Another diagnosis request

HC, modified 4 Years ago at 10/9/17 1:35 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 10/9/17 12:29 PM

Another diagnosis request

Posts: 6 Join Date: 7/4/16 Recent Posts
  I want to give thanks in advance to anyone who can to help with my case. I'll try to be concise so I don't waste anyone's time. 
History: I am 99% sure I got stream entry on my 4th retreat @ 1998. I never got confirmation as it was a Zen retreat and the teacher was pretty traditional and had little to say about my experience, and actually I had a hard time describing it to him. But it derailed my practice, I could no longer see the point, but it gave me an ability to drop into non dual oneness just about anytime I wanted, and when I did sit, it was complelely different, more powerful and interesting than ever.
 So between then and a few years ago I had basically no formal practice, my ability to merge or drop into a non dual awareness waned over the years and about 3 years ago I found my life getting really rocky and in hindsight it was all me. It started with a kind of hedonistic phase that moved into anger, resentment, and aversive phase, then flipped suddenly into a really dark depression phase where I felt at times like I was paying the price for all of my craving and aversion and tapped into suffering in general.
 So I resolved to hit the cushion, and clean up my life in a big way and over the last 2-3 years I have been on a emotional roller coaster with each wave passing and leaving me feeling more grounded and dedicated to practice.
  When I study the maps I sometimes feel like my cutting edge is equinimity. On the cusion I have been focussing my practice on See, Hear, Feel-in like Shinzen Young teaches.  When I focus on see-in I get a mix of randon thought related visuals that form and break up or vanish and a colorful cloud like like expanding and contracting-vibrating scene (eyes closed). I noticed that when I took this colorful moving visual as an object of meditation, after the sit I would feel really grumpy but then feel great a few hours or days later.  Also when I catch one of the thought related visuals just right it will vanish and I get both a wave of pleasant feeling as well as the cloud like colors washing over my visual field. 
 After a big wave of emotional stuff ended last week my sits have had 3-5 instances of thought related visuals vanishing and bringing a wave of similar pleasant feeling and color or even flashing lights. This is a new experience for me, not life changing like stream entry but really nice. I suspect that the visuals vanishing are cessations and they are pulling me past the A and P where I see the colors and onto some other state. Does this make sense? I am feeling really great right now, maybe it is an afterglow from those vanishings but I don't want to fool myself. This latest turn in my sitting experince prompted me to finally ask for some feedback. Thanks for any help. This is group is such a great resource.
neko, modified 4 Years ago at 10/10/17 10:35 AM
Created 4 Years ago at 10/10/17 10:35 AM

RE: Another diagnosis request

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Hey Heath,

very well written report. You seem to know your shit maps-wise and have a more-than-fair grasp of what your practice does and what it means to you. It is unlikely that you can get a firm diagnosis here, other than 'what you wrote might possibly be correct'.

Not sure how much the following will help, but this is what I instinctively thought reading your post. Warning: I don't believe I am much more advanced that you are practice-wise, but if you are willing to hear some "peer-to-peer" tips, here goes:

- What your report made me wonder is: What are your goals long-term(-ish), besides dealing with your roller coaster?

- Also, since you mention Shinzen. Your practice sounds like it is at a point where it might benefit from working on Flow, Expansion/Contraction, and Gone.

- Perhaps also auto-think and GUS, since you are working so much on the in-space. Do you know what I am talking about? Google "Shinzen auto-think" in case.

- Back to the roller coaster. Perhaps you might also benefit from working on Rest and Nurture Positive and/or the jhanas and/or some form of metta*, since you mention anger and resentment.

Last but not least, perhaps you might tell us more about how your non-dual awareness was like, and how it went. I'd be very curious to hear about it.

