Questions on the formless states...

thumbnail
Toph H, modified 4 Years ago.

Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/5/13 Recent Posts
I'm mostly self-taught, my meditation teachers didn't know what I was talking about, but figure this is a good place to pick some brains. 
So, for the past two years now, I've been playing around in say....maybe Jhana 6(?), not sure exactly, but pathwise it's when you pull all your senses inwards, no sense of physical body(though it can be discerned if you so try), a clear-light arises in an infinite space, generally a kaleidascope of colors and fractal shapes, convoluscing and coalescing.  Then I switch from watching space to being space, and expand out into the surroundings, being both that and not that.  Usually I just follow the grooves, click, and shift, then slide into each place till I reach this latest/last plateau.

Sometimes I'll play around with being space, divide up into countless bubbles or spheres of consciousness, and experience what it might be like say as sand in a dust storm, not just one point but many, and all at the same time.  Or say, my room, the air, furniture, walls, being all of it at the same time and spread out or focus my consciousness as a point in this space and move around yet one at the same time, observe perceptions and such.  Anyway, I noticed that there is this very fine barrier, that defines what I call space/time, within it, it is so fine, almost indescerable yet in crossing to finer states, there is clearly a space/time sense though fine.  Outside this bubble of consciousness(something) is all that I could describe as Nothingness, I struggle to slip into that, shed my sphere of space/time.  I have accidently slipped, but can't seem to do it on purpose.  What do you recommend to shed this clinging to somethingness?  Also, what is perception-non-perception stage, is that the one where you experience yourself as the unborn one?(that aspect that isn't born, beyond form, time, space, and impetitus, sorry I think that's the best I can describe it.)  Or is my map off?
Thanks!
Robert, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 100 Join Date: 5/8/15 Recent Posts
Toph H:
What do you recommend to shed this clinging to somethingness?


The apparent one that is clinging and trying to shed the habit is not really there at all. It's just phenomena looking like a self. The whole thing of being a person and then learning these yogic techniques and having control over these experiences is just an unreal dream. And absurd joke.

Just stop thinking for one moment (don't do anything, not even "not doing") and that will be the ultimate attainment. When thinking stops, everything that has to do with this self that is trying to achieve something will be seen as never having existed in the first place.
thumbnail
Toph H, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/5/13 Recent Posts
Robert, that makes sense.  Sometimes it's that little shift that makes all the difference.  I definitely see how "(don't do anything, not even "not doing") would makes such a difference.  Thank you.
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 1312 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Toph H:
What do you recommend to shed this clinging to somethingness?  ...
...Or is my map off?
Thanks!
Check this out if you have not yet -
thumbnail
Toph H, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/5/13 Recent Posts
DreamWalker, I have been perusing the wiki, and haven't seen those yet.  I will definetly check those out, thank you!
thumbnail
Noah, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 1532 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
Hey Toph,

You're probably better at jhana than me, but here are some thoughts:

-Try giving yourself permission to enter the 7th jhana.  It sounds like you've figured the transition out intuitively when you talk about busting past the time-space barrier, so maybe all you need to manifest this is a bit of energy/confidence/umph?

-My experience with the soft version of 7th jhana was that it was a large black somethingness that pervaded everything.  The corresponding quality of 8th jhana was like a snowy tv screen that was so immediate that it cancelled out anything else that might exist.

-Also, to stop the clinging to somethingness, you might try to call up the adrenline/thrill-feeling that sometimes arises when you are about to get into hard jhana.  It is that feeling of being overtaken by something external to you, almost like being possessed.  Consciously associating with this thrill might serve to stimulate the process of surrender.

Best of luck.
thumbnail
Toph H, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/5/13 Recent Posts
Noah:
Hey Toph,

You're probably better at jhana than me, but here are some thoughts:

-Try giving yourself permission to enter the 7th jhana.  It sounds like you've figured the transition out intuitively when you talk about busting past the time-space barrier, so maybe all you need to manifest this is a bit of energy/confidence/umph?

-My experience with the soft version of 7th jhana was that it was a large black somethingness that pervaded everything.  The corresponding quality of 8th jhana was like a snowy tv screen that was so immediate that it cancelled out anything else that might exist.

-Also, to stop the clinging to somethingness, you might try to call up the adrenline/thrill-feeling that sometimes arises when you are about to get into hard jhana.  It is that feeling of being overtaken by something external to you, almost like being possessed.  Consciously associating with this thrill might serve to stimulate the process of surrender.

Best of luck.

Noah, you are very modest, I like that, but I'm sure you are better. emoticon  Also, you make alot of sense, and it's relatable too.  Definitly the times I slipped further was when I surrendered, though not volunterily, more like helplessly watched as my bubble was vaporized or my various bodies dissolved like dust and concentrating on forming a body, yet making it worse, etc.  I'll think how it's potentially thrilling rather than absolute terror inducing.  Cool.

Love your perspective.  Thank you!
thumbnail
tom moylan, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
it sounds to me as though you are striving and investigating. 

in jhana, the attitude to moving forward is to reduce the agitation and striving so that the subtler ingredients reveal themselves.  its not an easter egg hunt.

sounds like you are getting to no thing ness. the descriptions of infinite space and infinite conciousness seem pretty close to the doctrinaire descriptions.
thumbnail
Toph H, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/5/13 Recent Posts
Sorry to reply so late.  Good points though. 

