Nimitta – progress signs of Samadhi Meditation

I am going to post this on each of my website blogs as well as my newsletter.  Why? Some information that recently crossed my path explained many of my meditation experiences of the past and currently as well.  Many students of the psychic development class and those interested in spiritual and psychic/intuitive development may have had similar ‘signs’ of their spiritual progress or evolution.

Before I go into what those are, it’s probably best to offer the disclaimer that if one looks for these signs or tries to manifest them, they will be blocking their energy and possibly delaying further consciousness expansion in some way.  My teachers have always guided me not to get “hung up” on manifestations and to take with a grain of salt.  It is just the natural process of the mind—don’t be overly concerned, they’d say.

If you have read much on my website (www.psychicjoystar.com), you will see that I’ve mentioned mysterious occurrences that came about as part of my meditative absorption over the years.  Those were a total and complete mystery to me until this past week!

The history of experience for this life has always evolved in a way that much later explanations arrive that validate occurrences and I’ve always been grateful for that as it assures me that there was no conscious influence on my part.

As many readers may know, my tendency is to reach toward eastern philosophy my deeply personal effort to understand life, the mind, and of reality itself.  My studies and meditation time have not been in vain and have helped me to cope with some very difficult life circumstances.  Yet, there were always those mysterious events lingering in the memory of my mind.  Up until now, there were not fully explained in any kind of satisfactory way.

Then this past week there comes the information that does so!  I simply must share it.  It will be a brief outline and I will paraphrase some of it while keeping true to the text.  I will add some personal notes in parenthesis.  I hope this will be of use to others.
The signs of meditative concentration are known as “nimitta” and include the following:

  • For beginners, it is usually grey smoke color appearing in front of them.  When this occurs, the instruction is to concentrate on the natural breath; and gradually then, the breath and nimitta will become one.   In this stage the mind usually stays automatically will become one.  (Personal note:  when I would go hiking and be breathing more heavily, I would see more of this grey smoke in front of me.  By the way, it started out looking like black ink in the atmosphere, as if someone dumped a bucket of black ink in the sky.  I could see around it and through it and then gradually it lightened.)
  • As meditative concentration develops further, the gray smoky nimitta will change in color to white.  (This is exactly what happened to me.)  This is given the name of “the learning sign”.  As one continues to concentrate on the learning sign, the white form nimitta will change to a transparent nimitta and this is called “the counterpart sign”.  (I was in Sedona, Arizona atop a mountain at the time this occurred.  That was sometime in the late 1990’s.  I was still working as a Physical Therapist at the time.)  The instruction in the text is that one should concentrate on the transparent nimitta until a state of full absorption is reached.
  • The text says that unless one sees the counterpart sign, the meditative attentiveness or concentration is superficial.  (Again, I did not have any of this information until a few days ago and therefore did not know of the instruction to concentrate on the transparent nimitta.)
  • (In the eastern philosophy, the word used to describe these stages of meditation is called “jhana”.  I did not know that word until this past month actually.  And there is the discussion on audios that I’ve heard about maintaining states of absorption for 2 and 3 hours at a time without interruption.  This I was able to do when living alone in the mountains many times.  Since I’ve moved from the seclusion of the mountains–for approximately the past 6 years—that is rarely the case.)
  • The text says that once a person’s meditation practice is very clear they will, one day, see small particles, called “kalapas”.  When one see’s kalapas, they have reached the last stage of samatha(serenity/calm/tranquility) and the beginning stage of vipassana (insight/seeing things as they really are).   At this stage, one understands reality as small particles.

I must pause here to explain that this next part totally blew me out of my seat, so-to-speak!  I wrote about this on my website eons ago and this occurred, also, in the late 1990’s just before I moved (from Florida) to the mountains of North Carolina.  Here it is nearly 20 years later and it is only now that I understand what all of these experiences were about!  The book in which this information is contained was published in 2008, ten years ago.  Yet, it has taken me nearly all of the past ten years to adjust to the huge transitions in my life and to release a significant karmic relationship connection.  It hasn’t been until recently that my personal journey has directed me back to seek deeper levels of meditation, reaching for Samadhi again.  Anyway, this light, so white and so bright and it occurred when I was meditating on a star in the sky at twilight one evening.  I felt myself moving toward it and then the white brilliant light sort of frightened me.  It was everywhere I looked and lasted a good chunk of time and it faded finally as I looked at a large pine tree.   I’ve never seen it again all these many years.

  • The text says that there is a visual-like nimitta which is ‘the best one’.  (Again, the word nimitta means sign/mark/appearance.)  It is not seen with the physical eye.  It is purely a mental phenomenon.  It appears as if it is like a headlight in front of you, incredibly brilliant, so much so that you don’t think you can stare at it any longer.  (At the time I thought perhaps I drew the star right down in front of me – I’d been staring at a star during meditation at the time.)  This is not a visual thing at all and even though it is like looking at the sun, it is quite safe, because it is a pure metal image—according to the text.

