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Polly Ester’s practice log 2

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Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/14/19 4:59 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/14/19 7:37 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/15/19 10:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 9:53 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Milo 1/14/19 8:45 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/15/19 4:43 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Andromeda 1/15/19 8:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/15/19 9:32 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/15/19 11:23 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/16/19 8:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Andromeda 1/16/19 8:35 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/16/19 8:39 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 11:50 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/17/19 9:54 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/18/19 5:00 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/18/19 5:41 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/19/19 5:50 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/19/19 10:23 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/20/19 7:49 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/20/19 8:11 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/21/19 5:09 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/21/19 5:05 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/19 4:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Chris Marti 1/22/19 7:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/19 8:19 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Daniel M. Ingram 1/22/19 9:39 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/19 10:26 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Daniel M. Ingram 1/22/19 3:29 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/19 5:02 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Erin 1/22/19 5:34 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Chris Marti 1/22/19 5:40 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 3:28 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Lars 1/22/19 6:52 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 3:30 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Lars 1/23/19 10:59 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 11:55 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Milo 1/23/19 12:30 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Chris Marti 1/23/19 1:19 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 2:44 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Milo 1/23/19 5:46 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Daniel M. Ingram 1/24/19 2:47 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/24/19 3:43 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 2:43 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/24/19 10:37 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/24/19 3:56 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Milo 1/24/19 12:47 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/24/19 4:14 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/24/19 11:13 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 1:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Milo 1/25/19 1:59 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 2:06 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/25/19 8:35 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 8:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 9:05 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/25/19 9:43 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 11:42 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/19 10:44 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 10:03 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/19 3:01 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/24/19 10:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/24/19 11:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/24/19 11:16 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 1:09 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/24/19 4:10 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 2:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 1:53 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 4:57 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/25/19 5:04 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/19 5:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/19 2:25 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/19 2:47 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/19 2:38 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/19 3:55 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/19 4:09 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 4:18 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 4:47 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 6:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Andromeda 1/27/19 6:34 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 6:44 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 7:05 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 7:10 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 7:13 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 7:58 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 8:36 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 2:15 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Chris Marti 1/27/19 3:41 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/19 11:53 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Chris Marti 1/28/19 3:00 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/28/19 3:27 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/28/19 9:09 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 12:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Raving Rhubarb 1/29/19 1:05 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 3:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/29/19 12:47 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 1:07 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 1:24 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Raving Rhubarb 1/29/19 1:22 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 1:26 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/29/19 5:32 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 12:49 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/28/19 3:30 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/28/19 3:33 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/28/19 3:52 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 3:55 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 11:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 5:06 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 4:50 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/29/19 5:23 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 J C 1/29/19 5:25 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 12:47 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 12:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 1:29 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 3:58 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 4:27 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 6:07 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Raving Rhubarb 1/31/19 12:54 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/31/19 11:50 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/19 4:56 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/31/19 2:46 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/1/19 7:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/2/19 3:07 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/3/19 6:15 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/4/19 6:49 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/4/19 8:00 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/4/19 11:16 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/5/19 3:25 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/5/19 3:36 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/5/19 4:04 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/5/19 4:19 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/6/19 6:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/6/19 5:23 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/7/19 2:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/7/19 3:45 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/7/19 4:10 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/7/19 4:31 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/8/19 10:44 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/8/19 5:14 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/8/19 5:39 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 5:59 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 10:10 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 10:18 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 10:29 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 10:55 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 10:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 8:05 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Raving Rhubarb 2/9/19 8:55 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 9:39 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 9:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 9:14 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 10:35 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/19 5:36 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/10/19 7:37 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/10/19 1:08 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/10/19 12:39 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/19 7:06 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/19 9:15 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/19 9:52 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/19 11:01 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/19 11:14 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/19 2:00 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Raving Rhubarb 2/11/19 5:11 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/19 5:36 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/19 4:05 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Raving Rhubarb 2/12/19 2:52 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/19 8:36 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/19 8:17 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Milo 2/12/19 10:24 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/19 10:42 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/19 10:49 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/19 10:59 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/19 1:19 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/19 1:42 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/19 9:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/19 7:35 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/19 3:10 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/19 9:43 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/19 6:03 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Raving Rhubarb 2/16/19 9:00 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/16/19 10:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/16/19 6:59 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/16/19 12:20 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/17/19 6:53 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/17/19 2:15 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/18/19 2:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/18/19 7:07 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/18/19 7:45 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/18/19 7:49 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/18/19 9:24 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/18/19 2:59 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/18/19 5:10 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/19/19 12:47 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/19/19 1:40 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/20/19 4:58 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/20/19 1:43 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/20/19 2:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/20/19 4:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/20/19 5:02 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/20/19 5:06 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/20/19 7:06 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/20/19 1:28 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/21/19 8:26 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/21/19 8:52 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/21/19 9:09 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/21/19 2:29 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/22/19 1:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/21/19 4:04 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/22/19 9:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/22/19 9:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/22/19 5:17 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/22/19 10:14 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/22/19 10:49 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/23/19 3:39 AM
Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/14/19 4:59 PM
Sat for one hour. Noting, breath as default but openness to other sensations.

Itching doesn’t bother me any more. Whole body showers of bliss were alternated with moments of calm blissful lightness. Some pain (mostly head ache) that didn’t bother me - waves of pulses (pressure sensations of varying intensity). For a brief moment that familiar perception of hands being turned the opposite direction again, as if I were two bodies sitting in front of each other. Some instances of mind wandering.

•••

I have found a Shambhala center in Stockholm that I plan to visit.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/14/19 7:37 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
How quickly were you noting? Did the frequency change throughout this sit?

What do you mean by the hands turning thing?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/14/19 8:45 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Does starting the second log mean you have started into a new phase of practice?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/15/19 10:56 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
How quickly were you noting? Did the frequency change throughout this sit?

What do you mean by the hands turning thing?



The frequency is inconsistent for me. This is new to me and I’m still learning. Sometimes I can do a few notings per second, sometimes one per second, sometimes slower (if I stay with a set of sensations that can be noted the same way although they are in fact many individual sensations arising and passing I usually do not note each and every one of them). I think about two notings per second is rather common for me when I’m not dull, kind of the default mode, but I’m not sure.

The hand thing: That’s a weird thing that has happened to me a lot. It’s hard to explain but I’ll try. At a certain stage of the sitting something changes in how I perceive of my hands. First they pop up as figure instead of ground if I’m focusing on my breath (although if I intentionally shift my focus to them, they don’t stand out that way; I’m guessing that it could be a dark night thing, with a blurry center but clearer periphery, but I’m not sure). Then after a while the sensations are crosswired in a distorted way or something. I get the perception that someone who is also me sits in front of me, mirroring me, and the hands belong to that mirrored me. The fingers point to me instead of from me. Once I had the mental image of a whole body mirroring me like that, but mostly it’s just the hands. I feel the hands as if they were coming from the direction of someone sitting in front of me, but I feel them as if I were that person. Does that make any sense at all? I don’t think I can explain it any better than that. It’s a very distinct feeling.

EDIT: Since this was a breathing session, the noting was probably much slower, although I tend to add another layer of noting for sensations that I notice beside the breath, and also do some kind of continuous noting in order not to lose focus, like ”rising - dot - dot - dot - dot - dot, falling - dot - dot - dot - dot - dot”, so it depends on how you count.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/15/19 4:43 AM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
Does starting the second log mean you have started into a new phase of practice?



Nah... It just means that I have figured out what the hierarchic tree of posts does with the displayed text if I keep replying to the last post, and I got tired of it and decided to keep this log more readable.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/15/19 8:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
You probably already know this, but just FYI in case you didn't know Shambhala has been dealing with fallout from a pretty serious scandal.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/15/19 9:32 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
You probably already know this, but just FYI in case you didn't know Shambhala has been dealing with fallout from a pretty serious scandal.



Oh no! I didn’t know. That’s horrible! Thanks for telling me!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/15/19 11:23 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sat for 30 minutes at the office before I had to leave to meet somebody. I was ill (allergic reaction of sorts) and the air intake had been shut off because it was after office hours, but I did not space out, so I guess the fatigue has come to a break for now. I focused on the breath with relatively few distractions (stomach pain, noice, contemplation and discourse about observations). I kept the breathing within my awareness during these other notings, so I noted in separate layers. I noticed that I have some kind of mental image of these layers of noting (I neglected to note that with a word, but I was aware of noticing it). I filled out the breath notings with dots to stay alert, and I noticed that the dots tended to be synchronized with my pulse. No backward hands this time, but there was the beginning of a changed perception, if that makes sense. I also noted that it felt as if I was breathing into the area where my hands touched (thighs), as if I was holding a large ballon that was expanding and contracting. Also, I felt a fifferent kind of ”energy” in my hands while breathing in compared to while breathing out.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/16/19 8:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sat about 40-45 minutes, focusing on breath as default but with openness to other sensations. Conditions were unfavorable. Brain fog and some pain due to allergic reaction from medicine (it wasn’t food this time), and my partner watched youtube videos about ant farms next to me, haha. I started out dull and with mind wandering, but clarity increased. Vibrations at a high frequency, first in my hands and then throughout my body. Some irregular slow waves. Showers of bliss over and over again, first very subtle and then with somewhat increased intensity. Then calm lightness. Changed perception of my hands. Perception of having my arms crossed, then of having palms turned upwards holding a sphere (they were resting on my thighs, palms facing down, left hand resting on left leg, right hand resting on right leg).

After the session I feel much better than before. Brain fog is gone. Pain too. Some energy restored. I’m grateful and somewhat surprised.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/16/19 8:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Posted today on /r/streamentry https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/agfqxk/practice_free_scholarships_for_oneonone/?st=jqzaeupl&sh=f70b7a67

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/16/19 8:39 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
Posted today on /r/streamentry https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/agfqxk/practice_free_scholarships_for_oneonone/?st=jqzaeupl&sh=f70b7a67



Thank you so much!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/17/19 9:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sat for one hour. Breath as default focus. Noting.

Was exhausted so started out dull and spaced out and dozed off several times. After about 40 minutes dullness took off and then there was relative clarity. Even dullness is impermanent. Maybe after redirecting focus over and over again, and returning to a more mindful state over and over again, the brain eventually gets it. At that point there was the familiar perception of heightened awareness of sensations in my hands. This time I decided to investigate what those sensations really are. I guess I thereby shifted from clear peripheral awareness of these sensations to focused attention to them. That shift changed the sensations. They now seemed more binary than wavelike. Instead of waves moving through hands, I felt pressure sensations arise and pass on different points. The attention shifted rapidly between the hands and between different points of the hands. Each sensation stood out so distinctly that it felt as if the point of contact (with the thigh) braced itself against the surface. Maybe the waves are consciousness scanning through the body, and when directing focused attention to them they appear more the way particles do, that is, having specific locations)? And since attention constantly arises and passes, then so do the ”particles”?

There were moments of full body shower of piti (which at this point no longer feels like bliss, more like something that I recognize and let go of). Some kriyas, as if something needed to be evened out. I think this was the first time that I noticed such involuntary jerky movements locally in the throat/neck area.

Sudden noices did not startle me.

After the session I feel better than before it. More present, calm and clear.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/18/19 5:00 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
High frequency rough vibrations noticable even off the cushion, like my whole body was vibrating. Slower waves still there in the background, turning into binary sensations arising and passing in rapid succession when investigated. Have been sick all day, felt like I was mildly poisoned. A 90 minutes session of hatha yoga combined with pranayama took away the worst of it but left me feeling overwhelmingly tired. Have done a formal sitting but struggled with staying awake (in the mundane sense). Took a long nap afterwards. Healing. Need to sleep. What I had planned to do this evening will have to wait.

Off the cushion thoughts about dukkha and impermanence even in the best moments. Less clinging to non-binary identity since there is no separate self anyway. This body feels like a masquerade dress that I put on to play with. Today I saw matter vibrate off cushion, and I realized that I have seen that before. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/18/19 5:41 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Did another sit, a short one (20 minutes). Sitting was comfortable, but was caught up in stories and old memories as if I were evaluating my life. Somewhat heightened sensations in hands.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/19/19 5:50 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Off cushion reflections:

I think I’m starting to see more clearly where my attention deficit is playing tricks on me and what I need to work on to get past that. I really need to develop the ability to notice when I’m about to loose access concentration due to dullness. I have made some progress in this area as of late, but it has only made me realize the extent to which I’m not there yet. I’m planning to order and read Culadasa’s The mind illuminated to get a more firm grip on what is happening. There are also some indications that my mind sort of tries to cheat and skip steps, and I think it might be helpful to learn more about the basic skills from more than one perspective. I’ll go back to reading Mahasi as well.

I have noticed a reduced amount of cravings but also an increased awareness of at least parts of the craving that still remains. Some of these cravings I can handle with equanimity. With regard to others I can be equanimous about not being equanimous. I can see that they are conditioned and I can see how silly it is, and I’m kind of getting used to the idea of letting go of them eventually.

I have dips with more cravings, and I notice how the cravings are creating suffering. Even though giving into them may feel good for a short while, it’s never as pleasant as I used to imagine. I probably still do that, but it’s like I always know that it’s just chasing something that doesn’t exist. Also, I can feel that giving into cravings makes me lose balance. It makes me more prone to craving, and it forces my body struggle with the stress from it. I find myself more often than before deciding that I don’t want that kind of imbalance.

Still there are some cravings that feel more entangled with the illusion of self, and I can feel the self holding on to them.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/19/19 10:23 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Meditating on the train while sleep deprived and on medication for motion sickness was not a good idea. Focus and clarity were there for maybe 10 minutes. The remaining 35 minutes were increasingly sleepy and dull. Now my shoulder hurts, too. Ouch! I should have slept instead.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/20/19 7:49 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Woke up exhausted and in pain. Maybe there were some additives in that tea yesterday after all.

30 minutes. Mixed methods to keep track of my attention. Counted breaths but noted distractions. I managed to keep up the counting but I may have repeated a number once or twice. I started from one every five minutes (when there was a bell). Therefore I know that my breath turned faster and more shallow. I started out with 29 breaths and ended with 50.

Dullness is visually noticable. It manifests as murk all over the black screen. Mindfullness is brighter. Everytime there is a shift back to more mindfulness, the black screen subtly lights up. Sometimes there was murk only at the center of the screen. That came together with more peripheral awareness. It seems like trying to focus narrowly at this stage draws one into the murk. At other instances the whole screen was brighter and the mind was clearer both in the center and in the periphery, but that was only for brief moments. I was able to evoke a metacognitive aspect that kept track of how the rest of the mind went dull. I realized that seeing that metacognitive aspect as the self would be a trap. It was not more me than anything else. That reflection made the screen brighter. There is no integrated self. One aspect can reflect on how another aspect reflects on a third aspect. The subjective point of me jumps between different aspects. It’s all about identifying with thoughts and feelings and perceptions and so on. It is possible to just stop identifying with something, and then the point jumps. For the purpose of vipassana it is useful in this stage to have it jump into a metacognitive aspect and use that as a point of departure, but that doesn’t make it me.

I named that aspect several years ago. I gave her the name Ariadne because of the Greek myth where she helped Theseus find his way out of the labyrinth by following a thread, because I saw her as the narrator following a thread. This was outside of meditative practice. I knew that she was a theoretical construction along with other theoretical constructions covering other aspects of ”me”, and I found that helpful. At that time I believed that I needed more integration, but I came to realize that cooperation was more helpful. Each aspect had its purpuse, and if in balance they made no trouble. Seeing myself as a collective of different aspects helped me to become aware of reactive patterns and their triggers and choose to act in ways that made these survival mechanisms unnecessary.

The dull aspect had a name too, Aniara. She was the one who put all other aspects into cryo pods and put the ship into autopilot mode. I wasn’t aware that she still popped up so often. She is the aspect that has the least degree of self awareness. She is probably the one that will eventually have to face the void dakini.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/20/19 8:11 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I just realized that I think I know exactly how equanimity can be a trap. I had a name for that aspect as well (I’m too embarrassed to tell you that name), and she had a counterpart that was all about impermanence in a ruthlessly eruptive way, sort of Kali-like.

Okay, so these were insights masked by their own stories. I guess I had to start from where I was.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/21/19 5:09 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Something really scary is going on. I don’t know what this is. It seems to be full-blown panic but it’s also physical. First I tried to meditate in a seated position, but after maybe 12 minutes I had to interrupt because this unbearable panic spread through my body and grew more and more intense. It felt pretty much like that one time when I fainted due to a bursting ovarian cyst. The thing is, I have a cyst right now; I recognize the symptoms that started yesterday (I have had quite a few cysts over the years). Therefore it made sense that the panic attack was my body saying no, especially since the cyst was now also pulsating with pain and my whole body was shaking. As I lay down it got better, and I thought the cyst had either finally burst or the seated position put too much pressure on it. I then tried to meditate lying down but fell asleep. As I had now stopped shaking, I decided to meditate standing up. First it went well and I thought that I had just been silly to even consider this being a dark night thing, but then the panic returned. I opened my eyes and tried to ground myself in seeing and hearing ordinary things, but it didn’t help. I had to lie down and hug myself and just breath. In doing so, I felt that the cyst was pulsating with pain again. I don’t know if the cyst is causing this panic reaction or if the panic reaction is causing the increased pain in the cyst. I will consult with a doctor tomorrow. Now that I’m lying down I feel better again. It seems like the meditation triggers either the pain or the panic, and whichever comes first triggers the other one. Sometimes pain seems to manifest as panic for me, so it’s difficult to know what is what. I have never had such reactions to meditation before. I couldn’t even imagine it to be possible, although I have heard of it.

The first time I did try to just observe the sensations. It started as chaotic vibrations especially in the throat area. Then the panic came. I felt pressure around my heart, and showers of both cold and hot dots arising and passing rapidly on my skin. In doing these observations, the screen went brighter and clarity increased. I had a heightened awareness of my hands and at the same time they started to feel like they were not my hands and kind of dislocated. That is common for me and I don’t mind it at all. Still there was fear to such an extent that I was unable to stay at a sensate level. I was increasingly lightheaded, dizzy, and nauseous. I felt like I was about to throw up and at the same time felt like I was suffocating, as if somebody was strangling me. I felt that I was afraid of what would happen if I lost my sense of self, and thought that maybe this was what it felt like. Suddenly I wasn’t so sure that I wanted it. There were parts of me that did want it, who kept saying that this was just the self trying to defend itself, so I tried to just stay with what happened and embrace it, and it kind of drew me in, and that was unbearable. I couldn’t take it. And now I’m afraid of the panic.

I don’t even know what I’m so afraid of. It’s not like things will just cease to exist. Either they already don’t exist or they do exist on one plane, and that will continue. I will still be in this body. I will still be able to love. What’s there to be afraid of? Am I clinging to a sense of normality? I don’t even believe in normality, and normality never believed in me.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/21/19 5:05 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I managed to meditate lying down with my eyes opened for 20 minutes without falling asleep or panicking, although I did space out briefly three times. I focused on all breath sensations. One of the times I spaced out I remember images of bandaging a foot for some strange reason. Some thoughts came up about self. The thought of having no soul scares me. So does the thought of there being no higher power with a higher purpose. I felt guilt for bringing a child into existance if there is nothing there, no meaning. Then I realized that my son’s self is as much an illusion as everything else, and that scared me even more, and I felt bad for putting him in the position of having to deal with such an illusory existance. Then I realized that there is no me that can be blamed.

Even though I kept my eyes open, I got that strange perception about my hands. I have a hard time describing it. Maybe it’s like they are having their own awareness? Still, ”I” am aware of having that awareness, sort of. It’s like awareness is not tied to any center. Yet, there is still something there that interprets these perceptions and ties them together.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 4:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Off cushion:

I don’t know if these are rough high frequency irregular vibrations or if I’m actually shaking with tremor. I recognize this from before, about ten years ago, nine maybe. I remember wondering what it was. I know that it was subsequent to having had something energy-like shooting upwards through the spine and exploding in the head. I cannot recall how much time had passed inbetween and what other sensations had occurred in detail. I’m pretty sure, though, that it had been very turbulent and panicky but with periods of exhaustion and brain fog. This was before I even tried Kundalini Yoga. It was that time when everybody seemed to die around me and I was waiting for a neuropsychiatric investigation and everything was quagmire, after getting divorced. I remember that it all started after I had said to a friend that I had given up on happiness and would settle with an interesting life. It seemed that I had evoked something there.

I don’t know if I can take this again.

I probably can. After all, I got through it last time. This too shall pass. But I don’t want this happening over and over again. I need to finish it this time.

I’m scared to meditate. It’s not that I’m afraid of what I might find within me; it’s what I may not find there. I’m scared that it’s nothing there. How can emptiness be a good thing? It sounds so meaningless. I need meaning. I need there to be meaning already. If it’s up to me to create meaning, what if I don’t have it in me? And if there is no me at all, how is it even possible to create meaning? If there is no agency and no purpose, how can there ever be any meaning?

I probably need to listen more to J. Krishnamurti. He seemed to get it and still not despair.

And I will meditate. I have decided once and for all that I will do formal practice at least 20 minutes per day without interruption. 20 minutes. That’s practically nothing. I will survive that. Jeeze, this is silly.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 7:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m scared to meditate. It’s not that I’m afraid of what I might find within me; it’s what I may not find there. I’m scared that it’s nothing there. How can emptiness be a good thing? It sounds so meaningless.

This is a common fear and it can be debilitating, but emptiness in Buddhism doesn't mean non-existent. It means without permanence, without essence. You exist, just not in the permanent form you previously conceived of. And there is meaning, no matter what. It, too, isn't what we may have always thought it was, but it exists in a likewise impermanent form.

Buddhism is not nihilism.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 8:19 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Thanks! I’m glad that it’s not nihilism. I kind of feel that it’s even more important to imprint right skills in the mind if the karma may end up in other people than a reincarnated me. I wouldn’t want them to suffer for my mistakes. In that sense, and because they affect other living beings in the here and now, I know that my choices matter, even though they are dependent arisings (and also because they are). I do know that I exist. It’s just... I guess I kind of hoped that there would be some sense of progression and some learning over time that would somehow remain together, not scattered over the entire existance. Still, the thought of individual souls reincarnating fosters victim blaming, so it makes sense for it to be a fallacy. I guess discontinuity scares me. On the other hand, the thought of subjective eternity is even more scary.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 9:39 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
You nicely describe going through standard insight stages, A&P, Dissolution, Fear, so might read up on those, as you are having classic presentations of them. While some of them, such as Fear, can be very disconcerting, be reassured that they are normal and pass.

