Where am I on the path?

Daniel Lestak, modified 3 Years ago.

Where am I on the path?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 11/4/17 Recent Posts
Hello dear comunity!

My name is Daniel,Im 25 and this is my first post here,though I have been watching for a while.

My background.

I had an introverted childhood and I was not so popular as a kid and I was quite serious attitude which still kinda persists in someway. I dont remember exactly how I got to spirituality but I think that it started somehow with Osho books when I was around 16. So I read a lot until I was 24.That period completelly fucked up my mind to the point that I became even less sociall and completely doubtfull and lost. I dont know if AP event could be this but when was 17 I had once experience of the body going into sleep.The whole body frozen,I couldnt move but I was still concious but without any control. I think I was in depression for many years during that time.

The real practice started when I was 24,I went to 7 days Anapanasati retreat in Thailand. I started some meditation also before but just 5 min in one sit,I wad not able to hold longer.

So on the retreat on the day 4 things started to move. After the day of sitting and walking meditation I went to dormitory and lied down on the bench and started to meditate.It went pretty well and in one moment I started to laugh without any intension or preceding thought, but when I realized that , I had to put hands in front of my mouth as everyone around was sleeping. This laugh continued for couple minutes in quite till I calmed down. This new experience got me pretty enthusiastic to continue practice.The other day there was an interview and monk told me that it was a piti probably.Which I didnt understand what that is that time. Another day things moved further and that afternoon I enterted into jhana probably,if Im not delusioned. I was able to follow the breath very well but as far I understand I was doing concentration that time,there was pleasure arising.At one moment the conciousness dropped for a fraction of a second and then I came back very altered but with opened eyes. That moment was like WOW what the fuck just happend. I started to look around and everything was super cool,interesting ,amazing and somehow I was not feeling disconected from the rest. This state stayed fir 20 minutes maybe and then things got back to normal. 

Day after that I had experience with very pleasant energies moving through the body I would say close to orgasmic feeling but much better. That was a peak of that retreat and from then on things started to go pretty ordinary and till the end of retreat it was hard to concentrate.

After the reatreat I kept practice for maybe one or two months but not regular.Slowly things started to be more dark,basicaly not anymore such experiences like one  retreat and the daily life was back on the old track,quite negative and judgmental mood. 

One year passed and this summer I went for a second retreat and deided to take it more seriously.I read MCTB(not whole) before the retreat and also look at some other books on meditation. 

This was a 10 day silent Anapanasati retreat in Suan Mokh in Thailand. I would compare my experience in short- after the first retreat I said to my self- this was a great holiday,meditation is easy,soon I will get enlightened emoticon

the second retreat was hell,torture and the most intensive difficult time,though amazing.

Starting the same,first four days nothing special,then after, many things started to happen. Basically the strongest moment was when I realized I have no control of situation,of me.It happend in a funny way that during a meditation session I started to conciously fall down to the sand in the meditation hall,somethimes backwards sometimes forward.This session of falling repeated many times until I was with my head in the sand for a while and fellow meditator came to ask me if Im ok.I was quite ashamed during that as there were many people around watching that but had to accept.

That day this mode of no control repeated couple of times during walking or doing whatever.I was watching that things are happening on their own and I cannot do what I want and was fucking angry about that like a little childemoticon Like I wanted to go left bud the body went right.I thought maybe Im mad. 

Later in the day I was doing walking meditation and started to be ok with how is it  and then just a word center appeared in my mind and I stoped,freezed and felt something like a blow in my head but not super strong,after that bliss wave and I started to laugh.After that,days were quite flat and neutral.

Last night of the retreat I woked up in the night and had some crazy energy experiences going through my body accompanied with very long in and outh breaths,similar to full body orgasm and my body just felt super alive.It lasted for couple hours and even though it was pleasurable very much,after sometime I noticed how ansatisfactory and tiring this strong pleasure is and just wished it ends.

Retreat ended and since then I continued meditation more regulary. I felt life more calm and less stress after this retreat.