If one tries to have any such experiences as described, the effort actually blocks the meditator’s tranquil absorption.  Actually, I recall trying to stare at a star again at various times in the past and could not reproduce that event –or any other unusual experiences of my past for that matter.
I wanted to put this out today so that it may be helpful to others.  Maybe I will save someone 20 years of wondering and never really knowing what those signs are really about!

The text that I’ve been referring to is called “The Experience of Samadhi” by Richard Shankman  and the specific information at nimitta were from interviews with Pa Auk Sayadaw, the abbot of a Forest Monastery in Burma and Ajahn Brahmavamso, who studied with Venerable Ajahn Chah and is the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery and Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society in Australia.
I am so personally grateful to them for the information shared in the text which has helped me considerably and renewed my meditative effort.

May it be that this information reaches the right person for the right reasons and be of the highest service.


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The Grand Cross and The Matrix — Venus opposing Uranus Squaring Pluto and Jupiter 2013

Grand Cross 2013 Venus opposing Uranus squaring Pluto and Jupiter
Grand Cross 2013 Venus opposing Uranus squaring Pluto and Jupiter

The astrological alignment of four planets in astrology called The Grand Cross  (to my mind) is like one of the final scenes in the movie trilogy THE MATRIX.

Venus is opposing Uranus and squaring Jupiter which is opposing Pluto, so squaring both!

What does it mean when Venus engages with all these big player planets?

Relating with others intensifies!

One way or another and it’s building right now, it  looks like  some things (likely issues involving money, power, freedom and control in relationships) are going to get challenged, squared away and hopefully resolved over the next few weeks in people’s personal lives.

More specific you say?  It could be like this:  faith and beliefs (Jupiter) squares freedom and liberation (Uranus).

And your values (Venus) are challenged so that Transformation on some level (Pluto) happens.

You already feel it, you must!  What is a hot issue in your life right now?

Something around that gets sacrificed on your personal Grand Cross over these next few weeks.

Some thing or some one is going to be released for your evolutionary benefit!  So that PEACE can be achieved.

When I think of the Grand Cross configuration in astrology, I always think of that final scene in the Matrix wherein Neo, THE ONE, is asked “What do you want?” and he answers, “Peace”.

That’s how I understand the purpose of a Grand Cross!

For each of us the energy of the next few weeks will play out differently but it will involve the archetype of Venus in some way and how Venus is placed in your birth chart as well as the Nodes of the Moon (karmic past and evolutionary intent of your soul).  The various Venus energy archetypes include:  love, relationships, values, money to name a few and the other archetypes of the signs and houses it rules (2nd, 7th, Taurus, Libra).

Hang on snoopy; the next few weeks could get interesting!

No Mud? No Lotus! Downstairs Neightbors and Spiritual Awareness

 Lotus Flower

No Mud? No Lotus! 

That quote came over my Facebook Timeline recently attributed to the often quoted and well-respected spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk).

That’s put so simply that it startles one—or it did me.  I collect images of the lotus flower and really love that symbol related to spirituality.  Then I had to break out laughing thinking how my downstairs neighbors from India are like my mud and tonight when their voices trailed up alongside me at my computer desk… the quick, choppy straining human voice sounds began to distract while I was writing.  No mud, no lotus I thought.  Likely, I’m their mud too in reverse.  We hear each other mostly because they do not put on their air conditioning to muffle the sound and have no furniture to absorb sound and the floor has no sound proofing!

I had a message for a client this evening and there was a reference to using others in relationships in order to process mental energy.  Suddenly, I wondered if this is like the two Indians beneath me—maybe they have to ‘talk it out’ all the time in order to process busy intellects.  Sounds like venting; releasing — lovely.

It’s neither their fault nor my own that there is no insulation and that we are living in essentially a mocked up tent and that they love the heat (apparently) and don’t run air conditioning.  The maintenance guys tell me that Indian apartments are stifling.  I sometimes resent that I run my unit to keep their noise down and they don’t and their heat rises to my upstairs apartment—no mud, no lotus.

I’ve essentially been dealing with the neighbor issues much better—although no one would know it but me; it’s all an inside thing.  Tonight was a mild setback—their incessant talking got to me.  But Nhat Hanh says that dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality.  Same for the boisterous and talkative downstairs Indian couple—when they go at it, it brings me to the present reality too.

Should be this way since I have Saturn transiting my 3rd house in Scorpio now; well, maybe not ‘should be’ but the location of the planet of lessons in the house that represents neighbors does explain a few things.

I’m going to turn to Nhat Hanh for more spiritual teachings because I do like that one–its simple, direct and profound:

No mud.  No Lotus.

No challenges.  No spiritual evolution.

Okay, I still wish they would go away…  meanwhile, mindfulness of the present reality is what it is.

PS–I must be growing lots of lotuses by now!