Mailbag: Generating Piti and Sukha on the Breath

Today’s question asks how to generate piti (rapture) and sukha (bliss) with the breath as the object in concentration meditation.

Ram wrote:

Okay, so you gave me this advice a week ago, and I’ve been practicing it for a week. I have a few questions, if you (or anyone else with real experience) has time for them:

1. I’ve been trying to generate pīti and sukha on the breath. I find that I have varying degrees of success. Some of it, I’m sure, comes down to things like you’ve said elsewhere, having toxins the day before, general state of mind going in, etc. But I think that maybe I could refine my technique for generating that joy a bit more. What I usually do is just start my meditation with a kind of expectation that I’m going to feel joy. I tend to be very fixated on the third circuit, so I start by affirming to myself verbally that every breath is going to bring more and more pleasure, and then just kind of try to feel it. Usually it works for a little while and then I kind of run out of steam. Does anyone have any other methods for autosuggestion that might be more effective? I’m at the point where I am rarely distracted from the breath and even that is never for very long, and I think that if I could start generating a lot more pleasure when I’m sitting I could reach first jhana in minutes.

Here is a brief introduction to the physics of jhana:

  • Your experience of reality is made up of sensations: “blip blip blip”.
  • The mind can string these sensations together to create the appearance of a flowing, continuous experience. You know this as “reality”, and you do this every time you open your eyes and look around at “objects” — the mind is taking sensations and stringing them together into a flowing experience you call an object or an event. I see it as putting beads onto a string: raw sensations can be strung together to create any kind of “necklace” (experience) you like.
  • The breath provides lots and lots of sensations, as breathing triggers nerve flow across the whole body in a wave pattern (in-out, or up-down depending how you look at it). These sensations can be strung together into an experience of pleasure (jhana).
  • This works better when sensations are used from certain nerves. The nerve in the bridge of the nose is very easy to grab its sensations from and connect them together to create a “pleasure string”. Other common points are:
    • The spot between the nose and the top lip.
    • The third eye (although this is somewhat advanced as it is such a strange location to maintain awareness on).
    • There is also one in the abdomen, near the base of the spine, which can be felt when doing deep relaxing breathing.
    • There is another at the heart — probably the vagus nerve — but I stay away from advising beginners to use the heart for awareness as it can too easily lead to panic attacks.
    • Another point is the crown chakra, but this is also advanced to hold awareness on, and will tend to bring an ecstatic religious-type jhana beyond perhaps what a beginner should be aiming for at this stage.
  • Each nerve spot will give its own “flavour” of jhana (e.g. it will emphasize different jhana factors in different ratios).
    • The bridge of the nose is ideal for beginners, in my experience, as it tends towards quick intense rapture, finally giving way to bliss in the later stages of the jhana. “Rapture” as a feeling is more easily identified (and grabbed hold of) by beginners, in my opinion, as it is something more relatable to everyday experience (e.g. the rush of addictions, victory, a sudden sense of elation).
  • One-pointedness of mind — i.e. keeping a very tight grip with your attention — on a single nerve point, e.g. the bridge of the nose, is the most rapid way to “mine” the sensations in that nerve and have them connect into a pleasure string. One-pointedness creates a rapid flow of strong sensations in a single location. This “rush” allows you to cross a “threshold point” and begin experiencing those sensations as a flowing, continuous, pleasurable experience. Using one-pointedness, the sensations are prevented from flowing elsewhere and becoming thoughts, and instead all flow into the desired experience of pleasure.
  • The “auto-suggestion” you make to yourself is very simple: that when you experience sensations coming in from anywhere in the body (also including the face, head, nose etc.) — but particularly at your chosen one-pointedness location — you will experience those sensations as pleasure. To do this, when you feel sensations from anywhere, you “let yourself go” into them. It is like they are hitting a surface and each time they hit, they give you a wave of pleasure. This is difficult to describe and you must have a lot of faith that your mind can take you there. In much of jhana the mind works on autopilot to increase your pleasure once that program is activated.
    • Your mind is making “objects” out of sensations all the time: the jhana is a very specific object of pleasure formed from the sensations being strung rapidly onto a string you might call the “will to pleasure”. You have to really let go, and let your mind take you into that pleasure — and this will involve things like the eyes rolling back and flickering, and breathing becoming rapid at various points, and so forth. Jhana is its own “pleasure experience”, much like the sensations that flow and eventually become an orgasm.

So, let’s put this all together:

  • In your mind you draw a very small boundary inside the bridge of your nose where you will choose to keep your attention. This is one-pointedness.
  • You then breathe into that boundary. So, when you breathe in with your nose, you imagine the air flowing into and around that boundary within the bridge of your nose. You are filling that boundary with the sensations of the breath. Each breath wave is like it is filling up the bridge of the nose with delicious sweet-smelling air, which then circulates through the face.
  • You try to mentally “grab hold” of those sensations as they are happening in the bridge of your nose.
  • You intentionally perceive this experience as pleasurable.
  • You must let your mind “show you” how to breathe into this gap to maintain this pleasure experience. Your mind will literally adjust your breathing for you to show you how to maintain those circulating sensations of pleasure. At this point you are on the feedback loop that will very quickly cause you to reach a threshold point whereby the experience begins to maintain itself (jhana).
  • Your attention may even go onto some of the other points along your body’s central axis that I mentioned earlier, e.g. the deep point in the abdomen, the heart etc. and might begin “joining them up”. This is part of the mind’s natural program for joining sensations into pleasure, and begins to happen once you reach that threshold point.
  • In general, if it feels good, keep letting it happen!

2. James had that advice about finding the “concentration muscle” by looking at something and trying to change its color. I also have been trying to see what part of me is working to focus when I meditate, or to restore focus when I get distracted. Does Illuminatus or anyone else have any other ideas of really good direct ways of locating and improving that concentration muscle? I can sort of feel that it’s the key to everything I’m missing right now.

I would not use the “colour change” advice personally — this is a different kind of mental action.

The “concentration muscle” is the mental muscle you use to pull your attention back towards the one-pointedness location (the bridge of the nose in this case) each time your mind wanders. So there is a “pull” you do with your mind to bring it back to the bridge of the nose. Well, by practising, you can learn to constantly be engaging that muscle so your attention is always pulling back towards the bridge of the nose. Once you have figured that out, instead of just keeping it engaged, what you do instead is let it fall away then come back many times a second, which generates the perception of many sensations. So, it is similar to how you can create an electrical current in a metal rod by moving a magnet along its length: the current is only created when the magnet is moving! The constant “towards and back, towards and back” of the concentration muscle upon the one-pointed location is what creates the “current” of the flowing experience. Eventually this becomes automated and feels like it is happening by itself (second jhana).

3. I did some experiments in magick this week, buying scratch cards. Every card I have bought has at least paid for itself, and I made €5 a few times (which isn’t a lot, but I’m more interested in the magick than the money). One thing that really worked for me yesterday was to return to childhood: I prayed, only instead of praying to win the money, I thanked God for already giving it to me and felt real gratitude and excitement about the prize I’d already won. I figured that would help me get around the “no” feeling, and it worked. In the interest of refining that, I’ve been going around in my daily life trying to always feel the intention before I take any action, hoping that I can really get to the heart of that “yes” feeling and use it magickally. Are there any other ways of getting better at recognizing those basic feelings Illuminatus was talking about and using them to power your intentions? Obviously getting up to fourth jhana would be the best thing, but assuming that I’m already trying to do that, any other suggestions for improving that facet of siddhis?

Just learning concentration in the way I have described today will cause you to find and strengthen all kinds of facets of mind that were previously unconscious. At this stage you are better off strengthening concentration and it will give you plenty of skills to play with.

Increasing siddhi power is a long subject and one I won’t be going into today, save to say one thing: In my experience, increasing power of intention always results in you needing to go through some kind of Path of Insight eventually, usually including a nasty Dark Night, in order to integrate the new ability. The reason for this is that magick and the powers are so challenging to your existing beliefs about reality that even something as seemingly silly as regularly winning €5 on scratch cards can have serious repercussions on how you come to view the world. It throws up all kinds of questions about the nature of reality in your mind which your mind will demand answers for. The only way through this is insight meditation. Once a Path of Insight is completed for each “level-up”, the level-up becomes permanent. This is rather advanced, though.

The short version of this is: There is no such thing as a free lunch, and be careful what you wish for.

One more thing — thank you, Illuminatus, for this site. I know I mentioned this before, but I’ve been meditating for decades without getting anywhere, and I’m now making faster progress than ever before because I finally found someone who can talk to me in my language. This combination of science and mysticism is exactly what I need to understand what jhana actually is and how to get there.

Thanks. I really enjoy replying to you all, so it’s no problem. I have noticed recently that we have acquired many new readers who are mainly interested in meditation tech and other things I prefer to write about such as the occult, the nature of reality, and the Eight-Circuit Model. The comments sections are now bustling!

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84 Responses

  1. James says:

    “Another point is the crown chakra, but this is also advanced to hold awareness on, and will tend to bring an ecstatic religious-type jhana beyond perhaps what a beginner should be aiming for at this stage.”

    I did this one in the middle of a three day migraine, which a long time ago I posted about. It stopped all pain and put my in an estatic state until I went to sleep.

    The “concentration muscle” is the mental muscle you use to pull your attention back towards the one-pointedness location (the bridge of the nose in this case) each time your mind wanders. So there is a “pull” you do with your mind to bring it back to the bridge of the nose.

    I’ve notice this too – the making something blue seems to be a different “flex” (to me it feels more of in the back of the head) than concentrating on a sensation and pulling it back (which def feels like a pull).

  2. James says:

    One thing I learned doing this meditation, is what prana is. When you do breath meditation it can be a bit hard to tell (for me) but when I concentrate on the bridge of my nose I end up pusing prana in and out at the bridge like this:

    https://postimg.org/image/hm7emi71x/ (I made this image myself, I’m so proud).

    The blue is this kind of swirling energy I feel, every in and out breath of prana seems to energize it and makes it pulse.

    I also found I do the yoga “lions” face a lot, which seems to just be getting facial tensions out to make pleasure rise easier.

    I did not follow pleasure sensations when they arouse, just stayed on my nose, and eventually ended up doing a BIG lions face and had what I can only describe as a small ayahausca trip sober, and decided going deeper into that was not what I Wanted to do and laid down in bed, when I laid down I was expereincing faint, pleasnt waves of energy going across my body.

