First Attempt at Attaining to Nirodha Samapatti

Following Daniel’s public instructions and private encouragement, I tried for nirodha sampatti tonight, but I couldn’t do it. What I noticed about the sit is that it was on the vipassana side much more than on the samantha jhana side—a lot of vibrations, flickers, tingling, and so on. In the third vipassana jhana (vj3), the center was grayed/blacked out, and the vibrations were more like jagged lines in the periphery. Boundless Space (sj5) was clean and unforced where it used to be, and sometimes still is, thick and compelled. Boundless Consciousness (sj6) is almost seamless with Space.

Nothingness (j7) Intensely Vibratory

Nothingness was intensely vibratory. At one point I saw flashes of colbalt blue and vivid red, so what the . . . ? I mean, it is supposed to be Nothingness, right?

I have seen tiny glimmers of white, like glitter, in Nothingness before. This was the first time I’ve seen flashes of color, and these were for but a fraction of a second. Oddly, Nothingness is the most vibratory and strobing of all the states for me. When I emerge from it, I’m tingling hard all over my body. And while in it, it visually sparkles, roils, or varies from itself somehow, even though it is very black.

Eric asked whether vibratory sj7 was perhaps fractal. Maybe sj7.sj2? But, actually, I was experiencing a lot of upsurge of exhilarating Fear during this sit, the whole way through. So maybe vj6.sj7? Or even vj6.sj7.sj2.

Stabilization of a Jhana by Working the One Above It

Whatever jhana I think I’m working on stabilizing, it normally turns out that the one below it is the one that strengthens. This is an interesting observation. I work above what I’m really ready for, and the effect is that it matures the jhana below it. Working above my cutting-edge jhana stabilizes the lower jhanas. So, to stabilize seventh, I work on eighth and then find seventh automatically stronger. This is an important practice tip: Don’t stay in a lower jhana just because it isn’t yet perfectly stable; it may well be that working above that jhana will automatically finish the one below it.

I just need to spend more time on Nothingness and NPNYNP. I’m naturally drawn up to them quickly.

Hmm, well, I just looked at MCTB2 instructions, and I’m doing it wrong! Daniel says one goes into eighth, then emerges to that post-eighth junction point, and then sometime after that, nirodha samapatti just happens without warning. Sounds bizarre. I was thinking it happened after a few moments in eighth, but that is not how Daniel lays it out. So this fits with my noticing that stabilization of X comes with going to Y. 

Resolve Over Time as a Condition

Daniel also says thinking about it and intending it for days or weeks beforehand can help it happen. I think that nirodha samapatti has to be intended and tried more than a few times before it happens. I’m merely curious, but I was also a bit psyched out, I admit. It is probably premature for me to be trying for N.S. Failing to get it may just frustrate me, but oh well. I also think I’m currently psyching myself out with regard to N.S. If I keep trying for a while and finally give up, maybe I’ll relax enough to let it happen. Or not.

 

Formless Realms and the Sense Sphere

So, if anything, it is deepening, settling in, chasing itself down every last circuit.

Tonight—really hard jhanas, including formless realms, through sixth, Boundless Consciousness (j6), which I stayed in longer than I did the others. Incredibly rich and solid. Around this point in time, I felt no intention gap before or after action. This is a dream-like marionette effect. It is smoothing out and becoming less “creepy.” Months ago it had a harsh, ratcheting effect and was creepy.

Got seventh (j7). Got eighth (j8), which is some kind of flippin’ weird, like being caught between a light shorting on and a thunder clap popping it off, so, yeah, the name for the state (Neither Perception nor Yet Nonperception)  is appropriate. There is something like electrical shorting about it. I will need to stabilize these two states. I’m not able to hold them long before falling out of them, but I’m definitely hitting them.

I went up the jhanic arc over about 50 minutes from first to eighth. Then I came down through each one rather quickly. When I arrived back down at second, the flashing scattering lights started up, as in A&P.

During the day, I continue to be completely enraptured with the sensual world. Life is shining from within things, an engulfment by light. I now know why thought is considered a sixth sense.

Hurrah for Nothingness and  Siddhis 

I have two new phenomena to report: Nothingness and siddhis. First, I think I got Nothingness (j7) last night, but I’m not really going to draw that conclusion firmly until I can reproduce it and steady it again and again. I was actually trying to practice insight in Equanimity, but damned if that just isn’t happening lately: The jhanas seem to be taking over and taking me for a ride no matter what I try to do otherwise. 

Practice in Accord with Nature and Intuition

One thing I seemed to realize last night, after sit, was that the jhanas have been prodding me to move along, up the arc, whereas I’ve been “stuck” in weakened jhana states because I didn’t just go along with whatever new one was leading the dance, or “trying” to. Instead I assumed that I wasn’t “ready” for the new one, precisely because the lower one was worn out or weakened or something, so I stubbornly tried to strengthen the lowers ones, not realizing that I was supposed to let go and move on.

I’ve been a little frustrated lately with how dense I am in practice. For whatever reason, I seem to have been smarter before August. Probably another illusion, but whatever.

Gigantic Bright White Nimitta in Real Space before Me

Secondly, while in a hotel suite in Georgetown Saturday night, in the early (dark) morning hours, after an intense talk with my son for most of the night, I sat in a kitchen chair in the cross-talk of two loudly humming opposing heat fans. I was sleep deprived, but alert and interested. A spherical white nimitta filled my Washington DC hotel room and appeared to be a window or portal into another world. Again, vipassana just wasn’t going to come on, so I relaxed into samatha, rose to j4, and then quickly had a big bright pure white visual nimitta, with my eyes closed. The cross-hum of those fans made everything really otherworldly, nicely so. My nimittas are usually a lavender color, slipping into white only briefly now and then. This was the first time I had a bright white one, right off the bat, and saw it grow mammoth, filling the kitchen, and stabilize. Oddly, this didn’t surprise me. When I opened my eyes, in the dark, lo—the nimitta remained and in fact grew huge and 3D spherical, filling the hotel room. Then it became a kind of door into somewhere else and there were blooming roses with skulls in the folds, fountains of flowing dust, Buddha images—all kaleidoscopic projections on or from within the orb.

So, much new territory this week, consisting of 3D, before-me manifestations and maybe Nothingness. It is funny that before I wrote this, this past week felt like a meditation failure. I am “supposed” to be working insight, moving toward second path. Every time I try to investigate my frustration, because that is the chief thing, either I get nowhere or jhana takes over. 

Is this a trap? Is it avoidable? Should it be?