Looking for Clarity

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Jake WM, modified 6 Years ago.

Looking for Clarity

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
I have been getting up into higher equanimity the past few days and there have been a few near misses of the first path moment characterized by anticipation, exciement, fear (good fear), kind of like slowly working your way up a roller coaster before sliding over the other side. My typical sit would be: listen to binaural beats for 10 minutes to relax and concentrate, then get up and sit on my stool or continue laying on my bed and do some insight, in the form of noting. I would note up to lower equanimity then feel myself slide into higher eq which is marked by heaviness, density, peace, and relaxation. Then what would happen is my body would feel like it was swelling up, getting harder / more dense, my heart would start to race and my eyes would start to flutter. At this point, this is where some thoughts of stream entry would come in, thoughts of "this is it!", and I would slide back down.

However, last night, I surpassed this stage and something INSANE happened. This is easily the craziest thing that has ever happened to me since my initial a&p experience. However, I am terrified because I was expecting that moment to be stream entry and it was not. I am terrified that something fucked up and I won't have a shot at it again or somehow missed it. I just woke up and at the moment I am hesistant to sit on the cushion again even though I definitely will today. I don't know what else to do. I have copied the entry from my journal last night below which desribes the experience to the best of my ability. I would normally go through and edit it before posting it to a public board but I don't want to alter it and I apologize in advance for the language.

Hypothesis: I have misjudged where I was on the path and the experience I had was not stream entry but something else entirely. What happened has definitely shattered some framework I had in my mind about this technique (noting) and where I was on the path.

Sit #3 – 9:30pm, 10 min concentration (beats @ 4.0hz), 25 min insight

I have no idea what the fuck just happened. Listened to beats then went into insight as usual, noted quicker than usual but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I was in a not give a shit what happened mood, like what Dreamwalker said, just let it happen and be “eh” towards it all. But I got to the point where my hands started to feel heavy, eyelids started to flutter, and then it kept getting more and more intense. My heart started beating faster than it ever has in my entire life and my eyelids started fluttering as fast as possible. I don’t even know how to describe it, I am sitting here in shock right now. Feeling very ungrounded, very freaked out, frightened. That couldn’t have been stream entry. There was no blip or loss of consciousness and I am 100% sure I was fully conscious of that the entire time.

I will try to describe that experience the best I can. By far the most fucking insane experience since my initial a&p. I hit that point where I usually freak out and get all giddy and the mind says peace bro and the path moment vanishes. But this time, I went into that void, its literally like I went down the other side of the roller coaster but it is not what I expected at all. That was fucking trippy as FUCK. I don’t even… I was in this void and I felt fat as fuck like the marshmallow man thing like Dreamwalker was talking about. My center point, reference point, basically “me” was just whipping around in space, pulsing in and out, rotating, I could still hear footsteps and Eric on the computer but “I” was flying around. I don’t even know what the fuck that was. I didn’t know what to do. I just stayed with it and let it happen. I didn’t know whether or not to note because I have never experienced any trip like that before. That was more insane than any weed high or any drug I have ever done. It was similar to salvia, thats the closest comparison. I can’t even think about it, I am sitting here in a shock trying to describe it but I can’t. My whole body was this giant bliss bubble that just pulsed and wobbled and rotated and floated.

There was a moment where I felt the urge to open my eyes so I did. I opened my eyes and I was back in my body, but then I closed my eyes and WHAM I was flipping around and pulsing and bubbling again. I don’t even know holy shit. Feeling very ungrounded right now. For some reason I am terrified that it was SE (I am 99% sure it was not based on peoples descriptions) and I am terrified that I am not any different. I don’t know. That was way too fucking wild to be stream entry. I felt resistance in there, I still felt the expectation, the ancipatoon of a pop or a blip but I didn’t see it. God damn! That was insane! I don’t even know what to do with myself right now.

