Jhanas/vipassana ~ Pleasure/anxiety

Cacatua, modified 5 Years ago.

Jhanas/vipassana ~ Pleasure/anxiety

Posts: 5 Join Date: 3/15/15 Recent Posts
I would like to get your opinion and advice about the sensations I am getting lately while meditating.

I am exploring jhanas following the book from Leigh Brasington: 'Right Concentration. A Practical Guide to the Jhānas'

After doing jhanas for some time, I switch to noting meditation. I take as a reference the stages of insight (say, as explained in Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha).

The effects.
While doing Jhanas I get a lot of pleasure. Cool. I guess I am getting into 3rd Jhana. No problems so far.

After some time doing jhanas I switch to 'noting meditation'. The experience is like adding anxiety to the sense of pleasure. I feel like I get into something similar to equanimity but always with a significan amount of anxiety in the experience.

Previously I experienced fast fluctuations between pleasure and suffering. But now the experience is different: I get high levels of pleasure (of the kind of equanimity) with a significant amoung of anxiety... all together. No fluctuation. Is like if they were always together.

What I found weird is that the level of anxiety in my normal life (off the meditation cushion) has increased. I dont know if this is kind of a side effect like others that are nice (for example, during office hours being able to experience pleasure by focusing on the top of the head).

Is there any advice on this ?
Is this anywhere described on the maps or any meditation approach?

References are highly appreciated !
Thanks,
Cacatua.

p.s.
Although at times I worry about this increase of anxiety in my normal life, I should say that doing Jhanas is really increasing my concentration, and the navigation between stages during noting meditation is clearer and sharper.
Still, I would like to get advice on this experience.
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Noah, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Jhanas/vipassana ~ Pleasure/anxiety

Posts: 1532 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
I like to think of this spectrum(s) as a 3d graph, in the spirit of Kenneth 20 Strata of Mind model (which I can't find anywhere) or Daniel's Mind Map.  On the Y axis, would be the layers of the psyche.  On the X would be Samatha/Embedded/Jhana, Vipassana/Disembedded/Nana.  On the Z axis would be Hard vs Soft.  Your meditation states can be categorized this way.
After some time doing jhanas I switch to 'noting meditation'. The experience is like adding anxiety to the sense of pleasure. I feel like I get into something similar to equanimity but always with a significan amount of anxiety in the experience.

You've moved closer to the Vipassana end of the 3rd jhana layer, but with aspects of both forms of engagement present.  We could actually think of two coordinates on the graph, or perhaps a line, to describe this combo state.  Incorporating two coordinates would also engage Daniel's idea of sub-aspects and sub-sub-aspects to jhana/nana.  In this language, your state would be 3j6n or 3rd jhana-6th nana sub aspect.  
Previously I experienced fast fluctuations between pleasure and suffering. But now the experience is different: I get high levels of pleasure (of the kind of equanimity) with a significant amoung of anxiety... all together. No fluctuation. Is like if they were always together.

This is still 3j6n, but it has moved farther out on the Z axis: it has become harder or more intense.  The way you experience this is by the aspects fusing together.
What I found weird is that the level of anxiety in my normal life (off the meditation cushion) has increased. I dont know if this is kind of a side effect like others that are nice (for example, during office hours being able to experience pleasure by focusing on the top of the head).

This is simply a cutting-edge side effect.  You are experiencing the off-cushion reverberations of hitting this highest state on-cushion.
Is there any advice on this ?

All the usual Dukkha Nana advice from the DhO would apply.  You're already doing concentration so you can check that off the list.

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