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Another dark night question

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Another dark night question
Answer
3/9/17 3:28 PM
It seems that I'm still cycling in and out of dark night. Just when I thought that I'd escaped it it comes rollling around again.

Why does this keep happening?

Is getting stream entry the only way out?

Do I need to address psychological issues?

The primary thoughts and feelings swimming around are:

  1. I hate having to work so much
  2. I dislike the social injustices in the world
  3. I have so many flaws that need to be addressed (I often try to fix them)
  4. Pain from neglect, abandonement, and mistreatment in the past
  5. Meaninglessness (obviously)

I recently got laid off so I'm trying to arrange things so I can focus on staying in monasteries, relaxing, and being in nature without having to worry about finances. I really, really have to address this.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/11/17 5:11 PM as a reply to ivory.
Hi Ivory,

Here is a perspective for you.  Your experience may be a combination of dark night (dukkha nanas) and/or psychological issues and it seems hard to tease out the difference as in my expereince they both have similar flavors (perhaps ultimately not distinct). Because we have both contemplative and contemporary psychological technology as resources, it is useful to use both to reach your goals. Seeing a therapist will likely provide ease to some of these problems. However, there is an importance of the dark night, it seems to me. The attending to dukkha seemingly losening the grip of the habitual pattern of clinging. Teaching the mind to relate to phenomena/sensation in a different way.  The stages are unpleasant and there is important value in that, although the intensity of it can be modulated to an extent in my experience.  Generally, the practices that seem useful during these stages are concentration, loving kindness, forgiveness, and practices that cultivate equanimity, although there are specific nuances to each of these that different individuals find more useful.  There are times when I have had to simply accept that it is intensely unpleasant right now and I cannot change that, although resting in the knowlege of impermanence, this unpleasantness constantly changing on it's own.  It is tempting to make huge, life changing moves during these times due to the intensity of the unpleasantness but life changing transitions don't tend to decrease the intensity in my experience, rather having the opposite effect. However, intensive practice, which seems to be the movement for you right now, can be helpful. This forum has a wealth of information on navigating the dark night so it might be helpful to do some reading of other's experiences and practices they have found useful. It seems to me that there may be also a bit of a collective dark night of sorts happening these days, but this is just speculation.

metta,

Drew

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/11/17 4:39 AM as a reply to ivory.
ivory:
It seems that I'm still cycling in and out of dark night. Just when I thought that I'd escaped it it comes rollling around again.

Why does this keep happening?

Is getting stream entry the only way out?

Do I need to address psychological issues?

The primary thoughts and feelings swimming around are:

  1. I hate having to work so much
  2. I dislike the social injustices in the world
  3. I have so many flaws that need to be addressed (I often try to fix them)
  4. Pain from neglect, abandonement, and mistreatment in the past
  5. Meaninglessness (obviously)

I recently got laid off so I'm trying to arrange things so I can focus on staying in monasteries, relaxing, and being in nature without having to worry about finances. I really, really have to address this.


From my current understanding, Dark Night stuff happens for a few different reasons.

One reason is because I exhausted my mind during A&P; my DNs became much, much softer after I started to dislike the pleasurable thrill that came with A&P territory. For me the sign I got into DN because of this is if I notice that in the prior days or weeks I was very excited, chasing after short-term pleasures, which felt more pleasurable than usual (also feeling unusually charismatic, more intelligent, and so on). There is an aspect of "unquelched thirst" to that kind of territory, which causes the pleasure-seeking behavior. To put a stop to it what I do is sit down and notice how unpleasant and unsatisfactory this experience of thirst is. If I do this, instead of blindingly pursuing the pleasurable sensations (which is tiring for the mind), the ensuing DN period is much softer, and sometimes I move to equanimity without even noticing it.

