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Possible 1st jhana followed by malaise

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Possible 1st jhana followed by malaise
1st jhana chakras
Answer
9/5/14 1:16 AM
Hello, everyone,

I'm a newcomer to both this forum and meditation. Today I had a weird experience that I would like to get "diagnosed." 

Background: a few weeks ago I started breathing meditation under the intention of improving my concentration. I've been doing this for about 20-60 minutes a day. Sometimes I sit in a chair, other times I slowly pace. I'm surprised by how much I'm getting out of it --- I've really been noticing the fine motions of my muscle contractions involved in my breaths and have been generally been more aware of my body sensations. It feels like everytime I breathe slowly during meditation I'm somehow pushing some energy throughout my body. 

Yesterday, I had an urge to finally just suck it up and sit down semi-crossed legged (my flexibility is horrible and I generally hate sitting on the floor). I sometimes have to switch my legs around but I'm surprised by how much discomfort I'm able to endure if I just focus on my breathing. I've also been starting to concentrate on the element water, which I have an affinity for. I enjoy this new technique even if it's more difficult. 

This afternoon, I continued the semi-crossed leg breathing/water meditation. I had one round that lasted like an hour, intersperced with a bit of pacing, and it went quite well. Then I tried again an hour or so later. Perhaps about 50 minutes into my session, I starting feeling what certainly felt like third eye movements --- just a pulsating around my forehead like I've never felt before. I also felt what felt like some sort of chakric activity in the middle of my chest and a feeling of joy and goodwill for all sentient beings. I'd stop feeling the forehead vibrations when I open my eyes and the feeling returned when I closed them. Eventually the vibrations went away and I just felt, well, good. The discomfort in my legs, that otherwise would have been close to unbearable, went away. I was very excited because it was my first dramatic breakthrough and I suspected that I might have reached the 1st jhana. This lasted for about a minute or so. I then got up and felt great happiness for another half hour or so. 

After that half hour, in the evening, some unexpected weirdness arose. The "good" feeling gave way to a certain sort of dissatisfaction. I became conscious that part of me, some aspect of my body, was in emotional pain/turmoil. Like I could sense a part of me that was experiencing anger and frustration. I wasn't THAT bothered by it because I somehow felt removed from it, but I nonetheless missed the rapturous joy I felt earlier. Eventually I started becoming increasingly affected by this emotional pain and went back to meditating (the same semi-crossed position). I kept saying to myself "I'm tired of suffering" and kept perservering, in spite of the leg pain from the sitting pose. I did this for about a half an hour and the pain eventually gave way to tranquility, but it was nothing like the rapture I felt in the session earlier in the afternoon. I feel like the lesson I learned was "pain has to be confronted instead of evaded." 

I really don't know what happend. I thought it was 1st jhana but I never heard of 1st jhana being followed by some sort of mini dark night. If anyone could give feedback, that would be grately appreciated. Thank you!

EDIT: I just read http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5563483 and that experience sounds quite similar to mine! Perhaps I have entered the dark night/equanimity, all very rapidly? 

RE: Possible 1st jhana followed by malaise
Answer
9/5/14 1:32 AM as a reply to Arianne A G.
Great that you started practicing, and good that you are seeing positive results in such a short time!

My advice would be to just continue practicing, and try to not analyze it to much, try not to make a big deal out of it. I highly recommend reading the first chapters of MCTB.

When I started practicing a couple of years back I had some kundalini like experiences and pressure/pulling between my eyes. All this distracted me from practice, and resulted in intense mood swings for me which lasted for a year... I give this example as a way to show it is easily to get distracted by these "side effects". 

Best wishes for your practice!

RE: Possible 1st jhana followed by malaise
Answer
9/6/14 2:21 PM as a reply to Pjotr Hill.
Pjotr Hill:
Great that you started practicing, and good that you are seeing positive results in such a short time!

My advice would be to just continue practicing, and try to not analyze it to much, try not to make a big deal out of it. I highly recommend reading the first chapters of MCTB.

When I started practicing a couple of years back I had some kundalini like experiences and pressure/pulling between my eyes. All this distracted me from practice, and resulted in intense mood swings for me which lasted for a year... I give this example as a way to show it is easily to get distracted by these "side effects". 

Best wishes for your practice!

Thanks for your feedback! Really, I don't know what to expect at this point --- last night while meditating I felt a weird combination of mild rapture and the dissociated dissatifaction feeling, again. I guess it's probably best to just let my energy system re-organize itself and let the sensations come and go, rather than become attached to any particular state and "force" myself there. Was there something you did in particular after a year that got you out of your mood swings?  

Yeah, I'm pleasantly surprised by how quickly I've been making progress. I've spent *a lot* of time reading/ruminating on Buddhism before I formally started my practice, but I don't know to what extent intellectual preparation can make a difference. Reviewing the MCTB literature sounds like a good idea. 

RE: Possible 1st jhana followed by malaise
Answer
9/6/14 3:31 PM as a reply to Arianne A G.
I did mostly concentration and metta practice for half a year. And i often started meditation with feeling contact with the floor, trying to ground.
Last retreat I did Mahasi noting and this seems to help me a lot, as i can label mind states of sadness or euphoria instead of getting carried away by them. And I try not to get attached to pleasant mind states.

I think intellectual preparation can make a real difference, as for me meditation has become much more straightforward now I have a clear idea what to look for (three charasteristics).

RE: Possible 1st jhana followed by malaise
Answer
9/13/14 1:24 PM as a reply to Pjotr Hill.
Yeah, same, my intention is to practice concentration/metta.

I had more prolonged samadhi experiences in the past few days. Im not sure what jhana (if any) I'm at but I do intend to go deeper.