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How to transition to A&P?

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How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/26/16 8:42 PM
I've read just about every thread I can about this, along with every article on the Progress of Insight I can find. I've meditated every day for the last six weeks, averaging thirty to ninety minutes. I'm noting, and my practice consists of pain and tightness, with an accompanying tense/tight mind. Lots of aches. 
After some time, I start to get pleasant mental feelings. I smile. The tightness in my chest lifts somewhat. 

I'm noting as quickly as I can in any moment, and it might be 3-6 times a second. My visual field will start to get a little lava-lampy, but for the most part I'm just noting seeing, hearing, and feeling. Very little thinking. 

The frustration for me is coming from not experiencing vibrations. This might be a silly question, but what is a vibration when spoken of in this context? 

Before posting this, I'm going to do a sit and post my experience so it's fresh. 

Just sat fifty minutes. 

Solid feelings, started with noting rising and falling. Moved to free style noting. Felt concentrated, naturally moved back to noting rising and falling. This is where it got a little different. I found my mental note getting softer while the breath simultaneously got smoother and softer. I began to experience very slight tingles running down my arms. I had to "look" at my arms just right in order to perceive the sensations. Pain in my shoulder and neck, felt a few throbs, somewhat lava lampy. Noting turned to ba ba ba, words not quick enough. 

The practice fell apart around the fifty minute mark. 

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/26/16 9:25 PM as a reply to Christopher Kerr.
Is it possible that was A&P and the practice falling off at the end, feeling tranquil and slower Dissolution? 

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/27/16 2:02 AM as a reply to Christopher Kerr.
Christopher:
Is it possible that was A&P and the practice falling off at the end, feeling tranquil and slower Dissolution?

I think that could be possible.  Each time I hit a new nana for the first time, there were some sort of fireworks, and then further cycles quickly became subtle, even unrecognizable (without knowing what to look out for).  

In reference to the thread title, for me the answer for how to transition to any new nana was simply massive volume, dumb effort, noting all day off-cushion, going to work, at work, driving home, hanging with friends, etc.  I don't know if this is good advice though lol.  You probably won't get new advice now, if you've already searched the DhO archives. 

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/27/16 6:24 AM as a reply to Noah.
Thanks Noah. 

I did a lot of psychedelics around eight to six years ago, and had all kinds of weird experiences. From what I've read, and according to a few teachers, I've most likely crossed the A&P during that time. However, when I practice, it seems like all the signs point to 3rd nana, which is confusing. 

I've never had fireworks in my practice, which is another thing to contend with entirely. Maybe I've not even achieved 1st nana? 

And regarding noting all day, how the hell do you do it? It seems like such a daunting, impossible task. Do you note as quickly as you can? Surely you can't note as quickly as you can when in formal practice. 

Edit: I've been meditating inconsistently for seven ish years, though it's only in the last two or three months that I've had any real dedication and regularity. 

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/27/16 6:47 AM as a reply to Christopher Kerr.
Chris, the A&P is a bit different for everyone. Not everyone gets fireworks and lightshows, not everyone gets kundalini swaying, not everyone gets vibrations. Those are all "side effects" anyway. If we want to be traditionalist, the corruptions of insight.

IMHO, what matters perceptually is: an increase in clarity; natural speeding up of noting; ideally, each sensation being seen rather clearly in its arising, staying, and vanishing --- although this could be an overstatement unless you are in retreat conditions or your concentration is naturally quite strong. Another main, common sign is a feeling of stability and that practice now sustains itself, whereas in the first three nanas there is more the sensation that there is a need to keep applying effort.

So if you get the perceptual clarity, but not the side effects, all the more power to you, you will skip easily from A&P I to A&P II, without getting stuck in the "Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What Is Path and Not Path" stage. Which can be a very nice thing to get stuck into, granted... but you always have the jhanas for that emoticon  

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/27/16 7:07 AM as a reply to Christopher Kerr.
Concerning never getting fireworks, at times people have named themselves as members of the "no big wow" club. It gives a humorous spin to the frequent contrast between expectations and reality on the path. The most important thing is to accept whatever is showing up, whether it is pleasant, unpleasant, exciting, or boring. Just open up to it in a spirit of gentle inquiry. 

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/27/16 8:48 AM as a reply to Laurel Carrington.
A&P tends to be stronger on retreat or when the continuity of practice is strong. Gently noting throughout the day can make nanas clearer/stronger and can encourage more fireworks.


Chances are your last sit moved up into the domain of A&P but didn't quite break through. It's common to rise up and drop back down a few times even during a single sit.


