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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Significant insight experience (no-self?) and lasting perceptual change

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I'd like to hopefully get some feedback on an experience I had back around the beginning of March and the state of my practice in general. 

Practice history:
First started to meditate back in 2011 for stress reduction/increase in discipline and productivity during college.  Mostly short sessions (~10 min) daily on/off until I graduated.  Sometime in 2015 I read a PDF of a Vinay Gupta talk that described the basics of concentration/insight practices and I began a more structured routine spending time doing both types.  Shortly after I read MCTB which mostly confirmed and added tons of detail to what had been outlined in Vinay's instructions.  My sessions became longer and more frequent over time until I began got a daily streak of hour+ around September or October of last year. 

There was a long period of time where my sits would start out calm, then my noting would begin to speed up and my body would jerk around a bit along with strong "energetic" sensations, which would calm down and this would repeat.  It sort of felt like I was running up against a wall that would kick me back out when everything became too intense.  Then as I extended the duration the latter portion of each sit would be calm and it seemed like I would lose focus often.

Eventually there was a point around January or February where every sit became incredibly pleasant and easy, and I felt noticeably chilled out suring daily life too.  This is when the sessions were at their longest (max still only 1.5 hr for a single sit) where I would remain after the timer went off just because of how deeply content I was feeling.

March 3rd is when the insight occured that the title of the post refers to.  Here's what I'd written down in my practice journal afterwards:
 
"Concentration period was insanely calm/blissful.  Every sensation was pleasant like I was wrapped in a waarm blanket.  Insight period had more feelings of 'self' sloshing around / dissipating throughout my body / resolidifying in my head.  Near end I laid down because of knee pain.  Had what felt like a deep insight into no self.  Realized that there ws nothing direction attn toward sensations but sensations are still there then looked for what was realizing that and saw that there were only more sensations themselves and that that's all there is"

When I read it back it sounds silly and obvious but whatever happened in that moment has stuck with me.  It instantly felt like a weight was lifted off me or that I could finally relax from something that I didnt' know I was tense about.  It felt like a really big "AHA, oh, right, duh" realization that felt really significant, but also incredibly obvious and big/small at the same time.

And now the past couple of months it feels like I can finally get back to my life in general.  I've been focusing more on career development and spending a lot of time looking for a new job (after telling people I'd like to find new work for about a year and a half).  I also have been much more focused on morality and the impact I have on the people/environment around me and what sort of contribution I'd like to add to society.

Another thing that feels different that seems to have "stuck" is that if I notice myself slipping into a negative mood I can "step back" (or maybe a better term would be "step into") into a mode of experience where reality becomes much more immediate and I just watch as sensations come into and go out o the field of awareness.  Also it's as if someone turned up the saturation and constrast very slightly on my vision most of the time.  Objects gleam in the light and colors seem more vibrant.  And when I'm going to sleep or when I'm doing concentration meditation with my eyes closed I get purple/bluish clouds swirling around.

Apologies if this is scattered or incoherent, I don't have much experience communicating anything meditation related since I haven't met any other practitioners in person.  This is the first time that I've experience an insight that's left a significant and long lasting effect on my perception of reality.  It's felt positive overall, however I've fallen back a bit on consistency / duration of sits now.  I'm suspicious that it may have been stream entry or a near miss but I'm incredibly skeptical of that feeling also since I've spent a good amount of time reading about the POI on here and in MCTB and I'm paranoid that my brain's been scripting all of this along to match what I've read (along with the fact that I haven't put in the amount of hours that many others speak about).  And then in the back of my mind I sometimes worry that I'm in the midst of a multiple month long A&P event that I'll soon sail out from.  However I don't feel manic or grandiose at all, I'd mostly compare it to the relief you experience after solving a tough puzzle that you've been working at for a while.

Any thoughts, comments, and advice is greatly appreciated emoticon

When I read it back it sounds silly and obvious but whatever happened in that moment has stuck with me.  It instantly felt like a weight was lifted off me or that I could finally relax from something that I didnt' know I was tense about.  It felt like a really big "AHA, oh, right, duh" realization that felt really significant, but also incredibly obvious and big/small at the same time.

Rik, is there anything special anywhere that you can see?

Rik, thanks for sharing. It's interesting to read your account because my experience in the last few months has been quite similar to what you've reported. My time frame for serious, applied practice has been the past four months, and a year of intermittent practice prior to that. I too wonder from time to time if I'm a bit guilty of "scripting" to the maps of awakening. 

May you keep practicing! 

Chris Marti:
When I read it back it sounds silly and obvious but whatever happened in that moment has stuck with me. It instantly felt like a weight was lifted off me or that I could finally relax from something that I didnt' know I was tense about. It felt like a really big "AHA, oh, right, duh" realization that felt really significant, but also incredibly obvious and big/small at the same time.

Rik, is there anything special anywhere that you can see?

Regarding my present moment to moment experience, or regarding the snippet what you've quoted?


Zachary:
Rik, thanks for sharing. It's interesting to read your account because my experience in the last few months has been quite similar to what you've reported. My time frame for serious, applied practice has been the past four months, and a year of intermittent practice prior to that. I too wonder from time to time if I'm a bit guilty of "scripting" to the maps of awakening. 

May you keep practicing! 

Thanks!  It's always felt like a challenge to sort out what parts of my experience are made up of my expectations based on concepts like the maps, and what parts are a result of practice that the maps do a good job of explaining.  One thing that caused a major shift in the nature of the sits was when I made an effort to note and be conscious of any attempts to anticipate states or label experiences as something from the maps and to ascertain the sensations which made up those thoughts.