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Several months after SE, what's life like for me?

Hello all!

It's been a while since I've been on here and the reasons are varied and numerous. I think I can attribute my acquistion of Stream-Entry to a big reason as to why I'm not on here on a regular basis anymore...

As I have detailed elsewhere on this thread, I went to a Goenka retreat in Texas during the summer months of 2014 and since then things have been noticeably different...

1.) 'Background noise': Since the retreat (and since the moment I hit SE), I've had what I like to call a 'background noise' of excitment or "rapture". It's much like the feeling I got when I hit 1st Jhana.... only this feeling has literally persisted since my original SE event. I can always feel it, although I'm not always aware of it.

2.) Change in perception: My perception of time as well as my perception in general has changed quite a bit. I find that time is harder to grasp or quantify at times. For example, 5min of eating may feel like several hours once I look back at how long I've been eating. Or, an hour of walking may feel like only a couple of minutes. This is not like 'being in the zone' where your perception of time is off or while having a good time, it's much like time is not being made aware as it had been before SE.

3.) Moments of 'me' not being there: I'm not exactly sure how to explain this phenomenon, but it's almost like the 'blanking out' that happens whenever one reaches another full cycle in the path. I don't get a rush of euphoria (because that's there all of the time anyways), but there are slight moments where its almost as if I was not conscious or even there. 

4.) Complacement/contentment: I've had contentment before, but not like this. There is an ovewhelming sense of everything being O.K., despite set-backs or obstacles. For this reason only it's hard to conjure up the 'motivation' to get onto DharmaOverground because I see everything as o.k., and if there is something 'wrong' then it'll figure itself eventually as all things in life do. Perhaps it's an understanding of the Yin Yang relationship... who knows.

These are some of the bigger things I've noticed on a day-to-day basis. Of course, I still feel anger, frustration, upsetness, happiness, sadness, etc., but the emotions are much more managable than they've ever been. I wouldn't say I'm 'happy', rather, content. It's a pleasant feeling and it keeps me going.

I will try to keep coming on here to add what little wisdom I have acheived this far to all others.

RE: Several months after SE, what's life life for me?
Answer
3/10/15 10:38 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I found the bit immediately after SE somewhat rough. I was quite lonely and this came out as wanting to tell everyone all the time about my experiences to the point where it became a source of suffering -- like the background rapture you mention only distorted in a not-so-good way. I dealt with lonliness as a specific thing and got largely free of it but it still wasn't very balanced.

Your things 2,3 & 4 I experienced too. I understood it as attachment to the formed jhanas -- your mind is so glad to be able to empty itself on a whim that it will go ahead and do so for you given half the chance. This becomes annoying because motivation is harder to find and that develops into insight about what still needs doing. It falls away as insight deepens and you 'tame the ox'.

I learned I needed to be particularly careful around people who are also partially enlightened, you can be inclined to focus on each others faults but without enough insight to actually react in a way that is helpful. Even though you are both 'better' the combination can definitely be 'worse' as you can develop a sort of collective 'dark night'. Enlightened people automatically want to push those around them toward enlightenment, but at the early stages it's more like a bar brawl than dancing tango.

I'd also draw your attention to a change I noticed at SE, which is that I can take other peoples' perspective more easily than before. This got more complete and more automatic as things progressed.

RE: Several months after SE, what's life life for me?
Answer
3/10/15 10:44 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I'm curious, was there a specific event you point to as being stream entry?  Your descriptions here are familiar to me, but I haven't had any MCTB fruitions.

RE: Several months after SE, what's life life for me?
Answer
3/10/15 11:13 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
My experience is that changes to the baseline of experience, especially sudden shifts of the frequency at which stuff flickers are a better guide then looking for fruition directly, they're easily missed and can happen while asleep etc.

RE: Several months after SE, what's life life for me?
Answer
3/10/15 2:11 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Cool, I want this. so you got it through Goenka style meditation?

RE: Several months after SE, what's life life for me?
Answer
3/10/15 10:37 PM as a reply to Alexander Rice.
Sorry, Alexander, I meant to say Travis's stuff sounded familiar.  I'm not sure what you mean by flickering - I've never meditated with fast noting or impermanence as an object, though.  I expect that's what you're referring to, right?

RE: Several months after SE, what's life life for me?
Answer
3/11/15 6:00 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Travis, would you like me to keep adding my SE experiences here alongside yours so we can compare notes, or would you prefer I start a new thread?

Percieving flickering fairly easily was another major SE change for me.

By 'flickering' I mean that if I observe a sensation or an object of the mind I can see that it arises and passes away several times a second. This happens for all senses, the easiest being eyes closed looking at the 'noise' of my mind, it's very similar to watching a flickering candle flame through closed eyelids. Second easiest probably the background noise in my ears. Eyes open only started being noticeable when I hit the EQ before SE and then only peripheral vision, initally on a ~1/2 tab of LSD and if I 'relaxed my eyes' in the right way if I remember correctly. If I close my eyes now it takes 3-5s to be able to see it and it's been like that more or less constantly since SE.

