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Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta

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Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/7/19 6:02 AM
Time to start a practice log.  Have been thinking for last few days regarding purpose of doing this but everything does not need a specific purpose / goal so here it is :

Background :

Practice started in October 2018 with a 10 day Goenka Retreat. Have been practicing 1-2 hours most days since then, did another retreat in Feb 2019.

Based on diagnostic in the forum in the vicinity of Dukkha / Equanimity.

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/12365204

Practice:
Earlier it was body scanning / noting. For last month or so focus on entire body while breathing so in a way scanning (or more like monitoring) entire body in single breath. Sometimes thoughts / visuals / feelings / sensations on body are verbalized , most of the times just observation. Most of the times content of thoughts and feelings is not engaged into and just observed. Judgement is mostly absent as well. 

Sits :
Most of the sits start with very easy (sometimes within seconds or 3-5 minutes) access to A&P. Its electric currents / vibrations going thru entire body. Very quickly these vibrations are not pleasant anymore. It feels like anxiety / fear. Fear in pit of stomach and entire body , sometimes its a jolt of fear like feeling of being attacked by some creature or some other unexpected thing. after dwelling with that anxiety for some time it turns into sadness . There is feeling of crying (which used to be at drop of hat few months ago) but now its dry cry with no tears. There is scrunching of eyes / face (as if to squeeze tears). Fearful anxious feelings are very easily recognizable but misery / disgust or anything else not so much . Its just very sad, exhausting feeling with a desparation to be free from it, actually feel stuck. Lots of random meaningless visuals keep flashing, some random thoughts which are easily noted, they go away very quickly replaced by something else and are not even remembered. At some points concentration is high with body feeling different (fixed ?? ) with no desire to move even though may not be in a very pleasant stage. Slowly get to a certain place where experience is not exactly painful or scary just tiring and meh. Feel a certain lightness of body and mind.

Personal Life:
Feel A&P at drop of hat even when not focusing so in a state where by default sensations in body continue to be observed, mostly vibrations all over (neither pleasant nor unpleasant ) actually sometimes both during sits and otherwise these sensations feel close to whole body orgasm. It feels body and mind have been cleaned somehow. Things are less heavy and murky compared to few months ago. There is sadness but not debilitating. Reactions are quicker, simpler and louder (less processed and childlike) . My parents expect me to take care of my mentally disabled sibling (totally dependent on parents currently) but they never took my feedback regarding her training or treatment. That has been a very big pain point in my life because that would hugely impact my life but somehow there was feeling of obligation towards parents and sibling even though I do not feel any attachment towards parents due to certain issues facedd during childhood. (There is other sister who keeps herself out of all the work and responsibilities). Suddenly in last few weeks I have found my voice to communicate clearly that we need to find an institution to place my sibling. The intentions are noble, no resentment, I want best for my parents and sibling but cant do it at expense of myself. This is new found clarity and voice with less negativity and drama towards anyone. Feel like the progress is result of meditation practice.

Will keep documenting the practice so there is a record to go back to and also with a hope that it might be helpful to someone. The forum has been extremely helpful so feel there might be continued guidance and support and course correction offered . 

Metta to all. 

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/7/19 7:34 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Changes observed in last few weeks -
* Dependence on God decreased significantly. Still believe but don't pray for help in tough situations, assume it's Karma so feeling is to quietly pay the debts.
* Reduced craving - food, entertainment, comfort. Slightly less Aversion towards pain and discomfort.
* Reduced need to be right, impress others , was never focussed on looks but it has gone down further to maintenance of basic hygiene and health.
* Acceptance of my mistakes in loosing lot of money in stock market in past.
* Forgave Self and others for things which harmed me ( including some childhood instances of sexual and emotional abuse ) I do not love said people but do not hate them or bothered by them any longer. Feel mild compassion.
* Less bothered about whether Equanimity is accessed or not, absolutely not worried about Stream Entry ( if / when). Somehow need to meditate has reduced , trying to keep up the practice.
* Trying to do what I can practically without too much attachment to result.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/7/19 11:26 PM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Woke up with sadness, ready to cry. Felt like a blob of pain was stuck in throat. Sat for 30-40 minutes.Did not feel A& P or fear, lot of sadness , dullness. There was itching then slowly body felt very fixed in a mildly pleasant state with no need to move. The blob of pain in throat had slowly melted without noticing. 
Recently there has been dullness and sleepiness during sits ( wasn't the case earlier). Felt dizzy ( used to be dizzy during sits all the time ) but was not sure if dizzy or sleepy.
Interesting insight this morning that if it wasn't for Dukkha there won't be practice ( for me). Also able to differentiate between sadness coming out of personal stories / life and Dukkha because there is no base , being stuck , needing to be freed ( existential crisis ? ).
Seem to be craving response from the forum. May have given up expectations of relatability in day to day life but craving some sort of acknowledgement / human touch if you will. Just trying to observe whatever shows up.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/8/19 12:46 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
I don’t know what to say that would be helpful. Just wishing you the best. May you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May you embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/8/19 10:50 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I don’t know what to say that would be helpful. Just wishing you the best. May you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May you embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.