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Jake WM, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Follow Up

I have calmed down a bit since posting earlier. The terror and fear has transformed into more of a wonder and curiosity for what happened and I am more excited to investigate it now. It's kind of a testament to being mindful and being aware since a few hours ago I was sucked into my feelings and emotions. I am still feeling a bit shaken up and unstable, but I did have some crazy dreams and nightmares last night. Last year at the Goenka retreat I had wild dreams as well combined with waking up in the middle of the night multiple times. I attribute this to the excessive / more than normal amount of meditation. It seems every time I get serious about practice it leaks into my dreams. To bring some humor into this situation, Daniel Ingram was in one of my dreams and he was being a real jerk. He was in my apartment and rearranged all of the furniture, which I thought was extremely rude, but I took advantage of the situation by asking him about this experience I had. He said he would only tell me what it was if I accompanied him on the way to get a new tattoo. We went to the driveway and hopped into his BMW, then he drove over the lawn and into the street. I have never met Daniel or ever spoken to him before and have no connection to him at all, which makes this dream even funnier. A lot of the emotion and turmoil was a result of the aftershock of these weird dreams and nightmares too.

Anyway, this freak out has highlighted my attachment to experience, attachment to stream entry, attachment to a result, which was not as apparent as before. It got me thinking that practicing meditation has really brought things into the light such as insecurities, attachments, cravings, aversions. I am really beginning to see what this practice does and really only scratching the surface.
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Noah Starbuck, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 1532 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
Your journal entry sounds pretty close to a fruition to me.  A blip in consciousness is a very important signpost for marking the event, but a parallel and useful description might be that the kundalini energy travels all the way up the spinal column and through the head, causing kriyas in that region (when your eyes fluttered).

If it wasn't a fruition, I would recommend you keep practicing up through high EQ, and when you get there, make your sense of eagerness and anticipation the primary object of observation.  Notice how, in contrast to the relaxed atmosphere high EQ is providing, your eagerness for stream entry is a relatively aggressive energy.  Then either 'be okay with it' or allow it to dissolve.

If it was a fruition, you will already be in the review A phase after stream entry.  Expect two weeks of rapid insight cycling on and off the cushion.  By rapid, I cycling ten times in a sit.  Eventually, the energy will calm down completely and you wont be cycling at all.  Those next two weeks are commonly termed, review B.  These stages will happen whether you like it or not, so all you have to do is sit back and watch.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 441 Join Date: 4/7/14 Recent Posts
Well of course, Daniel Ingram--his book, this forum, your practice--really is rearranging your furniture, driving over your lawn, and taking you for a ride! And part of you is losing control, or the illusion of control, over your own life. And that translates into your feeling that the dream Daniel is a real jerk. 

But but back to your more recent experience: when I got SE there was no obvious blip, but I had an experience similar to you with the crazy buildup of energy, the excitement, the fear. And there must have been a blip in there but I just didn't notice it with all that other wild stuff going on. So what Noah says is the best way of diagnosing it that I can think of: if you're in review now, then it was SE. Don't let the conceptual mind with its tendency to spin all kinds of stories drive you nuts. Things will get clearer as time goes on.
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Jake WM, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Noah, thank you for the input and advice. I sat and meditated earlier for about 25 minutes again using the same method as I did last night (10 minutes concentration, 25 minutes insight) and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Using binaural beats as a concentration object works really well for me, it seems like I am skipping over the dukkha nanas and the earlier stages or I am just I am too relaxed to notice them. Not sure which, but either way I cycled up to EQ and hung out there for a bit, drifted off, had some dream-like thoughts, felt the energy / heart racing / fluttering again, got excited, and it faded. I'll focus on the eagerness and anticipation the next time I sit and see what happens.

Laurel, that's exactly what it feels like. Even though it was 'just a dream', it is a spot on analogy for how I am feeling at the moment. Thank you for describing it that way, I would have missed it otherwise emoticon I am not sure if I am in review, nothing feels too different after last night but I still feel a bit shellshocked. A blip might have happened and it is defnitely possible that I missed it with all that crazy stuff going on. I'll see how the next few days and weeks go and see how my practice unfolds on the cushion later this afternoon. I'll report back here with the results!
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Teague, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 104 Join Date: 8/1/11 Recent Posts
Your initial post actualy comes close to describing an experience that I have from time to time.  When I first started to get it while meditating it felt extremely awkward and tottaly different than any kind of off-the-cushion experience of reality.  It never seems insight producing, so I've never brought it up on these boards.  It's also really difficult to describe, but the words you use come closest to what I think I would use, but since it is so strange, I can't be sure we're actually experiencing the same thing.

