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Jhana intensity decreased over time

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Jhana intensity decreased over time
Answer
9/8/15 5:41 AM
I remember the first times I got Jhana. Especially the 4th. The peace was incredibly intense. 

That was a time when I was particularly depressed and unhappy. Plus I was probably in the dark night stage. Since then I made a lot of progress both on the cushion and off the cushion and I got to Equanimity. The old issues are still there, but in lesser intensity.

Now when I do get to Jhanas it is never that intense. It comes and goes and it also sort of lost its appeal as that "magical" thing that heals me. My take is that I have become equanimous to the pleasure and the peace. Also I feel like the peace of the 4th Jhana is more in the background of my daily experience so the contrast is less.

Wanted to see if others had this experience. Or is it because my concentration is lacking, which very well may be.

In short, did the intensity of Jhanas decreased overtime for you as well?

RE: Jhana intensity decreased over time
Answer
9/8/15 1:23 PM as a reply to M C.
Nick,

Yeah I had something kind of similar to that happen as my shamatha practice developed. When I was first getting into jhana it was so amazing that I couldn't help but really focus in on the qualities of these states, especially the rapture and bliss. And this, in turn, led to even harder jhanas. As time progressed and I was getting into jhana on a daily basis, I think I started to become a little lazy with my attention and just relaxed into softer, but still rather nice, jhanic states. It wasn't until I started working with kasina practice that I was able to return to and even surpass these initial harder states.

I usually do anapanasati, or watching the breath at a spot just below the nostrils. But, if my concentration needs a boost and I want to get into harder jhanas, then I will start practicing kasinas 2 or 3 days a week, focusing on the four color kasinas of nila, red, yellow and white. Here are some jpeg kasina images in a zip file you can download and try if you want. If you have a PC you can just double click on the image file and then select the 'play slideshow' button from Windows Photo Gallery. This will make it full screen and all the borders and stuff will go away.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14262743/Kasinas.zip

My kasina practice is as follows: I first try to get into all 8 jhanas via anapanasati then exit the state. Then I will stare at a color kasina image for a couple minutes, close my eyes, and try to maintain the mental image in my mind. It's a real struggle at first! But the nice thing is you know when the mind is slacking off. You either see it clearly in the mind's eye or you don't. I focus on each color for about 20 minutes each. Do this 2 or 3 times a week in addition to daily mindfulness of breathing and I guarantee you will experience more intense jhanas (or your money back lol). Sometimes I'll even be sitting around in a boring meeting or watching a movie and I'll visualize the colors with open eyes. Once you get a little practice, you can even let the color fill your entire mental visual field. It's great fun! And good for magick too, if you're in to that sort of thing.

Also, a funny thing I've noticed with my concentration practice is the effort I put forth during a particular session doesn't necessarily translate into a better current session...but the next session is profoundly affected, and concentration is markedly increased the next time I try to meditate. Anyone else here experience that? Anyhow just my 2 cents...

Ryan

RE: Jhana intensity decreased over time
Answer
9/9/15 2:21 AM as a reply to Jhana Baptist.
Hey, 

This is helpful and interesting. I do feel that my concentration is lacking. Maybe kasina is the way to go. I could use something novel in my practice. Thanks.

RE: Jhana intensity decreased over time
Answer
9/9/15 2:54 AM as a reply to M C.
A definite yes for me.  I think its just subconscious processes becoming conscious.  They quickly become the new norm.