Reemergence of Cyclic Insight Stages

Past Progress of Insight

When I attained to Awake Awareness in July 2015, I blithely declared that either I was no longer cycling through the Progress of Insight stages, or the stages were so “drowned out” by openness and clarity that they were, for all intents and purposes, nullified. I did occasionally notice the Knowledge of the Arising and Passing Away (A&P) stage, with its hypomanic bliss and physical raptures, heightened sexuality, intensified interest in all things magickal, and desire to forgo sleep in favor of meditating or performing rituals all night. But these A&P emergences have been much milder than the ones I experienced for many years before Awake Awareness – well, until now.

Now, I am largely convinced I’ve just passed through an insight cycle over the past two weeks. I began with doldrums, progressed to sensations of anxiety (although I was strangely emotionally cleaved from them), awoke with misery for about a day, experienced nausea and disgust with everything, and even moved through Desire for Deliverance. Desire for Deliverance is a stage I used to experience intensely, every cycle, usually by kicking my meditation cushion away in favor of weeping and praying most of the night (what Daniel called “melodharmas,” haha). After Awake Awareness, this stage never emerged again, and I thought, “Oh wow! I’ve arrived.”

Current A&P and DFD

But not so fast. Last Night’s A&P with fractal Desire for Deliverance, ñ4.ñ9 in Daniel’s notation, was so intense that it was almost physically unbearable. I was flooded with energy all day, and spent much time researching how to help a young man who needs some stabilization. When I later practiced, with candles, in a hot bath, very intense love-compassion-bliss radiated out from my body-heart-mind to everyone and everything. I called in the Four Guests. I wept and prayed. Then I stopped and said to myself, “OMG! Am I in Desire for Deliverance or A&P?” After roaming the house and eating a sandwich to try to ground down through all the crazy raptures, I decided that I was in A&P (mostly) with a fractal stage of DFD within that. When I finally laid down to sleep, the raptures were so intense that I was trembling. It is a funny experience to want bliss to calm down just a tad.

The unique prominence and coherence of this post-awakening cycle, with its apparently not reaching Equanimity, makes me wonder whether some new level of insight is in the offing. There is never any way to tell beforehand, but unless I’m misremembering, intense cycles used to precede significant gains. Time will tell.

“Melodharmas” of Desire for Deliverance

I had one of those wonderfully profound sits tonight that I let go far past the bell, and far past bedtime, It was insight-oriented, but the meditation method itself kept changing, like gears noisily shifting, and jhana was always somewhere in the background. I just let what happened happen, since, if automaticity is the most notably consistent quality of practice since August, then I should probably look at that.

Desire for Deliverance

So much was happening so fast that I may not be able to capture impression of it here or even transcribe bare facts into words. That’s fine. Main things were rapid, heavy-handed state shifts past 3rd and a sudden shift
from Disgust to Desire for Deliverance (DFD).

I’m such a freakin’ baby during DFD, crying and praying and rocking with it all until peace pervades the rocking. I enjoy DFR, I have to admit. It reminds me of all those cathartic home comforts of being a praying, kneeling Christian while coming up. If it feels right, then I do it. (By the way, Daniel has a new passage about DFD in
MCTB2, and it basically advises just what I’m doing—to go with and into the longing for release, for enlightenment, to its utter depths.)

I felt remorse arise, too, for quarreling with Daniel about book stuff, and related process and communications stuff, over the weekend. Now he is sick and unable to even respond to my pile of proud, bitter emails. All will be well, though. This cyclic stuff will wear itself out, yet again, and something will remain. I can feel that now.

Rapid, Inclusive Noticing

Shifts were rapid, deep, and productive of space. I noticed as many sensations as I could, as rapidly and inclusively as I could, noticing the shifting among the senses and zone-limited body fields that incompletely
and transiently define me, while dropping in inquiries whether that were I.

Jhānic Boundless Consciousness and the Knot

Thoughts as such were not prominent, although I spent time at one point in Boundless Consciousness, and experienced that as a looping back into itself rhythmically, which makes me understand, I think, why Daniel uses the metaphor of unknotting, or untangling, as attaining fourth path: In the unenlightened, there is a segment not left where it is but brought recursively in, down, through, and around until it is this constriction, a knot, a welt, a lump, a thing, my very self.

I experimented with visualizing the knot, feeling it as such, which was really interesting: I experienced some sensations of constriction in my chest, around my heart. Oh, that pain feels like me. And then arose the vivid arrow of not directing anything. Motion, attention, and intention were instantaneous, gapless, always already here.

Choiceless Awareness and the Warp of Clarity Itself

Then I dropped the rapid noticing, opting to just sit in choiceless awareness, which is hard to do these days, oddly, even though months and months ago it was easy. I sort of started to feel out into all that surround-space, and then let the surround-space feel back into me (or whatever). 

So there was this rhythmic recursion. I also later allowed for there to be these disks of space that would slice through “me” and drag some of that me out the other side and into the spacious. Opening my eyes, I saw big ripples or eddies. These are hard to explain. They are like hot blown glass warped in clear air lines, not exactly lines of solid color or anything, but the extrasensory warp of clarity itself.

I had what seemed a couple of near misses of a cessation, but I’ll never know and it doesn’t matter. It will happen when I stop waiting for it, when I’m worn down as much as I need to be, when I’m disenchanted. When I’ve come to some kind of understanding. When path is not separate from this fruit, from just this.

Advice for Stream Entry

Tom,

My advice for stream entry is this: Once Equanimity arises, keep showing up for those sits, no matter what, even if it feels like you no longer know how to meditate, which is what happened to me. Show up and be gently curious.

My final Dark Night was so dark that during Desire for Deliverance I promised myself that I would never be lazy again, that I would not forget how intense this desire for liberation was, so when Equanimity arose, I did not make the mistake of becoming complacent, although I did have to learn, at the same time, how to widen my focus and let up on the kind of striving that seeks to screw things down with its regard.

I also had very intense faith that it would happen “to” me.