Might see here: https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iv-insight/30-the-progress-of-insight/6-fear/

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 10:26 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks! I reread that section regularly. It is what keeps me going.

Damn, I was really hoping that this was re-observation. I thought I had already been miserable and disgusted and craving for deliverance. Wishful thinking, most likely.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 10:44 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I felt stable so I decided to sit for 20 minutes just to get a positive experience. That was a good idea, because I didn’t panic, and now I’m not afraid anymore. It was uncomfortable, physically, but quite managable. My whole body felt buzzy and a bit restless. There was a somewhat changed perception of the hands. Slight pain and blissful sensations occurred simultaneously.

I can still feel the buzzing sensations throughout my body, buzzing like static / TV noice.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 3:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Well, could be, actually, as the Dark Night can come “as a package”, meaning that the stages can overlap.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 5:02 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Regardless, I will continue practicing.

I sat for thirty minutes now. No panic, lots of fierce vibrations. I imagined layers of me splintering. It actually felt good.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 5:34 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Your experience reminded me of the "Litany Against Fear" from Dune. Not sure if that's your thing but it might be helpful. :-)
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.


I find it very helpful during Dark Night times! 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/22/19 5:40 PM as a reply to Erin.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/22/19 6:52 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
This is a common fear and it can be debilitating, but emptiness in Buddhism doesn't mean non-existent. It means without permanence, without essence. You exist, just not in the permanent form you previously conceived of. And there is meaning, no matter what. It, too, isn't what we may have always thought it was, but it exists in a likewise impermanent form.

Buddhism is not nihilism.


Thanks for clarifying that point, I felt bad when Polly posted about the fear she was feeling. I should have been more clear, or perhaps just left the advice to the more qualified posters. emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 3:28 AM as a reply to Erin.
Erin:
Your experience reminded me of the "Litany Against Fear" from Dune. Not sure if that's your thing but it might be helpful. :-)
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.


I find it very helpful during Dark Night times! 


Thanks! I’ll try that the next time something like this happens.

Thanks to Chris too, but the clip seems to have been removed. I have seen the film, though.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 3:30 AM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
Chris Marti:
This is a common fear and it can be debilitating, but emptiness in Buddhism doesn't mean non-existent. It means without permanence, without essence. You exist, just not in the permanent form you previously conceived of. And there is meaning, no matter what. It, too, isn't what we may have always thought it was, but it exists in a likewise impermanent form.

Buddhism is not nihilism.


Thanks for clarifying that point, I felt bad when Polly posted about the fear she was feeling. I should have been more clear, or perhaps just left the advice to the more qualified posters. emoticon



Where did you comment? I haven’t written about it anywhere but here as far as I can remember.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 10:03 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh no, oh no, oh no, please don’t let this be A&P again! Off cushion showers of piti in the midst of daily life. Although I do appreciate the energy, I would rather go forward than backwards.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 10:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Where did you comment? I haven’t written about it anywhere but here as far as I can remember.


I made a comment in a thread about depersonalization/derealization right before your post in this thread about experiencing existential fear. It appeared to be related to my comment, if not happy to hear it lol.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 11:55 AM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Where did you comment? I haven’t written about it anywhere but here as far as I can remember.


I made a comment in a thread about depersonalization/derealization right before your post in this thread about experiencing existential fear. It appeared to be related to my comment, if not happy to hear it lol.



That was not my post, and no, it wasn’t related. I thought your advice there was great, though. It wouldn’t have helped very much with my panic, but it wouldn’t have done any harm either. Panic is what it is, all fluff and no substance. I got that wording from the MCTB2 chapter on re-observation. This probably wasn’t re-observation, but the wording is probably helpful for many things. Whatever it was, I needed to overwrite the experience with a positive one. That works for many things too. The mind is mainly a network of infrastructure. We need to build many entrances to the paths that we wish to trafic, and many turnoffs from the muddy old ruts that we keep sliding into. Then we need to keep directing the trafic in a way that keeps the wanted trails open while the unwanted trails are overgrown.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 12:30 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
The way I've usually seen this explained is nuanced as this is another concept westerners especially make mistakes with due to language and cultural barriers.

Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

How this has been dealt with in various schools of Buddhism is fascinating as it has been presented in different, provisional ways for different audiences. Perhaps we need a provisional version for modern Buddhists/mindfullness practitioners.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 1:19 PM as a reply to Milo.
Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

IMHO the best way to understand emptiness is to experience it  emoticon

I think the nuance (complication) comes from trying to use language to describe something that isn't reducible to a concept or a construct that language can handle. It's like describing the taste of coca cola to someone who has never tasted coca cola.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 2:43 PM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
The way I've usually seen this explained is nuanced as this is another concept westerners especially make mistakes with due to language and cultural barriers.

Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

How this has been dealt with in various schools of Buddhism is fascinating as it has been presented in different, provisional ways for different audiences. Perhaps we need a provisional version for modern Buddhists/mindfullness practitioners.

Right. Dependent arisings. That makes sense. Thanks for reminding me!

Emptiness is a horrible word.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 2:44 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

IMHO the best way to understand emptiness is to experience it  emoticon

I think the nuance (complication) comes from trying to use language to describe something that isn't reducible to a concept or a construct that language can handle. It's like describing the taste of coca cola to someone who has never tasted coca cola.



That makes sense too.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 3:01 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oh no, oh no, oh no, please don’t let this be A&P again! Off cushion showers of piti in the midst of daily life. Although I do appreciate the energy, I would rather go forward than backwards.



It doesn’t seem to be A&P. It is much wider and deeper. I sat for 30 minutes, could have continued but I have promised to play a game with my son. Sitting was comfortable. I could easily feel breath sensations throughout my body. There was heightened peripheral awareness but the center was still there, with no murk in it. Sometimes I had something resembling vertigo. There was subtle motion around me, and spacious. Staying mindful was relatively easy.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/23/19 5:46 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Agreed there is no substitute for direct experience. IMHO the problem is usually that the intellectual understanding happens but the direct experience part is missing, but sometimes the intellectual part can be useful to go back to when interpreting direct experiences.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/24/19 2:47 AM as a reply to Milo.
Yeah, what Milo said.

This stuff is clearly intellectually fascinating for many when they get into it, all the weird happenings, the strange side-effects, the kundalini stuff and kriyas, the highs, the lows, but I like to think of this as training to be a sherpa, except that, in this case, the trail is the dharma path, and your own experiences of heart, mind, and body.

If you train to be a sherpa, you have to walk the same trails again and again for years. Each time you walk up and down the path, you learn something about it by just going there, just participating in the process, in a way that you could try to explain to someone, could talk about, could write something about, make maps of, but it would be nothing like the fact of just doing it.

You walk the trail at dawn, at midday, at dusk, at night. You walk it in rain and shine. Some days, the trail is easier. Some days, it is hard. Some days it is pouring hail on your head. Some days, lightning crashes around. Some days, wind threatens to blow you off the path. Some days the light breeze is so pleasant. Some days, it is utterly gorgeous. Some days, you feel lucky to have made it home. Sometimes the creeks you have to cross are low. Sometimes the creeks you have to cross are roaring torrents. Sometimes there is ice and snow. Sometimes it is blistering hot. Sometimes it is freezing cold.

From all of these varied direct experiences on the trail, having walked it literally thousands of times, you become a seasoned sherpa. You learn that trail so that you are an expert in it, have true, direct knowledge that comes from experience and handling various situations on that trail, so that you can guide people safely on that same trail in all sorts of conditions, however it presents that day or night. You know how to read the clouds, the wind, the smell in the air, the tracks on the ground, the leaves on the trees. You know the seasons and how they affect the journey. You know that, while you can explain all sorts of things to those sherpas in training that you are now teaching and to those you guide along the trail, they just have to walk that same trail again and again and again in all sorts of conditions and be present to them to really know it like you do now.

May your sherpa training go well,

Daniel

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/24/19 3:43 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
That's well put. Thank you!

And by continuously walking, you keep the trail from being overgrown with weeds. The more you walk it, the more accessible it gets. Meanwhile, other trails that used to lead you astray do gradually get overgrown if you manage not to slip back into the old muddy ruts.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/24/19 10:37 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Milo:
The way I've usually seen this explained is nuanced as this is another concept westerners especially make mistakes with due to language and cultural barriers.

Emptiness of phenomena properly understood means they do not exist from their own side, without support from other phenomena. In other words phenomena do not exist inherently but depend completely on other phenomena for their (conventional) existence. What they do not have is atomic, unitary, independent existence. But that doesn't mean they don't (conventionally) exist.

How this has been dealt with in various schools of Buddhism is fascinating as it has been presented in different, provisional ways for different audiences. Perhaps we need a provisional version for modern Buddhists/mindfullness practitioners.

Right. Dependent arisings. That makes sense. Thanks for reminding me!

Emptiness is a horrible word.

Why do you think that?
People's different responses to the term fascinate me.

Dan Brown, who is a Tibetan, calls it "an unfortunate term" and said a good synonym would be "mental construction." He equates emptiness with the Western/postmodern idea of constructionism. I don't agree with that at all. He also distinguishes emptiness and no-self, saying (in his very Tibetan way) that no-self was the earlier version, and the Tibetans improved and refined the concept. I don't agree with that either.

At the other extreme is a comment I read on a forum somewhere, where the commenter stated that it seemed like it had always wanted to be called emptiness, like it was just begging to be called emptiness.

I tend to agree with that second commenter. I think emptiness is a perfect description because there's no center point.

I'm not sure where the term comes from - the Pali is 'anatta' which is literally an-atta (no-self).

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/24/19 10:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oh no, oh no, oh no, please don’t let this be A&P again! Off cushion showers of piti in the midst of daily life. Although I do appreciate the energy, I would rather go forward than backwards.



It doesn’t seem to be A&P. It is much wider and deeper. I sat for 30 minutes, could have continued but I have promised to play a game with my son. Sitting was comfortable. I could easily feel breath sensations throughout my body. There was heightened peripheral awareness but the center was still there, with no murk in it. Sometimes I had something resembling vertigo. There was subtle motion around me, and spacious. Staying mindful was relatively easy.

This all sounds like classic Equanimity nana.
Layers splintering off the self is classic late dark night stuff (D for D and Reobservation).

You have really good descriptions! I'm jealous. It's hard for me to describe stuff.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/24/19 11:41 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oh no, oh no, oh no, please don’t let this be A&P again! Off cushion showers of piti in the midst of daily life. Although I do appreciate the energy, I would rather go forward than backwards.



It doesn’t seem to be A&P. It is much wider and deeper. I sat for 30 minutes, could have continued but I have promised to play a game with my son. Sitting was comfortable. I could easily feel breath sensations throughout my body. There was heightened peripheral awareness but the center was still there, with no murk in it. Sometimes I had something resembling vertigo. There was subtle motion around me, and spacious. Staying mindful was relatively easy.

This all sounds like classic Equanimity nana.
Layers splintering off the self is classic late dark night stuff (D for D and Reobservation).

You have really good descriptions! I'm jealous. It's hard for me to describe stuff.


That would be nice. I guess we’ll see. It may be wishful thinking. Imagining layers splintering off was something that I did intentionally, not something that came to me in a vision. I may have scripted myself into feeling like this, so I’m not going to assume that it is real.

Do you really think so? Thank you!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/24/19 3:56 PM as a reply to J C.
Regarding why I think emptiness is a horrible word: maybe it’s because of the storylines that people use to describe frightening things. I’m a researcher in the field of dementia, and people with dementia diseases have often been described as empty shells, robbed of everything that makes them persons. None of that is true, of course. Emptiness is how psychological states such as depression, dissociation and depersonalization are described. It sounds as if nothing matters. It makes me think of apathy and of zombies and robots and clichés and false smiles and rituals the meaning of which nobody remembers anymore, or cares about, and of spams and bots and automatic routines that keep going after the last human being is long gone.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/24/19 12:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/24/19 4:10 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
As soon as I sat down and closed my eyes there was rapture, and then I was drawn into spaciousness. Nothing fancy, but wider and deeper than I’m used to. My eyelids flickered and there was noice in my right ear, a creaking sound that turned out to be rapid clicking. After a while my eyelids relaxed and the noice stopped. There were spinning movements and rhythms that sometimes were coordinated, sometimes out of synch. There was lightness and a slight shift in the gravity, like on an air plane going down for a landing. I didn’t need the noting. When I tried to use noting, I couldn’t keep up with all the sensations, and that caused tension.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/24/19 4:14 PM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.



Yup.

I’m thinking that it seems to resemble compatibilistic determinism much more than nihilism. I have also noticed similarities to what Derek Parfit talks about in On What Matters, at least in the first chapters that I have actually read.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/24/19 11:13 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Milo:
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.



Yup.

I’m thinking that it seems to resemble compatibilistic determinism much more than nihilism. I have also noticed similarities to what Derek Parfit talks about in On What Matters, at least in the first chapters that I have actually read.


It's interesting that you bring up both compatibilism and Parfit, since I've found both very relevant to awakening.

There was a point where the idea that I have some sort of personal identity just stopped making any sense. Before that point, I was obsessed with philosophy of personal identity, including Parfit - questions like "if you step into a duplicating machine, which copy are you? What if you make a copy and then destroy one of the two five minutes later? How does that affect personal identity?"

After that point, I looked at all the same stuff I had read and it looked completely different. It just seemed so obvious that there could not be any such thing as personal identity.

About compatibilism - I'm a firm non-compatibilist determinist. Again, this is something I can directly perceive, not something theoretical. There is no free will, since all decisions I make and all my intentions are the effects of earlier causes, not something I freely choose. Compatibilists just redefine free will to be decision making.

There's a great quote by Samuel Johnson on free will: "All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it.”
At a certain point, this stops being true, and all of a sudden your experience matches the theory and you see through the illusion of free will.

And yes, I really love your descriptions emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/24/19 11:16 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
J C:


This all sounds like classic Equanimity nana.
Layers splintering off the self is classic late dark night stuff (D for D and Reobservation).

You have really good descriptions! I'm jealous. It's hard for me to describe stuff.


That would be nice. I guess we’ll see. It may be wishful thinking. Imagining layers splintering off was something that I did intentionally, not something that came to me in a vision. I may have scripted myself into feeling like this, so I’m not going to assume that it is real.

Do you really think so? Thank you!

You did it intentionally, huh?
Who was it who did it intentionally?
Can you see the no-self in your intentions? Something caused those intentions.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 1:08 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Milo:
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.



Yup.

I’m thinking that it seems to resemble compatibilistic determinism much more than nihilism. I have also noticed similarities to what Derek Parfit talks about in On What Matters, at least in the first chapters that I have actually read.


It's interesting that you bring up both compatibilism and Parfit, since I've found both very relevant to awakening.

There was a point where the idea that I have some sort of personal identity just stopped making any sense. Before that point, I was obsessed with philosophy of personal identity, including Parfit - questions like "if you step into a duplicating machine, which copy are you? What if you make a copy and then destroy one of the two five minutes later? How does that affect personal identity?"

After that point, I looked at all the same stuff I had read and it looked completely different. It just seemed so obvious that there could not be any such thing as personal identity.

About compatibilism - I'm a firm non-compatibilist determinist. Again, this is something I can directly perceive, not something theoretical. There is no free will, since all decisions I make and all my intentions are the effects of earlier causes, not something I freely choose. Compatibilists just redefine free will to be decision making.

There's a great quote by Samuel Johnson on free will: "All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it.”
At a certain point, this stops being true, and all of a sudden your experience matches the theory and you see through the illusion of free will.

And yes, I really love your descriptions emoticon


Me too! And I recently realized that there is no I that will seize existing. That still scares the shit out of me, but I’m trying to get used to the idea.

Me too. It’s the only theory that makes any sense. Most people don’t seem to get it.

:-)

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 1:09 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
J C:


This all sounds like classic Equanimity nana.
Layers splintering off the self is classic late dark night stuff (D for D and Reobservation).

You have really good descriptions! I'm jealous. It's hard for me to describe stuff.


That would be nice. I guess we’ll see. It may be wishful thinking. Imagining layers splintering off was something that I did intentionally, not something that came to me in a vision. I may have scripted myself into feeling like this, so I’m not going to assume that it is real.

Do you really think so? Thank you!

You did it intentionally, huh?
Who was it who did it intentionally?
Can you see the no-self in your intentions? Something caused those intentions.

Heh, busted.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 1:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Milo:
I second this. In english, emptiness has lots of baggage in the form of negative connotations that obscure what's meant in a dharma sense. It's bad enough that when people new to dharma teachings encounter the term they will often dismiss the whole project as nihilistic. For this reason I'm in favor of keeping with the pali terms or finding some better terminology like "not independently existent" or similar, even though that is fairly cumbersome.



Yup.

I’m thinking that it seems to resemble compatibilistic determinism much more than nihilism. I have also noticed similarities to what Derek Parfit talks about in On What Matters, at least in the first chapters that I have actually read.


Interesting. I hadn't heard of compatibilistic determinism before, but after reading up on it, it does sound related. A version of this could be viewed as a logical corollary of annata/emptiness, or more specifically, of dependent origination.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 2:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
As soon as I sat down and closed my eyes there was rapture, and then I was drawn into spaciousness. Nothing fancy, but wider and deeper than I’m used to. My eyelids flickered and there was noice in my right ear, a creaking sound that turned out to be rapid clicking. After a while my eyelids relaxed and the noice stopped. There were spinning movements and rhythms that sometimes were coordinated, sometimes out of synch. There was lightness and a slight shift in the gravity, like on an air plane going down for a landing. I didn’t need the noting. When I tried to use noting, I couldn’t keep up with all the sensations, and that caused tension.


When the rhythms were out of synch, it was like there were winds colliding, or like when two people are paddling a canoe out of synch upstream.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 2:06 AM as a reply to Milo.
Yes, exactly. And that doesn’t scare me. I have been a compatibilistic determinist for 24 years now, so I’m pretty used to that idea.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 8:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Yes, exactly. And that doesn’t scare me. I have been a compatibilistic determinist for 24 years now, so I’m pretty used to that idea.

A little confused. I was saying I was a NON-compatibilistic determinist.. compatibilists think we have free will even with determinism, which makes no sense to me. You think that?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 8:56 AM as a reply to J C.
Oh, sorry, I misread.

What they are saying is that the only way to have a free will is if it is determined. Otherwise it is no will at all, but mere coincidence.

If you don’t think your choice of action matters, then why do you attempt to do anything?

Will can coexist with determinism the same way that emptiness coexists with somethingness/suchness. Will belongs to the dual reality. It may be an illusion, but it’s the only reality we will ever experience. As I see it, anyway.

Then again, an awakened person sees through the illusion and knows that there is no ”I” that has a will. As long as you still keep going, eat your dinner, pay your bills, etc, there is still a will of sorts.

Freedom of will is being able to form attentions according to one’s personality. The construction of you still has a personality, even though you know that it consists of independent arisings.

Compatibilistic determinism is practically the theory of independent arisings.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 9:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
That’s how I have always interpreted it, anyway.

I guess it would make even more sense to say that the question whether or not the will is free is irrelevant. If it is free, in the sence of being independent, it’s not a will.

I believe that to be their main point: the dependence is what makes it a will. You can’t be free AND independent, because if you are independent, you are a slave to coincidence.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 9:43 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oh, sorry, I misread.

What they are saying is that the only way to have a free will is if it is determined. Otherwise it is no will at all, but mere coincidence.

If you don’t think your choice of action matters, then why do you attempt to do anything?

Will can coexist with determinism the same way that emptiness coexists with somethingness/suchness. Will belongs to the dual reality. It may be an illusion, but it’s the only reality we will ever experience. As I see it, anyway.

Then again, an awakened person sees through the illusion and knows that there is no ”I” that has a will. As long as you still keep going, eat your dinner, pay your bills, etc, there is still a will of sorts.

Freedom of will is being able to form attentions according to one’s personality. The construction of you still has a personality, even though you know that it consists of independent arisings.

Compatibilistic determinism is practically the theory of independent arisings.

I would say that determinism is practically the theory of dependent arisings. The compatibilistic part is just an error.

I think of will as being the same as intentions. Intentions and attempts to do things just arise dependent on past causes, including personality. As you say, otherwise they would just be random coincidences.

You say free will is "being able to form \[intentions\] according to one's personality." That's not possible. Intentions just form on their own, and there is no self that is able to form or not form them. It's not a choice, just cause and effect.

Compatibilists understand all this, but then they say that there's "free will" because our intentions derive from our personality. But there are no free choices involved.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 11:42 AM as a reply to J C.
It seems to me that we agree to the substance of the matter but disagree semantically. The determinists that I have read don’t seem to take responsibility seriously, whereas the dharma does, hence the eightfold path. I do agree, though, that determinism is compatible with dependent arisings. The problem with determinism is that it can be demoralizing.

What personality is can be discussed. There is probably no consensus on the matter, wherefore conclusions may differ radically. I don’t think it’s necessary for the person to have an essence in order for them to have a personality. The person is a formation that exists within dual reality, and personality as I define it is a set of behavioral patterns. That makes compatibilistic determinism a tautology, but then again, that’s the point.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 1:53 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Regardless of whether or not I intend to meditate, as soon as I close my eyes I’m drawn into spaciousness. It’s like I’m taken for a ride. There is movement around me and through me, and I’m moving through space. From time to time I feel motion sickness.

In the end of today’s yoga class there was some time for meditation. I noticed tensions in the facial area, resisting the motion into space. I relaxed my face to the best of my ability. That increased the motion but decreased the sickness. Sometimes it was kind of wobbly. There were spinning motions.

It was as if someone pulled my chest and head up and pushed my shoulders down into a relaxed position and the chin backwards to elongate the spine and tilted the pelvis into a correct position. It was automatic. Cool.

