Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

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Darrek, modified 5 Years ago.

Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 50 Join Date: 8/21/15 Recent Posts
Hello everyone,


I have been in EQ for about 4 months now, in High EQ for 3-4 weeks. The first 2 weeks of High EQ I felt this urge to practice more and more and over the span of 2 weeks I was sitting for an average of 4-5 hours ever single day. I was getting exceptionally deep into High EQ and it was easy as pie. I feel like I was soooooooo close to SE minding all my thoughts and anticipation etc. Then one day it just stopped and I started to feet apathetic about meditating. 

When I would try to meditate it became exceptionaly difficult to reach just basic concentration even after an hour of sitting. Before it took me 3-5 min for access concentration and I could work up to 4th and possible dabbling into 5th jhana pretty quickly.

Sometimes I know its because I'm getting lost in thought for about 1-2 seconds but thats all its takes and I loose all the concentration. So I noticed my stuggles and upped my ardency to stay focused no matter what. This doesn't seem to be working and now Im getting so frustrated I feel like I could punch a hole in the wall which is odd because thats is not like me and certaintly not someone who is in EQ.

Any words of wisdom?

My practice is usually 1 Hour sits with the first 10-15 min being in concentration, however now its more like 50 minutes of concentration and 10 minutes insight.
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
You don't give much information on your practice.

What do you do when you "do insight"?

Why are you doing mostly concentration nowadays?

How do you know it is EQ? Could it be A&P instead?
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Darrek, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 50 Join Date: 8/21/15 Recent Posts
I only do concentration till I reach access at least, somtimes a bit higher. So usually I only do 10-15 minutes of concentration then switch to open awareness/noting for the rest of the hour sit. Lately I have been having to do more concentration simply because I was struggling to focus.


I believe im in EQ and not A&P because I recently came out of the dark night.
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katy steger, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi
 I feel like I was soooooooo close to SE minding all my thoughts and anticipation etc. Then one day it just stopped and I started to feet apathetic about meditating.
My opinion: Good.

More opining: 
Some equanimity that feels like what we'd call "high equanimity" is still more sukkha-like, contains obvious sukkha (we like it): it feels good and comfy and long sitting happens. There is placidity and.. sukkha, even if it's affectively subtle compared to a mundane contentment/sukkha. Now, if one agrees to sit for nothing, sitting with no anticipation can arise (and your observing anticipation was useful); however, a certain dejected/frustrated feeling (i.e., such that "trouble in paradise" header is what you write) is an indication that there is a) wanting and b) that's what not getting wanting fulfilled looks like: thwarted wanting ("trouble in paradise").

So now, accepting that, there is just sitting, just sitting--  no hope, no expectation, just sitting for that alert, relaxed activity itself. I think that you are at this moment of extricating the Chief Wanter, a primary driver: meditating because of wanting XYZ, the Wanter Driver has been driving to some goal (useful!).

Seeing this, now there is the true equanimity pending with acceptance of the "failed" wanting; now there can be just sitting, no wanting, just sitting, relaxed, attentive. This is the "weary" or unexcited natural psychonaut phase of just observing what arises and passes-- like an astronaut all alone in space(edit: I struck that becuase it could give the impression that the fourth mental state of equanimity is about being alone in some cosmos and could foster some sort of notion of cool dissociation, which is often felt as EQ, too. Equanimity really has a loss of "you"/"me" in it. There is a plain attention that just attends and cannot put time or heirarchy around experience. What commonly happens in my opinion is the mind toggles at lot in this area of practice between sukka (which can have a personal orientation in it that apreciates pleasance, comfort, ease) and equanimity, which is unnaming, non-heirachy, plain experience-and-attention (and no boundary between).. and, more than subtle toggling sukka-EQ, there can be even a personal jolt sometimes out of EQ due to personally felt surprise in response to what is arising and passing). But eventually there is ease/nonsurprise and plain attention with being in this limitlessspace of arising-passing mental phenomena that would usually provoke all manner of action of it were not for the sitting-alert-relaxed attention practice, which naturally causes insight.).

