What was it and what now?

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Diogo Kelles Fonseca, modified 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 2:12 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 2:12 AM

What was it and what now?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 6/25/15 Recent Posts
Hey folks!

Just walked into some new territory and I'm looking for some insight (pun intended).

I practice like once or twice a week and went on a 7 days retreat earlier this year. I practice noting and do nothing.

What should I do now? Practice has been quite weird.
And what was it?

Hypotesis: A&P, Path or Strong shift into EQ

here is how things unfolded:

day one, the unknow event:

20m into do nothing practice which felt unusually consistent. After ups and downs, there was this moment where I was experiencing unconfortable complex and rich sensations which was clearly unplesant , followed by a sensation that those experiences were actually not happening to a me but just happening, then it all blinked out for a while and reapeared on a crescendo, blissful and powerful. The following seconds I felt a euphoria (literally felt my belly chill, probably adrenalin) and mind rushing into overthink what happened. Since it grew very dificult to drop the intention of thinking about what happened and the fact that something like this only happened to me once in retreat, I decided to stop practice and reflect on that a little bit, and send you this msg.

It is important to note that mind wandering was happening. Tought stream was definetly present in like 20 to 40% of the time during the experience before the *bleep out*, but they did not compromise concentration. For a short period of time (something like 1m or maybe 5m at most) they were perceived skillfully along with everything else and it was the first time that this happened.

It felt like concentration was in par with the perceptual increase of sensations complexity and vastness for the first time, but without the tight focus I had before on retreat.

Toughts of progress, obsessive tought, belly chills because knowing to be "almost there". All was present, but concentration did not break or diminished because of that.




Path afterglow or A&P afterglow? Or was it a thick break into EQ?

2nd day after unknow event:

Normal life:

experiencing high levels of anxiety (I have ADHD + general anxiety disoeder) but with a diferent touch. It is as intense as usual, but clearly less cripling. Significant bliss and joy all over the day.

Practice:

Low clarity and very high energy. very dificult to navigate, alternating do nothing and noting...the level of restlessness and anxiety would have stopped my practice on any other day but for the first time it did not. I was somehow ok with it not making any progress and this is very diferent from what I've experienced before.

3rd day after unknow event:

Normal life:

bliss and joy beguining to fade but tolerance to general anxieties still present.
Was that equanimity against anxieties or renewed confidence against anxieties?
Will this tolerance to general anxieties persevere over the next days (weeks, months...)?

Also, social (family, friends and work) relationships became much lighter. They are usually very hard and anxiety driven, but now much much less.

Practice (30m sit):

hard, but fair equanimity to the hardness? It was hard but I was ok with the hardness. It felt vague and slippery, hard to get a grip on, and when "stepping back" or going into do nothing, would wonder lost in tought. Exaclty like yesterday sit, but with less energy.

Eventually things begun to fell like faling in place with concentration beggining to make justice to energy, but time was up.


4th day after unknow event:

Normal life:

Bliss and joy pretty much gone, lightness in social interaction remains. Sensation of mind more fluent and cool and not wasting a lot of effort on stuff still present,

Practice:

40m sit: practice seeming to follow somewhat a pattern: when noticing with intention gets intense and whrenched, and when dropping intention to choiceless awereness, mind affixates into toughts so often that force me back into noticing with intention. Is like mind is puting a hard fight against practice.

Practice has been roughly the same, but with decreasing levels of energy during the days following the unknow event.

Whatever plateaus of relative bliss and clarity that I reach now, seems to be infested by tought and experience turn unssetlig again

This happened before, the diference now is in the degree of something that might be either confidence or equanimity. Practice is now weird and whrenched and unssetling, but I can still sit 50m into it, when before I would inevitably get so frustrated and anxious that I would stop practice. I still feel pretty rough stuff, but can sit trough it regardless with not a exceptional sense of effort.

Off practice, mind is sometimes tape looped into obsessive thinking about this is or not path, etc and if what changed in normal life is confidence or equanimity.

5th day after unkown event:

Normal life:

the new lightness on social relationships and life in general still clearly present even tough afterglow of bliss and joy are gone for good. Still having bliss moments and weird unplesant moments like normal life ,but definely not associated to a afterglow.

Practice:

40m sit

First ~15m: silent
Last ~25m: roomate talking to fiancee on skype and then listeing to loud techno

Whole experience: equanimity (forgiveness, clearly cool with all things) was clearly present over the good and bad parts of the sit. Before the shift 5 days ago, would definetly have stopped practicing.

First minutes: low clarity, some concentration
Middle minutes (roomate begun talking to fiance): low concentration, low confidence, agitation, aversion.
Final minutes: (roomate still talking and then listening techno) reached some kind of plateau, with precision and clarity, energy, confidence, tranquility and some expaciousness growing present.

Roomate is also boss. Toughts of aversion and judgement on him still present, including during sits, but also those lost quite a lot it's hability to get me anxious or reactive.

6th day after unkown event:

Normal life:

Begun to notice obsessive behaviour pattern (which is normal on me) coming back with the usual strenght over the last ~3 days. Those include spending hours doing absolutely nothing on facebook and binge eating candy before sleeping. Also reading obsessively on models, stages, etc on your book.

