-old son, so the initial grief was feeling that I might not see him graduate law school, might not ever see grandchildren--that whole spiral. I had picked out the way I wanted to die, don't you know, and it involved meditation, not losing my mind well before losing my body.
Well, it is not certain that I'll get the disease, although, supposedly, there is anywhere from a 13-fold to 21-fold increased risk over the norm, at at a younger age. The disease is polygenic, so there is a cocktail of genes involved, not just this one, only researchers are not yet sure which other genes are involved. Also environmental/lifestyle factors undoubtedly play a role. Anyway, it has been a lot to digest, along with empty nest syndrome and turning 50 all at the same time this hit. I'm so relieved to have stream entry, at least.
I'm wanting further guidance on the ethics of this sort of thing, though, especially concerning big, big things. For example, my husband's brother has Stage 4 rectal cancer. Do I intend for him to fully recover?
Lets say his highest good is to recover completely and you can be instrumental in this. What to do? Cut to the chase and add your intention to his highest good whatever that may be...send loving kindness/energy with it to be used for his highest good.
Wishing someone their highest good without consent I tend to see as morally ok. If not totally squeeky clean.
Oh, and fuck'em if they don't like it.
In brief, my past few sits were not unusual except in that at times emotions arose spontaneously. Once it was tears, even though I felt neither clearly happy nor clearly sad. It was almost just a detox cry. Another time involved blissful raptures, which really haven't been a thing for more than a year.
I may as well mention another difference since stream entry. It has to do with sleep and waking from sleep. My sleep seems incredibly deep now, even though normally I have light, shitty sleep. The remarkable dimension of sleep, however, is what happens when I wake. For some moments, I cannot sense my body. Then what I sense is several vibrating copies of my body that feel like they are coming together and then vibrating apart, coming together and vibrating apart--like I'm a deck of cards being shuffled and reshuffled. It is quite bizarre and has occurred during every waking since August 8. If I sit still right now, I can feel this effect reproduced in a somewhat weakened form. No idea about this, have never read about or heard of such an experience. Basically, there is something profoundly shape-shifting about my boundaries now.
I have not personally had this experience but it rings a bell. Have you heard of Robert Monroe? He was a successful radio executive who began having spontaneous out-of-body experiences in 1958 after experimenting with sleep learning tapes. He talks about multiple bodies, frequencies and weird stuff happening during the sleep state. He wrote three books-- Journeys Out of the Body, Far Journeys, and Ultimate Journey. The first two would be more informative with regards to your situation because the last one is more of a memoir.
I'm wanting further guidance on the ethics of this sort of thing, though, especially concerning big, big things. For example, my husband's brother has Stage 4 rectal cancer. Do I intend for him to fully recover?
Lets say his highest good is to recover completely and you can be instrumental in this. What to do? Cut to the chase and add your intention to his highest good whatever that may be...send loving kindness/energy with it to be used for his highest good.
Wishing someone their highest good without consent I tend to see as morally ok. If not totally squeeky clean.
Oh, and fuck'em if they don't like it.
I slept almost the whole Labor Day weekend and felt like doing nothing. Quite a come-down off what felt like an A&P stage, huh? And I've been easily provoked, irritable. Friday I was reprimanded at work for my "tone" at a meeting (never mind that my tone finally got some longstanding stupidity changed because my boss's boss heard me). Tonight my sit was characterized by this irritation: My breathing was halting/jerky, I felt air hunger, and I had numerous itches and feelings that ants were crawling on my skin. The top of my neck felt weak and trembling. Oh well!
At the same time, that weird new warm buzzy substratum of peace, a separate track, remains unpeturbed, flowing out in vibratory currents. And although my boss came around Friday and accused me of "venting frustration all the time," at the very same time one of my authors sent me a gushing acknowledgment that listed my "patience" as one of the characteristics she appreciated in our work together.
Saturday, too, I ran into an acquaintance of mine, a New Ager in a coffee shop, and I was thinking about my problems with my boss when I saw him; still, he said, "Oh, wow, something has changed with you!" I said, "What do you mean, what do you think has changed?" He said, "There is such peace flowing off you." I told him that I was actually kind of stressed at the moment because my boss had reprimanded me for "venting" in front of her boss. My friend said, "No, you are at peace now even when you are not; the energy is very warm and tingly--I felt it from across the shop when you walked in!"
How did he know? How did my boss so not know?
It occurs to me that I'm "cycling" on top of a substratum of peace. I guess to others my cycles are very slow. I can drop down into that peace stratum almost at will, regardless of the level of turmoil atop it. I better do so tomorrow because we have a staff meeting. Either that, or I'll have to show up to meetings from now on with duct tape over my mouth!
I almost rage-quite my job a few months ago because of DN stuff. I like my job and my co-workers but I still wanted to scream at everyone and walk out the door... pretty sure I made up a bunch of problems in my head and almost acted on them.