    • Illuminatus says:

      That’s right. Prana is just sensations pulled together to form the appearance of a flowing stream.

      Now you can “see” prana, try doing this. On the inhale, imagine the air stream running over the top of the bony bridge of your nose (the blue dot) then flowing into the head:

      You may then be able to experience the prana as a “horizon” coming toward you. If you can tune into that horizon then you have established an ongoing energy flow in that nerve. You should be able to stay tuned into that horizon even during the exhale (which is somewhat irrelevant in this practice). By continuing to feed more prana into the horizon during the inhale, you can intensify it and it can quite suddenly blast you into the first jhana (noticeable when the horizon suddenly takes over and fills all your perception).

      This is one example (out of almost infinite) of how the breath can be turned into a tangible “object” (in this case, the horizon made of prana flows). I am somewhat appalled most of the jhana guides people are following do not contain these overt instructions.

      “I also found I do the yoga “lions” face a lot, which seems to just be getting facial tensions out to make pleasure rise easier.

      I did not follow pleasure sensations when they arouse, just stayed on my nose, and eventually ended up doing a BIG lions face and had what I can only describe as a small ayahausca trip sober,”

      Facial changes are normal and, with practice, you will learn to settle into certain configurations (read: nerve activations in the face) which produce and maintain piti and sukha in an ongoing experience. For me this is a kind of soft smile with tangible activation of the nerves either side of the nose which create the genuine “eye smile”, plus simultaneously feeling like I am super-slowly and -gently smelling something.

      “and decided going deeper into that was not what I Wanted to do and laid down in bed, when I laid down I was expereincing faint, pleasnt waves of energy going across my body.”

      You were probably approaching the first jhana. Even the Buddha himself specified that he experienced a moment of apprehension just before he fully entered the first jhana.

      You will want to stay with the experience longer in the next attempts and cross that threshold. This can be worked into slowly however and needn’t be a leap.

      Sounds like you’re doing great!

      • winds says:

        Wow am I a retard, I assumed the bridge of the nose was the tip between the nostrils and got mad at myself for drifting towards that point you drew lol

  3. James says:

    I automatically get energy sensations running up the bridge of the nose into the third eye, which are much much stronger than the point of concentration on the bridge of the nose, however I still stick with the bridge of the nose because focusing on the third eye spot becomes “easy”.

    I also noticed, at times (ive done a few sits with this tech) that I find the need to switch to the tip of the nose because the sensations in the bridge are too strong and I don’t feel like I’m concentrating at that point, more just noticing.

    Thanks for the reply!

    • Illuminatus says:

      I understand. However, those sensations in the bridge of the nose being “too strong” are in fact the gateway to jhana. You are sensitizing that circuit.

      Now, what you must do is to go into those sensations a little bit more to the point where you cannot stand it, then back off. The next time, you will be able to hold it a little longer, and go into the sensations a little more. Then back off when it gets too strong. Then go back into it and start to intentionally perceive piti and sukha.

      Eventually you will be able to stay with those strong sensations, at which point you will probably experience something like a data cable being plugged directly into your third eye, with you looking directly down the “data stream”. Your face will relax despite the intensity and you will be able to hold and explore the state. At this point it is a hard first jhana. If you ever “lose the connection” you just cultivate awareness upon the bridge of the nose again and this will cause the jhana to arise again, but very quickly this time. When the state is maintaining itself, that is second jhana.

  4. James says:

    Gotcha, will do, ty.

  5. Edenist Whackjob says:

    Illuminatus, if I’m not mistaken, you’ve stated earlier that you have some limited telekinesis skills. Moving marbles and such?

    Can you tell me a bit more about how that works?

    Also, would you be willing to film a demonstration?

    • Edenist Whackjob says:

      Yesterday, I was able to move a lead with my mind.

      Of course, the wind happened to start blowing every time I made the intention to move the leaf.

      I suspect this objective-reality-plausible-deniability (ie you don’t have to challenge your reality-model because there COULD be a naturalistic explanation) is the main thing to overcome.

      Knowing myself, if I could move objects at will, I WOULD absolutely go on Youtube with it, demand money from Randi, launch a paradigm shift, etc. I would not be content to just sit home and do it for shits and giggles. Of course, that opens up many new dangers – the US gov’t would not be happy about all this. Could this be a deeper block keeping me from developing telekinesis?

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        Also, what is keeping you from disproving the materialist paradigm, once and for all? Seems to me this is your chance to land yourself a page in the history books.

        (Not trying to be provocative – I’m genuinely curious).

    • Illuminatus says:

      I have never said that. I believe it was something Absolutus claimed.

      I have made a few wacky claims over the years however. I can control the actions of some animals with my mind over distance, in certain situations. I have caused people to fall over (accidentally) by projecting sudden uncertainty onto them. I also have a limited capacity for mind control, though this is something I actively refrain from developing. The only claim I have hard evidence for is gambling magick. Intention-manifestation is my most developed siddhi.

      “I suspect this objective-reality-plausible-deniability (ie you don’t have to challenge your reality-model because there COULD be a naturalistic explanation) is the main thing to overcome.”

      That’s right. The change in belief tends to be gradual however and requires repeated evidence — demonstrating the use of the siddhi to yourself, again, and again, and again — before it begins to be accepted as normal.

      Let’s say one day you took a leaf up to your room and managed to move it with your mind. That would not be the end of the matter — you wouldn’t suddenly change belief set to one where you knew and accepted your telekinetic powers. Rather, you would experience elation followed by blind panic and would find yourself rushing about checking for open windows, and other sources of moving air to explain why it moved. Eventually you would just assume someone had slammed a door which changed air pressure causing the leaf to move. You would probably even hallucinate a memory of hearing a door slam.

      Remembering the event later would cause great discomfort and fear and you would begin to consider the implications of if the event really had happened — what it would mean for your reality. You think things would carry on as normal? You would likely push those thoughts away and eventually decide to just forget it, and that you don’t really know what happened (if anything happened at all).

      However, there would now be a SEED of doubt planted in your mind. That seed would soon grow into another experience of telekinesis. The mind is drawn back to those experiences, as though driven by a sense of “unfinished business”. The next event would be more palpably real and you would likely enter a full-blown Dark Night. IF you managed to cycle through to Fruition then you would wake up with your reality permanently altered, with magick being an accepted part of that reality. The alternative is that you would get stuck in a Dark Night cycle, occasionally manifesting such skills (Arising & Passing Away) followed by drawn-out periods of despondent reflection (Dark Night). Many amateur sorcerers seem to get stuck in that cycle, manifesting their desires then failing to integrate the implications.

      “Knowing myself, if I could move objects at will, I WOULD absolutely go on Youtube with it, demand money from Randi, launch a paradigm shift, etc. I would not be content to just sit home and do it for shits and giggles. Of course, that opens up many new dangers – the US gov’t would not be happy about all this. Could this be a deeper block keeping me from developing telekinesis?

      Also, what is keeping you from disproving the materialist paradigm, once and for all? Seems to me this is your chance to land yourself a page in the history books.

      (Not trying to be provocative – I’m genuinely curious).”

      Your questions are all based on the assumption that, once you cultivated magickal powers that were undeniable to yourself, your reality would continue on as normal (but you’d have some cool new skills). It wouldn’t. It would change. What would change is: EVERYTHING.

      There is a reason most yogis don’t even think about publicly demonstrating powers, let alone filming it: once the façade of “objective reality” has been seen through, there is little impetus to impress your views upon other people. Knowing it yourself is completely comfortable (and comforting). I am completely comfortable letting people believe whatever they like.

      The main reason I even write about this stuff is for the literary creative process — it is pure joy.

      • Illuminatus says:

        P.S. They would NEVER believe you anyway. Deny, deny, deny. The ways they would debunk you would themselves be creative acts.

        Even if you performed such feats in front of large crowds, at best you would get elated cheers (such as the response to David Blaine’s illusions) followed by a bored return to talking about the weather; at worst you would set off blind fear and be burned at the stake.

        The best you could hope for would be to usher in a new era of paranoid superstition, as the human organism is in no way developed enough to truly accept ANY part of subjective reality. Even god-based religions are COMPLETELY “objective” — people think of heaven as being some literal place, at some literal location in time and space. They think the god is an actual objective being who can perform actions within this reality. There is basically no difference between “god” and “science” in this perspective, which is where I’ve been for some years now.

        • Edenist Whackjob says:

          I don’t know, I don’t think it’s THAT untractable, inherently.

          I mean there ARE researchers of the paranormal. The reason they don’t get much more traction is not that they create cognitive dissonance in people, it’s more that they have failed to provide any solid evidence.

          Hate to sound like a randi-droid here. If anything, I would LOVE for psi to be proven. I’m actually considering doing my own part to make it a reality…

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        Isn’t there some way to leapfrog this doubting process? I mean, is the rational mind completely powerless here? If I can rationally say to myself “oh, OK, I am in the doubt-seed phase here, and I’ll likely believe more in psi in a few more cycles”, shouldn’t that in and of itself allow me to skip ahead?

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        “There is a reason most yogis don’t even think about publicly demonstrating powers, let alone filming it: once the façade of “objective reality” has been seen through, there is little impetus to impress your views upon other people. Knowing it yourself is completely comfortable (and comforting). I am completely comfortable letting people believe whatever they like.”

        Wasn’t it also a doctrine, put down by Buddha? “Don’t display such things to commoners, because it will derail their spiritual progress” or somesuch.

        • Mayath says:

          I’m agnostic about Siddhis and magick. I have experienced somethings that could be either but could also be explained as being subjective. Nothing to the extent of Illuminatus claims about gambling. I’ve experienced some telepathy and heightened empathy and I’ve been interested in western magick and praticed sigil magick for years and the outcomes of my sigils could be explained using a rationalist, materialist mindset. When/if I experience these things more I’ll have a firm belief but right now it’s a very agnostic, not for or against. Just interested.

          I would like to think low level reality alteration may be possible but I don’t think people can fly and shit from meditation. It would take strong evidence to convince me of that. I believe the cognitive boosts and magick could be possible. But the Absolutus levels of claims about that stuff. I’m sceptical but curious. If those things are possible, it’s gonna be by people who only meditate like monks. Certainly not people who live somewhat normal lives in western society.

          But anyway, my main point: It’s really hard to convince people of basic attainments in meditation. I’ve friends that I’ve told that I can experience Bliss states and that I don’t experience anhedonia anymore and that I could help them be more happy and they just won’t do it., even though most believe me.

