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Help with my meditation.
Answer
7/30/10 6:55 AM
I have been meditating for a while, but seem to have got stuck. Can you please advice.

When I am meditating, I see this white light in my forehead. Some times, when meditating, the white light changes to a deep red.Of late, I have begun to notice, that within the white light, there appears a black spot.
Should I give any attention to this?

I was under the impression that the Nimitta is always white.Can it change into black?

I have also had this vision, where I see heaps of sticks piled one on top of another. After a while, I saw another bundle of sticks thrown onto the same pile. Is there any significance to this vision, or should I just ignore it.

If you need more information, can you please have a look at Kenneth's website,

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/3649427/Help+with+my+meditation.

with metta

Natasha

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
7/30/10 10:52 AM as a reply to Natasha Smith.
Hi Natasha,
I recently went to a one-day jhana clinic. A bright white light can be associated with 'access concentration' and I often take it to be a cue for my own practice. What you want to do with that depends on your goals. If you want to work on concentration, this is a good platform for entering the first jhana. If you want to work on vipassina, well at least your concentration is good, so you will probably enjoy more success. I find getting into the jhanas a nice preamble to vipassina, so...

As for entering the first jhana, the teacher's advice (which works well for me) is to let go of the breath at this point and focus on a pleasant sensation in the body. Since I'm normally focusing on the nostril breath to get to access, I like moving to the easy smile on my mouth since it's close. Getting the feel for the 'pleasantness' of this is a little tricky, but keep up with it and it can pay off.

He also suggested focusing on the vibratory feeling in the hands. The idea is the same and the good feeling will tend to magnify and fill the body as you enter the jhana... and if it's strong, there's really no mistaking that something new is going on. 1st jhana has a strong bodily energy feeling to it.

Worth mentioning that the 1st jhana has a 'sustained effort' feel to it. I feel like I need to keep a little effort to not drift away from the sensation.
Also worth mentioning that this can feel very very strong and you may want to back out of it. Building too much of this energy made me feel a bit sick and uneasy the first time around. Getting out for me (which is moving onto #2) involves some purposeful deep breaths and focusing more on the chest/heart. The energy subdues and falls to the background.


Experiment to find what works for you. The methods I mentioned are from a much much sharper meditator than myself and I have gotten them to work repeatedly. However, I now prefer/am experimenting with 'pleasant fantasies' and microcosmic orbit as tools for getting into jhana 1.


Good luck! If you're at access, you've been doing your work well and have some fun stuff ahead of you. Go check it out.
Jeremy

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
7/31/10 12:41 AM as a reply to Jeremy P.
Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for your response. Yes, it is very helpful. I will try to focus on the the smile, as I do feel that quite strongly. I shall try out all you have suggested and see what helps.

I used to do quite a lot of samatha years ago, but now due to a Neurological problem, concentration is a bit difficult. I have refered to it in Kenneth's forum.


Thanks once again.

with metta

Natasha

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
7/31/10 2:46 AM as a reply to Natasha Smith.
Hi Natasha,

Black spot that seems initially a good focus, but it dissolves - that sounds like third jhana to me. I get a very similar effect when using the "eyelid colors" as a concentration object for samatha. (With me, first being a steady white spot / nimitta, second a kaleidoscope symmetry of spots and sparkles).

Could be something else, of course. But judging from your thread over at KFDh, 3rd Jhana is accessible to you. Also, the dark night has all these 3rd jhana characteristics, such as not finding a good focus for concentration, for example. Not being able to access review fruitions seems to be a feature of the cycles of higher paths. Is that where you are? Dark night of a big insight cycle?

Have you tried to focus on, or rather, pay attention to, the periphery of the visual field when the black spot turns up and then dissolves? How do the vibrations you mentioned in the other thread figure in the picture at the point when the black spot does its thing? In my last big cycle, grabbing hold of / tuning into the slowly flapping background vibrations did the trick of propelling me into equanimity.

Also, have you tried off-cushion practice? I often (very often during the day) just play around with the locations of the sense of observer, the "spot of attention", and the thing I'm looking at. Just like in that painting by Mach, in fact.

The neurological condition you mentioned on the other thread, if it is migraine, I remember Duncan Barford from openenlightenment.org / thebaptistshead.co.uk mentioning migraine attacks. Here are two of his blog posts where he mentions attacks and other symptoms:

A False Awakening
Enlightenment

He's very accessible and thoughtful; maybe you could get something out of contacting him.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
7/31/10 3:57 AM as a reply to Florian.
Hi Florian,

Thanks for responding.Actually, I have never had an experience like this before, where a black spot keeps appearing. I am not quite sure where i am right now, but I have achieved 1st and 2nd path. However,as to if I am in the dark night, well, as I have mentioned in the KF forum,I have experienced the dark night, with a lot of painful sensations, but right now, I don't seem to be going through that. In fact last night's sit, I had a heart beat in my head which lasted for a while and then just faded away.