In MCTB Daniel was fairly emphatic that being able to see the impermanence of phenomena was very important, so before SE I spent a lot of time watching out for rapid changes in the contents of my mind. I remeber that at the time I didn't think I was making much progress or having much success, but I persisted. I think the first time I managed to see it was probably on psilocybin or something like that but I think it's something I just gradually got better at. It only happened when I effortfully went looking for it, and it only happened when the mind was already reasonably still (I couldn't easily get into jhana at that stage.)

The frequency varies just as Daniel describes in MCTB -- lower at the start of DN, variable in the middle (sometimes different frquencies for different parts of my visual field), high and stable in EQ. So if I jump from EQ to A&P it's obvious becasue the frequency has suddenly dropped. The 'obviousness' of it with eyes open also varies -- sometimes my whole vision has been like an old film reel (EQ phase before 3rd path) and sometimes (all late DN phases since SE) one object in my peripheral vision will suddenly start to strobe while everything else stays solid. The first few times I just thought it was a random area, then I noticed that the area was always a conceptual object = mind blown. Usually it's part of me like my legs or hands but sometimes it's another person. Usually not inanimate objects. Mostly peripheral vision. Works sober but takes some effort, easy or effortless on most psychedelics.

RE: Several months after SE, what's life life for me?
Answer
3/11/15 9:59 AM as a reply to Alexander Rice.
I found the bit immediately after SE somewhat rough. I was quite lonely and this came out as wanting to tell everyone all the time about my experiences to the point where it became a source of suffering -- like the background rapture you mention only distorted in a not-so-good way. I dealt with lonliness as a specific thing and got largely free of it but it still wasn't very balanced.

Your things 2,3 & 4 I experienced too. I understood it as attachment to the formed jhanas -- your mind is so glad to be able to empty itself on a whim that it will go ahead and do so for you given half the chance. This becomes annoying because motivation is harder to find and that develops into insight about what still needs doing. It falls away as insight deepens and you 'tame the ox'.

I learned I needed to be particularly careful around people who are also partially enlightened, you can be inclined to focus on each others faults but without enough insight to actually react in a way that is helpful. Even though you are both 'better' the combination can definitely be 'worse' as you can develop a sort of collective 'dark night'. Enlightened people automatically want to push those around them toward enlightenment, but at the early stages it's more like a bar brawl than dancing tango.

I'd also draw your attention to a change I noticed at SE, which is that I can take other peoples' perspective more easily than before. This got more complete and more automatic as things progressed.

That's interesting to see your experience... Thanks for putting that here. And yes, of course emoticon feel free to keep posting so we can compare each others experience(s). Your bit about the lonliness is interesting... I'd like to read more about it if you don't mind expanding...


I'm curious, was there a specific event you point to as being stream entry?  Your descriptions here are familiar to me, but I haven't had any MCTB fruitions.

Not Tao; are you talking about my moment of fruition? I was at the Goenka retreat, focusing on noting sensations (yes, I wasn't doing Goenka's style of noting... I'm a rebel at heart I guess) then suddenly the 'blanking' out happened. Immediately after I was in intense euphoria and rapture. Do you not have a particular moment that you can label as the exact moment of SE? I know I've heard of other meditator acheiving it in their sleep and noticng the perspective difference upon awakening and going about their day...
Cool, I want this. so you got it through Goenka style meditation?
 Pål; no. haha although I've heard great things about this method.

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/11/15 12:29 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
I'm intersted in what method you did use, beacause it seems like you managed it in quite a small amount of time, and I'm generally interested in finding out about things that get the job done quicker.

RE: loneliness. ------------

Well I've never had a teacher, or a group of people who are interested in talking about technical meditation stuff and I seemed to have managed to do something fairly radical (SE) based on a somewhat novel approach (mix pragmatic dharma with low dose psychedelics) from a lousy starting point (depression) in a small amount of time (about a year) based on books with no teacher and no formal retreat so I was pretty darn excited and wanting to tell everyone about it, and I was also kind of blissed out making it easier to miss things that are bothersome and need attention.

Result was that my need for connection expressed itself mainly as me being a mediation-obsessed jerk for about a week before I was at a fairground and there were a couple of dogs sniffing around each other and I noticed a thought arise related to me somehow 'joining in' with this interaction and I suddenly saw what an absurd thing my mind was doing: trying to insert 'me' into every interaction even though my sense of 'me' was much diminished from 'my' perspective. A textbook case of 'enlightned ego'! About 5m of walking and I got a new pain in my chest (I experience most meditation related sensations here) which with a bit of work broke up and dissolved along with a truly spectacular amount of pent up junk and it mostly didn't bother me again. But it was a good reminder that with change comes new ways to screw up.

