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Bob's meditation journey

Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/4/18 2:44 PM
Hey ya'll, this is Bob. I am in my late 20's and have been meditating on and off since my early 20's. I first got into pranayama's and yoga after an intense Salvia-experience that resulted in me walking around as a de-personalized ghost for weeks until I got on a workshop, did some heavy breathing and felt that I somehow got more down into my body again.

I started meditating seriously in the end of last summer and have been usually sitting for 45 minutes each day, sometimes going up to the 3 hour mark. I've missed some days and have overall done way more than 365 hours. Probably around 500+ hours since last summer.

I have read a lot of recommendations of TMI, but I am actually taking another route - Clarifying the Natural State. My plan is to keep doing my long session but then add concentration meditations throughout the day. I have also felt a deep proclivity to loving kindness meditations lately. My longer sessions are usually one of two(I oscillate between guided and non-guided): nature of mind and inquiry meditations.

To sum it up, my daily practice will consist of:
- Several short concentration sessions based upon Clarifying the Natural State (total of 45 minutes)
- One 45-60 minute session in the morning
- One 20-45 minute loving kindness session in the evening/night

I also experiment with tummo now and then and have had some interesting experiences during it. Other than that I am a pretty active fellow and have been into tantra for a few years.

My reason for starting this practice log is simply that I feel the inspiration to do so. I certainly feel something deeper is going on in my life right now and meditation has important and necessary for me.

As a novice I am open for suggestions and critique, so feel free to speak your mind.

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/4/18 6:57 PM as a reply to Bob No No.
Good job on stating your intentions, and your goals.

My only advice is to make sure that your practice helps to improve your daily life, and is not an escape from life. Otherwise, really enjoy the skills you are developing. Joy is a major part of the path as you learn to let go of needless resistances that most of us get as a habit from our families and cultures. Many people can also lose their joy when they get lost on the path. Use the pain as knowledge, and bring back some pleasure in the practice when the insights of the 3 characteristics start cutting a blade too deep. Keep the sense of play and experimentation. Notice how much pain there is if you compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to yourself. Others are there just for inspiration.

Try to make choices in your life when you are at peace. When you are in despair, if there are any difficult insights, then postpone those choices when you are in a better state.

Actually I just finished The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron that has a good warning for ALL meditators, not just newbies. We shouldn't forget the body:

"It is one of the pitfalls of Westerners adopting Eastern meditation techniques to bliss out and render ourselves high but dysfunctional. We lose our grounding and, with it, our capacity to act in the world. In the pursuit of higher consciousness, we render ourselves unconscious in a new way. Exercise combats this spiritually induced dysfunction."

Make sure to really dive into the website. There's lots of jewels strewn all over the place, and when you get to certain insights and levels of awareness, you'll find other people who were already there and some jewels fall out of their pockets into their posts waiting for you to pick them up.

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/9/18 9:43 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks for the greeting, Richard!

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/9/18 10:49 PM as a reply to Bob No No.
Bob No No:
Thanks for the greeting, Richard!
Slowly you'll get to this place, which is really exciting because you can do it in daily life:


Suzanne Marie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmGqk2FYIi4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZOIp8c2gy0

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/7/18 7:50 PM as a reply to Bob No No.
I did something wrong yesterday when I wrote my post. It is not here. I did my stuff anyways. This is from today:

  • 20 minutes metta upon waking up.
This felt OK. A bit scared to jump into something and discover deep issues. I was unable to keep my concentration on one subject though and I kept jumping around to different issues. 

  • 45 minutes outward consciousness meditation with attention on bodily contractions.
My body was cracking up left and right, especially around the pelvic area and where the hip bones meet the sockets. Felt like it was adjusting itself. The meditation is two-fold; feel and sense outwards while giving attention to bodily contractions. I felt a strong contraction on the right side of the upper back and had a hard time feeling deeper into it. It didn't seem to go anywhere until I "popped" out of my head and was able to feel my body again. It's like I was stuck in imagination and the body had froze at a certain level of somatic intensity. So when I tried to feel deeper into it nothing happened somatically, only in my head. I popped out of it and felt it more viscerally in my body.

