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Mike's practice log
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5/1/19 1:37 AM
Hi everyone

Based on an advice I got from some one, I decided to start regular writing of my experiences (very recent). Happened at an interesting time too since I was returning back from Slovakia to India after a 2 month job there. Made some good friends there, so these kinds of phases always make me sad and see an utter lack of control in regarding to certain kinds of changes (I'm not talking about momentary change here, but a kind of change which is white to black or black to white, like leaving a country when you don't know if you'll ever go back, and you've no choice in the matter).

Here's a brief log of the meditation on the plane: 

Focusing on top of upper lip, on sensations. Pulsating, vibrating sensations, that's the best way to describe it. Over the surface of the lip, the sensations have a certain landscape. I had reasonable concentration for a period of about half hour.
 Internal voice says: No, no, I'm some thing constant. Question of internal voice? Am I just this changing bunch of sensations? Internal voice also says that the sensation should stay constant for ever. General voices of: these sensations are mine, they should not change, they are me, they should change how I want (classic kinds of feelings from the Anatta Lakkhana Sutta).
Other feelings of sadness, wanting to just get "out of here" (meaning the world),

In the evening, at some point, mind concentrated deeply for some period of time. Internal voices saying: every moment, there is some thing right to do, the Dhamma way, and that, at any point, the sensations world is there to teach me some thing. Basically, telling me to live in real time.

Any thoughts, comments, highly appreciated.

Thank you! 

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/2/19 12:46 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Today, I was meditating with the question: 


Who is it that experiences?,

which concentrating attention on the sensation of breath touching the upper lip. Basically, who is experiencing the sensation at the upper lip. I keep this question is mind, but try to get to a point to let it "slip away" so that there's just the experience of the sensation, but not let it "slip away completely." I don't know why I do this, but this is what I do (and maybe this is not a good way to try to do it, I don't know).


When I try to do this, what seems to happen (have tried this on other occasions too) is that mind concentrates to a point, and then suddenly gets lost. And it is lost on me, what exactly happens, and what causes the mind to suddenly get lost.

Any thoughts anyone? 

Thank you!

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/4/19 4:15 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
I think it’s great that you are aware of your inner resistence to the process and acknowledge that it is there (replying to your first post in the thread). You seem to have a good dialogue with yourself.

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/4/19 4:22 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
This point that pops up and disappears, do you believe that it is your mind? Does it always pop up in the same place? Where does it go when it disappears? What happens with you when it disappears?

If these questions are helpful, feel free to use them. If not, feel free to ignore them. I don’t think there is one right way to do this, and you seem to have a good practice going already. Best wishes.

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/4/19 12:50 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thank you, Linda, for the observations, suggestions, and encouragement. My gratitude!


Regarding your question, that the point that pops up and dissapears, what I've noticed is that my concentration goes right to my heart. (Actually, I'm not quite sure if it is my heart, it feels too much on the right of the chest to be the heart, but it might well be the heart). 


What do you mean by "mind"? Definition is quite lost on me, unfortunately. Please do explain; I think you're trying to get across an important point. I'd like to meditate with your questions.


Many times, what happens is that my concentration flips between my upper lip right to my heart, which feels like, the seat of the "I". That's where the constant "I", "I", "I", comes from. What I should do about it besides noticing it is lost on me. All I can see is that it is a voice, and not necessarily a soul which it some times tries me to convince me of (I'm neither a believer nor a dis-believer in soul, all I'm saying here is that I hear an internal voice).


Here was the dialog that happened today:


In what follows, me is the questioner, and I is the voice that comes out of the heart region.

Me: Who is it that notices?
Internal voice: I.
Me: Hi I.
I: Hi back to you.
Me: I, are you permanent.
I: Yes, I last for ever.
Me: How do you know.
I: Coz I just do. Hahaha.


More sounds of I:

It is I who feel the breath sensations on the top of the upper lip.
Thus, it is I who knows.
It is I who thinks all these wonderful thoughts.
It's who is thinking right now.
I'm the thinker.
It's my consciousness that is knowing my consciousness.