This is the point of jhana training-- to allow a person to positively arrive at this point so we can actually drop the wanting and expectation and just sitting and observe the mind contentedly in the activity itself. This dropping and alert relaxed attentiveness is pretty hard to come by if the mind is suffused in stress and negative perseveration-- so the jhanic cascade goes from high positive mental states in distilled form, to a cool indisturbed pool in winter, all life in it low, still, minimalistically there.

Also: if true equanimity is entered by the mind ("you" will be plain attention without affect) I think Bhante G has described the arupa jhanas as being mental conditions that may arise from this suffusive, actual equaimity and I agree with that. Therefore some excitable things may happen in this equanimity jhana (may not, too), but a person just lets go again and again, just sitting, calm, relaxed, alert, accepting the activity for what it is and plainly.

It can help to eat less now, not starve, just reduce eating well before bed and meditate on an empty stomach of several hours before bed and then you may likely wake up naturally early and meditate again in calm, alert state.


Best wishes. These are my thoughts from practice. 
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Darrek, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 50 Join Date: 8/21/15 Recent Posts
Thanks for the long thoughful reply, ill be thinking about what you said.

On another note I have recently been eating less and less simply because I am 24/7 bloated and feel like my stomach is going to pop. For some reason the only thing that really sounds good is mangos and yogurt.
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katy steger, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
On another note I have recently been eating less and less simply because I am 24/7 bloated and feel like my stomach is going to pop. For some reason the only thing that really sounds good is mangos and yogurt.

Oooh, I had this with a chronic lyme infection many years.. You might consider an actual water fast with the guidlines of Dr. Fuhrman, M.D. You don't have to buy anything, just maybe skim around the Internet and read a bit about it and consider it (really do this with a doctor and bloodwork, if you can-- definitely with a relatedly skilled doctor if you have any diabetic issues). What I learned from an aggressive bug like borrellia is that fasting and faux-fasting (ketogenic diets) is that really debilitates foreign entities and keeps own-immunity up helpfully. Best wishes with whatever is going on there. Could just be stress, too; the brain and the stomach-brain are very connected and anxiety/distress can just trash the stomach.

And if my words (up thread, too) do not really ring a bell with you, I'd just let them go. I really think people hunt down what they need and want to do next anyway and you would know best what's right for you. Thanks for sharing your experience so far.
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Darrek, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 50 Join Date: 8/21/15 Recent Posts
katy steger:
Could just be stress, too; the brain and the stomach-brain are very connected and anxiety/distress can just trash the stomach.

I would say this is the case 6 months ago but not anymore, being where im at is very peaceful.



The last 2 weeks when I was meditating every day for 4-5 hours I had strong sensations like:

Intense heat sometimes starting at my feet and stomach as "hot spots". I typically meditate on the bathroom floor and when I get this intense heat I sweat like mad, the bathroom fan which kicks on automatically after about 5 minutes into a hot shower would get triggered everytime I sat. I would come out of the bathroom after a session and there was a insane difference between the heat in the bathroom and cold of my room.

When I would get deep into meditation I would have crazy amount of third eye activity and pressure in the foreehead that was uncomfortable at times.

Lightning tingling energy, lightning/bright metalic flares. 

Seeing through my eye lids in the dark. Picture objects in the bathroom are black with white lights flashing their edges.

Seeing colorfull charged energy bolts pulse during the day with eyes open.

Bloated Stomach 

etc
etc
etc

There were a million more interesting things happening. When I googled everything i felt all the results pointed to Kundalini ascention. Im not 100% what that is. It felt like something was rewiring my body or preparing for some big change.

But I think its finished and those symptoms seemed to have peaked a few days ago.
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
[quote=
]There were a million more interesting things happening. When I googled everything i felt all the results pointed to Kundalini ascention. Im not 100% what that is. It felt like something was rewiring my body or preparing for some big change.

That is why I was asking. Your effects do sound like Kundalini, which usually lines up with A&P. 

Either way, how would you rate yourself on Daniel Ingram's "Hierarchy of Vipassana" scale? It is on this forum, you will find it easily by googling. (I am on mobile so I cannot do it for you right now). I find it very useful both for self-diagnosis and to know what to look for next.

Best of luck emoticon
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Darrek, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 50 Join Date: 8/21/15 Recent Posts
I looked Hierarchy of Vipassana up thanks for that! Had no idea it existed. I would say before I started struggling to concentrate and get "deep" into meditation I was a #8-ish now I would say im at #4.


