Viscid wrote:I'd like to hear people's personal experiences during meditation.
In your own words (as in no Pali) how would you describe your deepest meditative state? Analogies give bonus points.
Is there bliss? Calm? Emptiness? Visuals? Other sensations? Nothing?
It'll be interesting for me to see if everyone's experiences are similar, or how they are dissimilar.
What you are asking for, in general, will yield only a pointless exercise in futility as you attempt to draw conclusions from the answers you obtain. It is therefore a waste of people's time (including your own). Though meditative experiences can be similar, they are many (legion, in fact), and they are fleeting and impermanent. As well, one may only have the experience ONCE! Never to experience it again.
If you meditate long enough (meaning on a consistent basis over years) you are bound to have some experience with deep meditative states. But how one interprets such experiences can vary with the individual; it's like: everyone has a nose, but they each vary in size, material form, and sensitivity. What you learn from one person may not, in general, apply to anyone else. Or may indeed be based on that person's delusive impressions. Better to not become involved in such discursive mental tangents.
The deepest state that the Buddha ever spoke about was the "cessation of feeling and perception" (what everyone refers to as the ninth jhana
or absorption). In that state, there is no perception of anything, "feeling" and "perception" included. And while you may be able to imagine it before you experience it, it won't really hit home until you DO experience it. And even then, you probably won't necessarily want to talk about it. Because there is no way to adequately describe it. It's something that one has to experience in order to understand.
One's time would be better spent in endeavoring to figure out how to use
the mental abilities that one develops (cultivates) from meditative practice. Developing calm and concentration and using these qualities to explore more deeply the Dhamma
are more compelling than listening to stories about other people's meditative experiences. Not to mention more practical.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV