(The content of the video is different from the information in the article. Both supplement each other.)
It would take a whole book to write about my experiences in the two Thai Buddhist monasteries I’ve visited so far. However, I will try to keep this post quite short and include only most important happenings.
I developed new spiritual abilities, but since telling about them is like throwing pearls, like Jesus said, I will be quiet about most of them. I told, however, about one new development to do with hearing psychic conversations in a previous post already.
No tiredness of body and mind
Another significant event that happened is the further development of constant wakefulness. Again, I already told in past articles that I don’t have the transition period from waking to sleeping. There’s no period of half-consciousness that most people experience. This is one of the developments of meditation, and Buddha spoke often about the importance of constant wakefulness.
Now the development is even greater. Not only there’s no transition period, but the mind and body are quicker than before. Let me explain.
Sleeping in houses in the midst of forests can be quite eventful. For example, you may get rudely awakened by a loud chirp of some night bird or any other strange sound. This happened to me quite a few times whilst staying at the two monasteries. When any disturbance would take place in the midst of sleep, my head would rapidly turn to the direction of disturbance, terminating the sleep immediately.
Then the mind would quickly work out the source of disturbance, without feeling afraid or agitated in any way (though this is an old development). Not only was there no transition period, but the body and mind reacted to the disturbance quicker than usual.
This reminded me of how dogs and cats can instantly wake up when there’s some threat or strange sound.
Extra wakefulness of the mind
Also, due to the sharpening of the mind which developed as a result of the insight meditation described here, I realized why this extra wakefulness is there. That’s because, as a result of so many meditation hours a day, I’ve reached a stage where the internal dialogue has greatly reduced. This made me realize that the reason why animals don’t experience the half-conscious transitioning stage after they wake up is because they don’t have that dialogue going on in their waking state.
Deep meditators know that internal dialogue exhausts body and mind. Buddha knew about this as we read from the records of his sayings; in The Middle-Length Discourses of Buddha it is recorded that Buddha said that thinking tires the body.
Thus, when it’s gone, the mind is at rest, and the body retains its energy. The human body, without the energy drainers such as emotions and thoughts, remains highly aware and can respond to dangers as quickly as any other animal can.
So this is one of the most significant developments in terms of the body and mind.
Another similar development that I experienced is the mind being very alert, yet at the same time very calm.
I know it sounds like I’m contradicting myself here, but let me explain.
When people don’t meditate, they don’t experience clear states of the alert mind. They usually have agitated mind which isn’t the same as alert. Agitated mind tires the body because it’s not natural.
In deep meditators, however, the mind can be completely alert without being agitated, and this doesn’t tire it in any way because it should be natural for the mind to be alert. We see that in wild animals who are always ready to catch a prey or run from a predator. Serious meditators retain an active mind deep into the night without any negative side effects.
I believe that people near enlightenment have such mind always. This state did not leave me as long as I meditated for long hours, only taking short breaks. When I would lie down to sleep, the mind would remain totally alert and I couldn’t fall asleep. But it did not feel that it was tired or anything. There were no thoughts, and it was as fresh as it was in the morning.
This got me worried a bit because I wasn’t sure if it’s good for the mind to be so active all the time, but I experienced no side effects of such a state of being.
Also, the memory of meeting a saddhu in India who lived in a cave and claimed to never sleep but only meditate comforted me a lot. But it takes time to break preconceived notions about the necessity of sleep. Even before the Buddhist monastery experience I would usually skip one night’s sleep as I had enough energy; but sleeping for an hour a night, or not sleeping at all is quite another thing.
The reason I consider this new state of being positive is because the more alert and aware you are the better off you are. And I need not go into the details of why awareness is extremely important – without the awareness you can even lose your life; for example, if you cross a street with your mind wandering somewhere else.
Meeting spiritual adepts
As I’ve mentioned in the above video, staying in Thai Buddhist monasteries was like staying with brothers and sisters. I met some people on the same spiritual level, and some were on a much higher level. I cannot tell you how high their level was exactly, as only the buddhas know other buddhas, as Buddhists rightly say (because of the same awareness level).
All I can say is that I felt them to be way higher spiritually, and I’m extremely grateful for having met such individuals, because in India I met only one person that was a spiritual adept (he was a magician though).
In Buddhism there are stages that you go through to achieve nirvana, enlightenment. Roughly, there are eight stages called “eight meditative attainments” or “meditative absorptions”. Four first ones are material, and the last four – immaterial.
You can find the description of all the eight attainments in this Wikipedia page.
I’m at the first immaterial stage of absorption. I reached it in my Hinduism days already. At this time, whilst staying in Thai monasteries, I attempted to break through into the realm of infinite consciousness (which is the second immaterial absorption), but I wasn’t able to. I will keep trying though.
Staying in these two monasteries not only developed my spiritual abilities and sharpened my mind, but I was also able to meet people on the same and even higher spiritual level. This was like fresh water to the one that’s thirsty – I haven’t met anyone on the same energy level for a very long time.
What’s left is the last forest monastery and then I’m leaving Thailand. Once my time in monasteries is finished, I hope to write more updates about meditation in there, since I will have much more time than I do now.