Clusters of Cessation-Fruitions
Characteristics of stage and sit are as follows:
♦ No good idea where I am.
♦ Mind babbling most of this sit, yet I seem to rise up through the jhanas anyway, regardless of thinking. Can one really think this much and still be in jhana?
♦ Slept 11 hours Saturday night, which I needed. Dissolution?
♦ Crazy dreams I’ve been having for months have suddenly stopped.
♦ Had little surges of fear early in the day. Fear?
♦ Had some arising of misery, but nothing really heartfelt. Misery?
♦ Maybe mini-Dark Night.
♦ Have had strong feelings past few days that I need to return to my nondharma life—grounding, flight from obsessions.
In Sphere of Nothingness, I’m pretty sure I had a decent fruition tonight—There was a reverie of some sort that suddenly arose, some idea that I could dive into Nothingness, something like that, but then a forgetting, and then bam, I was gone. Then I was back (in Nothingness), a warm intense bliss wave rose up, like a flush.
I didn’t get a good entry into eighth tonight, but the post-spot is wonderful—I’ve been continuing resolutions for nirodha samapatti from here.
PL (custom) Jhana—OMG, I thought I wouldn’t get this tonight because I’m so neutrally, but then it came on suddenly, and a few minutes later a second, more persistent wave of it came on and it was just incredible! This is an amazingly divine and healing state, and damned fun!
Questions esp. for Daniel at DhU Hangout are as follows:
Most of us, I think, have lately been sensing that there is something crucial about mastering the jhanas—crucial to insight and therefore enlightenment, despite separation of the Three Trainings. And I was driven to work on the jhanas after both paths. Is this part of anagami trap–delusions, or are we right that there is something crucial here?
Nothingness—Often, oddly enough, this state seems to have more going on in it than the others: More fluxing, strobing, even sometimes flashes of something, roiling of black on black, dimension itself, even dream-like hints of images that are obviously mental like a dream. For weeks I was getting air hunger here, but that seems to have passed and now knocks me out of eighth. Anyway, it seems that because there is so much turning away from and contraction, there is a much keener sense of remainder, background presence—or there can be. However, last night I seemed to have a decent fruition from within this state—I was fixating on the nothing within the Nothingness, the blanks, and then there was reverie, gone completely, and then back in Nothingness, and then bliss wave. Odd. I don’t notice that I have fruitions except in clumps for a week or so every few months, and they are more annoying than impressive. This was semi-impressive and insightful. Nothingness is really something!
From within eighth, which is hard for me to stay in for long—I am having these odd little clicks or blips, not like the more full-on fruition, but really rather annoying and more like head drops in a way, only they are more like spasms of being out, unconscious for a second, and then instantly back but dislocated, like a jerk, but I’m not sure it is physical. What are they? They seem to disrupt the state and knock me out of it because I can’t help but pay attention to the big jerk that just happened, and then I’m self-aware, and then out of the state. Many happen in a row. I’ve even wondered if they are a weird kind of seizure.
So-called Pure Land jhanas—I find these super easy to attain and just heavenly. However I recently had some odd things suddenly arise in them: a massive reverie ending in an explosion of orchid petals (A&P Event), and then during the recent very hard Reobservation this horrible blackness, like a dead seal flipped up on the heavenly beach, and I was suddenly choked with sobs. WTF? How can these stage extremes be happening from within PL? Is this just a coincidence? Have you ever heard of something like this?
What do I do with this profound doubt?
Vasily already gave me the correct answer. Yet still I ask, and still the asking is unsatisfactoriness. I guess I will be caught in this tangle until I’m not.
Perceptual Shift and Daniel’s Suggestions
I had a lovely day today. I finally caught up on my sleep, although I’m a bit stressed about how much paperwork and work-work I’m behind on. I’m also beginning to miss some of the things I did before I spent almost all my spare time on MCTB2. I need to work in more exercise, sleep, and that is about it without compromising the Prime Directive.
I’m also grateful to have had this opportunity to work on this edition. I’ve learned so much from Daniel as a result, and I have enjoyed getting to know him personally.
Perceptual Shift Endures (So Far)
Anyway, I had presence and enough of a break today to really notice just how changed perception really is—how so much more of what used to be me, side with me, seems to inhere in objects, vivifying them and making them direct, one with apprehension.
Music is something I feel almost tactilely now, somehow because distance is a fiction of the past. The sound actually has texture, feeling. The snow and little licks of green grass that poke through glisten with aliveness. I stood at twilight and stared down at them for some long, quiet minutes. Meanwhile, my body and body field have that intense sort of “gone” feeling characteristic of Boundless Space (j5). One way that I know I got a path is that this constant Boundless Space feeling has not been this strong since right after my first path.
At the end of our recent call, which was about an hour long, I talked to Daniel briefly about this shift. He had heard from Tommy [while they were on the kasina retreat in Scotland] that I thought I got another path. I told him that the shift came days before the cession-fruition. He stated that, yeah, it is a somewhat academic question whether shifts bring about the path fruition, or vice-versa.
