The Fourth Jhana
The fourth jhana is accessible after the meditator reaches a state of dispassion toward the factors of the 3rd jhana. They become so steeped in blissful contentment that they no longer seek any more pleasure or comfort or any other mental state. They have arrived at the 4th jhana. In the 4th jhana, there is no pleasure or pain, but the energetic sense of the body can still be very much present, at the shallower end of the spectrum. The 4th jhana is characterized by pervasive equanimity, silence, and spaciousness. There is a clear sense of mindful awareness, and the objects arising in the mind are not hieratically categorized. This gives things a sense of wide clarity and homogeneity. There is no loci of energetic manifestation where there is a concentration of energy or perceptual distortion. The energy seems to flow freely unimpeded in this state.
A helpful handle for me is to focus on the silence of the mind and the silence of all manifestation. Without chattering thoughts, there is this common sense of “quiet” that can be perceived in the midst of the field of sensations. There is a silence underlying everything, and that solide sense of silence is a good focus object. We can also maintain awareness of the body, or deepen the state by choosing a particular handle and making it a kasina object and employing unwavering attentional focus on that specific experience.
This is a profound state of concentration that most meditators don’t typically traverse. But this state is quite a pleasant abiding and a wonderful platform from which to launch into the different insight investigations laid out in the insight chapter. From this state we can learn the principles of magick and see the utter power of our intentions. We can enter the fourth Jhana, and then exit and proceed with an intention ceremony, as a wonderful way to start the day. From the 4th jhana we can also learn the formless jhanas and other insight techniques specifically concerned with the jhanas.