Your new-age friend sounds like a pretty cool guy. And your Christian mystic friend... geez, where do I get friends like this? The only person outside of the Dho who knows my story is my wife, and she thinks I'm a nut. The only reason I told her was because she thought that she was the reason that I have been so miserable the last two years. She's a conservative Christian. That was an interesting conversation.
My partner and I, after doing our practice wherein stuff comes up -- either uncomfortable "stuff" or stuck-in-pleasure "stuff" -- we always end our practice with what you would call Metta, i.e., thinking of wonderful things towards others or objects -- whatever is important to you. Sometimes I image and put all around me my favorite scene: a planet of fruits and nuts and berries -- just go outside and voila! there's dinner :-)) Anything that is important visualize it and put it all around until no more change. That is the key, "until no more change". For myself, the first year there was a lot of "change", i.e., phenomenon, thoughts, emotions, efforts, etc.
The reason I know this is crucial is that yesterday my partner was tooling around in the area of the mind having to do with "Aware" and some very primal incidents came up for him -- and then dissipated away (rising and falling). However, he filled in the vacuum with junk food (ever get hungry after a meaningful session of meditation?) instead of doing -- we call it "repair of importances" -- some Metta -- putting beautiful and important scenes around you. He is also still grumpy today and not his usual self. I'm not saying that's the only way to fill in the vacuum, but I'd like you to try it and let me know how it works for you.
On my practice log you will see that I still get enough significant phenomenon from my Metta practice that I hardly need to punch in anything else to stir up my mind at this stage of my development. My metta practice can be quite aggressive at times and even that I have to follow up with something light and fluffy :-)
Gee, I'm still learning the etiquette of commenting on other people's practice logs with "good advices", but getting any kind of feedback is part of my learning curve :-))
Wow! Really? Um, dang? Just in case, I better start reading up on second path stuff! I think someone told wrote on this forum that second path can sometimes come on quite fast after first. This is all quite perplexing.
You know, X X, after last night's sit, I was a little "concerned" about that jerky breathing thing and the rest being C/E or 3C. I feel grumpy, but my dark nights haven't been grumpy so much as, you know, literally fear, then misery, and then disgust. But not grumpy. I should go back and read MCTB--oh, I can read MCTB2, hahahahahaha, because I'm the editor!
I think that the most palpable lasting difference since the SE event has indeed been the suddenly access to jhanas--deep and velvety concentration states, and some level of it never goes away.
Firstly--no worries about etiquette here. I love that people are conversing with me here and suggesting things. This is as good as online stuff gets--when others point out puzzle pieces I may well be overlooking.
I read your advice this morning at work, on my smartphone. I love that phrase "repair of importances." That is wonderful! So at work I was thinking about the ill will I've kept going toward the acquisition editor whose work I felt like we developmental editors were being made by the bosslady to do too much of (when we are already overloaded).
In addition to thinking about what you wrote, I also remembered that another dharma friend once told me that when she is grumpy or sad she gives something, particularly to the people she's grumpy at. So I went to the acquistion editor because she is out sick a lot. I smiled, I actually felt concern for her as a person, and I asked her if she were feeling better. She said, "not really" and explained that just this year she started having stress-induced migraines, something I can truly sympathize with. So I started telling her everything I knew to do to prevent migraines, and she opened up to me for the first time ever, and we had this very honest talk. To my surprise, she thanked me for blowing my top in that meeting! She said, "I have long felt that you developmental editors shouldn't have to help with acquisitions, and your saying as much in that meeting gave me the courage to go to the editor-in-chief and tell her I agreed with you." I said, "Well, I shouldn't have made her look bad in front of her boss." She replied, "No, Jenny. He needed to hear that roles and responsibilities are all messed up down here. He needed to know."
So here I was, assuming that this woman was my enemy, when she was actually in agreement with me and trying to help unhook the developmental editors from this excess work for which we aren't trained or suited. Then we both came out and said we are afraid that our whole unit will be laid off because the acquistitions goal set by whomever is unattainable.
I felt better, and she felt better. And then we spread goodwill to the bosslady by remarking that she too is under terrible pressure these days, and the lack of process comes from all the time she is spending trying to save this business unit from the ax.
North Carolina, believe it or not! Actually, my Christian mystic friend introduced me to the New Ager. Mostly Baptists and Methodists here, though, of course. My Christian mystic friend is ordained in some weird order or something, a real priest, but her day job is managing editor. She is the one who walks around her yard before mowing and asks the bugs to leave so they don't get mowed down. I love her for being so kooky! She was also in my A&P Event dream of last year. I'll post that dream if I can frind my write-up of it. She meditates and takes classes on shamanic path stuff. I actually do not know her all that well. Her highschool sweetheart and I were friends in college, and I met her online through him decades later, quite accidentally. Small world.
There was another thing I read here on the DHO, where a person stated some sort of Native American wisdom: People are like broken serpents, they only lash out because of their own suffering.