Thanks for your kindness Linda. I follow you practice log and am very happy for you. Your progress gives me hope.

Its interesting to observe the cravings instead of just chasing them. Its also amusing to see how we go from say craving Money & Fame to Love n Respect and then may be chasing progress in Meditation practice. Equanimity and Stream Entry might be much worthier targets compared to Money and stuff but if we r craving then thats what they are cravings.
Also keep thinking about role of my karmic account in the suffering that is being experienced.
Had an interesting sit after waking up. It seemed like mild panic / anxiety attack. I was scared without any specific reason. Woke up with blob of pain in my throat.Sat down with feeling of sadness and crying. It stayed fearful and sad for sometime. Some real tears and slowly the blockage in throat dissipated. Body was in a state of fixedness with no desire to move but there was also certain amount of dullness and sleepiness. It ended with certain bland meh feeling. Even though there is pain in personal story but slowly trying to dissociate with past because ultimately its a story. But many times (even in this sit) its dissatisfactoriness, sadness and pain without any reason. Sense of being stuck and needing to be freed/relieved. (Desire for Deliverance ??)

Metta to all. 

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/9/19 10:03 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Thankyou, that warms my heart. There has been less progress lately, and some setbacks, but that is probably part of the process.

About cravings: what you wrote is so true. Those new cravings are sneaky and tricky, too. Some come in subtle shapes. Others seem more honorable. But cravings they are. And resisting them doesn’t help either, because that only makes them stronger. Sometimes I think they just need to play out, if circumstances allow it, until one has seen them for what they are clearly enough and is ready to let go of them.

What you describe from your practice sounds like a rapid cycling through dukkha nanas to me. You seem to handle it skillfully.

Metta!

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/10/19 8:11 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hope you get over the setbacks and get back on track to progress Linda. Yeah cycling through Dukkha it is but definitely glad to hear that my handling is skillful , that is all anyone can do.
Had a painful session last night. Was lying down before sleeping. Started with lump in throat, lot of sadness. Lot of tears, tried my best to observe instead of getting sucked into drama. There was lot of fear like ground beneath my feet was gone, feeling of falling into a pit .I think it got slightly better and I went to sleep. Don't totally remember , have been very forgetful lately - thoughts, words , what happened - almost feels like early onset of Alzheimers.

Had a morning sit which got interrupted in 20-30 minutes, do not remember anything other than the fact that it was sad then it got slightly better.

Afternoon sat for 90 minutes. For a change started with vibrations in entire body which were pleasant ( A&P ). Slowly started to feel attacked by random creatures, getting impaled ( murky mental images) , saw my dead body fall into pile of filth. Some itches, vibrations. Its funny sometimes I am observing itch in certain area then I loose focus go somewhere else and suddenly itch comes back in focus. that happens with thoughts but never realized unpleasant physical sensations like itch could also come in and out of focus / observation. Also few minutes into sit I felt need to urinate ( As if something wanted the session to be stopped)  but during sit it was becoming stronger and weaker . Felt tightness in chest. There was a thought that Mind does not want me to practice so keeps throwing disgustiong images/thoughts at me, suddenly realized then who is the one wanting to practice. There is observer, observed ( mind and body ??) then who am I , kinda stopped me in tracks. Certain distance has been created from the person I see in mirror, lot less attachment / reaction. It got better slowly , cant clearly explain / remember. Dukkha nanas are still understandable but getting better / lighter not so much. Am I accessing some sort of Equanimity ?