I dont know if the impression that reality is still going on with a lighter, less anxious and less suffering touch (since the unkown event) is due to denial, confidence or equanimity.

Practice:

Suffering on sits have been quite pronounced, clarity very low most of the time. Today was the worse by far, obsessive tought driven with complex, wrenched and heavy thick sensations flickering on the background. Very hard very tought 50m sit. No technique whatsoever would "work". Again, dont know if the reason I managed to sit all trough the 50m is because of denial (not wanting to admit I cant or whatever), confidence after the unkown event 6 days ago or equanimity.

7th day after unknow event:

Practice: 40m

Tried to balance concentration and energy, because last sit was terribly powerful but with little clarity, perspective. So stick to noting or noticing most of the time. Way better. Definetly got into a nice plateau about 25m into practice and stayed there, with perspective, spaciousness, complex agregates of sensations...stayed there untill time was up.

One new thing happened thou. Felt as I was trully suffocating (in a close room with a candle light lit) and felt it could maybe be not a ñana effect or anything. Opened the window, blew out candle and resumed practice. It was prolly ñana effect thinking now with hindsight.

Noise on the outside and roomate noise were bit anoying thou.


8th day after unkown event:

Practice: 50m

Very hard again. Whenever I would use more concentration to go trough hard whrenched territory into more panoramic plateaus, flow of tought would quickly destroy this states and would go back to hard and whrenched practice again. One of the ways I kept myself on practice without dropping it over very large frustration was that I realized mind on normal life is very obsessive right now, and not particularly better or a relief from sitting.

Normal life:

Deep wish to get this done again. It hurts and it is annoying, but somehow with a lighter touch then last time. Before the unknow event 8 days ago this heavy sensation of wanting this to end and just be done already would be much more dramatic, confusing and very cripling... Now, even thou I clearly perceive I'm less functional (obsessive mind) then on other more blissful or joyful or confident states, I'm kinda ok and feeling lighter towards those intense and very desrupting emotions. Funny.

Still wondering if this "lighter touch" to both bad and good situations and emotions is due to renewed confidence, delusion, obsessive racionalizations of progress, actual equanimity or perspective shift due to achieving a path.
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 2:58 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 2:56 AM

RE: What was it and what now?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Howdy Diogo!
I believe you passed the A&P and from what you describe your are in the dark night.   Excellent!  Everything here can be jagged feeling and difficult to see clearly and at times frightening, disgusting, wanting to get things done etc.

The really good news is that you are sometimes successful at wading through this swarm of indistinct sensations and make it up to equanimity.  This should be your goal with each sit.  You are are already noticing the pleasant open sensations when you do reach this level.  Once you are established there it will be a natural draw to get there during your sits.

The challenge at this stage is to "not take the negative phenomena so seriously".  If you can note negativity or agitation or uncomfortable..when these things arise you can move on.  In daniel's book and on many threads here it is suggested in these stages to widen one's focus.  So here we don't focus tightly on things but try to widen and generalize out experience to be more inclusive of sensations at the perimeter instead of the center.

Advice I found helpful here was to recognize that even though things don't feel pleasant necessarily, this IS progress.

I wish you well.

tom
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Diogo Kelles Fonseca, modified 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 3:02 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 3:02 AM

RE: What was it and what now?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 6/25/15 Recent Posts
Hey Tom! Thank you for your answer!

I think A&P is not so likely because I've meditated in this disconfort zone before and broke into panoramic plateaus before. The diference now is that this process is happening naturally and even thou is hard, I can remain ok with been hard when before I just could not.

However, I did not reproduced that weird bleep again either, or I would be sure it was path...
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 4:50 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 4:50 AM

RE: What was it and what now?

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Hi Diogo,
Then ... fantastic!  I was being cautious.  If you are cycling, and noticing that then it is a good sign, perhaps the best, that you have attained to a path.  This combined with the perceptual and seemingly permanent shift could very well support this.  In any case it seems that it has brought you a certain amount of relief which is a strong motivator and one of the main goals of all of this.

Again, congratulations and keep reporting.

cheers

tom
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Noah, modified 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 4:56 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 4:56 AM

RE: What was it and what now?

Posts: 1467 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
20m into do nothing practice which felt unusually consistent


unusually consistent=click into Mind & Body

 After ups and downs, there was this moment where I was experiencing unconfortable complex and rich sensations which was clearly unplesant , followed by a sensation that those experiences were actually not happening to a me but just happening,


I believe that you have muddied together the experience of Cause & Effect, and then the Three Characteristics.... the part where you notice the relationship between events most prominently (ups, and then downs-- sensations, but they aren't me-- etc) is C&E, the part where you 'experience uncomfortable [...] sensations' is 3 C's... If you could rewind the tape, I think you would find that the cause/effect part came chronologically before the discomfort and richness.


then it all blinked out for a while


Probably a continuation of 3 C's.. with all phenomena blending through this lens, they 'blink out' because none stand out above the rest... This also is probably transitioning to the entrance to the A&P

reapeared on a crescendo, blissful and powerful.


