Dhyana Troubles

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Dhyana Troubles

Postby Caduceus » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:12 pm

93,

Some years ago, before I even knew about proper Magick, Mysticism, or Crowley et al, I was very interested in the topic of "astral projection" or "out-of-body experiences." To me, this was a means to prove to myself that consciousness could exist apart from the physical body and satisfy my desire to know that we could survive death in some manner.

As an adolescent, I had discovered I could produce interesting effects by lying completely still and attempting to reduce awareness of my physical body as much as possible. I thought I could feel another body which I assumed to be my spirit or soul (which folks around here obviously would refer to as the Body of Light).

After years of playing around with this phenomenon in bed at night and reading some books on astral travel techniques, I thought I would get serious about it and attempt to "get out" and explore my bedroom and perhaps just the house at first.

I had a few mild successes of what I thought was "astral vision" of my room. On one occasion, after "getting out," I first heard a child speaking to me followed by some very ferocious, bestial sounding roaring which scared the hell out of me and prompted quick return to normal consciousness.

I was put off by that experience for a while and turned my attention to other things. I was into Zen Buddhism at the time and one night I had just read something that left me feeling particularly serene. I had a profound feeling that everything was right in the universe, that the universe was a self-correcting organism, and that everything was proceeding exactly as it should.

For whatever reason, I had the impulse to attempt an astral projection while in this state. However, what resulted was something completely unexpected. In my mind's eye, I saw a bright light, not unlike staring at the sun, I felt absolute bliss, stronger than anything I had ever felt emotionally, and I felt that my individuality was melting into this light and feeling. I assumed that I was dying, began to panic, jumped out of the bed and ran into my housemate's room and proceeded to act like a raving lunatic, which I'm sure was entertaining.

Of course, some time later I got a copy of Crowley's Book 4, read the section on yoga and was able to determine what it was that I had experienced.

"One of the simplest forms of Dhyana may be called "the Sun." The sun is seen (as it were) by itself, not by an observer; and although the physical eye cannot behold the sun, one is compelled to make the statement that this "Sun" is far more brilliant than the sun of nature. The whole thing takes place on a higher level."


My practice of attempting to astrally project had actually been a crude yoga practice. This is probably highly unorthodox, but it is my story.

Anyway, my predicament is that I would like to further my yoga practice, but the initial trauma of the experience has left me with a fear of the ego-death that accompanies that state. I have a fear of not returning to normal consciousness. I was wondering if anyone on the forum has dealt with this problem.

Thanks

93/93
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Jim Eshelman » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:31 am

I think the crux of the issue is that you are holding onto a moment in the past. Part of this, of course, is the fear aspect you described - a dread that the same thing would happen to you. However, part of it is also anxiety that the same thing would NOT happen to you again.

It's really really common to want to replicate an intense experience - to want your second psychedelic experience to just like the first one, or your first kiss to be replicated in your second. This doesn't change when the experience was basically negative - especially when it fed a strong ego reaction.

The good news is: The second time is never like the first. It's better or worse, just as good or just as bad, and in any case different. The second time is never quite the same as the first.

My advice is to totally get that fact. What happened before will not happen again. Something else will happen next time. Be drawn to the unknown.

The cure for attachment to a point in the past is to try for something new - to look forward to a new experience. And, in your case, I think the key to that is to be a beginner. One reason for (unconsciously?) dreading that the same thing wouldn't happen next time is that you couldn't define yourself going forward in terms of that fairly significant attainment in the past.

So... build from the bottom. Build good habits. Start yoga by defining your yama and niyama and then practicing asana and going on from there. Take your time. Really get into each thing as you go. (Let go of the old thing by really getting interested in the new things.) Build better form.

And, given your history and experience, when you get up to pratyahara (or even the aftermath of pranayama), uwe some of those serenity meditations. (You know you can do it!) Just watch your breath. Or take other steps that you know invoke serenity (e.g., the understanding of the metasystem of the universe.) Emphasize relaxation and peace.

Sometime - sooner or later - you'll slide into a new dhyana. Probably when you least expect it.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Simon Iff » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:20 am

I would add three things to Mr. Eshelmans very to-the-point advice.

If and when you get into that experience or something like it (intensity-wise) again, keep in mind that a) you are not dying, though it might feel as such and trigger the corresponding anxieties due to the association ... still, it won't happen. Your organism is perfectly equipped to deal with the experience and is not going to fail on you because of that :wink:

Plus b) really, really let go when you're in there. As Mr. Eshelman has already said, there is stuff you are clinging to emotionally from who knows (you, perhaps) and whatever that stuff is, keep a) in mind and then LET GO.

And c), your mind will usually jump back out from the experience into your "usual" setting (whatever that may be) when it has run its course. You won't get stuck in there. It will change you for sure (take care it doesn't fill your focus afterwards, but Mr. E. has said something detailed about that anyways) but it won't hang you up the way LSD could.

