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spatial's practice log, part 2

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spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 5/15/19 9:15 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 5/21/19 9:04 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 curious 6/1/19 4:50 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Bigbird 6/1/19 6:39 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 6/3/19 9:39 AM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 5/22/19 8:55 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 5/22/19 9:02 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 shargrol 5/23/19 6:08 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 5/30/19 9:12 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/31/19 2:08 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 5/31/19 5:56 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/1/19 4:36 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 6/3/19 9:30 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 6/3/19 9:52 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 6/3/19 10:40 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Bigbird 6/3/19 3:47 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 6/3/19 3:32 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 6/5/19 5:06 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 6/6/19 6:41 AM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Bigbird 6/3/19 5:27 PM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/15/19 6:39 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/15/19 9:27 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/15/19 9:59 AM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/18/19 9:25 AM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/20/19 10:00 AM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 shargrol 7/21/19 7:40 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/21/19 9:33 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 shargrol 7/21/19 2:08 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/22/19 12:41 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/18/19 9:36 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/19/19 7:50 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 7/20/19 5:29 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/15/19 9:29 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/15/19 9:58 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/16/19 8:50 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/23/19 9:01 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 shargrol 7/23/19 9:22 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/23/19 9:41 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/25/19 9:23 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/29/19 9:33 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/30/19 4:34 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/30/19 5:03 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/30/19 5:11 PM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/31/19 5:08 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 7/31/19 5:33 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/31/19 5:43 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/1/19 9:15 AM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/3/19 10:27 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/3/19 9:23 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/4/19 8:49 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/3/19 9:20 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/4/19 11:51 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/6/19 11:06 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 shargrol 8/7/19 5:50 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/8/19 7:02 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Siavash Mahmoudpour 8/7/19 6:15 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/7/19 7:01 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Siavash Mahmoudpour 8/7/19 7:20 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/8/19 6:37 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/8/19 7:03 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Siavash Mahmoudpour 8/8/19 7:09 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/8/19 10:17 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 shargrol 8/9/19 5:55 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/9/19 6:27 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/9/19 9:41 AM
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RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/9/19 10:10 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Nicolas G. 8/10/19 9:01 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/10/19 10:44 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/10/19 11:38 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/10/19 11:44 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/10/19 1:16 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/10/19 2:56 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/10/19 2:59 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/10/19 3:21 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/11/19 8:30 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/11/19 11:43 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/11/19 5:03 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/13/19 9:14 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/17/19 9:40 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/17/19 9:48 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 8/17/19 11:24 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/17/19 4:54 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/23/19 10:19 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/24/19 10:51 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 8/24/19 10:54 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/25/19 6:18 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/1/19 3:46 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 curious 8/25/19 5:38 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/25/19 6:22 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/1/19 3:40 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/1/19 4:11 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/5/19 8:03 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/5/19 4:41 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/6/19 1:37 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/4/19 4:53 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/4/19 5:25 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/4/19 5:56 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/4/19 6:32 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/4/19 7:24 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/4/19 7:38 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 9/5/19 6:18 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/5/19 7:43 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/5/19 4:37 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/5/19 8:48 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 9/5/19 2:21 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/5/19 4:57 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/6/19 1:42 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 9/6/19 7:21 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/6/19 9:37 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Chris Marti 9/6/19 9:52 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/6/19 12:11 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/6/19 12:12 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 9/6/19 12:20 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/17/19 4:43 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 9/21/19 8:22 AM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Siavash Mahmoudpour 9/21/19 8:43 AM
spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
5/15/19 9:15 AM
(I'm starting a new practice log, because the old one is getting unwieldy.)

This is very tricky, but not tricky. It seems that the idea is to get closer to what's "right here". All frustration seems to be a result of trying to get closer to what's "over there".

It seems the factor that I need to work on most is Tranquility. There is a low-level agitation that is constantly present, which seems to trigger sudden outbursts at random, like I'm trying to navigate a minefield.

I have been experiencing a great deal of love and compassion lately. Much greater awareness of when negativity and unpleasantness from others is simply triggering "my shit".

I'm starting to enjoy agitation, frustration, distraction, discouragement, etc., much more. They are opportunities to practice noticing "the complete package of what's here right now."

I have been trying to notice the vipassana jhanas more clearly. I have a fantasy that one day I will be able to recount my meditative experience in step-by-step fashion, having a clear understanding of the order of events during a sit.

I think some of the motivation for this is like how I mentioned being overwhelmed by the complexity of looking at a bunch of trees in the distance, and then realizing that it's actually just a simple "image of trees" followed by a simple "sense of complexity". I suspect that bringing this type of awareness to my meditation might be helpful.

Appendix:

Here's my approximate guess as to what the jhanas look like when they show up right now, focusing on the breath at the nostrils. I'm holding these labels loosely. This terminology seems at the moment to be useful to describe certain experiences which to me seem very real and very relevant in the interpretation of meditation instructions <begin rant>(even though these experiences are ignored and invalidated by most meditation books and teachers, which is highly frustrating)</end rant>.

Access concentration: I'm here, the breath is right there. Other stuff comes and goes. I can bring the attention to the breath, and then sometimes it goes over to something else. And then I can bring it back again.

(apply pleasurable effort)

First: I can get into a groove where the attention stays on the breath. Muscular effort of some kind is needed to maintain this, and that effort seems to cause tingling sensations throughout the body. The sensations and the breath are combined into one object.

(relax the effort, ensuring that the breath stays)

Second: The tingling becomes predominant. The attention stays on the breath without effort. The world becomes smaller. I can rest in this place.

(relax the concept of "attention is on the breath")

Third: I become aware that there are things in the distance. I can staying resting where I am, but I am not aware of where I am. Instead, I am aware of things coming and going in the distance.

(relax the idea that "I'm over here")

Fourth: Things come and go wherever they come and go. I lose the sense that certain things are "outside of my awareness". I am equivalent to the sensory field. This place seems to be a real fractal, in the sense that I can perceive the whole previous pattern repeating over and over as I become aware of new sensations.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
5/21/19 9:04 AM as a reply to spatial.
Honestly, this is maddening.

I want to rest in something, either in some sense of stability, or in a sense of control, or in a sense of instability, or a sense of lack of control. But, none of them seems solid.

I don't know why it's maddening. It's this low-level agitation that seems to transcend anything I can possibly label.

But, the other day, I realized this, that I'm trying so hard to eradicate the subtlest levels of agitation. All while there are other, more obvious forms of suffering that I am basically pushing aside and ignoring. I suspect that agonizing feedback loops ("re-observation"?) are caused by this process. It's something like the tendency to make the attention narrower and narrower, in response to aversion, past the point where the mind can comfortably handle that level of resolution.

So, I've been allowing myself to experience those "more obvious" sensations as well. Seems productive in some sense.

Here are my questions:

1. Is "suffering" simply the feeling of scrunching up the face (even very subtly) whenever something "unpleasant" is experienced?

2. Is equanimity nothing more than the state of observing a sensation without scrunching up the face?

These questions are motivated by experiences like one I had this morning: I was noticing a lot of pain and agitation in my hips, and I let my attention rest there and observe how I was "bigger than the pain". Suddenly, my mind "locked on" to the pain, and I realized that all of that was actually in my face, not in my hips. It was like I suddenly noticed I had been looking at my hips through pain-colored glasses. At that point, it was easy to just relax my face. This kind of thing has been happening over and over. It's not always pain...sometimes it's tension, or tightness, a feeling of a physical wall where my mind is saying that my body is not allowed to move in a particular direction. But it all seems to be in the face, not actually in the rest of the body.

My sits seem to generally take on a flavor corresponding to one of the 3 characteristics, and it seems to be impossible to predict which one is going to predominate in any given sit.

Blah blah blah...writing about this stuff is pointless...it's just the same thing over and over...

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
5/22/19 8:55 AM as a reply to spatial.
OK, let's try this: When I'm meditating, I'm meditating.

I think that's the only story that needs to be believed.

There's something almost intellectual about it. I can't judge how well it's going based on how it feels. I think this is why a teacher can be useful. But, I don't see why I can't function as my own teacher, as long as I'm able to look at my experience objectively, and separate it from the moment-to-moment feelings.

It's not about the experience. It's about the relationship to the experience.

Can that relationship be 'felt'? Not sure.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
5/22/19 9:02 AM as a reply to spatial.
 ... I don't see why I can't function as my own teacher, as long as I'm able to look at my experience objectively, and separate it from the moment-to-moment feelings.

It takes a rare individual to walk this path alone without any coaching at all, but maybe the saving grace of those who wish to do so is to have a place like this available. So they're not alone.

emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
5/23/19 6:08 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
+1   I would be lost without my teachers and meditation friends.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
5/30/19 9:12 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 ... I don't see why I can't function as my own teacher, as long as I'm able to look at my experience objectively, and separate it from the moment-to-moment feelings.

It takes a rare individual to walk this path alone without any coaching at all, but maybe the saving grace of those who wish to do so is to have a place like this available. So they're not alone.

emoticon
Yes, absolutely. I am very grateful to have a place like this, and for the advice that you, shargrol, and others have been giving me over this past year.

I think a lot of this is mainly a rant inspired by loneliness. I have tried going to some local meditation groups, but no one there seems interested in discussing actual meditation, and my friends who claim to be interested in meditation just get turned off when I talk about my experiences. And no books seem to normalize these experiences. Even books like MCTB seem to imply a linear path which doesn't really feel like what I'm going through. I'm also probably engaging in a lot of confirmation bias, based on childhood micro-traumas...

I have been trying to work on developing more compassion for others lately. It's not easy, and they certainly don't make it any easier. Everyone in our society is so incredibly defensive and protective. 

I also feel out-of-touch, because I simply look at the world differently than almost anyone I know. I was always weird, yes. But now certain things are too obvious to ignore. I have this desire for other people's suffering to go away. They don't like it when I try to make that happen. It seems invasive, or arrogant, or controlling, or invalidating. But, I can't help the fact that I want it to go away. The world would be so much cleaner without that friction. So, I'm at a point where it seems that my perception of suffering directly leads to my loneliness.

OK, rant over for now.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
5/31/19 2:08 AM as a reply to spatial.
For what it’s worth, I appreciate your writing very much. Most cool people are weird in some way. I never thought of you as weird (but weird is normal for me, so I wouldn’t know) but I do think you are cool. Sorry if that embarrasses you; you don’t have to answer.

As for reducing suffering, in many (most?) cases people seem to need to come to realization on their own, or at least believe that they have. Also, they need to be ready for it.

As for suffering being that scrunching up of the face, I don’t know if that’s all it is, but it certainly seems significant. I think of it as contractions, and lately I have been fascinated by the differences between contractive mind-states and mind-states without that contraction.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
5/31/19 5:56 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
For what it’s worth, I appreciate your writing very much. Most cool people are weird in some way. I never thought of you as weird (but weird is normal for me, so I wouldn’t know) but I do think you are cool. Sorry if that embarrasses you; you don’t have to answer.


Thank you! Haha, yes, you're probably weird too emoticon


As for suffering being that scrunching up of the face, I don’t know if that’s all it is, but it certainly seems significant. I think of it as contractions, and lately I have been fascinated by the differences between contractive mind-states and mind-states without that contraction.



Here's a question I'm wondering about: Is contraction the same thing as scrunching up the face? Is there any other way to get a contracted mind-state?

Lately, I've been really fascinated by observing how my mind-states seem to be nothing more than a direct result of minute adjustments in physical posture.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/1/19 4:36 AM as a reply to spatial.
I don’t know if there’s some true answer to this, and if so, what that would be. However, I would say that I find that I sort of scrunch up the face or orher parts of the body mentally. I don’t have to do a grimase or tense up in order to contract, but there is a similar feeling to it. Something solidifies. Something takes a firm shape. Something defines itself. Does that make any sense?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/1/19 4:50 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:

I don't know why it's maddening. It's this low-level agitation that seems to transcend anything I can possibly label.

