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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Mid-Night Heat/Fearful Sensations; A&P?

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Last night, after reading some Ajahn Sumedho and doing some labeling practice, I went to sleep and then woke up after about 2 hours. I inquired to myself: "Let me see if I can relax completely to sensations as they are, and not react, with non-verbal sensation noting." — in what seemed like anywhere from 30 seconds to 4 minutes, there was a rush of heat throughout the right side of my body and there were acute feelings of terror; but strangely I wasn't afraid — it just felt like heat and tension.

Granted my thinking mind quickly returned, and I inquired: "Was this the Knowledge of Fear?" "No. Last I saw, the furthest I had gone was 3Cs. This seems like A&P with some corruption of insight taking place." — the non-directed thoughts I had were mostly resentful, annoyed, and featured scary imagery; but I was, it felt at the time, a neutral observer to these thoughts. The practice of late, on and off the cushion, is surprisingly dispassionate (i.e. having an attitude of "Eh, it is what it is. No biggy. emoticon ") which I take to be a so-called positive development.

Is this self-diagnosis accurate?

RE: Mid-Night Heat/Fearful Sensations; A&P?
Answer
7/17/15 6:58 AM as a reply to John.
Fear-like phenomena are definitely not on the "official" list of the corruptions of insight. The Corruptions basically boil down to
  1. nice things (bliss, rapture, happiness, light shows, ...),
  2. understanding stuff (knowledge, ...), and
  3. clinging to it all and overestimating the achievement (assurance, attachment);
although a more hedonistic approach would hold that there is nothing inherently wrong in enjoying the corruptions of insight, as long as one does not lose sight of the Path. They can even be "harnessed" ;)

Among the additional "side effects" of A&P which are not part of the Corruptions, you have kundalini and energetic phenomena. The rush of heat could well be a sign of A&P from this point of view.

Fear-like stuff, I would definitely say not part of the A&P. You describing the physical manifestations of fear without the emotional experience of it is exactly what Knowledge of Fear looks like to most people I know.

Perhaps more information on what you went through exactly might help.
- What stages were you in while you were noting before going to sleep? You mentioned 3C, right?
- Do you remember what your dreams were like? Did the vipassana go on during your sleep in any way you can remember?
- Were the heat rush and fear concurrent, or did they come one after the other?
- What was the noting like? Speed, accuracy, how distinctly you could see the arising and passing away of each sensation, whether you were noticing gross or subtle stuff and so on.

RE: Mid-Night Heat/Fearful Sensations; A&P?
Answer
7/17/15 8:15 AM as a reply to neko.
  1. What stages were you in while you were noting before going to sleep? You mentioned 3C, right?
  2. Do you remember what your dreams were like? Did the vipassana go on during your sleep in any way you can remember?
  3. Were the heat rush and fear concurrent, or did they come one after the other?
  4. What was the noting like? Speed, accuracy, how distinctly you could see the arising and passing away of each sensation, whether you were noticing gross or subtle stuff and so on.
[1] At best I would say 3Cs, but I prefer to err on the side of caution as I'm very new to practicing in line with the stages of insight, and am unsure if they're strictly things you encounter on the cushion, or if they're more like zones of daily living that inch forward to higher and higher zones with more practice. Also from what I've heard stuff around A&P gets mistaken for EQ, so I'm hesitant to make bold claims.

[2] I remember having a dream about being in an empty city in summertime, and that we were in white trucks eerily going down the street. My discursive mind immediately rushed to stuff regarding terrorism and I discerned with lucidity "This is going to go unpleasantly. It's best if I move from this." and then I woke up to the experiences of heat and terror.

[3] First the heat, and then the terror.

[4] From what I remember, I was very *with* the sensation of fear, and I think it was on the order of about 10 sensations per second. Granted there was an acute thought/memory that said "Let it play out.", which lead to the sensation disappating.

As of this morning, there's a sense of something-like mania and irritation present; and last night my dreams varied from bizarre (talking to Bernie Sanders about meditation underneath glowing willow trees) to grizzly and unlucid (I think 3-5 people got murdered in my dreamscape last night, oof) — but I fundamentally feel ok; just a bit raw, which could be due to the lack of sleep.

I'm also trying to stick with mindfulness as best as possible and not get too caught up in stages (not that I'm fundamentally against diagnoses), as that could lead to "leading". Most of my practice involves noting and labeling in daily life and less so on the cushion — but I suspect that sitting on the cushion more traditionally would be very helpful.

RE: Mid-Night Heat/Fearful Sensations; A&P?
Answer
7/19/15 9:35 AM as a reply to neko.
UPDATE: Meditation has stopped being good and there's a general sense of calm, mixed in with the occasional bouts of anxiety, sadness, and crankiness. Thinking this could be Dissolution, or that I never made it into A&P and have regressed to Nana Zero.

RE: Mid-Night Heat/Fearful Sensations; A&P?
Answer
7/19/15 12:34 PM as a reply to John.
John:
UPDATE: Meditation has stopped being good and there's a general sense of calm, mixed in with the occasional bouts of anxiety, sadness, and crankiness. Thinking this could be Dissolution, or that I never made it into A&P and have regressed to Nana Zero.
For me, dissolution is murky, smoky, quiet, with not much going on. Almost still. Not really unpleasant, particularly since I have learnt to see its relationship with 3rd jhana more clearly. What you describes sounds more like what I experience during the following nanas. Particularly if anxiety, sadness and crankiness come one at a time and in this order.