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Stream entry and self-inquiry?
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4/5/16 2:09 AM
Hi--this is my first post, but I've lurked occasionally for the last 2-3 years. I'll give you my background and then describe the events of the last few days.

I have practiced Vipassana and "just sitting" meditation on and off for the last decade. About two years ago I had a fairly consistent practice of 1-2 hours of meditation per day. My main practice was not noting, but just inclusive, total awareness. I could routinely get A&P effects like tingling, lights, third-eye pressure. After about two months of this practice, I listened to an Adyashanti talk where he says to simply move from the driver's seat to the passenger's seat and see if the car will drive itself. I sat down to meditate and immediately "did" this. I was not exercising my will but things were still happening. I felt an immense sense of peace and well-being as if a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I laughed a lot. I did things I wouldn't otherwise have been disciplined enough to do. After a day or so, I had "lost" the feeling of freedom. I became obsessed with getting back to it for many weeks, but nothing worked.

In the intervening couple of years, my formal Vipassana practice basically fell apart. I have been doing a mish-mash of Christian practices (e.g. the Jesus Prayer), as well as open awareness in daily life and self-inquiry. I listened to countless Adyashanti, Gangaji, etc. talks. There have been moments of clarity, but not that frequently.

Fast forward to three days ago. I am doing self-inquiry in a coffeeshop. I have some interesting thoughts, but not much else. As I am walking home, there is a thought that I can't even quite remember now, but it was something like "Wait--I am already enlightened." I am having a hard time remembering exactly what happened, but I get home and things are somehow... different. Things are a bit lighter. I used to have this feeling that the suffering of (what I assume was) the Dark Night was pressing me down. I no longer have that sensation. I feel like there is no further down to go. There is somehow no separation between what I desire and what is happening. In fact I'm finding the "I" hard to locate. I still fall into certain patterns of ego, but I seem to encounter them more lightly and with less suffering than I did before. (EDIT: Another thing is I seem to be able to drop into a pretty pleasurable experience of "emptiness" when I'm not doing anything else in daily life.) I have been enthusiastic about prayer and practice. Tonight I sat down to meditation and almost immediately started getting A&P stuff and then went into Dissolution, which is where I am now. It feels heavy and fuzzy like the Dark Night, but at the same time I seem to know that it is only temporary.

My interpretation is that the events of two years ago were the A&P followed by a lot of Dark Night yogi stuff. But I am not entirely sure what just happened map-wise. Two possibilities:

(1) I finally made my way up to Equanimity three days ago and tonight blew it by backsliding to Dissolution.

(2) Three days ago was Stream-Entry and I am now in Review. Some of the effects seem to correspond to Stream-Entry. I don't remember a "blip" but I strangely don't remember what happened very well that afternoon. The effects have been persistent for the last three days.

I apologize that it is made more confusing by my not having a consistent insight practice to rely on. Any help you could offer would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,
Henry

RE: Stream entry and self-inquiry?
Answer
4/5/16 5:12 AM as a reply to Henry.
Sounds good, but like you said, without consistent practice it's hard to diagnose and make recommendations. How about making the commitment to a regular sitting practice as a next step? It doesn't need to be vipassina, it could be centering prayer or any other meditation practice that seems interesting.

RE: Stream entry and self-inquiry?
Answer
4/9/16 9:14 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks for the response, shargrol. Here is a quick update: I have been practicing 1-2 hours a day for the last week. I am not 100% clear on the different DN stages, but I seem to start in the DN and move pretty quickly into Equanimity. I reach a point where my repeated prayer seems to get in the way and I drop it. I get lots of tingles and third-eye tickles, but not really like A&P. Lots of vibrations. Everything kind of coalesces. Then I get a lot of thoughts about how I really want a Fruition but nothing happens.

I take this to mean that (1) is probably right, I can get right up into Equanimity (High Equanimity?) but haven't had Stream-Entry yet. Unless it's possible to be in Review and not be able to get a Fruition.

RE: Stream entry and self-inquiry?
Answer
4/10/16 5:50 PM as a reply to Henry.
That sounds really promising, regardless of where on the map it is. (Heck, could be pre-SE, could be post-SE and pre 2nd path high-eq, who knows?)

Probably the most important thing to do in high EQ is to take the thinking mind itself as an object. See if you can see where thoughts arise. If you can get a sense of the bubbling beginnings of thinking, meditate on that "mindstream" as an object of meditation. You can also ask, "What knows this experience?" or "What is experiencing this?"  Treat it as as a koan, rather than something you answer with words.

Sounds like you have built up some momentum with your past practice. Keep practicing, consistency is most important!