Insights into States and Stages
To sum up a bunch of days that I missed journaling, I will start by saying that I missed three days in a row because I was working so hard and long on MCTB2 that I lost track of time until I was falling asleep.
Excuse Me while I F*ck the Sky (A&P)
My stages seem to be 2 to 3 days long nowadays. I was in A&P about that long and just completely giddy the whole time, wondering aloud to DW how and why I ever say that I find this stage too crazy or agitating. It is, um, wonderful. . . . A&P is when I start enjoying the hell out of my private jokes and doing things like changing my screen name to “Not Troll.” Haha! I’m so fucking funny in the A&P, don’t you know! Then I go home and have sex with the air. Then I start pulling out my tarot cards, playing with burning sage, lighting my fire on the scent of cassia, and devouring my magick tomes. That’s how A&P comes and goes.
Then Sunday and Monday I was in Dissolution—stopped practicing and slept deeply every chance I got. This is typical Dissolution for me: just sleepy and sleeping a lot.
Special Delivery (Disgust)
I didn’t notice Fear this time, but maybe a touch of brief Misery. As usual, Disgust made its appearance, as evidenced by yet another emailed letter that arrived to its recipient [Daniel] at the same time as gifts sent to same during the A&P by snail mail. Ah, the absurdities that the time gap between email and snail mail makes of insight stage dovetailing! Although . . . valid issues here, not just stage-based complexity. Still, stage may be involved in actions, speech-acts. This is all so very confusing.
Jhana-Arcing up to the Babble (Low Equanimity)
Past few days I think I was in low Equanimity—babbling mind during sit, feeling like my concentration was crap, but proceeding up the jhanas anyway, babble or no. I’m still unsure how it is that it doesn’t matter whether all kinds of discursive thought go on while jhana-ing, but there you go: Jhana happens even while heavy thought goes on. This is Low Equanimity. (I really should try to use Daniel’s notation system throughout.)
Wednesday night, during my pleasurable sit, around transition from sixth to seventh jhana, with sudden onset I started aching moderately all over and suddenly burst into tears for no reason other than those mild aches! As suddenly, the crying just stopped. Like it wasn’t real. Totally crazy. The 3Cs type of achiness is also a Low EQ thing that hits me almost every time I’m there.
Nothingness—It’s Really Something (J7)
I have been noticing during my sits that that seventh jhana (Nothingness) has profoundly present characteristics. So Nothingness is not nothing. It is richly black and fluxes with a roiling liquid motion. Black roils out of black and yields something like a texture that feels like cold liquid gold. No idea where that image is coming from, because I don’t mean that is what I actually see. It is more the feeling of it: Chilly roiling black-on-black coldness with gold highlights of the next glinting roil. Rich. A dwarf’s underwater cave of liquid gold.
Upper Formless Realms on the Move (J8)
Wednesday night I managed to stay in eighth for a short interval. This is a remarkable state. It is extremely refined, thinned out, and light gray. It is not definite enough to be black like Nothingness. It is very easy to fall out of, so it is not a state to pursue during a rushed sit. That creates too much time pressure, which causes one to feel like it has to be noticed, which causes fall out from the state.
Both Nothingness and Neither Perception nor Yet Nonperception have motion to them, although with NPNYNP it is extremely hard to discern what is moving where or in what direction. I have been thinking that I need to make them “stable” so that they are not so intrinsically mobile. But now I’m thinking that the way to approach these two states is to let them do whatever they do, to relax more. Give them plenty of time and space. If this is insight, well, yep. It is. Nothingness fluxes. NPNYNP doesn’t know whether it is coming or going. It is a colorless, yet light electric gray, transfixion of going out and collapsing. NPNYNP is where I generally have momentary total dislocations, frequently followed by a wave of something somewhere. Is it movement, or isn’t it?
During my group sit at work today, the bell rang at 30 minutes, and I had great reluctance and difficulty pulling out of the formless realms. In fact, I dutifully opened my eyes to rejoin my companions and was surprised to find how gone my body still was and remained for a long time. I really don’t like ending jhana abruptly like this. It feels better to slowly come back down to first. The lower ones are very strongly discerned on the way down.
Pure Land (Custom Jhana)
Last night was extremely deep. The gratitude feeling is strong, more steady, and expansive rather than coming in waves. I was lying down on my back, on my bed, during this part of the meditation. Purity is intense. Tears are as clear as angel wings are white. In the depths of it, whispering through my teeth: “It just is, just is, is, is, is!” I had visions. There was an altar, some high priest or teacher, my gazing into and drinking a chalice of tears before both altar and teacher, and then exploding into a fireworks of cool white orchid petals slowly falling back down to earth. This is the myth of grateful and undying loyalty and love.
I marvel that I have anywhere to write such things unabashedly. I could never do so upstairs [in the DhO]. But I trust you understand. Love to you all. Come and get it while I’m feeling it and dispensing it!