Another reason is too much old stuff comming up: old trauma surfaces and hurts again before it is released; and if a lot of it comes up at once, then the experience can be very intensely unpleasant and debilitating. When this is happening I usually do distracting and mind-numbing things for a few days (movies, tv shows, comic books). That doesn't make it go away, but it "ripens" the sensations, so to speak: I get more used to them and eventually willing to look them in the eye. Eventually I sit down and meditate and really be present with the pain, trying to just be with it and feel it thoroughly and so on, which causes it to release.

I have also found that when I am having issues with my digestive system (I am prone to IBS, gluten and lactose intolerant, and so on), then the symptoms can be as unpleasant as DN symptoms. Now I can tell the difference, but there was a time when I couldn't.

If you have time free from work and money in the bank, I would suggest doing a 10 day retreat and getting stream entry, so you can move on to the next phase in your meditation training. DN improved radically after SE, and although it didn't disappear, it gradually improved for me over the years, to the point that now it is mostly not a problem.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/11/17 7:32 AM as a reply to ivory.
I hope this helps. Like all real life advice it's just ideas that you would need to follow up on, not magic cures or simple formulas that are guaranteed of success...

ivory:
It seems that I'm still cycling in and out of dark night. Just when I thought that I'd escaped it it comes rollling around again.

Why does this keep happening?


One way to think of it is: these experience keep occuring because they still have something to teach you.

Is getting stream entry the only way out?


Short answer: almost definitely not. Stream entry is not a cure-all and the only cure is not stream entry.

Longer answer: In a stricter sense, the use of "Dark Night" implies a stages of meditation and stream entry is included in those stages, so by definition if you are using this model, you would have to say stream is the only way out -- it's built into the model.

But there are many people in the world who have worked on their psychological stuff and found a basic sanity without going through stream entry. 

Do I need to address psychological issues?


One way or another, yes. If your ability to sit with the intensity and vulnerability of the dark night stages of meditation, you can basically work on your psychological issues as you meditate. Every sit is like a small therapy session of listening to your issues, acknowledging the challenges you are facing, and becoming more in touch with the wise part of yourself that is growing and developing and will, in time, overcome your psychological issues. You begin to be aware of the things mentioned here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanisms, see how they opperate, and see how they limit your clarity and freedom. With meditation, you don't learn a lot of psychological labels, you go straight to the experience itself, and see all the ways that your reactive patterns cover up basic mindfulness.

It can be A LOT faster to actually work directly on issues that are causing you problems. It really helps to have another person point out the obvious things we tend to overlook. It's hard when you going through psychological problems, especially when they are intensified by the dark night, to see things clearly. Meditation teachers and therapists can really help. There is something very powerful about being with another human being that listens to your concerns and helps you face them and helps you chart a path through them. 

The primary thoughts and feelings swimming around are:
I hate having to work so much


Yeah, we all do. emoticon But why is this dark night? Are you recognizing that your hatred is out of balance and it, itself, is a source of unneeded suffering?

I dislike the social injustices in the world


Yeah, we all do, except perhaps those committing the injustices. By why is this dark night? Are you recognizing that you disgust is out of balance and it, itself, is a source of unneeded suffering?

I have so many flaws that need to be addressed (I often try to fix them)


Yeah, we all do, even people past stream entry. But are you recognizing that the "ill will" you have for yourself is adding an extra layer of suffering, beyond the suffering caused by the flaws themselves? Life is going to be an ongoing process of refining ourselves. It's okay. It's normal.

Pain from neglect, abandonement, and mistreatment in the past


Yeah, life can be really sucky and at the time of neglect/trauma, we might not even realize what we're going through. Humans were made to put up with a lot of stuff during their younger years, even idealizing neglectful or abusive parents or authority figures, because we need the support of adults to make it to our own adulthood.

But there will be a time when we're able to look back, see what we went through, and be deeply ashamed, regretful, and angry about what happened. We can either dwell in that negativity or use that energy to clean up our own lingering suffering and ill will. It takes work, frankly a lot of work. And many people choose to think of themselves as victims rather than work their way through to a basic sanity and responsibility for themselves. 

