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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Broad visual field, but very sober experience...

Thanks for the Dharma diagnosis service :-) I'm a big fan of MCTB, even though my map doesn't seem to fit with the ñana stages at all. I'm not sure if I ever attained any ñana, even though I meditate fairly regularly and intensively since about 10 years or so, doing mindfulness of breathing most of the time.

About three years ago something funny happened after I started to focus on "space" in addition to the breath: Extasis and joy disappeared completely from my meditations, which allowed me to enter the formless realm up to nothingness, I believe. That change was surprising, but the following jhana states correspond more or less to the canonical description, so I had a certain idea about the territory.

About half a year ago something funny happened again during a normal session somewhere between the 2nd and 4th jhana: The meditation "juju" dropped away completely, and I was left with an extremely sober and normal "day to day" experience, apart from a panoramic visual field. This state is more or less pleasant and light, and it's nearly completely free of thoughts. I clearly perceive any internal or external fluctuation (noises, body vibrations, ...), but without attachment and need to follow-through. I actually can think conceptually if I want, for example in order to reflect on the characteristics of the state. However, this doesn't affect the state.

Searching in the Web and on this forum, I found the closest match in the description of Pure Consciousness Experience in Daniel's "Experiments in Actualism". It could also be a special variant of the 4th jhana. However, I believe I attained that before on the way to the formless realm, and it felt quite different and according to the descriptions in Kamalashila's meditation book and the MCTB.

I'm not sure if it's worth exploring this state further, or to dedicate my cussion time more towards insight practice.


Thanks!
Frank