Chris Miller is a 20-year-old student, who stumbled across an abiding, non-dual state in his teenage years, yet realized that his awakening was nonetheless incomplete. To Chris, the Soto Zen approach of sitting with no goal comes naturally and effortlessly. hris had prior retreat experience through a Goenka center, but otherwise had not practiced with the Fire Kasina or researched or read about the practice before attending the retreat. His report is here:
“June 7 arriving at the retreat at night, it was beautiful getting there at sunset, the desert always has a special feel to it, a good place to do a meditation retreat. I had been doing quite a bit of meditation the week before so I was in pretty steady equanimity and felt well prepared for the retreat.
Starting out the retreat I had the subtle expectation that the rest of the retreat was going to go so well, the first day or so if I remember right was a breeze, I had planned to take it easy on myself throughout the retreat and not push too hard on the concentration, which certainly helped on the long run and with the meditation. I would recommend for other people doing a fire kasina retreat not to go with too many expectations, too take it easy and go at your own pace but also to not be lazy.
After the first day or two it started to get challenging in terms of maintaining the concentration and also having a fair bit of personal challenges. I remember at a certain point I really had to focus upon self love and surrender, because what was coming up for me made it challenging to work just with the candle flame. The dark night cycles were off and on during the retreat, and didn’t really seem too reduce the concentration too much other than the times that I was not doing the flame meditation. The concentration was steady, and increased gradually during the time of the retreat.
1. Physical concentration staring of the candle flame, I would stare anywhere from 30 seconds – 1 minute. Initially it may have been longer, but over time I didn’t have to stare as long to maintain the image.
2. After image, multitude of colors and multilayered, at times it seems like I could call up whatever color I wanted the afterimage to be. After the dance of colors it would settle down into a small red dot, which stays for quite a bit of time as the meditation progresses. In the beginning the image would bounce around a lot, but eventually settle, 5 days into it I don’t think I had any bouncing at all.
3. The red dot seems to have been the most predominant stage in the meditation, there is still a vague after image at times and darkness that circles the red dot. The red dot I did not find as interesting as all the crazy colors.
4. After the red dot disappears there is a vortex like blackness that appears where the after image use to be which was pretty cool, there was still a little bit of color surrounding the void-like after image and I think this was the time where I started getting peculiar images in the center of the dark imprint, such as faces and objects, I think it is possible to create images at this stage.
5. During the later period of the retreat I was having images of 3D geometric shapes that were kind of moving and shapeshifting into other 3D shapes. This was probably the most exciting part, I don’t remember going beyond this point.
The last two days concentration was very high and that was the time I was more receptive to magical experiences. I had a few instances of waking up consciously through the night with single pointed focus on the visual field. Peak concentration was during this time. I had several surreal psychic/extra sensory experiences throughout the night. I had a few out of body experiences, one in which I became aware of the space in the room, floated up through the ceiling and further into the sky seeing a birds eye view of the desert. I had a sense that there were other spirit beings around and in my room was a crow like being which was a little frightening. I remember focusing upon love and calling up good spirits to be present at that time.
Wrapping it up:
Taking it pretty easy on the last day, meditation stays about same. Enjoy discussing our experiences with the group and celebrating the end of the retreat. Sat around the fire pit at night outside the house and did magical ceremony, the stars were stunning, and we could see the Milky Way.
Concentration was still high with with a vague after image still continuing for a couple days, continued to having interesting sleep experiences, waking up at night with high concentration of the visual field. Concentration is back to normal within a week.”