“Interesting” meditation experiences?

About 4 years ago I was meditating on the perception of emptiness as described in MN121. I was sitting facing west and I was at the point of the sutta’s instructions of perceiving the earth as stretched like a cow hide, directing my mind outwards across the earth. It was at that moment when a small earthquake happened to occur. Since my mind at that moment was so attuned outward to the spaciousness of the earth, I perceived the earthquake first from far away and felt it come upon me and roll past like a wave. I’ve lived in California most of my life and always felt earthquakes only as they touched exactly where I was, so this was very different. I didn’t read anything mystic into it, but it was quite a fun coincidence!

Have you had any interesting meditative experiences that you would like to share?

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A small reminder:

Please take care in responding to Zenqi that no claims of attainments are made.

:rosette:

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Yes, Nadine et al, I make no claims of attainments! In fact, the sutta I mentioned is the Buddha talking about the perception of emptiness, not the attainment. I wouldn’t even claim here that I had the perception of emptiness. :smile: It’s just an anecdotal story about how I was meditating as the sutta instructed which happened to coincide with an earthquake.

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Maybe it was the Earth bearing witness to your insight, just like Koṇḍañña!

Thus at that moment, at that instant, at that second, the cry spread as far as the brahma world, and this ten thousandfold world system shook, quaked, and trembled, and an immeasurable glorious radiance appeared in the world surpassing the divine majesty of the devas.

24Then the Blessed One uttered this inspired utterance: “Koṇḍañña has indeed understood! Koṇḍañña has indeed understood!” (SN56 11)

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That’s funny! But I can guarantee you that awakening did not happen! :wink:

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When discussing practical aspects it may be a good idea to keep the below in mind. :anjal:

Sorry, Gabriel, but I don’t understand your comment.

Further to Nadines comment

The Forum Guidelines also indicate that the forum is not a ‘practice’ forum, where details of individuals practice are discussed, There are a variety of reasons for this.

The title of the thread could easily be interpreted as discussing aspects of individual meditation practice. However, @Adutiya has made it clear, that it about a confluence of 'interesting things (like an earthquake) happening during meditation…

So I believe @Gabriel_L was signalling that care needs to be taken in how this thread progresses.

All Good :slightly_smiling_face:

May all beings be free from suffering - and be happy today :smiley: :sunflower::sun_with_face::rainbow:

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Generally there are so called four imponderables in Buddha Dhamma:

From AN 4.77

“Mendicants, these four things are unthinkable. They should not be thought about, and anyone who tries to think about them will go mad or get frustrated. What four?

The scope of the Buddhas …

The scope of one in absorption …

The results of deeds …

Speculation about the world …

These are the four unthinkable things. They should not be thought about, and anyone who tries to think about them will go mad or get frustrated.”

In general the second imponderable is reffering to possibilities and depth of jhanic states.

I think it contains both jhanic experiences, siddhis and generally as I call them “raptures” or “singularities” or as Ajahn Brahm call it generally “power mindfuless” or “superpower mindfulness”.

Generally, there is literally infinite possibilites regarding peculiar meditative states. It is one of four imponderables.

So generally, every person may have and eventaully will have some extraordinary perceptions in meditation. :slight_smile: It is part of the path.

When people encounter such experiences, I usually reffer to them as “singularites” or “peculiarities” and advice to just let them happen, don’t attatch, have fun and keep exploring. :wink: But it is just so my friends in meditation know that “yeah, this is normal, you’re not going nuts”.

