"8th jhana" (NPNYNP) vs. lucid sleep. Very similar? Or am I fooling myself?

neko, modified 8 Years ago at 12/14/15 1:49 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 12/14/15 1:49 AM

"8th jhana" (NPNYNP) vs. lucid sleep. Very similar? Or am I fooling myself?

Posts: 763 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
I would like to open a thread to discuss the differences between Neither Perception Nor Yet Non Perception and lucid dreamless sleep. A related discussion is the one on the relationship between Nirodha Samapatti and falling asleep, Ken Folk made some remarks on the relationship between the two here.

7th jhana. I am able to reach Nothingness rather consistently. Several things are possible from inside there. In particular, paying attention to what "7th jhana" is made up of, noticing that it is not actually nothing but, rather, that it is composed of "nothingness stuff" that is lumpy (impermanent), impersonal (devoid of self) and unsatisfactory usually leads me to a fruition rather fast (with luck, within a few seconds of paying attention to its 3C). This as a sort of confirmation that what I reach is, indeed, 7th jhana.

8th jhana? From inside 7th, instead of vipassanising the experience, I can decide to cultivate detachment from those lumps of nothingness and to whatever is left of perception of bodily and (extremely little) external stuff, and drift into a new state. This new state has several characteristics that make me think it might be NPNYNP:
1) It is neither hard nor soft. I am in it, or I am not in it. I cannot investigate it (do vipassana inside it), all I can do is keep awareness on. This matches the descriptions in the Pali canon very well; for example MN 111, in which Sariputta does Vipassana from inside all the Rupa and Arupajhanas until he reaches NPNYNP and NS: those, he can only analyse after emerging from them.
2) I don't perceive anything while in it. Any perception of any external event kicks me out of it instantly. ("Neither perception...")
3) There is awareness going on. This rules out Nirodha Samapatti ("..nor yet non-perception").
All of this seems to confirm that what I reach is NPNYNP. Yet, it looks like...

Lucid dreamless hypnagogic sleep (LDHS). I already know this state I reach after 7th, or something extremely similar to it, from different practices. I have trained myself to fall asleep voluntarily for some months many years ago, and the process by which I enter this state is very similar. Basically, I am turning off my senses one by one voluntarily, until all that is left is pure awareness. An alternative way to describe this state would be that I am entering something very similar to dreamless hypnagogic sleep. It is almost exactly like being asleep, with some awareness going on, and without any dreamlike effects, including the nonsensical stream of consciousness that accompanies actual hypnagogic sleep. Which is also substantially different from what I call...

Lucid dreamless deep sleep (LDDS). This is another state I have been able to access, but much less frequently and reliably, and with a different technique. It happens on its own when I do very intense vipassana immediately before going to sleep, and stop short of a fruition: ideally somewhere in stable EQ (high or low does not seem to matter). What happens is that the tension / frustration of not having got a fruition will likely carry over inside sleep. I then fall asleep normally, naturally and non-lucidly, and at some point during the night I will probably "wake up" and be meditating in my dreams or in my dreamless sleep. This is a very different state from what I've called LDHS above. Basically, it is deeper, the way the deep phases of sleep are deeper than the early phases of sleep. Also, when dreams come on, they have wonderful special effects, including extremly strong dream-body vibrations during dream-A&P, fruitions with jets of rainbows out of my head, and more... but I digress.

So my questions are to those who are able to both reach "8th jhana" and do lucid dreamless sleep (hypnagogic or deep). Do you notice the same similarities? Or am I just falling asleep lucidly and fooling myself into thinking I am reaching NPNYNP, which is in reality completely another beast?
Mindfool, modified 8 Years ago at 1/2/16 12:33 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/2/16 12:33 AM

RE: "8th jhana" (NPNYNP) vs. lucid sleep. Very similar? Or am I fooling mys

Posts: 13 Join Date: 12/9/15 Recent Posts
Sorry, I have nothing to contribute to your problem, but I'm curious how did you train yourself to sleep voluntarily by turning off the senses?
Can you provide some instructions on that?
neko, modified 8 Years ago at 1/2/16 6:05 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/2/16 5:58 AM

RE: "8th jhana" (NPNYNP) vs. lucid sleep. Very similar? Or am I fooling mys

Posts: 763 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Tommy Ly:
Sorry, I have nothing to contribute to your problem, but I'm curious how did you train yourself to sleep voluntarily by turning off the senses?
Can you provide some instructions on that?
Sure! It is a self-thought thing though, so I am not 100% sure how well it can work on others, but here is what I have done. This is also from before I knew anything at all about meditation.

I was not training myself to fall asleep, rather, I was curious about the falling asleep process, and I started observing it in a very vipassana fashion. I started subdividing by brain's activity in channels, and I focussed on the following three:
1) the visual channel,
2) the auditory channel,
3) the thought channel.

Each of these channels go through three distinct phases:

a) The waking phase: you hear, see, think as you do while you are awake. For the visual channel, for example, (1a) would be the light shows behind your eyelids.

b) The "quiet" phase. For (1b), vision gets turned off and you do not see the light shows at all. In the thought channel, (3b) is not a stopping of thinking, but it gets quieter.

c) The hypnagogic phase. For (1c) you might be seeing scenery, landscapes, images, people. For (2c) it might be voices. For (3c), you will notice that you start producing nonsensical verbal thoughts. For me, it might be stuff like "the red penguin is yesterday's intention redoubled".