Whats so weird is that the last 4-5 months everything that I have experience both prior stages and current experiences made me feel like I was in EQ that is untill last couple weeks when all this kundalini stuff started to appear. I knew kundalini stuff was more A&P then EQ but somethings don't seem to add up eitherway. Like:

I am completely missing bliss and rapture of any kind which is A&P. 

When I exited the dark night I had a powerfull experience/fruition (possibly) where "I" completely dissappeared and there was just a big massive void of everything. The next couple days floods of insights came in and it was the first time I got to experience what people meant by understanding insights directly. This has been by far the biggest experience in my life and forever changed the way I precieved the world. I felt like I lost a million identities and negative mental habits. My PTSD since then has completely vanished since that experience. Since then my suffering went from unbearable daily 24/7 down to basically nothing and has stayed this way. Im neither happy nor sad just relaxed and peacful. Im going through what is typically a very stressfull time right now that would stress out anyone but I'm almost 100% at peace. But If i did experience a fruition that means I skipped EQ or went through it very very quickly as I didn't notice it when I was meditating that day.


So if I am really at A&P and not EQ like I thought I was that means most likely 2 things happened if I understand things correctly. One is that I did reach fruition and I started my first path and now worked my way back to A&P this last 4 or so months. Part of this makes a lot of sense and part of it doesn't. From what I understand those who reach stream entry get fruitions when they mediate and this hasn't been the case with me. I would think that after 2 weeks of 4-5hours a day of meditation I would have had one by now.

Maybe its possible to be in Re-Observation and some how get reset back to Mind and Body and have to start over. Like that experience flipped the reset switch or something. 

More opinions are welcomed at this point as I am a bit lost. It would be very helpfull to figure out where I am at. If I am in A&P I would like to know as Ill probably slow my practice significantly untill after October because I have a custody court stuff I have to deal with and I do not want to be in the Dark Night again when that stuff happens.
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Darrek:
I looked Hierarchy of Vipassana up thanks for that! Had no idea it existed. I would say before I started struggling to concentrate and get "deep" into meditation I was a #8-ish now I would say im at #4.


Ok, this makes me believe your self-assessment of EQ much more, if I compare it to my own experience.

Darrek:
Whats so weird is that the last 4-5 months everything that I have experience both prior stages and current experiences made me feel like I was in EQ that is untill last couple weeks when all this kundalini stuff started to appear. I knew kundalini stuff was more A&P then EQ but somethings don't seem to add up eitherway. Like:

I am completely missing bliss and rapture of any kind which is A&P. 


It is definitely possible to slip back into lower stages. Also, it is not always easy to place oneself on the maps, so try not to obsess too much over them. Obsesss... just a little bit emoticon 


Darrek:
When I exited the dark night I had a powerfull experience/fruition (possibly) where "I" completely dissappeared and there was just a big massive void of everything.


There are certainly better dharma doctors on this forum than myself, but two relevant questions:
- What disappeared exactly when you talk about the "I" disappearing? The feeling of self? What else?
- Just your feeling of there being a self? Did you experience the "big massive void of everything"?

Also, reread MCTB chapter "was that emptiness"?


Darrek:
The next couple days floods of insights came in and it was the first time I got to experience what people meant by understanding insights directly. This has been by far the biggest experience in my life and forever changed the way I precieved the world. [...]


Well, whatever that was, that sounds like good news emoticon



Darrek:

So if I am really at A&P and not EQ like I thought I was that means most likely 2 things happened if I understand things correctly.
[...]


Stream entry is definitely a possibility; so is just slipping back to lower nanas. It can happen. Time will tell emoticon
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Darrek, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 50 Join Date: 8/21/15 Recent Posts
[quote=
]
There are certainly better dharma doctors on this forum than myself, but two relevant questions:
- What disappeared exactly when you talk about the "I" disappearing? The feeling of self? What else?
- Just your feeling of there being a self? Did you experience the "big massive void of everything"?

Also, reread MCTB chapter "was that emptiness"?


[quote=
]I have read that part of the book recently. Its why I think that I did not reach SE because I haven't had any fruitions.

Ill try and explain as best as I can what happened.

