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What was that
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10/3/18 4:25 AM
Hi.
I was really into zen when I was younger, had a very intense experience some twenty years ago, and everything felt different afterwards. The feeling kept coming back, but with no control, and disappeared every time I reached for it. I tried meditating off and on for many years, but it was intensely unpleasant, and I didn't keep it up. After that I had a really hard time for many years, with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and a pervasive sense of meaninglessness. The same feelings kept returning, i.e. intense sorrow for no reason, or deep depression for just a few hours or days.

About a year and a half ago I decided to do some mindfulness meditation, just to relieve work stress. Just ten or fifteen minutes a day to begin with, but increasingly for longer sits. I picked up my dharma books again, and I've since had what I believe to be an A&P-experience (again?). This summer I went for my first retreat, a traditional zen sesshin. Meditation was good, but egorelated thoughts kept popping up, so I started doing an inventory of different "flaws", like pride, greed, selfjudgement and so on. There was a great levelling out of the feelings, ending with me accepting one by one that I did have these tendencies, but that it was ok, and also the same for my strengths.

On day four, while doing kinhin, I had this sudden thought, just a little thing: "what if my self is just a feeling I have, like an itch or a stubbed toe?" At first I was flabbergasted, it seemed so banal, but the perspective felt totally new. This was in the afternoon, and the feeling kept growing, with consequences of this thought multiplying. I was outraged and bemused. My sense of experience seemed exploded, inflated, disjunctive. While outside on a break my perspective changed, and I suddenly saw all of us as just instances of the same thing. Then that perspective included everything else too: trees, insects, stones, space. At bedtime I was more alive than I have ever felt. Every thought and bodily reaction was crystal clear, machinelike, connected and necessary. There was a strange light over everything. The whole universe seemed necessary and self-explanatory. I lay there in bed for some time with this intensely fulfilling experience. I had the thought that I should get up, go outside, do something, but I was tired, and it felt right to sleep, so I did. The next day the feeling persisted, but gradually tapered off, and the day after that I felt a definite "come down". There has been a definite change after this. The "I" seems diminished, distant, vagueand meditation is stronger, more intense.

My question: I'd read a lot about the stages before this, but I'm not sure how to map this. I didn't notice any cessation of thoughts or "presence". I do not "cycle" when I meditate. I talked to osho about the experience, and he seemed pleased, and implied that this was stream entry, but I'm agnostic to this conclusion. I haven't talked to anybody else about this. In a way it's irrelevant, since I'll keep meditating and working to gain insight anyway, but I'm a bit curious. Was this stream entry, or one of the stages prior to it? Is there something I should be doing?