Meditation advice ?

BlueKiwi

The Force is Strong With This One
I am hoping someone can give me some pointers or advice, or at least some explanation on this experience I had during a meditation.

Here's some background info :

As far as I know, meditation boils down to two types of approaches:

Inner silence, and Visualization. I learned and practiced the Inner silence. It was to help going to sleep, and help it did. I basically ended up with this method : Eyes closed, Relax the body, count my breaths (i.e give "monkey brain something to do" then try to make what I see in my mind and before my eyes blank, or black for as long as I can, and when I notice my mind wandering, just reset and continue.

At first it was hard to do this for any good length of time. I found I could only do it for for a few minutes, if that, then realize images are there again and my mind wandering. Then re-focus to keep the mind empty. But after a few tries, usually I end up asleep, probably from expending mental energy focusing.

So I used this for years, and got better and better at sustaining the "empty mind" for longer and longer periods. It also greatly helped my concentration in day to day activities.

I stopped doing it for a few years, since I didn't need it, and it didn't work as well as it used to to get me to sleep, but then I was in a new situation which was stressful, so I started using it again.

It was a few years after that I read a meditation guide that was very similar, yet was slightly different. The difference was that after you have given "monkey brain something to do" you shift your focus - though not quite focus, more like your "peripheral attention" to the point between your eyebrows, or just above. After almost a year, meditating in his way, I started feeling tingling on my forehead between my eyebrows - what I thought were bugs, like sand flies, so I started spraying fly spray etc. I would find the dead bugs sometimes. But it still worked for sleep. The more I did it, the more the tingling concentrated, into a point.

Eventually something interesting happened : All of a sudden I was immersed in what seemed like a bright white cloud, like being in thick fog, and there's headlight beams coming at you, and there's no direction, just like a swirling bright white all around.

So, I left that for a few months. My next attempt was similar, and I managed to "move" though the "white fog", then it was dark again, like outer space, floating around (or I may have been interrupted)

One point to make here is that I found that anticipation of anything immediately stops any progress in doing this "moving" through and exploring things in this way. But if you just let it flow, with no expectation (just the question / intent in your mind) then interesting things start to happen.

I also found the most important aspect of meditation is the intent of the meditation - what do you seek, or want answers to ? Don't anticipate anything, just let it come, sort of like asking a question, but not expecting the answer you want. There needs to be a purpose for it, a question for an answer to be given.

Anyway, The next one was the doozy.

I moved through the "white fog" and then I was in what looked like outer space, looking at a nebula. Kind of like the "crab" nebula. So I "Moved" towards it, and there was a point where I got this immense, and I mean really intense feeling of "coming home" and familiarity, and I remember thinking "Oh my God! I remember you! I'm back home!" and I felt like I was home, and it was like that comforting, and familiar feeling like when you get home after being away for a while, except multiplied a million times.

Then I "Moved" toward the nebula. Then the answer to my intent came. My intent was "What am I" And I was presented with (very hard to describe) I could see a winding tube, kind of like Dr. Who, but there were panels with moving images on the inside of people in various lives doing stuff, what I sensed were past lifetimes, showing the people I have been. The tube seemed to stretch on forever, and all around me I could sense everything was inherently connected, that nothing in the universe is "apart"

Then a vibration started growing, and emotion grew so intense I had no option but to "disconnect" and stop.

This intense emotion affected me for months afterwards, such that I was scared to even try anything like that again.
I'm tempted to try again because "they" keep telling me to meditate, but the intensity of the experience seems like I could never handle it again.

Any tips, pointers or advice would be most welcome !
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Master
With-seed meditation (sabija) is generally understood as a dangerous exercise of concentration, not meditation. Observing objectively (nirbija) generally aims at maintaining a relaxed (but focused) instantaneous physical parceptions, such as proprioperception or the sensations of pain and pleasure in the body. Inventing meditations is generally ill-advised, as a nirbija method easily slips into a sabija-type concentration exercise which will do more to imprint wishful thinking on yourself rather than tune you to objective reality.

The "Who Am I" meditation is a highly respected type of nirbija meditation - when conduced properly. The question is supposed to be intense and nonconceptual, and all emerging answers should be dismissed as finite and imperfect - neti, neti - while you focus deeper on the silent openness beyond concepts. Sri Ramana Maharshi was one of the most impactful proponents of that method. You might want to look at some of his words for reference.