Hey spatial, yes this stuff is a pain.  You can be equanimious about it, but it is easier when it is absent.  In my case, it seems to be a physical thing that arises from regular drinking of alcohol, which is the habit of my subculture.  If I stop drinking for a days it goes away.  If I have a particularly convivial time for a while, it increases.  So maybe there is a dietary or drug trigger for this?

What I find is that without insight, the mind attaches to these feelings of agitation and pretends they are to do with some karmic formation, and need to be dealt with. But really, they are just physical, not mental, and the mind is just fooling itself. 

Metta to you.  emoticon

Malcolm

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/1/19 6:39 PM as a reply to curious.
It's this low-level agitation that seems to transcend anything I can possibly label.

Hi Spatial and Curious, i would suggest you leave this alone. Do your practice, go about your business but do not consider that it has answers for you. You could even decide that it will always be there and you will never do anything about it. Its free to come and go as it pleases. If it gets on your nerves, return some kindness and allow it what ever it wants. You will adjust, give it time.

Hi Curious, the effect that certain matter has is a valuable indicator. So the alchohol changes something up until a certain length of time has passed then it reverts back. Different material has different time periods before it reverts back. Next time you come into contact with chemicals in the atmosphere notice the change. You probably already do.
What I find is that without insight, the mind attaches to these feelings of agitation and pretends they are to do with some karmic formation, and need to be dealt with. But really, they are just physical, not mental, and the mind is just fooling itself. 

In that first paragragh i'm suggesting that strategy as the solution. If as you say the problem is physical then my strategy will never work. I would prefer to say that the agitation is the result of the way the mind is interacting with the phenomena. Its fighting with it. The solution is to do nothing about it. Give freedom to the phenomena knowing that there is only one possible way through this. Smile, accept that its out of my hands and in the hands of the only thing with such abilities. I'm counting on that agitation to slowly change to something relaxing and tranquil by me leaving it alone. 
So what do you reckon. Obviously i can't do this because its not my experience. I don't expect you to do it. Hi Spatial if you followed that stragegy do you think it would go in the direction that i am suggesting. Say i lower the target, instead going from agitation to nuetral or neither pleasant nor unpleasant.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/3/19 9:30 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I don’t know if there’s some true answer to this, and if so, what that would be. However, I would say that I find that I sort of scrunch up the face or orher parts of the body mentally. I don’t have to do a grimase or tense up in order to contract, but there is a similar feeling to it. Something solidifies. Something takes a firm shape. Something defines itself. Does that make any sense?


Yes, that makes sense. In my experience, things that seem "mental" at first turn out to be physical upon closer examination. This is just the sense I get, and I'm not sure to what extent it's "true". Maybe it was always physical to begin with, and it's just my linguistic conditioning that makes me say it's "mental" in the first place. Or, perhaps I'm just noticing a physical reaction that goes along with the mental sensations. Or, maybe it's all mental, including the physical stuff.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/3/19 9:31 AM as a reply to curious.
curious:
spatial:

I don't know why it's maddening. It's this low-level agitation that seems to transcend anything I can possibly label.

Hey spatial, yes this stuff is a pain.  You can be equanimious about it, but it is easier when it is absent.  In my case, it seems to be a physical thing that arises from regular drinking of alcohol, which is the habit of my subculture.  If I stop drinking for a days it goes away.  If I have a particularly convivial time for a while, it increases.  So maybe there is a dietary or drug trigger for this?

What I find is that without insight, the mind attaches to these feelings of agitation and pretends they are to do with some karmic formation, and need to be dealt with. But really, they are just physical, not mental, and the mind is just fooling itself. 

Metta to you.  emoticon

Malcolm

That's an interesting idea. I don't drink too often, but I haven't really paid close attention to the impact my diet has on my meditation.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/3/19 9:39 AM as a reply to Bigbird.
Bigbird:
In that first paragragh i'm suggesting that strategy as the solution. If as you say the problem is physical then my strategy will never work. I would prefer to say that the agitation is the result of the way the mind is interacting with the phenomena. Its fighting with it. The solution is to do nothing about it. Give freedom to the phenomena knowing that there is only one possible way through this. Smile, accept that its out of my hands and in the hands of the only thing with such abilities. I'm counting on that agitation to slowly change to something relaxing and tranquil by me leaving it alone. 
So what do you reckon. Obviously i can't do this because its not my experience. I don't expect you to do it. Hi Spatial if you followed that stragegy do you think it would go in the direction that i am suggesting. Say i lower the target, instead going from agitation to nuetral or neither pleasant nor unpleasant.

At the end of the day, yeah, I think that's the way to go. Only equanimity can make things settle down. 

The question does seem to be: how do I leave it alone?  Especially when the senses of "I" and "it" are constantly changing. Equanimity is not always easy to find. 

It's really a rhetorical question. I don't expect it to have an easy answer. It seems to me that the answer is only found through the practice of meditation itself.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/3/19 9:52 AM as a reply to spatial.
Here's a question that's been on my mind a lot lately. Is it possible that I have already attained stream entry? There is one event that occured spontaneously in my daily life a few years ago which stands out in my mind. However, that was before I knew anything about vipassana or awakening or anything like that, and had basically no meditation practice. 

Is there any way to know for sure? Does it matter? Why would it matter? Perhaps it would give some validation to my confidence in my knowledge of how to kinda sorta do this. Maybe I just want to feel special. What's wrong with feeling special? 

Do these thoughts get in the way of my practice? Even if they do, how can I possibly prevent them? 

Knowledge of these things has motivated me to practice more seriously. It also does seem to be causing some kind of agitation. And also fear. Fear that I will suddenly lose control and things will be permanently different, with no way to go back.

I'm doing a 10-day Goenka retreat next week (for the 3rd time). I'm noticing a resistance to going really deep in my meditation lately. What if I become fully enlightened before the retreat? Will I have to cancel it? Will I get there and find that there's nothing to do? Will I have to try to explain all of that to them?

This all sounds silly as I type it, but it's really my experience...

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/3/19 10:40 AM as a reply to spatial.
 And also fear. Fear that I will suddenly lose control and things will be permanently different, with no way to go back.


I used to worry about this, too. But... you can put this fear to rest. No matter how much things change you will be the same person and have the same experiences you've always been, and have. The changes you will have (if you have them) will be worthwhile even if at first they are disorienting. You can trust this process. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/3/19 3:47 PM as a reply to spatial.
I would say you have not attained stream entry. My motivation to answer such a question, and doing it as the first part of this post is to get you to focus on whats important. You've been putting in lots of effort for a decent lenght of time, and your getting frustrated and its effecting your practice. This is when one pulls up. Consolidates, gets back to basics before moving forward. This is a normal occurance.

I do think that there is a negitive effect with meditation forums. People are always reporting a continuous process of notice new things that they feel have importance and may be the answer leading to a break through of sorts. It just keeps going. Noticing this and noticing that, suddenly they've realised this, which negates that, and the way they see it  now is ...... 
The way i see it, is it looks exhausting and a recipe for going round the twist. I think there is a culture of practice that generates this endless quest to find the key or answer to the Nibbana location. There is no documentation from people that got Nibbana that suggests looking in every conceivable location of ones experience for the answer.

AS A CRUDE EXAMPLE.

Have you ever heard someone say, once i identified and discarded enough of the relevant Sankara's i released the minds grip on phenomena. Obviously that made things much more pleasant. With even higher levels of Insight, bit by bit i recognised and released any control on phenomena that remained. As a result what was once multiple objects at different vibrations, became one syncronised field of vibration. Now with awareness, just this field of vibration, and because i understood the 4 noble truths. I could see the subject and the object, the good and the bad, the pleasure and pain how with qualitative discernment conciousness creates duality. As i moved away from the oscillation i knew i had done it. Yeh Bigbird. Now, with perfect understanding i applied perfect equanimity to all formations, saying goodbye Samsara then took the fruit of my quest, a non oscillator and said hello Nibbana.

I'm taking the piss. Its what Australians do. The point is nothing like this happens. A more accurate account could be. The whole field of awareness is vibrating. The mind is got some strong interest in gaps. I'm just aware. My understanding has developing to the stage where if i so much as blink i'm going to fuck the whole thing up. I'm still taking the piss. You might hear, i was just doing nothing, every time ive tried anything it didn't work. So i was silently aware, it blinked. I think that was it, and ive still got no idea how this works. I'm still taking the piss, but my intention is to relieve some of your frustration but also to point out that why would you need to know all the things that you feel are neccessary, when its clear that you will not be steering this process. AND from here recommend, back to the basics and start practicing the neccessary skills for when you get to here. 

Is it possible that I have already attained stream entry? However, that was before I knew anything about vipassana or awakening or anything like that, and had basically no meditation practice. 

You may have had a higher possibility of getting it, as you had not formed any ideas.

I wouldn' write this if i didn't think i could offer something useful. Remember when we first chatted and i continued to point out, its Awareness AW and Equanimity EQ all the way to the end.
I will try and follow up with something useful.







RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/3/19 3:32 PM as a reply to spatial.
Here's a question that's been on my mind a lot lately. Is it possible that I have already attained stream entry? There is one event that occured spontaneously in my daily life a few years ago which stands out in my mind. However, that was before I knew anything about vipassana or awakening or anything like that, and had basically no meditation practice. 

I feel the need here to ask you to describe that event. Otherwise, this is a guessing game.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/3/19 5:27 PM as a reply to spatial.
It also does seem to be causing some kind of agitation. And also fear. Fear that I will suddenly lose control and things will be permanently different, with no way to go back.

I'm doing a 10-day Goenka retreat next week (for the 3rd time). I'm noticing a resistance to going really deep in my meditation lately. 


This stuff is good, and its a good time to do a retreat. 
Also a perfect time right now to lock in a couple of fundamental principles of practice regards Sattipathana. That way you apply all your recources towards right practice.
The agitation is necessary, the fear is necessary, the resistance is necessary. There not coming to get you, there coming to help you.
When one is a bit raw and they fear losing control. They are aware. Once you penitrate into the deep complexes, they are powerful. Its when they catch you totally unaware and off guard that makes a mess. At least once or twice your going to unleash on some object, and you will suffer more than them.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/5/19 5:06 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Here's a question that's been on my mind a lot lately. Is it possible that I have already attained stream entry? There is one event that occured spontaneously in my daily life a few years ago which stands out in my mind. However, that was before I knew anything about vipassana or awakening or anything like that, and had basically no meditation practice. 

I feel the need here to ask you to describe that event. Otherwise, this is a guessing game.

I'm really curious to know how you would ever be able to judge someone else's experience. I kinda like to think that I'm smart enough to be able to fool someone else into thinking that I have attained something I have not, or even fool myself...

It was while practicing singing. I can't remember details of the actual moment itself. But, there was a moment. One instant, I was super-frustrated with the vocal exercise that I was doing, and the next instant I was simply a different person, one who couldn't possibly be frustrated by something like that.

There's a core insight I had in that moment, which I have tried putting into words many times, but it is somehow too multifaceted to be able to really capture it.

If I had to try to describe what happened, it would be something like: I noticed how an action of mine which I had thought was performed in accordance with reality, was actually a reaction to a fiction in my mind. So, it was like I saw that my suffering was actually under my control (because it was the product of the story in my head), but also simultaneously not under my control (because it was just a conditioned response). This was really shocking, and I literally felt as if I had seen a glitch in the matrix.

I felt like a big weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, and I had aftershocks for a few weeks, followed by several months of intense creativity, as I looked at every area of my life from a new viewpoint.

I've never really been a spiritual person (except for a brief time as a kid when I was experimenting with magick and psychic powers and such), and you might have called me a militant atheist. After this epiphany, however, I suddenly understood what spiritual and religious people were trying to say, even though they had a funny way of saying it.

I went to my first yoga class a few weeks later, and it was pretty quickly clear to me that I knew more about yoga than the teacher did (and I knew nothing about yoga). I have since read several books on yoga, and my mind has not changed. The core insight is the core insight, and it's obvious that most people teaching yoga and meditation in the general population have not had this insight.

The reason why I wonder if this event was stream entry is because when I eventually read about the three fetters, it seemed clear to me what they were referring to.

