Cutting through Samsara
and entering Nirvana, Part 2:
Cutting through Samsara and entering Nirvana, Part 2 - speech and guided practice.
Feedback from Cutting through Samsara and entering Nirvana, Part 1:
S: ”After watching your latest video about the chanting, and doing it, something shifted and there was a clear seeing completely through thought, to the empty nature that is it, which has remained open.”
J: ”After 2 hours after the shouting session, my mind and perception kept flickering off and on. It was similar to lights being turned off and on, off and on, again and again, in a quick rhythm. These cessations lasted for a few seconds at a time. It kept happening again and again. Afterwards I felt very tired”.
You describe going "unconscious without going unconscious", awareness shifting and going through something that is new to you. This is called cessation or nirodha. It is like turning off the lights and electricity of the house but not becoming unconscious. These moments are like big leaps, in spiritual sense. This is so because cessation resets the mind momentarily. It's like if you have a big, noisy and messy engine going on and on, making noise, creating fumes, like the dualistic mind does. But when you take electricity plug out for a moment... The engine stops for a moment. This is a glimpse to the natural mind, natural awake awareness. There is nothing and no one there. Literally. This is the permanent mind state of a fully enlightened one, mind of a buddha. That's the mind of no-self. No self in any shape or form. In other words, That's emptiness.
When cessations start happening they might feel dramatic at first. When the lights come back on and the usual mind state resumes, you might feel, ”What was that!? Am I going insane?” Mind reacts like this, with fear and confusion, because it tries to figure out what happened. But it can't because cessation is non-conceptual and conceptual understanding only goes so far. So for some period of time cessation feels like a dramatic drop into the unknown and coming out of it also feels as dramatic, like a jump or something like that. There is this big threshold. If cessations are long, say minutes or hours, which are very rare, one is not able to be active and do things during cessation. Usually cessations are just a few seconds long, at a beginner stage. Later they can be for minuts and hours. People who wake up, have a short cessation and it has enough power to take the charge out of the subject-self.
In hindu dharma, this dramatic leap is called kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. It's a beginning stage of cessation. But with time and practice the drop into and jump back from cessation wears off. With practice, it becomes natural, it transforms. In hindu yoga this mature stage of cessation is called sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. Sahaja means natural. This means that one's conditioned dualistic mind becomes permeated by no-self realisation. Here the dramaticity of it, is gone and one can do things in cessation. Eventually, cessation is not interrupted, it becomes natural. It grows on you and at some point you don't even notice it happening. Mahasiddhas and buddhas are in the state of natural cessation all the time, bodhisattvas aren't yet.
At first when you sit down and start meditating without doing anything, Ati-meditation, you might be self-aware, aware of sitting somehow, aware of the breath, aware of being there. But at some point a shift happens, a cessation takes place and knowing also disappears. In cessation there is no knowing at all. Nirodha is a stateless state of no body, no mind, no God, no buddha, no wisdom, no compassion. It is non-conceptual and without self-awareness. It is a complete stop, a full stop, complete disappearance. Cessation is a peak of meditative experience. And there is a good reason why all meditative traditions and texts have mentioned cessation as something very important. Cessation is sort of like a reset button of a meter, like there used to be in old video or tape players. Everything returns back to zero in cessation and therefore it has a significant impact on the mind and our psychological being.
In case you are wondering what sometimes happens in your meditation and especially Ati-meditation with open eyes, this is it. There is surely a relation between cessation and progress in bhumis as well.
Have a nice day,
- Kim Katami, 11.5.2016