But doing this work is the most transformative and rewarding work you can do. It isn't something simple like do X to get Y. It's something you figure out over time, trying something, learning something, seeing something new to work on, trying something else. 

I put together a list of all the different approaches I used during my practice, just as an idea of what can be helpful. If anything, I recommend starting with Natural Release (Fenner) or RAIN (Brach). http://awakenetwork.org/magazine/shargrol/253

 Meaninglessness (obviously)

I hope you can have a laugh with me on this... I messed up my life for years by really buying into the sense of meaninglessness. If you want to see the quick way through, here's what I would say: take some time to notice how you really, really, really believe in this meaningless. Think of all facts and evidence for it (that we all die, that innocents are harmed, that the guilty don't recieve justice, that good and smart people can't find well paid or sane work, etc. etc.) And after thinking about all of that, notice how we really do believe that the meaning of life is meaningless. Weird, there supposidly no meaning to anything at all, but yet we think that all of these things (death, lost innocence, injustice) we're convinced those things do have a meaning. So basically, we've totally boxed out intellect in a corner where there is no meaning at all... unless it means meaninglessness. We accept a conclusion that things mean meaninglessness. But why isn't meaninglessness meaningless? emoticonemoticon

You get my point? Even though life is full of joyful, interesting, curious, suprising experiences, somehow those don't count as meaningfull -- we go out of our way to look on the other side of the coin for reasons to call them meaningless. But when it comes to all the things that seem meaningless, we don't spend any time looking on the other side of the coin. We just accept it at face value. We don't critique our "life is a shit sandwich" theories with the same intensity that we critique our "life is interesing and can be rewarding" theories.

Basic sanity is about seeing both sides of the coin, accepting the normal ambiguity in life, the normal ups and downs, the normal justices and injustices, and taking ownership and responsibility for the little piece of the world that is under our control, which is mostly our attitude and actions -- not the outcomes -- and so we simply do what can be done in existing circumstances, as best we can.

A good sense of humor is essential --- especially to counteract our tendency to take our own negativity so seriously. 

 I recently got laid off so I'm trying to arrange things so I can focus on staying in monasteries, relaxing, and being in nature without having to worry about finances. I really, really have to address this.

Actually, this is a great opportunity. I went through something similar and instead of making the most of it, I burned up all my savings and then had to live with my parents for a while.

Looking back, I would have explored doing mediation retreats and therapy --- and taken full advantage of the "scholarships" and social services that are available for free or low-cost to people without a lot of money. At this point in my life, I'm donating money to groups to help make these things available for others, because I see how important it can be to find a basic sanity when life turns shitty. Most of the "shit" isn't your physical circumstances, it's the negative attitude and reactive patterns that don't allow someone to relax and rest and think clearly.

So definitely look for support, whether meditation/monestary or therapy -- and ideally both. Being unemployed or underemployed means you have the time to check things out and explore. Do it. Most people are unaware of all the things that can be done.

Things in this life are challenging, but you can use them as a catalyst to grow into becoming a sane adult.

As budda said (I kinda like this translation/interpretation):

"All compounded things, all experiences (mental and physical), all phenomena by their very nature decay and die, and are disappointing: it is through being not-blind-drunk on, obsessed by, or infatuated with, the objects of the senses that you succeed in awakening, or obtain liberation."

In otherwords, life will always be challenging, it's the way it is. But if you learn to see things clearly, if you don't wallow in your own negativity, if you awaken to the way the mind works, it will lead you to clarity and freedom. 

Best wishes!



 

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/11/17 7:07 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks for the great responses guys.

Bruno Loff:
For me the sign I got into DN because of this is if I notice that in the prior days or weeks I was very excited, chasing after short-term pleasures, which felt more pleasurable than usual (also feeling unusually charismatic, more intelligent, and so on). There is an aspect of "unquelched thirst" to that kind of territory, which causes the pleasure-seeking behavior. To put a stop to it what I do is sit down and notice how unpleasant and unsatisfactory this experience of thirst is. If I do this, instead of blindingly pursuing the pleasurable sensations (which is tiring for the mind), the ensuing DN period is much softer, and sometimes I move to equanimity without even noticing it.