          Just basic reasonable attainments like better mental health and stronger concentration/attention is not enough to make them do it. Things that don’t require a huge change in mindset or life view like Siddhis/Magick.

          I wouldn’t be concerned about other people’s views of reality. It’s like Facebook posts about politics. Nobody has ever fucked changed their mind about politics from a Facebook post. You’re never gonna convince them or change them no matter the evidence. They’ll either come to it on their own or they won’t at all.

          We’re in late stage/declining of the empire part of our culture so people aren’t ready for this shit. Better off just tryin things out and formulating your own option. It’s fun to think about if nothing else.

          Personally I’m interested in experimenting with Kasina meditation and Sigils when I have the time and using Jhana to release the sigil. Maybe it’ll be more effective than wanking :p!

          • Edenist Whackjob says:

            Well, I’ve been doing personal development for more than 10 years, and I already have a well founded belief in something like Law of Attraction… for me, moving stuff with my mind WOULD be a mind-trip, but not THAT terrible. Come to think of it, I probably wouldn’t go public with that skill either (despite what I said earlier) – doing so would be poor self-preservation. (This is something I need to learn better – acting in favor of self-preservation without the tunnel-vision of the reptile-brain – it’s easy to go crazy when you don’t have fear signals coming in).

            • Bishop says:

              Maybe it’s something like this?

              More intelligent a person is–>more awareness of implications to current model of reality and rationality = More palpable sense of dark night?

              As for the Buddha and other yogis being against.. among other obvious reasons they probably just didn’t want to deal with people fucking around and losing their minds. Even Jesus didn’t have time for everybody’s bullshit lol. No one can really tell how someone will interpret these kinds of experiences though.

              Have you seen the article where Illuminatus talks about his hell realm experience?

  6. James says:

    On a bit of a site note, you guys ever heard of Bhuta Shuddhi? (Cleansing the 5 elements).

    here’s a small video on it

  7. Dominic says:

    Hey all, this is off topic again but I’m not sure if comments in the old threads get noticed so much, its a shame the forum isn’t as equally popular as here.

    But since last talking about pranayama here I started doing Wim Hof’s method which is (kind of is?) pranayama. It basically involved 30 big breaths, hold your breath with out air in the lungs (on an exhale), big breath in and hold for 15 seconds (on the inhale).

    I’ve started to notice some really intense effects from this, all taking place on the inhale. This started as sort of tinglings around all my body, intesnly shaking my head/spine at some points, and the feelings of like little metal/rope cords being pulled along legs/torso.

    The best has been the past couple of days though where with my eyes closed an intense white light forming, so white recently I feel like I could kind of ‘fall’ into it, and normally a black (sometimes shifting to dark blue) circle on the inside of this white circle. It will stay but not as clear if I open my eyes.

    I’ve tried to talking to some people who do the Wim Hof method some mentioned they had seen lights etc, none seem in interested in what they actually are, no natural curiosity. They also don’t really seem into meditation and such.

    So I’ve been wondering how this fits into the big picture. I’ve been experiencing some feelings in the morning of pleasantness but I’ve not really had nimitta so I cant really compare this WMH light to what a nimitta would look like. I also don’t have a great deal of concentration during these rounds of breathing compared to even my normal meditation where I can pretty much stop mind wandering now. Which suggests it isn’t some sort of jhana / concentration type experience. Is it possible it is a kundalini-type thing?

    Does this light description sound familiar to any of you who have had nimitta / kundalini experiences?

    • Illuminatus says:

      The lights and tingling are all energy events, but if you can’t coalesce them into a stable object (with the jhana factors evident) then it’s not concentration.

      It is kundalini in terms of it being energy events, but I do not class it as a kundalini ability until you can cause stable energy flows that maintain themselves (e.g. turn on a beam up your spine and keep it on effortlessly, then be able to channel that beam into other centres for desired effects).

      What is his goal with the method?

      • James says:

        Energizing the body to cure aliments/depression.

        Energizing the body for extreme physical feats (diving in a frozen lake for instance).

        hes mentioned some stuff about pineal gland and meditation too.

      • Chrome says:

        When you say coalesce them into a single object, do you mean a stable object that flickers upon each inhale or exhale? I immediately gain satisfaction and equanimity upon leaving concentration meditation; with the factors having higher quality effects after more successful session, I’m not too sure if this is jhana though; it feels like it especially with the long term alleviation of anxiety and general imperturbability. I usually gain more tingling in the moments of silence between inhale and exhale. Not too sure if this method is correct but I’m definitely improved overall awareness and processing of information (?)

        • Illuminatus says:

          “When you say coalesce them into a single object, do you mean a stable object that flickers upon each inhale or exhale?”

          Making an object stable involves it taking on a sense of existence separate from “you”. So, a light would turn into an object — maybe a glowing ball — that became so real it was like you could reach out and touch it. If the light THEN flickers or rotates or pulses on each inhale/exhale, then that is early jhana. Great stability in the object is a sign of more developed jhana/absorption.

          Since everyone who meditates regularly will experience lights or strange visuals at some point, often coming from within the eye itself, or from changes in the brain itself, then I think it is a bad idea to use such visuals as objects if you are not already very experienced in concentration meditation and know specifically how to turn them into jhana objects. The reason for this is it is too easy to get carried away and start believing you have jhana when really you’re just seeing the types of lights etc. you would see if you kept your eyes closed long enough anyway. I get a lot of emails from people confusing such visuals with jhana so it’s best to avoid being distracted by them.

          “I immediately gain satisfaction and equanimity upon leaving concentration meditation; with the factors having higher quality effects after more successful session, I’m not too sure if this is jhana though; it feels like it especially with the long term alleviation of anxiety and general imperturbability. I usually gain more tingling in the moments of silence between inhale and exhale. Not too sure if this method is correct but I’m definitely improved overall awareness and processing of information (?)”

          The effect of steadying your mind on any object for a while — even if that concentration is not steady enough to produce jhana — is this sense of equanimity and emotional relief. It is very refreshing. You can experience this even if you just stay mindful of the breath for 20 minutes. Even doing this badly brings a LOT of mental improvements. This is why everyone should meditate, even if skill is low.

          “I’m not too sure if this is jhana though”

          This says it all, really. Jhana is a profoundly altered state which will be self-evident when it happens.

  8. James says:

    also whim hoff is going to be on the Joe Rogan Experience today at 8pm

  9. Dominic says:

    Fantastic I didn’t realise that, although if I hear Joe try to shoehorn in how Terrance McKenna thinks mushrooms made apes evolve into humans for the 82nd time, I’ll throw my laptop out the window

  10. Bert says:

    I think the metal rods, tingling and even the “hallucinations” are hyperventilation symptoms. There’s a vice report that shows people on his trainings having emotional catharsis and stuff and then they don’t remember or felt that they were moving and tensing his body, so many people may be experiencing ligths and they just don’t remember.Did you learn the method from him (or a live trainer), the online course or some post or video somewhere? The method you described I read about a few years ago I think. Now he just asks for 30 breaths with full inhalations but without exhaling all air. Then you hold your breath as you do some exercise and that’s it. I think this version is gentler. That’s what I’ve read that he teaches in youtube videos for free. Don’t know any other techniques which he surely is teaching for the cold exposure and stuff. You see, every time that I do that method and if I breathe really hard my arms and legs become just like heavy metal too, it’s like they are sleeping and really tense simultaneously. I can feel my pulse inside my head inmediately in about seven breaths too. I got rid of a headache once with just a cycle. That’s where kundalini stuff may come from. Apparently (from what I read in the studies that have been done on the method) if you do the breathing in normal conditions you get some results, but if you are sick or have excessive inflammation it can release adrenalin and inhibit the inflammation response, the same if you do it for cold exposure or other stresses (I mean that it activates different process, not that it always releases adrenalin). The method makes the body take an alternative route to where it normally goes.

    And as an aside, do you guys have any suggestion for someone that fried his “paradigm” way too soon? I actually did some telekinesis when I was about nine (going into fifteen or whenever I got more materially-oriented), and some meditation-like experiments too that basically freaked me out. I did some yoga-like exercise since forever because of some congenital health issues that I tried to counteract by doing those things (basically something like diaphragm workouts…Always been aware of that muscle since my music teacher told me to breathe with the stomach when singing). Which then I had to do the exact opposite for a few years and all those issues are now worse and all scrambled. I think that having those experiences really got me into trouble psychologically and slowed down my development. Like for example what has really shaped my personality are influences I had at eight years old when that usually happens at seven. Then it just got worse. Basically in teenagehood when you really get an ego and individuality and stuff things just got worse and worse, because that “bond” with the “subconscious” was being severed as I got more rational and disconnected more. I mean we all know what I’m referring to right? I actually think some people are successful because they managed to grow into adults without losing “it”.

    So yeah I’ve ranted enough already because I’ve been like 36 hours awake which I shouldn’t T_T. Sorry if this is uncomprehensible.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Any kind of breath work will create strange neurotransmitter levels which can be perceived as “mystical experiences”. The more intense the breath work, the higher potential for such mystical experiences — even culminating in psychotic breaks, hallucinations etc. in extreme cases.

      While such experiences are no doubt interesting to those with not a lot of meditation experience, I personally only consider them as valuable as the INSIGHT that was gained from them. Every time I have had such extreme experiences (mainly through kundalini, but also from other types of meditation practice) I have gained a wealth of insight — because I applied vipassana principles (attempt to witness the Three Characteristics) to each experience, throughout each experience.

      “And as an aside, do you guys have any suggestion for someone that fried his “paradigm” way too soon? I actually did some telekinesis when I was about nine (going into fifteen or whenever I got more materially-oriented), and some meditation-like experiments too that basically freaked me out. I did some yoga-like exercise since forever because of some congenital health issues that I tried to counteract by doing those things (basically something like diaphragm workouts…Always been aware of that muscle since my music teacher told me to breathe with the stomach when singing). Which then I had to do the exact opposite for a few years and all those issues are now worse and all scrambled. I think that having those experiences really got me into trouble psychologically and slowed down my development. Like for example what has really shaped my personality are influences I had at eight years old when that usually happens at seven. Then it just got worse. Basically in teenagehood when you really get an ego and individuality and stuff things just got worse and worse, because that “bond” with the “subconscious” was being severed as I got more rational and disconnected more. I mean we all know what I’m referring to right? I actually think some people are successful because they managed to grow into adults without losing “it”.”

