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Beginner, jhanas, dark night and dopamine

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First of all, i really want to say i'm kind of surprised, shocked even,  from reading Daniel's book and this very forum. Because so far, all i ever heard about meditation was the pink and beautiful talk from Dalai Lama, new age articles, "we talk about meditation cos it's cool" kind of articles, Zen documentaries, etc.. Never i had the experience of reading something from people who had been in the trenches, got nasty and dirty about meditation. Real reports about real training. First time i heard about the various stages one can pass when meditating. Never occurred to me, there were specific "stages" in meditation. Wow just wow...

Anyway, I have these questions, which i apologize in advance if they sound absurd. I'm a total beginner so pardon my ignorance. I would be very grateful if you guys could enlighten (no pun) this guy that is lost in life.

Jhanas,
Can jhanas be addictive? Can they cause problems like other addictions? I ask this because i am been suffering from a dopaminergic depression for over 3 years now. From addiction. I don't want to quit one  addiction and enter another one and dig myself deeper in the hole. Don't want to become even more desensitized. To be honest, even tough most people say dark night only happens to those who meditate, from what i read about it, i think it looks shockingly to my case. I don't meditate.

Dark night,
Can the "dark night" be a stage of hangover, desensitization, a dopaminergic depression for someone who abuse these kind of blissful states (jhanas)?

Eyes,
From the documentaries i've seen about Zen, meditation should be done with open eyes, because that's how you live in daily life. But in texts about  Theravada Buddhism, i have the feeling they refer to do it with the eyes closed. So, how it should be done?

Disassociation,
I have heard that meditation can create the risk of dissociation. True? I don't want to meditate as a way to escape the real world, i want it to help me deal with the real world. How to avoid that danger?

Mundane,
Will meditation make me lose interest in mundane things like sex or even wanting to have a comfortable home or a fancy car? Some meditators talk like they find sex to be a nuisance. Don't you guys have spouses or girl/boy friends to be satisfied? emoticon
Can it make me lose interest in something like practicing sports? Or even interest in working hard to support a family?

Concentration,
Samatha is focusing on one object, but the western world is so multi-tasking. Will it cause problems?

RE: Beginner, jhanas, dark night and dopamine
Answer
1/30/18 10:46 PM as a reply to Alex Da.
Good questions Alex,
Can jhanas be addictive? Can they cause problems like other addictions?
Pleasure and addiction are two different pathways in the brain, that is why drug addicts are still addicted long after they have become habituated to the pleasure of the drug. And, ironically, if you crave jhana, you want get it, jhana arises when craving stops. This is not a problem you should worry about. 
Can the "dark night" be a stage of hangover, desensitization, a dopaminergic depression for someone who abuse these kind of blissful states (jhanas)?
In studies of meditators in jhana, they found that there was only a small dopaminergenic depression after reaching jhana compared to say cocaine use. But jhana is more pleasurable, this is because of the signal-to-noise ratio. In Jhana, you are focused solely on the pleasure while with drugs you are experience a lot of dopamine, but all these others sensations are in your awareness as well. 

You do not experience depressive states after jhana, it's not at all like the down of a drug. The worst you will experience is sort of a blissful dullness (dull compared to the intense concentration of jhana). 

From the documentaries i've seen about Zen, meditation should be done with open eyes, because that's how you live in daily life. But in texts about  Theravada Buddhism, i have the feeling they refer to do it with the eyes closed. So, how it should be done?
Follow the directions of the practice you are doing. If you are doing a zen practice that wants your to keep your eyes open, then keep your eyes open. If you are doing a theravada practice that says eyes close, close your eyes. 

Disassociation,
I have heard that meditation can create the risk of dissociation. True? I don't want to meditate as a way to escape the real world, i want it to help me deal with the real world. How to avoid that danger?

If you are meditating correctly, the opposite should occur. You will be much more in tune with reality than previously. 


Will meditation make me lose interest in mundane things like sex or even wanting to have a comfortable home or a fancy car?
Can it make me lose interest in something like practicing sports? Or even interest in working hard to support a family? 

Answer: Not sure, why it's in quotes. Can't seem to fix it. Yes, you will lose interest in things you once cared so greatly about. But because you have found something better. You can still play sports, enjoy music, perform well at your job. But you'd also (at very advanced levels) be fine living as a hermit in the woods. 


Question:Concentration,
Samatha is focusing on one object, but the western world is so multi-tasking. Will it cause problems?

Answer: No, your focus will be much better, similar to taking adderall, but it lasts all the time and there aren't any weird, irritable side effects. However, you may come to find that you no longer enjoy that over-stimulation of having the music blasting on the radio, while also listening to a podcast and reading an article. You'll end up gravitating to a more quiet life. And without all these distractions, you'll end up being much more productive. 

RE: Beginner, jhanas, dark night and dopamine
Answer
1/31/18 3:14 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Awesome answers. Do you have references for the Jhana studies? I’d be interested to read about that ... 

RE: Beginner, jhanas, dark night and dopamine
Answer
1/31/18 11:11 AM as a reply to Anna L.
good stuff jinx, really like to read your answers.

RE: Beginner, jhanas, dark night and dopamine
Answer
1/31/18 4:24 PM as a reply to alguidar.
Question:Concentration,
Samatha is focusing on one object, but the western world is so multi-tasking. Will it cause problems?

OT: Do you guys find that having just started out, to switch to the "easier for the distracted modern mind to practice", moving-attention Vipassana (to gain confidence in crossing Access Concentration), then subsequently moving back to Samatha (say after A&P) a more motivating & faster track to advancing along Anapanasati?

I've been getting beginners, not to distinguish Samatha vs Vipassana, letting them tell me their experience before nudging them towards either, by their inclination and have to say that most modern minds are more inclined towards holding concentration better when allowed to swing its light around, at least in the beginning where they taste the first fruits of labor (AC or 1st few nana's - the 'woah' weird stuff) and find interest to pursue the whole works and thus Samatha.

RE: Beginner, jhanas, dark night and dopamine
Answer
1/31/18 8:32 PM as a reply to Alex Da.
Thanks for the enlightment Jinxed. Appreciated. I'm having enough of "dark night" already. And some people do paint a very  dark scene for Dark Night. That's why i'm worried. Anyway, i guess the only solution is to start and see what happens. I definitely need to change something in me.

RE: Beginner, jhanas, dark night and dopamine
Answer
1/31/18 8:44 PM as a reply to Anna L.
Anna L:
Awesome answers. Do you have references for the Jhana studies? I’d be interested to read about that ... 
Here is the study. The test subject was Leigh Brasington. 

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2013/653572/

RE: Beginner, jhanas, dark night and dopamine
Answer
2/1/18 4:08 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Thanks!