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Have I crossed the A&P? (Confusion around maps)

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Hello everyone!

I'm new to the forums but have been lurking for a little bit.  How wonderful to have a place & community to discuss these topics - much gratitude!

My first intro to serious meditation was at a Goenka retreat in July of 2016.  Life felt pretty different after that experience, and I went back for a 3 day Goenka course in October.  

During the 3 day course, I experienced something that I think is the A&P:

I was in a deep, tranquil state, using the body scan technique as taught.  I started to observe very fast sensations all over the body, and then there was a fraction of a second of nothing - no sensation of any kind, no breath, no sounds, nada.  

It lasted only a fraction of a second perhaps (can't be too sure, but it didn't seem like very long) - but it was definitely a noticeable blip.

Immediately following this, I perceived a bright repeating flash directly in front of me, and was simultaneously hit by what felt like a wave of equanimity.  The flashing light startled me, and after a couple of repetitions of it I opened my eyes, and it remained in my visual field with my eyes open.  After a few more flashes that I perceived with eyes open it stopped completely.  It wasn't coming from anything in the room, but it was clearly there in my perception.

Since returning from retreat, I am overall much, much happier than pre-retreat, however, I seem to have more extreme swings in mood - for a couple of days I feel completely blissed out and peaceful, and then the next day I'm falling into a pit of despair.  Then I wake up the following day and everything is super peaceful again.  And so on and so forth.  

To me this seems like it could be dark night territory - and I'd love any thoughts on how to deal with and process this.

Thank you all!

With metta,

Matt

[Edit - I think I posted this in the wrong category - apologies, feel free to correct that]

RE: Have I crossed the A&P? (Confusion around maps)
Answer
1/23/17 2:59 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Hello Matthew, welcome!

A couple questions: What is a "wave of equanimity"? How would you describe it?

Also, could you tell us more about your first Goenka retreat, your daily practice before the event you would like to have diagnosed, and how exactly life was "pretty different" between your first and second retreats?

RE: Have I crossed the A&P? (Confusion around maps)
Answer
1/24/17 6:26 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Ap(and the next nanas) could be something you hit the nail first time after lots of trials. Now you think you are made man going around telling others you hit the nail and now you know what its like. But you don't realize that others have done it many times already like nothing is new under the sun, you will get used to it and it gets old, you need fresh blood and you going to search it again but now with exprience or knowledge waht you can't forget.

RE: Have I crossed the A&P? (Confusion around maps)
Answer
1/30/17 3:33 PM as a reply to neko.
Thanks for the replies, neko & sfg_sgd.  Much appreciated.  Sorry it took me so long to get back (things got crazy w/ work).

neko - the "wave of equanimity" was like a sweeping sensation of peace throughout my body.  It was a hard feeling to describe in words, but I felt really, really peaceful, joyous, and calm for several moments.  

During the first Goenka retreat, I had experiences of incredible peace, appreciation, gratitude, etc.  I left the 10-day course with a completely changed perspective on life.  Things were just not the same, in terms of my mindset and perceptions.  

Before the 3 day course where I had what seemed to me to be the A&P event, I practiced sporadically, not sitting daily, but getting in probably 4-5 sits per week, of varying lengths from 15-60 minutes.  I also worked quite a bit with cultivating mindfulness as I went about my usual daily activities.

sfg sgd - I'm not sure why you think I'm telling others I know what I'm doing.  I don't feel like a "made man" as you put it, and I reached out seeking clarity and help from the experience of others around the event I experienced.  Perhaps you can clarify what you mean here?  I seem to be missing what you are communicating.  

Thanks!

RE: Have I crossed the A&P? (Confusion around maps)
Answer
1/31/17 6:09 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Nevermind what i said. You have excellent book able to read "MCTB". Or Goolge vippassana nanas.

light flashes seem to be a polular thing what is noticed.
I guess it is same what is awrenss or mindfulness but from the outside viewed and next thing you can open that entrance and send your awareness in, or it will be sucked in when you hit the right spot, find the right way how to do it.
You should be able to intuit or know what to do, what is told you you won't understand..thats why we need to cultivate pure living so we could get to the point where you are not deluded.

Currently i don't know either what or where i am. I just listen and i know what to do. Hmm i know i can't do right now nothing, so i wait, and keep on checking back how things are. Also i keep traveling in body through points, it is semiautomatic somehow.
Also i used t ogeneralize when its head area then i need to help and do manually things. Heart i need to surrender and make room for things to happen, lower areas i need to practice nondoing and restraint. Sometimes these three are together...............................................................................................lots of combinations.

RE: Have I crossed the A&P? (Confusion around maps)
Answer
1/31/17 6:45 PM as a reply to Banned For waht?.
Thanks for your thoughts!  Much appreciated.  I've read MCTB, as well as other information on the vipassana nanas, just trying to wrap my experience around it to figure out how it applies to my practice.

RE: Have I crossed the A&P? (Confusion around maps)
Answer
2/1/17 12:57 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew:
I experienced something that I think is the A&P:

I was in a deep, tranquil state, using the body scan technique as taught.  I started to observe very fast sensations all over the body, and then there was a fraction of a second of nothing - no sensation of any kind, no breath, no sounds, nada.  

It lasted only a fraction of a second perhaps (can't be too sure, but it didn't seem like very long) - but it was definitely a noticeable blip.
Moving between the Jhanas is quite 'clunky' in the beginning and can seem like a blip as you find yourself in a completly different state abruptly.
Matthew:
Immediately following this, I perceived a bright repeating flash directly in front of me, and was simultaneously hit by what felt like a wave of equanimity.  The flashing light startled me, and after a couple of repetitions of it I opened my eyes, and it remained in my visual field with my eyes open.  After a few more flashes that I perceived with eyes open it stopped completely.  It wasn't coming from anything in the room, but it was clearly there in my perception.
Flashing lights is pretty standard A&P phenomenon as is feeling waves of bliss/equinimity peace, joy, and calm.
Matthew:
Since returning from retreat, I am overall much, much happier than pre-retreat, however, I seem to have more extreme swings in mood - for a couple of days I feel completely blissed out and peaceful, and then the next day I'm falling into a pit of despair.  Then I wake up the following day and everything is super peaceful again.  And so on and so forth.  

To me this seems like it could be dark night territory - and I'd love any thoughts on how to deal with and process this.
Sounds indeed like it might be the dark night area of the progress of insight -

Reread MCTB again, for now it will seem like a different book, completly different parts will pop out at you and you will have a much deeper understanding of things....

I dealt with the DN problems just the best I could as they happened, often not very well. I learned to move thru them quicker by uppping my meditations during this time. I also informed my support system what was happening and would inform them what state I was in so they could try to understand my behaviour and perhaps get a little leeway in forgiveness.
Welcome to the club,
Good luck,
~D

Per request this thread was moved
Answer
2/1/17 12:59 AM as a reply to Matthew.
Per request this thread was moved
~D (as moderator)

RE: Have I crossed the A&P? (Confusion around maps)
Answer
2/1/17 9:44 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Thanks for the detailed reply Dreamwalker - I initially read most of MCTB inbetween the two retreats, and have gone back since to reread parts, but you are right, a full re-read is in order.  I appreciate you sharing your knowledge!