Even when I typing right now, mind+body system is very lethargic. It seems to slow down and I am just staring at nothing barely aware what I am doing, then things come back to normal. Body feels weird , best description is going in and out of somekind of state, certain emptiness, mildly pleasant, just saw visual field move slighly like curtain in breeze. Has been 2-3 hours since the sit I'm not sure if I visited the rest-room. I forgot ? Was there a physical need ?

I seem to be loosing my mind ... not sure if it is a good thing or bad.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/10/19 10:56 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Good observations.

Nah, if you are losing your mind, then we all are. Maybe we are, in a good way.

Equanimity is not only a stage, but also an approach. Applying it to dukkha nanas is helpful and may take you through them. You seem to be doing good.

Being lethargic and suffering from poor memory is typical dissolution stuff for me. It will pass.

I rarely get that type of images that you describe. I have read and heard about it, but my own visual imagination is poor. I once saw two skulls, but they were pink and not scary at all. I feel like a fraud, lol.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/12/19 1:47 PM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Linda , I have seen images of me getting killed in so many ways, dead body, my skeleton which I noted to be too tall for the small frame I have so I guess different strokes for different folks.

Some interesting things happened in last 1-2 days (3-4 sits).

Was reading something about cycling through Dukkha nanas and something struck like a ton of bricks - There is nobody to suffer through Dukkha, self is an illusion. Easy to see intellectually but the idea/insight brought a weird high. Feeling was of bouncing emotionally and even physically on a trampoline, fear of hitting the ceiling included. Tooks some time for high to disspate ( A&P ??).

Sits after that have been different. For 2 sits felt like just going thru the motions, No A&P but No dukkha - physical discomfort or sadness, it was like meditation skills have been lost.

Some information regarding Mother's health brought back the sadness. Husband told me that I seems to be disintegrating and in significant amount of pain. I asked if I was mis-behaving , irritable, bleeding thru but he clarified that wasn't taking out on others but he could see me struggling. He offered me to go to a retreat (however long it takes to sort things out) even though it would be very inconvenient for him and son. I do not think 10 day Vipasana Retreat by Goenka ji is the best option. If any of you can recommend a Teacher and / or retreat in India, Burma / Nepal it would be highly appreaciated. Do not want to hurt others during the journey specially when spouse is non-meditator and cannot make any sense of stages of insight (particularly dikkha nanas).

Had a 70-80 minutes sit an hour ago where dukhha showed up. The lump in throat moved to top of head and kept spinning. Headache came up at some point and it is still here. Thoughts indicating that dukkha is impermanent kept arising. Also kept seeing the thoughts about Mr. Ingram's new thread indicating that Past, Present, Self just occurred/ is occurring ; it does not exist. Itching, dizziness, exhaustion but lot less sadness or fear. Images like skull being broken, face getting cut by knife - hardly disgusts or bothers. Tightness in chest , images of neck getting broken but otherwise just meh.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/12/19 2:22 PM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Wow, you are tough. I can only hope that I would handle visions like that as skillfully as you do. I’m not so sure. I was totally freaked out by a meditation related dream where TV-monitors grew out from the walls, closer and closer, to show me things. They didn’t even show anything scary. I was just afraid of them appearing so suddenly. The levitating green cat in the same dream did scratch me just a little bit, but it did not turn into something from a horror movie as I feared it would do.

I hope somebody can provide you with good advice about teachers and retreats.

I’m sorry about your mother’s health.

Best wishes!

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/15/19 11:21 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thanks for your kind responses and support Linda.

Have been busy with Doctor appointments for Mother.

The visuals I see can be extremely gory. The fact that I could very casually observe my body getting beaten, broken, impaled, crushed etc. made me think that I am able to handle stuff equanimously but my friend presented an alternative point of view, she said I may be repressing my feelings.

Anyway last 2 sits were focussed on Metta and healing. Vibrations throughtout were lot gentler.Even though there is lot going on in life and I am currently taking care of my sister, there is lot less sadness.

I guess dry Viipassana needs to be toned down and lot more Shamatha needs to be introduced. Process will take whatever time is needed.

Metta to all.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/18/19 12:56 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Last few sits things have changed ever so slightly. Actually most of the sessions have been lying down meditation.

