Anatta?

Maria A Steblyanko, modified 6 Years ago.

Anatta?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 8/31/15 Recent Posts
Hello everyone! I have two questions:
1. About 2.5 years ago, before I got into insight meditation, I had this experience. One day I suddenly experiencially realized that the truth of thos reality was that everyone and everything is just a prism in one beam of light, and really there is no difference between me, other people or animals, everyone is just a wave on the surface of the same lake, here now and gone next moment. I felt light and full of love for everything and everyone. Before I was not a very generous person, but at that time I would give away food and things, because that was the only way that made sense. 
The emotional and physical bliss and joy and patience and love for everyone regardless of the outside conditions lasted for about 2 weeks, and then subsided.
I got into vipassana meditation as taught by Goenka the following year.
My understanding of what I read suggests that this is what understanding of anatta might feel like, but I'm not sure. 
Any ideas?
2. In my first course I had a lot of pain till day 8, when it suddenly stopped and the body felt as if it was made of vibrations, but lacking solidity. On the second course the practice fluctuated a lot. It was very hard to sit, and then the experience of lack of solid body intensified until one day during meditation I got terrified because of sudden realization that death and suffering and grossness is everywhere. The value of equanimity and patience suddenly became crystal clear. Other paramis felt really funny: e.g. who cares about generosity if everything is dying, and metta is just a way of not infecting the wound everyone has as it is. Five precepts were laughable: of course, obviously I'm not breaking sila, I don't care about doing that. I didn't know what to do with myself: staying in the retreat was unbearable, but leaving seemed pointless. I stayed but stopped meditating till the end of the retreat. When I got home, sitting was hard for a while, but now I again feel good when I sit and have no feeling of the physical body as solid. There are also rushes of pleasant sensations throughout the body that make me feel almost drunk. Pressure and intensity of pleasant vibrations in my head and upper body is building up high during the sits, it feels like I'm a pot with boiling water with the lid about to go off, but nothing else happens. What is that? 

Thank you!
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Jeff Wright, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 82 Join Date: 4/16/15 Recent Posts
I don't have the experience to make any guesses about where you're at - but I know lots of others will. I think you've posted in the right place!

Metta, Jeff
Maria, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 8/31/15 Recent Posts
Thank you, Jeff! Knowing where I am is helpful, but if doesn't happen,  reading about others' experiences is very supportive for the practice,  too.
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svmonk, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 396 Join Date: 8/23/14 Recent Posts
Hi Maria,

Your initial experience, described in 1), sounds like it might have been what is technically called an Arising and Passing away event. This is usually where some intense, positive spiritual experience manifesting in various ways leads you more deeply into the Dharma. There can be an aspect of anatta to it, usually at least one of the Three Characteristics are present (which are anatta, anicca or inpermanence, and dukka or suffering).

The second experience, described at the end of 2), sounds like it might have been one of what are technically called the Dukkha Nanas. These are experiences in which typically some kind of deep suffering manifests, and can last for quite a while in some people. Though it sounds like in your case the experience might have been confined to the retreat.

I am not an expert in the details of the maps, but if you'd like to know more, I'd suggest you locate Daniel's book, "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha", and read through it. If I had had that book when I started meditating 40 years ago, it would have saved me a lot of confusion.

Welcome to the site and be sure to report back now and then on your progress!
Maria, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 8/31/15 Recent Posts
Thank you for your responce, dear svmonk! I just started reading Daniel's book, but I'm intentionally going slow. I want to read as much as it relates to my practice, so that I do not get carried away by theory and possibilities.
It's very nice to have a community that supports one's practice, and I appreciate the opportunity to come back and discuss what's happening on the cushion. The discussions and the reading make me more enthusiastic about meditation than I was before. And for that I'm very grateful.  
Maria, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 8/31/15 Recent Posts
Thank you, Gordo! I appreciate your advice! 
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
howdy,
svmonk has it right IMO.  It sounds like you are getting into equanimity.  how long are you sitting before you begin getting the pleasant head rushy stuff?  get there, try not to get hung up on the good feelings..look past to more subtlty.

and as svmonk recommended..read MCTB and document the concrete details of your sits here.
Maria, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 8/31/15 Recent Posts
Hi, Tom,
The time before I get into the state differs from sit to sit: if I was agitated before the sit, it might happen towards the end of the hour or during metta 5 munites, or not at all during the sit, if I was calm - within 10-15 minutes from the start. Getting hung up on the sensations is a real concern, I have to fight the craving for them if they are not happening soon enough. If I continue to observe them without floating on the waves of pleasantness, the sensations become stronger, otherwise they subside until I get back into observation and am able to focus, which is the hard part. During some sits I get in and out of the state several times. Will keep working...  
Maria, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 8/31/15 Recent Posts
Hi, Gordo,Yes, I guess, the intent of the post was to check where I am. The first experience I described was very moving for me, it made me believe that of course my everyday perception of the world is incomplete or even wrong, there is something more. Even if it does not fall on a unified map - it got me where I am now. Knowing what it was most likely is an empty curiousity, I did not expect it to be anything at all, but I could not resist an opportunity to ask. When I wrote about my current meditation situation - I wanted to know if I am heading into dukha and the pleasant experiences are a build up for the dukha nanas; or am I cycling with some of dukha experiences being the high point and my pleasant experiences being an indication that I'm doing something wrong; or is it likely that everything is going as it should and I should just relax and keep going. The answers seem to suggest the latter outcome, and it makes me happy. What do you mean by "dropping sweeping and letting your attention open up"? Thank you again, this conversation is very supporting of my practice and makes me want to go sit a little more. emoticon
Maria, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 8/31/15 Recent Posts
I guess, this answers another question I was toying with for the last couple of days: whether or not I should leave insight meditation aside for a bit and work more on my concentration, seeing that the build up of the pleasant sensations mostly stops when I lose focus. Thanks again. This is most certainly helpful. 
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Anatta?

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Hi Maria, 

Sounds like you are doing great. Lots of good advice here too. I'd echo what Gordo said and just practice and dont waste to much time intellectualising things. You are making great progress. Turn to the books when you get stuck, or when you have lots of time, but right now your time is best spent maintaining the momentum you have built during your retreat. That momentum is precious and is the key, if you can keep it strong, you will be winning! 

welcome to DHO, 

best, 

Bman