Today’s thoughts have been almost ridiculously constructive and nuanced. I have smiled all the time (okay, I’m excaggerating a bit here), been attentive, considerate and nice to strangers (and I’m autistic; social interaction can be exhausting, but it wasn’t today), and managed to do all the things I planned to do and more. I think the duukha me would have found this me slightly irritating and then felt guilty about it. When I think about that, I feel compassion towards the dukkha me and want to hug them or something.

This is low equanimity. I’m certain about that, but it actually doesn’t matter. What matters is that I do my best to be a decent human being and stay attentive to what happens, or how. It is what it is, regardless of what it is called and regardless of what I or anyone else believes. Please remind me of that if/when I drop back into dukkha nanas or lose direction, because the same things matter there as well.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 4:57 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sat down and did not immediately get drawn into spaciousness. Realized that I was expecting sensations rather than being attentive to the present sensations. Became more mindful. Was drawn in, but there was less of a ride this time. The shoulders were pushed into position once more, but only subtly.

There were soft waves, but they were looping. I don’t know how it is possible, but I sensed a outward circular movement. This would mean that the touch sensation reached out from my body, to the space around it. I don’t know where in these sensationes the body ended and the space started.

My son was shouting loudly at his computer game. Felt grateful that I’m doing Vipassana. Such incidents are no interruptions, but possibilities. I could notice how the shouting effected the space around me. The movements became anxious and fast and less circular.

I don’t know how long I sat. I had set the timer to 20 minutes, but I decided to sit longer.

Close to the end I remember seeing the large chimneys with huge light bulbs on them, made to look like a gigantic advent wreath, that are visible from the new lunch room at my work. The other day I pointed out to my collegues that the light bulbs were still there. Now I was there again, pointing to them. I don’t know if this memory came to me so vividly just because I have read in MCTB2 that it can happen. I am rather susceptible to suggestion, so it is quite possible. Even if that is the case, it was cool to have such a vivid memory. I really thought that I was there. Normally, my visual memory is very poor. I was a bit dissappointed, though, that I didn’t notice my mind wandering.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/25/19 5:04 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh, yeah, almost forgot - for a while I had the perception that someone else was doing the breathing, not me.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/26/19 5:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sometimes it seems that I’m having trouble noting the difference between my sensations and others’ sensations, such as those of my cats or my son. Logically speaking, I’m hearing them and imagining doing what they are doing and feeling the sensations that they must be feeling, but I sense it. Not in my body, though, but where they are. I know that awakened people are able to perceive that perceptions have their own self awareness, but I’m not awakened. So is this me being sloppy and dull, or it is possible to have glimpses of this before awakening? It’s not exactly as if I’m perceiving things from their perspective either, because at the same time I also have an immediate perception of the density of their bodies and their smell and their warmth and texture. Everything is there immediately. I can’t tell what is triggering what. It’s just there. These moments are rather brief, though. Then it comes back to ordinary sensory input, I think.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/26/19 2:25 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Off cushion, doing laundry: There are pulses in my vision field and things moving around in my peripheral vision. Is this a good thing or am I going mad?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/26/19 2:38 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
There are tensions in my face muscles making me nauseaus.

I lay down and meditated with one cat on each side, relaxing the face muscles as much as I could. That set off swirling motions in space. For a brief moment I saw layers of swirls on the black screen instead of the usual flat screen.

There is sort of a pressure in my sinuses.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/26/19 2:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Off cushion, doing laundry: There are pulses in my vision field and things moving around in my peripheral vision. Is this a good thing or am I going mad?



Just before noticing that, I could have sworn that I heard many voices murmuring in the noice from the drywasher, as if there were people all around me.

Maybe all the pipes here carry the voices of my neighbours talking in their apartments. Hm.

There were overwhelming impressions everywhere.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/26/19 3:55 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
There was a subtle and slow threedimensional rotation in the black screen.

My son’s inbreath before coughing felt as if I was the one doing it.

All the time this weird tension in the facial muscles and sinuss. I feel as if I need to depressurize.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/26/19 4:09 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
There is a feeling of wearing too strong glasses.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 4:18 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I woke up pretty zonked out and with pain all over my body because of allergic reactions to foods. The hyposensibilisation treatment seems to have made things worse instead of helping. Then I remembered that the ego doesn’t have to identify with being zonked out. Identification was moved to a metacognitive aspect that remained clear. Not only was I able to get out of bed to take my medicines - I suddenly stopped feeling zonked out (before I had taken the medz). The pain is still there, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s just there. I know it will pass. I can live with it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 4:47 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The realization that the point of identification can simply move seems like a breakthrough, both spiritually and in mundane life. May I remember this!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/27/19 6:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think there is a subtle psychological reaction to that insight now. It’s vague but it’s there. Something is unsettled by having the belief in a solid self challenged. That something reacts with tension and nausea and fear. Facial muscles are contracting. Bubbly feeling in stomach. The main parts of the body remain relaxed. There is no need to identify with the reaction. It’s just there.

That feeling of wearing too strong glasses has returned. I guess it may take some time getting used to new ways of perceiving things. Relaxing helps.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 6:34 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Good to see things coming along for you, Linda. Very cool that you have been practicing diligently and seem to be getting into equanimity.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 6:44 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Thanks! emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 7:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
All these subtle traps...

While brushing my teeth I felt the nausea and tension, and there was this thought that if I were to meditatate right now I would probably feel panic again so maybe I shouldn’t do that just now. Then there was this ”Wait a minute, what was that? What is it that is fearing what?” And I thought that I was afraid of the fear. Then I thought, no, I fear identifying with fear. But what is it that is fearing that? Apparently that point is already identifying with fear. That made the anxiety ”go away”. For a moment there was triumphant content. Then there was another ”wait a minute” moment. No, the anxiety didn’t go away. The identification point moved. The fear and anxiety are still there. Believing that they are gone is just denial, not liberation. They are there. There is no need to identify with them, but that doesn’t mean that they are gone. That’s not what this is about.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 7:10 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Haha! Then I thought ”Hey! The tension is gone!” and then ”Wait a minute!” Of course it’s not gone. The identification point just moved again.

How many times am I to repeat this observation before it finally sinks in as the default mode? Haha!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 7:13 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
(Not that it’s the same tension. The components that make it up arise and pass away and make room for new ones, of course. But the formation remains longer than its components.)

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 7:58 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Did a 20 minutes sitting before cooking lunch. Very soon there was a heightened peripheral awarenss accompanied by a small circle filled with murk on the black screen. Then the black screen brightened up and the murk faded. There was rapture immediately followed by tranquility. Lightness. A distinct widening. Space.

In the latter half (?) of the session, there were instances of subtle dullness. Each time I recognized the dullness, the screen brightened. There were also instances of a dreamlike state which I guess is more than subtle dullness. The screen brightened each time I noticed them as well. I need to work with identifying these dull instances coming up before they reach the identification point.

Breathing was very easy. Sitting was comfortable and still.

20 minutes sittings are often underestimated, I find. A lot happens in twenty minutes, and such sessions are possible to squeeze in here and there. It is probably much better to cultivate hepful habits for twenty minutes than being dull for hours. Exercising in a sloppy way due to exhaustion makes one prone to injuries. I bet the same goes for exercising the mind. It’s good to know one’s limites.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/27/19 8:36 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I don’t know what to think about chakras, I really don’t, but just now I had the distinct feeling that there was a pressure to the third eye and that I needed to open it to realease something. While writing here, it changed. The crown of my head heated up, and now the pressure is there instead. There is also a minor pressure to the throat. That pressure seems to be moving upwards to the third eye. And now there is an increased pressure to the crown of my head. Weird. This keeps repeating.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/27/19 9:53 AM as a reply to J C.
I have the strange feeling that I’m about to deliver a baby (from my head) and at the same time go through a divorce, deliver myself as a baby but also bury myself. The drains were blocked from my bathroom sink, and for the first time ever I was able to release that huge disgusting slimy blob of old hair from that upper part of the drains that cannot be reached because of poor design. It felt metaphorical. I enjoyed imagining that I was releasing layers of myself (which I probably was, literally... ugh...). Suddenly I felt the need to listen to music for the first time in a long while, and very specifically the tune ”Deliverence” by Mission UK. I have it on repeat now. I used to listen to Mission all the time when I went through my divorce, oddly enough since it was actually my ex-husband who introduced me to Mission. Oh, the rapture from this music... I’m celebrating and mourning at the same time. This is probably the closest I have ever been to stream entry. I’m thinking that if I’m ready it will happen, and if I’m not ready, unlike with child birth, there will be new chances to get ready. The flow knows what to do.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/27/19 2:15 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sat for thirty minutes. Very tranquil. Either dullness or formless or unknowing events at the end of some breaths, subsequent to a feeling of shifting gravity. No nodding. Sitting was comfortable, breathing easy.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/27/19 3:41 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Are you still doing noting practices?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/27/19 11:53 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
That depends on whether it helps or holds me back. That varies. However, I’m not sure that I always know what the status is. 

What would your advice be?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/28/19 3:30 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I hypothesized that the dullness I had experienced probably indicated the need for more diligent noting again, so I did a 40 minutes sitting with noting. It helped. When there was a pause between breaths I noted gone or sitting, dedpending on what stood out most. I noticed (and noted) an increased heartbeat when I noted gone, as if the disapperance of the breath scared me or something. When I had noted that a few times, that tendency faded away. I tried to follow sensations to the end, but if was difficult with the trafic noise. The sounds from different vehicles melted into each other. I tried to note subtle mind states. I didn’t always like what I found. Then I noted judgement. In some cases I had a hard time distinguishing between different senses. They all came as a package. That happened for instance when one of my cats lay down on my lap. How do I know if I have dropped down to being sloppy and lost sensory clarity or if I have started sensing formations? I don’t know which one it is. I do know, though, that it would be dishonest to make up a certain order of sensations in my noting when what I perceive is a package. Therefore I noted ”Zeke”, which is the name of the cat. Is that okay?

Sitting wasn’t quite as comfortable today. In the beginning I had to do some adjustments not only to the posture but also add another blanket to sit on, because the angle of the pelvis was wrong and that caused tensions that I thought might hurt my lower back. I also did some minor adjustments throughout the sitting to straighten my posture. I have pain today because I had a small icecream yesterday (there was craving, I admit it). I didn’t mind sitting, though. I could easily have continued, but I have an appointment now.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/28/19 3:00 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
What would your advice be?

I have to ask another question first -- how is "helpful" or "hurtful" determined in your practice?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/28/19 3:33 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think I have been gliding up and down between reobservation and low equanimity several times today. Is that possible? I have pms, which makes my Tourette’s worse and my mood lower (I have PMDD so I used to fall down in an abyss of apathy and worthlessness during pms, but that seems to have clearly diminished). I had to deal with a lot of stuff that tend to stress me out a lot today, most of which had to do with dealing with disability in this society as it is. I have done all the things that I needed to do today, but I felt that it was draining and that I had to struggle to regain mindfulness, and there were some mild sadness and disappointment/resignation. I realized that I had expected too much from equanimity. Of course it can’t take away all my struggles just like that, and I did know that it wouldn’t last anyway. I’m not exhausted though, like I would normally be from this amount of stress, so I guess that’s on the plus side.

Because of the setbacks today I felt that I needed some guidance. Therefore I did the gudied meditation in this video with Culadasa: https://youtu.be/zF6rkzTtvI4, after first listening to the instructions to get an overview. The session involves both wider and more narrow focus but always together with cultivation of peripheral awareness. The first few minutes of meditating were horrible. I felt as if things were crawling under my skin, and I had very annoying earbugs with songtexts that I could only partly remember, which added to the irritation. I had to adjust my posture several times. It felt so wrong. Then suddenly there was calmness and the earbugs went away and I could focus and stay aware. The posture did not trouble me anymore. It seemed almost automatic. Around the middle of the session the irritation came back for a while and then the calmness returned. There was energy throughout the whole 40 minutes long session. A few times I was distracted by thoughts but I noticed that and redirected my attention. There were very subtle and mild piti and sukkha during the calm parts.

Earlier this evening I went to restorative yoga. On the way there I had to walk fast, but I did my best to be mindful while walking. I noticed that the breath and the movements had a tendency to synchronize. The rhythm varied depending on how fast I went, but synchronization occurred pretty fast. It was as if all of the movements involved in walking and all the sensations involved with breathing formed a symphony and a whole.

At the restorative yoga all positions started out with irritation throughout my body but then transformed into calmness. I noticed that it was easier than before to wake up into full consciousness after the session.

I feel relatively calm and at ease now. I look forward to having the rest of the evening to myself and maybe do some reading and other stuff that makes me feel good.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/28/19 3:27 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
What would your advice be?

I have to ask another question first -- how is "helpful" or "hurtful" determined in your practice?

Helpful is what takes me closer to awakening. Hurtful is what takes me away from awakening. Since I’m not qualified to determine what brings me closer to or further away from awakening, I try to look for other signs, such as dullness or tensions or sliding back into a lower state (hurtful) or qualities that resembles descriptions of Vipassana jhana and higher states (helpful). Was that an okay answer?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/28/19 3:52 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Directly after the guided meditation mentioned above Culadas explains that fluctuating sound inside the ear. It has to do with fluctuating attention just as I thought. Good to know.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/28/19 9:09 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I think of the path as a helix. Every time you go back and forth from Eq to ReOb you're making progress at a higher level of the helix even if it seems like you're just going around in circles.

"Zeke" is a great note.

Can you look at and note the labeling of your experience as helpful or hurtful, back or forward? Can you note the mapping, questions about progress, uncertainty? Can you look at that space or viewpoint you've been holding as constant and identifying with, and see it from the outside?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 12:56 AM as a reply to J C.
That’s good to remember.

Thanks!

There’s probably room for development there.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 1:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Chris Marti:
What would your advice be?

I have to ask another question first -- how is "helpful" or "hurtful" determined in your practice?


Helpful is what takes me closer to awakening. Hurtful is what takes me away from awakening. Since I’m not qualified to determine what brings me closer to or further away from awakening, I try to look for other signs, such as dullness or tensions or sliding back into a lower state (hurtful) or qualities that resembles descriptions of Vipassana jhana and higher states (helpful). Was that an okay answer?
Welcome to meditation. In this land, you will see ALL the states again and again and again and again and again... In all kinds of configurations and mysterious conditions which are not under your control (hello anatta). Some of them will have dullness. Some of them will have tension. Some will not. I think it is a good idea to befriend all of those states. I think this is the road to sanity.

On the other hand, arbitrary labeling some of those states as 'lower' or 'hurtful' just because in the progress of insight they have a smaller number will not do you any good. This is why meditation teachers often don't introduce maps at all.

But the cat is out of the bag, since you are already familiar with the maps. Labelling will probably occur even if you decide to drop it. In this case, you probably already know what to do about it, right? Treat them like any other condition that occurs in the mind, which it really is. In other words, what J C said: note it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 3:21 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Thank you for taking your time to formulate this. I imagine this isn’t exactly the first time you and many others here have had to say this to a newbie, so I appreciate your patience. I am aware of this trap but it is always good to be reminded, because I’m obviously falling into it despite being aware of it. I probably need to be more mindful about it in passing. Yes, I realize that I need to label the labelling to be more conscious about it and thus more mindful about the choices that are made by the mental processing that is now going on at a less conscious level. These are reactive patterns that need to be disentangled.

Hah, I just had the thought ”Maybe this is what holds me back! If I just resolve this, then...”. Busted! Reactive pattern right there. Jeeze, I really need to work on this. It’s looping around itself.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 3:55 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Anyway, I realized this morning that it has become easier to be aware of other people around me and the subtle cues of their behavior in a way that enables me to be considerate and polite - offer them a seat, move out of their way, give them space, smile reassuringly if they are anxious about something, etc. I really appreciate that. I used to feel very bad about not being able to notice such cues, because I really want to be kind and thoughtful. I don’t want to burden or bother people, and I want a world where people can feel that they are okay if they happen to have a bad day or just can’t keep up with the speed (I know what it’s like to worry about that). Sometimes my attention deficit and my autistic propensity for sensory overload hampers my ability to be perceptive in this way and this makes me seem unkind and egocentric which I really don’t want to be (I notice identity clinging here; obviously the outcome of my behavior is more important than my identity, but I do have an attachment to certain aspects of identity, and that is probably counterproductive but also the best I can manage right now). I now realize that it is my outrospective (is that a word?) peripheral awareness that has been poor and that it is possible to do something about it. I’m in the midst of pms and still able to be more perceptive than I used to be in the morning rush. That says something about the potential of meditative practice.

Come to think of it, I haven’t lost my temper in the mornings when my son refuses to go go school for quite some time now. Not even during pms.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 11:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have continued listening to the youtube video series ”The magic of mindfulness” with Culadasa from Dharma Treasure Audio Archive, because I need to work with my attention and awareness both in order to be able to meditate more mindfully and to function more in line with my wishes in daily life. I find that this series gives me tools to work with, tools that I’m actually able to use at this point in my practice. Today I did the guided meditation in part 6. I was able to pay attention to the instructions throughout the session while still doing the exercises. I managed to pay attention to the particularly sensory input that I was supposed to pay attention to most of the time. I got tired and lost focus, but the instructions to relax the attention and work with the awareness in case I got tired were helpful. They came just in time for me to be able to hear them and make the assessment that I needed to follow them in order to retain mindfulness. I think that’s good because it enabled me to make habitual patterns that are constructive rather than follow the old muddy ruts that I wish to get away from in this infrastructure that constitutes my mind. Maybe I should measure the time in those parts of the session and use it to plan my own sessions. I also think I’ll use this guided meditation several times to really build those new pathways in the infrastructure.

(And now my soup is ready. Perfect timing. I had it cooking on a low temperature. It really is possible to make time for meditation as a householder as long as one plans the logistics.)

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 12:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thank you for taking your time to formulate this. I imagine this isn’t exactly the first time you and many others here have had to say this to a newbie, so I appreciate your patience. I am aware of this trap but it is always good to be reminded, because I’m obviously falling into it despite being aware of it. I probably need to be more mindful about it in passing. Yes, I realize that I need to label the labelling to be more conscious about it and thus more mindful about the choices that are made by the mental processing that is now going on at a less conscious level. These are reactive patterns that need to be disentangled.

Hah, I just had the thought ”Maybe this is what holds me back! If I just resolve this, then...”. Busted! Reactive pattern right there. Jeeze, I really need to work on this. It’s looping around itself.

Also note the impulse behind the thoughts "reactive pattern right there" and "I really need to work on this" ... perfect examples of suffering right there.

Nothing wrong with the mind trying to be free, trying to identify and solve problems - that's what the mind does. This is how the path goes.

And yes, it all loops around - suffering is the desire to be free from suffering, the desire to accept the present moment as it is without the need to change it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 1:07 PM as a reply to J C.
Right. True.

Now I have a craving for gluten free and milk free ginger breads, one of the few sweets I can still eat without getting brain fog, fatigue, muscle pain and stomach problems. I have the ingredients to make them and it’s really easy, and because of my complicated food intolerances I don’t really need to worry about bad eating habits. I eat ridiculously healthily most of the time. Still I have this idea in my head that giving in to this craving will keep me from awakening. Will it? Or is it okay to make cookies once in a while just because you feel like it?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 1:24 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Uh, screw it. If I am to make this, I’ll have to do it in a way that is consistent and possible to live up to long-term. I’m only human. That’s why I decided that the minimum time for meditation per day should be 20 minutes. That’s not much, but it’s possible to do even with a deadline or when I’m staying with a partner or have many chores to do. I have not missed it one single day since I started. If I decide that I can’t have the only sweets that my body accepts, I will most likely fail somewhere along the line.
L
When my cravings backfire I’ll note it. Maybe I’ll learn something. (Hm, that does sound a bit like making a confession in advance, doesn’t it? Maybe it doesn’t count then...)

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 1:22 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Right. True.

Now I have a craving for gluten free and milk free ginger breads, one of the few sweets I can still eat without getting brain fog, fatigue, muscle pain and stomach problems. I have the ingredients to make them and it’s really easy, and because of my complicated food intolerances I don’t really need to worry about bad eating habits. I eat ridiculously healthily most of the time. Still I have this idea in my head that giving in to this craving will keep me from awakening. Will it? Or is it okay to make cookies once in a while just because you feel like it?
1

Every retreat I've been to (4 different centers) serve sweets to the meditators. Obviously, retreat centers and meditation teachers of all sorts (including monks and nuns) think enjoying sweets is perfectly fine. Possibly interesting line of investigation: Where did you even get the idea that it's not?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 1:26 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Thanks!

Because it’s a craving, and now I’m allowing myself to give into one.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 4:50 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I sat for 20 minutes just to check in with the vibrations. The first couple of minutes or so I recognized the harsh vibrations from reobservation in my throat area. Then they dissipated, and there was calmness. Piti. More calmness. A widening. An altered sense of touch. A feeling of getting drawn into something. Then I kind of blanked out, lost mindfulness, realized that, came back, struggled back and forth with that, got lost in dreamlike stories I cannot recall. Piti and sukkha are there. Sati goes on vacation somewhere down the line. Why do I send it away? What are the mental processes that result in me going dull instead of taking note of what I sense? Am I blocking something out? Or have I exhausted all my concentration power? Both?

What brought on piti this time was the love for my cat who brushed his fur against me.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 5:06 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I have continued listening to the youtube video series ”The magic of mindfulness” with Culadasa from Dharma Treasure Audio Archive, because I need to work with my attention and awareness both in order to be able to meditate more mindfully and to function more in line with my wishes in daily life. I find that this series gives me tools to work with, tools that I’m actually able to use at this point in my practice. Today I did the guided meditation in part 6. I was able to pay attention to the instructions throughout the session while still doing the exercises. I managed to pay attention to the particularly sensory input that I was supposed to pay attention to most of the time. I got tired and lost focus, but the instructions to relax the attention and work with the awareness in case I got tired were helpful. They came just in time for me to be able to hear them and make the assessment that I needed to follow them in order to retain mindfulness. I think that’s good because it enabled me to make habitual patterns that are constructive rather than follow the old muddy ruts that I wish to get away from in this infrastructure that constitutes my mind. Maybe I should measure the time in those parts of the session and use it to plan my own sessions. I also think I’ll use this guided meditation several times to really build those new pathways in the infrastructure.

