Have I Crossed The Arising and Passing Event?

Ryan, modified 6 Years ago at 9/2/15 10:13 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/2/15 10:13 PM

Have I Crossed The Arising and Passing Event?

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/16/15 Recent Posts

   I've been seriously meditating for around 8 months now, and I'm curous about the progress I've made, and if that progress, or lack thereof, would necessitate changes to the way I practice.  The primary question sitting in my head is whether or not I've crossed the arising and passing event, and I have two situations in mind that struck me as potential arisng and passing events.  During the first one I felt debilitatingly intense vortex sensations running up my spine, and after those sensations were occuring for a few brief moments (I don't recall the exact timeline, maybe a few minutes) I developed a sound in my ear.  The sound still persists at all times to this day, though the nature of the tone has modulated over time.

     During the second scenario I was doing noting practice and things quickly took an intense turn.  I noticed that my body started to dissolving into a seemingly shapeless expanse of fine vibrations.  Additionally, and this part is somewhat difficult to describe, I felt like my mind dissolved as well.  It felt as if I was experiencing the mental and emotional processes that get conflated with a stable identity as sensations with shape and form.  Almost as if they were a part of my body.  I noticed that as my body dissolved, these mental and emotional processes started to dissolve as well.  It felt like I was experiencing my mind and my body as reactions to each other, and the result of these reactions was a feedback loop of identity.  This may be a weird way to word it, but it felt as if my mind and body were walls, and my personality based identity was a ball bouncing back and forth between the walls, and as the walls dissolved that ball had nothing to bounce off of, and it was subsequently swallowed into the shapeless expanse of vibrations 

     Additionally, I noticed a relationship between the sound in my ear and the sensations I was feeling. As all sensations dissolved into fine, fast vibrations, the frequency of the tone in my ear seemd to sync up with the vibratory sensations.  The sound in my ears could only be characterized as a crystalline, sparkly ringing sound that vibrated in tandem with the physical sensations.  This seemed to last only a few seconds, however, it felt incredibly profound.  Almost frighteningly so.  Lastly, I would like to add that both of these experiences occured after the consumption of cannabis or hashish.  Do these sound like arising and passing events? 

I would like to thank anybody that reads this, and I look forward to reading the responses.
neko, modified 6 Years ago at 9/2/15 11:52 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/2/15 11:48 PM

RE: Have I Crossed The Arising and Passing Event?

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Hello, thanks for sharing Ryan, this looks like good practice to me.

A few questions based on my personal experience; some are for discussing on the forum, others are for yourself to investigate a bit more on your next sits, if you they sound like they might make sense.

How long ago did this happen? How was your practice since? (This is relevant for diagnosis.)

What specific style of vipassana are you working with? How do you integrate the investigation of the phenomena you have described in your practice (such as vibrations, feelings of the body dissolving, direct experience of mind and body as separate phenomena with cause and effect relationships between them)? Do you 'get lost' in them and enjoy the ride, or do you work with them in any specific way?

It looks like you could obtain some direct knowledge of anatta (no self) by keeping on looking at these effects with some curiosity and the right amount of effort and kind of investigation. For example: What do you mean by 'identity'? In all that bouncing back and forth of mind and body sensations, where is the self/observer? Is it the identity, or is it something else? Is the observer in the mind? Is it in the body? Is it a separate sensation?
- If it is "in" the mind or the body, is it all of it, or just a part of it? If it is just a part of it, then does it split off as a separate sensation once you notice it?
- If it is a separate sensation, how can it observe something else? Can a sensation observe another sensation? How can the mind and/or the body be perceived when the sensation of the observer is momentarily absent? Where is awareness and cosciousness in all of this?

Also: How does your practice differ when not on drugs?
Ryan, modified 6 Years ago at 9/8/15 8:50 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 9/3/15 1:42 PM

RE: Have I Crossed The Arising and Passing Event?

