From Equanimity to Stream Entry -- Please Assist

Aleks TK, modified 6 Years ago at 1/1/16 6:41 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/1/16 6:24 PM

From Equanimity to Stream Entry -- Please Assist

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/9/15 Recent Posts
Tonight at midnight I start the beginning of a personal seven-day retreat. That means non-stop noting from the minute I wake up to the minute I go to sleep. I've been warming up with three or four hours of meditation a day for the past few days, but I've never done anything like this before. I would appreciate some input.

I am fairly certain I am in equanimity and have been for a while. When I meditate perceiving vibrations comes instantly and instantaneously. My field of experience is 'wider' than it has been in the past, and I find myself tuning into two or three senses at the same time. At the height of my meditation sessions (usually an hour long) I perceive vibrations in touch, sight, and sound interlaced with each other. They are somewhat clear and sometimes I feel like I am coming up on LSD, with a noticable 'buzzing' all around.

However I have a few questions about my practice. Vibrations flicker so quickly  For some time I have struggled with 'interacting with' my experience. I can tune into a sense-door such as vision, but it causes me to 'tune-out' of the other sense. If I force myself to “not interact” with any senses I sort of 'tune in' to everything. However I also find that none of my senses are 'as clear' as if I were tuning into one in particular. I have often read that surrender is key. Am I practicing the right technique?

Regarding the 3Cs, this is something I haven't really been focusing on in my practice. Although upon re-reading MCTB Ingram claims paying attention to them is critical. However I'm not sure how to tune into the three characteristics when meditating, as conciously thinking about anything adds more mental objects for me to note. Could somebody clear that up for me?

Sometimes I feel like I get into a sort of day-dream and my perception of vibrations in the background is almost subconcious. This doesn't feel like “proper meditation” to me but it seems to be a fairly predictable consequence of 'not interacting' with experience. Can somebody verify that this is okay?

I am also not yet experiencing 'formations', although strangely enough I think I have experienced them on high dosages of marijuana...but this will be a drug-free retreat. Although I am often able to 'see' multiple senses at the same time, they are not integrated the formations described at MCTB. Any advice on getting there?

Any comments would be appreciated, thanks.
Chris M, modified 6 Years ago at 1/1/16 8:06 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/1/16 7:54 PM

RE: From Equanimity to Stream Entry -- Please Assist

Posts: 4593 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts

From my experience we cannot fully tune into more than one sense at a time, so if you're struggling with doing that I'd say you're experiencing something that's quite normal.

The three characteristics are seen most easily by observing/noting the nature of your experience with any sense stimuli. So, for example, if you're experiencing vibrations you should have no trouble seeing that what you are experiencing is impermanent (flickering in and out, off and on, even if at a very rapid frequency), that it is not you (if you can "see" it it can't be you, right?) and that it's a bit stressful or uncomfortable to observe it (suffering).

I'd say pick a sense door (I used to use feeling most often because for me it was the most sensitive to these kinds of noting practices) and watch for those three things - stress, not me, flickering in and out of view.

Good luck!
Daniel M Ingram, modified 6 Years ago at 1/2/16 12:28 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/2/16 12:28 AM

RE: From Equanimity to Stream Entry -- Please Assist

Posts: 3239 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Fast vibrations coming up on one, could also be the A&P, as that would be classic in that stage.

Equanimity is often less about fast vibrations and more about broader space waves, integrations, deep core processes on this side suddenly becoming objects in space, things like comfort, wanting, investigation itself, effort, attention regulation.

Wherever you are, there you are, so pay attention right there, immediately, as if that moment was the answer and you just had to fully appreciate it in all its little details as well as in its full-field completeness all the way through things you think are not you and everything you think of as really being you.

My thoughts this early morning. Good luck on your retreat.
neko, modified 6 Years ago at 1/2/16 8:30 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 1/2/16 8:30 AM

RE: From Equanimity to Stream Entry -- Please Assist

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
For me balancing effort and letting the process happen is key to transitioning to both hi-eq and perceiving formations, and getting a cessation from there. Wanting to get a cessation does not work, and it actually stops the process (as opposed to, for example, navigating the samatha jhanas).

Also, perceiving formations does not seem to happen to everyone on all cycles, so I would suggest not obsessing too much about it.

In any case, the senses starting to synch up for me is a sign of progress within a cycle. Particularly if I am going for an anicca fruition. So maybe pay attention to how the things flicker, and the gaps between one flickering and the following one. You might "see" space and time there, and that might get integrated with the other senses into full-blown formations. That in turn is a bit upsetting for me, so from there I have the option to switch to observing dukkha and get a dukkha-door cessation.

Your mileage WILL vary.