3 C's vs the dark night

Kai, modified 4 Years ago at 11/6/17 12:02 AM
Created 4 Years ago at 11/6/17 12:02 AM

3 C's vs the dark night

Posts: 4 Join Date: 11/5/17 Recent Posts
This is super long. This is also mostly about things that happened before I started meditating and I'm well aware that it's not always the easiest to map that kind of thing. Sorry and thank you.

 This is all started back in May but I'm really not sure why or how. I fell in to a really terrible depression and spent most of my time hating everything about being alive. But it wasn't like any regular depression I'd had before because it was really centered around some ideas that kept popping in to my head. The first was that "nothing really happens." I of course knew that things did indeed happen but I was frustrated that I couldn't "keep" those things. And felt that if everything was just going to 
keep seemingly resetting constantly then anything that happened might as well just have not. Everything felt very pointless. I also felt that if I couldn't take the things I experienced, the things that defined me, and keep them inside myself then I couldn't possibly be a "real" person. Because real people could make a whole story and for some reason I couldn't anymore. I assumed something was very wrong with me. I wrote a long entry in my journal called "The cohesive self-narrative," and another about things that made me feel more or less like a self. Cold showers were good. Listening to the same song over and over was bad. But nothing worked to change what was happening and things got worse. I woke up one morning and the whole world looked like it was covered in tv static. Objects stopped looking real and sometimes I even had trouble knowing what they were(what's that thing? Oh, right, that's a cup!). This all freaked me out but the last straw was when I started worrying someone would break in to my house(this was my big fear as a kid). I kept turning around expecting to see a man and of course he would never be there and I knew that, but I was freaking out anyway. That's when I finally snapped and realized I had two options. I could die, or I could learn to live with it. I chose the second and was surprised to find it worked. I still didn't feel like a "real person" and the floor still didn't seem real but it was ok and I was ok too. 

A few nights later I was falling asleep and fell in to sleep paralysis instead. For those who've never had it, your body is paralyzed but you can move your eyes and will probably have creepy hallucinations. I'd only had it once before this. That night I hallucinated a man with a knife at the foot of my bed. I started to freak out but I told myself "no wait, you don't need to do that. You made this up and it's actually fine." And I was able to calm down. But then the room started coming at me, pulling in at the sides and collapsing on itself until it folded in to a single point and disappeared. I don't entirely know how to explain it and there's not really a thing to explain about. My best try is that it's what I imagine happens when you die. But it's also not something actually imaginable. I don't know. Anyway, when I regained consciousness, I guess, I couldn't see anything. Until a bright light shot out of the middle of my forehead and bathed my whole body. I assumed I'd died at that point. And then my whole body started buzzing and my vision came back and I realized I wasn't dead. I found the whole thing deeply unsettling and couldn't sleep for hours.

 
When I woke up the next morning things were odd. Sounds were very loud, my thoughts were very sparse, and I wasn't able to have feelings anymore. That was all 6 weeks ago and my thinking is back a lot and my feelings are back somewhat. They are there but they don't feel the same way and I don't really know how to explain the difference. Things are gentler. Every once in a while I get a very strong one that's just like before. A few days after that dream-thing I found MCTB while I was trying to figure out what happened and realized I'd had an A&P. But obviously the dark night follows that so I've been bracing myself for it to either come or return and ruin my chilled-outness, which finally leads to my question. Was all that stuff I experienced possibly three characteristics stuff rather than dark night? I've read a little about them being confused for each other and I want to know what I'm in for. Could it really possibly get worse than all of that? Or was that truly the dark night? If not then I'm quite worried, and if it is then I imagine it will be easier the next time around. But I could be wrong. I feel like it wouldn't be possible to forget what I learned but I've also read a bit about people falling backwards.

 I did start meditating about three weeks ago. Not much to say about it. I usually shake a lot(which feels oddly good?), buzz a lot and then I fall asleep, get startled back awake and start all over. Except this week when nothing really happened at all until yesterday when I got a cute lights/fireworks show and heard the voice of a southern man say "you can't have the avocado fruit without the avocado flower." It really cracked me up. Is this the more "classic" version of A&P or something else? It was certainly more enjoyable. I know that's not much to go on and not so helpful until I have more experience. 
Yilun Ong, modified 4 Years ago at 11/6/17 10:29 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 11/6/17 10:18 PM

RE: 3 C's vs the dark night

Posts: 623 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Kai:
I'm well aware that it's not always the easiest to map that kind of thing. Sorry and thank you.

The first was that "nothing really happens."

That's when I finally snapped and realized I had two options. I could die, or I could learn to live with it. I chose the second and was surprised to find it worked. I still didn't feel like a "real person" and the floor still didn't seem real but it was ok and I was ok too. 

Could it really possibly get worse than all of that? Or was that truly the dark night? If not then I'm quite worried, and if it is then I imagine it will be easier the next time around. But I could be wrong. I feel like it wouldn't be possible to forget what I learned but I've also read a bit about people falling backwards.

I know that's not much to go on and not so helpful until I have more experience. 

Welcome Kai!

It will be hard to let go of attachment to the maps but you have to do so in your own way. For example, you preempting that you could be in DN itself will set you up for it whether or not you are in it or not! It is best to stay objective and view whatever hits you as what they are. I cannot speak for everyone, but DN for me is simply a bunch of irritating sensations. The only time they can bother me emotionally, is if I LET THEM! If you notice your emotions going south, catch them and watch them, knowing that they are NOT you. Keep at it till you watch them pass away and that insight will do wonders for your life.

WRT where you are on the map, ask yourself why will it matter where you are. Remember that the insights and the relief they bring are far more important than progress. Take me for instance, I have no idea where I am to be frank and although I look forward to what the truth will bring, I do not suffer craving for it. If I am actually low down on progress in the maps, I would actually be much happier, knowing that a far greater amount of positive change is coming my way!

Maybe there's answers here for you -> http://www.vipassana.co/A-store-house-of-answers-by-Shri-S-N-Goenka

Drop the worries and use the energy for practice, they may not solve your problems but they shine a light unto them that may very well be all the answers you need... 

Wishing you peace and happiness! emoticon
Kai, modified 4 Years ago at 11/7/17 1:09 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 11/7/17 1:09 PM

RE: 3 C's vs the dark night

Posts: 4 Join Date: 11/5/17 Recent Posts
Hey, thanks. You're probably right about letting go of attachment to the maps but I don't think that will happen quite yet. I've been having a really good time exploring the various frameworks people have built around this kind of experience -- and enjoying building my own, I guess. I'm still really amazed by all of the attempts at explanation and where they seem to converge and differ. And I imagine I'll spend a bunch of time trying on different ways to explain this before I can do any kind of letting go. Or at least that's how it seems to work. 

I think you really hit on what's at the heart of my worry here though, which seems to be that something very unpleasant(the dark night or whatever else one might like to call it) will come along and just reverse my new way of seeing things. You're  right in saying that it's just a bunch of sensations, even if I didn't view it that way at the time. I guess I'm concerned I'll begin to view it the old way again somehow. And maybe I will and there's nothing to do about that I suppose, except keep practicing. 

Thanks for the website, I hadn't seen that one before. Haven't had a chance to look at it much yet, but I'll probably dive into it tonight.