      I had precognitive dreams since early childhood so I was also born into nondualistic modes of experience. Magick has always been somewhat normal to me.

      I also believe much to do with “mental illness” can be directly related to the dharma. I believe schizophrenia is largely to do with “whispers from behind the curtain of nonduality” — i.e. what schizophrenics experience is actually real on some level. It may be a throwback from a time when we were all explicitly connected nondualistically, e.g. how pack animals know where each other is even while separated (check out Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance model for more on that). Certainly it seems that human evolution has headed in a direction of less connection to each other and the world around us.

      Personally, I believe the only way for individuals like yourself to feel well again is to become enlightened. Pick the side you most identify with (probably nonduality) and head for it — aim for raw experience of that state again, without the filter of identity/self/ego/narrative. You only need to experience that state for brief moments. The goal isn’t to be in that nondual state all the time (though that can be a goal for later on, if you so wish). The goal is to just get a solid look behind the curtain of nonduality — long enough to completely remind you of your true nature and strip away the doubts other people have programmed you with. This has the effect of stripping away most of the suffering of the burden of carrying around that social façade. Then, when you come back to being a “self” again, it is just a spacesuit you put on to explore the social world. Then you need a regular daily practice whereby you take off the spacesuit each night to remind yourself it’s just a spacesuit. For this, I use kundalini insight (invented by myself, but probably not new).

      • James says:

        The first time I tried to astral project… I set the intent and followed it through, it involved a tone of breath work which lead to seeing fractal patterns and hearing the spot in my third eye unscrew.

        • Illuminatus says:

          Because the breath permeates the whole body, turning on ALL nerves in sequence in an in-out wave, it has the potential to disrupt existing nerve circuit firing patterns — and thus disturb regular experience itself. This is why the breath is involved in ALL meditation work. You can turn on circuits that never normally fire. This is what leads to crazy kundalini experiences. With skill this activation can be tuned to your will. Energy can be drained from one circuit and sent into another. This is how metaprogramming — total personality change, if you wish — can be achieved through meditation, breath work, yoga, whatever you want to call it. It is all to do with the breath, all to do with energy, and all to do with intent as to your aims with that work.

          • James says:

            That makes sense… on one of my DXM trips I got a very clear message “Breath Is Life”.

            Outside of that, since working on bridge of the nose meditation and feeling that light up, I’ve been messing with that same thing for chakra points.

            I got the “horizon” sensation you talked about, although it was kinda weak and brief, I found I didn’t have the energy to stay with it at the time.

  11. Mayath says:

    “I also believe much to do with “mental illness” can be directly related to the dharma. I believe schizophrenia is largely to do with “whispers from behind the curtain of nonduality” — i.e. what schizophrenics experience is actually real on some level. It may be a throwback from a time when we were all explicitly connected nondualistically”

    Scizopherenia may also be a relic of The Bicarmel Mind like Julian Jaynes argues.

    He argues that people over 3000 years ago didn’t think or experience consciousness like us. They didn’t have Metacognition and they heard there Gods literally speak to them(auditory hallucinations) and they felt they had to what these voices to do like Scizopherenics do.

    He argues the Corpus Callusum wasn’t as well connected as today. He has a lot of similarities with Iain Gilchrist except he’s more pro left brain.

    • Edenist Whackjob says:

      “He argues that people over 3000 years ago didn’t think or experience consciousness like us. They didn’t have Metacognition and they heard there Gods literally speak to them(auditory hallucinations) and they felt they had to what these voices to do like Scizopherenics do.”

      So, what changed since then? Haven’t read the book.

      Did people start reading and writing more? Was there more CS connectivity due to having to have a bigger mental model of the world as trade expanded? Evolutionary pressure? Something else? Just trying to understand.

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        Kook theory of mine: mass changes in consciousness “quality” like this spreads via telepathy somehow. Maybe the Earth’s magnetic field is the conductor.

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        *CC

      • Mayath says:

        Honestly I can’t remember :p. It had something to do with development of language and culture and that we began to recognise ourselves as subjective agents with an internal world. We began to notice this when we began using using “I” more.

        But honestly don’t take my word for it. I’d read it yourself. Here’s a pdf: http://selfdefinition.org/psychology/Julian-Jaynes-Origin-of-Consciousness-Breakdown-of-Bicameral-Mind.pdf

        Jaymes’s basically posits that Scitzopherenia is a return to the way primitive man thought. The problem with that theory is that there’s evidence to suggest that Scitzopherenia may be a modern illness that might have only existed since the eighteenth century. We still haven’t figured out what exactly is happening biologically with Scitzopherenia either so it could be that it is a disease of modern culture rather than a brain disorder. But I don’t know a whole lot about Scitzopherenia so don’t quote me on that!

        Jaymes’s also looks at Scitzopherenia through a Psychoanaytic lens which was popular in the 70s. That means he basically saw Scitzopherenia as a state with very little self awareness and hyper emotionalism.

        The problem with that Scitzopherenics are hyper rational in a way and they see cause and in effect in everything but come up with irrational solutions. They are also hyper self-aware. It could be characterised as a disorder of the Left hemispheric really. The left hemisphere processing and computes attention locally and can only “see” one thing while the right hemisphere sees the larger picture and is more holistic in its approach to the world. The left hemisphere is always interpreting. In Cognitive Psychology it is even called the Interpreter.

        With Scitzopherenia, the LH is interpreting things way too much and is interpreting thought and images that we probably all have on some level as being more significant than they actually are.

        I think something is going on with the Hemispheres and that Jaymes’s was probably in the right area but that his views on Scitzopherenia are wrong.

        Jaymes is probably right in his theory about the voices of the Gods and how primitive man thought but he thinks it’s because the Hemispheres have become connected. He thought that the LH becoming more connected to the RH led to Scitzopherenia because the LH now had access to all the attention mprocessing information from the RH to deal with and remember the RH looks at the bigger picture, so the LH had to process this in a form it could culturally understand at the time. This lead to Gods and stuff. Eventually however our language became more sophisticated and metaphorical that we began interpreting infomation and began thinking the way we do now.

        My take is that the Bicarmel mind is probably true but the opposite is happening. There’s still a two chambered mind but Scitzopherenia could be characterised as a closing off the LH to the RH. Information is being processed wholly in the LH. The LH jumps at everything and anything looks for causality and makes wild inferences. It tends to do this using cultural information. In the past Scitzos saw things in terms of demons and religious iconography. Now it tends to be Aliens. This is the LH interpreting any all information as being relevant and creating and interpreting models that have nothing to do with consensus reality.

        That’s my current theory. I could be completely wrong :D.

        Read Iain Gilchrist too because he has a good breakdown of the Bicarmel mind and the problems with how it deals with Scitozopherenia. Read him also because I’m not sure if I’ve explained this correctly. :p

        • Mayath says:

          The reason the LH is making wild inferences is that Scitzopherenics tend to have suffered some form of trauma in their childhood. In my model the LH comes up with crazy things because because it looking for an explanation for the paranoia and anxiety they are currently experiencing. Instead of seeing these things has a result of their past experience they see these things as signs that there are threats in environment or in their head. The solutions the LH offers when it can’t find anything is Aliens, mind control, all sort of things, like HALLICINATIONS that it grapes at and creates in order to figure out its pain. It literally creates these things in order to figure out its trauma.

          If things like Telepathy and such are true, then Scitzopherenics could be picking them up and the LH is interpreting these things in a form it understands. Extra sensory information that is picking up non dual signals could be the cause of hallicinations too and the LH, with no model to work this stuff out, uses cultural infomation to interpret them. What their experiencing then is real on some level but they have no capacity to interpret them correctly so they do so by using pop culture or religion.

          Interestingly if your interested in UFOs Jeffrey Sitchin an investigator says that Fairies, Angels, “the other” basically are beings that always existed alongside and visit us in forms we understand. That UFO phenomena is part of every culture but that each understand interprets these phenomena differently depending on its memes. So we see Aliens in a ufo experience. The ancient Irish would have experienced the Sidhe or Tuatha de Danainn and native Americans would have seen something else. But their undergoing the same type of experience but the cultural lens is different.

          Maybe Scitzopherenics are getting a glimpse behind the curtain but are interpreting it all wrong, maybe due to because they are heavily traumatised usually.

          Trauma sucks but I wonder if severe Trauma also unlocks Siddhis or Psychic powers? A lot of great artists suffer severe traumas. Perhaps great creativity can be accessed through trauma which opens part of the brain that normal people don’t have access to. The only problem with attaining things this way is that you don’t know what exactly your experiencing and your probably using it to fuck yourself up.Like Savants after an accident.

          Anyone any thoughts on the link between Siddhis and trauma?

          Again, could be all wrong about this.Don’t take my word for it :p

        • Illuminatus says:

          My view on schizophrenia is based on observing my older brother and various uncles who have it. It goes something like this.

          – Childhood trauma means the right hemisphere’s (global) model is completely dark, hellish, and basically non-functional in terms of relating the world in any kind of healthy way.

          – The left hemisphere steps in to compensate and goes into overdrive. It is basically trying to make its way in the world feeling completely lumbered having to drag along and support this mess of a right hemisphere.

          – Combine with high IQ / innate high language ability and you have a powerful left hemisphere, doing everything for the person, but unaware of its own ability for fallacy. Schizophrenics are ridiculously verbose. They also have the grandeur of the left hemisphere. Finally, as you pointed out, they tend to apply rigid linear cause and effect (of the A->B kind all humans consider to be “actual cause and effect”) to literally every circumstance. They can’t leave question marks over things, because the left brain can’t do uncertainty. They would rather confabulate stupendous narratives for unexplained things (we call this delusion).

          – This whole time we have the childhood trauma hellscape of the right hemisphere inserting shadowy images into reality (predictions based on past experiences designed to avoid future pain). The left hemisphere, in its typical verbose fashion, narrates these hellscapes with dark and malicious language, which they hear as “voices”.

          There is at least one guy on Dharma Overground who claims to have cured his schizophrenia via meditation. I forget his name. His method was, if I recall, to temporarily accept his visions, delusions, etc. as real entities, and engage with them. And simultaneously run insight meditation on them. This would be my first port of call, too. Those delusions are a direct telephone line to the unconscious. Simultaneously you would want the fourth jhana to infuse said delusions with equanimity. It would be a process of ongoing purging.

          ————–

          I read Jaynes some 10 years ago so my memory is hazy. I remember it failing the “gut test”.