This resonates me with a great deal. This is where I’m beginning to find meditation really helpful.

Bruno Loff:
If you have time free from work and money in the bank, I would suggest doing a 10 day retreat and getting stream entry, so you can move on to the next phase in your meditation training


I will see if I can make this happen. Ten days of meditation sounds fucking awful, though. I just met a guy who finished a ten day retreat and he said it was 80% misery. The other thing that concerns me is the lack of social interaction. Social time is the only thing that helps to ground me. I'm afraid I'll get really depressed if I go 10 days without socializing.

shargrol:
It can be A LOT faster to actually work directly on issues that are causing you problems. It really helps to have another person point out the obvious things we tend to overlook


I agree with this. I have a therapist now and am trying to reinstate my membership with my Zen teachers. I came very close to fucking up my relationship with them.

shargrol:
I hope you can have a laugh with me on this... I messed up my life for years by really buying into the sense of meaninglessness.


I don’t think that meaninglessness is the word. I actually think very little about meaning. What I think about is how pointless everything is because nothing lasts.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/11/17 7:52 PM as a reply to ivory.
And yet, everything is so very poignent because nothing lasts, perhaps even more so because of this.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/11/17 10:13 PM as a reply to ivory.
Today I realized that I was suffering because I really wanted to master something. I thought life would be pointless if I didn't become really good at something. I wanted to be really good at making art and surfing. This was my idea of perfection but also something subject to impermanence. 

Ill have to get clearer on this but I think one reason I experience anxiety is because my sense of well being is dependent on friendships. However, I am highly introverted and have a great deal of difficulty making new ones. One more reason to fear impermanence. 

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 6:24 AM as a reply to ivory.
ivory:

I will see if I can make this happen. Ten days of meditation sounds fucking awful, though. I just met a guy who finished a ten day retreat and he said it was 80% misery. The other thing that concerns me is the lack of social interaction. Social time is the only thing that helps to ground me. I'm afraid I'll get really depressed if I go 10 days without socializing.



I find that misery in retreats can be managed to tolerable levels, by a mix of backing off (going for a walk, taking a nap, exercising, reading a bit) and pushing through (just decide to stick with it until it dissipates). I have gained an intuitive sensitivity that allows me to know when it is better to do one vs the other.

One great thing about misery during retreats is that when I find the source of the misery and release it, it will never haunt me in my life ever again. There really were permanent shifts, when a painful sensation was experienced over and over, and was then released on retreat, never to be again found.

I can easily say that the moments of greatest peace I've had in my life were during meditation retreats. That said, such intense meditation can actually leave me ungrounded, spinning various stories in my mind, and so on. This is something I am still learning how to manage.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 7:51 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Ivory, I just wanted to add on a more detailed reply. My quick little one-line up above was just my way of quickly replying and emphasizing the flip side of apparent pointless due to imperminance on one side is the utter importance, even sacredness, of this moment on the other side.

It can be amazing to think how the entire history of the world led to this very moment, to these very thoughts in our head, and this moment will lead into the next in a perfect unbroken chain. You are part of this, all of us are, as if you were meant to be since the beginning of time. You are meant to be having these challenges and asking these questions -- you see what I mean? If this unbroken chain is seen with greed, aversion, or confusion it's a life of suffering, but if it seen clearly, respected, honored, appreciated, met with courage and good intentions -- then it is actually nirvana-in-action. Buddha's teachings seem very depressing and totally goth emoticon but he was actually more like a kind psychatrist who isn't sugar-coating things, who wants you to see the world as a grown up, but recognizes it takes time and practice to grow and develop.