By the way, are you going into this with eyes wide open? -- In otherwords, have you read about how post A&P there is often a difficult dark night? Are things in your life in good shape? Could you handle a period of turbulance and difficulty? Do you have other meditator friends/teachers that can support you during the next phase?  

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/27/16 1:50 PM as a reply to Christopher Kerr.
Christopher Kerr:
I did a lot of psychedelics around eight to six years ago, and had all kinds of weird experiences. From what I've read, and according to a few teachers, I've most likely crossed the A&P during that time. However, when I practice, it seems like all the signs point to 3rd nana, which is confusing. 

I've never had fireworks in my practice, which is another thing to contend with entirely. Maybe I've not even achieved 1st nana?
If the signs are pointing to 3rd Nana, I'd work from that assumption.
I have found myself stuck here before. Here is what I did, I focused on the sensations occurring at each moment with as much clarity as possible, speed was not a goal, clarity was. Experience the sensations of the moment and focus on one of the following aspects for ten minutes-
  1. Permanence and impermanence
  2. Satisfaction and unsatisfactoriness
  3. Sensations that imply a self and not
In a half hour you will have gone thru each one. Make sure you are concentrated to some extent before you begin. When I did this, I got a click, like I had checked off the list and could move on.
Try this out and come back and write down your impressions of what you observed and what aspects you delved into in your investigations....details please.
Good Luck,
~D

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/27/16 2:46 PM as a reply to shargrol.
I've experienced what I explained happening last night a few times, and to me, it seems like early A&P that sort of fizzles out. I'm aware of the Dark Night, and I'm prepared for it as much as I can be. I've been through hell on quite a few of my psychedelic trips, hopefully that prepares me at least a little. 

If I want to stop smoking (tobacco, I stopped all drugs and drinking years ago), would it be better to do it pre Dark Night? 

@ Dream Walker, I will try that. 

Thanks to everybody for the advise and perspective thus far. 

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/27/16 5:15 PM as a reply to Christopher Kerr.
Christopher:
And regarding noting all day, how the hell do you do it? It seems like such a daunting, impossible task. Do you note as quickly as you can? Surely you can't note as quickly as you can when in formal practice. 

No I didn't note as quickly as I could (most of the time).  I chose quantity over quality.  I used mental labels with only 30 to 60% of my attention to note between 2 per second, and 1 every 3 seconds.  Other times I would just 'notice,' but when I did this I would pick a smaller area, like tingling in my forearm, or the rotations of a leaf as it was blown through the air.  I personally was way too perfectionistic and agitated to do formal sitting with a focus on quality.  I figured that by practicing all the time, but low quality, I was increasing my odds.

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/28/16 8:15 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Good evening, everybody, a very good evening to you all. I just got done with two thirty minute sessions (with a small break in between) and a full hour, and would like to share my experience. 

Post mediation: all is well. No bodily pains (I'm always in pain, it seems), little to no mental talk, and a deep sense of contentment. I've been mentally jumping around recently, trying to diagnose my location on the progress of insight, so I apologize if my vacillation is annoying...but dare I say, I might be in equanimity. Life has sucked for years, and I'm always on edge, but I don't feel that way now. I'm okay. Everything is okay. I'm not jumping for joy, but damn it feels nice not to suffer. I want to practice more, so I'm going to get this out and then hit the mat (couch, actually).

Practice notes: 
The first two sessions were good. Lots of pain, feeling like bugs were on me,  itching, doubt and tension. Bodily pains, and general all around this sucks. I noted my ass off, and this weird rhythm kept messing up my flow. This throbbing in my chest. It was my heartbeat lol. Both times I got to a point where noting was unnecessary and kinda impossible, I just went with the lava lamp energy in my body and behind my eyes. No lights, but a moving energy. Had an insight that all this is just one lump of moving stuff. The itches, the tingles, the visual blob. Just a bunch of moving "ness".

Did some walking mediation, splashed my face, and sat down for the hour sit (that's a long one for me). Sat down and noted rising and falling for a bit, then went to work noting as quickly as possible. The usual unpleasant stuff came up but after a bit of time I started to feel tingles running down my arms, nice slow tingles. My mind opened up and everything got quiet. My sensations were quiet, the sounds got quiet, and I stopped minding any pain. I felt okay. I felt and still feel very concentrated. Not sure if this is dissolution or equanimity. Kenneth Folk and Ron Crouch both think I've been in the Dark Night, and maybe all the signs of the 3rd nana have actually been the Dark Night? Reading over the various progress of insight lists, my experience seems closer to Dark Night moving into equanimity than 3rd moving to 5th, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. 