Otherwise, there are only 2 meditation types I recommend, this forum's Eiru-Eolas, or Vipassana 10-day retreats. Pick the one that resonates most with you, tho I doubt Vipassana retreats will be occuring much in current confinement circumstances.
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Master
P.S.: Once you move beyond introductory levels of meditation, perceiving sensations of torturous or orgasmic intensity becomes more common. It is part of the challenge of maintaining a proper objective poise. You can't allow yourself to reject unpleasant sensations any more that you can seek the pleasant ones.

The state you describe as overpowering vibration would be described, in Vipassana tradition, as partial bhanga, dissolution of the structures of self-identity. It commonly feels as your body weightless, perceiving as if every atom of the body started floating in a cloud and vibrating, an incredible number of crawling ants of pleasure and/or pain, as if the shape of your Self was a cloud of orgasmic sensations. Getting scared at that and having deep emotions surge up is definitely part of the purification process, and you will naturally proceed deeper as you practice maintaining that meditative poise despite whatever you may perceive. Until then, there is no other answer to that white cloud than to nonconceptually face it, again and again, with concentration and equanimity as your guides. Best of luck!
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Hi BlueKiwi, what are the goals that you have for your meditation practice? What do you practice meditation for, and what outcomes are you hoping to achieve? Those answers will definitely inform the type of meditations, seeds, and practices you consider.

With-seed meditation (sabija) is generally understood as a dangerous exercise of concentration, not meditation.
You do know that Eiriu Eolas makes use of a seed meditation right? Why are you recommending it as a meditation practice if it's allegedly dangerous?
 

BlueKiwi

The Force is Strong With This One
With-seed meditation (sabija) is generally understood as a dangerous exercise of concentration, not meditation. Observing objectively (nirbija) generally aims at maintaining a relaxed (but focused) instantaneous physical parceptions, such as proprioperception or the sensations of pain and pleasure in the body. Inventing meditations is generally ill-advised, as a nirbija method easily slips into a sabija-type concentration exercise which will do more to imprint wishful thinking on yourself rather than tune you to objective reality.

The "Who Am I" meditation is a highly respected type of nirbija meditation - when conduced properly. The question is supposed to be intense and nonconceptual, and all emerging answers should be dismissed as finite and imperfect - neti, neti - while you focus deeper on the silent openness beyond concepts. Sri Ramana Maharshi was one of the most impactful proponents of that method. You might want to look at some of his words for reference.

Otherwise, there are only 2 meditation types I recommend, this forum's Eiru-Eolas, or Vipassana 10-day retreats. Pick the one that resonates most with you, tho I doubt Vipassana retreats will be occuring much in current confinement circumstances.
Thank you - I will spend some time contemplating this.
 

BlueKiwi

The Force is Strong With This One
Maybe try this instead?
Thanks ! I am going to try it soon :)
 

BlueKiwi

The Force is Strong With This One
Hi BlueKiwi, what are the goals that you have for your meditation practice? What do you practice meditation for, and what outcomes are you hoping to achieve? Those answers will definitely inform the type of meditations, seeds, and practices you consider.


You do know that Eiriu Eolas makes use of a seed meditation right? Why are you recommending it as a meditation practice if it's allegedly dangerous?
I thought about this for a while, but I guess ultimately I would like to explore the universe !
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Master
You do know that Eiriu Eolas makes use of a seed meditation right? Why are you recommending it as a meditation practice if it's allegedly dangerous?
It's dangerous because we are crunchy and tasty with ketchup. It's powerful and fairly easy to get off-target if improperly designed. I do not have a specific dogma against it, it was rather of a heads-up - that I wouldn't explore and spontaneously design with-seed experiences without knowing what I'm doing.

And that was what the description of his experience sounded like - his description sounded rather equanimous up to the white cloud phase, but then I could relate to his situation as the noisy mind comes up with various seeds to answer the question, who am I. At that point it'd be easy to shift focus from the jnanic "who am I" and into such a spontaneous seed, get excited, curious, induce mental turbulence and lose the meditative experience.