I'm really happy that you are working with a therapist. There are times in our lifes when doing this just makes sense, that's why they are here. I really respect people who "own" their challenges and actively work towards seeing these things clearly and who take an active role in making their life better. Sometimes people use meditation to avoid directly facing things. It's better than nothing, but such a waste of time. So much better to directly face a problem. And I wish you good luck with reconnecting with the zen teachers or other meditator instructors. Meditation plus therapy is probably one of the most effective mental health combinations there is.

I'm also really happy you are looking at going on retreats objectively. They can be really difficult without a solid psychological foundation or solid meditation practice preparation. Some people are so mentally tough and well-adjusted that they can walk into a 10 day retreat with no meditation experience and roll with the punches… But most of us are simply not ready for it. Generally, I would say a year of consistent daily home practice is about the minimum foundation for a retreat.

(There are places (Iike IMS – which I do highly recommend) where they are perfectly fine with you not keeping the sit/walk/sit schedule and where you can go off for long walks to calm your thoughts and exercise your body. They still insist on no socializing and only talking during group and personal interviews, so being “alone” in the midst of everyone can still be difficult. Of course, some people are surprised how nice it is to “just be” for a while and not have to be social or be a particular way in public.)

I'm also happy that you are starting to see the connection between your mental "strategies" and your suffering. When we make our own sense of worthiness and happiness dependent on perfection (and there are different versions of this, being nice, smart, creative, powerful, well-liked, financially successful, etc. etc.) it's a recipe for suffering. Of course, it feels good to work toward a goal and that is part of being happy... but you need to be happy during the effort not just if you reach the end goal. 

Seems like you are pointed in the right direction. Best wishes Ivory!

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 10:14 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Bruno Loff:
One great thing about misery during retreats is that when I find the source of the misery and release it, it will never haunt me in my life ever again


So far the biggest insights I've had were while camping and surfing (when you surf you spend at least an hour just sitting on your board). I've done three retreats so far, and I didn't learn anything from them. That's not to say that retreats aren't helpful. I think there's a possibility that they only help if you're at a certain stage of your practice or ready for big insight.

Bruno Loff:
That said, such intense meditation can actually leave me ungrounded, spinning various stories in my mind, and so on. This is something I am still learning how to manage.


This is why I don't think loads of time in isolation or without some sort of pleasurable activity is healthy. I find the most benefit with some social time, healthy food, lots of sleep, being in nature, some play, and a good deal of time to reflect and meditate. This is why I'm more drawn to camping in nature right now.

The Zen center said they'd let me come back if my therapist signed off on it. My therapist doesn't want me meditating much so he said he won't do that. He says that staring at walls will kick up more feelings of depression and wants me to be more active (walking, socializing, surfing).

I just found a monastery (founded by Thich Nhat Hanh) close to where I live that has both one week and two week personal retreats. They only have one hour of scheduled meditation. The rest of the time you spend studying, eating, sleeping, relaxing, walking in nature, and working. I do believe that they allow you to socialize while working and during meals. This is my cup of tea!

shargrol:
Generally, I would say a year of consistent daily home practice is about the minimum foundation for a retreat.


I've actually been meditating for years. While I do recieve from benefit from it I don't find it nearly as beneficial as it's hyped up to be. I do find meditation incredibly effective for releasing resistance to suffering (being okay with discomfort) and working with anxiety. That said, I meditate a little in the morning and when I'm anxious. When I'm dark nighting hard, this can be anywhere in the range of 2-8 hours a day.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 10:20 AM as a reply to ivory.
I just double checked the schedule at the monastery. I'm not sure about the socializing part but this looks awesome.

5:00 AM – Wake up bell
5:45 AM – Sitting meditation
6:45 AM – Exercise time
7:30 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Working meditation
11:30 AM – Walking meditation
12:30 PM – Lunch
2:00 PM – Mindful rest period
3:00 PM – Class or meeting
4:30 PM – Walking or sitting and chanting meditation
6:00 PM – Light dinner
7:30 PM – Class or personal study time
9:30 PM – Noble silence
10:30 PM – Lights out and bedtime

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 1:02 PM as a reply to ivory.
Yeah dude, with this sort of thing I'm an apologist of doing whatever works. If you know from experience that super-intense all-day meditation doesn't work for you, then that's that.

