I'm not sure where to put this general petition for insight and sharing experience.
I feel like after so many years, waiting around on these feelings, it's time to actively pursue them. I'm going to relate to these gods in a spiritual way, with the Dharma. For the benefit of myself and others. I'm posting this to ask about experience, and to ask about samatha meditation in regards to seeing and hearing godly beings.
In any case, thank you.
In the Theravada tradition there is a famous Thai monk named Ajahn Mun, who saw and gave dharma discourses to devas. He was a very interesting person. You can read a pdf of his biography written by an equally famous disciple of his here: http://abhayagiri.ehclients.com/pdf/books/BioMunAll.pdf
. One of the nice features of this pdf file is that you can do word search. Do a search to find instances of the word "devas". You may find some interesting reading. Some typical passages:
"Several days prior to his departure from Sarika Cave, a group of terrestrial devas, led by the mysterious being he first encountered there, came to hear a discourse on Dhamma. After finishing his discourse, Ãcariya Mun informed them of his decision, saying he would soon take leave of them. Unwilling to see him depart, the large company of devas who were gathered there beseeched him to stay on for the sake of their long-term happiness and prosperity. Ãcariya Mun explained that, just as he had come to that cave for a reason, so too he had a reason for moving on – he didn’t come and go slavishly, following his desires. Asking for their understanding, he cautioned them against feeling disappointed. He promised that, if the opportunity presented itself in the future, he would return. The devas expressed their sincere regrets, showing the genuine affection and respect for him they’d always felt." pp 30-31
IN SOME OF THE NORTHEAST PROVINCES, Ãcariya Mun would give Dhamma instructions to the monks late at night on special occasions. Visible to Ãcariya Mun, terrestrial devas gathered at a respectful distance and listened to his talks. Once he became aware of them he called off the meeting and quickly entered samãdhi, where he talked privately to the devas. Their reticence on those occasions was due to the profound respect they had for monks. Ãcariya Mun explained that devas of all levels were careful to avoid passing by the monks’ dwellings on the way to see him late at night. Upon arriving they circled around Ãcariya Mun three times before sitting down in an orderly fashion. Then the leader – devas of every plane have a leader whom they obey with great deference – would announce the realm from which they came and the aspect of Dhamma to which they wished to listen. Ãcariya Mun would return their greetings and then focus his citta on that aspect of Dhamma requested by the devas. As this Dhamma arose within, he began the talk. When they had comprehended the Dhamma that he delivered, they all said “sãdhu” three times, a sound that echoed throughout the spiritual universe.22 This exclamation was heard by everyone with celestial hearing, but not by those whose ears were like the ‘handles on a pot of soup’.
When his discourse on Dhamma ended, the devas again circumambulated him three times, keeping him on their right, and then returned to their realms in an elegant fashion – very different from we humans. Not even Ãcariya Mun and his monks could emulate their graceful movements. For there’s a great difference between the grossness of our bodies and the subtle refinement of theirs. As soon as the deva guests retreated to the edge of the monks’ area, they floated up into the air like pieces of fluff blown by the wind. On each visit they descended in the same manner, arriving outside the monks’ living area and then walking the remainder of the way. Always very graceful in their movements, they never spoke making a lot of noise the way humans do when going to see an ãcariya they revere. This is probably due to the refined nature of their celestial bodies, which restrict them from behaving in such a gross manner. Here is an area in which human beings can be considered superior to devas – talking loudly. Devas are always very composed when listening to a Dhamma, never fidgeting restlessly or showing any conceit that could disturb the speaking monk. p 87-88
Specifically related to your interest in Samatha, here is an extended quote from regarding calm abiding and seeing devas:
"Listening to dhutanga monks as they relate their meditation results to Ãcariya Mun, and hearing him give advice on ways to deal with their experiences was so moving and inspirational that everyone present became thoroughly absorbed in it. In explaining the proper method for dealing with visions, Ãcariya Mun categorized different types of nimittas and explained in great detail how each type should be handled. The monks who listened were delighted by the Dhamma he presented, and so gained confidence, resolving to develop themselves even further. Even those who did not experience external visions were encouraged by what they heard. Sometimes the monks told Ãcariya Mun how they had achieved a state of serene happiness when their hearts ‘converged’ into a state of calm, explaining the methods they had used. Even those who were as yet unable to attain such levels became motivated to try – or to even surpass them. Hearing these discussions was a joyous experience, both for those who were already well developed and those who were still struggling in their practice.
When the citta ‘converged’ into calm, some monks traveled psychically to the heavenly realms, touring celestial mansions until dawn; and only then did the citta return to the physical body and regain normal consciousness. Others traveled to the realms of hell and were dismayed by the pitiful condition of the beings they saw, enduring the results of their kamma. Some visited both the heavenly abodes and the hells to observe the great differences between them: one realm was blessed with joy and bliss while the other was in the depths of despair, the beings there tormented by a punishment that seemed to have no end. Some monks received visits from ethereal beings from various planes of existence – the heavens, for instance, or the terrestrial devas. Others simply experienced the varying degrees of calm and happiness coming from the attainment of samãdhi. Some investigated, using wisdom to divide the body into different sections, dissecting each section to bits, piece by piece, then reducing the whole lot to its original elemental state. There were those who were just beginning their training, struggling as a child does when it first learns to walk. Some could not make the citta attain the concentrated state of calm they desired and wept at their own incompetence; and some wept from deep joy and wonder upon hearing Ãcariya Mun discuss states of Dhamma they themselves had experienced." pp. 84-85