Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

awareness within the calm

bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
edited November 2013 in Meditation
I made an earlier discussion about my meditation experience but i feel as though i didn't go into detail so now i'm making another one. Alright well when i meditated, at first i struggled with trying not to think of anything, i eventually managed to get into an incredibly deep state of meditation but before i get to that at first i focused on just my breath and after a while i couldn't feel myself breathing and then i realized there is not breath, and as i got deeper i couldn't feel my body and i also realized there is no body, i was in such a refined state of mind that everything was really calm and peaceful and it felt so empty. And then i opened my eyes and i didn't think anything of it, i started reading the teaching of Ajahn Chah that perfectly describes my experience and he say this.


We must use upacara samadhi here, we enter calm and then, when the mind is
sufficiently calm, we come out and look at outer activity
Looking at the outside with
a calm mind gives rise to wisdom. This is hard to understand, because it's almost like
ordinary thinking and imagining. When thinking is there, we may think the mind isn't
peaceful, but actually that thinking is taking place within the calm.


Sabreanataman

Comments

  • I am happy you felt peaceful. May it be so.
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    Thank you Jeffrey
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited November 2013
    I used to have trouble meditating for a while i couldn't focus on my breath at first i couldn't stop thinking about stuff and i kept dozing within off within 15 minutes lol, now i can keep my mind still without any effort

    the state of mind that i can finally enter is like going into a pitch black room without being able to tell if your eyes are open or closed
    lobster
  • bookworm said:

    I made an earlier discussion about my meditation experience but i feel as though i didn't go into detail so now i'm making another one. Alright well when i meditated, at first i struggled with trying not to think of anything, i eventually managed to get into an incredibly deep state of meditation but before i get to that at first i focused on just my breath and after a while i couldn't feel myself breathing and then i realized there is not breath, and as i got deeper i couldn't feel my body and i also realized there is no body, i was in such a refined state of mind that everything was really calm and peaceful and it felt so empty. And then i opened my eyes and i didn't think anything of it, i started reading the teaching of Ajahn Chah that perfectly describes my experience and he say this.

    Cool.
    This meditation thingee works then?

    Entering and leaving a deep calm is a genuine 'result'. The danger is not deepening the experience but getting attached to the calm.

    Calm. Nice. Can deepen, why not . . .

    You have touched on an important aspect of 'empty'.
    Empty of frenzy, 'mind stuff', 'monkey mind jabbering'.

    You are doing vipassana? You have a pet monk/teacher/guide? It is a good resource if feasible.

    Can anybody do this at home with common ingredients we all carry around?
    You bet your dukkha we can . . .
    :clap:
    JeffreybookwormEvenThirdanataman
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    Thanks for commenting @lobster and you are right it would be a shame to not deepen the experience, i tell myself before i'm about to meditate to just let go and not attach myself to it
    EvenThird
  • Well if your mind is chaotic, all over the place and thinking all the time isn't that the present moment itself? So if you just observe the mind being chaotic you can never "fail" at meditation, stop trying to block out your thoughts or to think about nothing, that will do nothing for you but give you a headache.

    Here is a funny trick which will show you what I mean and I'm sure you have heard it before, try it right now if you like.

    Test 1:

    Sit for 1 minute after reading this line and during that minute try not to think of a pink elephant.

    ...

    Now maybe you succeeded for a bit, but most find they can not prevent thoughts about elephants from showing up. What's more, if that minute is over you will likely have ALOT of thoughts about elephants constantly popping up, you see what you resist persists.

    Test 2:

    Sit for 1 minute after reading this line and try to think as many thoughts as you can, it can be anything you like, just try to push as many thinking in those 60 seconds you can and see how you do.


    ...


    Now maybe you have noticed that when you aren't trying NOT to think, the mind will actually think less :)
    anataman
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Hi @bookworm,

    I think this is not an uncommon experience, but something I don't think everybody has yet reached, so consider yourself lucky. ;) Let me first say I think it is best to find a teacher. But if your situation is like mine, there may be none in your area or none that can tell you more about such experiences. (although you might find some contacts via the internet/email). I know a lack of support can be a bit 'frightening' or lonesome when encountering strange things, so that's why I'll try to say a bit about it although I do not consider myself a real good teacher of those things. So I'll also try to refer to some things I read about it to give you some more material that will explain how to build upon these states.

    When breath and body disappear, the mind has become more refined, so it is a good sign. It's sort of indescribable because language has not evolved words for it, but in my experience is true that it may seem like a darkness or a sort of 'nothingness'. (some seem to mistake it to be is the perception of nothingness, but it is far from that) My experience is also similar to yours in that thoughts will be gone even after the meditation. The little thoughts that do arise are likely to be contemplating thoughts connected with dhamma and are very clear.

    But when the mind is really refined there will be no "darkness". Instead in the place of that, there may arise a sharpness / happy feeling which is a preliminary image of the mind itself. This feeling may evolve into what is called a "nimitta", literally a sign (of mind). Finally these nimittas may take you into what are called the 'absorptions' or jhanas and those are what will be really transformative.

    To reach this nimitta & jhana I am not (yet?) skilled enough to help you further, so I'll refer to two descriptions that I've come across. One is Ajahn Chah's explanation and the other Ajahn Brahm's (one of his students). I would of course recommend to read the full things at the links.

    Ajahn Chah (you will recognize a lot in this talk):
    The external world gradually disappears from your awareness and the mind will no longer be going to perform any work on the outside. It's as if you've come inside your 'house,' where all your sense faculties have come together to form one compact unit. You are at your ease and the mind is free from all external objects. Awareness remains with the breath and over time it will penetrate deeper and deeper inside, becoming progressively more refined. Ultimately, awareness of the breath becomes so refined that the sensation of the breath seems to disappear. You could say either that awareness of the sensation of the breath has disappeared, or that the breath itself has disappeared. Then there arises a new kind of awareness - awareness that the breath has disappeared. In other words, awareness of the breath becomes so refined that it's difficult to define it.

    So it might be that you are just sitting there and there's no breath. Really, the breath is still there, but it has become so refined that it seems to have disappeared. Why? Because the mind is at its most refined, with a special kind of knowing. All that remains is the knowing. Even though the breath has vanished, the mind is still concentrated with the knowledge that the breath is not there. As you continue, what should you take up as the object of meditation? Take this very knowing as the meditation object - in other words the knowledge that there is no breath - and sustain this. You could say that a specific kind of knowledge has been established in the mind.

    At this point, some people might have doubts arising, because it is here that nimitta1 can arise. These can be of many kinds, including both forms and sounds. It is here that all sorts of unexpected things can arise in the course of the practice. If nimitta do arise (some people have them, some don't) you must understand them in accordance with the truth. Don't doubt or allow yourself to become alarmed.
    http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Evening_Sitting.php

    Ajahn Brahm:
    The fourth stage is what I call the “springboard” of meditation, because
    from it one may dive into the blissful states. When we simply maintain
    this unity of consciousness by not interfering,the breath will begin to
    disappear.The breath appears to fade away as the mind focuses instead on
    what is at the center of the experience of breath, which is awesome
    peace,freedom,and bliss.

    ..

    Now as I will explain further in the next chapter, when the breath
    disappears,all that is left is “the beautiful.”Disembodied beauty becomes
    the sole object of the mind.The mind is now taking the mind as its own
    object.We are no longer aware of the breath, body, thought, sound, or
    outside world.All that we are aware of is beauty, peace, bliss, light, or
    whatever our perception will later call it. We are experiencing only
    beauty, continuously, effortlessly, with nothing being beautiful! We have
    long ago let go of chatter, let go of descriptions and assessments. Here
    the mind is so still that it cannot say anything. One is just beginning to
    experience the first flowering of bliss in the mind.That bliss will develop,
    grow, and become very firm and strong. And then one may enter into
    those states of meditation called the jh›nas.

    ...

    Sometimes when the nimitta first arises it may appear dull. In this case, one should immediately go back to the previous stage of meditation, full sustained attention on the beautiful breath.
    http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books11/Ajahn_Brahm-Mindfulness_Bliss_and_Beyond-Chapters1-5.pdf
    I would recommend buying Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond because it is not fully on the internet - only the first chapters.