          McGilchrist actually criticizes Jaynes’ theory by asserting that the opposite is more likely: “hearing gods” was achieved by the SEPARATION of the hemispheres, meaning more elements of experience was compartmentalized over to the verbal left hemisphere.

          McGilchrist talks a lot about how one of the main functions of the corpus callosum is actually SUPPRESSION (not just connection, which is what previous researchers had focused on). So the left or right hemisphere has the ability to almost completely block out the other hemisphere’s input once it becomes engaged in a task.

          I personally think the compartmentalization to one hemisphere or the other (with the trend being towards the left in humans) comes from the fact that surface area connection between the hemispheres provided by the corpus callosum has shrank in ratio to hemisphere size as the brain has grown. So, the hemispheres got larger but the connectivity between them got smaller (in ratio). It’s now very easy for the left hemisphere to butt in and push out the right, especially when the symbols/language of the left brain is all around us (buildings, computers, signs, technology etc.). This is why walks in nature are required to reboot the right brain.

          ————–

          Side point: Tying into r/K-selection, I believe the locus of awareness in r-types is the LEFT FRONTAL LOBE. For K-types however locus of awareness is the RIGHT AMYGDALA. All of the behavioural/worldview differences can easily be explained through that lens.

          • Illuminatus says:

            From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Jaynes#Reception_and_influence:

            “An early criticism by philosopher Ned Block argued that Jaynes had confused the emergence of consciousness with the emergence of the concept of consciousness. In other words, according to Block, humans were conscious all along but did not have the concept of consciousness and thus did not discuss it in their texts. Daniel Dennett countered that for some things, such as money, baseball, or consciousness, one cannot have the thing without also having the concept of the thing.[23] Moreover, it is arguable that Block misinterpreted the nature of what Jaynes claimed to be a social construction.”

            Leave it up to a hyper-rationalist like Dan Dennett to confuse naming the thing with having the thing. When you know about left/right brain bias, it can be super-annoying to see these left brains spinning their wheels and being recognized for it as leading scientists/philosophers.

            But in my view a lot of these questions would be rendered irrelevant if scientists were able to separate “awareness” from “consciousness”. Currently they are seen as one and the same. This is where all of Edenist Whackjob’s musings about whether a computer chip could be conscious come from.

            The universe is awareness. There is only the experience field, consisting of either sensations (particles) or flowing experiences (waves). That is awareness.

            “Consciousness” however is a self-reflection upon awareness after the fact. Consciousness itself is just echoes of previous awareness patterns. But it is in those echoes that the illusion of self arises. Insight meditation is about recognizing the “reflection patterns” as just more patterns arising by themselves. That’s how you arrive at No-Self.

            You can see the difference between awareness and consciousness if you consider a regular (non-lucid) dream. There is no self-reflection in a dream. Events happen. Responses happen. But it is rare in a dream that you will go into memory and apply properties of self or personality to the experiences that are happening. Rather, all that gets done when you wake up back into “consciousness” and analyse the dream — that’s when all the stories and other elements of what is considered consciousness begin to arise.

            So humans becoming “conscious” from where before there was just “awareness” is equivalent to becoming lucid in a dream. It is the activation of the echochamber. Signals bouncing and reflecting between the hemispheres (and being modified in each reflection) probably has something to do with the appearance of “consciousness”.

            • Illuminatus says:

              P.S. This is the reason high IQ correlates with more common and more severe mental illness: bigger echo chamber, capable of echoing patterns for longer (with more modification loops) = greater ability to hold and develop suffering and delusion.

            • Illuminatus says:

              Oh yeah, if it wasn’t clear, I am saying awareness always existed. Without awareness, there is nothing.

              As for the “why?” of that, I don’t know and do not suppose we can ever know since the question itself is a product of the human self-reflective echo chamber. So “why?” as a question only arises within the human echo chamber, and has no meaning outside of that.

              Asking “why?” itself creates time, since to ask that implies (and therefore induces) that which went before. The question itself creates the A->B causality illusion and the appearance of time.

          • Edenist Whackjob says:

            “Tying into r/K-selection, I believe the locus of awareness in r-types is the LEFT FRONTAL LOBE. For K-types however locus of awareness is the RIGHT AMYGDALA. All of the behavioural/worldview differences can easily be explained through that lens.”

            Care to expand on this?

  12. winds says:

    So I did this for the first time today, and two really interesting things happened

    One– naturally, my meditation went in cycles: I’d be focusing, generating pleasure, I’d gain “momentum” until I hit a wall and backed off (amygdala) involuntarily. For the next minute or so I’d be in awareness and it felt like my mind was processing what had just happened to it. Every brick wall was a little further back than the last one

    Two– I had an inclination to pack it in after what I thought was five minutes but was actually fifteen. I did so and feel much better than during my earlier half hour meditations. I need to integrate this method into longer meditations I think

    • Illuminatus says:

      That’s good. Time contraction is a common sign of jhana entry.

      When next approaching that brick wall, just as you are about to hit it, back off a little and allow sensations to spread around the body. Then go back towards it, and repeat. You can sensitize the various circuits in this way so they do not resist the additional throughput that concentration causes. Then, it’s easier to reach threshold.

      (This is actually the same way tantric states are reached during sex — approach orgasm, back off, let sensations spread throughout body. It is how to saturate your whole being with the increased energetic state.)

  13. James says:

    So many concentration as for sure improved, balancing the force of concentration with the breath has been a big improvement. The experience I got from the magnifying the sensations on the bridge of the nose.

    I had stomach pain last night after eating some pizza and pepsi, laying down in bed I thought “You know, at this point in my life, I shouldn’t have pain unless I want to”.

    Normally if I treat pain with equinimity it just kind of, lingers and sits, while maybe not being so bad… This time I really peirced the sensations in my stomach, just magnified and deepened as much as I could… Once I periced the sensation it was like popping a balloon, it shot a sensation from my stomach all the way up to my shoulder and undid a shoulder knot… this repeated time and time again with an increased sense of well being each time… by the time I looked at the clock I had been doing this for 4 hours.

    This morning I woke up, had some coffee, ate some more pizza and then did sprints outside (pizza and sprints are a sure fire way to fuck your day day) and I didn’t feel even a little bad, nasueas, or upset, I feel great.

    • Illuminatus says:

      That’s right. You just turn on the opioid system and it blots out the pain. Also, this also seems to literally heal injuries. Something I haven’t written about much was how I completely mutilated my ankle by twisting it badly twice in two days. MRI showed ligament and soft tissues tears on both sides. They wanted to operate, but I refused, as I’ve seen what surgery does to people. Also, I figured it would heal via meditation. Two years later it still hurt and was weak. Then I spent a week doing nothing but flooding the entire area with awareness. This was a combined insight-plus-concentration. The idea was to fill the whole area with as much awareness as possible. My mind began mapping that ankle down to the neuron. I could literally see into the angle down to the micrometre as if with X-ray vision. That completely cured the ankle during that time. The awareness however HURT LIKE HELL. I used jhana to annihilate the pain signals as soon as they registered. The whole thing was healed in that week. This led into the kundalini experiences that eventually healed my eyesight, too. The potential in this tech is astounding.

      You can get painkilling tech even higher than where you’re at currently. We’ve talked recently about how negative sensations (pain, emotions etc.) are mainly “down” sensations. By maintaining a constant upward stream of sensations via kundalini (just “will” such a stream to flow constantly up from the base of your spine; this is technically 2nd jhana stuff as the stream needs to appear to be happening “on its own”) then when that upward stream meets ANY downward sensations arising in awareness, they are INSTANTLY annihilated and become equanimity — complete with opioid release and a total sense of cleansing, purging, and refreshing. This is how kundalini can be used to create a very, very rapid 4th jhana, and I perform this meditation literally every morning. It cleans not only my body, but my worldview (since both are fundamentally made of sensations). This is also an insight meditation since the Three Characteristics can clearly be seen during the annihilation process, and this meditation cycles up to Fruition relatively easily. It is the best general meditation I’ve ever come across, and I’m pleased to say I created it (though it is almost certainly not new; it is a download from the universe).

      • James says:

        The opioid release came as a by-product of the concentration… I can generate waves of happiness in my body nothing at-will quite like I experienced.

        I can shoot energy up my spine too, just seems kind of “dim”.

        I’ve been working on my shoulder/neck/leg next and it seems to be working, however a lot of those are more of “blunt” pains and sensations which seem harder to focus in on.

        • Illuminatus says:

          “The opioid release came as a by-product of the concentration…”

          Yes, that’s what I’m saying — when the concentration penetrates the negative sensations it annihilates them and opioid release is tangible from that.

          “I’ve been working on my shoulder/neck/leg next and it seems to be working, however a lot of those are more of “blunt” pains and sensations which seem harder to focus in on.”

          Run awareness upward through the area as though it is an ultra-fine shower of particles. You should be able to use that to find the lumps within the area and break them up.

          • James says:

            I found while scanning the injured areas with awareness my minds eye/imagination would be actively trying to “map” the area. I always stopped this process because I thought it was a distraction…

            However following the mapping process (for me, the nerve in my leg looks red, and the swirls down deep into the tissue) has gotten me past a lot of the blocks.

            So much of the meditative process seems like getting out of your own way, however there also seems to be a line between that and giving into distraction.

            I’ve tried the shower particle method now too, that’s been working also.

            P.S as someone who has had more surgeries than I can remember, I’d avoid all the ones you can 😀

      • Mayath says:

        Illuminatus, a guide to dealing with sickness or physical pain with meditation would be great. I’m not telling you what to do of course but you have such a succinct way of describing these things in a way that make them click for me and I always find some value in your techs. I think you’d make a real contribution if you ever got around it. Finish the Jhana guide and whatever else your working on though first ;).

        I find I can work with emotionaland physical pain pretty easily so that I can get rid of them or not be bothered by them but sickness is harder to work with.

        I get nauseous very easily and I’ve tried sitting with the nausea in a way similiar to the method you’ve outlined in Beating Depression Forever and I’ve made some head way in discovering that there is emotional aspects to the nausea. But I feel pretty purified and I’ve “fixed” most of my stuff. Would be grand to beat this too because it’s irritating. It’s not an extreme issue and the nausea is minor but I find it hard to be mindful of nausea.

        I’ve greatly reduced my nausea by working with and releasing the emotional stuff in that area so it’s most likely a physical problem.