Hope that helps and good luck in your endeavour.

Oh, and P.S.:

Pattana Gita wrote:... it is possible to die if it goes on for too long. The panic acts as a safety switch. ...

I for one do not agree, at all. I have not even heard of a case in literature where someone had died in shock from a dhyana or even samadhi. Nothing in that direction from experience of self or others personally related to, either. It may be possible in certain particularly ugly kundalini syndrome cases, or if someone has a really massive heart condition already, where any kind of stress is dangerous, but otherwise, no.

So it's bad advice, too, imo, as it plays on his fears and he already has enough of that and they were imprinted in his first dhyana ... nothing seriously bad is going to happen to him in there.
The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
I weave thee in the spinning charm
I lure thee with the billowy tune.

The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds
Hath joined the dwellers of the light
Hath made his passage into night
His pleasure on the earth to do
Amongst the living.

And again and again and again.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Uni_Verse » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:07 am

To build a little bit on what has all ready been said:
The best way to get over those fears is to keep at the practice.
As you enter into that state and similar ones more often
You built the confidence of experience that you can and will return to normal :)

I might go as far as to say in this moment that sense of natural order is the influence of HGA
There is only one verse,
sung in infinite ways.
-
"Here!"
I come or came?
I sung!
To seeD the Way
-
God sings,
WE experience:
THE UNIVERSE!
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Simon Iff » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:23 am

Pattana Gita wrote:I didn't say you 'die in shock'. That's your own interpretation of what I've written.

Agreed.

Pattana Gita wrote:As for literature - the monks in Tibet practise this method of checking in their chips to this day. When they feel the time is right and death is approaching then they meditate themselves to death.

Yeah, that is entirely correct, but a different pair of shoes entirely. Not something that might "just happen".

Pattana Gita wrote:Crowley acknowledges it is a possibility and wrote about it too.

Then he was wrong on this.

Pattana Gita wrote:That said - people don't usually die because they snap back into their body and ordinary consciousness when the threshold of the body's tolerance is reached, merely by moving the mind and making a division. Then they take a huge breath and the heart races for a bit to pump oxygen around the body, which is usually covered in sweat. The OP should not be concerned about dying unintentionally, but he needs to know that the panic he experienced wasn't something out of the ordinary but simply a very natural reaction everyone has when it gets to the point that 'enough is enough' of that state.

Again, on this I completely agree.

Also, perhaps due to the part of what you said I apparently misinterpreted, there probably is the possibility to die or have averse medical symptoms in case of an already existing, massive heart condition, which I didn't mention enough perhaps.

What Uni_Verse had to say, also totally agree.
The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
I weave thee in the spinning charm
I lure thee with the billowy tune.

The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds
Hath joined the dwellers of the light
Hath made his passage into night
His pleasure on the earth to do
Amongst the living.

And again and again and again.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Simon Iff » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:20 pm

Concerning your quote from Crowley, I am of the opinion that he is not talking about dhyana at all, but something it might escalate into. Under certain conditions. And he does not mean actual death such as in heart and brain stop work.

He is talking about kundalini - which can happen with and without dhyana - and about that entering Sahasrara chakra on or above top of the head and what happens then. "Die in the Lord" is a metaphor for a rare and - for the cited exercise - not even aimed-at result.

Remember that in some languages orgasm is termed "the little death" - without anyone implying that (except also in cases of a massive heart problem that was there beforehand) it would lead to the end of a life.

About your phrasing, yeah, language, I sometimes wonder how we humans do understand each other a little bit at all, but that is another story.
The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
I weave thee in the spinning charm
I lure thee with the billowy tune.

The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds
Hath joined the dwellers of the light
Hath made his passage into night
His pleasure on the earth to do
Amongst the living.

And again and again and again.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Caduceus » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:24 pm

Thank you, everyone, for your responses and your fresh perspectives. This has been a major bother and a hindrance to any kind of serious progression for years now. It's fairly pathetic that I need reassurance, as a magician (especially one into Thelema) is expected to be bold and fearless. Crowley was on the money in regards to Doubt. :)
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Simon Iff » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:34 pm

Caduceus wrote:... It's fairly pathetic that I need reassurance, as a magician (especially one into Thelema) is expected to be bold and fearless. ...

No it isn't. Bold & fearless has to be learned. And sometimes it seriously pays to be careful and take one step after the other - lest there be no further step after a misstep too far ...
The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
I weave thee in the spinning charm
I lure thee with the billowy tune.

The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds
Hath joined the dwellers of the light
Hath made his passage into night
His pleasure on the earth to do
Amongst the living.