I have this fairly new lovely friend who has Lyme's disease. Two years ago she was running marathons; now she is riddled with neurological and heart problems and can't work. She also suffers stomach distress that makes it impossible so far for her to take the antibiotic treatment for Lyme. She also suffers considerably from the rage she feels agains the doctor who callously refused to give her antibiotics she begged for when she was first bitten by the tick. She is pursuing lawyers, hoping to find one who will say she has a legal case.
I really love this friend, even though I met her only 8 months ago or so. I met her actually online, but I spent time with her in person in New York City this summer. She has wanted more than anything to be healed. I've talked with her about my practice and about the possibility of my practicing with intent that she fully recover. At first she was all for this, asked for the healing.
After reading what DreamWalker wrote above, I had a gut feeling I should talk to her again, even though she made it clear that she did want me to intend out her full recovery. I went back to her and asked her again to be sure that she wanted healing from this disease specifically. Then I explained that without consent, one should really work just for the person's highest good. The next day, she came back to me, and to my astonishment, she said, "Jenny, I thought about what you said, and I now do not want you to work my recovery from this illness. This made me reflect on all the times in my life I tried to control specific outcomes without understanding all the variables and how that tended to backfire. Please just work for my Highest Good. What more could anyone want?"
I next pointed out that we had just completed a key part of the spell by thinking through all the possible consequences. We already had experienced magickal results, for she was changed by this conversation, and I was changed.
I had a few other sits before this one since last journal update, but not much was remarkable about them. The air hunger, jerky breathing, and pings here and there were present again. When I opened my eyes a bit, I saw crazy-fast fine vibrating particles of whatever I gazed on. The only real settling came from a kind of metta practice that sprung up spontaneously at one point each time.
Tonight I sat on my cushion in the wee hours, while a bit sleepy, which for some unknown reason is my favorite time and prior state for meditation. At first, I had that same sense of the two-track mind that I've had for weeks: I was intensely calm, buzzy, flowy; however, my mind was thinking all over the place on a whole other plane--about work, about my dharma buddies, and so on. This went on for a good 5 minutes, and I thought that maybe I should stop fighting this flood and just let my mind go on and on, while observing it go on and on. Oddly, this seemed, after a few moments, to stop the discursive thinking. Isn't it funny that when you think you don't know what to do you find that, actually, you do know what to do. It is almost instinct or body knowledge.
I then set my intention to set aside discursive thinking and to practice jhana for the benefit of all beings. Usually when I do this intention-setting, I see in my mind's eye, my friends, the fish, the beasts, the bugs, my darling son, my husband, my mother, my sisters, people who've wronged me--all flashing in fairly wild gorgeous succession. Oddly, I was suddenly drawn to repeating the Four Immeasurable Thoughts (metta). This felt extremely powerful, like I didn't know metta could feel so intense.
Then something like the sense of my father came up. (My father was an extreme alcoholic and drank himself to death by age 45, when I was only 12.) There is a huge knot of primal suffering connecting me to him still. Much of my conventional and psychological life organized itself around him and the hole he left. He is dead, so he usually does not come flashing up in my intention-setting or metta. But this time he did. For a few moments, it crossed my mind that it made no sense to extend metta to my dead father. But then it made perfect sense. It is an energy thing, after all. "He" still exists back in on me. I can heal him back into my general love. Effects influence causes.
After this strange detour, I was sucked down in jhana so quickly and deeply, as I have tended to be since that first fruition I had on August 8, that I don't get a proper Jhana 1, 2, and 3. Now I'm speeding through even 4 and quickly going to some formless realm. It is super freaky. My body disappears, and I see nothing behind my closed eyelids where I usually see light or patterns. This state feels vast, cool, black, and peaceful. But it is so unfamiliar to me that if I pull up out of it just a little and evaluate, I get almost stressed out by it. But I can sink back into it, too, and do.
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do or experience when I "arrive" at this new formless weirdness. Tonight, toward the end, there was almost the sense that something was emerging out of that vastness, a point, a spark, something. But I'm not sure. Maybe not. Maybe mirage.
What I'm feeling more sure of is that I need to stop fixating on whether I'm cycling during a sit. In fact, I'm going to set aside vipassana for a while. I'm being pulled really hard now into samatha exploration, including metta, and it just feels like this is what I'm "supposed" to do during this Review phase. I wonder if others have had the same experience.
Two people have mentioned to me that I might already be on the way to Second Path. That's a bit disconcerting because I don't feel like I "reviewed" anything. However, I'm now all over this forum "explaining" the dharma as understood through my recent direct experiences and suddenly realizing cognitively what I've realized experientially. Maybe that counts somehow as Review, as intellectual as it seems. I think Richard is correct that thinking these realizations through into articulation is helpful and maybe even necessary for integration. Reading the dharma is suddenly more illuminating than it has ever been before, too. I get it!
