Author Topic: Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!  (Read 2619 times)

Calm Mind

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Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!
« on: December 22, 2016, 08:35:44 PM »
Hello... I'm new here and have only recently started practicing Shamatha meditation properly.

I've been doing regular 20 minutes of calm abiding meditation for about a month and at first I was focusing on the nostrils and then after a few weeks I found that focusing more on the abdomen/bodily sensations in relation to the breathe was better for me.

This morning, as usual I practiced Shamatha, and after about 10 minutes had the feeling of an energy/pleasurable feeling (Sukha?) in my stomach that seemed to rise up and build in my chest... it was almost like a tickling sensation - difficult to describe, but caused me to burst out laughing uncontrollably and smile like an idiot :) :) (which distracted me from concentration)

At the same time I had this sudden realisation of how simple everything was... just simple!! And that made me laugh even more  :D

I've read about the first Jhana and was wondering if this is on the route to first Jhana... and if so where abouts do I go from here? This pleasurable energy seemed to just build in my chest and stay there, should I just continue to concentrate on this feeling?

Thanks in advance for the advice!!   :D
« Last Edit: December 22, 2016, 08:46:13 PM by Calm Mind »

Nicky

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    • Pali
Re: Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2016, 09:48:09 AM »
I've read about the first Jhana and was wondering if this is on the route to first Jhana... and if so where abouts do I go from here?

There are three levels of concentration, which can give rise to three types of rapture, namely:

(i) momentary;

(ii) neighborhood; &

(iii) attainment/jhana.

What you experienced is momentary rapture from momentary concentration, which is not any genuine kind of concentration. This momentary concentration & momentary rapture is demonstrated by the very fact that you/your mind was unable to maintain concentration  ???.

In jhana, the mind will dwell for many hours, even the whole night, in heavenly exalted rapture, where the mind does not move, requiring no effort.

You are hundreds, probably thousands, of hours away from jhana.

What you experienced I experienced in my first 3 days of meditation. It is nothing but, positively, does show your mind is able to concentrate therefore has potential.

That said, another beginner meditator with me lost the plot when experiencing rapture. He was put on hard labour drill digging holes & mixing cement for 7 days and then sent away.

Consider doing a 7 or 10-day silent meditation retreat, in which you might attain neighbourhood concentration if you have the right method.

As for jhana, the route to jhana is perfecting 'letting go' or giving up desire. If you desire jhana, you won't reach it.

The Buddha said:

Quote
And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a noble disciple, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters & remains in the first jhana.... Indriya-vibhanga Sutta

Regards    ::)

stillpointdancer

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Re: Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2016, 11:29:02 AM »
Hello... I'm new here and have only recently started practicing Shamatha meditation properly.

I've been doing regular 20 minutes of calm abiding meditation for about a month and at first I was focusing on the nostrils and then after a few weeks I found that focusing more on the abdomen/bodily sensations in relation to the breathe was better for me.

This morning, as usual I practiced Shamatha, and after about 10 minutes had the feeling of an energy/pleasurable feeling (Sukha?) in my stomach that seemed to rise up and build in my chest... it was almost like a tickling sensation - difficult to describe, but caused me to burst out laughing uncontrollably and smile like an idiot :) :) (which distracted me from concentration)

At the same time I had this sudden realisation of how simple everything was... just simple!! And that made me laugh even more  :D

I've read about the first Jhana and was wondering if this is on the route to first Jhana... and if so where abouts do I go from here? This pleasurable energy seemed to just build in my chest and stay there, should I just continue to concentrate on this feeling?

Thanks in advance for the advice!!   :D

You are lucky to get a glimpse of this feeling. Many people give up meditation long before they find anything positive like this. Unfortunately you may find it difficult to get the feeling back on demand, as these things hit you in waves over the years. Of course, you could be one of those meditators who always find joy in meditation, so don't be put off by anyone knocking your experience. In some cases people become 'bliss bunnies', people who meditate only to get the high feeling. Better than drugs, I guess ....
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Calm Mind

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    • Shamatha
Re: Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2016, 12:02:06 PM »
Many thanks for your reply!

Puts things into good perspective :)

And has given me much needed motivation to strengthen meditation practice

Thankyou!

Nicky

  • Member
    • Pali
Re: Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2016, 09:02:33 PM »
Unfortunately you may find it difficult to get the feeling back on demand,...

When you don't desire to get the feeling, you will get the feeling back at will...

Since when was the Buddhist path about desiring things back on demand?  ::)

The less you desire it, the more you get. 

When you get it all the time, you realize there is something much better than it.

It reminds me of a old Sufi story (click to read).





stillpointdancer

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  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
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Re: Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2016, 11:05:37 AM »
Unfortunately you may find it difficult to get the feeling back on demand,...


Since when was the Buddhist path about desiring things back on demand?  ::)

The less you desire it, the more you get. 

I agree, but for some people the problem is getting to the stage where meditation becomes as important an activity as breathing. When you practice because the quality of you life falls rapidly when you stop. When you know that the long periods where nothing happens are just as important as those where something does. When you know that there is no thing to demand. That the practice and the path are enough.
But until then, I argue that we have to rise to the challenge of developing meditations that keep people meditating long enough to have an effect.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Meditative

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Re: Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2017, 07:32:55 AM »
I don't read any scriptures, but it sounds like a catharsis to me. Repressed joy perhaps? Sorry this is an old thread.

stillpointdancer

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    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Re: Shamatha - uncontrollable laughter!!
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2017, 09:49:40 AM »
Nothing wrong with picking up old threads. Yes, all kinds of stuff bubbles to the surface when you meditate. Laughter and joy can be difficult to deal with sometimes. You feel so good that it's difficult to return to a more composed meditation. The quality of joy changes over time, so I guess that's why there is so much talk of it in the literature, of the different types which arise.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

 

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