I'm cautious about overplaying this, but in my mind, it was a very significant event. It is hard for me to relate to how I used to view the world. The sense of total freedom that I had after that event has since died down, but what is left in its place is nothing like what I used to experience. As much as I might whine and complain in these practice logs, I can't really bring myself to believe any of that. I'm not sure what that used to feel like, but I know I used to do it. I can read what I wrote in a journal from before then, and I know that my complaints were real. They weren't just the morbid fascination with my own suffering that I have now.

What do you think?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/6/19 6:41 AM as a reply to spatial.
I noticed how an action of mine which I had thought was performed in accordance with reality, was actually a reaction to a fiction in my mind. So, it was like I saw that my suffering was actually under my control (because it was the product of the story in my head), but also simultaneously not under my control (because it was just a conditioned response). This was really shocking, and I literally felt as if I had seen a glitch in the matrix.

This is indeed a fundamental insight into "how things really work" (I said that as if you didn't already know this. Sheesh). It became obvious to you that mind is the source of perception - that experience is generated there, not "outside." I don't know if you can call it stream entry but who cares? It made a huge difference in the way you perceive your experience and process what's going on all the time. That's what matters.


RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/8/19 3:14 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I noticed how an action of mine which I had thought was performed in accordance with reality, was actually a reaction to a fiction in my mind. So, it was like I saw that my suffering was actually under my control (because it was the product of the story in my head), but also simultaneously not under my control (because it was just a conditioned response). This was really shocking, and I literally felt as if I had seen a glitch in the matrix.

This is indeed a fundamental insight into "how things really work" (I said that as if you didn't already know this. Sheesh). It became obvious to you that mind is the source of perception - that experience is generated there, not "outside." I don't know if you can call it stream entry but who cares? It made a huge difference in the way you perceive your experience and process what's going on all the time. That's what matters.


Yes, that is what matters. Not sure who cares... There does seem to be "caring" happening, though...This stuff is really crazy.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
6/8/19 3:15 PM as a reply to Bigbird.
Bigbird:
It also does seem to be causing some kind of agitation. And also fear. Fear that I will suddenly lose control and things will be permanently different, with no way to go back.

I'm doing a 10-day Goenka retreat next week (for the 3rd time). I'm noticing a resistance to going really deep in my meditation lately. 


This stuff is good, and its a good time to do a retreat. 
Also a perfect time right now to lock in a couple of fundamental principles of practice regards Sattipathana. That way you apply all your recources towards right practice.
The agitation is necessary, the fear is necessary, the resistance is necessary. There not coming to get you, there coming to help you.
When one is a bit raw and they fear losing control. They are aware. Once you penitrate into the deep complexes, they are powerful. Its when they catch you totally unaware and off guard that makes a mess. At least once or twice your going to unleash on some object, and you will suffer more than them.

This sounds like good advice. Thank you.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/12/19 8:42 PM as a reply to spatial.
Since I got back from my retreat, meditation has felt easier, in some sense. However, I've been less motivated to do it.

When I sit, I tend to cycle between "intense pleasure and anticipation" and "insanely maddening agony that makes me feel like my body simply doesn't fit me properly." Every experience feels like some version of one of those two.

By and large, that's fine. It's interesting to watch that pendulum swing back and forth.

However, I'm concerned about something. It's the intensity of these sensations. Sometimes it feels like my body is literally about to rip in half. The pressure in my head, chest, and neck can feel unbelievably strong. And it's out of my control. The more aware I am, the more intense it gets, and the more it seems to jump around with a mind of its own.

(Something else cool happened the other day. I've been going to figure drawing sessions, trying to teach myself how to draw. I think I had an A&P event or something in the middle of the session on Tuesday. I suddenly felt my mind join with the tip of the pencil and all resistance to 'drawing badly' just shattered into a million pieces. Lying in bed that night trying to fall asleep was a frightening experience. However, now I feel like I can draw anything, which is really remarkable and exciting.)

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/14/19 11:22 PM as a reply to spatial.
Current conclusions:

So much sensation is wrapped up in "the meditator". He is running the show most of the time, and yet I identify with him so much of the time. This scares me a little bit (what exactly will I uncover???). It's feeling more and more possible to unravel that kind of thing. I don't know why. It just happens. I can't make this stuff happen. I sit down and suddenly it's like reality presents itself in a clear, decipherable way. Because I've seen it that way in the past, and it's on a loop. It's time for that thought to come back around, so it does.

This evening: The thought occurred to me "what if those unpleasant sensations that appear when I meditate are actually just the way things are supposed to be right now?" So I sat with them for the hour. I think that is moving things in a positive direction. Craving for them to disappear obviously diminished. And with that, greater peace during the sit. Even had a couple moments where I "blanked out"...this hasn't happened for a while...my mind has been too "wired" during practice for the past few months for anything to feel relaxed...

It's like I have to keep realizing over and over that the idea is to just let things be as they are. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/15/19 6:39 AM as a reply to spatial.
Yes  emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/15/19 9:27 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Yes  emoticon

Thanks for the encouragement. Now, is there anything I can do to move things along faster? Just sit more? Work with a teacher? What would the teacher say to me? 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/15/19 9:29 AM as a reply to spatial.
This morning, I had an interesting realization. I always stress out about how I can't seem to accurately describe my meditation experiences. It's particularly frustrating because it's like I can almost see them, as complex 3D objects, and if I could just nail them down concretely, I would be able to convey them and finally crack this thing open.

So, my realization was this: yes, they are complex 3D objects...the experiences themselves are taking place in full 3D space all around me, but my "comprehension" of them is 2D, or at most a very limited 3D subspace. My experience will perpetually be beyond my full comprehension. That's just the nature of it, because every time I have an understanding, it is accompanied by sensations that are physically beyond that understanding. Not sure if that makes sense.

I think drawing has been helping my meditation now. I was explaining my drawing insight to my sister yesterday, and I realized that the problem is like this:

The pencil moves on the paper, and the attention moves through the room. Both are actually out of "my" control. When the pencil and the attention sync up, I can draw whatever I'm looking at. Sometimes the attention lands on an object, and the pencil starts drawing it, and then the attention spontaneously leaves the object. At that moment, there is a tendency to grasp onto the object, trying to keep the attention there. This is a mistake, because it totally destroys the rhythm of synchronicity that the attention had with the pencil. If instead I allow the attention to do whatever it wants to do, even if it leaves the object of desire, the rhythm will be maintained, and thus the pencil will quickly catch back up to it whenever the time is right.

This seems like it might be the trick in meditation as well. Instead of "the pencil", we have "the meditator". Instead of "drawing the object", we have "insight", and instead of "destroying the rhythm" we have "dark night". I'm just throwing words out there. It does seem like a huge part of this is developing the ability to actually enjoy the total inability to comprehend what's happening.

It almost struck me as humorous this morning...how the mind is so incredibly determined to get me to pay attention to anything other than what's happening right now. I could see sensations arising, and then many seconds would pass before the mind would finally decide on an interpretation of those sensations. Just total commitment to the idea that "what's happening right now" can't possibly be "it".

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/15/19 9:59 AM as a reply to spatial.
Now, is there anything I can do to move things along faster? Just sit more? Work with a teacher? What would the teacher say to me? 

I'm not going to pretend to be a teacher but I'd say, "Keep going!".

I will say, too, that you seem to be self-sufficient (more so than most) at advancing your practice. If anything, engaging with a teacher or maybe better yet a mentor, might help you work through some of the experiences and insights that come up for you. 

(Of course, there's also this place...)

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/15/19 9:58 AM as a reply to spatial.
My experience will perpetually be beyond my full comprehension. That's just the nature of it, because every time I have an understanding, it is accompanied by sensations that are physically beyond that understanding. Not sure if that makes sense. 

We do experience our lives as if looking through a narrow straw. There is no way the fullness of experience can be expressed in concepts (words). There's no way the fullness of our experience can be recalled by the mind. Our cognitive space is limited. The universe is vast.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/16/19 8:50 AM as a reply to spatial.
I've been thinking of practice like this:

My job is not to control every tiny little movement.
It's to sit, with my legs crossed, my hands clasped, my eyes closed, on the cushion, and not move from that position
No matter what happens
It's like I'm building a fence around a wild animal, not trying to chain it down or put it in a metal cast
It's just really easy. Just sit and wait for the timer to go off... No need for anything else

I emphasize stuff like this because it's obvious to me how much I'm doing that really just makes it harder. And I'm trying to remind myself that the point is much simpler than that.

This morning's sit was very musical... "Under the Boardwalk" was playing in my head at first. There's often a song in my head when I meditate. I think it has something to do with the stage I'm at.

The song felt like it was in the background at first, and then as things calm down, it came to the foreground. Eventually, I started to sync up with waves of physical sensation that seemed to accompany the song. Then, the song slowed down, to the point where I couldn't make sense of it anymore. Then, I noticed my mind trying to find another one. One that was more compatible with the waves that were currently present. So, I went through "American Pie", "I Will Survive", and finally settled on "Dancing Queen". At least my mind is choosing good songs...

In the second half of the sit, I started observing whatever was happening and saying something like "This is exactly the way things should be". This seemed to bring up a lot of interesting stuff. I don't really remember too much of it specifically.

For over a year now, as I start getting toward the end of the sit, I've generally felt impatient and disappointed that no obvious path attainments have happened yet. And I dread getting up and going about my day (which I had hoped would finally be as an "enlightened person"). Look, I'm not saying this is dominating my whole experience, but it's a noticeable event almost every time.

This morning was very interesting, because I anticipated it happening, and could see the sensations in the head representing "the meditator" as he went through this ritual.

Again, this all seems like it's out of my control.

Last night, trying to fall asleep was super-intense. Pressure, anticipation, sensation everywhere in my body. Something snapped in the left side of my face or neck and I felt a release, and eventually fell asleep.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/17/19 8:26 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Now, is there anything I can do to move things along faster? Just sit more? Work with a teacher? What would the teacher say to me? 

I'm not going to pretend to be a teacher but I'd say, "Keep going!".

I will say, too, that you seem to be self-sufficient (more so than most) at advancing your practice. If anything, engaging with a teacher or maybe better yet a mentor, might help you work through some of the experiences and insights that come up for you. 

(Of course, there's also this place...)
Thanks again. I don't feel very self-sufficient sometimes. I feel like at the root of this all is just this intense desire for overwhelming pleasure, and intolerance for pain. It's a little bit scary, how it can just appear out of nowhere and take over without warning. But yeah, I'll keep going... emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/18/19 9:25 AM as a reply to spatial.
 I feel like at the root of this all is just this intense desire for overwhelming pleasure, and intolerance for pain.

I think you've just re-worded the first noble truth of Buddhism  emoticon



RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/18/19 9:36 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:

I feel like at the root of this all is just this intense desire for overwhelming pleasure, and intolerance for pain. It's a little bit scary, how it can just appear out of nowhere and take over without warning. But yeah, I'll keep going... emoticon


That is scary, indeed. It just happened to me. I’m thinking that maybe it gets more turbulent because there is enough progress for the resistance to resist. We are self-sabotaging, I was about to say, but it’s sort of the opposite, I guess. Our deluded selves are not-self-sabotaging. Anyway, I’m following your log with great interest. It is cool to see how you are seeing through those chains of suffering.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/19/19 7:50 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
spatial:

I feel like at the root of this all is just this intense desire for overwhelming pleasure, and intolerance for pain. It's a little bit scary, how it can just appear out of nowhere and take over without warning. But yeah, I'll keep going... emoticon


That is scary, indeed. It just happened to me. I’m thinking that maybe it gets more turbulent because there is enough progress for the resistance to resist. We are self-sabotaging, I was about to say, but it’s sort of the opposite, I guess. Our deluded selves are not-self-sabotaging. Anyway, I’m following your log with great interest. It is cool to see how you are seeing through those chains of suffering.
What exactly is the "scary" part? It seemed scary to me when I wrote that, but I was trying to remember what exactly is scary about it, and I can't. Is it just the fear of losing clarity? The fear of not making progress in meditation? What is it? What is being sabotaged? I can't connect with the real problem here at the moment. I just have a horrible headache.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/19/19 8:01 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 I feel like at the root of this all is just this intense desire for overwhelming pleasure, and intolerance for pain.