That is not to say that with-seed meditations are strictly avoided, even in traditions that underline those weaknesses - for instance, most of modern yoga (in the exoteric sense) is only with-seed exercises, and even advaita and jnana yoga use with-seed meditations as concentration exercises for the aspirant. In theravada buddhism, despite the core without-seed meditation of vipassana, the whole practice is embedded in a with-seed practice of metta meditation. Thus, to my understanding, there is no contradiction in recommending both Vipassana and Eiriu Eolas, the first from my more extensive personal experience, the second because I defer the the forum, which I regard as a significant part of my Sangha, and I judge it by its fruits, and find it nourishing.
 
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BlueKiwi

The Force is Strong With This One
I guess I can give some more information, if it helps. I wasn't really focusing on the "Who am I" question totally, it was really just a thing in the back of my mind, not the forefront. Also, it wasn't really "concentration", but "absence of noise" but I did briefly think about the question in the white cloud phase, which I guess led to the next part. So for 99% of the meditation, was blank mind. There were no physical sensations I was aware of, since I guess the first part is relaxing and removing all distractions initially.
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Master
It does sound like your meditation was very proper, following a parallel to my experiences' and those of other vipassana practitionners I've Worked seriously with. In the Vipassana tradition, there is usually a multi-day process of emptying the mind while maintaining focus. The more balanced your attention becomes, the finer the sensations you perceive; the spot of your attention starts tingling, sensations outside of your point of focus call at you but you go back to the focus.

This practice, called Anapanna, is practiced as an opening meditation, to sharpen attention with the meditative focus to physical sensations just below the nostrils. It's directly parallel to the type of work you were describing doing on your third eye, which is what caught my attention. Then, a prolonged period of practice is necessary to imprint and balance the experience - the sharpened point of focus is used to scan the entire body progressively, over and over, meeting all perceptions with awareness and equanimity.

That is the beginning of Vipassana proper, but is a step that you skipped (not that you could know about it) so it seems your practice instantly sled in the opening of the next step, the Bhanga stage, at which point the perceptions were too overwhelming to maintain precision and balance of attention.

From my personal experience, it seems likely that vipassana practice would stabilize that stage and allow further inquiry; that is why I was underlining that after the white-fog/non-anticipation phase, as your consciousness spontaneously asks 'who am i' and answers arise - that is when it is important to remain both non-conceptual and non-anticipatory, focusing not on the content of perceptions but simply allowing the fact of their perception while maintaining of the equanimity of your consciousness. It'd be easy to fall into a contemplative visualization of the meaning of this or that insight, and lose the trail, if you see what I mean.

As I said, from your description, you are on a pretty direct path to the blue pearl. I wouldn't do much except recommend formal practice colinear with your current understanding, which is why I made the suggestions I did.

I do wish you much insight on your path!
 

BlueKiwi

The Force is Strong With This One
It does sound like your meditation was very proper, following a parallel to my experiences' and those of other vipassana practitionners I've Worked seriously with. In the Vipassana tradition, there is usually a multi-day process of emptying the mind while maintaining focus. The more balanced your attention becomes, the finer the sensations you perceive; the spot of your attention starts tingling, sensations outside of your point of focus call at you but you go back to the focus.

This practice, called Anapanna, is practiced as an opening meditation, to sharpen attention with the meditative focus to physical sensations just below the nostrils. It's directly parallel to the type of work you were describing doing on your third eye, which is what caught my attention. Then, a prolonged period of practice is necessary to imprint and balance the experience - the sharpened point of focus is used to scan the entire body progressively, over and over, meeting all perceptions with awareness and equanimity.

That is the beginning of Vipassana proper, but is a step that you skipped (not that you could know about it) so it seems your practice instantly sled in the opening of the next step, the Bhanga stage, at which point the perceptions were too overwhelming to maintain precision and balance of attention.

From my personal experience, it seems likely that vipassana practice would stabilize that stage and allow further inquiry; that is why I was underlining that after the white-fog/non-anticipation phase, as your consciousness spontaneously asks 'who am i' and answers arise - that is when it is important to remain both non-conceptual and non-anticipatory, focusing not on the content of perceptions but simply allowing the fact of their perception while maintaining of the equanimity of your consciousness. It'd be easy to fall into a contemplative visualization of the meaning of this or that insight, and lose the trail, if you see what I mean.

As I said, from your description, you are on a pretty direct path to the blue pearl. I wouldn't do much except recommend formal practice colinear with your current understanding, which is why I made the suggestions I did.

I do wish you much insight on your path!
Thank you so much for your insight and expertise United Gnosis ! It is much appreciated :)
 
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