I had a lot of such experiences, but I think it would be against the forum policies to share them, and I actually agree with that, because it could go too far if we all started sharing them :wink: But thing is: every dedicated practitioner has some of them, and they are usually unique. Sometimes they repeat, and sometimes they are completely anicca and happen only once in life. Sometimes they are useful on the path, and sometimes they are just “nice” or “unpleasant”. Sometimes people have abundance of them, other have very few (but they can or can not relate to other aspects of practice).
For example there can be:

  • a person with lots of singularities developed in wisdom and metta
  • with lots singularities not developed in wisdom and metta
  • with few singularities developed in wisdom and metta
  • with few singularities not developed in wisdom and metta

There is really no rule and no end regarding this stuff. But they are surely interesting and can be motivating for a lot of people to keep practicing :wink: But from a deeper dhamma point, it is more importaint to watch nature (dhamma) of a singularity, than its content. But there is no rule to it also. Sometimes contents of singularities are very useful, and sometimes they are meaningless.

Ajahn Brahm actually writes in his book “Mindfulness Bliss & Beyond” that such things happen on “nimitta stage”, where mind is powerful enough to project stuff onto itself, but not in deep jhana yet. Nimitta and jhanas are also related to “power” and “superpower” mindfulness described in the book, which are generally related to many extraordinary modes of perception.

I guess it is connected with arising of piti (spiritual pleasure) or niramisa sukha (hapiness born of not grasping) and most types of samadhi, certaint amounts of it starts the singularities. It is totally in line with teachings of Ajahn Brahm. It is also related to EBT, where siddhis (and extraordinary modes of perception are form of siddhi), are generally connected to development of higher mind (through samma samadhi).

I’m not sure if pali canon describes these things with such detail as modern manuals of meditation like for example Ajahn Brahms “Mindfulness Bliss & Beyond”.
But it would be great if there was more about it in the EBT.

I’m a little confused about the direction of my topic here and am feeling unpleasant feelings right now. The point of my topic was to be involved in this community and to have a lighthearted discussion on interesting meditation experiences, perhaps something similar to mine. It was nothing more than that. I didn’t claim to have attained anything or reached some level of awakening or had some spiritual meditative experience. I didn’t equate my experience to Kondañña, someone else did, I assume in jest. My post was as simple as: once I was meditating and I felt an earthquake while my attention was focused on the earth. That’s it. I posted it in the Watercooler because the Watercooler is for "informal, friendly discussion, no worries.”

I’ve been on this site for a few years and am here because I love the dhamma and am serious about my practice. I don’t have a Sanga or know a single person who practices, so this is my sole connection to Buddhists. I come here to get answers, to learn, to listen, make a comment when I think it’s appropriate and to contribute to the community. My intention is to not be offensive, argue, press my opinions, get hostile or anything like that. So I’ll be happy to delete this topic if anyone is offended or thinks it’s inappropriate.

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I think your experience was related simply to the fact that your perception was more subtle (you were in meditation), so you felt more, and you felt earthquake quicker and more fully than normal.

It is very normal in meditation to have more subtler and precise perception :slight_smile: I would consider this a coincidence.

There is a second lead but it is not buddhist, but very interesting nontheless. In his book “When impossible happens” Stanislav Grof, inspired by Carl
Jung, describes so called “synchronisities”. It is like two or more unrelated phisically things but mentally related happens at the same time.
For example a patient of Carl Gustav Jung had a dream of a scarab last night. She’s in the therapy room with Carl and speaks about the dream with a scarab (that dream also had other very importaint contect regarding her life). The moment she speaks about scarab, real actual scarab flies into the room, first time in the therapy and never to fly again after. (Jung stated this as real life event)

The fact that this is unrelated physically, but clearly mentally, led some transpersonal psychologists to a new vision of relation of mind and matter.

Grof and Jung interprets it that universe tells you that you are on the right path, showing you that something is importaint etc.

This is pretty popular book in my circles. :wink: I’m not stating its true or untrue, just sharing this point of view.

As to the words of caution, I think they are because some people might have some very powerful “interesting meditation experiences” and that stating them could pretty much mean that they are pretty deep in meditation and have some high attainments. And these are always relative. A deep experience for one, can be pretty common for another etc. people can mean million things by word “deep” or “interesting” itself.