(And now my soup is ready. Perfect timing. I had it cooking on a low temperature. It really is possible to make time for meditation as a householder as long as one plans the logistics.)


One take away from this session was that it is so much easier to keep a body part in awareness while focusing attention somewhere else if I first have focused my attention on it for some time. It’s like it wakes up some pathways that were dormant. That is consistent with my previous experience of heightened awareness of the two finger tips I had been focusing on. I guess that could be one of the reasons that body scanning is used as a method in meditative practice: in order to increase peripheral awareness of the body and create new pathways for introspection (hmm, that was two, I guess, albeit overlapping).

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 5:23 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I sat for 20 minutes just to check in with the vibrations. The first couple of minutes or so I recognized the harsh vibrations from reobservation in my throat area. Then they dissipated, and there was calmness. Piti. More calmness. A widening. An altered sense of touch. A feeling of getting drawn into something. Then I kind of blanked out, lost mindfulness, realized that, came back, struggled back and forth with that, got lost in dreamlike stories I cannot recall. Piti and sukkha are there. Sati goes on vacation somewhere down the line. Why do I send it away? What are the mental processes that result in me going dull instead of taking note of what I sense? Am I blocking something out? Or have I exhausted all my concentration power? Both?

What brought on piti this time was the love for my cat who brushed his fur against me.


I am aware that checking in with the vibrations and attributing a stage to them might contribute to map obsession in the sense of striving too much, but I actually don’t think that’s the main reason that I do it. At least it’s definitely not the only reason. Recognizing where I am at makes me feel safe. It gives me an idea what challenge it is that I need to take on, what aspects of my self that needs to be dismantled at this point. It helps me to see over and over again that everything is temporary, and to observe patterns. Eventually I will probably have to let go of my need to feel safe, too, but for now it keeps me going.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 5:25 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I sat for 20 minutes just to check in with the vibrations. The first couple of minutes or so I recognized the harsh vibrations from reobservation in my throat area. Then they dissipated, and there was calmness. Piti. More calmness. A widening. An altered sense of touch. A feeling of getting drawn into something. Then I kind of blanked out, lost mindfulness, realized that, came back, struggled back and forth with that, got lost in dreamlike stories I cannot recall. Piti and sukkha are there. Sati goes on vacation somewhere down the line. Why do I send it away? What are the mental processes that result in me going dull instead of taking note of what I sense? Am I blocking something out? Or have I exhausted all my concentration power? Both?

What brought on piti this time was the love for my cat who brushed his fur against me.

You low on sleep by any chance?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/29/19 5:32 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thanks!

Because it’s a craving, and now I’m allowing myself to give into one.

So it's important to distinguish ordinary suffering from fundamental suffering.

Ordinary craving is just wanting something. Enlightened people still want cupcakes and still eat them.

It becomes fundamental suffering when there's a "split" - when the sensations of the cupcake and wanting it are not clearly seen, when the illusion of self is not seen through, when there's some struggle against the way things are right now.

So wanting a cupcake and then taking action to get the cupcake are not the problem. Our desires are normal and natural and it's important not to pathologize them. This path is about clearly perceiving sensations, not about losing any kind of preference or desire to have yummy things for yourself.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/30/19 12:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Heh, I just saw the visual effect, on the black screen, of going from total dullness to being alert when my second morning alarm went off. The darkness gradually collapsed into one single point in the middle of the screen. The dark area was circular throughout the process. It took maybe a second.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/30/19 12:47 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I sat for 20 minutes just to check in with the vibrations. The first couple of minutes or so I recognized the harsh vibrations from reobservation in my throat area. Then they dissipated, and there was calmness. Piti. More calmness. A widening. An altered sense of touch. A feeling of getting drawn into something. Then I kind of blanked out, lost mindfulness, realized that, came back, struggled back and forth with that, got lost in dreamlike stories I cannot recall. Piti and sukkha are there. Sati goes on vacation somewhere down the line. Why do I send it away? What are the mental processes that result in me going dull instead of taking note of what I sense? Am I blocking something out? Or have I exhausted all my concentration power? Both?

What brought on piti this time was the love for my cat who brushed his fur against me.

You low on sleep by any chance?


Uhm... yup... all the time. I didn’t even think of that obvious reason. Of course. I need to sleep more. I’m so used to not having enough sleep that I didn’t even consider it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/30/19 12:49 AM as a reply to J C.
J C:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Thanks!

Because it’s a craving, and now I’m allowing myself to give into one.

So it's important to distinguish ordinary suffering from fundamental suffering.

Ordinary craving is just wanting something. Enlightened people still want cupcakes and still eat them.

It becomes fundamental suffering when there's a "split" - when the sensations of the cupcake and wanting it are not clearly seen, when the illusion of self is not seen through, when there's some struggle against the way things are right now.

So wanting a cupcake and then taking action to get the cupcake are not the problem. Our desires are normal and natural and it's important not to pathologize them. This path is about clearly perceiving sensations, not about losing any kind of preference or desire to have yummy things for yourself.


Thank you for clarifying this! I needed that.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/30/19 1:29 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
One of the reasons that I apprecite the series ”The magic of mindfulness” so much is that there’s a woman in the group who asks all the questions that I would like to ask. She even covers those times when I didn’t quite hear what Culadasa said, and asks him to repeat. Bless her!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/30/19 3:58 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Off cushion reflections: I think my distribution of how consciousness is used diverges from what is common. Because of how my brain is wired due to being an autistic human being with ADHD and Tourette’s, I’m prone to hyperfocus from birth, but also to be easily distracted (probably because so much of my consciousness goes into one thing at a time, leaving little scope for keeping track of where my attention is going). Because of the difficulties that I have met in daily life, I have acquired a rather unusual (for a non-meditator) metacognitive reflection skill in certain respects whereas I’m obviously less trained than average in other respects. That’s one kind of peripheral awareness, with subordinate skill sets depending on areas. For me the extent to which I have cultivated these different kinds of metacognitive reflections (the subordinate skill sets) varies enormously. That’s why I’m usually able to avoid reactive patterns* in my romantic relationships even if we are dealing with stuff that would be very unsettling to most people, but I struggle to notice the exact poing where my mind is going dull or I’m about to forget where and when I am (which used to happen a lot before I started on ADHD medication).

When it comes to outrospective peripheral awareness I had an unusual level of awareness of bodily sensations to start with when I took up meditation (although it tended to vary), whereas my peripheral awareness of what was going on outside of my body was extremely poor, as was also my spatial awareness.

Realizing this helps me to understand what is happening in my mind and what needs work in order to improve my abilities both to meditate and function in daily life.

*) What helped to to develop this kind of metacognitive awareness was a series of meeting with a children’s psychologist when my son was four years old. Because he has inherited some of my ways of being neurodivergent, he struggled with some things very intensely, and I wanted to meet him in a more perceptive way. I struggled so hard with this that I ended up being inconsistent. I was the ”perfect” attentive parent in the beginning of the week and axhausted and reactive by the end of the week. I realized of course that this was definitely not beneficial for my son. I went to this psychologist because I wanted to learn how to be more perceptive throughout the week and because I wanted some feedback on what challenges and expectations were beneficial for my son and what was unreasonable, because I knew from my own experience that the expectations on an autistic child are usually not fair at all. Still, some challenges are required for all human beings if we are to grow. It turned out that the psychologist saw something else. I was already very perceptive towards my son, but not to my own needs, and I was exhausting myself. I needed to set boundaries that worked for me as well. If I did that I would have enough capacity to stay perceptive in a consistent way. This revolutionized my relationships. It took some hard work to learn to recognize the subtle cues of my body and the patterns of my mental processes to see what was coming up and take care of my needs in a timely fashion instead of suddenly being overwhelmed by emotions and automatic thoughts. It also took some hard work to learn how to communicate this to my son and to others in a constructive way, especially if the other person had their own reactive patterns that came into play. Furthermore, it took some patience and determination (and too often a lot of frustration) to wait for some people to accept my new boundaries. I sometimes forget how much work this was, and take this developed awareness for granted. The way many people get stuck in unnecessary conflicts continues to surprise me. I find myself wondering how on earth they did not see that one coming and dealt with it before it blew out of proportions. I need to remind myself that this kind of awareness takes a lot of work to build up, and not everyone has the resources to do so. The psychologist I was seeing was a blessing. I’m forever grateful to her.

And yet I fail to recognize the connection between staying up too late and getting dull and blanking out in meditative practice. That’s funny in a way. It’s great to have feedback from wise people.

Maybe there is a lot if identication going on with that particular set of mental processing that does not want to waste time on sleeping. That’s something to contemplate.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
1/30/19 4:27 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Off cushion reflections: I think my distribution of how consciousness is used diverges from what is common. Because of how my brain is wired due to being an autistic human being with ADHD and Tourette’s, I’m prone to hyperfocus from birth, but also to be easily distracted (probably because so much of my consciousness goes into one thing at a time, leaving little scope for keeping track of where my attention is going). Because of the difficulties that I have met in daily life, I have acquired a rather unusual (for a non-meditator) metacognitive reflection skill in certain respects whereas I’m obviously less trained than average in other respects. That’s one kind of peripheral awareness, with subordinate skill sets depending on areas. For me the extent to which I have cultivated these different kinds of metacognitive reflections (the subordinate skill sets) varies enormously. That’s why I’m usually able to avoid reactive patterns* in my romantic relationships even if we are dealing with stuff that would be very unsettling to most people, but I struggle to notice the exact poing where my mind is going dull or I’m about to forget where and when I am (which used to happen a lot before I started on ADHD medication).

When it comes to outrospective peripheral awareness I had an unusual level of awareness of bodily sensations to start with when I took up meditation (although it tended to vary), whereas my peripheral awareness of what was going on outside of my body was extremely poor, as was also my spatial awareness.


Considering this, there’s no wonder why I have spent so much time in the dukkha nanas. After all, that’s where peripheral awareness is cultivated. I probably really needed to work on a lot of this from scratch. And I did, in some respects. Those were valuable lessons.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/30/19 6:07 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today I’m fairly equanimous of having pms, and fairly mindful of the limitations of my mindfulness. I’m grateful for having realized that pms diminishes my capacity for peripheral awareness. That’s why I keep bumping into things and drop things and happen to throw away things while making gestures and things like that. Good to know. Then I can take some measures to be more careful, maybe slow things down a bit and take in the information that I need and be compassionate towards myself.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/30/19 11:50 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
Posted today on /r/streamentry https://www.reddit.com/r/streamentry/comments/agfqxk/practice_free_scholarships_for_oneonone/?st=jqzaeupl&sh=f70b7a67

Thanks again, Andromeda. I actually got one of those scholarships. I nearly missed it becuase my job’s server sorted out his email as junk mail, but he was kind enough to reach out for me on facebook.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/30/19 4:56 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I sat for 30 minutes, focusing widely on the breath. There was piti as soon as I closed my eyes, then calmness and an altered sense of touch. Sometimes there was a subtle sense of spaciosness, sometimes a subtle sense of shifting gravity. For maybe the first half there was a strong sense of being present and aware of shifting mind states in addition to being with the breath. Later I lost that meta-cognitive awareness several times, but I came back to it over and over again. I sat on a cushion on the mat and it was comfortable. Far away in the peripheral awareness there was some minor pain, but that seemed irrelevant. Somewhere in the session there was a vague sense of threedimensional space on the visual black screen.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/31/19 12:54 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Today I’m fairly equanimous of having pms, and fairly mindful of the limitations of my mindfulness. I’m grateful for having realized that pms diminishes my capacity for peripheral awareness. That’s why I keep bumping into things and drop things and happen to throw away things while making gestures and things like that. Good to know. Then I can take some measures to be more careful, maybe slow things down a bit and take in the information that I need and be compassionate towards myself.
There's a common misconception that more meditation experience equals more mindfulness equals more "being careful, being precise, being aware, acting generally flawless..."

But in my experiences this isn't the case. This is especially obvious on retreat. If I meditate at home, there are different conditions in the meditation, which somewhat carry over into the rest of the day. But on retreat, those conditions are magnified, and are much more obvious.
And the truth is, some of those conditions make you... clumsy.
On retreat, I've almost fallen down the stairs.
I have burned myself with hot water from the electric water boiler.
I have accidentally kicked the house cat.
I'm generally not a clumsy person, these things would probably never happen to me off retreat.
So the obvious idea is that meditating makes me into a super-mindful-human being who is immune against these things.
... Well, not going to happen.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/31/19 11:50 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
I’m not expecting meditation to take away my pms symptoms. I was just describing my personal experience of how mindfulness in daily life is helpful for me. When I manage to be more mindful of my own limitations, it makes life so much easier. That’s why I’m trying to take certain meditation techniques with me in daily life. Being more metacognitively aware of my limitations is something that I have been working on for a decade. It does help.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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1/31/19 2:46 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This evening I did the guided meditation by Culadasa in ”The magic of mindfullness, part 9”, 46-47 minutes long. It aims at learning the difference between peripheral awareness and shifting attention and at learning to check in on one’s mind state on a regular basis to avoid dullness. That suits my needs at this point.

There was immediate piti and sukkha as soon as I closed my eyes. First a bit too much (it made me shiver), then calmer.

It was good to have someone remind me to check in with my mental state, because I did go into a dreamlike state several times. At one point I was back at Malta with my son that time when all our money was stolen and a stranger helped us find our way to the police station and gave us some money and something to eat. I really thought I was there. I did remember to check in with my mind state inbetween the reminders too. I had to redirect my attention back to the breath here and now several times.

Towards the end of the session I noticed that eye movements seemed to shift the quality of piti or take it away completely. If I turned my gaze straight upwards between my eyebrows, the whole body piti transformed into vibrations of the chest. If I gazed upwards and to the side as if to remember something, it stopped immediately. Maybe there was a subtle thought there that I wasn’t aware of that stopped the calm concentration. It seems likely that it wasn’t the eye movements themselves that caused the piti to stop, but the mental processes that are accompanied by certain eye movements. I couldn’t replicate it in a reliable way by just moving the gaze, but when I tried to remember exactly where I had directed my eyes, that mental process seemed to do the trick every time. This little investigation caught my interest enough to prevent me from going dull again. Curiosity is the key, it seems. Of cource.

I was able to sit on a cushion on the mat the whole time without being bothered by legs falling asleep. I did straighten my position a few times, though.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/1/19 7:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes, focus on breath by the nose. Sat on cushion on mat.

Was curious about the red dot that I saw by the nose during yoga class when focusing on breath by the nose. Couldn’t see it in any condensed form now, was distracted by expectations. Did see very faint larger versions of it, though, I think.

Early in the session slight distraction from thoughts: planning how to describe experiences here on this forum. There seems to be a lot of identification stories going on with regard to meditative practice.

In the middle of the session (?) there was a shift in mind state into something more spacious and effortless. The breath was very subtle and pleasant.

Later in the session stuff came up from unconsciousness. Sometimes it was dreamlike and dissipated as soon as I was aware of it. At times I was able to observe the content that came up without forgetting about observing. Unfortunately I no longer remember what it was. Now I feel a bit annoyed by that. As I recall it, it wasn’t scary or shameful, so why can’t I remember it?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/2/19 3:07 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes, breath at the nose. Started out with a headache. Noise around me. Was a bit annoyed at first, had to redirect focus from sounds and emotional reactions and thoughts. There were purple swirls spiralling on the black screen. They formed a circle. Then the noise became easier to just let be there in the background. There was rapture and calm and I didn’t feel my headache anymore. At one point there was a small image in the middle of the black screen. It looked like something was written in ornate letters. It was too dark to read, so I used the bright dot to light it up. It made the letters more visible but I still couldn’t read it. I then thought ”Hey, there’s a bright dot here that I can use as a light!” That made both the bright dot and the text disappear. I remembered that I should focus on the breath sensations, so I did. There were more dreamlike stories that came up that I can’t recall now.

I really need to sleep more.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/3/19 6:15 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes, breath by the nose, noting in and out and distractions.

I tend to slide between concentration and dullness and I need to work more on recognizing the difference. There is a certain flavour to it when the breath changes quality. It is lighter and still stands out more clearly, and there is breath where the hands touch the knees as well. It is pleasant and calm, and somehow that makes me relax in a way that allows unconscious stuff to come to the surface, and that’s where I forget what I’m doing and sort of start to dream instead. Not daydreams. It’s more like sleep dreams, although I’m not asleep. I forget to observe.

...

Yesterday night before I went to sleep I investigated my headache and found that the preassure sensations in it behave just like other pressure sensations. When investigated closely the wavelike quality dissolves and instead there are sensations of pressure arising and passing rapidly on various points. The mind tries to make something continuous of it, resulting in the weird perception of a larva crawling under my skin. I knew that meant that it wasn’t continuous. Disentangled from mental constructions like that, the pain was very managable.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/4/19 6:49 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Off cushion reflections:

There seems to be a lot of sentimentality coming up out of ”my” control. These are processes that probably depend on circumstances that I’m not fully conscious about. I guess it’s true that it’s not my doing. Patterns live their own lives. Still there is identification going on, which is kind of weird. It is a bit hurtful because it makes me mourn times that are forever lost. Yet, they weren’t that great and I know that. I spent much time back then dreaming of another life whereas nowadays I’m often rather content with the present. It’s like I miss the dreams, but they were never real in the first place, so how can they even be lost? Some of them even came true. It doesn’t seem to matter. It’s like I miss those dreams as much as the ones that did not come true. There are probably parts of me that notice the dukkha that is part of it all and keeps resisting it, as if that would do any good. Resistence is what causes the suffering. Thus, resisting these processes is probably just as useless. I’ll have to observe them patiently, however irriational they are.

There is also a subtle satisfaction (?) arising from the fact that these patterns keep repeating themselves, because it makes me feel that nothing is ever truly lost. That satisfactions is however paired with sadness and nostalgia. There is a lot of clinging going on here. At this point I don’t know how to let go of it. I guess everything that has happened keeps affecting what follows it, so in that sense nothing is truly lost, but that’s something quite different from trying to hold on to something that is frozen.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/4/19 8:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes noting with breath sensations as default but openness to other sensations, perceptions etc.

I’m not sure exactly where the difference is between moving attention and awareness, and I decided to not bother with trying to decide that for now. Maybe I still need to let my attention move in order to develop that wider awareness, and if so, then let it be so.

A lot of restlessness in the beginning, and some thoughts. I noted it the way it turned out. Then rapture and calmness took turns. With the rapture came a red dot in the center of the black screen. Breathing was easy. There was a lightness.

Then a leg fell asleep. First it didn’t bother me, but then I decided to take care of it. I massaged the leg and kept on trying to focus on the breath. I realized that was probably not such a good idea. The leg bothered me more and more. Thus I decided to focus on the rubbing sensations instead. That worked out better. After a while I realized that I had synchronized by breath with the rubbing and that the breath, the rubbing and a rocking of the body were all integrated into one thing. Somewhat later I could sit still again.

Less spacing out this time. I did have sort of a dream, but I regained mindfulness soon enough to actually remember it this time. It was about the Buddha entering into something (a cave but perhaps also a state of mind or a realm) in the form of a bird, which by someone was seen sort of as a deception. Therefore that someone (which looked like a character in a film that I saw yesterday: a researcher with good aspirations but harmful behavior) chose to enter the same cave as they were instead. I don’t know how that played out.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/4/19 11:16 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I added another session, same thing, 20 minutes. In the very beginning I had to let one of my cats in, though, because it’s freezing cold outside and lots of snow. I regained focus quickly.

No dreams this time. There were some thoughts but I redirected my attention each time.

Most of the times when I heard something, the other senses were there immediately. There were no separate sensations presenting themselves, but larger portions of constructed reality coming through, if that makes any sense. I didn’t draw conclusions about my surroundings based on what I heard; it was just there, immediately and vividly, with all its qualities - sounds, images, density, smell, touch, texture, intentionality (my son and cats).

Where are the waves/vibrations? I can’t find them. Instead there is lightness, sort of. I feel less anchored. It’s weird. It’s more difficult to tune into. There is a vague sense of motion but nothing to hold on to. There is breath everywhere, but the breath is so light and unsolid.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/5/19 3:25 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes. The first 15 minutes were spent on adjusting the sitting position due to muscle inflammation that I really don’t want to make worse. When I finally got it right, there was a subtle widening and deepening. I could feel the breath in my thighs and hands where they touched. It was expanding and contracting. Thoughts about what it would be like to develop the kind of sensory clarity that would make the breath tangible in my middle toes. Redirected focus back to sensory experiences of the breath. Thoughts about what to write here; there is some identity project going on here with vanity and perhaps inferiority complex. Redirected focus back to sensory experiences. Towards the end there was lightness, almost as if I could levitate.

If I were to have the experience of levitating, it would probably be interrupted by thoughts of describing it. At least the vain observer mental processes keep me from spacing out. I guess I kind of got what I asked for. Now could I please get rid of the vanity part? Oh well, I can always learn to observe the observer more diligently. That is something to explore. I guess I should also observe the mental processes that want to get rid of other mental processes rather than just observe them. That’s resistance. Ironically, it is also vanity. I guess striving for the end of striving is as inevitable as it is paradoxical.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/5/19 3:36 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
That heightened awareness of peripheral body parts kicked in too. I’m still struggling with how to describe it. This time it included a small muscle in the shoulders. It is as if they are feeling themselves and share the information with my mind telepathically. Do they become self aware? I don’t know.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/5/19 4:04 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today during yoga class I temporarily sensed harsh vibrations in my throat and chest area just like I seem to do when in reobservation. Then they disappeared.

This evening I sat again for 20 minutes, noting. Within the first few minutes there was what I perceive as rapid cycling: intense rapture followed by vibrations that grew harsher and harsher and then suddenly disappeared into calmness. This happened three times in rapid succession. Then I sensed another spell of rapture developing, but this time I thought maybe I’m clinging to these strong sensations and decided to let it go. The rapture calmed down and gave way to a widening. There was calm. There were soft waves. There was more rapture, but in a calmer way. There was heightened peripheral awareness (or maybe covert attention, I don’t know). I checked to see if the center of my focus was blurred, but it wasn’t. No spacing out. Some distracting thoughts arose but I redirected my attention back to sensations.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/5/19 4:19 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I would say that impermanence is pretty obvious by now.

