Mirror meditation

Marcello Spinella, modified 11 Years ago.

Mirror meditation

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
I was sitting doing eyes-open meditation on emptiness, contemplating the illusory nature of perceptual experience. I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror, wondering what would happen if I did the same with my reflection. I figured it might give some interesting insight into anatta.

Nothing happened for a minute or so and then the reflection of my face was the only thing I saw (all peripheral awareness blacked out, like a merging experience). It didn't look like a reflection anymore, more like looking at an actual person. I'm not certain, but it seemed there was a faint superimposed image of a skull over the face. A wave of fear came over me and I tried to just have equanimity with it. It got a little too intense and I stopped. I had trouble sitting that night and the next. When I started meditating the feeling of fear would come up again. I sat with it as much as I could and vipassana-ed my way through it. By the following night I was able to sit and meditate without any problem.

What the hell was that?
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mirror meditation

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Could have been the Fear stage of the dark night. Once you've passed that for the first time, it's much less intense on subsequent passes through it.

Could also have been Three Characteristics, even though that's usually more known for bodily pain.

Might not have been the direct result of an insight stage. Sometimes, psychological stuff appears whenever you concentrate strongly, and the better the concentration, the stronger the stuff's appearance.

How do you determine? You would have to specify more about the context. Was it preceded by A&P stuff, or followed by it? Was there a shift in how attention was functioning? Etc.
Marcello Spinella, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mirror meditation

Posts: 5 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Thanks Adam. I'm not sure if I have been through A&P. I did have a kensho experience last fall where I had the awareness that everything I experienced was just subjective perceptions, that there was just sight, hearing, thinking, etc. and no sense of self, accompanied by intense feelings of warmth and compassion. That lasted about a day intensely, and then gradually subsided over weeks/months, but not back to where I was before. I can still enter into emptiness mode of awareness when meditating, to varying degrees at different times (e.g. less so when tired, in complex situations, etc.).

The possibility of dissolution fear aspect did occur to me. I'm not sure though. I'm also a little hesitant to go back and do it again. It might be an interesting exploration, but I'm a little gun shy. I'd rather work on some jhanas. ;-) I also know that the fear (and other unpleasant aspects) of the Dark Night can last for some time, so if that is what it is, I'm a little hesitant to plunge into it without some understanding or preparation (if possible).

Attention remained focused, and actually became more focused in that time. All peripheral awareness dropped off and there was only the image of "my" head, but it was more like I was looking at me (rather than an image of me), somewhat like autoscopy.

Does that help?

Your advice is much appreciated.
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mirror meditation

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Hmmmm... this is a bit over my head. I'm wanting to say that the kensho was A&P, which would probably put you somewhere in Dark Night territory right now. But I can't rule out that the kensho was stream entry and you're now at the 2nd path A&P and related territory.

Perhaps a more experienced dharma diagnostician can help out here...
Yair Hilu, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mirror meditation

Posts: 6 Join Date: 6/5/10 Recent Posts
I used to do miror meditation, that you gaze at your right eye, (left for the face in the miror [why this sounds like a paradox to me?]). The left eye is said to transmit energy and right one to recive. When I was doing it I would see my face changes, sometimes rapidly sometimes slowly, with many facial expression. those faces look like grotesqu caricatures of the basic human emotions with my face as the basis. One thay came many times looked like a rapist caveman. There was also a black devil with white eyes.

I saw a few times how other people faces change that way before my eyes, in "real" life. The book reccommended this meditation say it's good to develop halo seeing. Anyway, I stopped with it and the faces have gone.
Pavel Oulik, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mirror meditation

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
Sounds like a concentration state to me. Strong concentration can do all kinds of wild things (for example, have you ever had the experience of someone else's face changing when looking at them?).

I base this on the fact that your ability to meditate returned soon after (you were probably just freaked out) and more importantly this:

Attention remained focused, and actually became more focused in that time. All peripheral awareness dropped off and there was only the image of "my" head, but it was more like I was looking at me (rather than an image of me), somewhat like autoscopy.


Attention becoming more focused and peripheral awareness dropping off sound like concentration to me.

Either way, nothing to worry about (it seems that there are all kinds of wild phenomena that are very unpleasant but basically harmless). All the best.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Mirror meditation

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Yeah, stare at anything long enough and all sorts of crazy distortions of the visual field can happen. This is just normal and nothing to fear and can be quite trippy and interesting for those who like such things. It is content-level stuff, usually low level jhanic stuff at best, and I would be surprised if it were that related to insight stages, but it could be, given the right setup.

Daniel