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TOPIC: Cessation

Cessation 09 Mar 2014 12:58 #18870

I see "cessation" mentioned quite often and don't know what it means. Can you explain it for me?

Once I had a blip during meditation that lasted a few seconds where everything blanked out. It was a very unique experience for me. But, it didn't effect either my future meditations or my life. It seemed an isolated, meaningless experience. That isn't what is meant by cessation, is it?
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 13:26 #18871

If the "blanked out" was timeless and completely without experience, then yes that is a cessation. It can feel like a jump cut:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jump_cut

vimeo.com/60581880

If there is any experience of "blankness" during the jump cut, then that is not a cessation. Why? Because that's an experience. A cessation is a gap without content --- and usually the first few seconds after the gap you think, what the hell was that. And you can't find a thing. Yet you know there was something...

It doesn't have to be a big experience, especially if you already have had them.

A cessation somehow shows the mind that the solid sense of self (the mind) can go away completely without drama. It happens every night during sleep of course, but it usually is more illuminating when it happens during the middle of a sit. For some reasons, the first cessation also gave me more readily access to jhanas --- which I find wildly interesting and hard to explain. It wasn't quite so clearly defined as others have reported, but it was like going from horse power to jet power.

You probably knew all of this, but I'm just trying away anyway... :)
Last Edit: 09 Mar 2014 13:30 by shargrol.
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 13:31 #18872

I'm sorry but I have to disagree with shargrol on this much -- sleep is not like a cessation. There is limited consciousness during sleep. We dream, we have some element of being arising, some level of mental activity. There is nothing, zero, nada mental activity during a cessation. It is a complete blacking out of all remnants of being. This is what makes cessation so compelling, even frightening to some. My first few cessations scared me into quitting my practice for many months. Once I knew what they were it was okay but the shutting down and rebooting effect that happened to me at the time was scary and very much unexpected.
Last Edit: 09 Mar 2014 13:45 by Chris Marti.
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 14:11 #18873

Shargrol, yes it was timeless and without experience. It I wanted to repeat it, I think I could put a gun to my head. In other words, if that is a taste of enlightenment, I want no part of it.

Here is a recording of a panel discussion on enlightenment with Gary Weber, Tim Freke and some woman: conscious.tv/nonduality.html?bcpid=45947...&bctid=2540519926001. I was especially taken by Tim Freke’s comments when he contrasted himself with Gary. Tim was saying he got great pleasure with being embedded but it also had the experience of un-embedded in the same experience. I was thinking of this last night when I was watching the Duke- North Carolina basketball game. I was engrossed in the action and rooting for Duke to win. I never want to give that pleasure up.

Shargrol is the old betaware, right?

jack
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 16:29 #18875

I found a cessation to be exactly like dreamless sleep, inasmuch as it's like you are suddenly 'fast-forwarded into the future' (obviously for much longer with sleep)... sometimes followed by a bliss wave, but not necessarily. In that sense, my experience of it was that it didn't particularly 'show' anything about the self being there or going away that wasn't already known (e.g. sleep), or really anything much in an insight fashion - for me it was simply more like a path marker, without insight content in itself but a 'sign' or symbol that something had shifted.
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 18:32 #18877

Chris Marti wrote:
Once I knew what they were it was okay but the shutting down and rebooting effect that happened to me at the time was scary and very much unexpected.

I've only had one cessation experience that I can remember, but it was exactly like that, a sudden shut down and reboot. After the blip, reality seemed somehow fresher, like I was seeing everything with a clarity that wasn't there the moment before, which lasted for a few minutes until the layers of delusion were recreated.

I can imagine cessations happening during sleep, but I wouldn't say a cessation is like dreamless sleep. Dreamless sleep has a time component whereas a cessation happens outside of time, from my understanding.

I do wonder why I haven't experienced more cessations. After reading MCTB, I was expecting them to happen all the time afterwards.
Last Edit: 09 Mar 2014 18:32 by Justin.
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 20:23 #18878

"I do wonder why I haven't experienced more cessations. After reading MCTB, I was expecting them to happen all the time afterwards."