I also have the sense that these processes live their own life. They do what needs to be done. There is no self in control of it. There is a constructed and dependent self that has the subjectice experiences of having agency, but it chooses to do what it’s ready to do. The latter very much depends on the processes rather than the other way around.

Paradoxically these processes involve a lot of craving - craving for relief from craving. Dukkha is inevitable as part of the path. There is also clinging to certain experiences that are easier to demarcate than the subtler ones.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/6/19 6:21 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes noting with breath sensations as default.

The first few minutes were distracted by thoughts, but I redirected focus back to breath sensations. I adjusted my position several times because I’m prone to inflammation.

No spacing out. I did however notice that the breath slid back into peripheral awareness as thoughts came up. It was as if some mental processes thought that I didn't need to focus on the breath so they could occupy the focus instead. When I redirected attention back to the breath, I could feel the breath in several parts of the body and the mind screen brightened up. There was sort of a faintly glowing red cloud with flourescent purple swirls in it. It is easy to feel the breath where the hands touch the thighs, but now I could also feel the breath all over my arms and torso.

There was some rapture that when it calmed down for a moment had the quality of vibrations. Are piti and the vibrations the same phenomenon?

There was a sense of things being out of synch with each other, like streams or winds colliding.

In the end I used pain in lower back as focus as it drew attention. It seemed fo increase concentration a bit. The mind screen deepened and there was a lot of movement.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/6/19 5:23 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I sat for another 34 minutes, focusing widely on breath sensations but noting distractions. There were sensations of the breath in the nose, in the sinuses, on the lips, on the forehead, in the throat, chest, diafragm, belly, thighs, fingertips, hands, arms, shoulders, and feet. There were some distractions - external sounds (my son was coughing a lot), my cat lying down next to me, thoughts mostly in the beginning - but I redirected attention back to breath sensations. There were seven instances of subtle dullness that made me forget to observe for a very brief moment. When I noted them, the mind screen brightened. Unconscious content came up during several or maybe all of these instances. There isn’t one integrated self, but lots of mental processes going on. There is no I that controls what comes up. There is no continuity either. When other mental processes than those intending to meditate take charge of the attention, sometimes there is no recollection of meditation as the ongoing activity. When mental processes intending to meditate redirect focus back to breath sensations, the agenda that just a moment ago was in charge is now forgotten. The mind is in constant conflict with itself, especially when in a reactive mode. Feeling good about noticing subtle dullness, rather than judging, seemed to cultivate more such noticings. I cannot recall what I was thinking or sensing for those seconds or half seconds that I forgot to observe. Different mental processes keep secrets from each other, or maybe it is more accurate to say that the internal communication isn’t very effective in this rather obscure and poorly managed organization that constitutes my mind. There is nobody in charge that has knowledge of all processes involved, and there are probably many conflicting goals and agendas. Different fractions take the steering wheel at different points in time. No wonder we keep moving in circles.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/7/19 2:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
So... Today apparently there are strong chaotic vibrations off cushion. Still things to learn from the dukkha nanas then. Well, bring it on! Splinter off another layer!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/7/19 3:45 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sat for twenty minutes, noting, breath sensations as default but with openness to other sensations.

Some restlessness in the beginning.

Rapture, harsh vibrations and tranquility took turns over and over again. Investigated three characteristics.

Thought: why investigate suffering in things like breath? Felt ungrateful. It is what it is, and it keeps the body alive. Why complain?

There was a shift where density decreased. Spaciousness, lightness, wideness. It was somewhat brighter. Awareness of breath in different parts of the body was immediate.

It felt as if the breath lived its own life.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/7/19 4:10 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Sat for 30 minutes, noting.

Started out with rough harsh vibrations in throat area. They turned into rapture and then there was calmness and wideness and lightness.

At some point there was a demarcated shift in gravity. I felt much lighter.

Towards the end more and more dullness. Each time I realized that and came back, the mind screen brightened.

I spaced out and lost myself in thoughts and dreamlike associations. I know that I had some dreamlike ”insights” about meditation that were probably rubbish; I can’t remember them now, and I suspect that’s for the best. Clearly there are mental processes that don’t agree that meditation is a real activity but assess that the attention is free from them to take into possession.

Sitting was very comfortable.

...

Today I have had harsh vibrations going on but I moved the identification point into something very calm and peaceful that was observing. I let the vibrations be. I felt no need to identify with them or avoid them. Eventually they subsided.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/7/19 4:31 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh yeah, now I remember... being in the open calmness I felt that there was nothing to hold on to and I was wondering what to do with all this spaciousness. At that point I went into dullness and had dreamlike fantasies about making the world a better place. Yeah well... that would be nice. I doubt that I had any practical solutions, though. The dullness was probably a reaction to being in unfamiliar territory and freaking out about it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/8/19 10:44 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes, breath sensations as default, openness to whatever arose.

Piti was there from the beginning but soon calmed down.

There were some distracting thoughts with emotional charge. It was easy to see that the part of my mind that was occupied with these thoughts held on to ideas of a separate self which created suffering. That insight calmed down the thoughts,

Breath sensations were discernable on various places of the body including the ear lobes. There was a heightened sense of touch and a heightened awareness of the breath in my body.

More and more unconscious processing bubbled up and hijacked my attention. I brought back mindfulness several times. It is obvious that the mind consists of many different processes and that there is noone in charge and noone that has an overview.

Memories bubbled up from when I lived together with my ex-husband: looking out from our kitchen window. It was as if I was there. Some part of me objected that my current kitchen view doesn’t look like that, but it took som effort to remember what it really looks like. I had to shift not only the scenery but also the perspective because I now live on the bottom floor whereas back then I lived on the fourth floor. Remembering that made me come back to the here and now and regain mindfulness about doing meditation.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/8/19 5:14 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes, following instructions from my phone call with Michael Taft. I wanted to know what to do with the spaciousness I have come across lately. I was adviced to use it to investigate my sense of self. The sense of self was defined as emotional body sensations, mental images, and mental talk. Before I have mainly worked with physical body sensations and have experienced them dissolving into vibrations and disappear. Now I am to do the same thing with my sense of self. This was described with references to Shinzen Young’s sensory grid and what he calls ”focus in”. Since I’m very kinesthetic I needed to make some adjustments.

5 minutes touch out (physical sensations of touch):
It took me some time to settle in to focus only on touch sensations. I probably need to start with just sitting and kind of establishing where I am am and what distractions there are first. I was a bit distracted, but I redirected focus back to touch sensations. Sensations of sitting, breath, body parts touching each other, the texture of my clothes etc. Within this time frame I didn’t get to dissolve the sensations. They still appeared pretty solid.

5 minutes touch in (mental sensations of touch - thoughts that are kinesthetical, imagining touch; I include the chemical senses here too):
They appeared often. I do this quite a lot. For instance, my son has tics just like me and he cleared his throat quite a lot. I could feel that as if I was the one doing it. It was a bit confusing, though, because the sensation was located where my son was although my throat wasn’t there. When I investigated the sensation, it kind of flickered back and forth between my throat and my son. Sometimes there was also a wiff of my son’s smell accompanying the touch sensation. When I heard my cats there were often touch sensations as if I were petting them, but there were also touch sensations as if I were them. When Zeke was sharpening his claws on my chaisse lounge, I could feel my claws gripping the fabric and the resistance from the texture when I pulled then out. I could also feel the texture of the fabric as it would feel against my fingers, at the same time. Again, I had the distinct perception of this happening over there, not where my body was really located. It happened too quickly for me to be able to investigate it further. At this point, the ”touch out” sensations were no longer solid.

5 minutes feel (body sensations with an emotional component):
At this time there was mostly rest. Relaxation, neutral emotion, maybe some subtle sense of anxiety beneath the surface. Rootlessness, maybe. I had difficulties locating emotions in my body within this time span.

5 minutes image (mental images):
A lot of rest. When I heard sounds I could often imagine what the source of the sounds looked like. I didn’t see those images on any screen, but they were located geographically at the same places as in ”reality”. When I heard a car outside my window behind me, I saw the car driving by on the road outside of my patio behind the treas/bushes and fence that would block the view. Sometimes I saw zoomed in details, sometimes more zoomed out images. They were always located at their real geographical locations. Sometimes I also saw images of sounds. That kind of image tended to be more in front of me, I think. These images flashed by really quickly. They were abstract and matched the sound in their extension, sort of. I didn’t get very much detail. I didn’t have any conscious visual thoughts coming from ”inside” but I could sense some subconscious activity going on under the surface. (By this time, I had a heightened sense of touch and a sense of widening, but it was still rather dense.)

5 minutes talk (mental talk; I included mental ”vocalizations” of clearing throats as well):
This was a bit tricky because the talk wouldn’t come out when I focused on talk, but as soon as I let my garde down it sneaked out kind of behind my back. I repeated it in order to get a sense of its phenomenology. It was a mix of many different components. There was the physical sensations of forming the sounds in my mouth, vibrations in my throat and chest, sound, images of text, density and colour and texture of the words/letters/sounds (I’m synesthetic) and the kinesthetic sensations of making gestures and shifting body positions while talking. The talk commented on things, analyzed and searched for concepts that would suit an audience (often this forum, sometimes Michael Taft). Sometimes the talk seemed to come from ”over there”, sometimes from my body (throat, chest, posture). The latter involved more of a sense of self. The talk that came from somewhere else was still very much sensations from the throat and chest, but at the same time it came from another direction, which was a bit weird. These were the comments that just popped up out of the blue. The search for concepts and more elaborate analyses seemed to emanate from my body. When I investigated that kind of talk more closely things got kind of wobbly and swirling and pulsating, but I didn’t get any details.

5 minutes focus in (all the above except for touch out):
This is actually easier for me than trying to separate the sense gates, because different senses tend to come together for me. When I hear a sound during meditation I don’t really perceive it as a sound. I perceive a whole bunch of impressions immediately. Kinesthetics, images and often also smells are there immediately. In order to perceive it as a sound I have to use logic. I know that it must be sound because my eyes are closed and my physical body is not over there. I have learned to apply that kind of logic very rapidly, but it’s still logic.

At this point of the session emotional body sensations were much more accessible. Investigating mental talk drew me into spaciousness and that made pressure sensations arise around my heart (fear) and there was a sense of being drawn out (?) through solar plexus (nausea). Anxiety arose with prickly sensations all over my body and harsh vibrations in the throat, but as I focused on them they transformed into piti and rapture throughout my body accompanied by flourescent swirls shining very brightly.

...

I’ll work on this to refine my sensory clarity and investigate more diligently. I’ll try out different variations.

This was fun!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/8/19 5:39 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
A thought: I really enjoy having things transform into vibrations. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been really interested in the breath. The breath is vibratory from the beginning. These vibrations do shift character, but that’s much more subtle than solid body parts dissolving into waves and being sucked out from one’s own solar plexus. Maybe later on when my sensory clarity has increased I will be able to find the same fascination for the breath as well. 

I know that I approach this kind of backwards, but that’s how I’m wired.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/9/19 5:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I used the same set up as last time. Wow, this practice is definitely not boring.

Touch out:
I used breath sensations and sitting sensations to anchor myself. At this point the touch sensations were stable.

Touch in:
This immediately feels less limited. The world is alive, vivid and embodied and full of density, textures, smells, motions. I’m there, in the world, not only in my body. This also makes the physical touch sensations shift character. They are more alive and breathing.

Feel:
There were some subtle anxious expectation and a somewhat more tangible confusion. I located the confusion to my forehead and moved into it. It seemed that the center of it was the point between my eye brows, the third eye, but it had sort of a cloud around it. It intensified and drew me into space and became pulsating flourescent light and intense rapture. A psychedelic light show drew my attention (yeah... and I just wrote in another thread that I was at a stage where these kinds of phenomena were less intense...). I was trying not to focus on the visual, but then the bell rang and it was time for the visual.

Image:
Now that I was allowed to focus on the visual, there was mostly visual rest. There was some subtle movement and I could sort of feel that there were images there under the surface but they didn’t come up. The outer world made some noices that brought with them hasty faint images but they didn’t really catch my attention. They were in my peripheral awareness. There was a sound that kept drawing my attention, like a tick-tocking that maybe was my heartbeat, but if so, it was fast and didn’t sound like a heartbeat. It sounded kind of hollow. I noticed that it was synchronized with the movement of visual swirls.

Talk:
I had to wait for a little while for the talk to come up. It seemed to have different sources. Some came from my solar plexus. It felt like it was about how I felt and it hade a lot of ”me” to it. More polished analytical comments came from the throat area. It felt more brainy and more invested in appearances. Some more intuitive talk, mostly questions, came frome outside my head, slightly above, in front of and sort of from the right. The talk from solar plexus was the most embodies, but they were all embodied. The talk from outside of my body was most sound-like, but they all came with sounds. It’s difficult for me to get close enough to the sound to describe it phenomenologically. The talk from the throat was somehow connected to the harsh vibrations that I sometimes feel there, I think, but I’m not sure. Noticing this about the talk made things less dense and more open. It felt as if I spread out and became less dense, less solid.

Focus in:
Things got groovy here. I was very present there and then to observe, but efterwards it’s hard to remember the details, especially since I have been writing for a while now. I remember investigating something in the third eye region. Maybe it was a feeling? Yeah. It had to do with the spaciousness. There was an intense ride. Anxiety that felt like I was going to have a seizure, one of those psychogenic nonepileptic seizures that I have had - undiagnosed but I know what they are, and I also know that they are a distorted form of piti. I did not resist it, but let it come and be. It dissolved into intense rapture and brightly shining flourescent swirls. The rapture transformed into harsh vibrations in the chest and then setteled down into calm spaciousness. This happened over again, I think. Maybe the vibrations came back then? Around my heart? And maybe I moved into them and investigated them? There was intense rapture again. When the bell rang there were still sensations to disentangle so I continued for a while so that I could open my eyes in a more calm moment. I remember vaguely that at some point there was a pressure in the third eye region as if something wanted out. I also remember vaguely that maybe some of the flourescent swirls were something that had come out, and that I tried to feel myself in it. I don’t remember if I succeeded, but I remember not being sure about where ”I” was.

No, I don’t think this is A&P over again, although I know it looks like it. It doesn’t feel the same. I’m on the threshold between reobservation and low equanimity. This is how it manifests to me.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 10:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did a twenty minutes sitting focusing solely on mental talk. It feels very tentative, I don’t know how to do this really. It was difficult to explore any mental talk more thoroughly. It seemed to come from different locations. It started with a voice singing ”feeling groovy”. It seemed to come from the right side of the brain. It was my own voice. It had an embodied feeling to it as well, as if it radiated out to the body. I could easily imagine the vibrations it would make if I were to sing it. The voice describing that, on the other hand, seemed to emanate from the left side of the brain. It was less embodied. It was possible to move into it, though, and sort of perceive things from that point. It didn’t really have much to say, though, which it said over and over again in different wordings (and empty gestures?) but with not that much of variation. Another voice was amused by that. ”That one didn’t have much to say”, it said sardonically. If it had had eye brows it would have raised one of them. It was located in the heart area. Someone said that was one judgemental bastard for a heart, which is ironical, but I couldn’t locate it. As it seemed that some voices were located at so called chakras (it could be scripted), I tried to listen to one of the lower chakras, but all I could hear was ”fuck”, so I backed away. They didn’t seem very talkative down there anyway. At one point the heart voice said ”Fuck!” too, or maybe it was the solar plexus. I don’t know. The heart was singing ”Feeling groovy” too, but it felt more like a statement this time. I tried to play some other tune to see from where it would come. Then a tune that my mum used to sing while cleaning the house came up. It’s a song about an old street where people used to live happily but the street is long gone and all the laughs are now silent. It came from the right side of the brain. It was my voice.

Visually there were swirls moving about, and it felt kind of... thin-aired. Oh yeah, thin-aired was the feeling (hm...) that I found at the third eye towards the end of the last session.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 8:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I know that content is irrelevant, but is it okay to be amused by the attitudes of these voices and the travesty-like quality of the session? I can’t help but chuckling.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 8:55 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I know that content is irrelevant, but is it okay to be amused by the attitudes of these voices and the travesty-like quality of the session? I can’t help but chuckling.
No. Being amused is verboten. Meditation is serious business.emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 9:08 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
When I tried to examine the descriptive voice more closely, at first I couldn’t. Then I realized that I was the descriptive voice at that point, trying to look at itself from the outside. Of course that wouldn’t work. I had to study it from the inside to make it talk again.

Hm, maybe this is the wrong track. It seems to be more imaginal work than insight work? But how does one go about to examine mental talk phenomenologically? A comment is so short. I’m not that fast. It’s not like I can record it and listen to it over and over and transcribe it in detail as I do with talk in my work. Not that I’m very good at descriping tone quality and prosody anyway. I have colleagues who are more qualified for that sort of thing.

The more I repeated a sequence of talk to myself, the more hollow and empty it seemed, and the more absurd it seemed to assign it a self. Is that phenomenological? I’m not sure how much of that is a sensate experience and how much is an evaluation. It could be a little bit of both. Maybe I could investigate that next time.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 9:14 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It seems like the interaction between processes is more central right now than detailed analysis at the narrow end anyway.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 9:39 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Raving Rhubarb:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I know that content is irrelevant, but is it okay to be amused by the attitudes of these voices and the travesty-like quality of the session? I can’t help but chuckling.
No. Being amused is verboten. Meditation is serious business.emoticon


emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 10:10 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
While waiting for my food to cook I did another twenty minutes, this time focusing broadly on all the categories (touch out, touch in, feel, image, talk). The clarity wasn’t great but I was able to zoom in on things to make them dissolve, mostly emotional body sensations. I was making some adjustments to my posture because I was feeling uncomfortable but stopped myself to instead investigate the feeling of being uncomfortable which was located in my back. The sensations were not that painful at all, it turned out. The feeling disappeared when I focused on it. I’m not sure if it did because of a murky center or if it actually dissolved. The pain and the emotion seemed to be gone afterwards. There was lightheadedness in my forehead. When I focused on it I seemed to be drawn backwards faster and faster but then it slowed down and sort of collided with a much slower rythm. Now there were really slow waves, slower than a second. They seemed to alternate between my left and right side. I felt it in my hands that touched my thighs. The rythm speeded up a bit to the familiar fear frequency but softer. I felt the sensations of the same kind of fear that freaked me out before, but much milder. There was a descriptive comment from the left side of the brain. It sounded detached. The meta-comment ”detached” came from somewhere in the upper middle of my body. I focused on the fear feeling to investigate it and thought ”Bring it on!” but there wasn’t much to it. I did the same thing with a feeling of nausea that came up. It dissolved too. Unfortunately I don’t remember any details. All these emotions were very subtle and their manifestations were vague.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 10:18 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I remember noticing a tendency to shut down the mental talk instead of investigating it, out of habit. I had to stop myself. If I remember correctly, letting the mental talk be instead of resisting it caused the space around me to widen.

I remember that some mental talk at one point was compulsory (due to my Tourette). There was a describing comment or maybe noting that had some sounds in it that stuck because of the sensations pronounciating it would make (it tends to trigger my tics). My Tourette is very kinesthetic.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 10:29 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh, and ”Feeling groovy” turned up again. I think I was both lead vocal and back vocal and also mimicking instruments and rhythms with my voice. All of this in the background. Maybe the original voices were there too? I don’t know. I only know two words of the lyrics, so it was a bit repetitive... It was the refrain over and over again, as a soundtrack, sort of.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 10:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I should probably be careful with my wording. Talking about mental talk as different voices could perhaps solidify ideas of permanent personas. That’s not what it is. It’s just talk, arising and passing away.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 10:55 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oh, and ”Feeling groovy” turned up again. I think I was both lead vocal and back vocal and also mimicking instruments and rhythms with my voice. All of this in the background. Maybe the original voices were there too? I don’t know. I only know two words of the lyrics, so it was a bit repetitive... It was the refrain over and over again, as a soundtrack, sort of.



HAHAHAHAHAHA! I had to listen to that tune to see what it’s about since it’s stuck to my brain since yesterday when I suddenly felt the need to use the word ”groovy”. That tune is like a caricature of equanimity. The subconscious mental processes of this mind have a bad sense of humor.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/9/19 5:36 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes late at night, close to midnight

Touch out:
Heightened sense of touch instantly. Felt subtle vibrations in face with clarity. Easier to breath. Widening of passages from nostrils. Knees were breathing.

Touch in:
This one is a favourite. This focus makes the world more vivid and alive. It comes very naturally when I allow this sense gate to be open, although the touch sensations do not come alone. They come with a package of sensations. Images come easier this way, piggybacking on the kinesthetic sensations. It’s kind of a relief to open this gate. It’s strange, though... I get kinesthetic sensations that I shouldn’t be able to have, such as the sensations between the car wheels and the ground, as if I knew what that felt like. I have sensations for texture and density that differ from how the actual surfaces feel normally. I don’t even know if texture and density are the right words. It’s like I feel how things occupy space or something. Emotional body sensations arose here before the bell rang. My heart was racing. Parts of me were scared. I kept redirecting my attention to mental touch sensations. There were things going on in my sinuses and in my forehead. Don’t remember the details. So many things happen; maybe I should do voice recordings, and maybe I should try letting the process unfold itself and shift focus when needed instead of waiting for the bell to ring.

Feel:
Now that it was time to focus on emotional body sensations, they were less active than before. Instead I saw the mind screen kind of crackle into a net of fine lines. There was an intensity, though, under the surface. I felt activation in the visual field. Hard to explain.

Image:
Here I felt auditory activation instead. Apparently the processes developed faster than I had planned. The processes live their own lives. They seem to know the drill, though, and the order.

Talk:
There was both visual and auditory activation but the content and forms didn’t come up to the surface. There was an intense flickering of attention interfering and distorting.

Focus in:
I vaguely remember that something actually was dissolved into vibrations but I don’t remember what. A lot of dreamlike content came up and hijacked my attention.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/10/19 7:37 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I sat for about 90 minutes and was mindful all the time. I tried to record it (was talking) but only 28-29 minutes were recorded. Haven’t listened to it. I’m cold now. One knee hurts just a little bit but my body is fine. I focused on body sensations, mental kinesthetics, feelings, mental images and mental talk, or that was the idea, but since I talked out loud I didn’t bother with focusing on mental talk.

