lack of energy sensations and lack of developing Piti

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew S 9 months, 1 week ago.

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    Hi guys
    I’ve been working through the ten stages for about two years now. I’m currently on stage eight but have been having some trouble with it. I’ve been stuck here for about six months.
    Several things haven’t happened for me. The purification of mind didn’t happen for me in stage four or later on in stage seven. The first two jhanas have gone by without me experiencing them and I haven’t had any unusual sensory things or the development of energy currents connected with meditative joy. These are fairly big things and they’re why I became interested in this process.
    Well. The only time I had the pleasure jhana was about four months ago when I couldn’t sleep and I just sort of slipped into it. It kind of woke me up (forgive the pun) to the things I’ve missed out on. Over the next few days I felt really good in daily life. Despite trying to re-enter it, I couldn’t, and I haven’t been able to since.
    I might lose a few people here but I’ve had a bit of weed which I put at the back of a cupboard about seven years ago. The other day I smoked a joint and had unusual sensory experiences and energy currents during my meditation and I went deeper than I’ve ever been. Ever since I’ve felt really good but haven’t been able to replicate the same sort of thing when I sit down to meditate. I don’t want to rely on drugs.
    I’m obviously blocked up somewhere. All the amazing things that were supposed to happen haven’t (I’m not blaming the process at all). I’ve been realising that I’m missing out on deeper, more profound meditative experiences.
    In the book the treatment for lack of meditative joy is compassion. I’ve done loving-kindness in the past and it didn’t seem to go anywhere. I’ve done it recently and the texture of the meditation was definitely different but I think my radar for genuine compassion and for jhana and meditative joy must be so off target or something because I can’t seem to ‘get’ it. The feelings that I nurture in loving-kindness seem meagre. I feel like I don’t have any substantial or lasting reference points for what I’m supposed to experience. I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do.


    Ivan Ganza

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the details.

    It is very difficult to guide based on what we know so far, just from an initial email exchange.

    Have you been practicing alone with just the book? Have you had access to any teachers, TMI or otherwise? Have you had any previous experience with meditation or TMI is your first?

    I would be happy to connect wth you on video to see if we can start a dialog that may help steer your forward. Please message personally here if that might be something you want to try.

    Otherwise we might be able to try and tease it out here but might be quite a lengthy process -)


    (DT Teacher in Training)


    Andrew S

    Hi Tom,

    A few details from your message jumped out at me. First, you mentioned some “fairly big things” that haven’t happened for you, but were your motivation for engaging the practice. That’s a perfectly reasonable orientation; who would commit this sort of time without expectations of results, after all? Then again there’s always a danger, when you’re working toward a specific _experience_, that we develop a sort of “filter”, watch for a certain result and even subconsciously reject experiences that don’t seem relevant to our goals. This could have had some impact on your progress through the stages, maybe preventing certain skills from being fully developed or integrated?

    You described the sense of being “stuck … for about six months” – are you finding a quality of tightness, frustration, or disappointment in your practice? The “block” you’re sensing might be a really active “inner critic”, telling you you should be somewhere else with your practice, you’ve missed the best parts, something is wrong, or that your “radar … is off topic”. That’s not to say your practice couldn’t objectively be richer via skillful means, but that voice can be a huge impediment, and directly counter meditative joy, at least in my personal experience.

    Another reason I’m leaning in that direction is that the two powerful experiences you relate; the spontaneous pleasure jhana, and the deep sit after the pot smoking experiment, both probably happened when the discursive mind and the personality structures like that inner critic were pretty quiet. Does it feel possible that your expectations and judgments weren’t interfering as much, and that fact allowed these peak practice experiences to arise?

    If any of this resonates, compassion does sound like a really useful quality to work with. I’d distinguish between lovingkindness (metta) and compassion (karuna), however. The sense of an open-hearted acceptance of your own frustration and suffering can open the door for the arising of genuine compassion. Holding a phrase like “May I open to this pain with tenderness” or even just, “it’s okay” might be useful to experiment with, then shifting to the felt sense of the brahmavihara if it arises. To help get a sense for the quality you can try bringing to mind a suffering being whose plight moves you.

    The other idea I have is to really favor pleasure, as Culadasa suggests. Start your sit by just letting yourself be delighted at the chance to practice, the felt sense of relaxing the body, the joy of exclusive attention, anything else you can find. Don’t worry so much about the techniques or goals, just invite pleasure and relaxation and let things unfold naturally.

    There are probably other interesting questions to explore. Do you feel that subtle dullness is no longer present, and your meditations are very bright and lucid? I’ve seen advanced meditators who still carried enough of that dullness that their practice stagnated, and they were unable to clearly report on what went on during a sit. The body scanning practices from Stage 5 and 6 might be worth revisiting, if there’s any question about that.

    I wish you the best of luck with your explorations!


    Andrew Sherbrooke
    Teacher In Training
    Meditation Coaching and Debugging



    yeah hi, I’ve just been practicing from the book really. I’ve found it really helpful as it gives you stages to work with. I haven’t had any access to meditation teachers. Theres seems really good avenues to explore in your reply. I like the idea that I’m expecting my meditation to be a certain way and that my inner critic is holding me back. I wouldn’t have been able to see that on my own (or it would have taken some time). I guess thats why you should have someone who can help guide you through the process.

    I’ll play around with these things over the next few weeks. fingers crossed, it’ll get my Piti going again lol. If I’m not still not going anywhere I’ll come back to this thread or think about doing a video call.

    thanks for your help



    Andrew S

    Hi Tom,

    I’m so glad some of the ideas seemed potentially useful. And yes, I find the superego / inner critic to be one of the most challenging obstacles to our spiritual unfoldment out there, and often hard to identify.

    One thing that’s sometimes helped piti to move more freely for me is to allow the “love affair with the beautiful breath” to unfold (I think that’s a quote or paraphrase from Ajahn Brahm). If you can let go of the goal of having piti arise, and turn more toward the present-moment experience of loving the depth and richness of the breath, the rest of it may just happen again… Good luck!



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