  • 45 minutes of samatha with support, split up throughout the day(5 minutes + 16 minutes + 10 minutes + 5 minutes + 9 minutes)
The three first ones were with an external object. The two last were done using visualization. I visualize a ball of light on the size of a pea between my eyebrows.

I had a hard time focusing on the object, not necessarily because of what comes next. My whole visual field gets a bit distorted as the object of focus gets visually acute. The distortion reminds me of how it feels right after I have pushed myself real hard during a workout. Actually, not endurance-based workouts but rather those where you lift heavy and try to set a new record. Everything becomes a blir blury but at the same time sharp. At the same time it is as if what I percieve is flickering, like the whole visual field is made up of tiny pixels of lights that turn off and on while the colors and items remains the same. When I focus long enough on the object it gets highlighted and translucently thicker(like neon lights) while everything else becomes distored.
During the longer meditation I had a narrator in my head commenting on all the details.

I have a hard time with the visualization stuff. E.g. my mind starts playing with the ball; sending it though my body and starting to visualize other stuff. It did help to remind myself that the ball of light was to be something between shade and sunlight and give it a precise form. I oscillated between having the ball of light between my eyebrows and just imagining a ball of light in darkness.

Overall I felt it went OK today. Motivation is good. The results of my practice are not necessarily that good, but I do notice positive effects.

An interesting side note: I gave my subconscious an auto-suggestion yesterday; that I would gain an insight during my dream. It happened. To keep it short I got confronted with stuff I knew but hadn't accepted or taken too seriously and was made completely aware of the seriousness behind it. Jordan Peterson talks about motivation and how you should be going toward something  and at the same time run away from something. The latter - your dragon. Your shit. The things that will steer you into a future you do not want at all.
Well, that stuff was made clear. Things I've been projecting, not taking responsibility over and have avoided.
I got it shown, and at the moment it hit, in the dream, I started doing metta.

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/8/18 11:39 PM as a reply to Bob No No.
  • 45 minutes outward consciousness meditation
As I sat my body started moving heavily, mainly in the neck-head-shoulder-arms area. I am pretty unsure of what to do when this occurs. Should I try to contain it and just sit still? If I relax my body starts moving again. I decided to let the body just move by itself. As I relaxed my breath began to move spontaneously. Just below the solar plexus and above the navel area my body got sucked in as the breath was constrained to the upper body. It felt like being choked while the breath moved downwards and deeper into my body. Started making sounds. I decided to lie down. As I did it stopped.
Next time I will sit. This is when fear of the unknown(and known) arises.
  • 20 minutes loving kindness meditation
No comment.

  • Samatha with support, done throughout the day (5 minutes + 3 minutes + 24 minutes + 13 minutes)
The first two meditations were done with focus on an external object, the two latter with me trying to visualize a white sphere of the size of a pea between my eyebrows. I have a real hard time visualizing to object and I am more distracted by pain and bodily sensations than when I have an external object to place my focus on. I feel a bit stupid. Instead of just imagining a pea-sized white sphere between my eyebrows I try to construct step by step(give it a size, form, light and then location). I then find issues with the details(is this right? what about this? this feels wrong. Let me try again).


To sum it up I had a difficult time meditating today. I definitely notice that when I am more in-tune and focused on the task at hand my meditations goes way better. Today I wanted to just finish it so I could get on with other stuff. This is something I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't journaled, so that's a pretty neat little take-away.

Quality over quantity. 

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/10/18 12:52 AM as a reply to Bob No No.
Today I did things a bit differently. I followed guided meditations instead of my normal regimen.

  • Two guided meditations by Adyashanti ( 35 minutes + 27 minutes)
  • One 18 minute guided meditation by Mooji
  • One 20 minute guided meditation by David Deida
  • Then 15 minutes of samatha with support.
EDIT: Deleted original post content. Not sure if I want to share that stuff, I will think about it until tomorrow. Why? A pattern of mine is to want to talk about the hard stuff as an escape, and this as an avenue to do exactly that.

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/14/18 11:57 PM as a reply to Bob No No.
I haven¨t posted anything the last 3-4 days, but have been meditating 3(+/-) hours each day chiefly following guided nature of mind and inquiry meditations.