And again and again and again.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Frater 639 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:45 pm

Follow Jim's advice. That's all I can say. Being grounded in Yoga is key to access the "Astral Plane". It takes time.

A good grounding in some sort of Qabalah is important too, simply from a "filing system" POV. It might prove difficult to distinguish anything without a firmly rooted symbology. Not to say someone couldn't do it successfully without a classification system, but what would be the point? For fun? Ok...that's cool too. To each their own.

The training system of the A.'.A.'. is the only one I'm familiar with when it comes to astral work -- I can say that once one starts to work with Liber O, after training with simple Asana and some ritual work for a few years, you should slip into it quite nicely. I'm sure your personal timeframe will differ slightly.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Uni_Verse » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:16 pm

Frater 639 wrote:A good grounding in some sort of Qabalah is important too, simply from a "filing system" POV. It might prove difficult to distinguish anything without a firmly rooted symbology. Not to say someone couldn't do it successfully without a classification system, but what would be the point? For fun? Ok...that's cool too. To each their own.


I thought to add that Qabalah, especially concerning the Tree of Life is of greater use than just a "filing system"
(I have noticed your use of quotations, perhaps what I am saying is the implication - if so, it was not clear to
me and possibly others)
It is a great asset in focusing ones travels, for it is easy to get lost meandering about the Astral
Even worse, get caught up in a million adventures, that while fun are only a distraction

Of course, everyone should experience an Astral miss-adventure once if only to have a reference for when you have gone off track :)
There is only one verse,
sung in infinite ways.
-
"Here!"
I come or came?
I sung!
To seeD the Way
-
God sings,
WE experience:
THE UNIVERSE!
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Frater 639 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:04 am

Uni_Verse wrote:I thought to add that Qabalah, especially concerning the Tree of Life is of greater use than just a "filing system"(I have noticed your use of quotations, perhaps what I am saying is the implication - if so, it was not clear tome and possibly others)


Sure, I agree. Of course it is.

There is no argument that there are many aspects to Qabalah, which could be more accurately labeled "perception", from one POV. Is it not a tool for seeing the different aspects of the One Light?

It does mean "reception" after all...and when we receive, we categorize -- it is of no use until categorization, which is personal symbol integration. Would you agree?

Once experience is "filed" we can we use it along with projection of force knowingly. How do we speak without knowledge of the words? It is a language, just like music and politics. We still need knowledge of notes, rhythms, nouns, verbs, etc. to be able to communicate efficiently.

Uni_Verse wrote:It is a great asset in focusing ones travels, for it is easy to get lost meandering about the Astral


I wouldn't know how to direct them otherwise. One could argue that points on this forum get lost there all the time. :wink:

Pattana Gita wrote:Freedom is: I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.


Haha! Yep! All necessary curves of the Cone. :D
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Uni_Verse » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:15 pm

Frater 639 wrote:There is no argument that there are many aspects to Qabalah, which could be more accurately labeled "perception", from one POV. Is it not a tool for seeing the different aspects of the One Light?


Further, I think it also helps to see the way these various aspects interact with one another.

Frater 639 wrote:It does mean "reception" after all...and when we receive, we categorize -- it is of no use until categorization, which is personal symbol integration. Would you agree?


I would agree that is the natural tendency.
Even more so to the importance and use of the personal symbol integration.
To the point where it is no longer required consciously.
That we may experience with out the need to categorize.
Transforming the mundane into something truly magical.

Frater 639 wrote:Once experience is "filed" we can we use it along with projection of force knowingly. How do we speak without knowledge of the words? It is a language, just like music and politics. We still need knowledge of notes, rhythms, nouns, verbs, etc. to be able to communicate efficiently.


Efficiently, yes - effectively, not necessarily. [EDIT: The dash seems out of place, leaving it there]
I could walk up to you and tell you my hand hurts.
Shaking it around and letting out a howl will grab your attention :)
Just as one does not require any knowledge of musical theory to play a gripping piece.
They do, however, if they wish to replicate it with efficiency.

Frater 639 wrote:I wouldn't know how to direct them otherwise. One could argue that points on this forum get lost there all the time. :wink:


Better the chaos be here and not in my Work :D
There is only one verse,
sung in infinite ways.
-
"Here!"
I come or came?
I sung!
To seeD the Way
-
God sings,
WE experience:
THE UNIVERSE!
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Mephisto » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:45 pm

In reference to the orignal post, meditation does not, in fact, result in ego-loss. I spent my first few years of meditation attempting to kill the ego. Eventually I realized that meditation doesn't destroy the ego, but merely enhances it and brings it into harmony with the Macrocosm. So in reality, the idea is to take your imperfect, Microcosmic self, and bring it into Unity (Yoga) with the Macrocosm. So the lesser self/ego is perfected and brought into contact with the Higher. Your own personal attributes are what make you a star; to destroy these would be to destroy the perfection of you as a human being. When Unity is attained, your personal aspects are merely enhanced and perfected.

