You may be familiar with Philip Kapleau’s 1965 classic Three Pillars of Zen. At the request of Kapleau’s Japanese teacher, Hakuun Yasutani, the book included a series of frank accounts of regular people achieving life-changing experiences. This was a real first, and motivated many Westerners to pursue rigorous Zen practice.
Now a student of mine, the writer and journalist Jeff Warren (author of The Head Trip) is doing something similar with mindfulness. I think it’s a worthwhile project. If you have experiences to share (see below), I encourage you to send Jeff an email. He can be reached at email@example.com.
All the best,
From Jeff Warren:
I’m looking for people’s honest descriptions of personal meditation experience. I’m very grateful for whatever people would like to send me. I have yet to decide with my publisher whether I will use people’s first names, initials only (as in Three Pillars), or keep the anecdotes anonymous. Please indicate your personal preference in this regard and I will of course comply.
Some possible themes:
- Experiences of both sudden and gradual changes and your thoughts on this general topic
- Experiences of dramatically increased sensory clarity + insights into mind and body
- Initial breakthrough experiences
- Kundalini /energy experiences
- The experience of no self, unsatisfactoriness or impermanence in each sensory moment
- Self-dissolution and / or “Dark Night” experiences
- Experiences of equanimity or reduction in sensory fixedness
- Decrease in self-rumination
- Increases in sensitivity and vulnerability and openness
- Changes in creativity
- Experiences of emotional / mood cycling associated with meditation
- Experiences of unusual phenomena/ hallucinations / “makyo” / powers, etc.
- Cessations / fruitions
- Stream-entry, and how this changes one’s perspective
- Post stream-entry changes, integrations, unexpected challenges, unexpected insights, further paths
- General thoughts on how meditation has changed your consciousness