What was that?!

Mike Smirnoff, modified 4 Years ago at 4/29/19 1:55 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 4/29/19 1:55 PM

What was that?!

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/28/19 Recent Posts
Hi everyone!

I'm Mike and I'm new here. I've been practicing since 2001. I've taken 7 Goenka retreats between 2001 and 2010, and since spent a few montat various monasteries. I left the Goenka tradition because of lack of direction. And at that point I had started reading the Suttas, a bit of the Abhidhamma. The Goneka method has never really left me, and I feel like there's no going back at this point. I mean, no going back out of the meditation route -- I might have started a process which I need to finish. Daniel Ingram describes an A&P event. Now, I'm unsure I've passed it, but I like to believe I've at some point, and I also like to believe that I've lived in the dark night for many solid years. Though of course, I'm uncertain of anything.

During Goenka retreats, I don't recall any thing that I'd particularly distinctly remember as A&P event, but I do recall that sensations at the top of my upper lip, when sitting and observing them constantly, and they were weird in the way they changed.  Also, there's a possibility that just as a kid, a traumatic incident might have catapulted me right into A&P. Again, I've no idea.

A very distinct meditation experrience I recall is when during 2007 or 2008, I had taken 10 days off and I was meditating with the book of Jack Kornfield. I was also undergoing some therapy at that point. No wonder, I got into a very deep inner child experience where I split off into two distinct parts, and many more in the middle (at different ages).  This was a pretty strong experience, but I've not seen this as an experience which has any fundamental Buddhist overtones (or does it?).

In general, I've stuck to meditation with sensations in body and tip of the nose. Some times, I have worked with listening to inner "voices"
(thoughts) which tell me stories about "I", but without getting entagled in it, and only to understand the "I" that is functioning inside.  

The following two are important experiences which I want to diagnose:

In 2017,  I came across the 7 stages of purification and 16 stages of insight model during a time when I was completely in a state of mind of where I am in my meditation practice and why am I somewhere so stuck in a way that other people are not.  I put everything I knew aside and just told myself: let me sit with myself. I did this over a few weekends. On one of those weekends, I got into a
state of mind when the whole world just seemed to be evolving around me with all sensations in my body. After I had gone back to my apartment, I had opened some book (I don't remember which one) and was reading about the 16 stages of insight. My mind
came to a point: Oh, this is so simple, and this continuously evolving mind-matter process (what was involved is all sense doors 
and also thoughts though I remember at least partly trying to supress thoughts, and there was the interaction of my mind and body
with the outside world, and I saw the whole thing as just an evolving process).I experienced a certain kind of equanimity during that time. I told the Universe, now give me Nibbana, and I got the answer back, get your Sila better.  Somewhere I felt, a load of doubt
had lifted from my head, but as before, I'm unsure if anything fundamentally shifted. Did I cross the dark night and reach the stage
of Equanimity.

Now, recently, there was a book with which I meditated over a period of 2 months (mainly weekends, but I managed to scrape 
in 4-5 hours every day of the weekday), and I found some massive deep voices of "I" inside me. More importantly, I found the 
voice "I will last for ever," and I saw how I'm constantly taking one of the agreegates as mine or my self. This deep voice of "I" 
seems to just come & come & come constantly, and some times, it will attach to some thing or the other (one of the agreegates,
an experience, to some other person, etc.). At one point, I was reflecting on Paticca Samuppada, Avijja paccaya Tanha part, and
a wave of joy ran over me, and I found thanking all my past teachers. Again, it felt like some thing fundamental shifted inside me, 
but again, I'm unsure. Now, I can, a lot of times, see a voice of "I" inside me, just saying "I", "I", "I", constantly.

How do I make sense out of these experiences? Somewhere, I have a feeling that I may have reached a point of what is called a 
Sekha in the Suttas, but again, unsure. Or should I not try to make sense out of these experiences? Maybe there is a sweet spot 
which I'm trying to hit.

Much of my meditation practice feels scattered in the sense that it feels like I might have a few experiences but nothing seems to
fit well, or maybe the right word is that nothing is systematic. How do I make everything systematic? I could do with some
guidance which is absolutely lacking in Goenka tradition. Beyond that, what is lacking in that traditon is the possibility on going on
a long retreat directly (maybe some of you know that one has to go through many 10 days, then 20 days, etc. courses), and somehow, my mind has never functioned in this hierarchical way. It likes to go deep, but the Goenka 10 day course feels like a tiny blip
with no guidance. My Samadhi is also possibly lacking. So, question is, how do I make things systematic?  What may be a good way to receive some guidance from some one knowledgeable?

Thank you to those who read; my appreciation and gratitude!

John Not2, modified 4 Years ago at 4/29/19 4:33 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 4/29/19 4:33 PM

RE: What was that?!

Posts: 71 Join Date: 4/25/19 Recent Posts
  • What are the most important reasons for your wanting to practice meditation?
  • What do you expect to get from practicing meditation?
  • Why did you choose those particular meditation methods that you have chosen?
  • Besides meditation, what other spiritual practices and studies you would like to do in this lifetime, and why?
Just food for thought, you don't need to answer any of them if you don't want to.
Mike Smirnoff, modified 4 Years ago at 4/29/19 6:31 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 4/29/19 6:31 PM

RE: What was that?!

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/28/19 Recent Posts
Hi John, 

These would be the answers:

1. Get to the bottom of the I/self.
2. Same as above, and thus live in a way where I'm not living with wrong views about the I/self.
3. Goenka method just happened: Goenkaji had come to my undergraduate institute to give a talk, some cord stuck, I went, and kept going. I chose Webu Sayadaw for his simplicity, again, a cord stuck. Further, I also believe that there's a lot in the "contact", and just living with the "contact" (of an object with a faculty) is where all the action happens. Regarding hearing the voices of "I", that some how came naturally, was not a matter of choosing, or maybe I heard about some thing somewhere, I don't know. I also underwent some psychotherapy at some point, that conditioned certain things, I'm sure. Book of Jack Kornfield likely came by because I used to live in Cambridge MA and there was the CIMC there, and I heard of Jack Kornfield. But, on this one, I'd say, I don't really know; I'll think more.
4.  Same as 1.; getting to the bottom of the self has some how become very important. Besides that, I'd like to be a decent human being and whatever helps with that. Besides that, there are some Math problems that'd be nice to see solved (I do research in Math); maybe a girl-friend/wife at some point is a thought which comes to my mind. But some how, getting to the bottom of the self takes precedence (and partly, I want it to take precedence) above others.

I'll keep these in my mind over the next few days. And if some thing else comes up, I'll write again!

John Not2, modified 4 Years ago at 4/29/19 10:36 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 4/29/19 10:35 PM

RE: What was that?!

Posts: 71 Join Date: 4/25/19 Recent Posts
OK, I think I kind of get the sense of where you at.

Are you familiar with Advaita Vedanta? or non-duality view of reality/I/self?

There are many paths that lead to the same truth, Buddhist meditation is a great path, but it is not the only path, I am not suggesting that any one particular path is the superior path, and I do not buy into the "one size fits all" approach to "spiritual" teachings/preaching.

Again, just food for thought, don't take anything seriously, lighten up, letting go, perhaps you had been trying too hard? maybe?
Devinder Makker, modified 4 Years ago at 4/30/19 1:34 PM
Created 4 Years ago at 4/30/19 1:34 PM

RE: What was that?!

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/19 Recent Posts
Get out of your stories of experiences! Just focus on sensations good bad and the ugly with equinamity.the stories are just a mental phenomenon!