I read a post on here by Tarin about an alternative way of "doing" Second Path. It involved no noting (which I don't really do, anyway) but instead simply a letting things unfold organically. Mainly he wrote about "practicing" in daily life as if just already in Equanimity all the time. This makes sense to me. So I'm going to try not looking so hard for new fruitions and cycling during sits. My cycles seem to be lasting weeks to days now, which is much faster than my usual stages, which tend to last 6 to 8 weeks. So I'm going to chill, explore these formless states, ramp up the love practice (which I've not done so much of before), and have some fun seeing if I can cultivate powers.
I didn't want to hijack another thread (wowwww this path is confusing by Adam..) in which you talk about having had serious depression in the past. In the light of you becoming Sotapanna on August 8th this year (maybe it's too early to tell) maybe you could comment on this post I just started (Can a sotapanna experience (extreme) depression?) http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5577913
I didn't formally meditate tonight. Instead I read a lot about the Powers, the Bases of Powers, and samatha jhanas. I'm definitely going quickly and deeply to 5th jhana, Boundless Space, in my sits. I read Daniel's draft new part on the powers. I started writing out a kind of "spell" for my friend with Lyme disease. It consists of a poetic passage I read in Daniel's book, where he quotes Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation. (Daniel's book and Thanissaro's works have been the greatest influences on my practice.) And it will go on to contain the Four Sublime Intentions concerning and cradling her in light. Then I'm going to state specifc intentions concerning not her specifically, but the CDC and other organizations, insurance companies, the protocols, the shortage of Lyme-literate doctors, lack of valid testing, and the like.
I feel like I'm exploding with joy tonight, just from all this reading and writing out of the magickal intent. I felt deep equanimity and then somehow that fed back into this intense A&P like excitement, bliss, uncontainable joy--quite a heady buzz.
All these mood cycles are intense and strange. I do not normally mood-swing like this. Anyway I'm too excited and ecstatic tonight to even write another word here. I feel like the Dharma is doing me.
It has been more than a month since that shift happened, with its fall from High Equanimity to A&P, and the exhilaration, mood swings, and sudden access to hard and higher (formless) jhanas happened. For the past week, or maybe more, I've felt a return to Earth and a lessening of the buzzy, floaty, rippling-out warmth. I'm now paying more attention to workaday life.
So what of the shift remains? And what am I still not seeing clearly?
Well, my discipline sucks and I subtend some blind spot with regard to changing basic bad habits and laziness. I need to sleep more, exercise regularly, return my attention to vitamins and minerals, and optimize my diet. I need to meditate more. I actually enjoy all these activities, so why do I procrastinate? I'm not seeing clearly how I get in my own way. Or is it why? Often "why" doesn't matter as much as it seems. Like children, we use "why" to prolong a harang and continue some avoidance. It sounds like I'm talking about daily life and not "practice." But daily life is practice, isn't it? So contemplating those contact points with addictions, aversion, and ignorance is in order, I think
So I sat tonight. I've been rather obsessed with working on D's book the past few nights, so tonight I made a wrenching effort to meditate instead of work. Part of the avoidance of meditation lately, I think, is that my recent sits have been so weird for being fraught with indecision in the middle of the sits. In other words, I have intrusive thoughts, and they are precisely about what the heck I should be doing with the sit. I was certain that it was exploring the samatha jhanas since I tapped such intensely sudden access to higher and harder states. But not long after I get a state, I become bored with it, or not exactly bored but . . . I don't know, maybe just restless and indecisive. So before I know it, I'm practicing insight, but not really getting much out of that, either. I can quickly get to equanimity, and whether I'm in 4th samatha jhana or Equanimity is a subtle affair. I could investigate that very boundary, but then I let up and shift. So this lack of stability is rather strange. High EQ stage was tricky but also very easy to sit through. This thing I'm in now is in my face but keeps shifting. Something weird about intention is roiling into view . . . almost.
I had all these plans to practice with the powers, but I haven't done that, either, except for a couple of little throws. Suddenly, I am not all that interested again. However, I do keep slipping into metta or the Four Immeasurables and feel really quite intense love, a deep feeling out to everyone I know and beyond. So now it feels like this is the way. It is very healing and it precludes fear.
Another way this volitility takes place is that two-tracked mind I've had for weeks. I can feel this deep calm and almost disappearance of the breath and body, yet my discursive mind is rattling on about something on a separate level. This has been really strange and only since the Aug. 8 event. I actually have much more in the way of intrusive thinking now than before. Or is it that I'm just noticing it more?
It takes a good while for my mind to shut up and get down with it. But then, when it does, it seems to skip or race through the lower jhanas and settle into the lower formless ones. While there, it is nice to have something to do (ie, notice the spaciousness or the consciousness), but stabilizing that is wrenching, not exactly peaceful, which is odd. I mean the state is peaceful, but whatever awareness envelops it is not. Lately, I don't like opening my eyes, as I usually wanted to do before Aug. 8. I tend to take the breath as object but then shift to sound--that "nada" talked about in Florian's thread. I can hear so many layers of sound in the quiet that it is astonishing. Tonight, I thought I could hear two faraway birds chirping in the vibratory branches out there.