Same here. I talked about that on my thread at one point, I think. Or maybe it got moved to a new thread. In any case, though, yeah. I haven't had more than a couple of honest-to-goodness cessations.
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 20:51 #18879

Chris and Jack, after you had the terrifying/unpleasant cessations, did you have full access to the first four jhanas? (I assumed this happened early in your meditations Jack?) By that, I mean did both of you get the cycling of jhana 1-2-3-4 like are normally described by Kenneth?

The reason I ask is I had one terrifying cessation, but that one didn't give me access to jhanas, as near as I can tell. Stream entry came years later. I've always been curious what that was, so I'm just looking for more data points and your experiences map closest to it.
Last Edit: 09 Mar 2014 20:53 by shargrol.
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 21:01 #18880

Shargrol,,

My cessation wasn't unpleasant or terrifying. It was neutral, devoid of all emotions both during and after. It did not give me access to any jhanas. It's appearance and aftereffects seemed meaningless.

jack
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Cessation 09 Mar 2014 21:13 #18881

Laurel Carrington wrote:
"I do wonder why I haven't experienced more cessations. After reading MCTB, I was expecting them to happen all the time afterwards."

Same here. I talked about that on my thread at one point, I think. Or maybe it got moved to a new thread. In any case, though, yeah. I haven't had more than a couple of honest-to-goodness cessations.
That's interesting! I got the impression from MCTB and KFD that everyone 3rd or 4th path would have had countless cessation blips. I was advised awhile back that my practice is evidently post-stream entry but if I've ever had a cessation it must not resemble the usual descriptions.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 00:01 #18882

During certain phases I had lots of cessations. They're not very interesting or insightful after a while. For the first few, what happens afterwards is a lot more interesting than the event itself.

*EDIT*: Also, it's common for them to go unnoticed, at least at first. For stream entry, I didn't notice the cessation itself. I noticed that something changed, and Kenneth was able to guide me through the review cycle which clarified things. I did notice the cessation for 2nd path clearly.
Last Edit: 10 Mar 2014 00:03 by nadav.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 02:31 #18885

I didn't notice a cessation at all for SE. It was more like a brief 'big wow' A&P type experience. I only thought it was SE because Beth thought so and it made sense. Second Path was a clear Mahasi blip cessation, but I've only had a few that were completely undeniable like a little chunk of time has been removed - other fruitions were either so small they could have been mistaken or gone unnoticed, or else more like blips than like any actual time/consciousness was missing.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 08:39 #18886

I had/have cessations during certain phases as well. SE was my first noticeable one, followed by dozens in Review cycles. They were not really noticeable during review other than the strong energy surge afterwards. 2nd path was an incredible strong one. Strong meaning the energetic after effects. Then they started to seemingly come in waves for a long time during certain phases of practice. 3rd path is where NS showed up. After certain phases I could make them happen as well. Not sure if I could do that now. I haven't tried. Anyways, now I don't have them very often, or don't notice them. The last heavy I had ones were late August if I remember correctly. I distictly remember one that happened while I was walking. It was almost like I stepped into the ground disappeared for a second, and then reappeared a step later. Kinda freaky.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 08:40 #18887

jackhat1 wrote:
My cessation wasn't unpleasant or terrifying. It was neutral, devoid of all emotions both during and after. It did not give me access to any jhanas. It's appearance and aftereffects seemed meaningless.

Have you had one before? Cessations can become no big deal if it is just review.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 09:38 #18888

Russell wrote:
I distictly remember one that happened while I was walking. It was almost like I stepped into the ground disappeared for a second, and then reappeared a step later. Kinda freaky.

One of my favorite descriptions of a cessation was someone who was sitting... but they said something like, I was sitting there looking at my mind and then I fell into a hole and landed inside myself.

And now Russell has actually done it while walking ! :)
Last Edit: 10 Mar 2014 09:38 by shargrol.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 09:59 #18890

Chris and Jack, after you had the terrifying/unpleasant cessations, did you have full access to the first four jhanas? (I assumed this happened early in your meditations Jack?) By that, I mean did both of you get the cycling of jhana 1-2-3-4 like are normally described by Kenneth?

