Approaching Stream Entry

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Terry Michael Hogan, modified 11 Years ago.

Approaching Stream Entry

Posts: 3 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
I had the following experience, and was able to repeat it four, or so, times, thinking it was stream entry.

After about an hour of meditation, my entire existence seemed to resolve into sensations, kind of a cloud, with no solidness. I was working hard to establish the three characteristics of the cloud and its contents. The cloud then steadily, with some continuity, began to collapse into nothingness, and continued to disappear, with the sphere of nothingness growing to encompass all. I was able to exit partially and reenter. The entire process is, with some effort, reproducible.

I have been working intensively with Ingram's book for about eight months, and previously, with Goenka for 5 years. I felt I was pretty deep in to the "Equanimity" stage, when this series of events took place. I was striving for stream entry at the time.

Ingram's Guide to whether I had attained stream entry has convinced me I have not reached that level. In particular, there is no discontinuity between the cloud and the nothingness state, though the transition is pretty quick, and complete. Further, I had no clear experience of the three doors, nor a clear sense of insight into the three characteristics. I have not felt a separation of watcher from "watched" since the "disolution" stage, so I felt no change there.

Can you tell me what this was? And give me some idea of how to deal with it? "Attachment," has me wanting to repeat the process, since it may be stream entry, and it seems to be a clear growth step.

with metta,
Terry
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Florian Weps, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Approaching Stream Entry

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Terry,

Just a thought, no diagnosis - some formless jhana, perhaps? "Entry" and "exit" experiences are characteristic of jhana.

Whatever it was, trying to repeat it to get to know it better is a good strategy.

A few tips:

Regarding the three doors, discontinuities, bliss waves - in an e-mail exchange with Duncan Barford from openenlightenment.org he kindly pointed out to me that fruitions are primarily insight-producing rather than experience-producing. This does not mean that the clear phenomenological indicators set forth in MCTB should be disregarded, it's really just the point, which crops up again and again, that fruition is not an experience. To me, at least, this observation was helpful in getting a perspective on my hunt for the "right" experience.

And, since Tarin recommended it to me recently - have you tried noting practice lately? It's so great and simple. Note the "attachment". Note the longing for "getting it". Note being on the look-out for one of the three doors. Note the fear that this nice, refined state of mind may be destroyed by the noting. Daniel likes to point out that "equanimity can take it", that "reality can take it if we look at it really hard", so don't be reluctant to note - but note the reluctance.

Finally - formal resolve. Resolve to stream entry. Resolve to sufficiently high clarity to actually experience the three doors and discontinuity - one of my pet theories is that people may pass stream entry, i.e. get the insight, without enough perceptual clarity to recognize the three mind moments/doors/discontinuity happening.

I'll stop here. Maybe you could describe your most recent sit, start to finish? There are people here who can give you astoundingly good advice when given that kind of description.

Cheers,
Florian
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Terry Michael Hogan, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Approaching Stream Entry

Posts: 3 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
Thanks Florian for your amazingly helpful and insightful comments.

It appears that I am entering a formless jhana nothingness state, as you suggested, on all attempts to repeat the experience. I even saw form disappear as I began the transition. How it happened on the first entry I am still not clear, probably my mind blinked at the wrong moment.

In practice it is clear your ideas are helping me stay on the insight meditation side. Noting is helping me stay alert, and resolve to stream entry keeps focus on the goal with clarity and with energy. I was clearly a candidate for your pet theory.

Cheers,
Terry
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Florian Weps, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Approaching Stream Entry

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Oh, and the Hurricane Ranch Dharma Discussion is full of highly relevant details. If you haven't listened to it before, you might find it useful.

Cheers,
Florian
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Terry Michael Hogan, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Approaching Stream Entry

Posts: 3 Join Date: 4/12/10 Recent Posts
Thanks again Florian. The Hurricane Ranch Discussions were great - a fresh and accessible view of many things. I will be replaying these tapes many times.

Cheers,
Terry