Antonio Ramírez, modified 14 Years ago at 1/18/09 10:22 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/18/09 10:22 PM


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Forum: Practical Dharma

I just had what felt like an A&P event as I was lying down in bed trying to fall asleep.

I am not 100% sure that this was an A&P, though:

1. I had just been reading the relevant MCYB chapter, so there's the possibility of suggestion.

2. I didn't get a very clear sense of the Mind and Body or of the Cause and Effect stages, though I've had clear elements of both. Mainly, it had been "look, vibrations everywhere I look carefully". The onset of being able to sense the vibrations was clear but not a sudden shift, and I'd been getting a good sense of how attention (and divided attention) relates to the speed and "mutual exclusiveness" of the vibrations. I didn't have any jerks or posture spams during recent meditation sessions, though I had been feeling wobbliness in my legs as I walked during the day sometimes.

The event itself had a huge feeling of letting go, some euphoria (perhaps due to recognition of it being an A&P), and the vibrations were very prominent and fast, like being buffetted all over the body by discrete gusts of wind. It really was an "event". It ended very soon, lasting maybe 10 seconds.

One thing that isn't entirely clear from MCTB is: is an A&P event isolated or is it common to have them frequently soon after the first one (as opposed to the recurrences that are part of the larger path)?

Any comments are welcome. You have no idea how thankful I am for finding MCTB. Thanks, Daniel! I can't wait to go on a retreat.
Antonio Ramírez, modified 14 Years ago at 1/18/09 10:49 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/18/09 10:49 PM


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[Sorry for the self-reply; I couldn't fit this in the character limit:]

I want to give some background on my practice, in case it helps people who might want to comment (also, because it's neat to have a forum like this and feel like sharing, but let me know if I'm being too self-indulgent).

Today I had sat for an hour in the morning, but that session in particular I had been doing concentration (trying to get Jhana 1 better).

I found MCTB around January 5, and prior to that I had been meditating since about July 2007. My practice has been solitary and it has varied in diligence, but it had lately settled into 20 to 30 minutes in the morning and then again in the evening.

MCTB made a couple of things crystal clear: First, that I had been practicing mainly or only concentration all along, and second, that I had no idea what to look for when anapanasati-centered books talked about "contemplating impermanence," so I had been tuning out those parts thinking they were esoteric or bullshitty, or perhaps really advanced.

After MCTB I made a concerted effort to sense impermanence in the way it's described there and I was soon able to feel vibrations in my head, then with some effort in the breath. I've also been cranking up daily-life fast mindfulness and for the last week or so I've been hardly able *not* feel fast impermanence in many aspects of everyday experience. So there was a clear sense of build-up.

As I said I guess it's possible that this wasn't an A&P event, but it had all the earmarks. If this was indeed an A&P, it looks like, I have a dark night coming my way emoticon Oops.
Antonio Ramírez, modified 14 Years ago at 1/18/09 11:52 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/18/09 11:52 PM


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Update. Yeah, I'm pretty sure this was an A&P event, to judge from my current state. I'm reading the MCTB description of Dissolution and the sense of attention being on the periphery is 100% here. Also I can feel the two frequencies mentioned there. This is weird, and fascinating. End of self-replies.
Trent S H, modified 14 Years ago at 1/19/09 3:29 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/19/09 3:29 AM


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Hello. It believe is entirely possible to feel like there are A&P's "back to back," simply due to the fact that you can easily overlook the other stages (and the A&P is often hard to overlook), or possibly fall back in the cycles, or observe the event in a less intense version of its predecessor in some sort of review phase. Honestly, I'm far away from being the best person to speak to this because I personally adopted a general strategy of "who cares, just investigate" for my practice and ergo am lacking a granular perspective on the cycles even when looking at my own experience.

The question of significance is not whether or not this was an A&P event. That question will not be nearly as useful of an investigation as continuing your momentum by asking "what did I learn?" Try your best to keep the ball rolling and when you slam into a wall, then figuring out "where you are" can be a tool toward progression, rather than a possible obstacle.
Chuck Kasmire, modified 14 Years ago at 1/19/09 6:00 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/19/09 6:00 AM


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Check out Shinzen Young (recently interviewed on Buddhist Geeks). He has some very good tips on working with the phenomena you describe. Take a look at:

The Four Facets of Body Sensation:

Also, on his Dharma Talks page:
'Flavors of Impermanence' and 'Functions of Impermanence'
Jackson Wilshire, modified 14 Years ago at 1/20/09 3:55 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/20/09 3:55 AM


Posts: 443 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Thanks for sharing your experience. I have a habit of doing the same thing. Because these kinds of experiences are so rare for many of us (at least at first), it can be hard not to constantly ask, "Was that the (blank) stage?"

In my own experience, I find that I ask the question much too soon. As Daniel points out several places in his book (as well as in some of the conversations recorded for Buddhist Geeks), the best way to identify a stage is by where you find yourself afterward... and not necessarily immediately afterward.

For me, I was unsure of whether or not my A&P crossing event was the real thing, or if it was concentration based phenomena. It took a month or more for me to recognize that I was certainly in a Dark Night (and still am, more or less), which validated the experience as and A&P event. I more recently experienced what I thought was stream entry, and am more convinced now that it was early and unrefined Equanimity, based on the fact that I haven't been cycling like those who have attained Fruition (along with some other key factors). There's a lot of guess work early on, which is why patience and persistence are key.

The only advice I can give (as a non-expert) is to pay close attention to everything as best that you can, and patiently wait for the signs of your past and current stages to become clear.

I hope this was helpful. Keep it up!

Antonio Ramírez, modified 14 Years ago at 1/20/09 5:54 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/20/09 5:54 AM


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Thanks for the replies, they're all helpful. I had seen a video by Shinzen Young before (from Hokai's blog) and he seems like a good guy to follow. Thanks for the link to that PDF.

"Who cares, just investigate" sounds like the right attitude to take. I'm a bit exuberant since this is new territory for me emoticon

[The dissolution elements weren't there the next morning, incidentally.]
Trent S H, modified 14 Years ago at 1/20/09 12:26 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 1/20/09 12:26 PM


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Being excited can be a really good thing too, as it can motivate us to push forward with an unparalleled force! I'm not advocating a completely sterile approach; just try your best not to get stuck in analysis. Something that works well for me is to label my experience in a binary way.

Bodily: Feels pleasant
Bodily: Feels unpleasant
Emotional: Feels pleasant
Emotional: Feels unpleasant

If I got stuck, then obviously I could dig and hopefully find where I was stuck, but for all other cases, I found the body/emotional binaries satisfied my "labeling lust" sufficiently, but without holding me back.