* Memory is shot to hell so will just jot down the main observations (May be out of sequence applicable to different sessions).
* Felt like entire body was contracting and expanding subtly (kind of like liquid enclosed in a thin sack). Subtle movement in lips, skull was only part which felt very fixed.
* Sessions get me sleepy. Earlier it was very hard to fall asleep even late at night but now within 15-20 minutes start getting sleepy n dull.
* Energy level is very low in normal routine, am not able to get much done.Lethargy n lack of motivation prevails. Harder to find time n energy to even practice.
* Even though normal life is chaotic, busy and mood is sour, dukkha during practice has decreased. No more gory scenes , itches are lot less and easily bearable, mildly annoyed but not very sad.
* Last night strong Metta n compassion suddenly arose particularly towards Parents n sister. Saw an image of me kissing forehead of father , its not possible for me to muster that kind of affection towards him normally.
* Vaguely remember feeling some smells during practice which physically werent there.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/21/19 12:43 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Once again will try to remeber and write any new points observed in last 5-6 sits :

* Many of sits these days are lying down before sleeping during day as well as night. Its interesting sometimes I'm sleepy within 15-20 minutes during day and last night I was wide awake at 12:30 after 1and 1/2 hours of observation.
* Texture of dukkha has changed. Last night felt that dukkha is being observed but not truly accepted and embraced, I'm looking at it from a distance in form of images. There was intention to accept everything however painful, ugly , shameful. I got closer to dukkha tried to touch and feel it , accept it, be friends. Most of the session was filled with itching (No gory images). Mind kept trying to trick me into scratching. Somehow was managing to look into it without action then a new itch would start at a different spot.
* Linda what u said Equanimity is attitude not just  state, I'm trying to observe / implement it. Felt like when approach towards self and past is not equanimous and accepting , Equanimity (as a stage) willl not happen. Need to BE totally in present - right here , right now. It is what it is and I have to accept it 100%. Be OK with mess in my house, my mind  my life.
* Fear (whiich was easily observable earlier)is lot less potent, sadness has reduced. Sessions are ending with boredom and fatigue . Concentration is not great. Observing lot of pain in jaw recently, pressure in chest and head. Overall body is lot airier.
* Reading "In this very life" i believe read something which clicked (mini insight if u will) that dukkha is a blessing if it is allowing emotional wounds to surface and heal (hopefully).

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
5/31/19 1:47 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Have been busy with medical appointments for parents and sister. Most sits are not sits but focus on breath+scanning the body for 60-90 minutes before sleeping. Some observations :

* Sessions no longer make me sleepy, in fact it is hard to sleep at night. Slept at 1:45 and was awake at 6 this morning with decent energy. Dosed off again due to habit I believe.
* Gory or any sort of images are gone. Most of the session is itch fest . Itch at a spot melts easily and arises at different spot, then afer some cycles may come back at same spot again. Its unpleasant but not unbearable.
* Lot more Metta is arising and arising of sadness has reduced. crying again but tears bring relief and purification.
* Have been going thru some Mirror therapy which is also impaccting the sessions, my understanding of this upheaval and chaotic period is limited, all I can see is certai amount of healing and peace.
* Fear is not prominently experienced (in fact hardly ).
* Body and mind feel lighter, thinking is reduced, in fact mind feels less intrusive and obstructive (if that makes sense).

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
6/3/19 1:51 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Did a guided meditation based on a link found on some other thread in forum -

https://www.pragmaticdharma.training/blog/2019/1/1/a-guided-tour-of-the-progress-of-insight


It was interesting and it also reminded me of certain experiences I was having for last few days but forgot to document.

