Tuesday, May 25

Intense Rapture


This morning's sitting began with a period of metta bhavana using the "golden light" method I learned from Leigh (which he learned from Ayya Khema). I had done this yesterday, too. Then, after shining that light on me, Leigh, Gini, Mom, Chris, Laura & Rusty, our neighbors, Prestwick Chase, the neighborhood, Saratoga, New York state, the USA, North America, the Western Hemisphere, the whole world, the whole universe, all beings in all realms, heavenly, human, hellish realms... after all that, I moved to anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing. Particular attention was paid to the gap between the outbreath and the next inbreath, because I recalled that this gap is where discursive thinking tends to arise. Attending to that gap allowed concentration to arise more quickly, without getting lost & distracted. "'Experiencing the whole body [of breath], I shall breathe in, experiencing the whole body [of breath] I shall breathe out,' thus he trains himself." (Step 3 of anapanasati) There began to be some uncomfortable energy in the body and I was about to call it quits, but I made myself keep sitting and the energy exploded into rapture [piti]. Very intense. Not to be excessively vulgar, but it was rather like a full-body orgasm... Oh my... After it all faded, I did the method for ending a sitting that Leigh recommends, which I remember using the mnemonic device RIIMM:

Recapitulation - what happened, how did it happen
Impermanence - all these high, but mundane, states have passed
Insights - were there any? what were they?
Merit - dedicate the merit of this practice for the liberation of all living beings
Mindfulness - resolve to go about the day with mindfulness in all activities

There was one insight. When I was about to call it quits: I've done that A LOT. Just when it starts to build, I've often called it quits just then. My aversive tendencies, I guess. Most likely it's due to fear, the fear of letting go into it, the fear of the flood of rapture, the inundation: it's the fear of drowning, of "Me" being utterly overwhelmed...

What a silly fear.

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