I'll basically bust myself and say out loud that this has been the easy way out. I find these longer sessions easier, they're guided and long. I am able to relax, rather than short concentrative sessions throughout the day.

I will continue with short samatha sessions throughout the day tomorrow/later today.

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/16/18 2:01 AM as a reply to Bob No No.
  • 50 minutes meditation with focus on contracted and the environment
No comment. 

  • Samatha with support (54 minutes)
3 sessions(7+5+12 minutes) with an external object. Stuck in my head.
Decided to use the breath as a focus point in the last meditation(30 minutes). Focusing on breathing itself instead of noticing the breath.
I have a habit of trying to negate, fight against or irritate myself over obstacles. When I use the breath as support I am more able to relax and go back to the breath.

  • 20 minute loving kindness
Last Saturday I felt better than I have in a long time. The sexual energy was freer in my body. I was more open and inspired. Then I contracted and have been confused, feeling like a sad kid, ashamed of it and struggling to open back up. Relative to this practice, I decided to work on an image I got up while I was journaling yesterday. It was me as a kid, standing in front of my mother as she removed her robe and showed her naken body to me. As I react in disgust she got confused and angry; "But.. You've always used to like this!"

I've had a still-point image of that scenario in my mind for a long time. I decided to breathe it in and breathe out relaxation and space. Nothing seemed to happen(in my imagination) until she ran away and I was left with a feeling of sadness and that I'd done something wrong. 

Suddenly we were both gone from the scene. I just saw the scene.

I decided to move on and I got reminded of the handsome little kid I was. No longer that heavy and entangeled shame.
Somatically, as this happened, I felt an empty contracted feeling-sensation in the middle of my chest and was moved behind it. Behind it was sadness and more of a compassionate feeling. Still, it feels a bit distant.

  • Tummo
I almost forgot. Heh. I did 10 minutes of tummo before one of the samatha sessions. Mid-way something released energetically. It was pretty visceral and I felt it all around me. Like a balloon-pop without any center or pressure.

RE: Bob's meditation journey
Answer
11/18/18 12:34 AM as a reply to Bob No No.
Yesterday:
  • 90 minutes inquiry meditation
I am still a bit unsure of which direction to follow; inquiry or nature of mind? I am alternating and doing what "feels right" when I wake up.
  • 18 minutes of samatha with support
I am using the breath as support instead of an external object. Experimenting with what I prefer.
  • 40 minutes of meditation
This is a meditation I learned by a tantric school and David Deida. I breathe down my body, up my spine and feel outwards from the heart.


Today:
  • 90 minutes of inquiry meditation
It feels like I am on the verge of transcending something. As Ken Wilber says; the subject of the previous level becomes the object of the of the next level.
  • 28 minutes samatha with support
10 + 18 minutes. Focused on breath. The first time was strange, felt like I sat there for 30 minutes, but only 10 minutes passed by.
  • 60 minutes of loving kindness meditation
Mainly tonglen. I see its effectiveness. It gives meaning when I not only cry for selfish me, but for others who I know feel the same pain(mainly family.) This seems to be the direction that is most meaningful and appropriate for me right now in life. I have been crying a lot today.
Did 2.5 hours of yoga, the last session was a heart opening one.. when I was finished I laid in the floor just crying. My whole body was trembling from top to toe. Decided to to 10 minutes of tonglen afterwards, then 10 minutes later and 40 minutes an hour ago. Lots of tears. 
With tonglen, I see that I use others as an excuse to hold back to feeling the real pain. I feel pity for others who feel the same, then hide behind that rather than feeling it.

Feedback to self: The samatha meditation is not yet there, I am diddling and not doing my 45 minutes each day. I am prioritized other stuff. Tonglen seems to be key for me. The morning practice with nature of mind or inquiry is on point. I am inspired to do so, but my practice should not be based on whether I want to or not. Yesterday I was too scared to do it, sorry to say. I was full of fear, feeling I was approaching the deep waters. An interesting insight came to me at that point: This life is not mine. It is borrowed, in a sense. Why hold back?