So it feels like my practice is crap, despite all that I've just written about it that sounds like I know what the hell I'm doing. I do have to admit that this afterglow of jhana states I'm feeling this very minute is really like a drug high--very nice. So it takes a third of my sit to get there, but this glow is so, so wonderful. It seems that it should be a platform for something.
And on another level, this surface turmoil is all okay. And maybe that is a change that has stayed, too. A bit more of underlying "okay." I used to worry obsessively about my son, for example, and now several days can go by without our contacting one another, and I'm not imagining he's been in a wreck or whatnot. My anxiety and fear are greatly lessened, and my blood pressure is down, much to my doctors' surprise.
I'm not having fruitions that I can tell, but I think I'm cycling and just not paying attention to the cycles because so absorbed in work.
More discipline and deliberate use of correct time slots for correct activities would further development on all fronts, in sum. But I also recognize that, with regard to paths, I'm in an in-between place and that is right where it is most okay to be now.
Yup, this is second path. A lot of rewiring takes place and a lot of dimensions open up, even for people who aren't proned to jhana. You're going to get the full jhanic tour, it seems. Tarin's advice is really good. So is Kenneth's "riding the jhanic arc" approach --- both basically are approaches where you sit in meditation like you are on a tour bus and let the meditation take you where it wants. You may go up into jhana and back down several times in a sit, you might go on a weird ride where you can't tell how to map it, you might find yourself teasing apart psychological stuff without even planning for it. It is smarter than you.
Don't judge what happens, just judge whether you are making time for practice every day, at least whatever your minimum quality sit is. Lots of subterraining stuff happens in 2nd and it's beyond "directing". It does it's thing. Best wishes for your practice!
I really know nothing about Second Path (or Third or Fourth). I really do feel like I'm on a "ride," though. Magical Mystery Tour. I'll need to read up on it. Thanks yet again.
Phenomena are preceded by the heart,
ruled by the heart,
made of the heart.
If you speak or act
with a calm, bright heart
then happiness follows you,
like a shadow that never leaves.
No matter how inconceivable the suffering, whatever arises is cradled in the space of compassion and wisdom. For the ultimate benefit of all beings—as limitless in number as space is vast—I arouse the wish that Sheila know and attain her highest good now. With these very words, these immeasurable thoughts, and this vast and pliant consciousness, I cause Sheila to know and attain her highest good now.
May Sheila open to her reality as it is.
May Sheila accept her reality as it is.
May Sheila see with wisdom into whatever arises.
May Sheila be completely healed of anaplasmosis infection.
May Sheila’s stomach and intestinal ailments be healed so that she is able to take medications without pain and distress.
May whatever good Sheila has gained in this lifetime never be lost.
May Sheila dwell in boundless equanimity, free from the clinging that holds some people close, and free from the anger that pushes others away.
As all beings are heir to their own karma, may Sheila take care of her own happiness and well-being.
Within the next 6 months, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publicly confess its perpetuation of gross underreporting of Lyme disease incidence and publicize revised statistics that reflect honest population estimates unhampered by political scheming and scientific error.
Within 2 years, the Infectious Diseases Society of America will publicly admit to the epidemic of chronic Lyme disease in the United States and other countries and, in concert with CDC, begin publicizing the widespread problem of this disease,
Within 18 months, CDC will launch a public awareness program to prevent Lyme disease and tick-borne co-infections. The populaces of the United States and other countries with Lyme cases will be become aware of tick-borne illness, aware of the prevalence of the danger, and cognizant of preventing infection. Tick-borne illness will be recognized as an epidemic.
Within 18 months, CDC will issue, publicize, and compel public and private health care providers to follow a new protocol for anyone who suspects he or she has or soon will have Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses. This new protocol will require immediate prescription or administration of effective antibiotics to thwart infection, with no requirement for testing first.
Within 18 months, private insurance, Obamacare insurance, public health departments, and Medicaid will provide financial coverage for IGeneX testing for Lyme disease—or for the most accurate testing at the time for Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.
Within a year, New York State will reverse laws that limit its citizens’ access to medical tests that citizens of other states have access to.
The number of Lyme-literate physicians will steadily increase until, within 3 years, no one who is infected will be forced to travel out of state to attain medical care.
Within 1 year, insurance companies will be compelled to reimburse Lyme-literate doctors for diagnosing and treating patients with tick-borne illness.
The U.S. Government will within 18 months pass legislation to prioritize and fund research leading to accurate, affordable diagnostic testing for Lyme and other tick-borne illness, and will do likewise to lead to a greater variety of effective treatments to cure these illnesses and infections.
I dedicate the merits of these thoughts and forces to the great enlightenment of all beings. May all know peace.