 

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/5/19 12:45 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
I was quoting you. You asked how the mind could disappear. What did you mean?

Maybe I was thinking about what Rupert Spira calls the finite mind, which includes thoughts, feelings and the limitations of perception that belong to a certain location (something like that, if I remember correctly). Does all this go away when the point goes away.

I think I was wrong when I assumed that the I that was talking about being permanent was your inner resistance to the process. It sounds more like an intuitive understanding of the greater consciousness that they are talking about in the nonduality approach.

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/5/19 10:40 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh, I understand now, you were quoting me! See, I use words without knowing what they mean!
Maybe I've some inkling of your question; I'll meditate on it and write back to you. 

What is this greater consciousness that they talk about in the non-duality approach? Some reference? The way it seems to work is that I can see that my mind keeps creating permanence out of impermanence and keeps on creating an "I" when I'm not sure there's an "I". I'd not say there's a resistance, but well, I do wonder, how much acceptance is there. Or maybe I'm undergoing a process from one to the other. At least, I can hear these voices and let them be, whatever that suggests .....

Still don't know what happens when it goes away. It might be as simple as: I get lost somewhere!  But I'll meditate on your questions. 

Thank you Linda! I am very thankful for your feedback and thoughts, most of all, your time. And I'll keep posting and please do keep giving comments as & when possible ...

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/5/19 12:19 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Just don’t listen too much to me, though. There are so many very experienced practitioners here, and I’m not one of them.

The last dialogue you described sounded very much like what Rupert Spira talks about. There are many talks available on youtube. I don’t know how esteemed he is. There may be critique that I don’t know about. There are so many traditions and so many disputes between them, and I don’t have that much of an overview yet. Anyway, if I understand it correctly perhaps one could say that whereas vipassana emphasizes that there is no self (no essence) and that everything in the dualistic reality is impermanent, nondualist approaches emphasize that there is no separate self but that the I that is aware is the infinite consciousness that everything is a manifestation of. And there is no contradiction between those two, really, only two sides of the same coin. But this is very simplified and possibly misleading. I am no teacher, merely a fellow traveller.

Anyway, I think of it as nothingness that divides itself into somethingness in order to be able to experience itself in all its complexity and from different perspectives. Diversity and change are world and life. The mind that we tend to think that we have is a construction of sensations, perceptions, thoughts, feelings that come and go and that are inconsistent, but that identify with each other and convince themselves that they are a continuity. Something like that.

So I don’t know what to think of that dialogue. From a vipassana point of view, there is a danger in getting lost in content. The mind cooks up all sorts of unreliable stuff. You cold try to observe what happens strictly on a sensate level. That is the kind of approach where people on this forum are most likely to give you well-informed feedback.

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/7/19 12:13 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks Linda.I will look up Rupert Spira in detail. A google of his suggests he follows Advaita Vedanta. Not some thing that has made sense to me (not saying it is wrong -- I like to believe that different ways of saying things make sense to different people - and thus, so many religions - and of course I might be wrong)

I listen to thoughts only because they are the objects of the mind door. My guess would be that a practicw with thoughts (not necessarily the way I do, but some practice) would be legitimate in the Pali Canon Buddhist sense, but I'm not certain.

I usually practice in these ways: 1) Breath touch at tip of upper lip, just bare awareness 2) Awareness of sensations in body, usually upper lip 3) Awareness of mindstates 4) Listening to thoughts .

Maybe some day, I will find some one to be able to guide me thoroughly!

Thank you Linda!

Traveling for a few days, so will write back with the meditation on your questions when I have some very quite time to meditate.

RE: Mike's practice log
Answer
5/7/19 1:26 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Ah. Yeah, then Rupert Spira does not sound like the right match for you. Yes, I hope you will find someone to guide you wisely and thoroughly. Choose someone who has come far on their journey.

Listening to thoughts at a sensate level is what my former teacher Michael Taft had me do. He was not interested in what the thoughts were about or what wordings they chose, but wanted me to listen to the sound until it was fragmented. Self-inquiry is a valid practice, though.