In August one day I was stretching my legs and I noticed some shift,I cannot say what it was but since that days things started to go rapidly different and my perception of every thing changed.I saw in everything that things change and I was ok with that,I got very relaxed and the state felt extremely calm and peaceful,nothing was a big problem.I could just sit and do nothing. Which after some peak moments led me to assumption that probably this enlightentemnt. I didnt know and still dont know what is fruition but during that time I got multiple times per day bliss waves after closing my eyes. It felt good but I got used to it and felt unsatisfactoriness of it. This phase lasted for about 3 weeks and faded away slowly through one super scary day into something like neutral mode with downs and ups but not the same as it was before this event.

Basically from that point the meditation goes on its own quite hard core way and I see it is not me who is doing things. I percieve intentions and actions. Aversion and clinging to future projections.Time is not percieved the same way as before though still have its place.Thoughts appearing and vanishing on theor own.I understand that it is not me who is meditating. But these understanding somehow dont bring much more hapiness,I would say there is more peace and calmness but also sadness and loneliness.

There are occasionall moments when I just stop and the mind is quite empty but not really as there appears after thoughts and thinking if there was actually some thoughts....This happens in ordinary life.

Beside that couple days ago when I went to supermarket had a glimpse of something that seemed to me as in the seeing just the seen and it was amazing with me poping into it in between but it got me pretty excited and faithfull that something like this is possible.

But why am I writing this? Im very ''clever" type of person and analyzing a lot, but I feel like in the complete begining in this.I have read a lot and have a lot of confusion now and last weeks in general the mood is quite sad after glimpses of seeing there is no self and logical understanding of it. Generally I lost a lot of interest in things that I was doing before and already people around see that I changed a lot and did a lot of stupid things from august. I would like very much to move on this path but dont know how orientate my self now in ordinary life to not mess up the relationships even more and live a good life. 


So mostly two questions:

1. Where am I on the spiritual path and what  should I focus?
2.How to not mess the ordinary life?


Many thanks to anyone who makes an effort to read and answer.

May we all be happy and free.

Daniel


 

Long way Home, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Where am I on the path?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 11/4/17 Recent Posts
Sorry for a mess.I forgot to add that about three weeks ago I woked up in a night,there was some meditation happening as it seems to me likr meditating in dreams sometime but this time I was awakened and conciousness dropped I dont know for how long,then I came back and very strong bliss wave happend which lasted for couple minutes. The drop felt like restart of computer.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Where am I on the path?

Posts: 1614 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Long way Home:
Sorry for a mess.I forgot to add that about three weeks ago I woked up in a night,there was some meditation happening as it seems to me likr meditating in dreams sometime but this time I was awakened and conciousness dropped I dont know for how long,then I came back and very strong bliss wave happend which lasted for couple minutes. The drop felt like restart of computer.


This is a very classic A&P. Often happens on retreat, so it's a good sign that it is happening to you off retreat!
Long way Home, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Where am I on the path?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 11/4/17 Recent Posts
Thank you very much and to tell you, you hit the nail very preciselly on very many things.Yes I want to do it and basically my focus is just this for last 2 years,but it is not a proper focus as I dont even know if I do the insight meditation and observing the sensations properly or just thinking that I do it. 

I feel the need for a teacher for last months.
I myself am a teacher but a dance teacher and basically my practice beside formal sitting which you were right is awereness of movement and dancing a lot,not dancing now that much because of insights hit me quite strong that I lost interest,so practice is off cushion,observing the mind and sensations with more regular sits last days as they seems to be crucial. 


So for sitting practice I mostly observe the breath sensations and note if the object changes and trying to note breath in ta ta ta ta ta if it goes quickly,but sometimes Im not sure if the impermanence is because of ta ta ta ta or otherway around.So definitely I have a lot of confusion about many things even the fundemental ones. But yes this is the only thing thats on my mind,to get enlightened however funny thats sounds. I already was quite successful in ordinary life and it is not something which is important for me anymore. Yes I have time,I have a place to make a retreat for my self too for maybe 4 days in a week almost every week. I can also go to another longer retreat though not in very near future.

I can and started to do regular sitting practice every day starting about couple days ago as I see Im loosing the steam without it somehow.

For the studies I bought Manual of Insight,Path of Purification,Right Concentration and Path of Serenity and Insight. I started sith the Manual and use noting fromt time to time off cushion beside just observing.Im trying to not get lost in stories however emotional they seems and sometimes it feels like robotic.

If I can add or clarify something let me know.