I do find a particular enjoyment in investigating, like what happens if I diffuse my conciousness, make it a point(and diffuse at the same time), "be" all of one plant in a particular area, or then the world, then what? Does it matter? As well as implicating stuff.  Then these other experiences(NPYP, No-thingness) came up as a result, a couple times, more like I accidently slid into it, unprepared.  Rather than blunder myself around per usual, I figure this is a good place to ask about pointers, increase efficiency in assimilation/integration and practicing insight....I hate just meditating, unprepared for what happens, no one I know relates/can advise, and taking the adjusting to the pool by dipping my toe in method. emoticon   

I have noticed that in practice they do reduce internal aggitation, helps me see how things arise internally clearer than say in and really puts alot into perspective. 

Yet as you pointed out, still notice an underlying current of diffuse aggitation/striving, it's been fun observing as it does come in waves, in a nonchalante kinda way.  But yeah, I'm guessing just staying with it, observing, but not engaging it the main thing atm.(?)  The eggs will find themselves in their own due time kinda thing irregardless.
thumbnail
Eric B, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 186 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
If you're investigating, you're doing vipassana, and are not in a jhana. It's possible to investigate all sorts of states, including spaciousness, awareness of awareness, etc.; this is all good stuff and well worth doing. But in a jhana, you are absorbed in something. If you are investigating, there's too much going on to be in a jhana. Tom's comment about the Easter egg hunt sums this up quite nicely.

As to the underlying current of diffuse striving and agitation and striving, it is all part and parcel of noticing subtler formations as grosser ones subside. In terms of concentration practice, you just have to let them be and dissipate on their own, or else you feed them energy which strengthens them and enables them to stay around. This can be very frustrating, but that's the way samatha tends to progress. 

In terms of integrating rating concentration with insight, it sounds like you're already doing it. The samatha is what gives you the stability to see subtler aspects which can in turn be investigated. You don't need jhana strength concentration to do this.

I hope my rambling will be of some use.

Eric
thumbnail
Toph H, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/5/13 Recent Posts
So wait, you're saying that when I pull my senses fully in, past any and all physical inputs, focus and stabilize past any sort of mental formations arising both soft, diffuse to bright, clear, self illuminated, even if so much as not just time dilation, but in no-time, no form, no light, no dark, no in, nor out, wherever I direct my attention, I can become it..so space, light, sound, even as so deep that no-thing exists, barely even describable, extreme peace and stillness where a movement of thought propels me out of that into what I thought as a lower jhana(given that space is corse to no-thingness, etc.)that isn't remotely anything of the Jhanas...hmm, definitely in the wrong subforum. Ugh.  I went on a Vipassana retreat(to learn more about it), and was told that what I was doing wasn't Vipassana, but something else.  The last thing I want to do is spend years diluting myself.

Yes, you're rambiling is certainly helpful.  It's nice to be straightened out.  Very insightful, thank you.
thumbnail
Eric B, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 186 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
What you're describing here certainly does sound like jhana.  In jhana, the current object pervades (a good word choice one of your other repsondants used) fully the experience.  In your earlier description, it sounded as if there was a lot of volitional picking and choosing going on.

But it certainly sounds like you can get sufficiently concentrated, and then use that stability to examine things...and that's what gets things done.  You might want to look at the "Seven Factors of Enlightenment" (wasn't this here on the wiki once?)  section of MCTB, or elsewhere, as these seven I think will resonate a lot with you given what you've written in this thread.

Try not to get hung up on what is and is not jhana, precisely tagging and naming things, and where the line is that neatly demarcates things.  I myself have spent a lot of time doing that, and these provide endless opportunities to get caught up in and bogged down by content.
thumbnail
Toph H, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Questions on the formless states...

Posts: 18 Join Date: 2/5/13 Recent Posts
In my earlier descriptions, I was describing several instances, I can see how it would look like one as I didn't distinguish precisely. I do know how choosing a "wrong" word has severe impacts in terms of getting understood, given I'm from outside the standard nomenclature, this is more so, but I figured that recognition or personal experiences would provide the framework for dialogue, or understanding beyond the labels/terms to the underlining meaning.  I just assumed it would be taken as such, since certain parameters that come into play, but in actuallity, they were many instances.  There is a very simple routine, and find it far more efficient to talk about a pattern rather than a singular episode. 

I'm not so much hanged up on what's what/labeling/semantics, as I really don't care much, especially after a point going in, it's a non seqitur, ( or maybe you said this as a result of my joking?).  I'm just hanged up on how I can perceive this no-thingness and in shifting from a thing(space) to no-thing, I just find myself holding back, unless I happen to slide into it, which I have done as well, several times.  A teacher from a few years ago gave me a tip on how to shift from watching space, to being space, turns out he was just relaying a suttra, but he said that was unqualified to be my teacher, yada yada, figure someone here might help give me that key to ease into the next step with volition rather than haphazard as norm.  No biggie.

Anyway, I've had enough of games and playing around, it sounds as if the dicotomy between my lexicon and the forum standard here is proving to be to far of a barring than I'm willing to invest in the research to learn the appropriate labels for discorse. Thanks for your input it's been helpful. emoticon

Breadcrumb