Posts: 5 Join Date: 5/16/15 Recent Posts
Hi Neko,

Thank you for taking time to respond.  To answer your questions, the sit that involved the initial onset of the sound in my ear occured about four months ago.  The sit that involved the dissolving of my body occured a little over a month ago in late July.  My practice since has been a bit up and down.  I had a few weeks where I had trouble meditating for the full hour which I allot for each of my sits.  I encountered oddly unpleasant sensations in my head and a sense of restlessness.  At this time I decided to dedicate more of my meditation time towards samatha.  I made progress in concentration, touched upon the first jhana a few times, and then I resumed doing Vipassana about a week or two ago. 

When doing Vipassana, the phenomena that are most glaring are the sensations in my head.  At times it feels like there is a clamp around the sides of my head, or maybe a piece of plastic wrap that is tightly clinging to the crown of my head.  Initially, these sensations can seem somewhat solidified, however, upon closer inspection they're constantly pulsating, bubbling, and shifting.  However, theres still a general feeling of tightness.  At times I was also experiencing spinning in my forehead, although that feeling has subsided.  I don't know if this is the case, but this tightness in my head intuitively feels like something that is stubbornly refusing to let go.

In my body I feel patches of detailed vibratory sensations at times, but I also feel what seems to be unfocused areas of sensations as well.  For instance, in a sit I did just an hour ago I felt my chest pulsating in and out for awhile, and I was able to sense that with a degree of clarity.  Likewise, I was able, with great clarity, to sense intense vibrating up and down my arms.  Any semblance of form or soliditity in my arms seemed to dissolve as I felt these sensations.

However, I would vascillate between these moments of detailed phenomena and moments where everything felt vague and difficult to pin down.  At times I was feeling sensations in my legs and back, and while they didn't exactly feel like gross, solidified sensations, I wasn't able to clearly discern the bubbly, phasing, vibratory details I sometimes observed.  Also, at times I feel frustration, anxiety, and self judgement, and those feelings manifest as contracting sensations around my chest and stomach area.

When I do Vipassana, I tend to gravitate towards the Mahasi style, although I don't always use mental labels.  At times it feels like its easier for me to know the sensations without labels, as labels kind of feel like barriers.  The integration of my phenomena investigation feels somewhat rocky.  I find that I've developed a disenchantment with lots of, for lack of a better word, "worldly" activities.  Sometimes I feel difficulty reconciling desires and goals with the seeming lack of solidity around me.  In fact, goals and desires have been a source of upheaval and confusion for me as of late.  Beyond the motivation that I have to continue meditating, its been difficult for me to consistently remain motivated in any other facet of life.

I don't feel as though I'm externally reacting to this confusion and upheavel in a blatant way though.  In fact, I've notice an increased ability to simply observe it over the past couple of days.  But sometimes I still notice a tendency to get sucked into the content of it.

When I'm investigating phenomena, I try to view it without boundaries or barriers.  I feel that the personality based self can act as in itermediary between ones true self and the world of sensations.  And this intermediary tends to fill in all the blanks around sensations and presents you with a more solid view of reality.  I try to view sensations as nakedly as possible, without that personality based interpretation.  I'm not sure how exactly I would word my process for doing that, though.  I feel like it happens when my concentration is strong, and I'm able to clearly focus on the vibratory nature of sensations.  The vibratory nature of sensations, however, is not always clear and sometimes this can become a source of frustration.  If I don't get caught up in the content of the frustration I try to be aware of the sensations that make up the frustration.  However, I'm not always successful with that.

Lastly, I would say that over 95 % of my meditation is done without cannabis or any other drug (besides caffeine.)  Meditating with cannabis has largely been a mixed bag.  Sometimes it produces a state of distractability and reduces my ability to sit for long periods of time.  However, I've had a few sits (one of which being the one I mentioned above when my body dissolved) where cannabis has seemingly enhanced my concentration and aided in my ability to let go, or at least that is what I suspect.  The overwhelming feeling I get when I sit is one of tightness annd contraction.  I have moments where things start to feel as though they are opening up, but then that constricted view sets back in.  There have been a few occasions where cannabis has helped me let go and cultivate a more panoramic, expansive view.  But like I said above, it has been a mixed bag, and I haven't been able to consistently replicate those positive effects.  Additionally, I'd rather be able to develop that expansive view without drugs.