I think you've just re-worded the first noble truth of Buddhism  emoticon


Yeah, sounds about right...

So, what should I do? Should I explore each of those poles? Thinking about this is literally making my head hurt. Something doesn't seem right about "try to avoid getting attached to pleasure" and "don't push yourself too hard". I feel like I can see myself swinging back and forth very clearly, but I have only a hazy idea of where the midpoint is. Does that make any sense?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/20/19 5:29 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
spatial:

I feel like at the root of this all is just this intense desire for overwhelming pleasure, and intolerance for pain. It's a little bit scary, how it can just appear out of nowhere and take over without warning. But yeah, I'll keep going... emoticon


That is scary, indeed. It just happened to me. I’m thinking that maybe it gets more turbulent because there is enough progress for the resistance to resist. We are self-sabotaging, I was about to say, but it’s sort of the opposite, I guess. Our deluded selves are not-self-sabotaging. Anyway, I’m following your log with great interest. It is cool to see how you are seeing through those chains of suffering.
What exactly is the "scary" part? It seemed scary to me when I wrote that, but I was trying to remember what exactly is scary about it, and I can't. Is it just the fear of losing clarity? The fear of not making progress in meditation? What is it? What is being sabotaged? I can't connect with the real problem here at the moment. I just have a horrible headache.


I guess it’s scary how easy it is to lose direction and get caught up with chains of suffering again, as if no insights had occurred. I’m grateful that too is impermanent. Sorry for my wording, but... fuck progress! This is no ego trip. I’m worried about the destructiveness that sneaks its way back and the harm that it causes.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/20/19 10:00 AM as a reply to spatial.
So, what should I do? Should I explore each of those poles? Thinking about this is literally making my head hurt. Something doesn't seem right about "try to avoid getting attached to pleasure" and "don't push yourself too hard". I feel like I can see myself swinging back and forth very clearly, but I have only a hazy idea of where the midpoint is. Does that make any sense?


Spatial, I see you as a very focused and your mind as very investigative. Critically thinking. Thinking all the time? Analyzing.

My suggestion is to try taking a break from that for a while. Give yourself room to breathe. Maybe develop a light concentration practice where you don't aim to observe and analyze but to just sit and be. During my early practice at vipassana, I was sort of the same way you are now and wanted desperately to "get it." That worked for a while and then it got to be stultifying and difficult. I took to doing two distinct practice periods every day - one in the morning to note and investigate, and one in the evening to practice nothing but "being." That seemed to work a lot better and my amped-up analyzing mind calmed down enough to allow me to see the bigger picture and make better sense of my vipassana practice.

Trees/forest, you know? See what happens...



RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/20/19 11:06 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
So, what should I do? Should I explore each of those poles? Thinking about this is literally making my head hurt. Something doesn't seem right about "try to avoid getting attached to pleasure" and "don't push yourself too hard". I feel like I can see myself swinging back and forth very clearly, but I have only a hazy idea of where the midpoint is. Does that make any sense?


Spatial, I see you as a very focused and your mind as very investigative. Critically thinking. Thinking all the time? Analyzing.

My suggestion is to try taking a break from that for a while. Give yourself room to breathe. Maybe develop a light concentration practice where you don't aim to observe and analyze but to just sit and be. During my early practice at vipassana, I was sort of the same way you are now and wanted desperately to "get it." That worked for a while and then it got to be stultifying and difficult. I took to doing two distinct practice periods every day - one in the morning to note and investigate, and one in the evening to practice nothing but "being." That seemed to work a lot better and my amped-up analyzing mind calmed down enough to allow me to see the bigger picture and make better sense of my vipassana practice.

Trees/forest, you know? See what happens...




This is what I have been doing. Most of my sessions begin with the intention to sit and do nothing. And, I return to that intention over and over. Still, the analysis happens, seemingly out of my control. It feels like I need to just get it all out of my system, which may take a long time. Is there any way to make it go faster? Is there anything I'm unknowingly doing that's encouraging the analysis?

Even in asking these questions, I wonder if I'm looking for some kind of validation, which is feeding the analysis habit. This is the special kind of hell that meditation creates for me.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/20/19 1:04 PM as a reply to spatial.
Is there any way to make it go faster? Is there anything I'm unknowingly doing that's encouraging the analysis?

Can you develop a concentration practice? I totally understand the urge to investigate. At this point, however, it sounds to me like the urge has taken on a life of its own. Another thing you might try to do is examine the urge itself - what prompts it? When does it occur? What happens immediately before it occurs? What happens if you ignore it? What happens if you just watch it develop and play out? If you try to ignore it or just watch it play out, what urges and emotions develop from that?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/21/19 7:40 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
This is the special kind of hell that meditation creates for me.


Perfect! That's what mediation is supposed to show you.

Now go meta and notice the dynamic of that special hell that your mind is creating for yourself. Look at the trouble your mind (in it's effort to help) is making.

Basically, we don't drop these bad habits unless we feel the pain that they cause. It would be nice if we were intelligent beings that responded to reason, because then you could simply say "did you know smoking is bad for you?" and people would quit.  Or we would notice "Oh, I'm 20 pounds over weight" and then we would eat less. But the mind-body doesn't really work that way. Deep down, our brain is a very stupid lizard than needs to be put into direct contact with the negative consequences of it's habits otherwise the lizard never changes.

This is why, after a certain point in becoming a mostly-sane person, meditation is >necessary< to make any more progress. All the intellectual and philosophical approaches will somewhat conceptually support training the stupid lizard, but it never quite does the trick.

So we have to sit on a cushion and directly feel our special hells if we want to keep refining our mind. 

A lot of it is slowly training the lizard, but lizards are also smart in their own stupid way. If a lizard eats a wasp and gets stung, it won't even try to eat a wasp any more. Many meditation insights are like that. Once we get it, once we are really "stung", we suprizingly find our bad habit suddenly gone. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/21/19 9:33 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Wonderful!

That's why shargrol should be a teacher  emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/21/19 2:08 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
 (Thanks!) Just riffing on your "what is the urge?" comment. emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/22/19 12:41 PM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
spatial:
This is the special kind of hell that meditation creates for me.


Perfect! That's what mediation is supposed to show you.

Now go meta and notice the dynamic of that special hell that your mind is creating for yourself. Look at the trouble your mind (in it's effort to help) is making.

Basically, we don't drop these bad habits unless we feel the pain that they cause. It would be nice if we were intelligent beings that responded to reason, because then you could simply say "did you know smoking is bad for you?" and people would quit.  Or we would notice "Oh, I'm 20 pounds over weight" and then we would eat less. But the mind-body doesn't really work that way. Deep down, our brain is a very stupid lizard than needs to be put into direct contact with the negative consequences of it's habits otherwise the lizard never changes.

This is why, after a certain point in becoming a mostly-sane person, meditation is >necessary< to make any more progress. All the intellectual and philosophical approaches will somewhat conceptually support training the stupid lizard, but it never quite does the trick.

So we have to sit on a cushion and directly feel our special hells if we want to keep refining our mind. 

A lot of it is slowly training the lizard, but lizards are also smart in their own stupid way. If a lizard eats a wasp and gets stung, it won't even try to eat a wasp any more. Many meditation insights are like that. Once we get it, once we are really "stung", we suprizingly find our bad habit suddenly gone. 
Yes, you should be a teacher emoticon

I think I'm good for now. Thanks, guys.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/23/19 9:01 AM as a reply to spatial.
I was reading the section “A Clear Goal” from MCTB2 last night. I'm trying to find the best quotation that illustrates what seems to be helping me right now, but I can't decide. It's stuff like this:

“For instance, we could wish to become awakened. This is a purely future-oriented goal. We could also wish to understand the true nature of the sensations that make up our world so clearly that we become awakened. This adds a present component and makes the whole enterprise much more reasonable and workable. We could simply wish to understand deeply the true nature of the sensations that make up our world as they naturally arise and vanish in that practice session or throughout that day. This is a very immediate and present-oriented goal, and a very fine one indeed. It is also method-oriented rather than result-oriented. This is the mark of a good goal.”

These words were echoing in my head this morning. About how the goal is to understand the sensations that make up the present moment. I don't know why it was so helpful this morning. It's not like this is a new concept. But, I found myself investigating pretty much everything that came up. New sensations in my head and neck started appearing. When random sounds ruined my concentration, I was right there with it, investigating my reactions. I had lots of future-oriented thoughts, and I found myself constantly coming back to present-moment sensations that accompanied them.

I'm feeling very determined to nail this thing. I think I can do it. Since my retreat last year, I've been both riding the brakes, and also trying to game the system. I think that's all natural and expected, but I want to untangle everything that's making that stuff happen.

It really seems to me that my “mood swings” are the result of skirting around that thing right in the center of my spinal cord, which fills my whole body with horribly intense sensations. So, I'm just going to dive right into it. Part of the “special hell” I mentioned in a previous post is related to the observation that practicing mindfulness and equanimity seems to lead me directly into that intensity. There's literally no way to “calm down and relax” apart from avoiding meditation entirely. That has been the main thing troubling me for this past year. But, I really think I need to just experience it. If I start to get weird, I hope someone will point it out to me before it's too late...

The other thing on my mind is the question of whether it's good for people encourage me when I post stuff like this. In a very real sense, this is all being driven by future-oriented goal seeking, and I want to reinforce present-moment awareness. So, lately I've been starting to appreciate those who have been “putting me in my place” or otherwise challenging my ego, simply because of the sensations they provoke (which seem to be difficult to find on my own). I'm not sure.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/23/19 9:22 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
I think I can do it. 


I think you can do it, too. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/23/19 9:41 AM as a reply to spatial.
Of course you can do this!

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/25/19 9:23 AM as a reply to spatial.
Wow, this is all very interesting...meditation is feeling pretty different lately. The perspective that was starting to develop on this past retreat is predominating a bit more.

The object of investigation is THE PRESENT MOMENT. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by how the present moment didn't even exist, because as soon as I was aware of it, it was gone. I remember spending long periods of time (seemed like hours, but was probably only 5 minutes emoticon) saying to myself “now!...now!...now!...now!” over and over, gleefully trying to grab on to whatever that label was supposed to be referring to.

It feels different now, though. Now, it feels like the present moment is the only thing that exists. It exists precisely because it is constantly changing. It's getting easier to just tune into that “thing”. I have been noticing myself remind myself “the goal here is just to understand why the present moment is the way it is.” And there's a question that goes along with it: “are you willing/interested in doing this, or not?” This seems to cut through layers of fear and attachment and mental construction, in a very strange way.

Not a new concept, of course, but something is new...it's related to the fact that the present moment is always changing. It's like...if I'm caught up on anything...no big deal...because the question was about THE PRESENT MOMENT, not the moment I was caught up on.

To be clear, this is a perspective that shows up when I meditate, or when I deliberately turn my mind in that direction. I don't mean to suggest that it's there all the time.

Two other realizations:

1. I think I'm starting to understand where these intense cravings and physical sensations are coming from. It has something to do with the balance of my head as I breathe. I suspect that the muscles that are supposed to do this job are not fully trained to the highest degree possible. So, as I breathe in and out, they awkwardly try to maintain balance, but there are delays and mistakes. I believe that the meditation has (a) made me more aware of the sensations of being off-balance, and (b) these sensations, being strange, have caused me to freak out and try to overcompensate. Now, when mindfulness is going really well, and the mind relaxes, this has the effect of relaxing those muscles (too much). Then, the head starts dropping due to gravity, and eventually...BAM! Back to reality. As the nervous system learns how to balance the head better (this requires training of everything along the whole spine), the resulting release of tension feels really good. I'm still piecing this all together. My convictions are getting stronger that very little of this stuff is “mental” at all. It really seems to me that all of these ñanas/jhanas are simply a product of the interaction between the breath and the spine.