Observe all of this while trying to stay aware of what is going on. By working on this, you will start noticing the the progression of the different channels is not linear. For example, you might be in (1c, 2b, 3a): hearing nothing, seeing hypnagogic imagery, and thinking perfectly rational thoughts about all that.

Of course there will be other channels. You could have, for example:
4) Tactile sensations
5) Olfactive sensations
6) Gustatory sensations (taste)

as well as

7) The awareness channel. 

And more phases.
d) dreamless sleep (which is different from b)
e) dreams (which is different from c)

Now, what is falling asleep? We normally think of it as awareness going into modes b, c, d, e. However, it is possible to keep awareness "on" all the way to (e) in lucid dreaming. Even getting to a phase (f), which would be when you are able to control the dream.

However, to learn falling asleep, we are interested in phases (a-c). I will divide training in three phases.

i) Observation. Observe the channels going back and forth through phases (a-c) while keeping awareness on (7a). Learn "yourself falling asleep".

ii) Active falling asleep by simulated hypnagogic self-simulation. When you have spent some time doing (i), actively reproduce phase (c) in channels (1-3), or even (4-6) by imagination, free associations and stuff like that. This way you can trick yourself to fall asleep, skipping phase (b) and moving directly to phase (c). This I consider cheating though, since it is actually easier than the real deal, that is:

iii) Active falling asleep by voluntarily switching off the senses. Having spent a lot of time doing (i) and (ii), at some point you will become able to voluntarily reproduce phase (b) in your sensory channels. For me, it took months. And Stream Entry. Yes, I claim to having attained MCTB 1st Path through the dukkha door by doing this, probably in 1995, although I only realised what had happened twenty years later, when a good friend gave me MCTB to read. For me, it was about letting go of the attachment to the waking state, accepting channel/state (7b), and letting it go, essentially a dukkha thing. It might be different for you.

Does this make any sense at all to you?
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svmonk, modified 8 Years ago at 1/8/16 9:49 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/8/16 9:48 PM

RE: "8th jhana" (NPNYNP) vs. lucid sleep. Very similar? Or am I fooling mys

Posts: 401 Join Date: 8/23/14 Recent Posts
Hi neko,

Thanx for posting this. I tried this technique for the past week and what happens to me is this:

Phase I: 1a, 2a, 3b
Phase II: 1b, 2b, 3b
Phase III: hyperawareness of 4) especially around the legs and lower torso

after which I lose awareness.

Any thoughts about how to maintain awareness into the sleep phase?

I've had some lucid dreams over the years and took a course with Stephen LaBerge, the Stanford researcher who published his PhD dissertation on lucid dreaming in the early 1980's, but I've never been successful in causing them to happen and, when I have become lucid, invariably I will switch to nonlucid relatively quickly. It seems my mind enjoys the story part of dreaming and doesn't seem particularly interested in influencing how it will come out but rather just wants to go along with the ride.


                 
neko, modified 8 Years ago at 1/9/16 2:15 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/9/16 2:15 AM

RE: "8th jhana" (NPNYNP) vs. lucid sleep. Very similar? Or am I fooling mys

Posts: 763 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Hello svmonk,

so you did not notice any hypnagogic signs? Fleeting images, sounds, anything like that, you fell asleep before that happened? If so, keep working on it. Do not expect super fast progress, it might well be a matter of weeks or even months. Make it a habit. By thinking that the main goal is falling asleep to get some rest, and observing the process is only a secondary goal, you have noting to lose really: it becomes a practice that costs no time and only a little bit of effort.

-------------------------

For lucid dreaming / dream yoga, a different technique you can try is doing vipassana, with intense effort, for about 20 minutes immediately before going to sleep. Some people call it VILD (Vipassana-Induced Lucid Dreaming). It works with me reasonably well with very fast Mahasi noting: occasionally, after doing this, I will keep on the process of noting thoughout much part of the night. I have found that it works pretty well if I stop short of a fruition, as the frustration of not having gotten it keeps some kind of instictive motivation up for my brain.
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svmonk, modified 8 Years ago at 1/9/16 9:42 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/9/16 9:41 PM

RE: "8th jhana" (NPNYNP) vs. lucid sleep. Very similar? Or am I fooling mys

Posts: 401 Join Date: 8/23/14 Recent Posts
Thanx neko.

No, no hypnagogic signs, just strong and clear vipassana style awareness of sensations in my body, kind of like when the cognitive part of noting falls away during a strong sit, then complete loss of awareness. I'll keep at it.

I'll try the VLD technique too. Thanx.

                jak
neko, modified 8 Years ago at 1/12/16 2:52 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 1/12/16 2:52 AM

RE: "8th jhana" (NPNYNP) vs. lucid sleep. Very similar? Or am I fooling mys

Posts: 763 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Hey, I forgot to say that keeping awareness on while one or more channels are in what I call the "b" stage is pretty useful and a nice achievement in itself. I would say keep at it! The goal is more or less making falling asleep a behaviour you have learnt to reproduce through observation,  and repeatedly watching phase b happen definitely helps in my opinion.

There are also some crossover skills with overcoming dullness during meditation, since you will learn to recognise it earlier and only very strong dullness will put you asleep unless you want it to.

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