Very quick A&P

The following seconds I felt a euphoria (literally felt my belly chill, probably adrenalin) and mind rushing into overthink what happened.


A&P quickly transitioning to Dissolution.. 2nd jhana effects to 3rd jhana effects.

Since it grew very dificult to drop the intention of thinking about what happened and the fact that something like this only happened to me once in retreat, I decided to stop practice and reflect on that a little bit, and send you this msg.


Dissolution.  Hard to focus, laziness, disorganization, obsessiveness, etc.

I think A&P is not so likely because I've meditated in this disconfort zone before and broke into panoramic plateaus before. The diference now is that this process is happening naturally and even thou is hard, I can remain ok with been hard when before I just could not.


It doesn't have to be your first A&P to be your most powerful one.

All the positive after effects you describe are probably A&P afterglow.  A&P is a half path.  It is very significant.  I would theorize that it could still be significant even if you had passed it before.  Any difficulties you highlight are probably from having the dark night as your cutting edge.
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Diogo Kelles Fonseca, modified 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 10:33 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 10:28 AM

RE: What was it and what now?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 6/25/15 Recent Posts
Hey Noah,

I think this explanation would make sense if it explained the improvements on my daily life. Never before I had the confidence to practice 9 days in a row and never before social relationships were so light and not anxiety driven and never before I felt so light overall.

However, I'm not having complete cycles, what makes me cross stream entry for now of the hypotesis list (even tough dan ingram told me a few people get into stream entry and have a hard time geting a second fruition). That's why I was thinking EQ.

Another factor that makes me think EQ is that even tough practice is now very hard, it has been pretty hard before, and ai just dropped it...now, I can practice regardless if it is hard or easy for the full time of the sit and every single day so far with a pronounced drop in effort. That's what I ment by practice is happenig more naturally.

But I'll keep investigating and reporting over the next few days, practice should unfold more information.
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Noah, modified 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 12:15 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/9/15 12:15 PM

RE: What was it and what now?

Posts: 1467 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
Word, it sounds like you have good clarity examining your practice.  One way to think of it is that it only matters where you get within a given sit, or day of practice.  The nanas are like a speedometer, and your goal is to zoom all the way up in one sit, but most of the time one starts to slow back down.  It is most likely that you will 'rev' up and down this spectrum several times each sit and each day.

You will experience the after-effects of your cutting edge (your highest nana) for hours or days, even though you will still be cycling through other nanas as you experience these things.

It is a wonderful thing if you gained some relief in your life as a result of meditation practice.  Please treasure this above the exact diagnosis of what meditationi event that relief came from.  I am sure that if it was EQ you will be able to return there soon.  Likewise, if it was A&P, you will be able to make rapid progress as well.
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Diogo Kelles Fonseca, modified 6 Years ago at 12/21/15 3:25 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/21/15 3:23 AM

RE: What was it and what now?

Posts: 14 Join Date: 6/25/15 Recent Posts
Hey guys! Thank you for still following my boring adventures! Haha!

Well, here is the log of days 9 after the Unknow event. After that I took a few days of a break from practice, as practice was looking dull and boring and a bit pointless :v...looking with hindsight that sounds a awful lot like dissolution...

I'm now pretty convinced that the unknow event was a A&P, similar to the one I had on retreat. Most of my resistence to common anxieties are now gone and I'm pretty much back to normal, lol.

Good news is, I think Im growing used to this territory now and learning to navigate it and fine tuning my practice better... Just had a wonderful sit with a ton of ups and downs that felt more skilful then ever. That was very importante, because before I would always associate skill and progress with bliss and equanimity (and get frustrated and stuck when bliss and equanimity did not arrise).

Since this is probably not my first time surfing trough the nanas of the dark night (I had a experience of similar bizarre intensity on retreat and also tought it was stream entry), I think Im quite more relaxed, less reactive, and growing more mature to apreciate how to navigate them skillfully... growing more aware that geting stream entry is less about one successfull rush trough EQ and a fruition, and more about accepting the nanas and learning to navigate this territory with consistency.

I think I'm back on having fun, I'll report back in the thread soon on eventual progress or fall backs!

And if anyone has a nice opinion or a cool technique that might wanna share, feel free to add me on skype at: diogokelles. I never have anyone to talk about this business anyway!

Thank you all, cheers!



9th day after the unknow event:

Practice: 45m

Just woke up, and practice was very light, gentle, accepting and cool with all things. But this regarding perspective. The objects themselves were still very slippery, very hard to get a grip on. Progress seams to happen when fine tune control over attention vs just leting attention go, if that makes sense. However, objects characteristics were fairly like the other days, vague, mind and body and tought and mental constructs and emotions all showing themselves (but never at the speed and clarity and spaciousness and integration it had on the day of the unknow event)...

On the day of the unkown event, I remember that I just let attention go and that did the job very well. Now, when I leave attention go, it will get caught in tought way too often, forcing me to control atention to some degree, sometimes tight, sometimes gentle and subtle.

Hope "the mind" is learing something with all that weird unfolding of practice.

10th day after unknow event:

Day off.