So what is this all about? How to navigate new territory?

thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

So what is this all about? How to navigate new territory?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: JamesAlexander
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

After a recent 4 day retreat my practice has kinda geared up a bit. I've come across some new territory and could really use some feedback on how to navigate in and through these "states". I've started to read MCTB, but haven`r really come across anything that nails it down, except for a description of the 4th jhana! But that seems to be a bit ahead of me - to say the least!

Description of event:

I was tracking my breath very closely noting the beginning, the middle, the end, the pause, the new breath etc. Suddenly there was a distinct shift in consciousness and I kinda FORGOT what the hell I was supposed to do. This lasted for 10 seconds and then things just started to happen to me, without my control. It brought forth some really strange and intense sensations:

The perception of my body shifted and my whole physical being was seemingly squeezed together into a small "energy ball". I couldn't feel or sense my body in it's normal "shape". After a while it felt like my body vanished all together. I started panicking and I could feel my pulse rise. My eyelids were flickering a bit and my visual field (eyes closed) opened up into the darkness and things started to pulsate/vibrate really quickly. It reminded me of when big spaceships warp through time/space - you know when everything rushes by very fast. "GAZOOM" (like in Strartrek or whatever).

I tried my best just to sit with these sensations and just observe them. After 10 minutes I opened my eyes and things kinda "fell back to it's normal state". While the "event" took place I was able to clearly observe whatever was arising. Especially my commenting and thoughts. "I" was kinda in the background and therefore able to observe these mental phenomena very clearly.

I wonder what this was all about?
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: So what is this all about? How to navigate new territory?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi James

Sounds like 4th ├▒ana, or "Knowledge of Arising & Passing Away." The build up of energy that you described happens to me often as I pass through this territory, and usually concludes with a POW!

You said that when the event took place, you could notice whatever was arising. How about now? Do you still notice the arisings? What about vanishings? Is it one or the other, or both?

If you successfully crossed the A&P, you can expect the Dark Night to follow pretty quickly. If things really start to suck, that's why. When that time comes, do your best to remember that it's a sign of progress and not some kind of backsliding. Whatever shows up, no matter how depressing or scary or overwhelming, just pay attention to it like you would a dear friend going through a major crisis. Listen to what the experience has to say, and don't stop practicing if you can help it.

I'm interested to hear more about your practice. Keep us updated on what you're experiencing in your more recent sessions.

Keep it up,
Jackson
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: So what is this all about? How to navigate new territory?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: xanados

If you read the whole book, I believe Mr. Ingram mentions that his A&P event was before any formal practice whatsoever, at the age of 15. It is my expectation that you don't have to be an incredibly advanced practitioner, if you are doing actual insight practices.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: So what is this all about? How to navigate new territory?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
hi xanados,

4th (vipassana) jhana (which james is referring to) is 'equanimity regarding formations', considered by many to be pretty advanced stuff, though i suppose it could also occur rather quickly to someone who's doing it right (and theoretically spontaneously as well without formal practice to someone who's already over the a&p).

edit: this is not a guess/diagnosis, this is a response to xanados who misread the original post. wouldbehipster had already provided what is very likely an accurate diagnosis.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: So what is this all about? How to navigate new territory?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: xanados

You are right, I misread jhana as nana.

Breadcrumb