Equanimity Advice to a Querent
Sorry for the delay—I’m finally circling back around to this question of High Equanimity stage before stream entry. First, I’m not sure that I spent 2 months in High EQ. I think it would be more accurate for me to say that I spent 2 months in various levels of EQ. Low EQ felt just like Three Characteristics stage, with body aches, tingling, itching, just
pretty miserable, oddly, but still a relief from the Dark Night.
Once I got to about Mid-EQ, if that makes sense, the Great Teeming Faith arose. All the stages that had gone before were so, so clearly “by the book,” that I just had no doubt that awakening was real, that I was on the ride toward it, and that now I was in EQ and all I had to do was have the grace not to pay either too much or too little attention to it.
I did not note during EQ. In fact, I was advised all around not to, though I don’t do proper noting practice anyway because I find that labeling sensations is too slow and distracting.
Equanimity is tricky, like a ever-retreating mirage. You keep feeling like you are practicing badly because you keep slipping into almost daydreams of sorts, and you feel like you should be doing something very effortful instead, like noting. That isn’t the case. It is more about being receptive, showing up and letting the thing unfold and present. So less effort, more just being there over and over again, every night, not pushing it, not striving to reach stream entry or anything else. Just observe and be curious. Let it happen.
About mindfulness in daily life, I wish I could say something about that! Mindfulness is a good thing, but I’m usually absorbed during the day in my editing work, which actually is a kind of mindfulness, I think, but heavy on the hyperfocus side. For reaching stream entry, I think mainly the thing is formal sits. I even shortened my sits during that time to about 20 minutes because High EQ sits can take out a lot of energy, even though you aren’t so much exerting effort as having the energy just siphoned off by the atmosphere.
Consistency is key: Show up every day. Believe that it will come, because it will. But it will sneak up when you are looking at X, not when you are gunning for stream entry. If you feel doubt; fine, feel doubt. Sit with doubt. Just sit.