Edited I wrote this after a retreat.Day 4So I felt this craving arising for 1st path all morning. I think I may have fallen back into the 10th Re-observation nana because I went through a very rough couple of hours with some heavy and negative flow of sensations at the chest area. I was getting fed up with the craving for path and then Goenkaji gave the 2 hour no-moving addithana sit and I went through the most hellish pain I have ever experienced. I remember yelling in my mind "I hate you Goenka! Please, stop talking!" It was so intense and my knees felt like they were ready to explode. I came out of that sit exhausted and ready to give up. And I did. I unresolved my vow so to speak and just said "Right, whatever, I don't care if I don’t attain anything" The rest of the day I was like that. Totally couldn't give a stuff about 1st path
Day 54.30am to 6.30am: So I begin to practice and its back to high equanimity because I am relaxed and I will the mind up to what I believe was the 4th Jhana and start observing "Self". I have breakfast noting all the way:tasting, tasting, feeling, swallowing. It really was non-stop noting.I am quite relaxed now as I seemed to have stopped craving path.8am - 10.49am: I continue to work as above and the blipping in and out of the sensations of the illusory "Self" starts getting slower (or rather they are not being read as "Self") and about 4 seconds are seen of the "Self" as just a dance of sensations along with those sensations in the head that are in between blips, so it seems the subject is joining the object and just becoming one massive bare sensate experience. Then at about 10.50, something clicks and that massive bare sensate experience of the sensations, previously known and seen as "Self", as "Nick", is seen so clearly. This simple insight felt so profound that this amazing feeling of happiness and pleasantness descended throughout the body. Nothing happens at this stage and the gong for lunch is sounded and I leave my cell to walk to the dining hall. All the while thinking of this mind-blowing insight which has been staring me in the face all along. I get there at about 11.05, sitting on a bench waiting to enter the dining hall.....and then the mind turns in on itself again onto that massive bare sensate experience of all these sensations just dancing about. No "Self" anymore. Then it just appears naturally. The knowing of the Anatta/Non-self characteristic. The thoughts...."Holy crap, this is just fluff. The "Self" is just so substanceless. Just fluff!". Then the knowing of Anicca/Impermanence characteristic arises directly after it and the thought, "Wow, it's just the sum of sensations dancing about, as soon as they arise they stop dead." When I think back to this moment, it felt like the actual written words appeared in the mind. With these two characteristics known fully, immediately the Dukkha/Unsatisfactoriness characteristic just made complete sense!!!!!! And then..I felt my head being pulled up slightly at the crown of the head and I felt like something "big" was about to happen. There was a mental reaction of anticipation and I managed to start noting it, but as it all happened so fast I only managed to note it with the word "noted"......and I felt sucked up into something unknown and spat out....... and with my eyes closed it looked like the sun was right in front of my eyes. I opened them and just thought..."What the hell! What was that....?". I really just felt massively stunned for several moments. And then started asking myself "Was that it?" It felt almost like an anticlimax and I had been awaiting something more spectacular. So I am just stunned and waiting in line to be served lunch. And I'm just thinking "Was that it? What happened?" ...I sit down with my food and it just hits me.....Something is different! "What was it?". Then I clearly see that my mind feels like an open sky when it was previously cloudy. And that niggling horribly subtle agitation that seemed to constantly come out my throat had completely disappeared. I felt no craving for enlightenment. No desire to get it done. It was so unexpected. I was completely stunned. I couldn’t eat lunch because any appetite that I had wasn't felt anymore. I went straight to the teacher and he just told me to relax and lie down for some time, be aware of the extremities.