When I was practicing where you are, I used to get the engergetic buildup with eye-fluttering and rapid heart rate sometimes on every sit.  When that happened I would get all excited and anticipate something big to happen, and then when the experience was over I would scrutinize the event for some kind of shift.  For me, there was never a shift in one of those events.  Over time, these experiences showed me how much craving for SE I still had, and that there was likely more work to be done.  I had to learn how to chill out and accept ALL experience as simply experience, no matter how crazy they seemed.  This lead to my equanimity getting deeper and deeper over the course of several months until I had what was likely SE come completely out of the blue.  There was never an opportunity to become excited or anticipate it happening.

If you're like me, you'll probably have this crazy experience again.  Just learn to roll with it and observe exactly what makes it so crazy.  For me, I never get used to it.  It is fucking bizzare every time.
Good luck,
T
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Jake WM, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
Teague:
It never seems insight producing, so I've never brought it up on these boards.  It's also really difficult to describe, but the words you use come closest to what I think I would use, but since it is so strange, I can't be sure we're actually experiencing the same thing.

I agree, it felt more jhanic and trippy and "fun" than something that was serious or insightful. I am getting into the habit of journaling after every sit and if this thing happens again I'll do my best to refine the way I describe it.

Teague:
When that happened I would get all excited and anticipate something big to happen, and then when the experience was over I would scrutinize the event for some kind of shift. Over time, these experiences showed me how much craving for SE I still had, and that there was likely more work to be done.  I had to learn how to chill out and accept ALL experience as simply experience, no matter how crazy they seemed.  This lead to my equanimity getting deeper and deeper over the course of several months until I had what was likely SE come completely out of the blue.  There was never an opportunity to become excited or anticipate it happening.

This is how I am beginning to feel. I think the craving and desire I have for SE along with my expectations of how it will change me are flying under my awareness radar. This event has already revealed some of that truth, and like you I suspect there is more work to be done before stream entry happens.

Teague:
If you're like me, you'll probably have this crazy experience again.  Just learn to roll with it and observe exactly what makes it so crazy.  For me, I never get used to it.  It is fucking bizzare every time.

It almost happened earlier but since I knew what was going to happen, fear and terror arose instead of excitement and giddiness, which stopped it in its tracks. The equanimity I have developed from the DN seems to have been jarred by this experience. It's as if my mind is revealing more layers of suffering, fear, dukkha, shit in general, that I am becoming aware of and need to re-train myself to be equanimous to. 

Thanks for your input Teague, I feel as though the way my path is unfolding might be similar to how yours has unfolded so far.
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Teague, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 104 Join Date: 8/1/11 Recent Posts
Jake WM:


This is how I am beginning to feel. I think the craving and desire I have for SE along with my expectations of how it will change me are flying under my awareness radar. This event has already revealed some of that truth, and like you I suspect there is more work to be done before stream entry happens.


But you're on the right track.  I had a phase like this two or three years ago where I was getting into EQ on a reglular basis, but life circumstances changed and I slid down and my practice was rather perfunctory for quite ahile.  Then I began getting into EQ in my daily sits again last summer, and I was able to maintain strong practice for 3-4 months before anything dramatic happened.  So don't get discouraged if you spend 90+ days getting into EQ every day without anything new happening.  This will be a time when you should start to simply enjoy the equanimity, because it can be so peaceful and nice when you're not striving.  I won't give you too much advice on what to do, because I think that leads to scripting and craving in this phase.  If you've gotten this far, you know what to do.  I will say that I started to just go back to the breath a lot, while keeping broad awareness of the body and trying not to overthink things.