I obtained much easier jhana access some time later, probably in the second path-ish time frame. Then they started showing up fairly often, even while I was walking around, in meetings, at work, and so on.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 10:17 #18891

Chris Marti wrote:
Chris and Jack, after you had the terrifying/unpleasant cessations, did you have full access to the first four jhanas? (I assumed this happened early in your meditations Jack?) By that, I mean did both of you get the cycling of jhana 1-2-3-4 like are normally described by Kenneth?

I obtained much easier jhana access some time later, probably in the second path-ish time frame. Then they started showing up fairly often, even while I was walking around, in meetings, at work, and so on.

AHA!!!! How interesting. It may very well be that [SE/1st cessation] happened to me years before working with Kenneth. Maybe it was 2nd Path I experienced with Kenneth. I had much easier access to jhanas after that experience, but not the first "terrrifying" one. There were perception changes, though, with the first cessation.

Anyone else go through the same progression: initial cessation experience, little change in jhana ability, [second cessation/2nd path], clear increase in jhana ability? Or did others have jhanas after their first cessation?
Last Edit: 10 Mar 2014 10:22 by shargrol.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 11:59 #18897

every3rdthought wrote:
I didn't notice a cessation at all for SE. It was more like a brief 'big wow' A&P type experience. I only thought it was SE because Beth thought so and it made sense. Second Path was a clear Mahasi blip cessation, but I've only had a few that were completely undeniable like a little chunk of time has been removed - other fruitions were either so small they could have been mistaken or gone unnoticed, or else more like blips than like any actual time/consciousness was missing.

Same here. It's interesting that several of us had unclear cessations for first path, but a recognizable blip for second. The first was a big-wow build up to a massive bliss wave. There could have been a blip in there, but the fireworks obscured it.

There've been other tiny, tiny blips since, but nothing I'd be inclined to consider writing about.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 12:56 #18899

So it could be that the folks that entered the suffering door during SE had the terrifying results. And maybe others had the no-self door which was more pleasant. And maybe many of us had the imperminence door as are second path, which is more dit-dit-GONE. ?

Just a hypothesis, wondering what others think.

www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharm...0The%20Three%20Doors
Last Edit: 10 Mar 2014 12:57 by shargrol.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 13:10 #18900

I think this is one of those things that has no "normal" or standard progression. I've talked to people who never practice jhanas so that can't tell me what they're like, although many of those people appear otherwise in very advanced stages. I've talked to pre-path people who have access to one, two, three, or even four jhanas. I suspect brain physiology/chemistry differences plus a serious practice of "concentration" before path.

JMHO/YMMV
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 15:43 #18902

Yea, could also be they found a practice that could abide and didn't need to look further
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 15:53 #18903

Chris Marti wrote:
I think this is one of those things that has no "normal" or standard progression.

Seems likely, I admit. Begs the question though... what is Stream Entry w/o cessation or access to jhanas? Any thoughts on that?

For example, how would a teacher know that someone was pre-path but had jhanas, versus post path with jhanas?
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 16:52 #18905

This may be too non-specific to satisfy, but it seems to me that when people have had that first shift, afterwards their meditation changes. The pattern of the flow of thought-sensation-imagery-arising-passing tends to be automatically seen, rather than being something they need to work on looking for. They have a much stronger and more "natural" ability to meditate, to perceive detail of phenomena without effort. Meditation tends to creep off cushion and be more spontaneous (naturally noticing the qualities and patterns of phenomena during work, out and about, when waking from sleep, in interaction with others, in emotional reactions, etc). Thoughts in general also tend to be perceived not as a disruption or distraction, but just automatically included as part of the field of phenomena to observe/investigate/be with. Energetic phenomena also tend to become more common as do deeper altered states, concentration states, or hypnotic type states during meditation. This isn't a strict formula for evaluation, but in my experience are some tendencies that would contribute to me evaluating someone as "further along" even if they don't describe a specific shift experience that can be identified as "first path" or equivalent.
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 18:44 #18907

so, an element of chance, I meant
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Cessation 10 Mar 2014 19:15 #18909

Thanks for this detoured discussion. I need to check some old notes... It's given me something to think about.
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