Such is how I understand it.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby landis » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:46 pm

Simon Iff wrote:Concerning your quote from Crowley, I am of the opinion that he is not talking about dhyana at all, but something it might escalate into. Under certain conditions. And he does not mean actual death such as in heart and brain stop work.

He is talking about kundalini -....

Dhyana is Sanksrit for the Pali word jhana which has been variously translated but usually as "absorption" and according to most interpretaitons of the Buddha's teachings is a necessary (there's a school of thought called "dry vipassana"--as opposed to the "moistening" qualities of jhana--that sees it as unnecessary) part of the Noble Eightfold Path called Right Samadhi (concentration). Ch'an (a.k.a. Zen) is simply the Chinese derivation of the words dhyana and jhana. The passage in Kaczynski's Perdurabo that cite Crowley's description of his attainment of dhyana (while staying with Allan Bennett in Sri Lanka) is similar to Buddhist descriptions of jhana and not, as Simon Iff notes, kundalini.

Hope that clarifies things a little.
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And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Simon Iff » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:54 pm

landis wrote:... The passage in Kaczynski's Perdurabo that cite Crowley's description of his attainment of dhyana (while staying with Allan Bennett in Sri Lanka) is similar to Buddhist descriptions of jhana and not, as Simon Iff notes, kundalini.

Hope that clarifies things a little.

Not really, as the problem appears to be that some postings of a user (Patthana's perhaps?) have been deleted since I wrote my reply and even I do no longer understand some of the (including my own) references in this thread now.
The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
I weave thee in the spinning charm
I lure thee with the billowy tune.

The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds
Hath joined the dwellers of the light
Hath made his passage into night
His pleasure on the earth to do
Amongst the living.

And again and again and again.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby landis » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:04 pm

No biggie Simon Iff. Sometimes I hit. Sometimes I miss.
My blog: thislandismylandis.wordpress.com

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Simon Iff » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:15 pm

landis wrote:No biggie Simon Iff. Sometimes I hit. Sometimes I miss.

No other way here. I read the thread up and down and became more and more confused until I understood that what I originally replied to was gone. And I wrote it ...
The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
I weave thee in the spinning charm
I lure thee with the billowy tune.

The dead man Ankh-af-na-Khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds
Hath joined the dwellers of the light
Hath made his passage into night
His pleasure on the earth to do
Amongst the living.

And again and again and again.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby landis » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:33 pm

Simon Iff wrote:
landis wrote:No biggie Simon Iff. Sometimes I hit. Sometimes I miss.

No other way here. I read the thread up and down and became more and more confused until I understood that what I originally replied to was gone. And I wrote it ...

Wait. Are you saying stuff gets deleted here without you knowing who did it or why?
My blog: thislandismylandis.wordpress.com

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby Takamba » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:35 pm

landis wrote:
Simon Iff wrote:
landis wrote:No biggie Simon Iff. Sometimes I hit. Sometimes I miss.

No other way here. I read the thread up and down and became more and more confused until I understood that what I originally replied to was gone. And I wrote it ...

Wait. Are you saying stuff gets deleted here without you knowing who did it or why?


Some people prove to only have one intent, which is not positive, and it gets them deleted (not without warnings) and so goes also their content (if that is warranted).

[Edit] Also, some people ask to be deleted - like the existence of a pharaoh who may or may not have existed, or the nose on the Sphinx.
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby landis » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:16 pm

Simon Iff wrote:Some people prove to only have one intent, which is not positive....
I know exactly what you mean, and far as this forum goes I'll take your word for it (unless in the future evidence to the contrary presents itself to my senses).
My blog: thislandismylandis.wordpress.com

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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Re: Dhyana Troubles

Postby landis » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:23 pm

Caduceus wrote:Anyway, my predicament is that I would like to further my yoga practice, but the initial trauma of the experience has left me with a fear of the ego-death that accompanies that state. I have a fear of not returning to normal consciousness. I was wondering if anyone on the forum has dealt with this problem.

I can't speak to the "astral" side of things but I have some substantial experience with dhyana/jhana.

But first, could you clarify your understanding of "fear" (AC said "Fear is failure and the beginning on failure), "ego death," and "normal consciousness?"

Off the top of my head, you might focus on gaining competence with the calming aspects of anapanasati/Mindfulness of Breathing (just google it). Somewhere near the end of lecture seven in 8 Lectures on Yoga, AC postulates this (along with satipatthana) as a comparable alternative to the method(s) in Liber ABA (Book 4).
My blog: thislandismylandis.wordpress.com

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways
."

The Book of Thoth, p. 257 (on Atu IX, The Hermit).
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