To hold a view, to hold the viewless view, to stake a claim, to stand this ground, to classify and contain, to include, to exclude, to ascend the throne, to scale the trench, to transcend the sky, to renounce all this, to surrender renunciation, to wield even this, to apologize and exalt oneself, to forgive and dissolve oneself . . .
As if bestowing a scepter, he said, “Use it well.”
She thought, “Its form keeps passing away, so by what handle do I grasp this transfer?”
Its other name is intention. But it isn’t quite itself.
Much in the way of interpersonal emotional volatility is going on. I guess it is my fault, yet even all this feels like it is happening of its own accord, no matter what I resolve to do to avoid it. Daniel has said that the middle paths can predominantly involve psychological stuff, that lessons have to be learned over and over and over again. This seems to be what is happening. I never dream about my father, but now he visits me in my dreams and tells me he is not dead. My abandonment issues roil up out of nowhere during sits. I can be irritable and literally have to seek solitude so as not to bite creatures’ heads quite off. I'm not usually like this--anxious, but not angry or irritable. Now my anxiety is gone but I'm crabby.
Through all this, there remains this new calm substratum that has a jhana feel to it, 24/7. This and sudden access to hard formless jhanas during sits are what convince me that stream entry did occur. No more fruitions, though. I’ve not really tried hard to call them up.
I think that this was the fourth night that I’ve tried the fire kasina. Previous times led to my seeing a purple disc when I closed my eyes, but this time I never saw the purple disc. Almost as soon as I closed my eyes I seemed to be in the Boundless Space jhana. This is how incoherent and nuts my sits are now.
At any rate, I kept it up with the candle flame. Time passes amazingly fast during this kind of meditation! I was supposed to keep with the color of the flame, but I started noticing all these rays, like hard, uncooked vermicelli spikes, shooting out from the flame. Once I noticed these rays, they were hard to ignore, so I decided to explore this effect. It just felt right. It is funny that I’ve never noticed these rays before, although I guess they are always a part of fire.
I added a mantra, and these rays started pulsing out in rhythm with the manta. When I would sound the deeper vowel sounds, like OM, the rays would pulse ridiculously far out from the flame. I was also able to make the very long ray lines stabilize in their very elongated form by keeping with the mantra. Pretty cool! And really rather surprising, yes.
This session was interesting, but officially I wasn’t on task, because I wasn’t fully focused on color, and I didn’t see the purple discs when I closed my eyes—just fell out to Boundless Space whenever I closed my eyes.
It is funny how automatically I’m drawn into the Boundless Space jhana. In fact, usually when I wake up in the morning from sleep, I’m in the dang Boundless Space thingy! I cannot feel my body at all, and it takes some long moments to inhabit my body again. In fact, while I’m literally trying to regroup, it is as though I have several bodies that are floating some few feet above the bed, and they are vibrating into a shuffle, as if they were a deck of cards. They vibrate together, sync up, become one, and then descend into becoming my usual body. This sort of thing started happening after stream entry, never happened ever before.
I think I will try to find the 10-hour time to explore this kasina method. I also want to explore the jhanas more. When I sit, I never know what I’m supposed to be focusing on. Some sits are shit; others are sublime. I don’t seem to be able to predict which will go which way. It is as if I’m not driving this vehicle anymore at all.
Don't worry with what to focus on, just fully be with whatever is dominant. When you have doubts, ask "am I with what is happening?" If the answer is yes, even if it seems "wrong" or "confusing" or "unclear" or "yes, but what I'm being full with is the experience of not feeling like I'm really with anything much at all", then paradoxically you are still on the conveyer belt. It will pull you into whatever experiences you need, maybe full experience of abandonment, maybe being a witness, maybe more fruitions, maybe new jhanas, maybe seeing new cause and effects, etc.
Keep the reins of the horse in your hands, but let the horse run. This is the natural intelligence of the mind: exploring, finding corners, looking around corners and finding something new, as well as slowing down and resting when it needs to.
Do you remember the author I recommended to you, Robert Monroe? In one of his books, his second one I think, he mentions having to travel out of several bodies depending on how "far" he wanted to go. He would get out of his physical, but then get out of a second body if he wanted to go farther out. Getting back to his body meant getting back into one body, then into another, then back into his physical in bed. It sounds very similar to what you are describing.
I had a spontaneous OBE yesterday morning because of my disrupted sleep patterns. It didn't last very long. It's a shame I'm not more talented at this sort of thing\
Thank you so much for your hints and words of encouragement. Truly, you are always so helpful! I'm feeling a little nuttier than usual--simultaneouly with a deep calm "bottom" and turmoil and discursive analysis on top. In general, I spend almost a whole 20 minutes of my sits in discursive thought, with "calm abiding" on some other separate level. Then I may change my mind several times about what kind of meditation I'm going to do.
As for being a natural with jhana--oddly, before that cessation on August 8, I usually had a hard time with samatha because I couldn't help but see the Three Characteristics. Now it is opposite.
