With about ten days to go, it remains to be seen whether or not I will fullfill the goal of becoming an arahat. And while it may seem on the face of it a wildly unattainable goal, especially given the level of effort I’m able to actually give this practice, I must say the results have been fairly impressive.

It seems I can usually give three days a week to intense jhanna practice, and on those days, do between 6-8 solid hours of practice, with maybe three more middling hours. I feel I now know more about this practice than ever before, in many ways. It’s much easier to hold stronger concentration states for long periods of time, and I can make distinctions in the various jhanna factors that I was never able to do previously.

I also now understand the difference between what are called ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ jhanna states, where the latter is more of mental taste, the former is like swimming in it, or being embedded in a solid block of a certain kind of vibrational quality. This obviously makes practice much more rewarding and powerfull. I had a very compelling glimpse into a strong version of the 5th jhanna, or the 1st formless jhanna, sometime known as the base of infinite space. So that aspect of the plan is on track.

The insight side remains my strong hand, however. Last week I had two experiences that together or seperately could be considered powerfull fruitions. The lasting increased sense of peace and dramatically improved level of concentration ability leads me to think at least one of them was. Certain aspects of reality seem much more obvious and non-conceptual in a way that is very hard and sort of annoying to explain.

” Isn’t that what you said before?”

” yeah, but I GET it this time!”

Sigh…

Which leaves the conduct or morality side of the equation. It can be slippery to see where your thoughts and speech and actions aren’t carrying the weight of your realisations, but there is a certain kind of unpleasant schizophrenia that points you in the right direction. After the latest apparent fruitions, I became acutely aware of poorly chosen words to other people, my seeming inability to say the right things, or at least, keep my yap shut.

So I think I’ll just focus on not swearing or talking behind peoples backs for now, which feels like a pretty good idea, and I probably ought to have been doing all along anyway.

The most rewarding thing in my life, and the thing I think this website speaks to the most, is the pleasure and fulfillment of endless self-discovery. There are few things in this world that are endless, but to always be able to learn and explore your own creative potential is one of them.

So, if it transpires that I have to continue this project beyond the deadline, I shant be too disappointed about it.

Permanent Revolution!

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5 thoughts on “Balancing the Equation

  1. well, you could always lock yourself into a retreat center. Then you have to meditate, because there is nowhere to find relief.

    the difference between a “hard” and “soft” state can be so dramatic that it’s surprising that they are really the same at all. at the same time everyone has probably been into the first or second jhana, and i bet a lot of folks have gotten into a pretty hard jhana state while dreaming or waking up late at night etc.. that said, I think that in a ways the requirements for insight are much easier, and tend to pick up velocity and energy as you go. i find that you only need to maintain the energy for access concentration to begin to investigate and to have a place to return, but you need to keep deepening the energy for jhana. Likewise in my experience whereas with jhana all the crap that comes up is a hindrance, if you reach access and are careful it can be opportunity for insight. that in itself can sort of solidify into a state though, so i think the line is far blurrier than it is sometimes made out to be. Ven. Lee said that the shadow cast by concentration was vipassana. but elsewhere he said insight is like throwing propane on a lit lantern. to mix metaphors. to confuse everyone even more i find it a lot easier to investigate after rising to the first or second jhana, particularly if you can sustain attention without having the need to direct it.

  2. well, if one were to confuse knowing from experience with being unintelligable, then yeah, okay. no need for the false modesty around here.

    the funny thing about hard jhanna states ( the double n is perhaps a aesthetic or pheonetic bias of mine ), is that they seem to accumulate their own energy after a while. I seem to be able to get into them and stay in them for hours now and actually feel less tired then I would if weren’t doing them. so maybe yeah it takes more mental energy to sustain them, but when you’re doing it, all the leaks are plugged, and you end up with more net energy at the end.

    I’ve actually noticed that the most durable way of getting the first jhanna is to just start doing insight. it just locks into place as a soft state, at the very least.

    it’s tricky going backand forth though, as you say, because there is always the temptation to start breaking up the state to investigate it, or conversely, to get a big insight wave and then ride the soldified bliss wave as if you were still getting understanding.

    i think my hits just went into the single digits again… oh well…

  3. i guess what i really needed were a couple hard returns… it could have been worse, i could have written “anapanasatti” or “ajaan”

    well, despite dropping to single digits, there is always the chance of mastering the Siddhi of Self-Help Publishing. remember, tone it down, go soft-touch. untold wealth awaits.

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