There were a lot of sensations of pressure and vacuum. Pressure in the forehead behind the third eye, vaccum as if something ws being sucked out of there, a sucking feeling in solar plexus (nausea). A lot of piti, often accompanied by a red dot (once or twice a blue dot) that then was replaced by a red cloud that dissolved. Sometimes I felt lightness, sometimes I felt really heavy (head, arms, whole body). Coldness, piti that turned into vibrations. Sometimes the piti was overwhelming. It often followed fear with heartbeating. Sometimes the sensory clarity was very strong. I could feal my heart expand and contract, and I felt that one part of it was expanding while another was contracting. The fear was accompanied by rapidly flicking flourescent swirls. There was visual motion, sometimes rotating, sometimes layers rotating, sometimes zooming in, sometimes zooming out. A lot of visual figure-ground shifts. There were gravity shifts and changes of density in space. I felt awareness of cars moving outside, as if I was the car. That led to a small seizure turning into overwhelming piti that then calmed down. For a while I vaguely saw an eye, I think, but I may have just imagined it. I remember feeling spread out. There were lots of fear and nausea and anxiety that turned into piti/vibrations and was followed by calm spaciousness. Instances of vertigo.

Everything was in constant flux.

Afterwards it took a while for the floor to feel solid again. After I had opened my eyes, I saw a faint bright un-dense dot in front of me that took a while to disappear.

This was weird. Not very pleasant. I guess it’s something that needs to be worked through.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/10/19 1:08 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I remember that for a while there were really slow waves alternating between left side and right side of my body.

EDIT: Oh yeah, I remember that for a while everything was very very bright, all around me.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/10/19 12:39 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did another sitting, 30 minutes this time, without talking. Now I was too relaxed, dull. I spaced out several times. In the end it felt as if my whole body tilted, but it didn’t.

Maybe I have run out of dopamine or something.

At least my body seems to have gotten used to sitting on a cushion on the mat.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 7:06 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Huh, I just noticed a weird thing that the mind does with sensations. I was watching one of Daniel’s vimeos, the one where he talks about Vipassana and the sense doors and three characteristics, and I was wearing headphones. Then I went away from the the table where my ipad was located, so I couldn’t watch the video of Daniel speaking, but I was still listening. That’s where the sound moved into the headphones, as if it wasn’t there before. The sound shifted its quality in a very tangible way, and I realized that when I was watching Daniel speak on the video, I didn’t hear him from my headphones like that. He wasn’t separated into image and sound from different sources, but was integrated (haha). What the h is that? Which one of these modes of perceptions is the mind trick? Or are they both? And how does it work? Now I can’t seem to get back that fully integrated version, which is annoying, because it made the experience so much more vivid.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 9:15 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes, 5 minutes per subheading.

Touch out (physical sensations):
Breath sensations throughout my body, much of it anyway. Not in specific toes or internal organs. Focusing like this made a faint red dot appear on a regular basis and then turn into a red cloud that faded away, over and over again.

Touch in (kinesthetic thoughts or whatever it is; maybe sometimes direct perception of formations):
It took a while to get there, but after a while I could tune into more and more kinesthetic experiences of things that I could realistically only perceive as sounds. In the beginning it was the cool air outside as I heard sounds from outside. Then the birds chirping had this weird quality to them where I heard every sound twice because the mental perception lagged behind of what was already in awareness. I felt weird tensions in my head when these double noticings bounced around. The first one in all these pairs had more of a kinesthetic quality to it and some kind of visual imprint as well. It was a more immediate impression and not distinguishable as merely a sound. Then the impressions tended to have more density and texture to them and to come together as a package of more than one sense.

Feel (emotional body sensations):
I tried to notice what I felt, but that mostly resulted in weird tensions moving around. When I tried to investigate the tension, the tension moved somewhere else. For a while if felt like my heart was trying to paddle its way upstreams, if that makes any sense. I came to think of what you people so often talk about, that there is no doer and so on, and I thought maybe it’s easier to just sort zoom in to any feelings where they are without trying to watch them. The tension decreased. Then these horrible drilling noices from another apartment started again (they are renovating). I usually think of them as horrible, so I though great, now a tangible feeling will arise. I felt it in my head, fiercely vibrating. I thought it would by irritation and despair, but it was only this loud sound and intense vibrations that turned into piti. I had lots of piti coming from that noice which I normally hate, because it was so intense and so... not me. In the hearing was only hearing, and that actually made the suffering temporarily go away. Weird.

Image (mental images):
I tried to focus on whatever mental images would arise, and as before, this resulted in weird tensions. Just before the last subsession ended there had been some visual aspect integrated in the hearing so I tried to tune into that, but it wasn’t accessible like that, separate. Instead I tuned into visual aspects of sounds in the present. It was somewhat easier, as none of the sounds are pure sounds anyway. Then after a while I noticed that my surroundings were there kind of by themselves. No need to look for images in thoughts about something alse than the present. There is a sense of the room that is around me and it has clear visual components regardless of whether or not I physically look at it.

I’m not sure I’m doing this right. I was supposed to see the images dissolve, but there are no images there to dissolve. My mind screen is dark with swirls on it just like it always is while there is also a simultaneous knowing of what is around me that has visual components but they cannot be watched. What am I supposed to do with this? I’m not a very visual person. I know what things look like but I don’t see them before me. I just know that they are there, where they are, and how they look being there. Wouldn’t it be more logical to just dissolve this ”I” who cannot even see the things because they are too far away?

Talk (mental talk):
It’s hard to have mental talk come up while I try to investigate it. A few formulations came up, though, and they seemed to come from about the same different directions that I mentioned before. The noting seemed to come from a position behind my throat or something like that. I have a hard time investigating the sound quality. It’s not that clear. I think that mental talk often comes up as a mix of kinesthetic sensations of vocalizing and making gestures, sound, and written text. I don’t see the text being written. It’s all at once but I think that I only focus on one keyword or something like that, so the rest of the text might as well be gibberish as it normally is in my dreams, if readable at all. It doesn’t transform into vibrations (apart from the vibrations they are already making in my throat and chest because that’s what sounds do) and dissolve. It’s just there and then it’s not. These discursive thoughts are so fast. How does one go about to investigate them phenomenologically? Please do tell!

Focus in (all of the above except for physical sensations that are not vibratory):
There was mostly a lot of pity during this subsession. Phenomena appeared in my consciousness not as separate sense impressions but as packages. It was a relief to just let them do that. It’s hard to focus on one sense at a time. It’s a bit like reading one letter at a time instead of just perceiving the whole word or phrase as it is there immediately.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 9:52 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I vaguely remember reacting with increased heart beat to something in this session, but I don’t remember what it was. It probably had something to do with the no self aspect, as it usually has.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 11:01 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
20 minutes focusing on watching the watcher.

Started with a sense of things flickering. It seemed like the visual field was flickering although it didn’t really look like it. Maybe it was attention moving in and out from the visual field.

I was trying to investigate feelings. There was a tension around my heart and that feeling of things being out of synch and as if the heart was trying to paddel upstreams.

There was an annoying sound outside, but as I was about to zoom in on the bodily sensations of it, the sound was gone. I found myself being annoyed that the cause for being annoyed was gone. I realized the irony in that, but as soon as I did, the feeling was gone. After that, the sound came back many times, but it wasn’t annoying anymore.

I talked out loud because I was trying to record this, but the recording failed. Anyway, sometimes discursive thoughts came up that I did not say out loud. For instance there were fragments of sentences, meaningless on their own. They manifested as a mix of kinesthetic sensations of vocalizing, inages of text, and sound. The written word ”maybe” slided down the bottom of an imaginary circle, and it had qualities of sound an kinesthetic sensations of vocalizing embedded in it. It’s strange how I can see that and yet not see that. I’m very aware of seeing the back of my eyelids and the visual swirls going on there. Those I actually see. Other visual aspects are not visual to the same extent. Maybe the ”self” is fixated on trying to see things with its actual eyes?

When my cat sneezed there were discursive thoughts regarding how I should maybe call the veterinary and start him on that medication again. These thoughts were in English, oddly enough. It seems that this forum and other English-speaking feedback channels are the audience for my thoughts during meditation even though they concern mundane matters that I usually speak about in Swedish. The ”watcher” seems to be concerned about audiences.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 11:14 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
At some point I noticed that there was music somewhere in the back of my mind. I tried to listen to it but it was like when your neighbors play music at such a low volume that you can only hear some rhythm and that it is music but not distinguish any melody. It was preconscious, I guess. Then I recognized that it was ”Feeling groovy” again, and now I could hear it, but soon it was mixed with the instrumental version of the signature music the the Swedish children’s movie ”Dunderklumpen” that was popular when I was a child.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 2:00 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The wording ”watching the watcher” makes me cringe. Of course that’s not possible. As soon as the ”I” is being watched by the ”I”, the watched ”I” is no longer an ”I”, but a ”me”. The part that is watching cannot be watched by itself because of the perspective and because of the slight delay in time. I feel so bad about using that wording that I will not do it again. Ugh. There are definitely a lot of identification going on with logical mental processes in this mind. By the way, the cringing was located in many different muscles of my body. I was lying in a restorative yoga position but the body acativated muscles that it would need to get up and argue for this case.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 4:05 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m having weird dreams about doing things (and people... uhm...) I would never normally do. I think parts of my unconscious have started to accept the idea of deconstructing my sense of self. At least I hope that’s what they are doing.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 5:11 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
When my cat sneezed there were discursive thoughts regarding how I should maybe call the veterinary and start him on that medication again. These thoughts were in English, oddly enough. It seems that this forum and other English-speaking feedback channels are the audience for my thoughts during meditation even though they concern mundane matters that I usually speak about in Swedish. The ”watcher” seems to be concerned about audiences.
Funny, this happened to me on my 2nd retreat. I was only allowed to talk to the teacher, who spoke english only. So the thoughts which appeared in meditation turned english, too.

I’m having weird dreams about doing people I would never normally do. I think parts of my unconscious have started to accept the idea of deconstructing my sense of self.
If it wasn't late at night, reading this would have made me laugh out loud. What an epic combination of observation and conclusion emoticon
But, more serious: do more meditation, and more and more weird things will occur in your mind, including (and maybe especially) in your dreams. I remember one instance where I was on retreat and I would report those dreams to the teacher and he could hardly stop laughing.
So, what is a good approach to these things? Some traditions recommend ignoring it all to avoid the danger of getting distracted. Some people obsess over these things and get distracted. Maybe some people get obsessed with the bad stuff and start to blame themselves for being bad. That would probably not be the best approach.
My personal approach is to collect the coolest things to have nice stories to tell, and otherwise keeping a "I don't have clue what this means but probably nothing at all"-attitude.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/11/19 5:36 PM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
Good to know I’m not the only one.

Hehe, I thought it would be a waste not to share it although it’s a bit embarrassing. Maybe you would also appreciate the humor in the fact that one of them was wearing a pink fury onepiece with ears and a tail (possibly the Pink Panther) to a formal dinner and nobody seemed to react. He was supposed to be some kind of professor or guru or something, and his manners were horrible.

Yeah, I think it’s good to know that the emptiness seems to at least have some sense of humor. It makes it less frightening.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/12/19 2:52 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I’m having weird dreams about doing things (and people... uhm...) I would never normally do. I think parts of my unconscious have started to accept the idea of deconstructing my sense of self. At least I hope that’s what they are doing.
On second thought, I think it's the other way round.
Actually, the mind keeps changing all the time even in non-meditators, but the change is so slow (at least in adults) that we fail to notice. (Reading old diary entries makes the change obvious though.) Then it is easier to imagine a fixed sense of self.
Then we start to meditate and all kinds of things happen in the mind. We recall stuff we thought we had forgotten, we face inner demons we'd rather not, we find love and gratitude and tenderness and peace we didn't think we'd be capable of, we experience mysterious visions, we discover more and more facets of suffering. For better or for worse, we are forced to accept that our minds are capable (and willing) of more things than we expected.

This process can give us hope, since we glimpse what our minds can be capable of. It can terrify us because we glimpse what our minds can be capable of. Either way, it becomes hard to hold on to our fixed notions of what we thought we were.

I guess this is not the same as insight into anatta on a really detailed level, and it's not the same as seeing the sense of self being subject to the 3Cs.
It's on a more intellectual level, and I think it's rather unavoidable.
A side effect is that suddenly, judging other people seems rather pointless, at least if they're meditators, too.
They may be another person tomorrow, so why bother emoticon

Maybe you would also appreciate the humor in the fact that one of them was wearing a pink fury onepiece with ears and a tail (possibly the Pink Panther) to a formal dinner and nobody seemed to react. He was supposed to be some kind of professor or guru or something, and his manners were horrible.
Sounds cool. On reflection, I can't recall similar stories. I guess this means I have more meditation to do emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/12/19 8:17 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Meditated for 15 minutes at my desk at work, focusing in.

There was some minor agitation due to work-related performance anxiety (which is why I took a break to meditate). I tried to investigate the body sensations that it involved. They were subtle. There was a subjective experience of pressure around my heart and increased awareness of heart beats, and there was activation of muscles as of I was ready to take some action (fight or flight?). Apart from that I couldn’t really find much. The anxiety seemed to be more of a narrative than actual physical sensations. There was no pain. The heart beats seemed normal per se; it was just the awareness of them that had increased. After this, my body relaxed. I felt a movement where my hands touched my thighs and where my feet touched the floor. I know from before that this ”movement” turns into binary and discontinuous arisings and passings of pressure sensations at one point at a time when studied closely, but physical sensations were not the focus of my investigation right now. Instead I noticed that my mind-state had reached a certain level of concentration and clarity and that peripheral awareness was in place. I turned that inward.

I think I may have some kind of un-intentional embryo of a nimitta thing going on in my practice. It’s just something that I have noticed. When a certain flavor of concentration sets in, a colored spot appears. Color and shape varies. Most of the time it’s not very condensed. Anyway, I have started to notice some patterns. Therefore, when the spot appeared, it generated mental talk.

Mental talk usually starts out in my conscious awareness as semi-discursive. There’s an idea and there are sort of key concepts that have texture, color and density to them but the rest is fluff.* Then the thought appears again, with more actual words, and behaves as if it was new. There is an annoying bouncing going on there. It’s like one of those really annoying guys who rephrases what you just said and gets all the credit for it, and he does this all the time. Once I noticed this, the bouncing around was intense and frustrating. I noticed that this also happened with the noice from a solar cell driven cute plastic bear that wiggles its body on my book shelf (or did... I took it away from the light now, because ugh...). Just bouncing, bouncing, bouncing back and forth in my head (or perhaps rather between the actual occurance and a location in my head, but it felt like it was bouncing between the walls of my skull). I think the eye muscles were maybe involved in the conceptualizing, which may have added to the sensations of bouncing.

The bouncing reminded of when you are talking on the phone to someone who stands next to you and you notice that there is a constant delay, like an echo. I tried to make the delay go away by means of increasing the attention to minimize the time between the first knowing and the conceptual knowing. It was possible to decrease the delay to a minimum, but the bouncing remained. The bouncing was spatial.

A somewhat more condensed red dot appeared here, and then that familiar flickering sound in my right ear that feels like rapidly changing pressure. That sound is like an auditory version of the bouncing.

The bouncing in my mind was exhausting, so after a while I tried to just let impressions arise on their own. For a moment there was a richness of impressions coming from outside my window without effort. I was a bit surprised as to how vivid they were.

Then the session came to its end.

...

*) I have tried to investigate this before, how my thoughts appear, without thinking of it as meditation. I work with words and concepts - I’m a researcher and I write papers based on empirical research. Yet I have found that my ideas about what to focus on are not originally verbal. They are not visual either, but they sort of have a texture and density and an extension in space. I think maybe I have been aware of my thoughts at a preconscious level. I knew that they were there but I could not tease out what they were yet. I just knew that they were coming. When these kinds of complex thoughts are born, the labor is usually protracted, so to speak, so there is plenty of opportunity to notice them at this stage.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/12/19 8:36 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
To Rhaving Rhubarb:

Yeah, true, the mind is constantly changing. There is not even one mind, just a huge bunch of mental processes that arise and pass away. They tend to follow certain patterns, though, albeit patterns that are in conflict with each other, and many of them identify with each other and cling to a sense of continuity.

I did write letters when I was a teenager, and it was comical and rather disturbing how much had changed the next time it was my turn to write. When I started a practice log here, I thought you people must think that I’m one of those rollercoaster personalities, but yeah, I guess that’s just the human nature. We tend to think of ourselves as separate and continuous entities, but no thoughts and no feelings are unique, and they all just bounce around.

Yes, these are intellectual thoughts, but intellectual thoughts also arise and pass away in the sensate reality. The thoughts per se are not Insights, but seeing them as they are (not buying in to their content), we can gain insights.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/12/19 10:24 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
That's good stuff.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/12/19 10:49 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes, still at my office.

Started with focusing on body sensations, both physical and emotional, to come into a mind state of enough concentration and clarity and awareness. When the signs were there, I did ”focus in”.

I felt the beginning and end of each inbreath and outbreath distinctly, with their sort of countermovements standing out clearly. At that point I felt the breath clearly where my hands touched the thighs. I was curious as to whether I could also sense the beginnings and ends of each inbreath and outbreath where my hands touched my thighs, and yes, I did. It was very distinct. I also noticed the delay between noticing it and conceptualizing it. I noticed the activation of eye muscles as the conceptualization occured, and I noticed how that subtle activation made distinct differences to the touch sensations where my hands touched my thighs. Out of curiosity I couldn’t help but testing out how eye movements would affect the touch sensations of my hands against my thighs. The eye movements made a huge difference to the sensations of touch. Now it was definitely time to focus in.

There was a lot of flickering. There is probably a bouncing with regard to all sensory input as long as the mind thinks that it needs to be the kazoo player that Daniel talks about in his chapter on eqauanimity in MCTB2. The visual mind screen has kind of a bouncy, echoing quality. I felt a rapid bouncing behind my forehead. There were lots and lots of unverbalized or semi-verbalized thoughts and impressions flashing by faster than I could possibly count. I don’t remember the content now but I remember noticing that I understood them without having to fully verbalize them. At some points I did verbalize them; the thought that I noticed that there was no need to fully verbalize the thoughts was ironically a thought that I did verbalize. The bouncing was there instantly, and it interfered with the fluency.

There was a point in time when everything was suddenly darker. That must have been when the lights turned off (there’s a motion sensor). I did not consider that possibility. I just noticed that it was darker. It made all the tiny colored dots on the mind screen more visible. There was much more detail. (I probably should start to meditate in darkness.)

There was a feeling of being sucked into something, deeper in space. Some sudden sounds from the corridor did reach me but they didn’t startle me. There were so many sensations from the different sense doors flowing by in rapid succesion and accompanying each other. It was very vivid. Thoughts and intentions flashed by no different from other perceptions. It was all so much and so flowing and beautiful in its richness. YeT I had the nagging feeling that I was missing something. That something was holding me back from fully joining the flow.

Fantasies came up. I don’t remember much of the content. One of them involved people making soup. I have no idea why and I didn’t care. I remember that every time I regained focus on meditating, the mind screen brightened up. Towards the end, it was so bright that I was very surprised that the lights were off and the room dark when I opened my eyes.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/12/19 10:42 AM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
That's good stuff.



Thanks! Yeah, it seems like a breakthrough. How could I not see this before?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/12/19 10:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
This session was intense. I feel slightly nauseated now, like motion sickness, and I have a very mild headache or tension around my eyes as if I had been wearing too strong glasses for a while. The fact that my ADHD medication is wearing off probably contributes. It’s time to go to my yoga class soon, though, and hopefully it helps.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/12/19 1:19 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I forgot to mention: the rapid thoughts that I never needed to fully verbalize did have sound to them. It was not my voice, though, but deeper. I didn’t recognize any words. Does that make any sense?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/12/19 1:42 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today’s yoga class was explorative yoga, which is new to me. It was my favourite teacher, the one who usually gets me into a mode that makes it easier to concentrate. I noticed that the red dot that had started to appear more frequently now was replaced by a limegreenish yellow dot with and without blue contours. The yellow dot was visible even with eyes open and for longer time periods than the red dot. When the blue contours were there, the dot was stronger. In the resting in the end (shavasana), the dot disappeared. When we sat up again to finish class, a less condensed purple spot appeared.

This appears more clearly during yoga than in meditation. I think yoga has turned into some kind of concentration practice for me. That wasn’t the intention, originally. I did yoga because it improves my health. I suffered from chronic fatigue. That’s gone now.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/13/19 9:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
First I did 30 minutes sitting. Then I set the alarm for another 30 minutes in immediate succession. I was improvising, trying to be with whatever showed up.

Lots of noice in the background due to renovation in the building. Despite of that, very soon the red dot appeared, I think maybe just a minute in to the session. I don’t know. While meditating, the noice didn’t bother me (now it’s unbearable, so I’m getting out of here; I’m autistic and very sensitive to sounds, although less so now that I meditate on a daily basis).

I heard mental music in the background, a tune by Saga. I heard their voices although I could only distinguish those words in the lyrics that I can remember (”...in so many ways, but there’s only one way to give up”). Weird that I can still hear the voices singing although I don’t know the words.

Could notice beginnings and endings of breath even when there was no pause inbetween, except now I noticed that there was a pause there, for a fraction of a second. I sort of had a mental image of the breath turning. It was a flowing movement from side to side that left golden trails in the space.

The bouncing (echo/delay) is still there, although it’s not as clear as yesterday. It was there when I conceptualized thoughts, and it was there when I focused my closed eyes to see the swirls and dots that I had already seen. I tried to stop, but then I remembered that I should accept whatever arose, so I let it be while also allowing myself to let go, or at least that was my attention.

I noticed clinging to the nimitta embryo (?) that appeared. I tried to let go of it. Then I realized that I was forcing it, craving for the present to be different. Instead I accepted the fact that I was clinging. That made the nimitta brighter.

