Experience on retreat, fruition?

Kevin, modified 5 Years ago at 11/14/16 4:41 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 11/14/16 4:40 PM

Experience on retreat, fruition?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 11/14/16 Recent Posts
I just got out of a 13 day solitary retreat. I had an experience I'd like to share and hear what others think. I'm wondering if it was a fruition.

A little background:
I've been a practitioner for about eight years now. I've done around 150 days worth of retreat and generally do 1-2 hours of practice a day, mainly noting and metta. It's occured to me in the past year or so that I don't really know why I practice. It's easy for me to fall back on an inexplicable urge that keeps me going, but for this retreat I wanted to really explore my motivations, specifically looking at suffering (something for some reason I'd done very little of in the past.)

Retreat, day 1-7:

In the first week there were a few moments where I questioned my understanding of suffering. Up until that point I had always defined suffering as unsatisfactoriness, but now I was realizing that what I was doing was just translating dukkha into anicca. I was seeing a sensation as unsatisfactory because it's impermanent. I've spent so  much time in the past exploring anicca and anatta, but very little truly looking at dukkha. I now began to see dukkha as something unique. It's this seemingly uncontrollable pull away from the present moment. It's painful and sad. These moments of understanding were maybe two or three over the first week. The rest of the retreat that week was taken up by rapid-ish noting.

Retreat, day 8:

It was evening and I was doing walking meditation and the nature of suffering became very clear in a way that up until that point was unique. At first this seemed borderline conceptual but quickly became a very felt understanding of why I need to practice. Then I'm not exactly sure what happened but it felt like a wave of intensity engulfed me and I stopped existing. In this moment I stopped walking, my head nodded down into a blank abyss. After that I sat down on the cushion. I sat for about an hour. My concentration felt flawless, way better than it had been up until that point. At this point there was some level of excitement, it wasn't over the top, but my mind was already associating the past event as potentially a fruition.

What I felt next truly seemed authentic, but I also wonder if I could have fabricated it in my mind to fill what I believed was supposed to happen. It felt like once I sat on the cushion I was quickly (every 5-10 minutes) cycling through the stages starting at a+p and going through equanimity. I looked for the cessation moments at the end of equanimity and they might have been there but if so they were very subtle and not like the first one.

I normally have a very difficult time observing the stages. But during that sit, and for the rest of the night, it felt very natural to just watch the bare vibration coursing through me and to notice the quality of the stages that go along with it (at least a+p, dark night and equanimity).

Rest of the retreat:
After that night and for the erst of the retreat my concentration was definitely heightened but not to the level of that evening. I also had, and continiue to have, a much more natural understanding of the moments when I'm suffering. And it seems that I am suffering significantly less. But besides that everything sort of went back to "retreat normal."

I got out of retreat today so everything is still pretty fresh. It feels good to write about this. I'm curious what people think.

Thank you!
Andreas Thef, modified 5 Years ago at 11/15/16 1:45 AM
Created 5 Years ago at 11/15/16 1:44 AM

RE: Experience on retreat, fruition?

Posts: 152 Join Date: 2/11/13 Recent Posts
Hello Kevin,

first of all, my knowledge on this topic is very limited. I'm struggling to make sense of my own experiences in this respect at the moment. But the fact that you are cycling beginning with A&P up to EQ and back could be an indication for you being in the review stages and hence having experienced at least one fruition. Do you still start your meditations pretty much straight away with A&P?

What about the jhanas? Do you find that you can access them willingly?
Kevin, modified 5 Years ago at 11/15/16 12:03 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 11/15/16 12:03 PM

RE: Experience on retreat, fruition?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 11/14/16 Recent Posts
Thanks for the reply Andreas. I'm not really sure if my sits are still starting at a+p. Being aware of the stages has never been something that I've been very good at. I attribute this to the fact that I normally dont just watch vibrations. I go back and forth between subtle and gross sensations rapidly, noticing whatever my mind puts it's attention on naturally. For me it's difficult to notice patterns amongst the sensations. I also don't really remember what I was feeling five minutes ago, so stringing together a pattern is tough. That night on retreat was very unique in my ability to observe those shifts.

I do experience jhanas and have pretty easily since a retreat I did a few years ago. I always just assumed that was when I got stream entry. Since that retreat I normally could just think about a jhana and I would fall into that state (although only light jhanas, deep absorption states still seem to elude). Also since that retreat the concept of self became very unfamiliar. I can understand why people would believe it, but I can't relate to it anymore.