        It might be a purely physical problem that I can’t fix with meditation and ill have to do it with diet. But my diet is pretty good. I eat a lot of vegetables. My nausea is strongest in the morning and I can’t eat bread or anything too heavy cos I’ll just want to shit myself straight away so I eat yoghurt instead. This is annoying cos I spend the first bit of my day starving.

        The nausea used to be really bad and left my body sending me mixed signals about food. Wanting to eat and also not wanting to eat. It was a fucking nightmare because I wanted sustenance but couldn’t bear food. I’ve fixed that though, mainly through recognising and breaking down the different signals and noting them.

        It’s hard to clearly separate emotional problems from physical ones when it comes to the gut. There’s definitely a feedback system of negative things going on down there.

        Any tips? I have the first two Jhanas. I’ve just realised writing this that I haven’t explored this area with a Jhanafied mind so that might fix it.

        • Illuminatus says:

          My tip for nausea would be to remove the thing that’s causing it. You are probably intolerant to wheat or something. It’s probably just one or two things. There are various “clean” diets, e.g. just eating rice for a couple of weeks, then phasing back in other foods till you find the culprit. It would be worth you doing that so you could end that cycle.

          Re treating nausea with meditation, well I find just the first jhana does a great job of that. Other than that you could run an insight pattern (“body scanning”) systematically up the central axis till you found a nerve set to run current through that calmed the nausea. I have control over various body functions in that way.

          • Illuminatus says:

            P.S. Try the pyroluria questionnaire: http://www.primalbody-primalmind.com/do-you-have-pyroluria/
            Morning nausea is on the list.

            You might want to try B vitamin and zinc supplementation.

            • Mayath says:

              Thanks, I’ll try cutting foods out. It’s most likely wheat, which sucks because I love it. Vitamin supplementation has been something I’ve been meaning to start so I should get on that and see.

              Ive started hitting the first and second Jhana first thing in the morning and it makes such a significant change to my day. It really sets me up to have no problems emotionally regardless of what happens.

              The only thing is I’ve began to realise while Jhana is great, it’s only a state and its not permanent. You really have to do Insight work too. I don’t see how some people think it can be avoided.

              I relate to some of the stuff on the Pyroluria questionnaire but a lot of that stuff I beat with meditation and doesn’t apply anymore. It’s mostly the emotional stuff that used to fit too and one or two things like fatigue, which I also don’t have anymore. Hopefully the nausea will disappear like all that other stuff.

              • Illuminatus says:

                “The only thing is I’ve began to realise while Jhana is great, it’s only a state and its not permanent. You really have to do Insight work too. I don’t see how some people think it can be avoided.”

                For me personally jhana always triggers an A&P which always cycles into a Dark Night. It’s almost like I have to have a Dark Night to make the A&P fun again when it comes back around. (“Contrast”: one of my Principles of the Universe, which I may write up at some point.) The key has been learning to not mind the Dark Night. This certainly seems doable as suffering has reduced markedly with each iteration, these last few months.

                I think everyone will hit A&P and Dark Night eventually if they practise jhana a lot. I don’t think concentration and insight are really separate at all. And kundalini is just the energy that drives either practice. They all converge to similar territories.

                • Mayath says:

                  I practice Culadasa’s method so it’s a mixture of Samatha and Vipassana. They both compliment each other. If you cultivate both your gonna advance faster in the area you wanted to quicker than if you just trained in that one area on its own.

                  I don’t think I’ve had an A&P experience or if I did it wasn’t as dramatic as some people describe it. A&P sounds like mania and the last time I had that was a few months ago when I came out severe depression.

                  Jhana has lead me into experiencing some level of No-Self and I think I have some semblance of what it means now.

                  My internal experience is less rigid and it’s more like I am a volume of awareness than anything else.

                  I’m experiencing some Fear because of this realisation but the fear is different from the old ways in which I sufferered.This is less self-inflicted or inducted than depression felt and more metaphysical, like it’s coming from the background. It’s like my unconscious mind systems find this realisation disturbing and jarring and are sending out very low level fear signals.

                  It’s not anxiety, just low level fear. It’s not even that bothersome, describing it makes it sound more hyperbolic than it actually is. I can live my life with it.

                  I don’t know where I would place myself in the progress of Insight map. I haven’t had Fruitions or anything dramatic like that but I do feel on some level that my sense of self is just a constantly changing process.

                  I really really doubt I’m a Stream Entrer but stream is a good word to use to describe my experience. Its just a stream of experiences, a stream of awareness, that are taking place within this volume of awareness.

                  Perhaps I’m right in saying that the Self is like the sound produced by a symphony orchestra? It is just the result of the operations of all the instruments and players working together but the music produced is not its own thing and is just a result of the instruments playing. If you remove an instrument or add another player, the sound changes, the songs shifts, the self is constantly changing. There is nothing you can tangibly hold onto and say this is self, just like you can’t tangibly hold onto a song. A song is the result of processes.

                  If I’m having some level of the dark night experience it’s definitely not as extreme as some have experienced. Maybe this is due to me primarily following a “wet” samadhi approach than dry insight.

                  I think Dry Insight and Noting can be dangerous for some people. It’s the quickest path but I’m wary of it.

                  I’ve found in my own experience just focusing on concentrating that I’ve began noticing the Three characteristics anyway in my meditation object. I’ll be keeping most of my attention on the breath, but a part of me notices how the breath is constantly influx and is inpermanent for example.

                  Do you think Piti energy is related to Kundalini? Is Piti basically another name for Kundalini energy? Because the only energy experiences I’ve had are Piti related ones. Kundalini sounds like Piti times a thousand.

                  Basically, anywho I’ve been looking for input on where I should go from where I currently find myself in practice. My goal all along has been to been master the four Jhanas and then see what happens.

                  I’ve been a little confused about my experience of Jhana. I have some discursive in Jhana(primarily the first) and I can think in Jhana if I so choose and I can set intentions in it. It’s not the complete total absorption some people desrcribe. I still have my mindfulness.

                  Here’s a link to me describing where I am on Stream Entry Reddit.

                  https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/5ajy36/practice_how_is_your_practice_week_of_1_november/

                  I’ve a much longer post on the TMI subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMindIlluminated/comments/5a94r3/help_evaluating_where_i_am_stage_7_jhanas/

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    “Do you think Piti energy is related to Kundalini? Is Piti basically another name for Kundalini energy? Because the only energy experiences I’ve had are Piti related ones. Kundalini sounds like Piti times a thousand.”

                    Kundalini is the energy that drives experience. You could think of it as “life energy” or “awareness energy”.

                    Kundalini yoga/ kriya yoga is the practice of using breathing patterns, body manipulation, and mental direction, to channel the kundalini into stable coherent flows. When you have learned to generate these flows you can then use them to directly manipulate your own experience field (e.g. mood, perceptions, beliefs) by, for example, channelling such energy flows through various chakras, but also by utilizing the energy stream for concentration practice. In this sense kundalini is a powerful tool for self-change/metaprogramming.

                    “Kundalini awakening” I would describe as the moment when these energy flows begin to arise by themselves. So, stable flows begin to appear in parts of the body, e.g. chakras (if you want to use that model). At first these seem to appear wherever they want, and give rise to all kinds of strange experiences — some very good, some very bad. E.g. I had a downward flow into the base of my spine which took me straight into a hell realm during practice once.
                    As time goes by the individual finds he can now CONTROL where energy flows appear with just a thought. At this point the breathing and body manipulations to induce flows become less necessary (although he might still want to use them as a preparation at times). So I can have an ecstatic “religious” experience at will now by channelling kundalini up through my crown chakra. This stuff is fascinating at first but quickly becomes normal.

                    All meditation is training kundalini flows, and therefore basically all long-term spiritual practice culminates in what is known as “kundalini awakening” (“Christ consciousness” in Christianity — it probably has names in every sect).

                    Piti is just one possible manifestation of kundalini. Kundalini can flow in any channel and cause many types of perceptual experience. Strong concentration practice creates kundalini flows into desired channels, e.g. rapture, bliss, etc. This is why I’m always emphasizing that people should try to “tune in” to desired jhanic factors, e.g. rapture, pleasure, rather than just allowing luck to decide.

                    The various frameworks — chakra, insight, concentration, to name but a handful — are there to help you direct kundalini into stable flows in desirable channels for desired effects. Those systems should be adhered to to reduce the amount of chaos which kundalini can generate if left unguided.

                    “I’ve been a little confused about my experience of Jhana. I have some discursive in Jhana(primarily the first) and I can think in Jhana if I so choose and I can set intentions in it. It’s not the complete total absorption some people desrcribe. I still have my mindfulness.”

                    I will be writing a post soon explaining the fractal model of jhana which clears up all confuse between “soft” and “hard” jhana and “jhana lite” and all the permutations of the general misunderstandings regarding jhana depth. Stay tuned. 🙂

                  • Bishop says:

                    Really inspiring post Mayath.

              • BabaFella says:

                Hey Mayath, why don’t you give the ketogenic diet a try? It did wonders for me, but all unrelated to nausea, but maybe it could help in that regard. Just don’t forget to ingest enough electrolytes, especially in the beginning as low electrolytes can cause nausea too I think

                • Mayath says:

                  I’ll look into :). I know tons about neuroscience but fuck all about diet and the rest of the body.

                  I think I probably don’t eat enough. I only eat one or two meals a day. Indulging in Jhana has made that worse as my body feels good so I don’t get headaches telling me to eat damnit.

                  I’ve a really fast metabolism too which doesn’t help :(.

  14. Pat says:

    “I’ve seen what surgery does to people.”
    Do you mean the kind of surgery you would have had on your ankle, or surgery in general? Also, will the kundalini thing you wrote about in that post be in the jhana guide when it comes out?

    • Illuminatus says:

      My friend had knee surgery and they botched the first one, and now he walks with a permanent limp. I’m not a fan of cutting into the body generally, though.

      I considered adding the kundalini meditation to the jhana guide as the setup meditation which then makes concentration much easier, since that is exactly what I do — 20 minutes of that, followed by however long for concentration. It will probably still go in there. However, I’m having trouble verbalizing what I do in this respect, since “turn on an upward kundalini beam” is rather an obscure thing for most people to hear.

  15. Aldous says:

    So, whilst practicing Illuminates Jhana method I had a visual, not unlike those I’ve experienced on LSD, of an energetic imprint of my face peeling off – I could see it from the inside floating away from me and as it did a sense of a clear, bright light on the other side of it.
    Lovely!