There was craving for the clarity I experienced yesterday. I remembered to be in the moment instead and tried to take in as much of it as I could, with every imperfection, as it was. I took joy in that. There was rapture. I didn’t hold on to it, let it come and pass. Maybe I didn’t fully let it be, I don’t know.

At one point the red dot had blue contours. Sometimes the red dot was large and glowing brightly. For a moment I could se detailed texture on its threedimensional surface. Then purple swirls moved past it, and then it was once again twodimensional and lacked the detailed texture.

After the first 30 minutes I wanted to do more. I had tilted forward with a lot of weight on my legs so my right leg fell asleep. By that time I was silently (inwardly) chanting the mantra ”let it come - let it be - let it go” to remind myself of the intention for the session (I think I started either in the dealing with clinging to nimitta or in the trying to deal with my eyes trying to focus and my gaze moving around), so instead of regretting that I needed to wake up my leg, I just did and then I stood up for a standing meditation.

At some point in the internal chanting (don’t remember if it was before or after I stood up), the chanting sounded like speaking in toungs. I had tried to not subvocalize it and then tried to just let it be as it was, whether it was subvocalizing or not. I had also tried to focus on the intention rather than the words. Focusing on the words as words had turned the ninitta stronger and I did not want to make this into some kind of halfmeasure concentration practice. After all, the intention was to let whatever arose arise, be, and pass away, on its own.

Standing

For a short moment there was bright space all around me, and it was breathing. I realized this was what I was seeing when I panicked before. It’s nothing to be afraid of. Unfortunately these discursive thoughts took me away from there.

I was shaking, or maybe it was kinesthetic sensations of the noice from the drilling machine.

Sitting again

The noice from the drilling machine filled me. I had body sensations corresponding with it. The sound kind of filled up my sinuses. I noticed them expanding when the sound began, staying filled while the sound was still there, and contracting/relaxing when the sound vanished. The sound vibrated in my body.

Don’t know when:

At some point I asked myself what it was that I still clinged to as self. I thought that it was my position in time and space. A wish to give that up. Hesitation - my body is bound to time and space. Thought: I’m not my body. Maybe that was when I was drawn into that bright space that was breathing.

A some point I think I dreamt about people but I’m not sure. Maybe that was yesterday.

I noticed that I could sort of see my nose with my eyes closed. Not as it actually looks, but in flourescent colors occyping space in a threedimensional way where my nose was. The nose had one color at a time (mostly purple) but sometimes there were two layers of aura around it, in other colors. The contours were very distinct. It looked pretty much like the images from an infra red camera.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/14/19 7:35 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes at my office, focusing in after first grounding myself in the present through the senses.

That high clarity and speed is not there, although I can still notice the flickering and bouncing. It’s more vague. I get that it says something about impermanence and it surely is nonsatisfactory, and it does challenge the idea of one separate and integrated self. Unfortunately the resolution is poor. At this point I don’t know how it is possible to notice this for everything that arises as it arises. There are so many things arising, and I can’t catch it all, and I don’t know how to let go of the sense of a doer/watcher. I understand in theory that there is no need for a watcher, and I have seen glimpses of it, but it’s not accessible for ”me” more than as glimpses. I didn’t get there in this session.

I keep getting distracted by the colored dots. I should probably use those distractions as a means to look at the sense of self, but I get caught up in the content of what I see. As soon as I closed my eyes there was a faint but clearly visible red dot. Dots in different colors appeared and dissolved. At one point there was a brightly shining blue dot.

I felt dull and kept getting into dreams although I wasn’t sleepy. Dreamlike stories just kept popping up. There were people there, unfamiliar to me, and actions. In one case there was a person (I think it was the subjective ”I” in the happening, but if I remember correctly I both saw this from the outside and experienced it from the inside) who jumped up from the ground to catch some kind of small air plane, I don’t know if it was an unreasonably big model plane or an exceptionally small sailplane, but I think I was trying to climb into it while it was flying. There was somebody else on the ground, a man I think. I’m not sure why I was (literally) cathching the plane. Maybe it was a metaphore, maybe it had to do with letting go of being a doer and just glide, or letting the formations appear on their own and just be there for the ride, or maybe it reflected a sense of urgency to make it in time and catch the opportunity, or maybe it was just nonsense. There was a sense of urgency in reaching up to catch that glider, though, and I think as a metaphor it kind of catches the paradox in striving and making a huge effort to reach up to something that is all about gliding.

Many times I sort of woke up to being aware of doing meditation. All those times the images disappeared and the mindscreen was there and it was lit up. At one time that ”screen” looked as if it was knitted for a brief moment. I didn’t catch the exact breaching point between images disappearing and mindscreen appearing, so I can’t tell what it looked loke. Maybe I have seen that before? Maybe that’s when the whole vision field turns into something that sort of resembles tiny bright champagne bubbles (one example would be yesterday, when I was in a bright space that was breathing)? Or is that something else? Hm... It makes sense, though, that the ”screen” would collapse at some point, because there cannot be a screen without the separation between watcher and object, inside and outside. Knitted... Constructed, man-made, blocking the way but not dense. Breakable. Maybe I should bring a pair of mental scissors and cut my way through it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/14/19 3:10 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I tried something different tonight, namely this guided meditation https://youtu.be/gl36Ir91hfA after listening to a couple of his dharma talks. It seemed to help with the balance between concentration and anergy (he talks about agitation and dullness in his dharma talks, and I guess that refers to the very same field of tension). I liked it. Tears were running, though, and my nose was dripping. It is really hard to steady one’s gaze. It took a lot of my consciousness just trying to do that. The points where my thums gently touched each other were hurting. It felt like needles were stinging me over and over again. I was surprised when the session ended. It went so fast. I thought it had just started.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/15/19 9:43 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
In today’s yoga class (hatha yoga), there was a colored dot there in front of my eyes a lot of the time when I was concentrating on the asanas. It kept changing color. While resting in the end, I checked if I could affect its color by forming the intention to see another color. I could. Sometimes it happened fast, sometimes it required a lot of patience. Yellow was a difficult one. Purple is my default color on the regular swirls, but red is what appears most easily as a centered dot.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/15/19 6:03 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
With regard to practice, this has been kind of a shitty day. Earlier I managed to squeeze in 15 minutes. I don’t recall anything special happening. Now it’s midnight and I have just finished a 40 minutes sit that didn’t go very well. Michael Taft wanted me to try to start my sessions with observing the nimitta to enhance my concentration before moving on to Vipassana. Lately it has been there every session, often from the start, but now that I was to observe it, it did not appear. Instead there were those swirls that I assume are related to subconscious processing moving around underneath the surface. They sure behave like meandering thoughts. They are mostly purple, but now other colors have started to blend in - white, grey, red, blue, yellow, green. For a while there was a new thing, kind of like a small bright white starfish rotating in the center. It was soon covered by the ordinary purple swirls, though, with its usual pattern of behavior. Spiralling inwards, spiralling outwards, rotating clockwise, rotating counter-clockwise, reversing figure and ground (often a purple circle with a black center alternating with a black circle around a purple center), something that looks like a comet chasing its tail around a black hole (sometimes this looks pretty much like the yin and yang symbol), drifting veils... I did see something that looked like grey smoke making intricate patterns; that’s a new one. There were also occasional tiny bright dots of different colors spread over the space. These objects were not centered and not stable in any way. They seemed like the visual version of monkey mind, albeit with a pretty make-up. At least I did not get lost in dreamlike stories like I have done so many times before when the hypnotic swirls have been active. (Hm, I notice a lpt of judging and craving.)

I got a bit frustrated, which caused tension and some compulsiveness: I ticced quite a lot with my feet. I had a lot of verbal thoughts. I found myself talking (mentally) with Michael Taft and with this forum, and then I talked with him and you about talking to him and you. I seemed to feel the need to explain myself quite a lot. It seemed to be my voice most of the time. I did hear Michael Taft, too, but the poor guy didn’t get to talk that much. You guys were silent. I think I treat you more like a diary in my internal talk than as actual conversational partners (sorry!). Also, I don’t know what your voices sound like. There was a high-pitched sound, too. I don’t know if it’s internal or if it’s something electronical (I’m not at home). It flickered, and that flickering coincided with an intense flickering in the visual field, as if the sense consciousness wasn’t there continuously - which it probably never is. Maybe my attention was flickering rapidly between the visual field and the auditory field. That would make sense, as Michael wants me to examine my thoughts through mental images and mental talk. There was probably a scanning going on.

I think I may have scripted my mind into behaving stubborn. I have been using mind tricks to get myself to do stuff. Now it seems to prefer to do things when it’s not expected to, instead of when it is. On the other hand, the stubbornness is also an old pattern. As a kid, when I was trying to count sheep because of insomnia, my sheep always refused to jump over that gate. Maybe that’s why those tricks are the ones that work. Stories... anyway, intentional focus is not that easy for me. Focus sort of just happens when it happens. The nimitta tends to appear most easily either when I do yoga or focus on physical sensations. When I focus on the visual field, I’m not focused enough.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/16/19 6:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I was suspecting this... I woke up with dullness and fatigue, so I’m probably back in dissolution again. Yeah, I still need to work on that wider awareness, I guess. It did seem like I fell back from equanimity (further up in it than I had been before) to A&P with somewhat increased concentration. Today I’m soooooo tired. I’ll try to move the identification point enough to be able to do some goodenough formal practice despite staying in a rather noisy environment. At least knowing that there are things like identification points makes things easier. So does knowing that this will pass. I have also had some really nice experiences from meditating in dissolution before, so I know that it’s possible. Michael Taft will probably have to wait for that nimitta to come back, and I wouldn’t be totally honest if I said that it doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s not the end of the world.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/16/19 9:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
With regard to practice, this has been kind of a shitty day. Earlier I managed to squeeze in 15 minutes. I don’t recall anything special happening. Now it’s midnight and I have just finished a 40 minutes sit that didn’t go very well.
Did you mean to say "I meditated and then some conditions occurred which I spontaneously found not impressing so I concluded that the practice sucked"?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/16/19 10:46 AM as a reply to Raving Rhubarb.
No. I understand that it sounded like that, though. Can’t explain myself better right now. I know that the practice can be good although the subjective experience of it is that it sucked. I know that I’m clinging and I know that trying too hard not to cling is also clinging, and I’m trying to just observe this process with all these meta-levels without adding even more layers to it.

I appreciate your down to earth comment. Thanks!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/16/19 12:20 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
40 minutes, started out with grounding myself in the senses to gain some focus so as to be able to focus in.

In the beginning there were both agitation and dullness but not that balance inbetween. The physical sensations accompanying the agitation was a vague sense of pressure around the heart, which was probably more of a story than actual physical sensations, and some minor muscle activation. Noticing this made me relax more. There was some monkey mind chattering, mostly intellectualization and identification stuff on a conscious conceptualized level. That sounded like my voice talking in English.

In the midst of all that I suddenly heard some aspect of myself thinking ”I love” and then interrupting itself because I heard it and identified with being the doer, I guess. Since I didn’t know what would be the object of that love, I couldn’t finish the sentence. I think it had something to do with a supportive context, but I’m not sure, and I don’t think it would have been phrased like that. It seemed to be at a less abstract level. I think it was less conscious, less conceptualized, but using ready-made phrases as a resource, if that makes any sense. Sometimes emotional phrases just pop up in my conscious like that, triggered by something. They usually contain emotional expressions or desires. Vedana, I guess, and whatever the craving part accompanying it is called.

I felt slow vibrations, 1-2 Hz. It took quite a while to focus enough to feel that old widening and increased peripheral awareness, and it wasn’t very distinct. At some point I did have a sense of focal deepening, but it was even more vague. There were some instances where a faint embryo of a nimitta was visible, but there were mostly those purple swirls that are the sign of non-unified unconscious processing rather than a unified mind. After a while the vibrations speeded up. There were two instances of rapture, the second one encompassing my entire body and more extended in time. It was followed by deep calm and that altered sense of physichal touch that was the landmark of focus for me in the dukkha nanas.

There was some dreamlike content that I don’t remember. The mindscreen brightened as I came back to a more mindful state of mind. At some point a heard a bright voice singing a wordless melody that seemed familiar. It could have been either my mum’s voice or mine.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/17/19 6:53 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have repaired a broken friendship thanks to meditation related insight (impermanence and no self and dukkha - yeah, all of them, actually). Suddenly I saw things clearly, and what hurt so much before didn’t matter anymore. All I could feel with regard to the conflict was compassion.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/17/19 2:15 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes, first grounding myself with any senses, then focus in.

Mostly a wild mix of monkey mind, dullness and dreamlike scenes coming up from the unconscious. I did get to the increased peripheral awareness of touch and could sense my knees breathing and the scanning processes of my consciousness bouncing around, causing heightened pressure sensations on one spot at a time. It didn’t feel like vibrations, bur more like something crawling under my skin. I know that’s because my mind constructs continuity between the arisings and passings. There was a lot of craving, clinging, striving, and it’s obvious that it gets in the way and thus creates suffering. I got lost in some content. At one time I noticed subtle dullness early enough to get out of it by opening my eyes for a short while and then gazing upwards behind closed eyelids and smiling. I felt some time pressure connected to the striving, which was counterproductive. Identification and craving creates suffering. I know that, but letting go is not always possible. Towards the very end there was mild but widely spread rapture, and a faint nimitta embryo arose.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/18/19 2:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
When I woke up from the alarm, I saw the darkness behind my eyelids collapse gradually but rapidly into one centered spot that reminded of a nimitta. The contour of it was blue.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/18/19 7:07 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Did a 30 minutes sitting while on the train. It was mostly gross dullness, and I hope I haven’t strenghtened pathways into ignorance even more by going through with it anyway. I feel clearer in my head afterwards, though, so maybe I needed to go through that fog.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/18/19 7:45 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The fact that this stage comes back over and over again, and with it this tendency for subconscious processes to hijack the mind to the extent of making me forget again and again what it is that I’m doing, is one example of both impermanence and no self. Seeing this as ”my” setback only creates suffering. The processes causing the mind to blank out probably never subscribed to my conscious intentions from the beginning. I can’t force them to do so. I guess what I can do is making the insights so strong on a sensate level that the subconscious processes become aware of the insights and join the mission.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/18/19 7:49 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
So maybe the dullness is sort of an opening to communication. There are processes saying in their own way ”Hey, we didn’t sign up for this. Why should we?” ”I” need to show them why, by repeating basic insights until they sink in for all the mental processes.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/18/19 9:24 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
40 minutes, same practice.

I had the feeling that there was activation of the visual field behind the surface. I was able to let it be. The eye muscles were relatively relaxed. The dullness took longer time to arise this time. There was less craving for new exciting sensations. Towards the end it was more difficult to stay alert, though, so I had to bring back mindfullness over and over again.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/18/19 2:59 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It seemed to be a good idea to take up noting practice again and do shorter sittings in a more comfortable spot. Therefore I did 20 minutes noting and stayed comfortable. Now it was possible to stay relatively alert, and clarity increased somewhat. I could feel the breath in my knees. Absolutely no rapture. My mind is slow. I have been so tired the last couple of days, and I have been freezing. If I see something that resembles a nimitta, it’s dark or has a dark centre, and it soon fades away. These processes seem to have a life of their own beyond my control, which by now is hardly surprising but still rather unsettling. Today I’m starting to have body pain again. I was so happy that my chronic fatigue had gone away, and now it has come back, but it’s good to know that this too shall pass. The bad things are also impermanent. I’ll keep practicing and get through this. Clinging to a certain mind state only creates suffering, so I’ll have to make the best of what is.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/18/19 5:10 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I really need to let go of seeing ”myself” as the doer and identifying with it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/19/19 12:47 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Okay, so now I seem to be in fear. After a night with the creepiest nightmares, I woke up with a nagging feeling of anxiety. Actually, I welcome it, because at least it involves energy. The brain fog is gone. I’ll try to use the energy to get things done before misery takes it away again. It’s like that short pause inbetween contractions when giving birth. For a really brief moment one can actually breath. This feels more like the contraction part of that analogy, though.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/19/19 1:40 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Ouch! A 45 minutes long session at this point was not the best idea I ever had. My neck hurts.

I divided the session into nine time periods of 5 minutes each. I started with noting to get grounded and alert. Then I focused on the sensations of the breath. After that I focused on mental kinesthetic thoughts, then on feelings, mental images, mental talk, then three slots of focus in. That was the idea, anyway. The last 30 minutes were very dull with a lot of head noddings and dreamlike (and not very lucid) scenes.

At today’s yoga class I did see nimittas so I was hoping that I would be able to stay more alert. Apparently that was not very realistic. This darknight makes it hard to do my assignments. I’m thinking that I should perhaps go back to more basic noting. I’m not sure that I’m ready to dissolve mental images and mental talk, and feelings don’t seem to come up in practice right now (maybe they do but in ways that are too subtle for me to notice). Maybe I should meditate at my office instead; that worked well last time I was in fear.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/20/19 4:58 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
20 minutes noting. The noting and the shorter time span enabled me to stay alert throughout the session with some brief exceptions (mind wandering, getting lost in stories) at the end. I managed to redirect my attention each time. There were instances of rapture entailing embryos of nimittas. There was a heightening of peripheral awareness. There was also a sense of movement at the knees where my hands touched them - pressure sensations arising and passing away, constructed by the mind as something continuous.

EDIT: If I remember correctly, I did notice some mental images and mental talk using this method.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/20/19 1:43 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
As I woke up from sleep this morning, I noticed mental talk in one word that doesn’t really exist. It was in Swedish: ”härvaro”, which resembles the real word ”närvaro”. The latter means ”being present” or ”dasein”. ”när” means near, but there is also a homonym that means ”when”. ”Här”, one the other hand, means ”here” and is thus unambigually spatial.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/20/19 2:08 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Also, I think I woke up in misery, because everything seems meaningless. Knowing that this is a stage gives comfort, though, especially since they seem to pass really quickly. It makes it easier to move the identification point. The misery is not me. It’s just there. Intellectually I know there is no me at all, but my subconscious seems to cling to the idea that there must be something that is me. Well, good news for you, subconscious: the misery is not it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/20/19 4:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
20 minutes noting, using labels that fit into Michael Taft’s sensory grid and additions as needed. I managed to stay alert but did come across dreamlike scenes. It seems that ”outward” sensations keep me grounded in mindfulness whereas mental sensations have the tendensy to suck me into the content. Sounds and physical sensations can thereby be used to keep dullness at bay. There were some unsatisfactory feelings, but acknowledging them as they were led to rapture (not the most intense kind), nimitta embryos and less darkness. I think I found the kind of balance that works at this point, staying mindful but relaxing enough for some unconscious stuff to bubble up to the surface. There were moments of clarity with regard to peripheral physical sensations. Maybe there was also some clarity with regard to introspective awareness. There was a brief moment when things felt less heavy and dense, maybe less contracted.

EDIT: The delay between recognizing sensations and being able to conceptualize them seemed extremely long.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/20/19 5:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Okay... this will probably sound delusional... but I think I went through disgust and desire for deliverance and into reobservation while in the shower. I do spend too much time in the shower, but it really wasn’t that long.

I recognized that familiar old feeling of wanting to throw up my ”soul” and it occurred to me 1) that this must be disgust, and 2) that wanting to throw up one’s soul is really not the destructive urge that I used to believe it to be. It is a desire for deliverance, and it knows exactly what needs to be done. There are unconscious processes that are aware that clinging to a self only causes suffering. This realization led to a strong desire to practice and lots of craving that would surely hamper the practice, and I saw this. Then the harsh chaotic vibrations were back, and now I have this weird sense of a lot of processing going on at once and out of synch.

The key to navigating through the dark night territories seems to be simultaneously both acknowledging what arises without trying to make it go away AND knowing that it is not self.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/20/19 5:06 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
As for mental talk, I clearly noticed some while in the shower. It said ”Blä!” which is Swedish for ”yuck” or ”eeew” or ”icky”. I do seem to have sort of a vedana voice that is very to the point.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log
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2/20/19 7:06 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Rapid noting is difficult for me, but I tried to do it anyway while walking to the bus stop. It did give me some rapture as I surrendered to the many sensations overwhelming me. Then I had a nagging feeling of familiarity that I couldn’t quite figure out. Then a word came to me: caleidoscopic. I know I’m not supposed to get lost in the content of mental talk popping up, but maybe it was just a noting label. Anyway, it made sense. That was a proper label for that sense of familiarity that had eluded my noting. Every moment seems new and old at the same time. It’s like existence is recycling old material over and over again in constantly new ways, not only physically but also experientially.

Actually, there was some mental talk. I remember hearing myself thinking ”Nothing ever changes” and then instantly reacting to that by replying ”Yes it does! Everything changes!” That’s when the word caleidoscopic popped up. I have always loved caleidoscopes, so this is helpful for me, because change can be very scary for me.

Then I couldn’t help but intellectualizing a bit (what was written above are examples of that, but there is more). Caleidoscopes are limited to the components inside it and the laws of nature. Yet, within those very strict limitations, there are infinite possibilities. No image is ever the same. There probably is some mathematical probability for the same image to reappear, depending on what counts as the same (near enough), but that chance is probably neglectable (correct me if I’m wrong here). Then I thought something like ”wait a minute... there are solid unchangable components in the caleidoscope, so what am I solidifying here?” Then it dawned on me 1) that they are really not as solid as we make them out to be and definitely not permanent, and 2) that those parts are the formations.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/20/19 1:28 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I checked my log to see how I got through the dark night last time, and I found that one strategy was to count breaths in order to notice dullness in time. Therefore I decided to do a 30 minutes long sitting with breath counting, starting over from one every five minutes as the bell rang. This helped me to stay alert throughout the session. The first five minutes involved 36 breaths. Then they ranged from 15 to 20 breaths per five minutes. Yeah, there was some striving and forcing there, I admit that.

In the beginning of the session there was agitation in my body. Throughout the session there was pain due to inflammation. As the breaths slowed down, the pain bothered me less. There was a heightened peripheral awareness of touch and a change in the quality of the touch. I could feel the breath in my knees and hands where they touched, and the energy (?) of the hands differed between inbreath and outbreath.

