I’m hoping for a bit of insight into returning to an experience I had a few weeks ago while meditating.
I have been meditating for a couple of years now and have had a number of experiences over that time, I recently started using the waking up app and a few weeks back and I can’t recommend Sam’s scientific approach highly enough, his lessons are great in my opinion. Anyway while practicing I had this realization in awareness that there was nothing to go back too in my mind. Trying to explain this is really difficult but while concentrating on the breath, sound, itch whatever was arising, I noticed that I was waiting to return to a place once that sensation had finished, as if I was looking at the sensation from a “place” which I would return to once the object of concentration had passed, then from this place I would go/view the next sensation or thought that came up.
Once I noticed this center I was amazed what happened, although I know it sounds like nothing it was massive to actually fully be it, who was watching this itch? there was nothing, there was no boss to report back to label it and tell me what it was, there was nothing to go back too from whatever the object of concentration was. I was fully able to just experience whatever was happening, as there was nowhere else to go or be, just experience this now then the next, then the next, then the next. My mind wasn’t describing or labeling I wasn’t going towards anything, I was just watching and experiencing whatever was arising without effort, It was the first time I ever truly experienced no me fully and so hard to describe without sounding crazy or full of it.
Since then I’ve struggled to ‘get’ to it again, I’m probably reaching for it or wanting it subconsciously now, but don’t know how I glimpsed it but I know it’s the real deal,
almost like the real beginning of meditation, but I can’t recreate it.
Anybody else had this at all? I glimpsed something that I’m now chasing and excites, but I know the chase is what’s stopping me seeing it again?
You make sense to me. You stumbled upon “the way,” and the moment you seek it is the moment you lose it. As long as you seek it, you wil never find it. It will find you when your mind is empty. You did something right in your meditation, which was probably when you let go of controlling your thoughts.
The Japanese term kensho - first awakening - might apply here.
There are three stages in such experiences: 1) having the experience of a state; 2) learning how to get back to the state; 3) learning how to remain in the state. As seipshot says, though, the desire to return to the state is a barrier to returning. Better to just take such experiences as interesting phenomena that happen and continue the meditation practice.
It never occurred to me it’s desire, tricky old mind. I suppose due to me associating the feeling with meditation I gave it more validation.
A new object to be aware of. Thank you both for the feedback, really helped.
Hi Just Stardust,
I’m new to meditation as well, and I’m hesitant to give any advise or explanation of your experience. But thanks for sharing. I’m very interested in other people’s experience with the app. I think it’s great as well.
There’s an analogy I have that may or may not help you.
The Andromeda Galaxy, which is over 2 million light years away, is visible to the human eye if you are in a dark enough location and know where to look.
If you look directly at the galaxy, you won’t be able to see it; something about the the way the eye functions won’t let you look directly at it. If, however, you look slightly away from it, your peripheral vision will pick it up and you will see it as a faint, blurry patch of light.
Meditation is similar.
If you use your intention to try to will yourself into “getting there” — getting into a non-self state — you won’t be able to do it. You can’t chase it or will to into being, just as you cannot directly look at the Andromeda galaxy.
If instead, you simply calm your mind and body, and let go of trying to “get there,” it will appear on its own. You can only “get there” by letting go of trying to “get there.”
It’s paradoxical, but true.
I do Vipassana meditation.
I sometimes use little tricks that help me in my practice. I’ll use these three words occasionally to remind myself of what I’m doing. Those words are: Open. Spacious. Relaxed.
I’ll also use these alternate three, especially if I’m feeling tightness in my body or agitation: Relax. Release. Resting.
I keep it simple because I don’t want to go spinning off into thought. These little verbal reminders help me stay focused, and I use them sparingly. When I use these words, I try to fully embody the meaning of the words, not just recite a verbal command. I’ve found that relaxing the body and opening all the senses is the key to deep meditative states. When the body relaxes, the mind will follow.
I hope this is of some help.
Thank you for taking the time to reply and for the analogy, I’m an avid star gazer and understand the blind spot reference.
My own analogy of the above description of my experience would be to watching a Tv show or movie. Your attention is on it, then somebody behind you asks you a question, based on your personality you may turn around and give them your full attention and answer in a polite manor or angrily that you’ve been distracted or not even at all because your so engrossed in the movie, but most of the time after answering them you would turn around to watch the show again.
In this analogy the TV show are your thoughts, and the show on is bringing about emotions, anxiety, stress, happiness, compassion, sadness etc . The person behind is whatever is arising right here and now, but when I stop concentrating on them I “go back” to the TV show. I completely forgot about the TV there for a brief time. So I’m not sure it’s a blind spot as I know it’s there now. I know it sounds mundane but it was a feeling I can’t explain, I wasn’t anything but what was arsing.
I haven’t had it come back, but have stopped chasing it. I find the lesson’s between 20 - 30 on the app helped me the most with regards to this, so am going through them again in the morning and mediating alone at night.
Zen master Yuanwu comments:
“This mind is the unconcerned mind in its normal equilibrium.”