I personally got stream entry during a retreat when I was 100% into it all the time; It was hellishly intense, I suffered like hell before I broke into equanimity and eventually SE. But I was really desperate, in a make-it or break-it kind of situation, because my PhD was on hold and I really didn't want to go back to the status quo. So that kind of powering-through made a lot of sense for me at the time.

It might be helpful to search for and read the various accounts of the moment of attaining stream entry, here on the DhO, for ideas on how to get there.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 5:52 PM as a reply to ivory.
I wonder what stream entry is. I think I was close a couple times. One time I disappeared and there was nothing but clear space. Another time I disappeared and there was just the sound of the breath. The strange thing was that there was like some layer of knowing attached to the breath like it knew itself. The strangest of all was when I was just watching the body appear and disappear. It was like the background appeared when the body disappeared. This one was actually not very pleasant it felt like I was dying. 

The other interesting thing was that all of these happened when I was either falling asleep or waking up in the morning. 

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 5:56 PM as a reply to ivory.
I always wanted to know what these experiences were, I didn't really have much context at the time.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 6:13 PM as a reply to ivory.
When it happened to me for the first time I was focusing on the fulttering / pulsing / strobing / vibration happening at the center of the head, noticing that each cyle of the pulse is an act of tension happening in a very diffuse background. As I did this, the pulse slowed down very much; then I unintentionally zoned out slightly and the pulse stopped completely. A sudden flash of connectivity happened, and there was an immense feeling of bliss and release, as if a deep tension in the middle of the brain was let go of. The afterglow was like there had been a tv making huge noise in the background without me realizing it, and now somone had turned it off, and the silent was very tangible by contrast.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/12/17 8:11 PM as a reply to ivory.
ivory:


I've actually been meditating for years. While I do recieve from benefit from it I don't find it nearly as beneficial as it's hyped up to be. I do find meditation incredibly effective for releasing resistance to suffering (being okay with discomfort) and working with anxiety. That said, I meditate a little in the morning and when I'm anxious. When I'm dark nighting hard, this can be anywhere in the range of 2-8 hours a day.
If you've been doing this for years with only little benefit then it may be that
(a) You're doing it wrong or
(b) You're doing the wrong thing.

In my personal experience, switching from noting to brahmaviharas made all the difference.
Those may not be suitable for you right now (or maybe they are!), but I would in any case suggest to try different things.
There's no benefit at all in clinging to technique X because Guru Y says it's great and then beating yourself up over it because it's not actually all that great for you m(

If you're currently unemployed, this is actually a great situation for really starting from scratch and trying out everything there is. Thich nat han folk are generally relaxed and are probably open for different techniques, so that may be a good starting point.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/13/17 10:56 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:
In my personal experience, switching from noting to brahmaviharas made all the difference.


What kind of difference? Maybe we meditate for different reasons.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/13/17 11:49 AM as a reply to ivory.
Holy shit I am happy. This whole DN thing is about acceptance. There may be other components but DN is teaching you to accept the facts.

There are ideas of how we think things should be and then there is how things actually are. One of those things has to go!

An interesting exercise is to carry a notebook around with you for a day and write down everything that you think you want.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/13/17 2:16 PM as a reply to ivory.
Nice! That's basically it.

It's even okay to want to go somewhere, but to take the real first step, you need to actually KNOW where you actually are starting from. emoticon We often have very elaborate ways of avoiding the facts.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/14/17 6:46 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I recommend reading shargrol's answers again and again and again until you really swallow them.


