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Request for feeeback on an experience

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Request for feeeback on an experience
Answer
4/15/18 2:07 PM
Hi all, I’ve done a fair amount of reading about this before deciding to post. I think, from the descriptions I’ve read, that something pretty cool happened, I’m just hoping I’m not deluding myself or overstating my experience. 
Anyway, I just got back from a 10 day Goenka retreat and was pointed to The MCTB book while there. On reading the chapters about progress, I’m pretty confident my experience on one of the days matches closely to the description of A&P in the book and from a number of members posts on this forum. 
Prior to going to the retreat, I’d mostly been working on concentration Jhanas. I’ve been sticking with the Goenka method of Vipassana since I got home and yesterday morning, signs of what matched the description of DN started cropping up in my meditation. I sat for a long time last night and this morning, the mania of A&P was still lingering a bit so I didn’t sleep much. While sitting this morning, staying with scanning, sensations got very scattered and murky. I pulled back to breath to refocus and for lack of a better way to put it, all states seemed undesirable. I remembered to go back to the 3C’s and it passed and equanimity rose to take its place, along with the sort of dissipated physical feeling that I’d noticed had come up in some of my concentration Jhana practice before. 
This is where it got to a point I hadn’t experienced before. On noting the 3C’s of the physical/mental processes, there seemed a split second that the concept of nothing was super clear, everything went dead quiet and dark and my breathing felt like it stopped. On noticing it, my breathing started back up. I stayed with it for another 30 minutes or so and everything just stayed very quiet and calm. I had to get up and go to work, but I felt like I could’ve stayed there for much longer, not just sitting, but in that quiet. It didn’t feel clingy and the euphoria of the Jhanas seemed to have passed, just leaving calm and quiet.
I’m looking forward to getting back to sitting again when I get home from work to further investigate, but any guidance, feedback, suggestions on what to do, where to from here are very welcome.
Thanks in advance!
 

RE: Request for feeeback on an experience
Answer
4/15/18 6:29 PM as a reply to Josh.
My advice would be not cling to any experience & keep having faith in your own developing realisation! 

Daniel I. gave an excellent response to me a few months ago RE experiences were consciousness & / or breath switch off temporarily that might be of interest: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/7275508#_19_message_7290466

Good luck!

RE: Request for feeeback on an experience
Answer
4/15/18 11:20 PM as a reply to Thich Nhat Han Solo.
Right on, thanks for the link and the sound advice!

RE: Request for feeeback on an experience
Answer
4/17/18 8:45 AM as a reply to Josh.
Hey Josh,

Glad you found your way here! And I'm glad you're into MCTB!

How has practice been going since this experience? It's really hard to pin point where you're at based off of one sit. I found that patterns, recurring themes and experiences, and noticable repeated progressions are much more help in figuring out where to place yourself on the map than is one particular experience. 

I've also found that descriptions of the particular stages are a double edged sword. On the one hand, they can help explain what you are running into and what might be coming next. On the other, they can lead to a lot of second-guessing. If the description doesn't line up exactly with what you experienced, or your experience seems a little lighter or unclear, you might have trouble determining what is really happening with you. 

One thing I found helpful to keep in mind is that most of these guys writing about these experiences have gone through these phases hundreds or thousands of times, and so have a pretty clear understanding of them that won't be there when encountering them as a relative beginner. I would say just keep sitting. Keep noting the 3cs and pay attention to how your sits progress (both during the sits, and over time). The overall picture will start to become more clear. 

I don't think the breath disappearing is of any importance in particular. It tends to happen when you start getting into these deeper states. The breath becomes more and more subtle as other aspects of your experience start to become more clear. Definitely do notice the thoughts that arise when you realize that you don't think you're breathing!

Anyway, it was nice meeting you at the retreat! Those experiments in consciousness were fun! Practice well!
Patrick

RE: Request for feeeback on an experience
Answer
4/17/18 10:15 AM as a reply to Patrick Metz.
Hey Patrick!
Thank you, this site and MCTB have both been a huge eye-opener about what’s possible and how to practice better!
Practice since this experience has been interesting. The feeling of equanimity that came up during the sitting stuck around all day, the volume on everything seemed turned down in a really good way. Yesterday and today it’s been a struggle to stay focused during sittings, dropping out of access concentration within seconds of it starting seems like the most notable change. I’m doing my best to keep coming back to the 3C’s to keep from getting frustrated or despondent over it. 
Either way, the plan now is to just keep at it, keep sitting as long and as often as possible and to try not to get caught up in any specific phenomena that come up.
Looking at it after a little time has passed, I was just assigning too much value to what was happening and projecting what I’d read in the book onto it. The breath stopping was mostly of interest in that it accompanied the flash of the concept of nothingness, but making a mountain out of a molehill is a sure way to trip up progress, right?
Again, thanks for your feedback, it’s very appreciated! Great meeting you at the retreat and for sure, those experiments were fun! Hope your practice is going well!