The most marked difference for me since this retreat I just got out of is how little I suffer. I can still find moments where I'm being sucked into craving and aversion, but in general it just doesn't feel like I'm in that very much. It's also only been a day since I got out of retreat, so this could totally just be post retreat mind that will wear off, but for the moment there does seem to be a marked difference. Second path...?
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Dream Walker, modified 5 Years ago at 11/15/16 12:29 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 11/15/16 12:29 PM

RE: Experience on retreat, fruition?

Posts: 1448 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Kevin:
I just got out of a 13 day solitary retreat. I had an experience I'd like to share and hear what others think. I'm wondering if it was a fruition.

Kevin:
A little background:
I've been a practitioner for about eight years now. I've done around 150 days worth of retreat and generally do 1-2 hours of practice a day, mainly noting and metta. It's occured to me in the past year or so that I don't really know why I practice. It's easy for me to fall back on an inexplicable urge that keeps me going, but for this retreat I wanted to really explore my motivations, specifically looking at suffering (something for some reason I'd done very little of in the past.)
How odd.

Kevin:

Retreat, day 1-7:

In the first week there were a few moments where I questioned my understanding of suffering. Up until that point I had always defined suffering as unsatisfactoriness, but now I was realizing that what I was doing was just translating dukkha into anicca. I was seeing a sensation as unsatisfactory because it's impermanent. I've spent so  much time in the past exploring anicca and anatta, but very little truly looking at dukkha. I now began to see dukkha as something unique. It's this seemingly uncontrollable pull away from the present moment. It's painful and sad. These moments of understanding were maybe two or three over the first week. The rest of the retreat that week was taken up by rapid-ish noting.
What moment does it pull away to?

Kevin:

Retreat, day 8:

It was evening and I was doing walking meditation and the nature of (1)suffering became very clear in a way that up until that point was unique. At first this seemed borderline conceptual but quickly became a very (2)felt understanding of why I need to practice. Then I'm not exactly sure what happened but it (3)felt like a wave of intensity engulfed me and I stopped existing. In this moment I stopped walking, my head nodded down into a blank abyss. After that I sat down on the cushion. I sat for about an hour. My concentration felt flawless, way better than it had been up until that point. At this point there was some level of excitement, it wasn't over the top, but my mind was already associating the past event as potentially a fruition.

What I felt next truly seemed authentic, but I also wonder if I could have fabricated it in my mind to fill what I believed was supposed to happen. It felt like once I sat on the cushion I was quickly (every 5-10 minutes) cycling through the stages starting at a+p and going through equanimity. I looked for the cessation moments at the end of equanimity and they might have been there but if so they were very subtle and not like the first one.

I normally have a very difficult time observing the stages. But during that sit, and for the rest of the night, it felt very natural to just watch the bare vibration coursing through me and to notice the quality of the stages that go along with it (at least a+p, dark night and equanimity).
(1) Please explain if it is still clear.
(2) why do you need to practice?
(3) This stopping existing, with what did you measure your nonexistance with?
Kevin:
Rest of the retreat:
After that night and for the erst of the retreat my concentration was definitely heightened but not to the level of that evening. I also had, and continiue to have, a much more natural understanding of the moments when I'm suffering. And it seems that I am suffering significantly less. But besides that everything sort of went back to "retreat normal."

I got out of retreat today so everything is still pretty fresh. It feels good to write about this. I'm curious what people think.

Thank you!
There is very little to go off of as far as descriptions go. As far as what you have described so far I would not bet on it as a fruition event.
I really get very little feeling that any of this is a first hand expereince, but perhaps its just hard to describe in more detail than one or two sentences.
As this is your first post and we dont know you or your past practice, this is the best I can do.
Good Luck,
~D
Kevin, modified 5 Years ago at 11/15/16 1:58 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 11/15/16 12:48 PM

RE: Experience on retreat, fruition?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 11/14/16 Recent Posts
Thanks for the reply Dream Walker. I will try a little harder. I have a tendency to be overly concise, dont want to overload people will too much info.

I don't really know why I practice

How odd.
Yes. I know. I guess I'm just not really one for that type of contemplation. I practice because I practice. For years that was always enough for me. Being with the present moment was where life always felt right and simple and like I wasn't playing some silly game. I never really found investigating my motivations to be easy or a priority. I just figured that those types of insights would arise naturally and until then simply practicing was enough. 

It's this seemingly uncontrollable pull away from the present moment.

