Author Topic: dreams of the nimitta  (Read 5166 times)

mcgee55

  • Guest
dreams of the nimitta
« on: December 12, 2009, 02:21:04 PM »
Normally when I meditate, I get a very weak nimitta that comes and goes and I see lights and such.   Only once or twice has the nimitta become powerful, and even then it was ephemeral.  Lately, I've had a lingering sinus infection (which has affected my eyes  :-\), and for whatever reason the lights and weak nimitta have completely disappeared.  Interestingly, since this has happened, I have been having vivid dreams of the nimitta.   In my dream I will be doing something and then boom, my entire field of vision  will become the nimitta.  I'm not into dream interpretation, but I do believe that we tend to dream about things we think about or have a psychological importance to us.  This leads me to believe that I am striving in my practice.  I do admit, it bothers me that my weak nimitta has disappeared.  I must, therefore, be placing  significance on what  I believe are signs of success in concentration, ie, attaining the nimitta, jhana, etc.  I feel it must be subtle, because I feel as though i have equanimity in my practice.  Thus, I have two important questions which I would love to hear from you all about.  1) How does one abandon all desire, including of the subconscious?  2)  How does abandonment of all desire to achieve accompany a meditation practice which we undertake to improve or change ourselves?  Thank you.

mik1e

  • Guest
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2009, 10:39:22 PM »
Quote
1) How does one abandon all desire, including of the subconscious?
For that you have to expand your consciousness to your subconsciousness. It takes some time and efforts, but is not impossible. Of course, you can just totally calm your mind (it can't be calmed if subconsciousness is not cleaned), but I personally prefer the first way -- it is much shorter (from my point of view).
Quote
2)  How does abandonment of all desire to achieve accompany a meditation practice which we undertake to improve or change ourselves?
This is a certain stage in the practice, when you understand, that you cannot move further if you want to move further. So, to move further you have to stop willing it, but just move further.

Regarding your nimitta: you can read this text (if you did not read it or something similar before). As you can see, the absence of nimitta is considered as good sign.

mcgee55

  • Guest
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2009, 01:12:03 AM »
mik1e:

Thank you for your reply.  I believe I understand the idea of ceasing to will progress.  I believe I have consciously stopped trying to move from A to B.  My desire to move to B, however, still remains, and thus there must be the subconscious effort.  It is not easy to tame this beast.  I suppose this is a fundamental dilemma that many meditators have found themselves in throughout history.  I am solely engaged in calming breath mindfulness at this point, and I do not anticipate changing that.  Any further advice?

Also, I read the article on the nimitta.  The whole idea of a meditation nimitta seems so fictitious to me, almost like levitation, but there it is - a spinning wheel or an eclipse or whatever.  It is quite strange indeed.  I wonder if there will ever be an explanation of the brain physiology that goes into forming a nimitta during meditation.  Now that would be some interesting stuff, like white tunnels in near death experiences. 

mik1e

  • Guest
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2009, 12:15:27 PM »
I am solely engaged in calming breath mindfulness at this point, and I do not anticipate changing that.  Any further advice?

There are well defined steps in mastering every technique. For meditation, you have to start with spine straightening. Straight spine organizes proper flow of energies in the body, which automatically helps to delete a lot of mental trash (but not necessary all of it, though). So, I would recommend to develop the good feeling of straightness of your spine. This may help a lot.

Regarding nimitta. This word has very wide meaning, so it is difficult for me to advise something on this subject. Most of all you are talking about sensations, related to activation of subtle bodies or some centers. But, looking on your descriptions, I would say that you may ignore all this staff. These are just the effects of reorganization of your energy system. IMHO, it is much better to learn how to feel the energy flow in the body.

It is difficult to provide specific advises without seeing how the person  sits and breaths, what (s)he is doing during the meditation. If you want, I could start guided meditations with you. This may allow you quickly to get into shape.

pamojjam

  • Guest
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2009, 07:58:30 PM »
A real nimitta only arises once the hindrances are temporarily completely gone. Therefore what you call nimittas are not really that - instead some excitement is arising due to the appearance of light taking care that it doesn't becomes a real one.

You may consider Vipassanukkilesa in Nyanatiloka's Buddhist Dictionary:
Quote
... during Insight practice may arise the 10 imperfections (or Defilements) of Insight: effulgence of light (obhasa), knowledge (nana), rapture (piti), tranquility (passaddhi), happiness (sukha), determination (adhimokkha), energy (paggaha), awareness (upatthana), equanimity (upekkha), delight (nikanti). - See Vis. XX, 105f.- (pp.)