I've come to respect the 'review' period as a time when I should hide from the world until things have settled down and I've got used to the changes.

RE: Several months after SE, what's life life for me?
Answer
3/11/15 1:14 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Which method then? Noting?

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/11/15 7:24 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Sounds cool, good to hear from you man!

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/12/15 12:11 PM as a reply to Alexander Rice.
Alexander Rice:
I'm intersted in what method you did use, beacause it seems like you managed it in quite a small amount of time, and I'm generally interested in finding out about things that get the job done quicker.

RE: loneliness. ------------

Well I've never had a teacher, or a group of people who are interested in talking about technical meditation stuff and I seemed to have managed to do something fairly radical (SE) based on a somewhat novel approach (mix pragmatic dharma with low dose psychedelics) from a lousy starting point (depression) in a small amount of time (about a year) based on books with no teacher and no formal retreat so I was pretty darn excited and wanting to tell everyone about it, and I was also kind of blissed out making it easier to miss things that are bothersome and need attention.

Result was that my need for connection expressed itself mainly as me being a mediation-obsessed jerk for about a week before I was at a fairground and there were a couple of dogs sniffing around each other and I noticed a thought arise related to me somehow 'joining in' with this interaction and I suddenly saw what an absurd thing my mind was doing: trying to insert 'me' into every interaction even though my sense of 'me' was much diminished from 'my' perspective. A textbook case of 'enlightned ego'! About 5m of walking and I got a new pain in my chest (I experience most meditation related sensations here) which with a bit of work broke up and dissolved along with a truly spectacular amount of pent up junk and it mostly didn't bother me again. But it was a good reminder that with change comes new ways to screw up.

I've come to respect the 'review' period as a time when I should hide from the world until things have settled down and I've got used to the changes.

So as for the method I used....

I used the noting style of meditation. The same method Daniel mentions highly in his book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (MCTB ).

As far as the length of time to arrive at SE.... this is tough to figure. I had been sitting (literally just sitting pretending to meditate but not actually meditating) since I was about 12-14yrs old. I only started to ACTUALLY meditate when I was about 16yrs old. At this point, I just sat and paid attention to as much as I could.

I started to seriously meditate about this time last year, so I would say it took me about 6-8 months to arrive at SE. I am very much a type-A pesonality; I can't sit still if I don't have what I aim to get. This causes me to obsessively research, practice, etc. unitl I arrive at my goal. Kenneth Folk's partner, Beth, helped me a little bit through Skype. She mainly helped me keep my focus on SE.

Alexander, 

Thanks for sharing your experience. That's quite interesting.... how is your practice now? Have you arrived at SE?

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/12/15 4:40 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Ok hm, would do that too if I wasn't exoterically obsessed with the suttas and slightly afraid of the DN:s dry vipassana seems to generate. MCTB is nice but I don't like the title since a lot of it contents seems to have little to do with the teachings if the Buddha. But maybe I'll change my mind and start noting when I'm ready for it. 

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/13/15 10:13 AM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
Travis,

1) How many hours did you meditate per day?

2) Did you reach jhana before starting to do noting practice? Or did you start noting right away?

3) How has post SE altered your ability to work (what is it you do?)?

4) How was post SE altered your relationships to other people, ability to date, hang out with friends, etc?

5) Do you still have other interests, music, movies, sports, etc..are has your other hobbies fallen away?

6) Can you still get stressed out?

7) Would you be nervous speaking in public/ talking to the hottest girl in the bar/at a job interview/ or other social anxiety producing situation?

8) If you had to quantify your enjoyment of life on a scale of 1 to 10 a year ago, what was it then, and what would it be today?

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/13/15 2:45 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:
Travis,

1) How many hours did you meditate per day?

2) Did you reach jhana before starting to do noting practice? Or did you start noting right away?

3) How has post SE altered your ability to work (what is it you do?)?

4) How was post SE altered your relationships to other people, ability to date, hang out with friends, etc?

5) Do you still have other interests, music, movies, sports, etc..are has your other hobbies fallen away?

6) Can you still get stressed out?

7) Would you be nervous speaking in public/ talking to the hottest girl in the bar/at a job interview/ or other social anxiety producing situation?