Jake WM:

It almost happened earlier but since I knew what was going to happen, fear and terror arose instead of excitement and giddiness, which stopped it in its tracks. The equanimity I have developed from the DN seems to have been jarred by this experience. It's as if my mind is revealing more layers of suffering, fear, dukkha, shit in general, that I am becoming aware of and need to re-train myself to be equanimous to. 

If we're talking about the same weird experience, it is indeed rather unsettling.  Sometimes when it happens and I let it happen I have a very clear mind, but I begin to wonder if the crazy state will somehow do permanent damage –– it's that weird.  

Here is my own descriptioin: I begin to feel very thick and dense, like stone, but the stone is constantly fluxing and shifting and kind of spinning like when you're dizzy.  My sense of sense becomes unlocalized and perhaps diffuse, though it's hard to tell what's actually going on.  When I observe this state closely, it just becomes stronger and weirder.  There is a strange pervasive pressure, and everything feels big and vast.  I actually used have this happen to me when I was sick as a kid and just lying down.  I really hated it then.

Jake WM:

Thanks for your input Teague, I feel as though the way my path is unfolding might be similar to how yours has unfolded so far.
You're welcome.
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Droll Dedekind, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 634 Join Date: 11/15/13 Recent Posts
Teague:
Your initial post actualy comes close to describing an experience that I have from time to time.  When I first started to get it while meditating it felt extremely awkward and tottaly different than any kind of off-the-cushion experience of reality.  It never seems insight producing, so I've never brought it up on these boards.  It's also really difficult to describe, but the words you use come closest to what I think I would use, but since it is so strange, I can't be sure we're actually experiencing the same thing.

When I was practicing where you are, I used to get the engergetic buildup with eye-fluttering and rapid heart rate sometimes on every sit.  When that happened I would get all excited and anticipate something big to happen, and then when the experience was over I would scrutinize the event for some kind of shift.  For me, there was never a shift in one of those events.  Over time, these experiences showed me how much craving for SE I still had, and that there was likely more work to be done.  I had to learn how to chill out and accept ALL experience as simply experience, no matter how crazy they seemed.  This lead to my equanimity getting deeper and deeper over the course of several months until I had what was likely SE come completely out of the blue.  There was never an opportunity to become excited or anticipate it happening.

If you're like me, you'll probably have this crazy experience again.  Just learn to roll with it and observe exactly what makes it so crazy.  For me, I never get used to it.  It is fucking bizzare every time.
Good luck,
T
Pretty much exactly what he said^.

I believe it's some sort of 'energetic' event. In the jargon of this forum it would probably be called an A&P. Interestingly, I used to only get the eyelid flutter at intense moments like you described but now it happens every sit, if more gently.
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Jake WM, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
It's been just over a week since this experience and it does not seem like I am in any sort of review phase. I do not rapidly cycle, I do not have the ability to call up jhanas at will, and there hasnt been a noticeable change in personality for the better. In fact, it seems worse which kind of sucks.

Also, even though I have been getting into EQ with each sit, the buildup / fluttering / heart racing does not happen anymore. The only sign that I am in EQ is the lack of pain, peacefulness, dreaminess, and heavy hands.

Still working towards SE and incorporating more noting and mindfulness in my daily life.
Eva M Nie, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 831 Join Date: 3/23/14 Recent Posts
I wonder if you have certain expectations of stream entry and what it will be like.  But these things can really be understood well by just reading about them in advance.  They will always be different than expected even if matching the words of others and sometimes they are not very similar at all to what others experienced.  You might want to spend some time thinking about your expectations.  Probably you have some ideas of what stream entry will or should be like and probably those expectations will not be 100% correct so can cause a bit of a block if you are subconsciously clinging to them.  For instance, stream entry may result in subtle and gradually developing changes in you instead of obviously big deal type changes.  IME, that is one of the disadvantages to have a lot of information about what might happen next, it becomes easy to develop assumptions in advance and assumptions are often quite incorrect.  
-Eva 
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Jake WM, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts
I definitely have an expectation of what stream entry will be like along with expectations of the personality changes it will bring. I note these thoughts whenever they arise and other than that I am not sure what to do about them. There is a constant irritation feeling though, a feeling that something simply is not right. I then spin stories about this, wondering if it is meditation, if it is life itself, if it is something else. I do my best to note these as well. 