2. I realized that I have been doing metta wrong all this time. What I have been doing is actually karuna (compassion) meditation. That is, I've been focusing on my suffering and the suffering of others, and the pain that's caused by not having ease/safety/etc. I didn't see the functional difference, and it seemed much easier to much on pain than on happiness, so I just went with it. Today, for some reason, I noticed that it's also possible to focus on the pleasant feelings in a way that doesn't involve “wishing the pain would stop”, and this feels quite different. This is very exciting...

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/29/19 9:33 AM as a reply to spatial.
Two days ago:

Multiple selves seemed to be presenting themselves in rapid succession:

“this is the one who is wanting to meditate properly”
“this is the one who is concerned about posture”
“this is the one who is excited about how well I'm doing”
“this is the one who is planning what I'm going to write about in my practice log”
“this is the one who is thinking about where I'm sitting in the room”
“this is the one who just wants to be done with this whole thing”
and on and on for the whole hour

I noticed how when one appeared, the others disappeared. They each seemed to have their own concept of what “the body” meant, where in the body they were located, their own limited range of emotional states.

Yesterday:

It seemed like 3 specific selves were competing for my attention while meditating.

After reading about child development, and doing a lot of thinking, I decided to name them:

1-year-old: eager to share excitement, afraid of abandonment
3-year-old: eager to assert independence, afraid of being punished by the anger of others
7-year-old: eager to seek redemption, afraid of eternal damnation

Off the cushion as well, I've been noticing how much of my reactions are caused by the complex interplay between these 6 competing concerns.

Today:

I'm getting new sensations in my head, neck, torso, pelvis. I think there's a lot of physical purification I need to go through.

It's still so hard to really describe what's happening in my practice.

I was basically asking myself the question “what's happening right now?” a lot. But not too frequently. I gave my mind time to answer it. It usually did come back with an answer, eventually. An answer consisting of things like:

- a sense of what I'm doing
- a sense of who I am
- a sense of what's bothering me
- a sense of where this is all happening

It's complex and multidimensional.

I seem to measure my progress by how easy it is for me to “zone out”. Not sure if that's wise, but I kinda think it is. Today, I did start to zone out a lot. Over the past year, it's been almost impossible. Meditation usually makes me hyper-alert.

I sense that I will make further progress by getting more and more in touch with the sensations that make up the eagerness to make progress. I can't seem to look directly at them, though. This idea of really gentle noting seems to be helpful.

On the other hand, it also seems helpful to completely succumb to these urges. That is, to totally give in to the desire to become enlightened, to the point where I am just screaming internally and clenching my face, and just being a spoiled little child who is throwing a temper tantrum. As I write these words, I am feeling anger towards those who gave me meditation advice that seems to imply that I shouldn't do this. That's really exciting to me, because I am seeing very complex chains of reactions. I want to point out that I am simplifying this for the sake of writing, by using conventional language to describe intricate patterns of sensations. I suppose I could try to be more specific about what I mean by “anger towards those”, for example, but that will have to wait for another day.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/30/19 4:34 PM as a reply to spatial.
What do you mean when you use the words "zone out?" Can you describe it in more detail?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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7/30/19 5:03 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
What do you mean when you use the words "zone out?" Can you describe it in more detail?
It's a state that I get into sometimes, when equanimity is pretty solid. I'm not feeling bliss, and I'm not feeling pain. Reality gets weird. I see things, hear things. It's almost like I'm falling asleep and dreaming, but I'm not falling asleep. I'm alert and awake. It feels like it's reality that's falling asleep, not me. Sometimes I feel like I lose consciousness for a moment here and there. It's hard to tell exactly what happens; as I said, reality is weird when I'm in that state. Almost metaphorical, rather than physical.

This goes in cycles. Maybe every 2-4 weeks (or sometimes longer), I have 1-2 days where I get into this state. Then, I have some new physical insights, and I'm no longer able to access it, until I sort out all the new physical stuff that showed up. This is why I view it as a sign of progress, because it seems like the end of a cycle. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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7/30/19 5:11 PM as a reply to spatial.
How do you know you're not falling asleep?

I've had similar experiences when both falling into, and out of, sleep. Things get weird, the mind creates any number of illusions mimicking sensory phenomena. I don't actually feel sleepy yet I'm in some transitory state between being asleep and being totally awake.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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7/30/19 5:27 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
How do you know you're not falling asleep?

I've had similar experiences when both falling into, and out of, sleep. Things get weird, the mind creates any number of illusions mimicking sensory phenomena. I don't actually feel sleepy yet I'm in some transitory state between being asleep and being totally awake.
Well, I don't know for sure. It just doesn't feel like sleep. When I'm falling asleep in bed, I feel tired. If my falling asleep is interrupted, I feel irritated and sluggish. This doesn't feel that way. But yes, a lot of the same types of illusions appear. I wish I could study it closer, but it happens too rarely, and when it does happen, the thought to study it just doesn't occur to me.

Another funny thing that happens is that I always have some really profound insight. Like, super-profound. I can feel it building up, like I'm right on the verge of figuring it all out...and I can tell it is just so much simpler than what I used to think it was... Then, something clicks into place, and I realize exactly what the problem has been all along. The reason it's funny is because I have no clue what it is. This has happened to me so many times. Each time, I feel like I've solved the greatest mysteries of the universe, and yet...I've got nothing.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/31/19 5:08 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris, I don't know if you did this deliberately, but whatever you said to me seems to be helping. Today, several times when I started going into that state, I felt some kind of need to prove something...there was some annoyance, and that alarm bell gave me some extra mindfulness around this whole thing. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it!

There are two states, and I alternate between them. There's the zoned out state, where things are going along really easily. Then, there's the zoned in state, where everything feels difficult, there is pressure in my head, and I feel responsible for making sure that I meditate correctly. I cycle between these states in some kind of regular pattern. It's related to the breath. I go into the zoned-in state on the inhale, then the exhale is spent trying to get into the zoned-out state. Sometimes it takes more than one breath cycle to get fully there. But, eventually there's an exhale where I reach the bottom. Then, I go right back into the zoned-in state.

The cycle is something like this:

inhale (zoned-in)
exhale...inhale...exhale...inhale...exhale...inhale... (zoning-out)
exhale (zoned-out)
inhale (zoning back in)

This is not falling asleep. I didn't lose consciousness today, though.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/31/19 5:33 PM as a reply to spatial.
Hmmm... does it ever feel like you're sort of blowing up a balloon and then letting it deflate using your breath? In-breath being inflation and out-breath being deflation? These breath patterns were very much my introduction to jhana states back in the day.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
7/31/19 5:43 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Hmmm... does it ever feel like you're sort of blowing up a balloon and then letting it deflate using your breath? In-breath being inflation and out-breath being deflation? These breath patterns were very much my introduction to jhana states back in the day.


Yes, that sounds about right. Inflation is easy. Deflation can be tricky. When this first started happening, 2 years ago, I was afraid it would pop. Deflation seems to require shifting to a state of more expansive physical awareness, which is fantastic when I can get it. Usually, it feels like the whole thing isn't able to sync up quite perfectly.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/1/19 9:15 AM as a reply to spatial.
I am continuously in awe of the profundity of this whole process...

Somehow, the idea occurred to me this morning: "Rather than try to become enlightened, let me try to become unenlightened." There are clearly parts of me that are more enlightened than others, and parts that are less enlightened than others. So, I found myself gravitating toward embodying those parts as they showed up. I was surprised at how easy it was to reinhabit old familiar aches and pains and tensions.

This seemed productive. Of particular interest were patterns of sensations that came upon me like nebulous clouds, which I could tell were attempting to move me from one state to another, but which I couldn't name. It seems like a sign of progress when I am able to locate sensations without labels, because I frequently have the sense that the insistence on labeling everything is part of what slows down progress.

I also became very aware of the urge to write this post, and the disappearance of the urge to write this post. I could see it oscillating in and out, slowly. It seemed to correspond to sensations in the front of my face.

I think this is also related to the zoned-in/zoned-out states I mentioned above.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/2/19 9:23 AM as a reply to spatial.
I think I need to hang out more in that space right behind my forehead. The space where odd and sometimes frightening things happened on my last two retreats. All roads seem to lead in that direction, anyway.

I had probably 20 A&P events during my sit this morning. I refuse to believe that I'm doing anything wrong, or that I'm striving too much, or that I'm a bliss junkie. I've tried trying harder, I've tried trying less hard, I've tried calming down, I've tried getting excited. I've tried keeping my attention in one spot, letting it move around on its own, and deliberately moving it around. It always just takes me to the same place. It struck me as comical yesterday how much I do try to control this process, even in my more "insightful" moods. Like someone watching a movie they've seen before, and yelling at the characters to do something different this time.

But please, if anyone wants to jump in and try to steer me away from this, now's your chance. I predict that one of these days, my concern over what anyone else thinks about my practice is going to just dissolve suddenly, and then you'll have far less influence over me. Anger is being replaced by loving-kindness. Even the motivation to write posts like this will eventually disappear, which makes me a little sad, for some reason.

The physical purifications are at times intense and painful. But, they not bothering me. They are getting me in touch with my body in a way that I have avoided for most of my life. This feels like a good thing.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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8/3/19 10:27 AM as a reply to spatial.
... my concern over what anyone else thinks about my practice is going to just dissolve suddenly, and then you'll have far less influence over me. 

Ha! That would be a great outcome. Your practice is your practice, spatial. No one else can truly "help" you beyond pointing to a few things we think might be helpful, or that we can relate to from experience.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/3/19 9:20 PM as a reply to spatial.
This has been such an interesting day. I sat for a total of 5.5 hours over the course of the day.

It started getting interesting yesterday. I was inspired by something shargrol had written in another thread about noting 'practicing' thoughts. So, I started paying attention to what my thoughts were about, in general terms like that. I found that I had thoughts about

- practicing
- the body
- pleasure/pain
- person A
- person B, etc.
- the future

and maybe a few more broad categories.

I started noticing the physical sensations that accompanied these thoughts, and found that there were some general patterns. This made it easier to identify the type of thought, without having to stop and analyze it to death. The categories started coalescing more:

- practicing (located in my head)
- the body
- other people/other things/the future (located in front of my face)
- pleasure/pain/emotions (located in my torso)

These things morphed around a bit, but it was surprising to notice how limited my thinking was.

So, today, I really started to commit myself to just giving in to this purifcation process. It's just a total surrender to those parts of me that hate this whole thing, that want to be done with it, that are worried my mind will be a mess until it's done, that are afraid of what will happen if it changes me, etc. On a deep physical level, letting all of those reactions happen. They contort my face and my body. They make it hard to breathe.

But, I can see that this is the path to tranquility. All of this stuff has to come out. There's only so much fuel in there, once I stop feeding it. It's really hilarious, being stuck in hell...I'm serious, actually. Hell has gotten a bad rap, you know.

What I'm calling "A&P events" eventually started happening a couple times per minute. They started off as sharp discontinuities in my consciousness that I simply couldn't investigate. Then, I started getting interested in what happened leading up to them, and what happened coming out of them. Then, I started taking an interest in what the discontinuity felt like physically. It's something to do with my eyes...it's like pressure builds up there, and then suddenly releases, and in the release the mind abruptly lets go of whatever it was fixated on. At that point, it felt like I could investigate it pretty thoroughly, and so I started slowing them down and really digging in there. I had a brief period where I could get one per breath, maybe 4 or 5 in a row. The discontinuities seemed to smooth out more. I think this is where liberation lies.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/3/19 9:23 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
... my concern over what anyone else thinks about my practice is going to just dissolve suddenly, and then you'll have far less influence over me. 

Ha! That would be a great outcome. Your practice is your practice, spatial. No one else can truly "help" you beyond pointing to a few things we think might be helpful, or that we can relate to from experience.

It would be a great outcome...I can't wait for that to happen!  I must sound crazy sometimes...I'm realizing how much of what I write is just reactions to ghosts inside my own head...

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/4/19 8:49 AM as a reply to spatial.
I must sound crazy sometimes...

