Oscillation in Itself and Intention as Mental Echo

Illusory echos and boundaries

The Meta-Pattern Across Sits Now

Remarkable sit in the wee hours. Remarkable oscillations. At the highest level of consideration, I’m oscillating between profound sits with profound hard jhanic states, boundless, and noticing—and then crappy sits that feel like I no longer even have access concentration. I wonder what this pattern is about. The main possibility it brings to mind is simply how not in control I am of this path.

I’m in new territory, this pattern of oscillation, and it came to the fore with that tree that I saw that way the other day—with the thoughts of the tree and the sight of the tree all with the tree, with nothing on this side while those flowed yet stayed. Before it happened I experienced about 5 minutes of oscillating over here and over there. It wasn’t subtle.

I’ve spent many weeks now actually “falling” into Boundless Space (j4.j5), even at work while sitting at my desk. I’ve been interested in its spatial reach and the sense that it is a thing, but what manner of thing? And where do “I” go when I’m feeling out into that seeming expanse and nothing is left in the center? There is an aural component to fifth jhana—multitudes of pitches, some tonight very high and loud. I open my eyes and everything is kind of warping, rocking, and so much of what I would identify with as “me” is out there, in the space felt into. 

There is not synchronization; in fact there is marked lack of synchronization. That is interesting.

Trailing-behind as Mental Echo

I tried turning my attention, by turning my eyes, to different things in the room. This motion produced a distinct sense that “I” was trailing behind my own movements. For several weeks this sort of experiment has produced only an unpleasant ratcheting effect. But now the motion is smooth yet still not in sync with what is happening somehow. I can clearly see this fact: There is turning of attention, which is motion, and then there is the constellation of my thought, being, and even intention trailing behind it.

So next in this sit I found that this Boundless Space flipped over into Boundless Consciousness that was hard, hard, hard—meaning utterly pervasive and present. I tried to see if I could flip back and forth between Boundless Space and Boundless Consciousness, and I could, sort of, and I noticed this gap in the turnaround, which in itself is interesting, vertiginous. But Boundless Consciousness is arising hard now, ever since I saw that intention trailing behind my actions. 

I wonder if this is what DreamWalker means by “thought as an echo.”

Consciousness, even though “boundless,” seems like a thing, but it is odd as such. I have to wonder how it is that I’m aware of and can observe this thing-y “consciousness.” It makes no sense to split this way, yet how else would what we call consciousness work? 

Well, I’m in mid-Equanimity stage, quite evidently, at least for tonight, so thoughts, reveries, arise easily, just like all the sensory flow-forms in the room. I went with them, the thoughts, setting observation of consciousness itself aside. 

The thoughts were visionary and realm-like. Deep in meditation, I saw silver leaves flapping back and forth, revealing structures, church steeples in a chilly predawn purple. At one point I saw my own face and eyes from when I was about 19, the long blonde ringlets, the dilated eyes, paleness.

The Forgetting–Toward Nonduality

Then, I can’t remember what I was dreaming of, but suddenly I was aware that all those thoughts had been happening without me, literally without that sense even of consciousness or awareness, but with just this new and subtle but positive sense of the absence of that. This is important somehow. I should try seeing these matters this way during the day, not just when sitting. This is what Equanimity is about, this forgetting and then retrospectively seeing what was left behind, the bother that didn’t need to happen, and doesn’t need to happen. And it is like the tree. It is like intention.

I resolved hard. I have sat with the intensity of my yearning to be enlightened.

May it be. May the path come on. May it end this separateness. May it be for the benefit of all.

Between Something and Something: The No-Mapping Zone

Equanimity or Crap

Well, I’m oscillating between something and something. DreamWalker recently told me that he doesn’t really drive himself crazy trying to pin down what part of the Dark Night (DN) is showing up: It is just “crappy” or its “equanimity.” I’m finding that perspective less stressful thannhyper-mapping. 

Mapping Difficulties after Stream Entry

It seems that after first path, things become much harder to map much of the time. If I had to guess, though, I’d say I’m oscillating between Low EQ and Mid- or High EQ. All those itchy, pin-prickly things and boredom occur for me in Low EQ, and I’ve been there enough times to clearly see that pattern. Low EQ is surprisingly kind of crappy—for me, anyway, but it is much, much better than DN, which goes to the bone. This crappiness is much more superficial, with a lot of thoughts just roiling on the surface and with the feeling that I don’t know how to meditate anymore.

Reobservation Seldom a Thing for Me

The odd thing about Reobservation is that it tends to be the one part of the DN that doesn’t show up clearly for me. Dissolution, Fear, Misery, Disgust, and Desire for Deliverance are very clear—they were especially so prepath, crystal clear. But after Desire for Deliverance, I just sort of experience a weird mixture of mild ordinariness/boringness and crappy feelings. The alternating “good” sessions are based in Boundless Space and feel very much like Mid-High EQ.

The Confusion of Second Path

Second path is confusing. I had a brutal DN in the last prepath stage, but at least what was going on was clear. This feels much more like I’m just on a ride, and it is usually a surprise where a sit takes me. I seem unable to plan or predict how a sit will go, whereas my sits were consistent and progressively skillful prepath; I really did plan how they would go. Aha! Something interesting there, no doubt.

Diminishing Delusion of Control

I’m guessing that there is some utility or usefulness to the crappy-feeling sits, and to the oscillation, feeling that I’m not in control of this thing. Prepath, I was so, so resistant to the DN that I stopped practicing, went on antidepressants, and tried to blot out what was happening to the extent possible, which wasn’t very possible. I never learned any “lesson” from that DN except that suffering can make you want to do
anything to end it. I never developed any equanimity toward it, never even tried,
because that would have been laughable.

This time, I’m trying hard to go into whatever pain and suffering presents, but this is hard work. It is amazing how strong the impulse is to recoil from shame, humiliation, rejection, and just plain aches and pains.