I think that you are correct: that I'm now in my second Progress of Insight. And I really do have the strong sense that the dharma is "doing" me, in all senses of the word.
Tonight, while watching a film with my spouse, I experienced very distinctly 2 hours of FEAR--not related to anything that is going on. I suspect that I've wandering into the Dark Night, and I had a month of what felt like A&P after SE, but I've not had any particular A&P standout "event" like I did on first path. I'm on the ride, so I'm not going to worry too much that I'm not sure I can map where I am. I am suddenly starting to see the utility of the Dark Night.
I don't know why everyone is not into these things!
Oh--congratulations for getting that OBE you've always wanted! And all it took was a week without sleep and therefore with hallucinations, eh? I'll check your journal to see if you described what happened.
The A&P after SE probably was just Review, in theory starting at A&P without effort and then going through to EQ with a new, higher level of concentration, I agree it feels more like A&P: basically a sense of momentum, juiciness, and wow-ness. I never had clear repeat fruitions after 1st path SE, but I did find everything luxurious and easy and expansive and interesting... and jhanas became much more accessible.
Ironically, it is great that you are now seeing the nanas very clearly. When meditation isn't jhanic, it's going to be psychological... but basically it's like meditation is serving up completely fabricated situations for you to look at in the safety of a non-critical life situation. So Fear might arise more clearly, but it isn't tied to a dire situation --- now is your chance to really look at, feel, and be in Fear. It's all sensations linked with thoughts. Now you have the opportunity to really see how it is constructed. What a great opportunity! And don't forget, if you are looking at it, then you are not it. You are not fear. You are looking at fear.
When things get psychological/physiological, you job is to see how the self gets caught up in thoughts and sensations and makes it seem worse than it is. Unpleasant might still remain unpleasant, but you eventually have less of the "... and I'm going to DIE!" feeling. It can be tough to do this and it's tempting to lash out and act out the feelings of unpleasantness. That's when you have to remind yourself: keep the meditation domain in the meditation domain, no bleed through to "real" life. Easier said than done, but that's the ideal.
edit: and please be patient, when building the capacity to see difficult mind states and mental constucts it isn't going to always be within current capacity... so do what you can, then take a break, air things out, go for a walk, etc. You can't get strong in a day, you gotta just keep going to the gym, do your thing, and the muscles will build themselves. Do too much and you just get weaker and worn out. You know the old expression: Go slow, it's faster.
Second path is about getting good at all of this, not perfect but pretty good, and finding a new level of EQ that is even more resilient. Third path is getting really good at seeing how moments are fabricated by thoughts and sensations, including all the jhanas and nanas themselves. Pretty simple really. Basically meditation picks up where conventional psychology ends and really investigates the pieces of how things are experienced, even before thinking gets involved. Basically base of the brainstem kind of work, not intellectual at all.
Hope this helps!
My experience has been that hypnogogic (and hypnopompic) stuff happens on a spectrum so you could be having 'partial' sleep paralasys for instance. Throughout childhood and adolescence I had a TON of sleep paralasys and other peri-sleep wierdness on a regular basis. The sleep paralasys stuff was often accompanied by terror and the sense there was a presence in the room out of eyeshot moving towards me.
In my twenties I met a guy who became a bit of a mentor to me who introduced me to Namkhai Norbu's Dzogchen teachings. Prior to being into Dzogchen this fellow had studied Zen intensively during the 70's alongside ritual magick and he had lots of experience with lucid dreaming, obes, and astral work.
When I described my symptoms he gave me some books by a guy named Robert Bruce who is a master of Astral Projection. According to Bruce (and my friend) what I was experiencing with the waking sleep paralasys was a failed projection in which my astral double remained in the room but my consciousness staid in my body.
Then the presence of the double felt like an alien presence in the room. There were concrete methods and attitudes recommended to train in and then utilize in that situation and sure enough, when I applied these, I started having all kinds of wild Astral and Dream projections which were quite fascinating and fun.
I recommend Bruce's stuff wholeheartedly as it has a wide range of applicability as a mode of energy work. I've incorporated a lot of the basics of his energy work system in my tool box of regular practices because they seem so effective at developing the energy system in a balanced, rich, well rounded way. My experience is astral projection is extremely costly to chi/prana/energy whatever so it helps to have a robust energy system and to have some reserves if you want to be able to project without being burnt out afterwards. For whatever reason I seem prone to such experiences but if I don't keep my prana cultivation up and my energy system healthy it just means a lot of aborted projections (waking sleep paralasys, lots of hypno-gogic and -pompic activity, etc.)
Yes! I didn't realize that Review felt so much like A&P, but your description nails it. Oddly, too, hmm . . . there is this really bizarre mixture of spiritual high with sexual energy, some kind of ecstatic something or other, but I guess that fits some descriptions of A&P, too. There is that sexual energy aspect even though I guess I'm past Review and going into DN. Yet that substratum of okay-ness is there, too, the minute I pause and tune into it. Everything--all mixed up!