Counting breaths allows for mental images and mental talk to bubble up to the surface. It seems easier to observe them while being occupied with something else, something that doesn’t take up too much concentration but enough to force me to stay alert. Those bubbles were very shortlived so I could not make out any phenomenological details. Sometimes I heard mental talk without distinguishing the words (subconscious material).

For a moment it felt like time slowed down.

I don’t know what to make of the vibrations. They are not nearly as harsh and fast as I thought they would be. Maybe the worst is yet to come. Maybe this is still just misery after all.

Off the cushion: my body is in pain and not even yoga makes it better. My posture is bad. I can’t seem to control the whereabouts of all my limbs. Unsatisfactoriness is obvious. Not self too, because apparently this is beyond the control of any ”doer”. Bah, I want cookies. And painkillers. And a cosy blanket. If there is no doer, why can’t somebody just wake me up when I have arrived at equanimity again? Yeah yeah, sherpa training, I know.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/21/19 8:26 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes at work.

Started out with noting, applying labels according to Michael Taft’s recommendations. Was then confused about the distinction between mental processes and ”outside”-related sensations, because methodologically they are cause some difficulties. I assume this is one of the things that the practice aims at making the meditator notice for themself (I’m guessing that these distinctions in the model are there to sort of provoke the reaction, because neither Michael nor Shinzen Young would do something like this by mistake; there must be a purpose). Therefore the session turned into something more explorative, methodologically (it is all an exploration, of course, but I refer to being more eclectic about methods).

There are sounds that I ”know” come from ”outside” and auditory sensations that are soundlike but yet I ”know” that they are mental. But do I really know that? If so, how? There are also sounds that could be from many different sources. Is tinnitus a physical or mental phenomenon? There seem to different kinds. There are many sounds that seem to be from ”inside”, but they could also be from electronic devises. How should I know while I sit there meditating? Does it matter? It’s still the same sound. Aren’t all sensations mental at least to some degree? The mental part is after all the only thing we know for certain while sitting there.

I tried to investigate phenomenologically how ”inner” and ”outer” auditory sensations/perceptions/whatever differ from each other. I noticed that when I make an effort to focus on the sounds that I perceive of as coming from outside, I have a certain physical sensations that I find hard to describe. There is movement. I know that there are muscles inside our ears (I’m one of those people who can manually open and close my ears similar to what happens when there is a pressure change), but I don’t know whether we actually use them actively for the purpose of hearing. Maybe I feel them moving? Or maybe the perceived physocal sensation is in fact a mental image of the shifting of focus? I don’t know what it is. I don’t know for sure that there is actual movement, and if it is, I don’t know what is moving. Anyway, I noticed that the same movement did not occur when shifting focus between sounds that appeared to come from outside the window in front of me and sounds that appeared to come from the corridor outside the door behind me. That sensation of movement only occurred when shifting between ”mental” and ”outside”. Yet there were sounds the origin of which I could not tell; that is something that could be interesting to explore further. Could that sensation be used to identify the source as inside or outside? On the other hand, how could I control that when the factis that I don’t know the source? And even if it were possible to find a correspondence to a certain source, that doesn’t prove a causal connection. It could very well be the case that believing that there is a difference between inside and outside is what causes the sensation, either mechanically (because it makes us activate something) or mentally.

My subjective experience is that there is a qualitative difference between sounds from outside and mental sounds, but I don’t know how to describe it and I don’t know how much of that perceived difference is a mental construct, a story that has no bearing on a sensate level. A few days ago I mentioned in this log how while listening to a video using headphones, moving away from my ipad (and from seeing Daniel speek in the video) I noticed how the sound suddenly moved into the headphones. Logically, the sound should have been there already, but that was not what I experienced. I guess something very similar happens when the image and the sound is out of synch. Suddenly it is obvious that the sound and the image come from different sources, and the formation (?) is splintered into parts in a disturbing way.

Actually, I also have experiences from auditory hallucinations that complicate this matter. It seems to be surprisingly common in some autistic communities to have hallucinations specifically related to the current signal of one’s own mobile phone (I won’t go into speculations about the reasons for that), and I have had such hallucinations for at least two different time periods. When the hallucinations are fullblown, it is impossible to distinguish the sound from ”real” sound. I could hold the phone in my hand and see with my own eyes that it was turned off and still hear the signal loud and clear, every tone of it. Phenomenologically, there was no difference. It didn’t start out like that, though. You know how while in the shower or in some other noice you can sometimes wonder whether that was the phone ringing (or whatever sound you have reasons to watch out for, maybe a baby crying or the cat scratching on the door because they want to come inside)? That is normal and healthy, but it’s also how the hallucinations start. The brain interprets some frequences as possible cases of a specific sound, and it does so using imagination and pattern recognition, I guess. Much of our hearing in daily life is the result of such processes, to varying degrees. Thus it’s not a qualitative difference, but a gradual one. So basically, the distinction between inside and outside is a construction. We don’t need to read old theravadan texts to learn that. Science says the same thing.
I know a woman with dementia who used to have hallucinations because of her medication. Sometimes she would see a big black dog in her livingroom, as detailed as if it was physically there. Her friends asked her ”What did you do then? Did you pet it?” She replied ”No, I couldn’t possibly do that. It wasn’t real.” She also had reoccurring distorted perceptions. For example she could see her own sofa in the wrong size, as if it was a tiny miniature. First she would admire the detailed production, but then she would realize ”Oh, that really IS my sofa!”, and then she would actively change her perception, making it big again, sort of manually. That doesn’t differ very much from my own meditative experiences. Once I found myself sitting upside down, which I knew was not likely to be the case for ”real”, so I imagined myself sliding down the inside of a circle until my perception matched what was likely to be more corresponding to reality outside the meditation experience.

Okay, that was a big sidenote. Now back to this session:

Oh yeah, I was having a similar problem with regard to the nimitta (it has come back). Is that physical sight or mental image? Most of my mental images are not something that I really see. I can watch the purple swirls behind my eyelids and at the same time have a mental image, and the mental inage is much more vague and elusive. I can’t study it in detail, because it’s not actually there, if that makes any sense. These different kinds of seeing do not seem to occupy the same space. I don’t know if this is something that differs between people? Maybe if one’s mental images are vivid enough, it’s not possible to distinguish them from physical sight? Like with hallucinations. That seems reasonable. I would love input from others on this. I’m curious: if so, is there a moment when these different spaces merge into each other? How does that look? In dreams, unless one is having a lucid dream, the mental images seem to be convincing enough to be indistinguishable from physical sight. I tend to have a problem with reading in dreams, though, because either the content is unconscious or I didn’t bother to ”make it up” in the dream. Thus, my mind uses a lot of different tricks to cover for the lack of content. It may be too dark, or I may be too dizzy to be able to read, or too distracted to be able to remember any of the words long enough to make sense of them. Sometimes the words change while I’m reading, or move around, or get blurred (this has happened during meditation as well, but not in this session). That is usually the key for me, telling me that I’m dreaming - that and all sorts of problems with regard to availability of toilets, haha. Once I had one of those dreams and really needed to wake up for real, because I needed to go to the bathroom, but some lazy part of my mind tried to fool me into believing that I was already awake. Thus I made sure to find some text to read, which proved my point. Knowing that I was in fact dreaming, I made a huge effort to open my eyes. For a really brief moment, probably less than a second, the image changed into the view of my bedroom. They seemed to occupy the same space at that time, so obviously it should be possible even for me, as a not very visual person, to have mental images vivid enough for them to be indistinguishable from physical sight.

Back to the session:

The nimitta is back. It varied in size, density, brightness and color. Sometimes it had like an aura in a separate color. The colors appearing were red, orange, yellow, lime, green, purple and dark blue. I’m not sure exactly where to draw the distinction between a nimitta and the embryo of one. Maybe these were all embryos, I don’t know. I know that they are somethings different from the ordinary swirls, at least. The nimitta (or nimitta embryo) appears when I’m more focused (a more unified mind).

I noticed that observation changes the nimitta. Observation per se has an effect, but how I direct my gaze makes a difference too. For me observing the nimitta is tricky. It appears more clearly when I focus on something else. When I shift my attention to the nimitta, it tends to fade out. Sometimes it makes it bigger and brighter, though. I’m not sure what I do differently. I do know that when I try to focus on it with my eyes while at the same time looking down a bit, it gets smaller. For a moment it becomes more condensed, but then it fades away. If I defocus and look upwards a bit, it becomes bigger. Sometimes it becomes brighter for a while. In both cases, it tends to spread out and be undistinguishable from the rest of the vision gield. Sometimes this means that the entire vision field brightens up, sometimes it’s more like the nimitta gradually fades while spreading. Sometimes I’m not sure which one of these is occurring. At least once I thought that the nimitta had spread out, but then a new small nimitta appeared.

The nimitta is not reliable enough for me to base a kasina practice on it, not that I have that intention. Just stating the obvious.

That crackling sound in my right ear appeared when I was observing both inward and outward sounds, or whatever I should call them using such an arbitrary distinction. It seems to be related both to the disctinction between inside and outside and to the shifting of attention per se. I can’t tell if either of these relations is more central to this phenomenon than the other.

Peripheral clarity seems to have increased again, or rather, started to come back to a similar level as before. That makes me feel comfortable, so I guess that’s a clue to what I cling to as self. I didn’t investigate phenomenologically the feeling of being comfortable, unfortunately. I did investigate subtle anxiety/nausea, though. It seemed to entail heightened awareness of pressure to the heart, tension of muscles around eyes, and some kinds of sensations in the throat region that I have difficulties explaining. Intellectually, I think they may be related to the secretion of saliva. Phenomenologically... I don’t know... contractions?

There was quite a lot of mental talk on a very conscious and conceptualized level, with verbalization of whole sentences. Unfortunately, I was unable to investigate that on a sensate level. I was occupied doing analyses and thus lost in the content. I don’t know whether it’s possible to have such verbalized thoughts going on by themselves while the identification point is moved into the ”watcher” in order to observe on a sensate level. Maybe that’s what Shinzen Young calls auto talk?

To sum up: the distinction between inside and outside is a blur. Well, duh.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/21/19 8:52 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh, and also: off cushion harsh vibrations.

At a seminar today I was trying to be very mindful about the senses. It doesn’t seem to be a linear process of one sensation at a time or a sensation from one of the senses triggering a though that then triggers a feeling, and so on. It seems to be much more complex than that. It’s so fast, and some semsations seem to come as packages. This made me think of Culadasa’s distinction between attention and awareness. I know that the attention can only focus on one tiny tiny sensation at a time and thus tends to flicker between different points in space (with regard to touch), and then constructs this as something continuous. Awareness, on the other hand, is not limited like that. It has a broader scope. So I guess much of the time, to get a more holistic perspective, the attention doesn’t go to the direct sensate experience here and now, but to the awareness to get some sort of retrospective summary of selected impressions mixed together in one channel. That would explain the delay/echo that I noticed before.

This also makes me wonder... there are scientific findings suggesting that autistic people (like me) perceive things more ”as they are” with less adaption to what neurotypical people take for granted, not only in more complex thinking but also on the level of perception. I have been wondering about this, because I’m not the only autistic meditator, and it seems like our experiences from meditation may differ in some respects, but not in such a fundamental way. This has bothered me for a while, because I wanted to understand the difference between these two concepts of reality ”as it is”. My guess is that we also have the attention check with the awareness to have a retrospective summary. I don’t know if there is a difference as to how often we do this, but in any case I don’t think that’s the major difference. I think the main difference lies in how the mixing is done when ”recording” that retrospective one-channel recording. Our recording is less biassed and thus it compensates less for noice and makes reality more difficult to navigate, but it also enables us too see deviations and variation that neurotypicals tend to miss. It does not mean, however, that we perceive reality more directly.

I’m not a neuroscientist, so these are just my speculations based on observations and a variety of ideas that I have encountered.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/21/19 9:09 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
One phenomenological difference between ”inside” and ”outside” is that inside sensations/perceptions/whatever at least in some cases tend to cause me to get lost in content. I wonder if that changes when the perceived distinction between inside and outside becomes more obviously arbitrary. On the other hand, there are outside aggregates that are very likely to draw my attention in a way that makes me get lost in content as well. A fire alarm would most likely take priority. Someone talking to me is hard to ignore, which is why I make a point of not wanting to be disturbed. So maybe those unconscious processes just don’t listen as well as the people around me. It also seems like unconscious stuff bubbling up is more likely to engage with its content, and that happens in a different mind state than is usually in charge of dealing with the outside.

The experience of the senses changes in quality depending on the level of concentration. This is one of many things that illustrate how arbitray the distinction between inside and outside is.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/21/19 2:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
One thing that struck me during the session at work today was how arbitrary thoughts are with regard to self. They never just pop up on their own from the brain. They are always the response to something. I knew this, of course, on the intellectual level. It’s the foundation of my work, as I analyze interaction. I know that everything that we do is interactive to some extent. Even our most private thoughts are dependent on previous experiences of interaction, and we are constantly addressing someone or something. Thus, these reflections are really not new to me. Still, I find myself trying to search for thoughts as something that will just pop up independently. In doing so, I think about how to do that and about how frustrating it is that thoughts do not arise. But these are thoughts. That’s how thoughts work. They address something. They are dependent. Similarly, I find myself being annoyed by distracting sounds causing me to think about stuff instead of focusing on uncovering my thoughts. But that’s thoughts right there! I just need to be mindful of them AS thoughts. Somehow I find myself doubting that these thoughts count, because they were provoked by something external. But they all are! That’s how thoughts work! This is so silly!

I think I have a romanticized and simpliatic idea of doing some kind of mental archeology where I will dig up and discover something completely different from the unconscious. Well, unconscious stuff does pop up from time to time, and it IS different from the default mode of thinking. Sure. But archeologists can’t just skip layers. In order to reach the deepest levels they need to very carefully investigate all the layers closer to the surface as well. They do this very patiently with little brushes. They don’t just grab the biggest shovel they can find and dig in.

I guess that simplistic idea is one of those thoughts that I should carefully brush out from one of the layers closer to the surface, to investigate it phenomenologically. Is it mental talk or images? Is it some kind of kinesthetic imagining? I really don’t know.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/22/19 1:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I had decided to go to sleep early instead of doing another session, but then I was curious. Thefore I sat for 30 minutes with the intention of investigating hearing, both of outward sounds and mental sounds, and the relation between them.

There was immediate rapture as soon as I closed my eyes, maybe because I was genuinely curious and thus had a unified mind.

The flickering of attention made the crackling noice in my right ear so often and so loud and to the extent that it was painful. I was uncomfortable with the flickering, and that manifested as irritation of my left eye resulting in tears.

The movement that occurs when I shift focus between different sounds seems to be partly some kind of expansions and contractions inside the ears regulating air pressure, partly subtle movements of the gaze. These two kinds of sensations seem to be correlated. Now I noticed the movement when I sfifted my attention between sounds from outside, to my left, and from the kitchen to my right. I’m guessing that I was subtly moving my gaze when I shifted my attention. Earlier at work the ”outside” sounds were either in front of me or behind me, and I did not turn my eyes backwards. Thus there was less movement of the gaze. That’s probably why I didn’t experience that sensation of movement when shifting between different outside sounds then.

That really annoying crackling sound in my right ear, the one that is the sound of flickering attention, is inevitable when I use my attention to investigate something as wide as all sounds. Attention can only take in one tiny sensation impulse at a time, so it has to jump around, arise and pass away rapidly at different points in space. That causes tension, and there are a lot of information that is missed. For every tiny little sensation, there is a huge blind spot entailing an entire sensate universe beyond that tiny sensation. Thus, the attention jumps all over the place, trying to cover as much as possible, but regardless of how fast it jumps, it still misses out on the whole sensate universe except for that tiny little sensation that is currently in focus. Awareness, on the other hand, is wider. It doesn’t need to jump around. I noticed that when I let go of focused attention for a very brief moment, there was sort of a widening of the visual field. I’m guessing that the widening is a mental image of increased awareness, that is, the distribution of consciousness to awareness rather than attention. I’m guessing also that the focal deepening that I have experienced before, not in this session, is the mental image of even further distribution of consciousness to awareness. Maybe the perception of being drawn into something very rapidly with fast visual movement is the letting go of attention entirely, in favour of awareness, and maybe that’s why it’s so scary.

Attention is overrated.

The sound of ”silence” is present in the middle of outward noice and inward chatter, and it’s actually rather loud.

I think I sensed some kind of mental murmur of many voices under the surface. There was activation of the auditory field and some kind of very subtle change of the pressure in my right ear. I think there may have been very subtle and finegrained flickerings of the visual field that corresponded to the murmering. This happened right after I had that altered sense of touch and perception of my hands being bavkwards that tend to mark a certain level of concentration for me. I used this mark as a sign and turned my attention to listening in.

When I verbalized fully conscious and conceptualized thoughts, I was subvocalizing. I can’t imagine the sounds of the syllables unless there is a very subtle activation of the muscles needed to form those sounds. That’s somehow rather disturbing. That kind of mental talk has the voice of this body, as far as I can tell. It’s difficult to hear the quality of the voice while being occupied with the content, though. When I reflected on that, I wondered if I’m able to imagine the sound of voices better than that. What came to my mind then was the voice of Michael Taft, my meditation coach. I could very easily imagine that voice without hearing any content at all. The tonality of the voice was still clear. Weird.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/21/19 4:04 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Bah, now I’m hearing loud very high-pitched sounds and I’m unable to turn them off. Can’t silence just shut up?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
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2/22/19 9:08 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
45 minutes, focusing on hearing and mental talk/sounds.

Immediate mild rapture.

Lots of sounds from outside, from the staircase and from the renovation of another apartment. Little tension but some delay between experience and conceptualizing.

More rapture. It was intense. I let it fill the sore muscles of my back. It lingered there and dissolved the pain. It felt healing. The rapture transformed into harsh vibrations in throat area that faded away like ripples on the surface. Then there was a profound sense of calmness. Easy to relax. Altered sense of touch. Found myself having to ground myself in the sounds in order not to lose myself in dreamlike content and forget what I was doing. It was difficult to remember that I had the intention of focusing on hearing in and out. Unconscious stuff bubbled up and hijacked me. Was getting into a very peaceful but dull state.

After 25 minutes the door bell rang. It took me a minute to check if it was something important. Directly after that I needed a brief moment to find a comfortable seating position again. When I did, there was rapture, then calmness. This time it stayed bright and I did not get dull.

A male voice said something about ”that mindstorm”.

There was a slow surging wavelike movement of attention between the left and the right side. It was so easy to breathe. The center was back. I could feel subtle sensations of the breath in my nose, and at the same time my whole body was breathing. There was lightness. Ease.

Then the bell rang. I didn’t want to stop, but I have booked a Kundalini Yoga session with Gong meditation and I don’t want to miss out on that.

My back has almost completely healed, just like that. The pain was dark night, and I think I’m back in low equanimity. It took a week to go through the entire dark night this time. I can live with that.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/22/19 9:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have a vague memory of not wanting to see something unpleasant about the meditation, wanting to make it better in my perception than it actually was. When I realized that, I let go of that perception and took note of the unsatisfactoriness. I don’t remember when this was, but I think it was a turning point.

Oh yeah, it had to do with the flickering of attention and that annoying crackling sound in my right ear that tells me that I’m struggling too hard to direct my attention when I ”should” let an open awareness take in the sensatiobs instead. For a moment I struggled to widen my perception, but then I remembered Michael Taft reminding me that he has not asked me to take control of anything, and I remembered peopl saying that here as well. So I surrendered to the experience of the narrow attention flickering desperately and squeeeeeeeking in my ear, and listened to the sound. I think that was when that intense rapture came and filled by back and healed it. Cool.

OMG! I actually did my assignment. I listened to mental sound and sensed it dissolve. I had given up on that.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/22/19 5:17 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I sat for one hour watching visual flickering behind closed eyelids. It flickers a lot, indeed. At some points the whole flickering vision field itself bended and tilted. All these times I sort of jumped back into being a watcher, unfortunately, and thus interrupted the bending and tilting.

There were a lot of details, constantly changing. On the larger scale, there was synchronized movement. On a micro level, tiny tiny dots were constantly arising and passing away in a seemingly chaotic manner. They all have colors.

For a while there were regular swirls, now in a new color: deep pink nuances. They soon transformed inte a myriad of details.

Sometimes there seemed to be stretch marks or cracks in the vision field, or larvae-looking abstract threedimensional things eating their way through it.

All of it flickering in and out of existance.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/22/19 10:14 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
As I lay down in bed I continued to watch the flickering and didn’t freak out when the visual field tilted in different ways. So many intricate patterns, detailed and caleidoscopic mandala like and threedimensional, constantly moving and flickering. Flickering sounds, swishing, whirling, murmuring of voices. Visual detailed patterns that trembled and got sort of an overlay, multiple exposure, and moved towards some sort of collapse. Was drawn into something multiple times and kind of came back with a mental jump start. I must have stopped breathing all these times, because suddenly air was coming out of my nose and mouth with a sound, and I was surprised because I had absolutely no recollection of holding my breath. It was not snooring, more like the air just seeped out as if somebody had opened a poppet. There was no dullness. Everything was chrystal clear. All sensations were pristine. I have never before felt the breath so clearly, every little vibration. This kept happening over and over again, for hours. Gradually the visual and auditory calmed down whereas the physical sensations were more and more intense. It was like all nerves were vibrating. After a few times - I lost count - it was like fibromyalgic pain especially in my left wrist that has always been most sensitive to energetic phenomena. The pain gradually became more intense each time. It didn’t bother me, though. It was just there. After repeating this many times, there was an adrenaline surge jumpstarting my whole body. I guess enough was enough.

This cannot be unseen.

Afterwards it took some effort to coordinate the body, and there was a pleasant and soft flow. Still is.

I’m so hungry now.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/22/19 10:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It really is possible to just take in one’s whole sensate universe, and with no effort. Now I understand it.

And there is absolutely no need to direct one’s gaze and try to focus on the visual.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 2
Answer
2/23/19 3:39 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The first time all the flickering dots organized themselves into a perfect and complicated pattern was amazing. It was like a gigantic caleidoscope turning into different images. All of them were perfect. Like different snowflakes, but made of dots rather than chrystals.