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
6/29/16 6:09 AM as a reply to Christopher Kerr.
Sounds good. It does seem like all the time you've spent in the dark night has "cleaned out" those nanas and you are quickly moving through it into EQ. If that's the case, then the challenge now will be to let yourself go where the meditation takes you. It can be like a fly trying to get out of the house: buzzing over here, then there, then low, then high, trying to find a way to fly out of the house. The most important thing to recognize is you don't control where the fly goes, you just go along for the ride. If you try to force yourself through the nanas, it will create a whole new bunch of greed, aversion, and indifference that you will have to clean up all over again.

So, sometimes you might find yourself in icky-creepy-crawly feelings. If so, you're in three characteristics and need to feel all of those yucky feelings leaving your body, almost like a purification.

Sometimes you might find yourself with pleasuable tingles. If that's the case, you are in A&P and you need to feel all of those individual tingles and let that power your mindfulness/concentration. Feel the pleasure and the tingles, how they feel, how they flow...

With higher concentration, the dark night will feel like a numb and kinda dumb cool bliss. If that's what happens, soak in that feeling. Go to the parts of the body that are numb, cool, blissy and put your mind there. Let those sensations fill your experience, get intimate with those sensations. 

Sometimes you might go through a vipassina dark night without concentration, it will feel difficult and emotional. This is where you "heal" yourself by fully experiencing those sensations and emotions as mind objects. Don't repress or avoid, but also don't identify and react. "This is what the body feels like in fear. This is what the body feels like when it is disgusted. This is what the body feels like in misery. This is what the body feels like when it desires deliverance." These are patterns of emotional experience that are in you, but are not >you<. 

Sometimes it seems like all of your reactive buttons are being pushed. A single feeling or thought makes you want to react with a whole new plan. You want to change your practice, your diet, your friends, your job, your life. Be careful! Don't get sucked in. But also don't repress or avoid what happens in reobservation. "This is what the mind and body does in reobservation. It freaks out! But I'm just going to let it freak out and watch."

When you find youself in equanimity, allow yourself to rest. It might feel a little like mourning initially, your heart soft. Wonderful. Now settle in and let yourself soak in equanimity. Your body might resist, unconsciously wanting more drama. Or you might find yourself tuning out, not being used to living in EQ. It can be helpful to soften the breath and do very slow noting on each exhale. "stillness, spaceousness, worry, relief, calmness, confusion, relaxing, softness, clarity..."

You might rise up and fall back, in and out of EQ, that's fine. You might have "big" experiences of A&P again or dropouts or near-misses in EQ, that's fine. 

Keep a consistent practice going and you'll eventually find more of your sit in EQ and the equanimity will begin to color all of the nanas. Equanimity means fully experiencing whatever is arising, without reacting with greed, aversion, or indifference. Don't worry about reaching stream entry, that happens by itself. Just keep practicing and allow yourself to soak in concentration states and make a home in equanimity. And because where you go when sitting is beyond your control, mostly keep practicing. emoticon

Re: giving up tobacco... It's really hard for me to advise. In general, if you slowly cut back your dose and let yourself feel the symptoms, you can use that as more training. You can feel the sensations of purification as if you are in three characteristics, sometimes difficult to feel but also you know that it is healing your body. You can also see how addictions are very much like reobservation: a sensation of withdrawl creates a whole pattern of trying to do something about it, in this case it triggers the wanting and imagining of having the drug. But if you can see that if you >feel< like you "need" it, actually you don't -- because if you truly needed it, you wouldn't be having that experience -- you would either be using the drug or dead! emoticon  So you don't "need" it, you just want it, and if you just want it, you don't need it. You can kind of see why renunciation can support practice. It's good training for meditation. Heck, it is off-cushion meditation. emoticon Just pace yourself and don't try to go too far too fast, just like sitting practice. emoticon 

RE: How to transition to A&P?
Answer
2/18/17 12:39 PM as a reply to shargrol.
I do awareness instead of noting. I know that Mahasi says once you are proficient with noting you can just know without noting. Culadasa, Pamojjo, and Thanissaro teach awareness instead of having to note. I have done 1 year of noting of thoughts but never noting of other senses. I get bogged down with noting of sensation. I seen to be able to progress this way as well. When there is prominent sensation like itch or pain and lingers, I put more attention on it until it disappears. Sometimes, the pain pulsate for a while then disappear. Itch morphs into cluster of pointed sensation that become tiny pain sensation then disappear.

Only one time I experienced light seeping through my closed eye lids in a dark room. My eye lids were flickering but not opened like eye lids were stuck. Opening was very tiny and can see light through the tiny opening.

Dont know if I experienced A&P because only experienced that once. Now, I just practice and stop caring where I am at. Too much caring can cause greed to arise and then nana becomes elusive.

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