Beginning Prominence of Boundless Consciousness over Boundless Space
1:43 p.m.: ñ16.ñ11.j1
Review, low Equanimity, meaning boring, flat, babbling, and annoying. There is not much to say about this sit or day. Low Equanimity is easy to diagnose for myself: My concentration feels unsustainable, I’m plagued by pinprickly sensations and random itching, my mind slides into talking to itself, and I can’t really get any bliss or metta going. My mind seemed to gravitate to first jhana, strangely enough. Maybe at tomorrow’s lunchtime sit I’ll climb to a higher Equanimity.
I’m really wanting to be done with MCTB2, but patience is in order. I am still feeling somewhat renunciative, as if I miss my old life, am in a dharma rut, or something. Well, it is just the low Equanimity mood: magic all gone.
6:00 p.m.: ñ16.j2.ñ11.j2.j3, or ñ16.j2 (ñ11.j2.j3)
The notation means that I’m in the 16th insight stage (Review) and in the second jhanic aspect (j2) of that stage, which is “stabilizing” after Reobservation.
Inside this big Review stage are cycles, and my current one is the 11th insight stage, Equanimity, second jhanic aspect, which is “early mastery” of the stage, wherein clarity is high, prolonged sitting is easy, formations are becoming clear, spatial quality is panoramic, and anticipation is starting to climb.
For those of you following along at home—I’m working with Daniel on making a bunch of MCTB2 tables to standardize and convey with descriptions his notation system. I’m asking him whether it would be okay, once we’ve finalized the tables, to make them available to the Underground early. When Part II of MCTB2 is posted, read it, too, for full understanding.
Friday Workplace Group Sit in “Early Mastery” Equanimity
Wow. What a great session; I didn’t want it to end, and 30 minutes is way too short for some in this group at work.
I didn’t spend long in j1 before I was in j2 and then j3. I practiced metta from j3, starting with my husband, then my son, and then my personal friends, with special attention to my friends who have serious health problems and diseases. I was about to move into sending my dharma friends metta when suddenly—BAM!—I was in j4, with a beautiful violet nimitta, violet being my usual nimitta color.
I actually “tried” to return to j3 to finish metta for my dharma friends, but I “couldn’t” and, in more subtle nonwords than I’m about to write, thought, “Fuck it—dharma friends, you are on your own today!”
Fourth Jhana Center of Gravity and Almost Motionless Full Nimitta
So j4 was the center of gravity for this sit, and a beautiful sit it was. Interestingly, my violet nimittas usually visually “bloom” and “unbloom” fairly continously and quickly—but today, and really sometimes in the past few sits, the nimitta blooms slowed down dramatically, becoming almost still and abiding in solid state. The violet gave way to white, which filled the “visual” field behind closed eyes. I have had brighter ones, but this was pretty enough and reminded me of the one I got in Washington DC in January, the one that turned into a gigantic 3D sphere in real space before me in my hotel room in Georgetown.
I opened my eyes for a few minutes to see what was going on vipassana-wise. The vibrations were very slow and soon gave way to my noticing larger swaths of attention-space, how they integrate all sense doors, including thought, and move that way, gigantically whole. The room we meditate in has these huge panoramic windows that look out on the ground floor into a canopy of trees. I was especially taken with the fact that I saw each and every tiny movement of the branches moved by gentle breezes, but all the individual movements seemed of a warp-woof piece, and then time synced too, and I had that distinct feeling of “agencylessness”—which is, more accurately, simply the temporal dimension of this all-of-a-piece-ness.
The Crucial Role of Forgetting in Fruition
I had a consciousness discontinity in j4 that I believe was a fruition, but it wasn’t as clearly so, with as intense a bliss afterwave as the ones I recently had out of j8. To get clear fruition, I have to be really taken over by a reverie so permeating that I forget I’m even meditating. That’s odd, when you think about it: It feels like presence has to drop out, “mindfulness” in fact, for the thing to happen. It is a surrender, and I’m apparently stubborn as hell against surrendering, though I don’t think of myself that way. Yeah, too effortful and energetic. This enters into the way I evaluate my sits as “crap” or as “good,” which evaluation is likely a bad habit.
Formless Realms Wrenched Out of Fourth Jhana
The sits at work are only 30 minutes, so I needed to climb to 8th. However, leaving j4 felt wrenching, so I probably should have just stayed there, especially since I’m in Equanimity (vj4). However, the formless realms are aspects of j4, so climb I did by turning my attention exclusively to the spaciousness of this state.
I no longer usually stay in j5 long. It is formless, and truly so, and the bodily sense of it is mental only, but for that reason I’m likely to move quickly to j6 these days.
Then j7 was a bit difficult to hold. It had some j6 bleeding through, along with some vibration. I tried to detune from that and got j8 momentarily, I think, but all this was a bit too rushed, because I lacked the time for a longer sit. Anyway, I came out, resolved to get NS (but not right then, at work!). Then, when nothing happened, I resolved to get fruition. That didn’t happen either. From there I was able to radiate some gratitude and love to those who were short-changed in my fourth-jhana metta takeover.