What moment does it pull away to?
It pulls away to a belief that I would be happy if something else were happening. That being with my body sensations isn't enough. That being with my plans to have dinner after a sit isn't enough. That being with the feeling of excitement to be having dinner soon isn't enough. That I would only be happy if I was actually eating the food. I know this is classic dharma, but to deeply feel it as true, rather than just conceptualize it, was big.
(1)suffering became very clear

(1) Please explain if it is still clear.
Yes. At the moment at least it is as clear as when on retreat. I feel when my mind is craving to be somewhere else. It's almost like a little alarm that goes off and I will look closely at my mind and how it's acting a fool. That mind of mine does silly things like wanting to be somewhere it isn't. Since I wasn't really looking at suffering in the same way before this retreat it's tough to say how much I'm suffering now compared to before, but it feels like the act of really feeling it has allowed a lot of those moments to go away.
(2)felt understanding of why I need to practice

(2) why do you need to practice?
Ok. Words, I can do this. This pull away from reality feels so silly. Why would my mind do that? Life is rich and everything I could ever need is in this present moment. That can include planning or imagining or even desiring something, but when my mind takes it to the level or actually wanting more than just that planning/imagining/desiring I'm suddenly wasting this life. I want to fix this glitch. I want to experience every moment to it's fullest instead of farting around with something that doesn't even exist.

(3)felt like a wave of intensity engulfed me and I stopped existing.

(3) This stopping existing, with what did you measure your nonexistance with?
Maybe "stopped existing" was a little dramatic. I don't really know what happened, and that's what made it a moment worth writing about. It was a feeling of blankness, something different. I really don't know, sorry. I definitely don't need that to be a fruition, it just felt like it could have been (and still does) so I wanted to put it out there to get some opinions.


Ok, let me know if there's more info that would be helpful. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
T DC, modified 5 Years ago at 11/19/16 10:22 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 11/19/16 10:22 PM

RE: Experience on retreat, fruition?

Posts: 464 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Kevin:
I just got out of a 13 day solitary retreat. I had an experience I'd like to share and hear what others think. I'm wondering if it was a fruition.

A little background:
I've been a practitioner for about eight years now. I've done around 150 days worth of retreat and generally do 1-2 hours of practice a day, mainly noting and metta...

Retreat, day 8:

It was evening and I was doing walking meditation and the nature of suffering became very clear in a way that up until that point was unique. At first this seemed borderline conceptual but quickly became a very felt understanding of why I need to practice. Then I'm not exactly sure what happened but it felt like a wave of intensity engulfed me and I stopped existing. In this moment I stopped walking, my head nodded down into a blank abyss. After that I sat down on the cushion. I sat for about an hour. My concentration felt flawless, way better than it had been up until that point. At this point there was some level of excitement, it wasn't over the top, but my mind was already associating the past event as potentially a fruition.

What I felt next truly seemed authentic, but I also wonder if I could have fabricated it in my mind to fill what I believed was supposed to happen. It felt like once I sat on the cushion I was quickly (every 5-10 minutes) cycling through the stages starting at a+p and going through equanimity. I looked for the cessation moments at the end of equanimity and they might have been there but if so they were very subtle and not like the first one.

I normally have a very difficult time observing the stages. But during that sit, and for the rest of the night, it felt very natural to just watch the bare vibration coursing through me and to notice the quality of the stages that go along with it (at least a+p, dark night and equanimity).

Rest of the retreat:
After that night and for the erst of the retreat my concentration was definitely heightened but not to the level of that evening. I also had, and continiue to have, a much more natural understanding of the moments when I'm suffering. And it seems that I am suffering significantly less. But besides that everything sort of went back to "retreat normal."

I got out of retreat today so everything is still pretty fresh. It feels good to write about this. I'm curious what people think.

Thank you!

It sounds like quite an experience!  Given that you are a long time practitioner with significant retreat time, I would not be suprised if that was stream entry.  Also, that you experienced such a shift in concentration after the event seems to point to it being significant. 

I would say, especially given the context, that if you have such an experience and afterwords your suffering is noticibly reduced, it's probably stream entry!  The major markers in my book are decreased suffering/ mental noise, and the newfound ability to willfully go through the review cycle and achive fruitions.  People sometimes differ in their ability with the latter.. 

To me it sounds like you had some achievement, so good work, and keep practicing!  emoticon
Kevin, modified 5 Years ago at 11/23/16 11:17 PM
Created 5 Years ago at 11/23/16 11:17 PM

RE: Experience on retreat, fruition?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 11/14/16 Recent Posts
Thank you for the encouraging words!

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