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Dark night?
Answer
1/12/15 6:50 PM
Hello there,

Sorry for my individual interpretation of English grammar)

So here it goes. Am I in the dark night?

Background

I’ve been dabbling with meditation on and off for something like a year, but not really regularly. I’ve intensified my practice over the last month or two. I had a few days when I meditated for up to 7 hours (walking/sitting), but usually its about 1 hour/day and again not every day. Mostly I do what I think is concentration practice (observe my breath, without trying to separate into separate sensation). I haven’t really reached even the 1st Jhana, although I do reach some kind of low intensity bliss like experience. I don’t have any definitive experiences of any insight stages (nanas) as described in MCTB.

The dream

I had this experience two weeks ago. I was toying with an insight practice of sorts for the first time trying to experience individual sensations that make up my breath (before that I only focused on a concentration practice). I got bored/sleepy after 10-15 minutes and decided to take a nap. I laid down, my mind got a little bit drowsy and a usual stream of thoughts started to rush through. Suddenly I realized that something is weird (Probably I was already dreaming), my thoughts kind of spilled off. I could see and hear them outside of my head sort of floating. Then, suddenly everything got extremely bright and colorful (doesn’t happen in my dreams) and I thought to myself that something big should happen now. Instead colors disappeared and I started to rotate like a hand of a clock round and round on the top of my bed until I woke up.

There were no fireworks or explosion of consciousness, but still it felt like something important just happened.

Vibrations and other funny sensations

I do not remember well, but I think that I didn’t notice these vibrations before my dream. So when I close my eyelids (and sometimes with my eyes open), the visual field starts to pulsate in a fuzzy sort of way. I cannot clearly identify each separate vibration, because they get all tangled and change in frequency. They intensify if I try to investigate my breath at the same time. Also, when I focus on my breath my brain/ head (especially in the forehead area) starts to feel heavy and bloated like my brain is expanding (quite unpleasant). If I ignore that and continue to be with my breath, my face starts to twitch or at least it feels like it’s shaking and vibrating (doesn’t happen always).

Mood/ psychological stuff

I am quite irritable, depressed for the last week. I feel that I need to meditate to make myself function adequately (it helps for a short while), but at the same time I feel this aversion to meditation (or anything that requires effort for that matter).

It’s important to point out that I’ve been depressed on and off for the bigger part of my life even before I started meditating. So it very well might be just an ordinary depression and me reading too much stories about states, stages and maps.

Questions

Does this dream I described sound at all like an A&P event? Is it likely that somehow magically I crossed A&P event and now I am in the dark night territory? I say magically, because I haven’t meditated very consistently, I didn’t go to any retreats. I didn’t experience the first three stages of insight and my understanding of 3 characteristics is more or less superficial/intellectual.

Thank you in advance for your opinions!

RE: Dark night?
Answer
1/12/15 7:07 PM as a reply to Mantas.
to me, it sounds like you experienced some of the hypnagogic state before falling asleep, you had a more vivid dream than usual due to meditation. your depressed or have a low mood which as you said is not out of the ordinary for you. 

i think you are probably reading too much about states and maps and just try focus on meditating every day no matter what, that should help with low mood. 

RE: Dark night?
Answer
1/13/15 5:24 AM as a reply to Mantas.
howdy mantasa and welcome.
the twitching thing, for me, happened before i reached the A&P.  A&P does not always mean fireworks but most likely it will be REALLY memorable..not always though.

per A&P i experienced some pretty wild stuff like very increased ability to follow the slightest subtle sensations inside and outside of my 'body' and this increase of precision is a common trait of the stages just before and into the A&P.  just after the A&P i found myself almost unable to meditate as described in MCTB.

its only a guess but i don't think you've passed the A&P but are edging up to it.

once past it you will be in the DN territory.

good luck