- Excepting the last one, 'delight', they are not imperfections or defilements in themselves, but may become a basis for them through the arising of pride or delight or by a wrong conclusion that one of the holy Paths has been attained.
He, however, who is watchful and experienced in Insight practice, will know that these states of mind do not indicate attainment of the true Path, but are only symptoms or concomitants of Insight meditation.

All I can recommend -  and you already do - let it go and return to your breath repeatedly. Have to assure you too, that the power of craving conditioned by countless existences (if you don't believe in those, think DNA instead) is truly monumental. You've only touched the tip of an iceberg (though I can't be sure of that one ;-) - but thereby you're doing the biding which will make you able to see through, eventually.

A straight spine is important in the beginning, but can never do the work of seeing through for you. It has been my experience and that of many  dhamma friends, that while sitting straight, in good shape and so for many years - the real 'seeing through' might not even have begun with.

Stillness of mind with temporary suppression of the 5 hindrances (craving, aversion, restlessness, sloth and topor, doubt) is the preliminary. And it works also the other way around and as outlined in the Pali Suttas: Once these 5 hindrances are for the first time temporarily abandoned.. sitting straight is a mere side-effect for maybe a couple of hours.. but the least important one.

Kind regards..

mik1e

  • Guest
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2009, 08:36:48 AM »
pamojjam,

Very nice tips!

I would like to add only one thing regarding this:

A straight spine is important in the beginning, but can never do the work of seeing through for you.

It is also true, but one should keep in mind that proper flow of energy (and, hence, straight spine) is important on advanced stages too. If you have S-shaped spine (so liked by medics), you will have troubles with centers activity. Of course, proper centers activity itself does not provide the seeing through, but makes it much easier.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2009, 04:43:01 PM »
Just spent a few days where I could read this but not respond. Pamojjam has expressed what I would have expressed if able.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

mcgee55

  • Guest
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2009, 02:38:35 AM »
I would like to thank you all for your responses, your insights are valuable to a fledgling.  I'm too tired right now to address a few of the suggestions, which is what I would like to do.  Regardless, know that I read them all and will certainly have further questions not long from now.   :o

bashmaki

  • Guest
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2009, 04:21:11 PM »
A very interesting exchange.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
gus

joy

  • Member
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2010, 06:56:31 AM »
Are Nimittas desirable in mindfulness practices?
Or this is also a hindrance!

A quote:

"...For example, the Visuddhi Magga talks about having a
sign (nimitta in Pali, this can be a light or other visualized
mind-made pictures) arise in mind at certain times when one
is practicing jhana meditation (absorption concentration
[appana samadhi] or when one gets into access
concentration [upacara samadhi] or even in momentary
concentration [khanika samadhi]. With each type of
'concentration' a nimitta of some kind arises. When this
happens one is practicing a 'concentration' type of
meditation practice which the Bodhisatta rejected as being
the way to Nibbana! However, if one were to check the
suttas, the description of nimittas arising in mind has never
been mentioned. And, if it were very important, it would be
mentioned many times. The Lord Buddha never taught
concentration techniques, having nimittas (signs) arising, or
the chanting of mantras. These are forms of Hindu practices
that have sneaked into Buddhism for a few hundred years.
Their influences can be seen in the 'concentration practices'
and in the Tibetan Buddhist styles of meditation, as well as,
in other popular commentaries like the Visuddhi Magga.
Thus, the current ways of practicing "concentration", do not
conform to the descriptions given in the suttas."


« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 11:42:36 AM by joydip_ppl »
Joy

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: dreams of the nimitta
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2010, 01:04:15 AM »
Are Nimittas desirable in mindfulness practices?
Or this is also a hindrance!

joydip,

Desire is one of the base hindrances of perfection on the path. Do not desire Nimittas nor their absence. Fabricate nothing. Just be and be aware.

Warmly,

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
1 Replies
1440 Views
Last post June 14, 2010, 06:03:51 AM
by Matthew
13 Replies
6703 Views
Last post September 25, 2013, 10:16:15 AM
by snaxks
38 Replies
11423 Views
Last post November 11, 2018, 02:59:48 AM
by mobius
Nimitta

Started by Morning Dew Images, Icons, Thankas, Photo's

1 Replies
1936 Views
Last post September 06, 2011, 02:34:42 AM
by Andrew
8 Replies
1819 Views
Last post June 26, 2014, 03:19:36 PM
by Matthew
2 Replies
309 Views
Last post June 29, 2019, 11:51:43 PM
by Thanisaro85
0 Replies
30 Views
Last post January 13, 2020, 11:05:59 PM
by Thanisaro85