IME, that is one of the disadvantages to have a lot of information about what might happen next, it becomes easy to develop assumptions in advance and assumptions are often quite incorrect.  

I agree completely. I am so hung up on a little "blip" thing happening and an expecation on feeling blissed out for a month or so afterwards. This is what is motivating me to practice. This, combined with the utter dissatisfaction of the way I feel at the moment. Makes me wonder if I am also trying to use meditation as a cure-all or if it is just side effects and manifestation of the dukkha nanas.
Eva M Nie, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 831 Join Date: 3/23/14 Recent Posts
There is a constant irritation feeling though, a feeling that something simply is not right.
I tend to suspect that is just normal life that this kind of feeling is an undercurrent that waxes and wains.  Almost everyone has an underlying feeling of needing something else.  People try to fulfill it with significant others, wealth, TV, drugs, adrenaline rush activites, objects, fame, vacations, etc but it never quite satisfies.  Others may know those things won't do it but they are still searching for what will. I get the impression that although there are times when this feeling is much more minimal, this won't be alleviated more seriously until nondualism.   

I agree completely. I am so hung up on a little "blip" thing happening and an expecation on feeling blissed out for a month or so afterwards. This is what is motivating me to practice.
Have you ever noticed how that zen stuff is that if you try too hard, you can't seem to get it but if you relax a bit and stop sweating it to much and aren't paying attention, then you often end up getting it?  Just seems like heavy expectations can get in the way.   

This, combined with the utter dissatisfaction of the way I feel at the moment. Makes me wonder if I am also trying to use meditation as a cure-all or if it is just side effects and manifestation of the dukkha nanas.
Well I suspect there is often more than one or even two reasons behind lots of things we do and think.   I do think meditation is an aid but I think what it does instead of curing things is help give you insight into how to go in and deal with all kinds of stuff that you need to deal with inside you and in your life (which I think is basically the same thing).  So I don't think it will ever go in and permanently fix anything for you.  Sure it can result in euphoria and good feelings sometimes and it can result in crabby irritated feelings at other times, but I think what it ultimately does is aid you in seeing those aspects of yourself that were always there, knowing better the sources of those feelings and teaching you how to better shepherd those aspects of yourself.  You will still have to do all the work of learning about yourself and dealing with every single one of your issues though.  Nothing in meditation can magically solve even one single problem for you, you have to do all that yourself.  The more you try to run away, then the longer it will take..

Edited to add:  You know, after writing this, it occured to me, we know people look to TV, sex, and other things to distract them from dukka, but it occured to me, how many meditators look to meditation to do something similar? 
-Eva  
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Jake WM, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Looking for Clarity

Posts: 137 Join Date: 4/18/13 Recent Posts

People who practise in fits and starts, being mindful for a stretch and then stopping to daydream, are chameleon yogis. Chameleons manage to survive despite their lack of continuity, but a yogi's practice may not. Some yogis feel called to reflect and think each time they have a new experience, wondering which stage of insight they have reached. Others do not need novelty, they think and worry about familiar things.

"I feel tired today. Maybe I didn't sleep enough. Maybe I ate too much. A little nap might be just the ticket. My foot hurts. I wonder if a blister is developing. That would affect my whole meditation! Maybe I should just open my eyes and check." Such are the hesitations of chameleon yogis.


This is me.

Continuity should be so strong, in fact, that there is no time at all for reflection, no hesitation, no thinking, no reasoning, no comparing of one's experiences with the things one has read about meditation — just time enough to apply this bare awareness.


Need more of this.

Thanks everybody. I realize that I am failing to note all the seeking, searching, wondering, things like this that I am doing, the things that fuel these threads in the first place. These behaviors are so deeply embedded in my self that I fail to note them.

Thread closed.

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