* Initial part upto misery kind of made me sleepy, I was barely tracking the experiences he was speaking about.
* Disgust, desire for deliverence suddenly made me more attentive and the minute "Contraction" was used things clicked. I had been experiencing shrinking of self, tightness, claustrophobia for last few days. In this particular sit felt like was stuck in a standing coffin, breathing was not an issue but was desperately trying to get out. he suggested to deeply feel the contraction and during that coffin dropped down, did not get free enough to really stretch but somehow body expanded a bit and feeling of claustrophobia was gone. For quite a few hours after the session upper arms was aching as if they have just been unshackled.
* Few days ago I had a dream where I was trying to run around, find some space but kept running into walls and crowds. i even tried to go into past at a time/place where I had lot of space. I was not able to find it but it did not make me sad or upset, just kept trying then the dream faded away.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
6/6/19 10:46 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
There is progress / change in the prctice since now I am able to feel fear, misery , desire for deliverance (disgust may be not)seperately rather than heavy load of dukkha.
I feel the jolt of fear which runs in body for some time, then certain sadness and crying shows up. after some time there is clear sense of wanting for all this to be over. There is also clear sense of shrinking / contraction and tension, a very strong desire for that to release, it does not become pleasant but atleast the tension releases.
Had lot of intellectual insights (but lot deeper with feeling) recently. Realized that life is just a string of experiences, sense of experiencer is also part of experience. these are essentially generated based on cause n effect.
There was also a sense of stepping back and zooming out with respect to time and was able to observe verious younger and current version of self. Felt that zooming in and out with respect to time and space was possible.
Felt deeply that there  was nothing to be said or done or experienced , is no past, no future its all just here and now (if that).
Ego/self is arising and passing away like everything else and these insights may not be felt deeply next second or next day since the self who felt them is long gone.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
6/10/19 8:44 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Very hard to remember things ( and do not have desire) since the practice, insights and self everything is arising and passing away. Some random points :

* The impermanence is glaring. Thoughts, feelings, insights, self, pain, pleasure so quickly aspect of arising and passing away is prominent. here comes an itch which wants to be scratched and with that in full bloom realization arises that it has arisen, it will pass away. Its russian dolls, even the realization is in process of passing away.
* Very easy to see non-self, when even next breath is beyond control , its laughable to have illusion of any sort of control, that is if the impermanent SELF can be clearly identified.
* For the first time was able to observe Dukkha as not dissatisfactoriesness but lack of satisfaction. Its phenomena like everything else devoid of inherent value/meaning but not painful or sad just empty of any sort of satisfaction. Everything is empty.
* Non-duality , the observer, the observed , the observation. What is reality ? Physical phenomena ? Multiple people looking at same thing have different picture of reality created by their mind. But actually observation/experience is sum total of the observed & observer so division is arbitrary. Anyway all is in context of time and space so if granularity of time is changed I and so many others never existed. Understood some of it intellectually earlier also but now there is feeling  / experience?? (Which is off-course imparmanent)
* No formal sits but observation at night before sleeping, yesterday a 80-90 minute session was finished body trying to sleep at 1 am and guess what mind starts running its own thing again and 60-70 minutes pass observing the breathing all these insights showing up.
* With itch earlier body felt like quilt of 100 itches overlapping but now its like meagre 2-3-4 patches hardly covering 10% of body.
* Shackles are clearly felt or a sense of swinging trying to cross the chasm/ valley from this side to other. Feel the need to strongly contract before expansion is possible (Swing hard this side to make it to other side). Freedom doessn't entirely come but in someway shackles are gone.
* For the first time in observation felt like shackles were gone and entire body covered with ants kind of sensation (A&P ??)  and cycle started again.

RE: Practice Log of Anicca Dukkha Anatta
Answer
6/20/19 3:13 AM as a reply to Anicca Dukkha Anatta.
Have been too busy in practical life ( went thru a trip, planned a trip and so on) so practice has been irregular and spotty. May be need to practice also was not strong enough. A few things observed :

* During email interaction with Kathmandu centre for 20 day retreat word Metta was mentioned and it resonated so deeply that I started crying.
* During most of the sits I feel like I am at a family friends place (from way past 35 years ago). Recently I try to navigate away from that place / time and /or explore further why I am there. It felt like it was a happy place / time for me, I wated to get to another happy time/place and suddenly realised that happy place/time is right here/right now. And the sadness/anxiety/ fear I was feeling vanished. Involuntarily I kept repeating mentally happy place is right here and now. Felt very light and peaceful.
* Felt that time and place are lot more closely related almost interchangeable (kind of like a state). And mind can make a choice to be in any state past or future.
* This thread was started with a craving for response/support from the group and keep a diary/track of practice. The craving has significantly decreased as well as need to have an exact diagnosis regarding if it is Equanimity or still Dukkha. Frame off mind has shifted something like - " Shakespeare asked - To be or not to be ; equanimity answered beautifully - It does not matter, it is fine either way."
* Used to be big time reader, am hardly able to read , even things like "In this very Life by U Pandita" which I was really enjoying and wanted to read.
* Craving for food, entertainment, sex all went down a few notches but not in a sad way, feel indifferent.