I told him my new hobby was staring, and he laughed the laugh of the knowing. I mentioned that the night beforehand I figured out that the jhanas were no longer driving, that I was the driver now or nothing happened. I told him I can call them up, even out of order. He was excited about that, and said, “Although the other way was good for showing no-self, this is great for moving into mastery, and mastery is good.” He went on to explain that mastering the states and stages can help even everyday life, for one can even delay or move fast through a specific stage to accommodate life demands. I told him that I suddenly found myself able to spout the dharma and meditation advice like never before. I gave some example. He said, “Nice!”
So all that grief he gave me, sneering at my first-path claim—well, none of that this time, surprisingly. Thank goodness. So much for the hazing. . . .
Daniel suggested that I practice jhanas by trying to hold to one as long as possible, resisting the urge to bail out to the next one. Then, when I can’t hold back any longer, let fly rapidly into the next jhana. He said that this way I would be able to observe the new jhana intensely and suddenly “bloom,” that I would learn a lot of detail about the jhanas this way.
He also suggested calling up the stages of insight and intensifying them. For instance, call up Fear and see just how terrifying I can make it. He explained that when one is controlling the intense Fear, so to speak, it becomes so much less debilitating when it arises during cycling.
I’m recording all this here so that I don’t forget.
Tonight I simply moved up the jhanas. Third (j3) was notable tonight, very clear, whereas I usually have a hard time discerning third. The coolness, the wider focus, the out-of-phase aspect, and nausea were there. Nausea is my main sign of Disgust, so there is definitely the sense now that the stages and states go on at the same time and relate to each other.
I usually miss Second these days, but I learned from the MCTB2 draft that the key to Second (j2) is really tuning in to the pleasure. This works.
Fourth (j4) was grand. Fifth (j5) was amazing, really rich, deep, and stable. Sixth, Consciousness (j6), is very interesting, but there is something disconcerting about it.
Seventh (j7) I get by tuning into the areas of spaciousness where nothing seems to be going on. I also deliberately narrow my focus. Oddly, Nothingness does have characteristics. There is even a sense of change or sparkle in the blackness. One odd thing tonight was that a candle I had lit suddenly flared up while I was in Nothingness. I opened my eyes, and the experience of being so bodiless and far gone was impressive. I blew out the candle and returned to my sit.
I think I touched in on Eighth (j8), Neither Perception Nor Yet Nonperception. Wow, that is a weird one, and I really want to nail it and spend some time there! My Seventh and Eighth are shaky and unstable. I’ll have to work some more on them.
I tried for Pure Land 1 and even fruition. Neither happened. An hour is just not long enough for a sit anymore.
I’ve learned from this new ability to call up the states by number that they are scripted, fabricated—like everything else.
The afterglow is amazing, and it was hard to come back to reality. I’m too blissed out to sleep or write with effort enough to make results interesting. Ah, well!
Copies of Me with Strange Dropouts
I think I need to study Pawel’s crazy practice notes. He certainly has a unique take.
My sit was again very strange tonight. I’m immediately “falling” into rich, deep states that have many really hard shifts. I have no idea what these states are. I fall into them, shift up, down, up, down, sideways, even, but I don’t seem to really go anywhere, oddly. I’m not exactly in Boundless Space or Boundless Consciousness. Tonight I seem to be partly in insight stages of Fear up through Disgust, and partly in these undefined jhana states.
With eyes closed, I feel “copies” of me vibrating around in and outside of me.
I’m having all these dropouts but no bliss response, so I cannot confirm that I’m having any cessation-fruitions.
Strong State Shifts
I took up Shargrol’s suggestion. I ritually scrubbed out the big master bathroom tub, filled it with warm water and peppermint-eucalyptus Epsom salts, soaked long, donned clean pajamas, straightened my meditation area, and lit my bee’s wax sanctuary candle. The candle scent is Rapture, which is Patchouli and Cassia.
Well, if I had no other sign I were post-path again, there would be that I’m dropping directly into jhana states that are so deep, rich, and strangely vibratory (like several instances of “me” are shaken around just beneath and just above my skin), that I don’t know where I am. I mean I got Jhana 1, 2, 3 (cold back), and then I didn’t know where I was. My body was gone, but I didn’t really sense boundless space or consciousness. Maybe I stayed in Jhana 4, but it was such a heady version of it, if so, that I really can’t say where I was.
Also, multiple times I felt these intense shifts even deeper—really not smooth and subtle, but grinding-down shifts. Very in-your-face state, whatever it is.
About 15 minutes in I said aloud, “May I awaken as quickly as possible for the benefit of myself and all other beings.” Then I simply sat. After about a minute, I guess, the weight of those words imploded, with a whole-bodymind shift in and down.
I don’t know what these states are. I don’t think I’m having fruitions. I think I’m having strong state shifts.
I’m not sure what to do with states that I can’t identify, let alone control. Enjoy the ride, I guess.
I’m grateful to Shargrol, to DreamWalker, and to Daniel for supporting me and my practice so generously.