Dark Night Research Survey

Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

Dark Night Research Survey

Posts: 3179 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear All,

I am going to create a survery to get a bit more data on people's experiments with what works and what doesn't in the Dark Night.

I have lots of questions that I wish to ask more formally and get some more analyzable data on, but I thought I would get other's ideas also.

This survey link will appear in the new Research tab noted near FAQ.

So, if you have ideas on questions you always wanted to ask a group of people, post those here. Be sure to think about how to phrase the question in a scientific way, such that the question will hopefully lead to answers that are easily interpretable and meaningful, as well as easy to ask in the format of an online survey tool and also ammenable to analysis.


tom moylan, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Dark Night Research Survey

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
for those who have made it through the dark night after several attempts, did you have the impression that the harder you worked on it the less stable your percieved psychological state became?

if so, did you have any technique or methodology which helped you get through this phase?

for example:
did you eventually wear it down?  
did you 'crash through it' with superhuman effort?  
did some other practice allow you to 'side-step' the destabilization?
Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Dark Night Research Survey

Posts: 3179 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Other question for the group:

I was thinking of using survey monkey, but there are lots of other options out there, and I was wondering if people here had experience with various online survey platforms and what their opinions were.

Also, questions around security of results and the disclosure of information and in what form will need to be carefully discussed, and will probably need to be addressed for each question and survey, as the implications will likely vary between, say, a simple demographic survey of who was on the DhO vs some discussion of how various medications had impacted practice.


Simon Ekstrand, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Dark Night Research Survey

Posts: 245 Join Date: 9/23/11 Recent Posts
Survey monkey has always worked fine for me.

I'll also be happy to answer the survey. Dark night or not, I've been having problem for years and years and years and so if nothing else I should be I should be something of an expert in the having problems department.

Oochdd, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Dark Night Research Survey

Posts: 102 Join Date: 12/16/14 Recent Posts
To start this off, some questions I would add to the survey. Others can probably add/modify this better than I can.

Background data:
- Cultural background?

Practice questions:
-Years practicing
- What type of practice you do engage in (options like noting, open awareness, zazen, etc, etc)
- Do you work with a teacher? (maybe offer a bunch of options)
- What 'path' do you consider yourself on (either by Daniel's definition, Kenneth/Ron definition, etc. Might be hard to disentangle)
- How many hours a day?
---> since for most people this shift around a lot, would also be nice to get some kind of timeline e.g. 2006-2008 Soto Zen, 2008-2014 Westernized vipassana, 2014-2016 pragmatic dharma. Also for number of hours practiced, retreat time etc. 

Dark night questions:
- How many times through it?
- How many times did it take before landing streamentry?
- What is the most significant way that the DN manifests itself (e.g. perceptual, vibrations, psychological, anxiety, depression, etc, etc)
- What is your current DN 'antidote'? (e.g. concentration practice, practice more, practice less, more daily life practice, more cushion time, more time with teachers, engaging with life more, engaging with life less, more yoga, etc, etc)

That's most I can think of for now!
C C C, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Dark Night Research Survey

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
For me, the easiest way to come out of bad feelings is to get needs/wants met.  Then realizing that if a certain need isn't met it's because of negative thoughts (in the Law of Attraction sense).  Then forcing positive thoughts and noticing how things change.

So there's a realization about how powerful thoughts are - that they can create/influence external circumstances. 

Not knowing what's making you feel bad is crazy-making.  It's easy to overlook unmet needs and ascribe bad feelings to something like DN as a way of avoiding work or facing fears.  Using the 'dynamic principle' (similar to free association) is a good way of tapping into subconscious processes, with a view to finding out what specifically is lacked.  Lack can be remedied by gain/accomplishment. 
C C C, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Dark Night Research Survey

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Also,  when I feel bad, I can recognize a thought associated.  Example: "I hate questionnaires".  Meditation notices the thought and allows it to pass, right?

With therapy, you ask "why do you hate questionnaires?". 

"Because the person on the other end probably doesn't even read the answers" 

"But why is that a problem?"

"People NEVER listen to me".  [automatic thought]

"But why is that a problem?"

"They don't know who I am!  I need to be known and understood!"  [deeper into the subconscious]

"And you're not getting that need met.  Why is that a problem?"

"Maybe I'm not worth it" 

... and so on.

In general, I've found that digging vertically like this will almost always get back to worthiness/goodness of the self. 

Hope this helps someone else.  It was a huge breakhrough for me.
Mike H., modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Dark Night Research Survey

Posts: 72 Join Date: 1/4/13 Recent Posts
Interesting topic.  First, I might broaden the questions to cover the 3Cs, i.e. to be asking about *any* negative or unpleasant experiences in meditation.  This is partly from my own experience.  This particular phase had its own difficulties.  But also, people may not be clear on when they were in a particular stage of insight, and it is all just a model anyways.

Second, I might separate out physical and mental sensations, just to try to nail down peoples' experiences and get them to describe their first hand experiences more specifically.  This could be further broken out into different possible physical experiences (did you experience . . . shortness of breath, tense muscles, generalized unplesantness') and different mental experiences (did you experience . . . irritability, fear, fearful imagery, depersonalization, avolition). 

I am also wondering about peoples' perception of their negative experiences, as time has passed.  Is it still affecting them?  Does it recurr at times?  Is it no longer the same problem it once was?  etc.  do they feel like it has given them more wisdom?