Very grateful that you reviewed this post.

Daniel
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Where am I on the path?

Posts: 1614 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I'm actually very happy to hear you say that "But yes this is the only thing thats on my mind,to get enlightened however funny thats sounds", because you sound very ready. It seems like all you need to do is to:

* set a clear intention to practice for ~45-1hr every day (more often is fine, but this is a minimum requirement) 

* to get clear on a basic practice

* find someone to check-in with periodically as you practice and as you prepare for retreats.


It seems like you might benefit from a practice that includes awareness of breath sensations, plus gentle noting (maybe just on each out-breath) to keep you on track and not "thinking about" practice. It's worth giving it a try.


Adding on: by the way, the questing for "enlightenment" has positive and negative sides... but being able to sit and simply experience being alive without angst or frustration is always a good thing. So I want to encourage you to explore sitting practice, but please don't become too obsessed of a seeker emoticon When in doubt, even investigate the seeking itself. 

Sitting practice itself is a bit of a koan/riddle: what prevents me from simply sitting here without having a problem?

Very best wishes! Hope this helps in some way. 
Long way Home, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Where am I on the path?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 11/4/17 Recent Posts
Started to practice and have the intention to commit to regular sessions every day at least 45 min-1hour . Thank you shargrol for helping me to keep going. No more questions for now.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Where am I on the path?

Posts: 1614 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I'm finding it somewhat difficult to come to a conclusion, mostly because you are talking about peak events (which often are very similar), but not much about other events or your day-to-day practice.

Very hard to say, but it seems like:

* your first retreat was developing concentration, piti, A&P, very clear A&P event, Dissolution, and the beginning of the dark night nanas.
 
* your second retreat was developing concentration, Dissolution (not controlling body, falling into sand), getting to EQ (Equanimity), and also multiple trips through A&P -- which is very common on a longer retreat. The EQ/path sounding moment ("I stoped,freezed and felt something like a blow in my head but not super strong,after that bliss wave and I started to laugh.After that,days were quite flat and neutral.") doesn't sound like path because flat/neutral doesn't usually follow path. Sounds like piti followed by EQ. and The last experience is another classic A&P experience.

This is a very classic pattern for someone on their first 5 day and 10 day retreat. Classic.

It's hard to understand the next stretch of time due to lack of detail. It seems like you are really investigating your mind in a very complete way, expecially off-cushion. It seems like you are found a home in Equanimity for a while. The experience of EQ is very close to the experience of enlightenment.

But now you are more filled with doubt and caution and might be back in the dark night mode of relating to the world, sounds like Misery is more common for you these days. This is also classic, many dark night yogis rest in Misery because it is somewhat stable and somewhat comforting (like a baby crying itself to sleep), and there are a lot of insights into the nature of change in the Misery nana.

Again, this is a very classic pattern for someone off-retreat, especially if they do not have a consistent daily practice.  

What formal practice are you doing? How often? Do you have others to talk about this stuff with?

It's my sense that you have worked through a lot of the psychological dimensions of your past and are in a great position to really become an advanced meditator. I have a hunch that you don't have a consistent daily practice and are somewhat wary of investing the time and/or going through a bunch of needless suffering. Totally understandable. 

If you think it is a good time in your life for this, you would probably make good progress if you found a teacher/spiritual friend and began regular practice and made time for retreats again. You have already gone through the beginner experiences, so your next retreat may really be rich and rewarding. But I'm also sure that you will have to revisit some of the old feelings of depression and sadness in order to make progress, so it's going to be an investment of time and emotional energy if you want to do this. 

Basically it's hard to go half-way into meditation practice. Either it is one of the major focuses of your life or not. It doesn't mean you can't have a job or go to school or be creative too, but it will take up at least 20% of your daily brain power to make good progress. It's almost not worth it to simply "dabble". 

So, my guess: still pre-stream entry, but with great potential. Ideal thing to do is find a teacher and a practice group. Ideally plan on two weekend retreats and a 2 week retreat every year until SE --- but progress is highly likely due to all your past work. With more information, it might be possible to design a daily practice which would make retreats unnecessary, but it would absolutely require regular practice.

Hope this helps. I could be totally totally wrong. These are just my best thoughts with limited information. Trust yourself more than you trust me! 

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