I hope this and my previous answer helps you somehow :slight_smile: :anjal:

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I have sometimes felt rolling of the earth during some long duration earthquakes. Wasn’t meditating, so not exactly to your point.
But I did seem to feel a heart murmur once, when focussed on chest.
Please, feel welcome. Give that some attention, maybe? :slight_smile:

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It’s just that some folks have been around for a while and have seen the not-so-funny things that occur when a forum member makes extraordinary claims (hence the concern, and the guidelines that you’ve been pointed to). So forum members aren’t allowed to talk about their attainments in public, just like monastics aren’t. :wink: I don’t think any of them thought you were doing that; they were just worried that a casual reader might get the wrong impression.

I think your OP is a simple account of the things we observe when we’re observing closely. Reality is ever shifting. When I was in Ecuador and needed a conversation starter I’d remark that there are no volcanoes in Australia; the villagers always looked at at me in disbelief and thought I’d made that up!!

I don’t know if this is interesting or unusual or funny. I’m not a morning person, but I spent 6 months living in a community where 6-7am meditation was obligatory. I was always there, in half-lotus on my cushion and I usually had a very peaceful time. … That is until the ending gong went and I work up and my friends complained about me snoring through the hour. … The funny thing is that I didn’t topple over once. :smiley:

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Could I suggest that you change the title of the thread as that’s what shows first?
It is ambiguous and could suggest that it refers to ‘spiritually interesting’.
Maybe ‘funny, silly or weird’ would fit in.

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Doing meditation in the forest, I get to witness animals doing things that you don’t often see: fawns nursing, millipedes mating, monkeys … being monkeys :joy:

But one that, for whatever reason, really fascinated and horrified me was watching a wasp attack and kill a large spider. The spider instantly curled up as the wasp’s poison destroyed its nervous system. The wasp then proceeded to rip the legs off the spider one by one (which were then happily carried off by scavenging ants) and then began to eat the spiders face. Soon enough though, larger scavengers came and tried to take their piece of the pie, so the wasp, battling off the competition, picked up the spider-body in its middle two legs and then waddled off on its remaining four (too heavy to fly) to a nice, soft patch of earth where she buried the body along with her eggs.

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@ Zenqi, I thought your post was interesting and compelling. Don’t worry or feel that you wrote something that was other than interesting and worthy of posting here, IMO. I’m glad you shared your experience. As a former California resident, I think it’d be cool to have been sitting in a nice semi-absorption and experiencing a small temblor, rolling through me like an ocean wave.

I think that as other “Theravada” sites have been involved in conflict over people posting attainments of stream entry, or jhanas, or arahantship, for example, that the whole issue of discussing meditative experiences has become something of a taboo in some circles. It’s kind of like putting ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago…it’s just not done.

This doesn’t mean that it’s not useful or important that people discuss meditative experiences, but that the subject, because of some inflated claims from third parties, caused the subject to become a sticky wicket for Buddhist forums.

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And yet I was so sure that seeing a mummified frog during my walking meditation was interesting. The parasitic wasp definitely takes the cake!

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That is interesting! How mummified?!

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It was really kind of cool because I just happened to be contemplating impermanence before I noticed the frog because my ankle kept popping when I turned at the ends of the path. I saw the frog sitting there, and then it didn’t move when I walked by which was kind of odd. So when I passed it again I checked it out and it was literally skin and bones! It was so well preserved I thought about keeping it but made the wiser decision and left it there.

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Heavens no! :scream: The very thought…:upside_down_face:

@Adutiya, I apologize if you misunderstood my comment. Having been involved with D&D for a couple of years as a moderator I’ve seen perfectly delightful topics get hairy quite rapidly and thought to get in front of that possibility early on.

Living where I do the earthquakes are very small and very infrequent. I was driving during one and didn’t notice it, which was a bit disappointing. I’m not sure I could stay seated in or out of meditation during a larger one.

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