So imagine a yogi deep into the dark night, PTSD and terrible life circumstances, as in things could not possibly get any worse. Every day absolute hell and my mind state reflected this. I have been practicing for about 14 months at the time. For some reason I had this urge to get away from EVERYONE and isolate myself. I could not stand to be around anyone who wasnt my son. I really really wanted to go on retreat but I couldin't find any on short notice so I said fuck it I'll do my own 2-day home retreat. I noticed my mind really did not like what I was doing and it almost seemed to have doubled down on with its insanity. It was as if it was a entity on its own fighting to stay alive. It was mad, angry, defensive and would attack and lash out for absolutely no reason.

 
Half way through the first day of meditation I was sitting when in a instant I experienced: (I forget in what order these came)

Profound fear

I experienced loss as in someone who just died

A complete voidness as in absolutely nothing.

During the experience (again not sure in what order) "me" was not present and for some reason I have this faint feeling like it was floating away. I remember "forgetting" about "me" as in I no longer knew who that was. "Me" became someone I knew nothing about its as if "me" vanished and never really existed. This shook me up for the next couples days and I was afraid to meditate as I was just told to meditate for my PTSD and had no clue that experiences like this can happen.

The first thing I noticed when everything was all said and done is that I was no longer attached emotionally to the future or the past which were a great source of suffering for me. This is super easy for me to test out being a father. It's super easy to bring up emotions about your child good or bad, future or past. But Im still unable to do this. My ego since then has come back as a wounded solider who can no longer harm me the way it was before. Its really a big push over and a joke whereas before it rulled my life.
neko, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Darrek:

I have read that part of the book recently. Its why I think that I did not reach SE because I haven't had any fruitions.


Doesn't matter. Not everyone gets repeat fruitions after SE.

Darrek:


So imagine a yogi deep into the dark night, PTSD and terrible life circumstances, as in things could not possibly get any worse. Every day absolute hell and my mind state reflected this. I have been practicing for about 14 months at the time. For some reason I had this urge to get away from EVERYONE and isolate myself. I could not stand to be around anyone who wasnt my son. I really really wanted to go on retreat but I couldin't find any on short notice so I said fuck it I'll do my own 2-day home retreat. I noticed my mind really did not like what I was doing and it almost seemed to have doubled down on with its insanity. It was as if it was a entity on its own fighting to stay alive. It was mad, angry, defensive and would attack and lash out for absolutely no reason.


Wow, that sucks. Sorry to hear that.


Darrek:

Half way through the first day of meditation I was sitting when in a instant I experienced: (I forget in what order these came)

Profound fear

I experienced loss as in someone who just died

A complete voidness as in absolutely nothing.

During the experience (again not sure in what order)


The order is crucial:



Darrek:

"me" was not present and for some reason I have this faint feeling like it was floating away. I remember "forgetting" about "me" as in I no longer knew who that was. "Me" became someone I knew nothing about its as if "me" vanished and never really existed.


If the feeling of the self floating away is part of the "voidness as in absolutely nothing" experience, then definitely not fruition.

If the feeling of the self floating away was in the lead up to the "complete voidness as in absolutely nothing", then fruition is a possibility. Do the keywords "wrenching" and "death-like" ring a bell?



Darrek:
This shook me up for the next couples days and I was afraid to meditate as I was just told to meditate for my PTSD and had no clue that experiences like this can happen.

The first thing I noticed when everything was all said and done is that I was no longer attached emotionally to the future or the past which were a great source of suffering for me. This is super easy for me to test out being a father. It's super easy to bring up emotions about your child good or bad, future or past. But Im still unable to do this. My ego since then has come back as a wounded solider who can no longer harm me the way it was before. Its really a big push over and a joke whereas before it rulled my life.


Give some time for all this new stuff to settle. Take some time to integrate. Be gentle with yourself emoticon
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Darrek, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Trouble in Paradise-Concentration in EQ

Posts: 50 Join Date: 8/21/15 Recent Posts
Then maybe I misunderstood that section of the book. I thought frutions were typical of SE.

Wrenching doesn't sound famiular but death does as I experienced so sort of death and mourning of death. If I had to guess in the order I think it was:

A feeling fear

A feeling of loss/death

Then comeplete voidness to which I still struggle to explain other then the word "nothing" makes sense.

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