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Joshua's Practice Log

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Joshua's Practice Log
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12/4/18 6:00 AM
I am making this practice log because I think it is important to reflect on my own practice and also to have that practice open to view for those who are curious and those who would offer helpful criticism.

The plan for the log:
  1. At minimum there should be a weekly post Fridays after evening meditation to reflect on the state of my practice.
    • If I know that I will be unavailable at that time then it is also ok to give the entry in the morning instead.
  2. The entry should start off with a general description of how everything is going
    • The entry should contain what needs to be improved and what the specific goals of practice are
    • The entry should contain the positives and what is going well in my practice
  3. I also want to put down in words any unusual experiences that I encounter so that I have practice verbalizing them and can communicate the experience more clearly.
  4. The entry should end by reafirming why I am doing the practice and my specific reasons at the moment of writing so I can see how these reasons change and also to help maintain motivation throughout

RE: Joshua's Practice Log
Answer
12/4/18 6:14 AM as a reply to Joshua Michael Foxworth.
04.12.2018
  1. So far I am just begining in my practice. I am trying to work it into a regularly occuring habit and see where it takes me. I am currently only able to reliably sit ten minutes, but I have also managed to regularly sit for 15-18 minutes and hope to increase to regularly sitting 20 minutes by the end of this week.
  2. What I am experiencing so far is a great deal of distraction, which is unfortunate but expected at this stage of my practice. At the moment I am working to get through those distractions for longer meditation periods. What this means is being able to sit with something in general for greater amounts of time. Obviously that would ideally be sitting with the breath for the whole time, but right now I am ok with just sitting for longer periods of time without bowing to the desire to sit up and do other things.
  3. I am happy though that I have been able to start at all. I have flirted with doing meditation in the past and have had some one offs before, but I am hoping that this will develop into a more serious effort and habit. I think it helps that I have more of a feeling of importance to the practice now. Before it seemed to be something that was interesting and now it seems more like something I need. We will see how this goes.
  4. The biggest experience I am having so far is a feeling of energy in my throat. I have felt this sense for years now outside of meditation so it is not new, but I am wondering if it is something that I should focus on or something which should be ignored. Anyways, while focusing on it the feeling expands down my body and I can now feel it strongly in my chest area and in my stomach. It makes me almost think about chakra centers which I have heard about in passing, but I think I will just focus on expereiencing it as it is right now instead of going on a chakra reading spree. Maybe I will have that later.
  5. Goals at the moment are mostly endurance related and not as much insight related. I want to get to the point where I can sit for an hour and have some type of practice throughtout. At that point I think I would be able to go on some type of retreat and not feeling like I would just waste my time.
  6. I am doing this to get to stream entry. I want to do that so that I can fully understand my own mind and actions. If I can come to a better understanding of how I work, then I can more skillfully apply that knowledge to what I do in my life. When I act more skillfully then I can be better able to help those who need me, such as my girlfriend and my family. I am better able to actually help if I have my own mind well trained. then my own unskillful actions won't get in the way.

RE: Joshua's Practice Log
Answer
12/4/18 11:15 AM as a reply to Joshua Michael Foxworth.
hi, to increase sit time i added 1 minute per week to my daily sit.

I started  like with 15 min. 

now i´m sitting 1 hour, twice a day, with no effort

RE: Joshua's Practice Log
Answer
12/6/18 4:20 PM as a reply to alguidar.
Good job.  Every step on the path counts, no matter how small it may seem at the time.Feel good about the your efforts.A lot of people have gotten far with daily life practice (not on the cushion).  So consider noting during the day whenever you can in addition to doing the formal seated practice.  

RE: Joshua's Practice Log
Answer
12/7/18 4:59 AM as a reply to alguidar.
I think that increasing sit time by a minute at a time. I think I now have a handle on 20 mins so I will go up another minute and keep going from there. The goal is to go up a minute every three days or so. we will see how it works out.

RE: Joshua's Practice Log
Answer
12/7/18 5:01 AM as a reply to Alex.
Yes, the idea is to naturally integrate the whole life into practice, since otherwise there isn't much of a point in my eyes.

RE: Joshua's Practice Log
Answer
12/7/18 5:10 AM as a reply to Joshua Michael Foxworth.
07.12.2018
Ok, second week of continual practice
  1. I am working on increasing concentration through the methods outlined in With Each and Every Breath. So far it seems to be working fine. I am sitting at least once a day, more often two. I still need to get some kind of a habit formed for days in which I have some kind of an activity that goes later into the night. I had some trouble wednesday and thursday night after coming back a bit later than normal. I think I am pretty comfortable sitting at 20min now so I will start increasing sit time by one minute every three days or so until I hit my goal sit time of an hour and then continue from there.
  2. I still have a good deal of distraction, but I am able to always get back to the breath. In general I am happy with how it is going so far, with the caveat that I still want some more improvement in my concentration.
  3. I am still feeling some kind of energy around my throat and heart, which occaisionally dips into my stomach. There is some mention of feeling "breath energy" in With Each and Every Breath, but I don't actually notice this energy changing supstantially from breathing so I don't know if it is the same phenomenon. I will continue to investigate.
  4. I am having some problem with my legs falling asleep. It isn't really a problem, more interesting. I had one sit where I observed the little needles in my leg very thouroughly which I found interesting. Hopefully my legs adapt to this seating position a bit better because it can be a bit uncomfortable when I finally do stand up. But I am told that they will so I will press on.
  5. I am doing this practice to better understand my own mind so that I can use that knowledge to be a better help to others.

RE: Joshua's Practice Log
Answer
12/14/18 9:03 AM as a reply to Joshua Michael Foxworth.
14.12.2018
  1. I am proud of my continual practice. I have managed to sit at least twice a day every day now except for one special circumstance. I think I am getting better at staying with the breath which is good. Also I think I am doing well in building positive associations with my practice which will enable better practice next year when my schedule begins to change.
  2. I am still filled with a lot of distractions, but I think the counting to ten technique from TMI helps a good bit. I normally get several good breaths in with my attention fully on them. At some point the breath does move to the background of my awareness, but the majority of the time I feel like it doesn't go completely away.
  3. I am having a problem where I will fall almost comletely out of meditation at about the ten or fifteen minute mark. I open my eyes and stretch and have a desire to quit. I have made an intention to never look at my phone anymore and to not actually stand up until the alarm goes off, which keeps me from leaving practice early though. I think that this will end naturally when I am able to keep regular focus on the breath so I won't do anything about it now except continue to sit, but if anyone has a better idea than let me know!
  4. Legs still falling asleep partially through meditation which acts as a distraction. Going to ignore for now though.
  5. I am practicing so that I can understand myself better so that I can operate more skillfully with those around me.

RE: Joshua's Practice Log
Answer
12/22/18 7:15 AM as a reply to Joshua Michael Foxworth.
22.12.2018

  1. I am getting much better about focusing on the breath during practice and I have been able to sit longer periods, which is nice.
  2. I have been feeling a little sick recently so practice has been a little spotty this week, unfortunately. But I have the intention to practice more and I will work on it.
  3. I had a strange experience one day where it felt like something snapped while I was observing the breath and then I had a feely of waves of something going over me. It was very interesting and made me have to stop for a bit, but it hasn't come back yet. If it does I will try to be better at observing and not reacting to it so quickly.
  4. I do the practice so that I can become more acquianted with my own mind and habits so that I can use them more skillfully in the future.