Stage II Samatha

Phenomenology of Stage II samatha

Stage II Samatha is characterized by effortless mindfulness with autovipassana. The mind vipassanizes itself automatically, spontaneous jhanas and insight experiences occur.  The mind is at a much higher baseline mindfulness and metacognitive awareness. There is vast spaciousness in the mind and the Jhana and cessation ability are developed off cushion and in daily life, and synchronous events and intuition/empathic phenomena tend to become more obvious, common, and compelling. This is quite a pleasant state of mind. The jhanas are readily accessible at a light intention, the mind is quite unified, and intentions therefore carry a powerful charge on the mind. This is assumed to be the end state, as the jhanic baseline and sense of flow and satisfaction is quite enjoyable and profound, but it naturally develops into stage III samatha.

In this stage there is an energetic principle that is tuned into where the energy of manifestation which causes suffering, is directly transmuted into awake awareness, in the moment right now. At this point, when there are hindrances of suffering, the mind has a natural tendency toward jhanic states and this seems like a natural “blowing off” of steam per say, for lack of a better word. There is a clear sense that the energy of any hindrance is directly transformed into sukkha.

  • Automatic Energy Transmutation
  • Bodhicitta and Compassion
  • Advanced Visualization
  • Advanced magick
  • Identity Exchange

Phenomenology of Stage II samatha

Phenomenologically this stage is very pleasant. The meditator has released attachment to sensuality and they are not swayed by craving and aversion for things, experiences, and accumulation from the world. Your mind simply does not crave for thing in the world of form the way it did before. You have a different relationship to pain and pleasure both from the unified mind and also from the effect of insight into non-self. There may be conditioned habits in place and there will be a gradual release of those as the mind unifies. Things can get in the way of the process but the insight this person has is their guiding direction. They want freedom and they know how to get it.

When a level 3 practitioner sits to meditate, they will usually be in stage II samatha, which is equivalent to stage 9 of TMI. They will have easy access to states of absorption and bliss. There can be broad, open, crystal clear states of luminosity and things take on a different feel when the mind is unified. At this point the practice of Brahmacharya and other renunciation techniques no longer feel like renunciation- the mind has no attachment to sensual pleasures and sees the energetic cost and the suffering in deliberately pursuing a mate, or any suffering on account of their interactions with others. As such there can be a lot of confusion around sexual identity, and identity in general at this stage.  Someone who is meditating at this level has direct experience that jhana and calm abiding is way better than any sensual pleasure.

At stage II/stage 3 non self insight, the mind is fully tamed, you lead it around by intention. Anything you want to deconstruct simply appears in full perfect clarity and dissolves into subtle vibrations. There is a subtlety and nuance to all the sense perceptions and a level 3 practitioner has a developed mind that has abilities that normal people do not have.

This entire process and developing the meditation mind is like you’re building something- you’re building those neurons to fire in the most direct way and cut out the suffering. You build it with all this intention and now that you have that mind, you put it to good use. A thing that happens a lot in level 3 non-self territory is that you being to see that reality is all mind. Every single little thing- mind. You can experiment with narratives and experiment with your perception as you go from different states of self-identification. The SigmaTropic system uses visualization and deity yoga to deliberately develop these faculties. The SigmaTropic cycle of manifestation starts to become quite salient in experience, and we see that we need guidance for the intentions we have.

Your mind deconstructs reality on it’s own, and there is less and less of a sense that you are doing anything at all. You see that all reality is mind. All the fruits of the practice and the developed mind- you renounce any ownership of that, and that’s a key transition to get to level 4 attainment.

When the meditator sit down, they don’t do anything, let the breath breathe itself. You may feel a symphony of electric pleasurable sensations rolling through your body with each breath. You seem to just resonate right into any state with the lightest intention. The power of observation is very strong and every sense perception has this clarity to it and freshness. There is lots of pleasurable sensations, the energy flowing through the body, the mental pleasure, the vibrational feelings in the body- it’s very pleasurable.  If you sit for longer than a few minutes your body enters a state of pliancy.  This is a very distinct process and shows you directly the emptiness of your sense perceptions.

You see that mind is reality is mind. You want to talk about it but you keep a poker face because you don’t feel any ownership over that state. The level 3 practitioner soon finds out that the mind works best when it’s blissful, and they start to see they can encourage calm-abiding to bleed into their everyday life. The meditator has a distinct sense of freedom and bliss, their mind has a reliable non-sensory pleasure and peace apart from conditions of the world. You condition your mind by doing that and the mind seeks more and more refuge. What happens with pleasure is you get so much that you start to develop equanimity and you start to see that you can choose to be blissful and aware. It’s a conditional state and you know how to put the conditions in place.

How to use the Calm Abiding to free the mind

The state of samatha co-arises and is dependent on insight into the nature of mind. The abilities and faculties developed in this stage of meditation are not possible without direct insight into non-self. It appears that allowing vipassana to proceed effortlessly, i.e. more or less in the background of experience – this is a highly developed state of mindfulness that requires a much looser hold on normal bodily fabrications. This allows the practitioner to have a much different relationship to pleasure and pain and other sensations. A practitioner in stage II samatha will have remarkable equanimity toward pain and discomfort, and it can be seen directly how these mental fabrications are empty and dependently arising. The state of samatha is in the process of permeating everyday life, and in the process the meditator notices a recalibration occurring. They still relate to others in the material world.

The transition from stage 3 to stage 4 is an emotional fundamental change in perception. You see the emptiness of the self fabrications playing out in your daily experience. There seems to be some rock in the perceptual shoe. In stage III samatha, the synchonization stage, we learn to enter the eternal flow of the present moment and the mind locks into presence and automatically experiences pervasive non-dual bliss. There is a gradual releasing of attachment to identity that starts when we attain disillusionment and concludes when we attain stage 4. Often, at this stage, the meditator’s faculties are developed and their skills in jhana and cessation are powerful. At this point in my own practice, I noticed clear cycling through various perceptual modes, and I often had dramatic, extended cessations that would occurs when the mind was stressed or otherwise overwhelmed with an identity attachment. I wrote about some of the experiences I had on my awake network log,

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