    • Illuminatus says:

      Yes. This is called the Original Face. It is an ancient genetic memory connecting you to all life on Earth. By studying the face and mapping its contours, you can learn to change your own emotional states at will. You can also begin to tune into the emotions of others at an extremely fine level, as they too share the Original Face. Eventually you might be able even to read their thoughts, since even these are output at the level of micro-sensations via the face. Finally, you can alter people’s emotions by altering their Original Face in your perceptions.

      This could be the start of a powerful siddhi.

  16. Kautilya says:

    Illuminatus – has this method been ‘replaced’ or ‘updated’ by your more recent 2017 articles?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Looking back over the above post very quickly, I can’t see anything wrong with it in terms of theory. It also contains a detailed description of what I do to get jhana. However, I just think I’m giving people too much to do in the above. Even though that is exactly how I get jhana, these are things people will basically just learn through practice rather than trying to practise them directly. So, yes, I think you are better off sticking to the new posts — but, when you start to get piti, maybe you can come back and re-read this as it could shed light on what’s going on and how to take things forward.

  17. Kautilya says:

    Thanks – that actually makes perfect sense

    Just came back from a Samatha Retreat (was good for immersion, posture and some theory) and got some ‘advice’

    – Only do one half an hour sit a day, no more in case I do it wrong unless I practice classes regularly (I got plenty of time right now working on one single project from home and made it very clear I have time)

    – Don’t discuss Jhana as you are using others experiences

    – Don’t use ‘whole body breath jhana’ to get a feel and promote some experience of exclusive attention (Culdasa TMI) as this is bringing other practices in Concentration meditation

    – Count even if your pk with sensations at nistril to provide anchor for practice

    – No need to cultivate piti i.e. amazing gratitude for each breath

    I want to know what YOU think of these sugggestions as given as starter instructions; and would you expect this from people with 30+ years of Samatha practice and who have experienced Jhana???

    • Illuminatus says:

      What I wrote in the above post is exactly how I achieve jhana:

      – Breathe slowly into the bridge of the nose
      – Find the subtle cool bodily bliss (piti) that arises (it IS there, though subtle)
      – Tune into the breath and notice HOW it creates that piti — then keep breathing in such a way that that piti sustains itself and begins to grow
      – This all requires CONCENTRATION which itself creates more piti
      – Eventually a threshold is passed whereby jhana arises

      What I just wrote is probably my best most concise jhana guide yet. I will probably make a short post repeating it.

      SO. Now we just have the matter of whether people will be able to repeat it. That is what all these different guides and instructions are about, by everyone who issues them. It is all about trying to get people to tune into the pleasure able to be creating by the breath at different locations on the body (mainly the face, especially the nose) and to tune into turning that into an ongoing sustainable stream of piti which eventually grows into jhana.

      Any teacher knows that getting the average person to be able to pay attention long enough to notice what starts off as subtle piti is a tough task. However, I don’t believe it has to be *THAT* tough. I believe if you give the person the right metaphors FOR THEM then they will be able to pick it up and run with it.

      Bearing all that in mind, I will now discuss your points above.

      “Just came back from a Samatha Retreat (was good for immersion, posture and some theory) and got some ‘advice’”

      How long was it, where was it, who taught it, and what was the method? Did you achieve piti or even full jhana?

      “– Only do one half an hour sit a day, no more in case I do it wrong unless I practice classes regularly (I got plenty of time right now working on one single project from home and made it very clear I have time)”

      That’s something I’ve been saying for a while. There is a sweet spot when the mind is fresh and most able to summon piti out of the air, and that is in fact right at the start of the sit. Then, half an hour is a good length of time to tune into and develop that piti. If jhana is achieved you will want to sit much longer (and in fact you may be unable to get up or even hear your alarm if absorption is deep — I have “lost” 8 hours to a full blown jhana before, perceptually it only lasting minutes).

      So I agree with them. If you sit and do the wrong method straight off the bat, you are just going to tire out your mind and body. At best you may enter a “dead” sit whereby you have a settled mind but no piti. It’s not bad in terms of being able to clear your mind but it’s not the goal. So when people email me saying they’re doing 4 hours and it’s just that, I think that they’re wasting their time and they should work on their technique.

      Pretty surprised your masters agreed with me there! Usually they tell the student to just keep spending time on the cushion, which is terrible advice if they’re doing it wrong.

      “– Don’t discuss Jhana as you are using others experiences”

      On the one hand hearing about jhana from others can be inspiring. On the other, you might end up practising their technique which is not a good fit for you, and wasting your time. You might also end up jumping from one technique to the next where you might be better off sticking with one till you get it right.

      The above advice reeks of the “mushroom factor” Ingram warned about in Buddhist communities — feeding you bullshit and keeping you in the dark.

      “– Don’t use ‘whole body breath jhana’ to get a feel and promote some experience of exclusive attention (Culdasa TMI) as this is bringing other practices in Concentration meditation”

      Agreed. Full-body work is good for self-knowledge and can help discover energy pathways. But if you can get piti from the nose you don’t need the whole body in awareness, and this will in fact be a hindrance to concentration.

      “– Count even if your pk with sensations at nistril to provide anchor for practice”

      Please check your spelling before posting. I assume that this should read: “”– Count, even if you’re okay with sensations at the nostril, in order to provide an anchor for practice.” In this case, counting is there to help beginners suppress monkey mind. This is similar to how I advise a few minutes’ mindfulness meditation before going for piti at the nose. If you are even slightly beyond beginner level, counting is a waste of time. I can go straight to the nose and be in access concentration within seconds. This advice is a bit dogmatic and is aimed at stabilizing people with extremely poor mental discipline. The need to count, or other anchoring activities, should be transcended at the earliest possible time.

      “– No need to cultivate piti i.e. amazing gratitude for each breath”

      Bullshit! Piti is the quickest way to jhana. You don’t need “amazing gratitude” either, you just need to tune into the pleasure of the flow at the nose, which triggers nerves connected to the reward circuit.

      “I want to know what YOU think of these sugggestions as given as starter instructions; and would you expect this from people with 30+ years of Samatha practice and who have experienced Jhana???”

      I honestly find instructions like this to be the “mushroom factor”. If students can’t find piti at the nose then perhaps something like pranayama breathing (breath of fire or alternate nostril breathing) is probably the quickest way to develop that. Then you can tune into that piti and grow it via concentration.

      But, then again, if they really are masters, maybe they know something I don’t. I just feel that they are not equipping you with the fastest and most powerful techniques, but are rather just “sending you back to the cushion”.

      • Mayath says:

        I get where you’re coming from Illuminatus. Half an hour is great once someone has foundation in the soft jhanas. Half hour to get to soft jhana and half an hour within that state. When you’re learning, you gotta do that one hour. If you’re not getting some piti in the first thirty-40 minutes, it probably won’t happen. But regardless, if you’re not getting piti, keep sitting. Even when it feels like nothing is happening, it’s times like then when you learn the skills you need. Don’t spend 4 hours daydreaming. 1 hour of smart practice will get you there in plenty of time.

        I think the whole body with the breath can a good method for jhana but that’s only worked for me recently. I’ve developed so much piti that method isn’t important for me now. But for beginners, yea, stick to the nose/smile until you’ve pacified the sense and you’re sense of your body changes completely. That’s stage 8. You can kind of do what you want then to hit jhana.

        • Illuminatus says:

          Mayath have you tried yogic techniques such as breathing and energy work? I was taught pranayama independently by two Hindus (driving instructor and work colleague; a nice send from the Department of No Coincidences!). Even the most basic alternate nostril breathing, and breath of fire, EXPLODED my sense of piti, and made jhana accessible regularly and easily after just a few such exercises prior to concentration meditation.

          I consider it a major turning point in my life. I attained A&P extremely quickly after that, without knowing what it was, but knowing it was something incredible. I was walking home from work with attention on the breath and the present moment, and my attention was drawn to the green leaves on a nearby bush. Suddenly they appeared to be made of an infinitely fine mist, like they were made of energy itself, and looking around I could suddenly “see” the air. This was before I knew ANY meditation terms or maps.

          Since then my awareness is on my breath literally all the time, which is probably why I can meditate so easily. Daily mindfulness, like you say, but extreme mindfulness. I went for a massage during my kundalini awakening because it seriously aches the body. My masseur, synchronistically, was called Maya — the name for both Buddha’s mother, and the Buddhist name for illusion! You could not make it up! The first thing he said to me while working on me was, “You have huge, constant awareness of the breath, and a massive lung capacity — do you meditate?” I said yes, and he said it’s nice to meet a fellow yogi. His thing was energy work and the chakras. We had some great chats.

          When I look back over my life I have always been where I needed to be at the right time. It’s stuff like this that has meant I have always kept the faith.

          • Mayath says:

            I haven’t tried any yogic techniques or energy work besides what’s in TMI and on your blog. Every meditation for me at the moment is energy work. Overwhelming joy coarses through my body within a few minutes of me sitting down. It’s overwhelming. My body is contorting itself into all sorts of weird shapes and gestures. Kriyas basically. I’m not even thinking about jhana at the moment as it’s all I can do to ignore piti and stay on my object.

            Right now I’m finding the still point and the witness and honing my metacognition. It’s a really cool insight practice.

            Aleister Crowley recommends a particular type of prayanama technique in his Book IV and I used that for a while. I can’t remember if it had any effect or not. I couldn’t be arsed committing to it fully.

            “Awareness on my breath literally all the time”.

            I didn’t get this through prayanama but just form focusing on the breath all the time. In fact a handy little hack for people would be to sustain mindfulness of the breath all day, even when you’re not meditating. Just know what your breath is doing. I did this for a few weeks and it made a big difference to my meditations.

            The only yogic technique I do regularly is agni sara and it’s not prayanama. It makes sure the digestive system works properly. I’d really recommend this technique too for people with problems or tension in the stomach.

    • Mayath says:

      Only do one half an hour sit a day? Bullshit. Do an hour of the breath and do an hour of Metta. Maintain mindfulness during the day. Stick to TMI. It’s that simple. Everything will fall place quickly over the next few months if you do that.

      All in all absolutely terrible advice. This is everything you shouldn’t do. The only worthwhile thing I would take from that is don’t worry about Jhana. Just keep cultivating and let piti develop on it’s time. It took me about 6-7 months to go from grade one piti to grade 4. I didn’t get there by doing half an hour. I did it by practicing my ass off.

      Who are these teachers? If that’s their advice, I really doubt their attainments.

