Jhanas: Magickal If Pushed, Mystical If Let Be

Resting in the Usual

Today I was super focused on my work, my eating choices and habits, and exercise. I was highly tuned in to my colleagues. One told me she loved my laugh. All felt wonderful. My engagement with dharma discussions has been mostly frustrating and confusing, so returning to the mundane ground feels like the only way right now. I feel like I’ve woken up from some obsessive dream. Everything feels wholesome and normal, except that we are all gonna die.

I don’t have a choice. I don’t know the goal. I thought I once did, but no one ever seems to finish. And people in the community doubt each other’s attainments. Then I doubt everyone and everything. Maybe this is why monks and others are forbidden from discussing attainments.

Sit with Equanimity but No Dice

My sit tonight felt deep and richly jhanic, although, wow, that Nothingness sure doesn’t ever stop changing!

I’ve been noticing that third jhana is where I tend to get lost. I drift into daydream or rumination there. Tonight, when I caught myself writing and rewriting DhU posts in my mind, I was surprised—as in “Who is doing this?” And I returned my mind to the here and now. But then I started wondering, mildly, why those thoughts were wrong, why off-task, why and how other than here and now.

Fourth was pristine and Equanimous. Neutrality is so neutral that it is not even pleasant. It just is. Maybe some of my background boredom, impatience, and frustration with dharma is carving off the pleasure. No matter.

Fifth. Okay, I’m working on exploring why this one has faded from glory so much. I’m also aware that I am not pushing myself out into space anymore. Instead, I simply let space show up and be where it wants to be.

Sixth is almost indistinguishable from fifth from the side of fifth. But once sixth blooms, there is something that shifts up higher, around the area of the head, whereas space is more whole-bodyless, haha! This state (j6), too, becomes more profound if I do not mess with it, do not push my “mind” into it. Just let whatever show up. The consciousness that shows up is luminous, mirror-refraction. This is indeed a profound state—magickal if you push, but mystical if you let it be. That it can offer either is interesting; I should reflect on this and explore.

Nothingness never stops moving, oddly.

NPNYNP—Well, again, I’m not sure I got it. I think so, but very briefly. This state is hard to enter. Like fruition, it seems to require and cause some forgetting. One can try too hard, but then one can relax too much with Nothingness. Tonight I found that I was too lax and relaxed. I had to push a bit, but as soon as I start pushing it is too much. So how to do eighth? Patience, probably. Which brings up my card draw for the night.

No fruition and no nirodha samapatti (but resolved). I’m too neutral. I’m thinking I better go back and read the MCTB2 sections on faith and energy, especially faith. But, then, for the past 6 months I seem to have had too much faith, too much magical thinking. Balance is an ever-moving target.

Colloquy with Pawel

Pawel, you state, “Patterns outlined by Daniel usually fit my own, though sometimes it is hard to tell what is what.” And this: “At the same time I do mean what I told you about boredom. There is no such thing, it is misinterpretation of what mind does, and because of that it can be quickly fixed by clearly seeing what mind is up to. Next time you feel bored then try to see what really mind is doing where this projection seems to be coming from and if that is really what mind projects.”

Yeah on the telling what is what. That’s why I’m trying to use the MCTB2 notation system, as an early adopter: Using it every day means I make mistakes, but the act of accessing and seeing mistakes, means this notation system helps make one more aware of where one is, which helps prevent bleed-through and aids insight by contextualizing it with what came before and may be coming. I know that sounds simplistic, but that is because I’m written out for the day. Anyway, I’m sold on trying to “know where I am” and note it every day. DW has said to me in the past that it the cycles can be confusing and not to try to figure it out; well, yeah, not worry about it, but do try to get better at seeing the stages/stages and subaspectss.

Indeed. I do know what you mean. I do, as you have said, look right at the “boredom.” And if that doesn’t yield immediate insights, that is fine. It has to be fine.

Daniel also told me recently that, if I feel strong renunciation of practice, then I can try going with that: Renounce everything. But he told me to do so privately, in my mind and heart, not publicly—which I can understand his saying since he is the one I bleed-through on. Haha! He said this can be very good practice and in fact is what led to his second path: He quit practicing for a few days and then got second while brushing his teeth, or something like that.

Seven of Pentacles

The Seven of Pentacles, reversed, shows the impatience side of a card that is generally about waiting. In reversed, the figure is so frustrated, thinking his efforts are all in vain, that he angrily castes way all his pentacles. Even so, this is generally a good card. Even in reverse it usually, though not always, means a good outcome. It warns against creating extra (unnecessary) drama, and enjoins one to keep one’s cool. Otherwise, situations and relationships can suffer. It also asks the questioner to return to the original intent and query deeply whether the outcome, though good, is really worth the journey.

Well, I don’t have a choice, now, do I? Can’t turn back and there seems no way forward.

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