Thanks for suggesting I pay attention to the periphery of the visual field when the black spot turns up. Will try that and see. And yes,at times the vibrations continue while I see this black spot.

As to your question about off- cushion practice, I do that as well. In fact, if I close my eyes, I can see the scene in front of me, and that is vibrating slightly.Even with my eyes open, I feel every thing is vibrating.

I read the two links you sent, and yes, I can relate to what Duncan has said.

Thanks Florian.

with Metta

Natasha

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
8/7/10 10:52 AM as a reply to Natasha Smith.
Yeah, black dot is early 3rd and equates with Dissolution.

Florian is right: look around the edges.

In the progression of this stuff, finding the stuff around the edges of the black is the hardest of the transitions.

See this part of MCTB for more information about the general pattern of this stuff unfolding. It takes a lot more concentration to see the stuff around the black dot.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB%20Bill%20HamiltonS%20Model?p_r_p_185834411_title=MCTB%20Bill%20HamiltonS%20Model

The territory from the Black Dot to Equanimity correlates with the Dark Night. Whereas Kenneth doesn't see how between Dissolution and Equanimity there can be jhanas, the third jhana actually does stretch across to Equanimity (where things get all 3D, living, luminous, natural, intelligent, etc.) and it progresses in a complex series of predictable and beautiful subphases, but it just takes very good concentration skills to see those aspects, and they can be quite impressive once learned, revealing all sorts of things about how those patterns of phenomena correlate what people not in hard jhana run into in those strata, as well as the frequencies, phase problems, and why people without that level of concentration ability have a hard time in those stages. If you can pull this off, you will have seen something not many know that well and it is very revealing of the fundamental patterns of attention that occur in those phases that with less than stellar concentration call the Dark Night, but for those who can go through it in the realms of pure light, color and geometry, it is all just eye candy.

Good stuff,

Daniel

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
8/7/10 11:17 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Wow, Daniel. I think you are on to something there. I jsut while standing in my kitchen after reading what you posted, willed the mind to 3rd jhana then willed it to "slowly" transition to 4th over a minute. Over that minute the mind passed through some very obvious shifts, maybe 4 if I am counting correclty. The eyes seemed to shift focus slightly maybe 4 times. With each shifting of the focus of the eyes, there were shifting in the vibrations of the body towards the uniform vibrations of 4th path then finally hitting the 4th after a minute. And I can stop at the mind at one of those as you called it subphases. Interesting stuff!

Edited to say, on doing it a few more times, I am seeing at least 6 slight shifts in the field of attention witht he physical focusing of the eyes and the vibrations of the body being the most obvious changes at each "subphase".

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
8/8/10 7:03 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

Thanks for responding. I am a bit confused, when you say "black dot is early 3rd, and equates with Dissolution", does that mean, 3rd hard Jhana or 3rd path?

I shall have a look at the chapter at MCTB.

During the sit today, the black dot appeared at the start, but then dissolved , and the vibrations took over. This was a series of vibrations, very fast.

Thanks once again.

Natasha.

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
8/8/10 11:37 PM as a reply to Natasha Smith.
Sorry for the confusion: early third jhana, what I would call 3.1 (to use vipassana jhana.subjhana terminology), or could be called 5.2 (to use ñana.subjhana terminology, as two is the part of the 5th ñana where the dot, having been discovered, presents most clearly, and then begins to fade in 5.3, which is the set up for 5.4, which leads to 6.1, which is where you begin to discover the stuff around the black dot, which leads to 6.2, which is where the stuff becomes clear, leading onward stepwise like that.)

Yep, I'm a model geek, the best there ever was...

Anyway, enjoy your explorations. Again, this takes a lot of practice. I had to cycle up again and again to the black dot to figure out how to go to the next stuff, and many times again to figure out how to get all the way through the progression of the stuff around it to the wide, many-fold-symmetry-manifesting very out of phase and yet there anyway in all its complex glory periphery, which then leads to the 3D Equanimity stuff.

Daniel

RE: Help with my meditation.
Answer
8/9/10 10:47 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thank You Daniel for the very clear explanation. Just had a look at your book and compared it with your post, and now I get it. One thing I am certain of is that I need to buy this book. Getting books down to Sri Lanka is a bit of a risky business, as they usually get lost in the post.However this November, I am hoping to visit australia, and hope to buy your book from there. Will order it well before I go, so that it will be waiting for me when I get there.

Thanks once again.

Natasha.