      • Illuminatus says:

        I was also seriously doubting their attainments based on that advice but I err on the side of caution since there are so many ways of doing various things, and I am no master myself.

      • Kautilya says:

        Mayath – I also feel TMI is. really solid guide. Really reassured by your comments also!

        I need some practical advice. Strong Dulness thers no point fighting, Subtle Dullness with skill, Gross distractions sometimes will not affect me – half an hour with my attention in the breath at some level is kinda amazing from where I’ve come from!

        Exclusive attention – silent mind with attention solely on the breath eludes me….but I did have that experience recently and a few times but not for the whole 30 mins. I feel subtle distractions and the ‘fuzz’ around my mind are really leaving me stuck (in an academic term – is this called ‘Writers Block at Stage 6’ ???)

        I feel getting stage 6 – exclusive attention at the breath with effort is an acceptable distance from stage 7 – where it becomes effortless and this sounds very exciting to me.

        At the same time the difficulty of this seems incredible…ironic for something thats supposed to lead into effortlessness

        I feel like I can conquer enemies whose territories are defined, but these are a barbarian horde.

        Are these subtle distractions preventing me from having a flourishing Kingdom like a realm facing Dothraki!!??

        • Mayath says:

          Sorry but I don’t understand what you’re asking for help with? Are you struggling with Strong dullness, subtle dullness or gross distractions? All of them? One of them? If you’re struggling with these many things, look at the appropriate chapters on them in TMI.

          Anything I tell you will most likely be based on TMI anyway. Most of my comments are me just literally regurgitating that book.

          If you’re at Stage 6 but got problems with dullness and subtle distractions then you’re probably not at stage 6 and getting ahead of yourself. If you’re at stage 6 and got subtle distractions do the body scan practices in that chapter.

          It sounds like you’re not ready for Jhana yet. That’s okay. Get the core skills down now. If you try to get ahead of yourself now, you’ll end up having to come back and work on those stuff anyway.
          Mastering all ten stages and achieving Samatha is an 18 month to two year job with an hour daily practice. People need to stop thinking about getting Jhana and realize that the overall goal is to achieve Samadhi/Samatha where you have effortless hard Jhanas and deep insight. It’s a way better thing and it exists off the cushion unlike Jhana. Everything becomes meditation then. I’m not there yet but I’m close and I can fucking taste it. It’s killing me.

          You can’t get to effortless without putting in hundreds of hours of effort. You’ll get there, it just takes time. Fight the battles you’re in now, that’s how you win the war. Patience is the fastest way to victory.

          • Kautilya says:

            Sorry about the confusion. I meant with a lot of work and understanding and patience I overcame gross distractions and dullness.

            I can spend some sessions purely just me and breath with no intrusions – but sometimes they bubble up.

            My average experience: ‘think’ im at stage 6 ‘most’ of the time and most sessions. Occasionally a stray image, word or somethings comes to mind – last 2 seconds then goes, with just stillness or fuzziness in the background.

            It seems you ARE suggesting fully body breath jhana – which is what he advocates. So Ill be more precise and since you are way ahead of me and use TMI, I thought you may have some good ideas particularly:-

            1) What core skills can I get down during a normal sit that will help progress and how?

            2) I have willpower when it comes to this but surprisingly though my meditation has improved, my spirit is slowly starting to get down a little. How can I make my meditation fun and useful now!?

            3) How can I stop ‘thinking about getting Jhana’ – when the goal is to get Samadhi/Samatha with effortless hard jhanas and deep insight (this is too fuckin mad!)

            Sounds like your saying Jhana is only a National Championship, don’t go after it……your true goal is OLYMPIC GOLD!!??

            Hope that was clearer man

            Thanks!

            • Mayath says:

              1: Read TMI. The core skills needed for concentration are in the book. I’ve literally just told you all this and repeated it in many posts.

              Do the body scanning method in stage 6. When you feel the tingling of the breath anywhere your attention goes on your body and can feel the expansion/contraction of energy, move onto the whole body Jhanas.

              To make meditation more interesting find ways to make the breath more interesting and joyful. Use your imagination and think of ways how knowing the breath can be fun. Get creative. Find the right metaphors like Illuminatus says. Figure it out.

              One exercise I came up with is to know the breath for each of the five senses.
              “See” the breath with your visual eye for 10 in breaths and 10 out breaths. Know that you’re seeing it fully for those 10 breaths.
              “Hear the breath for 10 in breaths and out breaths.
              Do the same for smelling, tasting and touch.

              If it gets too complicated just read the overview of the ten stages. If dullness is your problem set the conscious intention to energize the mind and to stay focused on the breath.

              Set an intentions to stay on your object and set an intention to overcome the hindrances.That’s the core to progressing. You have to come up with your own ways to beat the hindrances. People can give you tips but you have to creatively apply them.

              Nothing wrong about jhana as a goal but if you obsess about it, it’s gonna hinder your progress. You’re nearly there but you have a bit further to go before the soft jhanas in stage 7 become accessible. That’s why I mention don’t think about Jhana for now. It’s like wanting to run a marathon when you’re just getting steady on your feet to walk properly. That shit will come in time.

  18. Kautilya says:

    Hmmmm…..some good stuff here – even I was surprised at some of your answers!

    – Retreat was in Wales, 3 days but in reality a counting into Friday night, full Saturday and till noon Sunday (Day and a half), taught by Samatha organisation, method was Counting then Following then Touching (sensations) at the longest, longer, shorter, shortest breaths.

    In fact it was a really good method for a total beginner in meditation, I think, who wants 20 mins out of their day to meditate. Otherwise its very basic and for me being away from TV etc. was the main thing.

    – Are you saying theres no use of my additional time? I mean there is the length of the sit but you say work on your technique – so couldn’t I spend time like:

    1/2 hour x 6 sits (mindfullness, just feeling mental breath, piti cultivation, technique 1 – bridge, technique 2 air inside nostril, technique 3 sound) – you get what I mean?

    – I get the latching onto others experiences. I think for me its motivational provided I keep practice as my priority.

    – Are you saying half an hour of nadi shodhana (pranayama) would be good as pre-concentration meditation as well as mindfullness?

    mindfulness – pranayama – exclusive attention – piti exclusive attention – access concentraion – jhana ……???

    • Illuminatus says:

      In longer sits where you just want to use up time on something productive, for a beginner I would probably recommend “body scanning”. So, you just sit there and notice sensations all over the body, while staying perfectly still. Sensations will tend to concentrate in certain areas. Just stay where the sensations are strongest without trying to “do” anything with them. You will find that at some point they suddenly “give way” and disappear, followed by a mental-emotional state change.

      This exercise will teach you absolutely tons about how the body works, including energy pathways. Most of this knowledge will filter into the subconscious. So, imagine a map of your body that you cannot consciously “see” but which is filling in and getting more detailed. Suddenly, at some point later on, you will be hit with an idea to “try this” (e.g. send some energy somewhere, or focus on the breath in a new way) and jhana can happen suddenly and quickly. This is the conscious mind spontaneously being able to make use of the new information discovered about the body from the body scanning, which is in the “hidden map”. Then, later on, the hidden map itself will become visible to you consciously, which is trippy in itself. For example, I can “look into” my body and see all the nerves. I have synaesthesia. This came from endless practice of body scanning, and I believe psychedelic drugs helped along the way (for example, marijuana, which suddenly brought the body map into focus — but I avoid that drug due to reliable paranoid psychosis).

      So, body scanning is a very good use of your non-concentration time. You don’t try to “do” anything — just sit still, watch the sensations, and choose to experience them with equanimity. (I got this tech from Shinzen Young, actually, who is all about directly cultivating mindfulness and equanimity as conscious choices.)

      “– Are you saying half an hour of nadi shodhana (pranayama) would be good as pre-concentration meditation as well as mindfullness?”

      If going for pranayama I would skip the mindfulness stage.

      What we are really talking about here is two loose “schools” of meditation:

      – Buddhism (mindfulness of sensations, concentration, insight)
      – Yoga (energy work, pranayama, concentration)

      The yogic methods lead quickest to piti and then jhana. My leaning is heavily towards yoga. Yoga tends to marginalize mindfulness (sensations, insight etc.) and go straight for piti, energy and concentration. Regarding the altered states people crave, the yogic methods are the best IMO, which is one reason I keep pushing them.

  19. Kautilya says:

    Man this shit is priceless. Even the dialogue between you and Mayath will be read a few times.

    I gave the analogy to those guys that – yes, I do want a 1st class degree (Jhana) but I am only working on my current essay to focus on it and give it my best (meditation session)

    It makes sense that being in Jhana itself would enable me to progress and be more genuine so I don’t want to act like I don’t care about it. People sometimes want to work for a top company due to how it will shape them and give them direction they never knew about and develop in new ways – rather than just the prestige, money and perks.

    I got pranayama covered if I need, so could you give me some direction for energy work – book or something?

    Als couldn’t energy work, mindfulness and body scanning be combined as a period of time just observing, visualising, feeling the prana in your body?

    • Illuminatus says:

      My energy work has arisen organically, completely by itself, in my practice, as a result of massive body awareness. So I don’t know any books etc.

      I have bizarre posts on the old forum from when I first started messing with this stuff. My instruction was to imagine that the brain is a bowl of rice pudding and you then “stir” it from front to back repeatedly, hard, using awareness. I did not know at the time but I was stimulating energy from third eye to crown, and also creating front-back suppression in the brain. Made me feel high as a kite, and able to suppress any negative emotion at will.

      I also have some bizarre tech when you imagine two points on the spine (or in fact anywhere on the body). By simply imagining those points, current begins to run between them. The idea was then to figure out which two points felt best.

      This is all bad advice since it’s playing with things you don’t understand, but it shows I understood the basic of many of these practices intuitively before knowing ANYTHING about them. You are best off finding a kriya yoga book or video series, or maybe even a teacher.

    • Mayath says:

      To be honest, I wouldn’t worry about doing energy work. It will arise naturally or at least it did for me. It will just become obvious. But Tai Chi, qi gong and any type of yogic exercises will make you familiar with energy.

      “Als couldn’t energy work, mindfulness and body scanning be combined as a period of time just observing, visualising, feeling the prana in your body?”

      This is basically what the whole body with the breath practice in TMI is about in stage six. If you do this practice and start looking for the breath in various parts of the body you will begin to find energy sensations depending on how acute your perception is. This is an insight practice and this is where insight becomes really useful for boosting samatha.

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