This is what I have to say for the moment! Thanks for sharing! emoticon



* Metta is always optional and never compulsory.
HC, modified 4 Years ago at 10/10/17 4:59 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 10/10/17 4:59 PM

RE: Another diagnosis request

Posts: 6 Join Date: 7/4/16 Recent Posts
  Thanks for the compliment, although I feel like I am just guessing about my self diagnosis so that is why I posted. I have always kind of seen myself as a lazy practitioner but lately interesting things are starting to happen and it has made me curious to figure out what is happening. 
 As far as goals I just want to become a better person.  If I get a wave of emotional stuff that is fine becasue it feels like I am purging it out and actually I have stumbled upon some very interesting psychological insights when past emotional traumas have suddenly showed up and demanded attention. I can see how some past experiences have been effecting my behavior most of my life and I had no idea so that is interesting to learn. I also feel like all of the disfuntional parts of my personality have lined up to kick my ass one after another but the learning is both priceless and humbling. Hopefully it is the price I have to pay to be liberated from that stuff.
 I did dedicate myself to flow gone but on the cushion I try to stay with See-in-flow gone, Feel-in-flow-gone, Hear-in-flow gone. Off the cushion I am an opportunist but try to stay with Feel-flow and noting other stuff that presents itself. I will need to go back and look up those other techniques.
 I have to run so I will get back with the Non dual part later tonight or tomorrow. That part is harder for me to articulate anyway.
Thanks again.
HC, modified 4 Years ago at 10/11/17 4:51 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 10/11/17 4:08 PM

RE: Another diagnosis request

Posts: 6 Join Date: 7/4/16 Recent Posts
  Thanks again for your advice, I googled GUS and I am going to explore that technique. If I go back to my original post and reduce it down to my core question it would be to ask is if this 3 part experience of  1) visual thought - 2) vanishing - 3) wave of feeling, is somethng that is routinly experienced by others. I have read some of Shinzen's explanations of "gone" and tried to correlate them with other peoples descriptions of cessations but still have some uncertainty if this lines up. Does it sound like a cessation experience or what Shinzen calles a gone?
On the topic of Non dual expereince and attainments in general I am not sure if I am qualified to speak confidently about what this or that is called in relation to maps and terminology but maybe I can just toss out what I think is the most interesting parts to me. The context of my first experience was that I had a around 4 years of practice behind me and 2-10 day Goenka style retreats and was practicing the body scanning technique intensively in daily life to the point that I was in touch with subtle vibrations much of the day and had reached a point that everything was really flat and boring. I decided to try to shake up my practice by doing a Rinzai Zen retreat and I bought one of Shinzen's tapes desribing expansion and Contraction of breath so I would have a firm grip on technique and could enter the retreat with some momentum. At some point I remember giving my self some kind of self talk guidence like "let the breath be natural" and then I suddenly had a feeling like I got the punchline for a cosmic joke that had been building up for my whole life. I tried not to laugh but sat there with a huge smile and amazement at the absurdly obvios and mind blowing way that reality was opening up to me. It all made so much sense, it was logical and my previous way of experiencing the world seemed like a projection of my mind while this was bare and beautiful reality. The most obvious characteristic change was that I could not detect any boundry between what was inside and outside. All activity of the 6 senses was arising in a space that was no longer defined as inside and outside. Everything was vibrant and precious and this experience led to a sequence of insights over the months and years as I reassimilated my understanding of reality based on returning to this state or falling back into it. In the moments after this experience my mindfulness became very clear and I was watching thoughts " Maybe I'll tell the teacher"  then " Maybe I will not tell the teacher" the nondual experience put telling the teacher into the same space as telling my right hand becasue the teacher and I were not separate.  (I am not sure if this makes sense to anyone but me).  So I finally went to meet with the teacher and a tried to explain how space had collapsed and then told him that a koan had found me. He asked what it was and I said "What is my content?"  then he asked what is the answer and I said "Everything"  Then he asked me " What is you experience of a peanut butter sandwitch" and as soon as I tried to process his question the experience ended and I was a separate, confused, student. Luckily I found that I was able to go back to the non dual experience with little effort after the retreat and never had any fear of loosing connection with it becasue it was not something I attained but something I uncovered. At least that is my take on it. I hope that this is of some value. Heath