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Meditation and clear comprehension

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Meditation and clear comprehension
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12/8/08 5:58 AM
Forum: Practical Dharma

Something I have been curious about since finding this site: I get the impression from some of the posts I've read that a few here are able to actually see objects vibrating or blinking in and out as Daniel refers to in his book. My question is, are you only able to do this when meditating, or can you actually observe this in your daily life using clear comprehension?

I’m confused about how one could physically see something like this while meditating – I assumed most people meditate with their eyes closed. I thought I caught a brief moment of seeing this phenomena one morning last week but now am asking myself if it was just wishful thinking on my part.

Is there a specific technique I could use to better my chances of observing this?

RE: Meditation and clear comprehension
Answer
12/8/08 6:39 AM as a reply to John Finley.
yeah, just keep doing it, thats the best way. speaking from experience, its way easier to 'see' stuff vibrate physically (as in tactile sensations) than open-eyed visually (especially since you probably have built-in expectations regarding visual strobing - for example, what are things supposed to blink - come and go - against? a black background? a white background? an indiscernable non-background?). but if you really want to do the eye door its possible too, just keep at it. maybe notice how things flicker and change abruptly, like a low frame-per-second movie. your eyeballs are always moving, by the way, and your blood pulse affects that too.

one thing i used to do a lot is go down to the ocean or river and watch the water go by. particularly the waves or patterns of light or textures of the ripples, and see if i can not focus my eyes on tracking distinct objects, and instead just take in the whole sight. sometimes it would be super-easy, other times it would require some effort, sometimes it just wouldnt seem possible at all, but when it would happen, there would be some kind of mental shift and i could keep it up, so that it seemed like a continuous sustained effort rather than having to apply and re-apply it again and again (i think that's the difference between 'vitakka' (hitting) and 'vicara' (rubbing) that mahasi people.

on another note, kind of a funny one.. one of my teachers - really highly enlightened guy - has this visualiser meditation thing where he'll stare at one of those computer generated visual things that play along with the music and progresses really quickly through the stages of insight (like a whole cycle in less than 10 seconds) and gets fruitions off of them. beats me.. but cool eh?

RE: Meditation and clear comprehension
Answer
12/8/08 7:15 AM as a reply to John Finley.
Hi John,
some additions to greco's great post (that's a really geeky idea with the visualization plugin there!):
I do a lot of walking meditation. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you are able to keep your eyes fairly steady on the path in front of you (not dancing about all the time), the flickering visual "vibrations" become quite evident - and I'm *not* referring to the optical illusions that arise from e.g. watching a stream flowing, and then watching a stationary image.
Something else I like to do is to take a "typing break" at work every hour or so (I have my computer set up to remind me of these): I'll stand up and stretch my hands and shoulders for a few seconds, then sit and allow my eyes to focus on objects in the distance, then near me, then again in the distance, and so on. Besides being relaxing for the eyes, this allows me to watch out for vibrations in the "middle distance" either way. This is not quite "all the time in daily life"... As to clear comprehension, well, I'm working on it emoticon
Sounds are a good place to look for vibrations. And the breath is full of harmonics to tune in to, as it were.
Cheers,
Florian

RE: Meditation and clear comprehension
Answer
12/8/08 12:34 PM as a reply to John Finley.
Remember when you close your eyes, the visual field doesn't go away. The "out there" sense of space is still there, and there are objects, colors, shapes, etc. So in a sense, nothing fundamental changes when you close your eyes.

I find flickering is most obvious when I direct my attention to the negative space component of the visual field. You could try looking at an object (either in the room in front of you, or imaged within your mind) and then trying to see the space around the object... and then see if that space changes.

But ultimately, the flickering will happen to any object that you can "rest" your attention on, so really the easiest technique is to choose an object that you find restfull and see/feel/sense it very deeply/closely. If nothing stands out as being restfull, then it is actually possible to _decide_ to have some object be experienced as restfull, like the gentle in and out of breathing, or the gentle lifting and placing of a footstep, etc.

Hope that helps!

RE: Meditation and clear comprehension
Answer
12/9/08 2:14 AM as a reply to John Finley.
Thanks to all - this is very helpful!