You sound like a curious, dedicated meditator, spatial.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/4/19 11:51 AM as a reply to spatial.
Here's some advice for me:

1. going
2. insight
3. gone
4. coming back
5. back

I need to pay more attention to 4. This is where direct perception of reality happens. For some reason, I never conceptualized 3 as "gone", and had been hoping for "gone" to happen after 5. I was getting irritated at 3, thinking it was just a distraction ruining my concentration. I don't know what it is, but it's a real event that needs to be taken seriously.

Regarding "insight"...every single one of these is valuable. Even the nonsensical ones. Ignore the content of the thoughts. The sensations are the real truth.

The dukkha ñanas are a joke. The thoughts are not insights. They are failed attempts at insights. The pain is real. The thought "I really really want this to be over" is not an insight. It's a failed attempt at explaining the pain. This is horribly ironic. The more I see this happening in real time, the less I suffer.

Ignore the content of the thoughts, but take them very seriously. Every single one of them. They point to blind areas.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/6/19 11:06 PM as a reply to spatial.
I feel like I'm waking up from a bad dream. And you're all in it.

I just want people to like me. I feel so insignificant, unwanted, unworthy. And I hate that about myself. This is possibly the BIG REASON for my suffering. The hatred of this. All the tiny ways I try to push that out of my mind. It makes my head hurt.

This has been revealing itself rapidly over the past several days. The implications of it are profound. It affects every social interaction I have.

It's very old, too. I can barely remember a time when it wasn't there. But, it was buried for a long time, hidden under layers of self-composure. The sensations are coming back now. I'm remembering what it felt like to hide under my bed as a kid, just wishing the whole world would go away.

Meditation: layers and layers of pain, stripped away, until I'm just left staring at myself staring back at myself. Over and over again. What an unsettling feeling. But at the same time, reassuring.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/7/19 5:50 AM as a reply to spatial.
Good stuff! Yup, this is how this works. A lot of the suffering we get rid of through this practice.... was stuff we didn't even realize was there when we started, but which pervades every perception and intention . It would be nearly impossible to explain this to people or convince them of it, but it becomes vividly clear how exhausting it is to live with these problematic orientations to living. And yet life could could be so much more simple. And it would seem so simple to simply _stop_... if it wasn't so subtle. And so that's why we need to both relax and increase our perceptive ability, to really see this stuff.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/7/19 6:15 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
I feel like I'm waking up from a bad dream. And you're all in it.

I just want people to like me. I feel so insignificant, unwanted, unworthy. And I hate that about myself. This is possibly the BIG REASON for my suffering. The hatred of this. All the tiny ways I try to push that out of my mind. It makes my head hurt.

This has been revealing itself rapidly over the past several days. The implications of it are profound. It affects every social interaction I have.

It's very old, too. I can barely remember a time when it wasn't there. But, it was buried for a long time, hidden under layers of self-composure. The sensations are coming back now. I'm remembering what it felt like to hide under my bed as a kid, just wishing the whole world would go away.

Meditation: layers and layers of pain, stripped away, until I'm just left staring at myself staring back at myself. Over and over again. What an unsettling feeling. But at the same time, reassuring.


Interesting. These are almost what I am experiencing these days. In these recent weeks, it becomes more and more evident that probably since childhood, a big portion of my thoughts and actions/behaviors were in the direction of making people to like me, or to impress them, or gain their attention. How I listen to music, how I walk, how I eat, how I wear cloths, how and when I talk, smoke, not talk, how I look at people and etc, they all has aspects of trying to impress someone, so that they think of me as a significant person. These all were unconscious in the past, but now it's becoming more and more conscious. When I notice that a thought is arising, or I want to do an action, I catch myself with urges that include such tendencies, to impress people, so I try to do the other way, and correct it, but I think there are more layers to it, and it would be probably a long healing process.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/7/19 7:01 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
spatial:
I feel like I'm waking up from a bad dream. And you're all in it.

I just want people to like me. I feel so insignificant, unwanted, unworthy. And I hate that about myself. This is possibly the BIG REASON for my suffering. The hatred of this. All the tiny ways I try to push that out of my mind. It makes my head hurt.

This has been revealing itself rapidly over the past several days. The implications of it are profound. It affects every social interaction I have.

It's very old, too. I can barely remember a time when it wasn't there. But, it was buried for a long time, hidden under layers of self-composure. The sensations are coming back now. I'm remembering what it felt like to hide under my bed as a kid, just wishing the whole world would go away.

Meditation: layers and layers of pain, stripped away, until I'm just left staring at myself staring back at myself. Over and over again. What an unsettling feeling. But at the same time, reassuring.


Interesting. These are almost what I am experiencing these days. In these recent weeks, it becomes more and more evident that probably since childhood, a big portion of my thoughts and actions/behaviors were in the direction of making people to like me, or to impress them, or gain their attention. How I listen to music, how I walk, how I eat, how I wear cloths, how and when I talk, smoke, not talk, how I look at people and etc, they all has aspects of trying to impress someone, so that they think of me as a significant person. These all were unconscious in the past, but now it's becoming more and more conscious. When I notice that a thought is arising, or I want to do an action, I catch myself with urges that include such tendencies, to impress people, so I try to do the other way, and correct it, but I think there are more layers to it, and it would be probably a long healing process.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.
That's great that you are noticing these things. I think you're right in that there are probably more layers (maybe it's different for everybody?). I can see at least the following layers:

- Wanting to be accepted
- Anger when I'm not accepted
- Fear of showing that anger
- Anger for not being allowed to show anger
- Shame for getting angry
- Guilt at the thought of what the other person would feel if they knew how I felt
- Desire to "figure this out" so I don't have to feel any of this

I could probably add another 10 items to this list...

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/7/19 7:20 PM as a reply to spatial.
I think it should be different for each person. For me, I haven't noticed any other strong emotion related to it so far. Sometimes there is a sadness about it, but not always.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/8/19 6:37 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
I suspect what you guys are experiencing are the nanas - more specifically the Dark Night nanas. What do you think?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/8/19 7:02 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Good stuff! Yup, this is how this works. A lot of the suffering we get rid of through this practice.... was stuff we didn't even realize was there when we started, but which pervades every perception and intention . It would be nearly impossible to explain this to people or convince them of it, but it becomes vividly clear how exhausting it is to live with these problematic orientations to living. And yet life could could be so much more simple. And it would seem so simple to simply _stop_... if it wasn't so subtle. And so that's why we need to both relax and increase our perceptive ability, to really see this stuff.
That's the really irritating part: how subtle it is. I can see it so clearly, but not clearly enough...

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/8/19 7:03 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I suspect what you guys are experiencing are the nanas - more specifically the Dark Night nanas. What do you think?


Sounds about right!

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/8/19 7:09 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I suspect what you guys are experiencing are the nanas - more specifically the Dark Night nanas. What do you think?

My experience these few days looks similar to both Three Characteristics and Dark Night nanas. Intense bodily pain, aches in bones, harsh pulsations in muscles and vibrations, jerkiness, and since last night strong feelings of sadness, despair and frustration. There was very high mindfulness for two days, but since last night it's almost gone and there are distractions in all directions.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/8/19 10:17 AM as a reply to spatial.
I was inspired by this passage from MCTB:

"Notice that you can’t do anything other than what happens. Try. See how those patterns occur. Try to do something other than what happens."

This is what I did last night and this morning. I don't think I've ever experienced such an intense continuity of mindfulness as I did for those two hours. Everything I noticed I was doing, I just tried to do the opposite.

For example:

If I noticed I was sitting still, I started moving. If I noticed I was moving, I started sitting still.
leaning to the left/right
focusing on the breath/not focusing on the breath
controlling the attention/not controlling the attention
trying really hard/not trying really hard
getting angry/not getting angry
moving my mind quickly/moving my mind slowly
scanning the environment looking for "what I'm doing" vs. letting awareness of "what I'm doing" present itself naturally

And so on. Just literally everything I noticed, I did the opposite. I spent a lot of time oscillating back and forth between these extremes. I noticed how frustrating the oscillations were, and noticed how the mind eventually lost interest in them.

A couple times, I was aware of the sense of...let me try to put this into words...I'm only ever aware of one intention at a time. Which intention I am aware of is out of my control. Whatever's bothering me right now is whatever's bothering me only right now. I'm always bothered by something. There is a force that compels me to want to be in control, to change the current intention. If I could fully be OK with right now, there would be no problem, but I can't, because of forces that are out of my control.

I started experiencing sensations in my middle back and the top of my head that I hadn't felt before.

I'm going to keep doing this for now, because it seems to be making things happen at a faster rate.

Question: are the formless realms that space inside the body (inside the head?), when you lose interest in the body because stuff happening inside is so much more interesting? This seems distinct from what I had taken to be Dissolution, where I am aware of the body, but the body just isn't solid.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/9/19 5:55 AM as a reply to spatial.
Combining what I'm mentioned about subtlty and what Chris mentioned about dark night...

A big part of the challenge of the dark night stages is that you can't make it into what it isn't. In other words, it tends to be moody, subtle, vague, sloppy, uncontrolled... and if you try to make it bright, obviously, distinct, precise, and under control then you'll just suffer. There is a lot to "see" in the dark night (how insideous reactive patterns are, yet how thin and ghost like they are, so its it a big problem or actually a tiny problem?) but you have to look at it directly and not assume something is wrong or needs to be a different way.

My favorite meditator quote about reobservation, for example, comes from Tarin, one of the original Dharma Overground participants:

the dark night territory - particularly late dark night - has a habit of making me unsure which methods are best to employ in practice. should i note? should i use open awareness? should i pay attention to the wide vibrations? should i go with the discomfort? should i observe the questioning? etc etc. i would feel very dissatisfied with anything i tried. eventually i realised that the nature of re-observation to was to have a cow with anything and everything and when i realised this it mattered a whole lot less what i did since i knew i would have no way of knowing if it was effective practice or not! regardless, my recommendation would be to note or observe frustration, pain, doubt, boredom, distraction, gaming, predicting, expecting, etc etc when and where they arise and make sure - i mean really make fucking sure - that if you're killing yourself trying to meditate that you note that too emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/9/19 6:27 AM as a reply to shargrol.
+1

I have always believed, since going through this the first time, that the Drak Night has a purpose. That purpose is to force us to face the shit that goes on in our head. And I do mean the shit. It's worthwhile in a very meaningful way because we learn how utterly selfish and protective mind is of our poor little tortured "me."

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/9/19 9:41 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
Combining what I'm mentioned about subtlty and what Chris mentioned about dark night...

A big part of the challenge of the dark night stages is that you can't make it into what it isn't. In other words, it tends to be moody, subtle, vague, sloppy, uncontrolled... and if you try to make it bright, obviously, distinct, precise, and under control then you'll just suffer. There is a lot to "see" in the dark night (how insideous reactive patterns are, yet how thin and ghost like they are, so its it a big problem or actually a tiny problem?) but you have to look at it directly and not assume something is wrong or needs to be a different way.

My favorite meditator quote about reobservation, for example, comes from Tarin, one of the original Dharma Overground participants:

the dark night territory - particularly late dark night - has a habit of making me unsure which methods are best to employ in practice. should i note? should i use open awareness? should i pay attention to the wide vibrations? should i go with the discomfort? should i observe the questioning? etc etc. i would feel very dissatisfied with anything i tried. eventually i realised that the nature of re-observation to was to have a cow with anything and everything and when i realised this it mattered a whole lot less what i did since i knew i would have no way of knowing if it was effective practice or not! regardless, my recommendation would be to note or observe frustration, pain, doubt, boredom, distraction, gaming, predicting, expecting, etc etc when and where they arise and make sure - i mean really make fucking sure - that if you're killing yourself trying to meditate that you note that too emoticon
Yeah, I think this is true...I have had this realization over and over. The maddening thing about it is that even though I've had the realization, there are still mind states that show up which don't understand that realization. And I'm just left to suffer through those. Another big thing that I seem to be dealing with is that because I "know" all this stuff, I have some resistance to letting myself "be ignorant". I think this contributes to my suffering. I think this is a big part of where the scheming comes from...because I can see that I'm fighting the pain, and so I immediately have a strong urge to find a different meditation strategy that is more about accepting the pain, because I hate to think of myself as being a "bad meditator". I think I'm just doomed to go through this until I can clearly see the sensations involved in the whole complicated process, which I do feel is starting to happen. As I mentioned recently, I think I'm getting close to uncovering something big...it seems that whatever layer of the mind I'm working through right now is where tons of threads of suffering seem to be coverging. Something to do with (a) my internal acceptance of my own experience and (b) how I view myself in relationship to others. 