Everything needs to be worked on at it's own level and there is no cure all. Even after stream entry, you inherit the same life and most of the same problems, although your capacity to change some of  them may improve. Then again, not addressing them to start with in the hope that some stream entry event will magically fix them might increase your difficulty progressing up the path of insight. So it's best to work on everything at the same time. 


-Wing

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/14/17 7:13 PM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
Thank you. You guys have all been really great.

This layoff was the best thing that could have happened to me. I've had a shit ton of time to inquire and really dig into these thoughts and feelings without having to deal with work-related stress.

I've been out of A&P->Reobservation for the longest stretch thus far and what a relief this has been. It has been nearly a week.

There are clearly some practical matters to attend to and some illusions that need to be looked at. But this has been more on the "interesting" side of the spectrum opposed to the misery end. It no longer feels like torture.

I am finding that responsibility is huge. Not taking care of one self or addressing life matters is a huge source of anxiety. It can be really challenging to separate basic life stuff from existential issues brought on in DN. Journaling has been really helpful as has been the therapist.

Anyways, looking forward to more discussion.

Peace out guys.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/14/17 7:20 PM as a reply to ivory.
One more thing...

In my meditation I have noticed swirly patterns. They aren't new, I've noticed them for years. But now they are predominant and difficult to ignore.

The swirls seem to originate from bodily sensation. That is, when awareness is focused on the bodily sensation a visual element that manifests as these swirly patterns emerge from the sensation. It's as if the raw sensation iteself cannot be captured because it's changing and morphing into various shapes.

The sensation itself is interesting. But the swirls are distracting and annoying.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/16/17 6:45 AM as a reply to ivory.
ivory:
One more thing...

In my meditation I have noticed swirly patterns. They aren't new, I've noticed them for years. But now they are predominant and difficult to ignore.

The swirls seem to originate from bodily sensation. That is, when awareness is focused on the bodily sensation a visual element that manifests as these swirly patterns emerge from the sensation. It's as if the raw sensation iteself cannot be captured because it's changing and morphing into various shapes.

Yes! Except that the sense of "trying to capture" the sensation is part of the swirl / strobing / pulsing / whatever. "Grasping" is a fitting name for it. In my current view of things, this is what needs to go away. Though sometimes grasping manifests as a feeling of "trying to make it go away".

Grasping is very reactive and very loud, when compared to the raw sensations. The raw sensations are very refined and smooth. When grasping is subdued, experience is vivid, alert, and peaceful.


The sensation itself is interesting. But the swirls are distracting and annoying.

Yes! emoticon And when you notice that it may cause the swirl to fight with itself, which is doubly annoying.

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/16/17 6:47 AM as a reply to ivory.
Since you seem to be in equanimity, can you lightly notice the entire swirlling mass at the same time? Panoramic panoramic panoramic.

It seems to me that the sense of focus itself is made of swirling mass: is this how it seems to you?

It seems to me that most mental chatter arises due to the swirling: is this how it seems to you?

It seems to me that the sense of time passing is actually caused by the swirling: is this how it seems to you?

RE: Another dark night question
Answer
3/16/17 7:52 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Since you seem to be in equanimity, can you lightly notice the entire swirlling mass at the same time? Panoramic panoramic panoramic.

It seems to me that the sense of focus itself is made of swirling mass: is this how it seems to you?

It seems to me that most mental chatter arises due to the swirling: is this how it seems to you?

It seems to me that the sense of time passing is actually caused by the swirling: is this how it seems to you?

Thanks man. Sometimes I'm in EQ others I cycle into a milder form of DN. I'm still finding things that bring me anxiety. That said, I still don't find meditation very helpful so I only do 20 minutes in the morning. Once I get a better handle on the anxiety meditation should really smoothen out.

I did notice something yesterday though. Attention went to the head and I could feel a larger sense of awareness. Like awareness wasn't originating inside my head, my head was included inside the container of awareness. The head itself didn't have any boundaries and the awareness seemed to expand slightly outside of the head "region." This was a little scary but I just sat through the anxiety.

I'll play around with the panaromic perspective.