8) If you had to quantify your enjoyment of life on a scale of 1 to 10 a year ago, what was it then, and what would it be today?
  1. How many hours did you meditate a day? At my peak, I was probably meditating around 6-8hrs. a day. Sometimes it dropped to 3-4hrs but on average it was 6-8.
  2. Did you reach jhana before starting to do noting practice? Or did you start noting right away? Great question. I started noting right away. Although I think it should be noted that in my earlier years I attempted concentration meditation. I didn't ever get 1st jhana but as I progressed with focus on vipassana meditation, 1st jhana began happening a lot without my being aware of it. Essentially I thought it was 'normal' until I talked with Beth Folk (Kenneth Folk's partner).
  3. How has SE altered your ability to work (what is it you do?)? Another great question. I am an American Sign Language interpreter. This profession requires us to do multiple things at a time ("multi-task"). I've noticed a large increae in the ability to focus. At least that's what it would seem like in layman's terms. In reality, I think what has happened is the things that would normally distract me (random thoughts, random feelings, etc.) either don't happen or if they do they don't have a significant impact on my focus anymore.
  4. How was post SE altered your relationships to other people, ability to date, hang out with friends, etc.? This one is a bit more tough to answer genuienly because I don't have a lot of experience with SE yet. But what I can tell you is that I'm much more content with my relationships now than I've ever been. I guess I could say I'm easier to please. When someone upsets me, it doesn't last nearly as long as it used to and I'm able to let it go more efficiently. I was with my girlfriend before and after SE so she's seen both sides of 'me'. She says she doesn't notice MUCH of a difference, only that I seem much more content with life than before.
  5. Do you still have other interests or have they fallen away? I definitely still have interests. Stream Entry isn't something 'crazy' like most people think of it. I'm still very much 'human' (have feelings, get upset, angry, frustrated, etc.). What's different now is the ability to deal with those emotions and feelings and watch them drop away a lot faster than usual. I notice my thoughts, feelings, desires, etc. as reflections of the environment, not neccessarily of me. So when I'm hungry, I know it's the body that is lacking food (specific signals telling the brain of what 'I' should focus on doing next; eat), not 'me'. So 'I' don't need to be angry if I'm hungry, I just feel the hunger and let it pass. Then it comes back, and then goes away again. Like clouds emoticon they come and go.
  6. Can you still get stressed out? I can definitely still get stressed out. I feel all of the emotions I did before SE. Now it's just much more managable and they go away quickly. This is the same anwser for question 7. I experience stage fright a bit so yeah, I still get it. But again, it's much more a temporary feeling and not a feeling that seems like it's gonna last forever.
    8.  If you had to quantify your enjoyment of life on a scale of 1 to 10 a year ago, what was it then, and what would it be today? That's a good question... I'd say now it's quite high, possibly a 9 or 10. A year ago? Quite possibly 7-8. I'm a generally pretty happy person, even before SE. What's changed is what I mentioned above. Not exactly an emotional change but an understanding.... a perspective change. If you have a photo of the ocean, there's nothing you can do to actually change that photo. You could burn it but the photo (the original, true photo) will always stay the same. You could take another photo and tape it in front of the old one but that old photo will always be there. The only thing you can do is change your perspective. The same goes for the mind and Stream Entry. You have the same emotional dispositions, but your perspective has changed. You didn't make the photo more beautiful, you just noticed the beauty in it that's always been there!!

Hope that helps emoticon thanks for all of the questions...

P.S. not sure why that '1' is there... I can't delete it.
  1.  

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/13/15 5:15 PM as a reply to Travis Gene McKinstry.
How long did you typically sit? Was it always one hour or did it vary?

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/13/15 6:28 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Jinxed P:
Travis,

1) How many hours did you meditate per day?

2) Did you reach jhana before starting to do noting practice? Or did you start noting right away?

3) How has post SE altered your ability to work (what is it you do?)?

4) How was post SE altered your relationships to other people, ability to date, hang out with friends, etc?

5) Do you still have other interests, music, movies, sports, etc..are has your other hobbies fallen away?

6) Can you still get stressed out?

7) Would you be nervous speaking in public/ talking to the hottest girl in the bar/at a job interview/ or other social anxiety producing situation?

8) If you had to quantify your enjoyment of life on a scale of 1 to 10 a year ago, what was it then, and what would it be today?


great questions! 

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/13/15 8:47 PM as a reply to Jake.
Jake WM:
How long did you typically sit? Was it always one hour or did it vary?


Jake,

Read the post right before yours.

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/13/15 9:45 PM as a reply to Alexander Rice.
Alexander Rice:
But it was a good reminder that with change comes new ways to screw up.
LMAO!  That's a great saying!
-Eva

RE: Several months after SE, what's life like for me?
Answer
3/13/15 11:47 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Thanks for your in depth replies Travis.

1.How did you find the time to meditate 6-8 hours a day (a non-retreat) with a job and girlfriend? Are you counting off the cushion time as well?

2. What is your relationship now with desire? In classical buddhism the goal is to get rid of suffering. The way to get rid of suffering is to get rid of desire. The way to get rid of desire is by cutting it off at the root by seeing no-self )or impermanence/suffering. Have your desires been attenuated?

3. When you do suffer, what is the cause of this suffering?

4. Do you still have motivations for personal improvement in classical domains (job/money/exercise/etc)?