This morning, something interesting happened. I was just sitting there, when I noticed that I was spacing out, riding the waves, and that it felt pretty easy. Then, I started to feel a sense of tension beginning to arise. I was able to watch pretty calmly as it moved towards my head, and I could tell that what I was observing was my "sense of being in control of this". It went up into my head, and sure enough, I felt in control of the body again for about 10-15 seconds of pure stress, where I had to decide if I was going to keep watching, change my meditation technique, move the body, etc. I applied a ton of willpower and just kept staring at the sensation. Eventually, I was able to watch it pass away, and watched myself riding the waves again. This happened a few times.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/9/19 10:06 PM as a reply to spatial.
Tonight, while walking outside, I was having a mental fantasy about explaining something about drawing to a beginner. I was getting increasingly agitated that she was so concerned about how her drawings looked, instead of focusing more on the process and on her own learning. At the peak of my frustration, I imagined myself screaming at her "IT'S NOT ABOUT YOUR FUCKING DRAWINGS! IT'S ABOUT YOU!", as I ripped up the drawing she was working on.

I felt my mind get quiet for a moment. All of my anger disappeared, and I found myself with a deep sense of compassion for her. This may not make sense to anyone except me, but: I had this insight that the reason I get frustrated with people like that is because even though I understand myself up to high frequencies of vibration, I tend to only synchronize with them on a lower frequency. There's some particular low frequency that I get stuck on, because it's just so tempting to relate only on that level.

In any case...I kept walking home, and as I passed by people, I could sense that I was able to "feel my way" right into the center of their heads, into their thoughts and feelings. The way I have been able to do with inanimate objects lately, which has been so helpful in drawing. People are so much more complex, though, and that complexity has been apparently off-putting to me. But still, when you stop and look, it's just inanimate matter inside people's minds, as well. So, yeah, that's the sense I had.

Meditation this evening felt particularly easy. Even though there are still lots of purifications happening.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/9/19 10:10 PM as a reply to spatial.
Also, here's a realization/suspicion I've been having a lot lately:

The thoughts that play out on the surface of my mind seem to be just a reflection of the deeper physical/energetic stuff that is what's really going on. It's like the mind just tries to make a story out of it. The stories are bullshit, yeah, but...not really...because the energetic stuff is actually happening in a real way. So, it's like the thoughts end up being metaphors which do contain their own wisdom if you could read them correctly.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/10/19 9:01 AM as a reply to spatial.
Hi spatial!,

...So, it's like the thoughts end up being metaphors which do contain their own wisdom if you could read them correctly.


Maybe, or maybe... it's more of the mind stuff, trying (with a good hypothesis) to make you ride the wave, instead of you let it pass..

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/10/19 10:44 AM as a reply to spatial.
It's like the mind just tries to make a story out of it.

Tell me this isn't happening with everything.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/10/19 11:38 AM as a reply to spatial.
Nicolas G.:

Maybe, or maybe... it's more of the mind stuff, trying (with a good hypothesis) to make you ride the wave, instead of you let it pass..



Chris Marti:

Tell me this isn't happening with everything.


Yes, yes, but there is a particular point I was trying to make. It's hard to explain what I'm thinking here...

There is a tendency to see the narratives as being coherent, like there's a thread that goes from one moment of the story to the next. So when something happens in the story, I look to the previous moment in the story to make sense out of it. BUT...now I'm having the sense that the present moment of the story is perhaps more influenced by present physical sensations than it is by some abstract narrative.

OK, what's the point of this?

I'm not sure, exactly.

I think it has something to do with...when I notice myself getting caught in a story, there's a tendency to get a little frustrated and wonder how it's possible that I could have gotten so caught up in something that I know is just a story. Because I can see the mind wanting to continue the story.

BUT...right now I thinking...of course the mind is going to want to continue the story, because "the mind" is just physical reality, and "the story" has, as its behind-the-scenes inner workings, physical reality.

Like, this story right here...if I'm getting stressed out that I'm getting caught up in a story...I'm not necessarily really getting stressed out by the story...but rather, the feeling of stress is caused by something to do with the way I'm balancing my weight on the cushion, and the mind just starts spinning "the story of my meditation today" in the direction of "uh oh, now he's caught up in a story", because the mind is just simply conditioned to interpret those particular sensations in those particular terms.

I'm oversimplifying this, because I think there are complicated feedback loops that make it hard to tell exactly what causes what. And it's not news that the mind interprets physical sensation. But...the point is that it's not like there's some "story-telling part of the mind" that is keeping track of everything to make sure there's a good story to send off to the publisher. It just seems to be made up on the fly. I'm not sure exactly what is news to me here, really. Maybe I'm just noticing it in places I hadn't noticed it before.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/10/19 11:44 AM as a reply to spatial.
This kind of thinking comes up a lot when I notice subtle release of tensions. The release of tension is often accompanied by a totally nonsensical story, which has its resolution at the same moment the physical tension is released. This has happened over and over again. They are dreamlike stories, which appear suddenly and in which I am totally engrossed for a few moments. They are just like fragments of reality...but it's making me look at all of reality as being composed only of those fragments...tiny releases of tension that, individually, are nonsensical.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/10/19 1:16 PM as a reply to spatial.
Argh. I see more of what's frustrating me. Why do meditation books and teachers insist on reinforcing this ridiculous notion that there is a "mind" which can "wander"? The mind is always right here. I've seen this over and over again, but I really think this constant reinforcement of the opposite has been holding me back. Why not just say "when a thought arises, look through the thought at the sensations", or something along those lines? Why insist on saying things like "bring your mind back to the body" or on using words like "distractions" to label thoughts? OK, rant over (for now).

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/10/19 2:56 PM as a reply to spatial.
Think of the notion of all things (objects) arising and passing away. That happens in rapid succession, right? What's the difference between any one particular thought or another? Is there a coherent, continuous mind or is that, too, just a fleeting object?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/10/19 2:59 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Think of the notion of all things (objects) arising and passing away. That happens in rapid succession, right? What's the difference between any one particular thought or another? Is there a coherent, continuous mind or is that, too, just a fleeting object?


Upon examination, it just seems to be a fleeting object.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/10/19 3:21 PM as a reply to spatial.
emoticon

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/11/19 8:30 AM as a reply to spatial.
The mind seems to be everything and nothing. It's the thing that translates the universe but has no characteristics of its own. We live with it for every second of our existence yet we don't know what it is at all. It should be the most familiar thing but it's the deepest mystery. We can't see it, touch it, feel it, hear it, taste it, or find it in our thoughts. It's perfectly clear and muddy as hell.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/11/19 11:43 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
The mind seems to be everything and nothing. It's the thing that translates the universe but has no characteristics of its own. We live with it for every second of our existence yet we don't know what it is at all. It should be the most familiar thing but it's the deepest mystery. We can't see it, touch it, feel it, hear it, taste it, or find it in our thoughts. It's perfectly clear and muddy as hell.


This is just fantastic. I can tell that this perspective has not fully clicked into place, but it feels like it will, eventually. 

My meditation seems to be progressing faster. I have much more equanimity toward all states of mind. Today, attention stabilized on the spot between my eyes. This made everything more chaotic, but it seemed like I was able to relax into the chaos. The striving, the peace, the excitement, the fear, the irritation, can all just coexist. I'm not doing it justice...those are all words, and this goes beyond words.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/11/19 5:03 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris, thanks for posting your practice journal in the other thread. It has been really fascinating for me to read through that.

I have been realizing how much of my experience I have basically been censoring out of my own practice log. Part of it is a desire to limit myself to the "correct" way of talking about things, perhaps so that I don't give the impression of being too eager, too full of myself, etc. I don't know what happened to me as a child that would have taught me to do this, but I've done it for a long time. I can remember being a beginning piano student and pretending that I was having trouble playing the piece my teacher had assigned me, when in actuality I had mastered every piece in the book that week. Wow...and as I'm typing this, I can remember being younger than that and pretending to struggle to read words aloud in class, like all the other kids were doing... In any case, it's clear to me that some sub-fetter or another related to this has been eradicated recently.

The other part of it is the fact that for some time now, every minute of my practice has consisted of what are probably hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of individual, clearly-seen experiences. How can I possibly begin to describe that? There is no model for describing practice that way. No one talks like that.

However, there may come a day when I lose interest in all of those experiences, because I can see a new perspective emerging, which encapsulates all of them (I'm not referring to the feeling of "flow"--that is just another experience, which I often have, especially lately). Is this what is meant by "the unconditioned"? That which transcends all conditioned things, which doesnt change? I don't even know what I'm looking for, and don't even know why I say I haven't attained it, except for the fact that I still feel like I suffer too much, and still get caught in loops that make little sense to me.

Reading your journal has validated some things, and of course has also made me more confused about where I am on the maps.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/13/19 9:14 AM as a reply to spatial.
I think I'm starting to understand something about "non-dual awareness". There are times when I am aware of "pure objects", and times when I am aware of "pure objects + varying degrees of self-ing". This is quite interesting. Especially interesting to notice all of the many ways in which I had prevented myself from seeing these things previously, and why I was doing those things.

If I had to give advice to someone who is following in my footsteps, I would say: Yes, you're doing everything right. No matter what. Even if it's wrong. You must completely fall in love with every aspect of experience. If I'm wrong about this, then it means I know absolutely nothing about the dharma.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/17/19 9:40 AM as a reply to spatial.
I decided to try practicing jhanas last night. I believe I have had access to jhanas since at least my retreat 2 years ago, but I haven't really ever practiced them deliberately, and I'm not sure exactly how to tell them apart.

After skimming through TMI, I decided to just focus on the nimitta (which I take to mean the patterns of light that I see when I meditate) intently, and see where it took me. I wasn't prepared for how intense this became, and now I'm a bit concerned about the safety of this.

I was easily able to "grab onto" the light and hold it with my attention for the whole time. It changed in many ways over the course of the hour. At once point, it started turning into a sacred geometry pattern which I've only seen on retreat before.

What was most interesting to me was the awareness I had of the sensations of attention themselves. That's actually why I decided to practice this...because I was realizing that perhaps the point of concentration practice is to acquaint oneself with the mechanisms of attention, rather than anything to do with "objects". (this is actually really confusing for me to think about...I'll just hold off for now and see what happens)

There were a lot of purifications, and I could tell that it launched me into a pretty solid dark night, which lasted until this morning.

This morning, I thought it would be wise to relax my concentration, and just sit and do nothing. My mind was so scattered when I sat down, but almost immediately I went into pretty deep states of absorption. I don't know which jhana is which. It's very confusing, because my awareness of objects was still so incredibly scattered, but at the same time it was obvious that my mind was clearly locking onto "reality" in very specific and stable ways.

Another interesting thing I've noticed over the past 2 or 3 days is that sometimes when I meditate there is lack of resistance to the exhale. So, I will inhale slowly, and then exhale sharply. I think I barely notice it until I've been doing it for a little while. This was happening this morning. I decided to focus more on the inhale, to see where it takes me such that I can't exhale without "dropping off a cliff". This allowed me to breathe in a much smoother way, which really intensified the concentration.

Finally, I noticed over and over how I actually don't have control over where I am trying to focus. It all comes and goes in waves. I can see them coming, and I can see them going. When I notice this, the concentration becomes even deeper, and more purifications happen.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/17/19 9:48 AM as a reply to spatial.
Cool. Seems like the process has taken over. Just trust it. It knows what is needed.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/17/19 11:24 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial --

I was easily able to "grab onto" the light and hold it with my attention for the whole time. It changed in many ways over the course of the hour. At once point, it started turning into a sacred geometry pattern which I've only seen on retreat before.