Now would indeed be a good time to do that "no bleed-through" resolution formally. . . .
Another odd coicidence regarding all the issues with my father that have been coming through--long lost (never met) cousin on my father's side asked me to come up and visit her in Virginia, so I am. This is where my father grew up, and I've never known anything about his family or childhood. She, my cousin, wants to take me around and tell me all the old stories. A lot of my psychology and compensations and codepedence grew up around my father, who basically drank himself to death by the time I was 12. Just odd that he is popping up everywhere now--sits, dreams, long-lost cousins. . . .
The Fear last night . . . yeah, I started to feel a little panicky, but then I realized, "Oh, this is a nana." So I just noticed it, as you say, and I noticed its passing, too. . . . So I didn't make things worse that time. I definitely made scenes worse last week on the DhO, but I was surrounded by people here who I think knew what was going on with me and patiently supported me through it, for which I feel grateful. How rare and wonderful that any of this can happen and does--these shifts, and this community to support us through them!
I've been so good at work, too, lately. I literally bite my tongue or go out for a walk around the building when I need to. I go out of my way to say kind things to my boss, meaning them, and everyone, even people who've been testy with me. So this also is "practice," and it gets easier, more direct, with more of it.
Yes, brainstem work--this really makes sense. Thanks!
Last night I intended to try the fire kasina practice for at least an hour; however, I abruptly cut the session short because what happened startled me.
As with the last time, I added a mantra and observed the rays elongating. But then I decided to focus on the color and after a few alternations between having eyes open and having them closed, I started seeing the purple disc behind closed eyes. The second time I saw it, I had a few moments of confusion wherein I couldn't tell the difference between imagining purple and seeing it. Then it became clearly seen with my eyes closed.
About the fourth time that I closed my eyes, something weird happened. The disc started growing bigger and showing these brighter purple sparkling spots within the main disc. I was letting this develop and just watching it rapidly grow to fill all of the visual field when suddenly my vision popped up bright and became completely bright orange, the color of flame. I opened my eyes to see the actual flame leaping up high, and then quickly returning to normal and staying normal height.
This happening shook me up, set me a-trembling, and I ended the session early.
If you want to get the hang of psychokinesis, bending spoons is safer than fire. Start by coating a sewing needle in butter or lard and letting it float completely suspended in a glass of water. Concentrate and use your intent to tilt it to the left or the right. When you become proficient with that, you can apply the same principle to spoons.
I used to know a guy who could bend them. He couldn't actually just bend them with his mind, he had to give it a nudge with his finger. It was still impressive, because it bent like hot wax. Oh, and it really was HOT to the touch, so don't burn yourself...
Maybe back off the fire kasina until you figure out what exactly is going on.
No fear.....but if you are doing it inside/ near flammable stuff...get a fire extinguisher.
Maybe wish your father well, wish the woman spirit well, wish all beings well, even wish the candle flame well. It's time well spent. When the heart is clean, do your practice for the benefit of all beings, known and unknown. May we all awaken, may we all be free from suffering, may we all be happy.
It can be good to even take a bath before practice.
Just some things that might help.
Yes, good reminder. I'll amp up the metta practice before diving into fire again. I do almost always take a hot Epsom salt bath at night before I meditate. It is part of my regular clean routine.
I was more startled than frightened. And then I was excited. Dream Walker reminded me . . . approach this stuff with equanimity. So equanimity and metta . . . and I need to order more Epsom salts. I buy 20 lbs. bags and go through one every 3 weeks.
There is just so much to learn.
I no longer keep my practice journal on the DhO.
If you wish to reach me, my friend and moderator Dream Walker has my contact information. If he vets you, then I trust him to connect us.
Here is an update from Jenny
First is a journal documenting mainly the year between stream entry and Mahamudra awakened awareness; note that I've barely made a dent in the many entries I need to transfer to this site, http://dharmabydarknight.tumblr.com/
For those who wanted only to read about my experience of stream entry, here is that entry: http://dharmabydarknight.tumblr.com/post/138895869365/stream-entry
My current journal documents from the time of the Mahamudra awakening to present: http://jhanajenny.com/
The blogs allow for comments, and there is a button at the top for submitting questions to me.
I’m a bit puzzled. The last time anyone posted in this thread was over a year ago (Jenny herself). Why do you have to post links to Jenny’s sites here?
As far as I’m concerned, posting these links here is highly inappropriate. Her sites are peppered with private stuff related to Daniel, including obsessive speculations about his personality, especially his flaws and failures, judgements like “he’s fucked up,” attempts at revenge (in disguise of refraining from revenge). Don’t get me wrong, she’s free to publish whatever she wants on her sites, that’s not my point. My point is, why of all things should the DhO be the platform to enable her to a wider audience? That seems to me just plain wrong.
(interesting, as in kind of funny, but also kind of sad)
Here is an update from Jenny
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I'm getting into Dzogchen myself these days.
Edit: picture removed by DreamWalker
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