We become disgusted with the whole thing. This is where the buzzy ten to eighteen-plus Hz chaotic vibrations around the periphery really begin to get strong for those who are attending to the impermanence aspect of sensations, which I highly recommend. Through this section of the Dark Night, our ability to clearly perceive objects in the center of our attention is poor, and it may feel like our minds are being stretched wide and yet contracting at the same time. We begin to feel completely tormented by our noisy and repetitious minds (a classic sign of this stage), by a body that is full of suffering and unpleasant sensations, and by a world that is falling apart, as well as an image of ourselves, that, while seemingly growing tighter and tighter in terms of how it feels, is also paradoxically becoming more volatile, fragmented, and unstable. Perceiving thoughts as thoughts becomes harder and harder, and thus getting caught by our stuff gets increasingly more likely. Gone is the freedom that the insights of Mind and Body allowed us, though they tend to return later in Equanimity. However, we can intentionally remember to see thoughts as thoughts, and it can be very helpful in this stage to note “thinking” when we have harsh thoughts.
It is a stage at which it is very easy to be very critical of basically anything, another case of the tail wagging the dog, in that the mind state of Disgust comes first and we then apply it to our outside world not realizing that we just did that, judging things and people harshly due to being at this stage. It is easy to suddenly become critical of our path, our tradition, those practicing around us, our workplace, our partner, our friends, and our family. In short, for basically anything we see, we are likely to see the downside more strongly than we ordinarily would. Some of the odd exceptions to this generalized disgust with the mundane and ordinary can be with books, conversations, teachings, videos, diets, practices, clothes, and lifestyles that are felt by that person to be purer, truer, more profound, and/or more holy. Many in Disgust will find that basically anything but the “highest and best” will annoy the crap out of them.
On the mild side, we might just feel subtly revolted and disappointed with reality in general, with the simple fact of experience, or perhaps have the slightly creepy feeling of crawling skin. The number of things we can become disgusted with as we try to find some reason and set of objects to fit our feelings is basically limitless. On the strong side, we see nothing to cling to, no self to be found, and we begin to wish the whole edgy, disillusioning reality we had placed our trust in would just end, and now we find ourselves with a strong …