    But here is some more that I think you will also very much recognize:
    For some, when the breath disappears, the nimitta doesn't happen. No lights appear in their mind. Instead, they are only left with a deep feeling of peace, of emptiness, of nothing. This can be a very beneficial state and should not be belittled, but it is not Jhana. Moreover, it lacks the power to proceed any further. It is a cul-de- sac, and a refined one at that, but it is incapable of being developed further. There are a number of methods to bypass this state, generate the causes for nimitta, and go deeper into the Jhanas.

    Cultivate Sufficient Joy and Happiness (Pitisukha).
    The state above arises because one did not cultivate sufficient Pitisukha along with the breath. There was not enough delight when the breath disappeared, so mindfulness had no clear mental object of beauty to latch on to. Understanding this, one needs to put more value on developing delight when one is watching the breath, and cultivating that delight into a strong sense of beauty. For example, one may regard the breath as the messenger bringing you oxygen as a life supporting gift from the flowers and trees. The breath unites you vitally with all of the plant world, supporting one another with the pulse of the air. Whatever skillful means one employs, by paying careful attention to the beauty alongside the breath, the beauty will blossom. What one pays attention to usually grows.

    http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/books/ajahn_brahm_the_jhanas.htm

    I hope this all helps you and I hope I estimated your experience correctly. Keep in mind I'm only basing my analysis on one little post, so I may well be off here. For example, it may be that you got into this state using too much force, blocking thoughts instead of letting them fade out by doing nothing. Please be very mindful of that, because that wouldn't get you any further. It is a dangerous trap. Ajahn Brahms works that I quoted go into this in more detail, so I would advise you to read them. He also has talks on meditation (on youtube among other sources), which I can find for you if you are interested and have trouble finding them yourself.

    Have happy times. :) If you 'did' it right you will not easily forget these states and can build upon them. It's been a while since I've reached such a state (been too busy and attached lately), but they are not easy to forget and from now on you may be lost in the grips of meditation. ;) Not a bad thing, the Buddha said that is good.


    Please let me know if these descriptions above ring a bell and if they are helpful.

    Oh and don't get greedy. :D

    With metta,
    Sabre
    bookwormFullCirclelobster
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Also, I got the advise to keep reflecting on peaceful states as impermanent - to avoid attachments. I also think reflecting upon their non-self nature is important: how they arose spontaneously and the sense of "I" is vague or even totally gone (in absorption). I hope you recognized a bit of this.

    Again, not wanting to be a teacher, just a fellow practitioner. This is as far as my knowledge goes also. Just putting as much as I'm willing to share out here because although I think these states are not rare, it seems personal perspectives are - at least on the net.

    Metta again!
    Sabre


    PS: In my previous post "I do not consider myself a real good teacher of those things" should be "I do not consider myself a teacher of those things"
    bookwormlobster
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    Thank you so much @Sabre you understood my meditation experience perfectly i really appreciate you taking the time to help me better understand and i have a better understanding thanks to you and i have learned lot from what you said, i am truly grateful and yes there is one buddhist center not far from me, you're right it would really help to find a teacher
    lobster
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited November 2013
    @bookworm

    Glad to be of help. Again, I would really recommend reading fully the material I quoted. But take your time for it, of course. This is not a path to rush through.

    A buddhist center may really help indeed, but I want to say to you in advance that some people seem to think these experiences are not useful. From your experience you can probably tell that is not true. Or at least in mine it isn't, that's why I personally don't take people with such claims too seriously.. Not to be judgmental about them, but just to warn you that not all places teach the same things. That sort of came as a saddening surprise to me, that's why I say it. I'll of course leave it up to you to decide depending upon your experience. Even still having some fellow practitioners around you will be beneficial also if they practice a bit differently.

    With metta,
    Sabre
    bookwormlobster
  • I'm glad that you not only found peace but used it to further your awareness. Excellent work Bookworm.
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    Hey @Tessbaby and thank you its really kind of you to say and i wish you the best in your meditation as well
Sign In or Register to comment.