Every jhana has a specific feel to it. There are several ways to find this but the less specific your focus the easier it is to grok which jhana you're in. The mind tends to treat jhanas like a staircase, so the natural tendency is to transition from jhana to jhana as if climbing a set of stairs.

I recommend Kenneth Folk's and Nicolai Halay's jhana descriptions in these videos, if only because I was more or less mentored through my early jhana experiences by Kenneth:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=kenethh+folk+jhanas&atb=v154-1&ia=videos&iai=WQmhF0p3wXQ&pn=1&iax=videos

To this day, I can't watch those videos without being "pulled" up into the jhanas. They're like strange attractors for the mind.


RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/17/19 4:54 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

I recommend Kenneth Folk's and Nicolai Halay's jhana descriptions in these videos, if only because I was more or less mentored through my early jhana experiences by Kenneth:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=kenethh+folk+jhanas&atb=v154-1&ia=videos&iai=WQmhF0p3wXQ&pn=1&iax=videos

To this day, I can't watch those videos without being "pulled" up into the jhanas. They're like strange attractors for the mind.



This is great, thank you!

I think that this progression is exactly what I discovered on my retreat last year, and again this year. I didn't know what I was doing. I thought maybe I was going through jhanas, but it didn't seem right that there were so many of them. Every time I had an experience, I just kept saying "ok, now let me watch myself having this experience", and it took me up into the top of my head, one step at a time. All of those sensations (connection to the breath and the rest of the body, pressure in the head, tension in the eyes, feeling like I was losing consciousness) really freaked me out. But, it was hard to stop myself from doing it, because while I was lying on my bed with the high concentration of a retreat, the mind just naturally kept wanting to abandon mundane reality. It was especially confusing when I noticed the ability to leave my body and just reside in my head. No one ever talks about that.

So, I need to practice these. I can tell that there are energetic blockages that make it difficult to get fully absorbed in these states.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/23/19 10:19 PM as a reply to spatial.
This evening, started becoming very aware of tension between where I am and where I want to be. Just on a basic physical level.

In the middle of my sit, I discovered something new:

Before I do anything, there's an image of where I want to be. That image flickers on and off while I try to move my body into the desired position. This is fascinating.

What's going on??? Am I saying I never noticed "intentions" before?

I guess this is deeper than that. It's not an "intention"...it's a full sensory experience.

There is so much craving to be done with this. It's driving me crazy. Except when it's not.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/24/19 10:51 PM as a reply to spatial.
I broke through something tonight.

It has been increasingly troubling me how much suffering I have been experiencing, while also being unable to put it into words. This was troubling me because whatever liberation I have from "concepts" doesn't seem to be helping, since this suffering seems to transcend concepts.

After explaining something about concepts in another thread, I went for a walk, and really tried to apply that insight to my current experience. Freedom from concepts. Didn't work, because I can see all the concepts. They're all gross objects. Then, what is keeping me stuck? It's something else.

I tried applying the same logic, but with more openness to whatever shows up. Just break free from "whatever is keeping me stuck". OK, now I am getting somewhere... The stuff that keeps me stuck...it's the "stuff that concepts are made of." I can see it. It's right in front of my face. Like light sparkling on the water. Very fast, lightweight sensations, images, ideas. Just hold it in my awareness, while simultaneously "doing whatever."

Seems promising, for now.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/24/19 10:54 PM as a reply to spatial.
It's also really easy for me to walk around with my eyes totally unfocused. I'm not sure how that's related, but it is.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/25/19 5:38 AM as a reply to spatial.
Keep going!  Have a really good look ... 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/25/19 6:18 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
It's also really easy for me to walk around with my eyes totally unfocused. I'm not sure how that's related, but it is.


I think that has to do with letting go of being a doer actively using one’s attention all the time. The kazoo player in MCTB2.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
8/25/19 6:22 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
I broke through something tonight.

It has been increasingly troubling me how much suffering I have been experiencing, while also being unable to put it into words. This was troubling me because whatever liberation I have from "concepts" doesn't seem to be helping, since this suffering seems to transcend concepts.

After explaining something about concepts in another thread, I went for a walk, and really tried to apply that insight to my current experience. Freedom from concepts. Didn't work, because I can see all the concepts. They're all gross objects. Then, what is keeping me stuck? It's something else.

I tried applying the same logic, but with more openness to whatever shows up. Just break free from "whatever is keeping me stuck". OK, now I am getting somewhere... The stuff that keeps me stuck...it's the "stuff that concepts are made of." I can see it. It's right in front of my face. Like light sparkling on the water. Very fast, lightweight sensations, images, ideas. Just hold it in my awareness, while simultaneously "doing whatever."

Seems promising, for now.


Sounds interesting. I’m not sure about how to use the terms here, but maybe that is the observation of arising and passing away of formations. I’d love to read more about this as you keep observing.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
9/1/19 3:40 PM as a reply to spatial.
Another breakthrough last night. It's easy to put this into words, but hard to explain what exactly is new about it.

Since last night, whenever I am experiencing suffering, and I ask myself "what would happen to the suffering if I had no self?", I can immediately feel on a physical level how the sense of self is fueling the suffering. This came while I was walking, listening to Culadasa's talks on "What is Enlightenment?", and hearing him talk about how one should emulate enlightened beings, and act as if there is no self, even if it feels like there is. I can't remember exactly what he was saying. But, it got me in touch with something important.

I think that "self-ing" has been largely conceptual for me up until now, but over the past couple weeks, it has been emerging as a much more physical phenomenon.

Now that I think about it, maybe a week ago, I was getting extremely frustrated with the notion of trying to see "not-self", because I couldn't clearly distinguish that there even was a sense of self. But, now I see that there is. It's a "feeling of self", not a "belief in self" or even a "labeling of self". This is fantastic. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
9/1/19 3:46 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
spatial:
It's also really easy for me to walk around with my eyes totally unfocused. I'm not sure how that's related, but it is.


I think that has to do with letting go of being a doer actively using one’s attention all the time. The kazoo player in MCTB2.
Yes, the kazoo player... it seems so simple to let go of that, but it's not!!!

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
9/1/19 4:11 PM as a reply to spatial.
The sense of self:

There is a separate entity
These things are happening to that entity
The past happened to that entity
The future might happen to that entity
That entity is the one who is perceiving what's happening
That entity is the one who is reacting to what's happening
Other people are other entities
That entity is responsible for its own well-being

This stuff is just taken for granted.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
9/4/19 4:53 PM as a reply to spatial.
What I've been playing with lately is just letting myself "soak" in reality, however it presents itself (both on and off the cushion).

There are times when noting feels easy, in which case there's no problem.
There are times when noting feels difficult, because it's like I have to pull myself out of a deeper state than the verbal state required by noting. This makes my head and eyes hurt, and is why I'm practicing just sitting in that deeper state, letting my mind process it on its own terms. I feel like this is the only good way to handle dark night states.
But there's a question: does the "difficult feeling of forcing noting" have to be investigated? Am I avoiding that by letting myself space out and soak?

My questions about the formless jhanas:

5th jhana:
- is this the same as just being aware of "the space in which the content of thoughts takes place"?

6th jhana:
- is this the same as "the space in which thoughts themselves take place"?
- is it the same as being aware of my reactions to the objects within my thoughts (as opposed to the objects in "real life"?)

7th jhana:
- is this when I fix my attention on "that one thing which isn't vibrating"?

8th jhana:
- is this just letting my mind wander completely, so that it doesn't latch on to any object ("real" or "imagined")?

Is the difference between "form" and "not form" just that "forms" are what I consider to be physically real? Am I correct in that this has nothing to do with "solidity" per se, but rather which "realm" we are in (physical vs. mental)?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
9/4/19 5:25 PM as a reply to spatial.
No, the formless jhanas are not metaphores. If you can feel a body, or have the sense of having a body, you are not in them. If you still have thoughts you are not in them. If there are still objects (apart from space in the fifth, infinite consciousness in sixth, and the concept of nothingness in seventh) you are not in them.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
Answer
9/4/19 5:56 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
No, the formless jhanas are not metaphores. If you can feel a body, or have the sense of having a body, you are not in them. If you still have thoughts you are not in them. If there are still objects (apart from space in the fifth, infinite consciousness in sixth, and the concept of nothingness in seventh) you are not in them.

I wasn't trying to say they are metaphors. I'm trying to get at what the fundamental essence of each is. Do you find that there is no sense of having a body, no thoughts, no objects when you are in these states? That seems like a very high bar. Honestly, I'm skeptical that it is so easily attained.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/4/19 6:32 PM as a reply to spatial.
It isn’t easy. I’m not entirely sure that I have no sense of having a body whatsoever. I don’t know how to check that without thinking. When I get out of the states that may or may not be formless jhanas, there is a sense of suddenly having a body, which makes me realize that I had forgotten about the body. As for the potential seventh and eight, I’m entirely sure that there were no objects, except for nothingness in the seventh. I’m not entirely sure that it was truly concentrated states, though. I may have been too dull, I don’t know. They were weird states.

That’s Daniel’s bar, and I think there should be a high bar. I don’t see what would be the point of watering it down.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/4/19 7:24 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

That’s Daniel’s bar, and I think there should be a high bar. I don’t see what would be the point of watering it down.

The point of watering it down, as I see it, would be to give you something to practice. How can you just go from 0 to 100 otherwise? What's the downside of watering it down?

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/4/19 7:38 PM as a reply to spatial.
It is possible to practice your ideas without calling them formless jhanas. They are perfectly valid practice regardless of what you call them.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/5/19 6:18 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
 If you can feel a body, or have the sense of having a body, you are not in them. If you still have thoughts you are not in them. If there are still objects (apart from space in the fifth, infinite consciousness in sixth, and the concept of nothingness in seventh) you are not in them.

This isn't correct so I feel the need to jump in briefly. It depends on the depth of the jhana one is in as to what one can experience. It' very possible to be in the formless jhanas and still have some connection to the "outside" world. I do this quite often. Jhana experiences take place along a spectrum from what is usually called "soft" to "hard" with softer experiences having less deep concentration and hard experiences being more like what Linda described above.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/5/19 7:43 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
 If you can feel a body, or have the sense of having a body, you are not in them. If you still have thoughts you are not in them. If there are still objects (apart from space in the fifth, infinite consciousness in sixth, and the concept of nothingness in seventh) you are not in them.

This isn't correct so I feel the need to jump in briefly. It depends on the depth of the jhana one is in as to what one can experience. It' very possible to be in the formless jhanas and still have some connection to the "outside" world. I do this quite often. Jhana experiences take place along a spectrum from what is usually called "soft" to "hard" with softer experiences having less deep concentration and hard experiences being more like what Linda described above.



Okay, thanks! I stand corrected. There seems to be disagreement about this, though, but it’s good to have the nuances. I appreciate the input. I also personally have experiences of states that seem to be formless-ish without meeting the criteria above, so yeah, getting there is definitely a spectrum in my experience as well. I think I will continue to agree with Daniel’s high bar anyway because I find that more helpful in my practice. Less confusing.

Chris, how would you answer Spatial’s questions about the formless jhanas then? The way I read the suggested descriptions I felt that they could describe a wide variety of non-jhanic states, but the phenomenology around these things is so difficult to put in precise wordings.

One thing that I do find confusing is the exact boundary as to whether or not there is a sense of having a body. I often get into states where I feel a field of vibrations, which can be very subtle, without having a sense of a body feeling them, if that makes any sense. Not even a sense of spatial location really. It’s just subtly vibrating space. Does that count? The instances of not even having those sensations are much rarer.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/5/19 8:03 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Another breakthrough last night. It's easy to put this into words, but hard to explain what exactly is new about it.

Since last night, whenever I am experiencing suffering, and I ask myself "what would happen to the suffering if I had no self?", I can immediately feel on a physical level how the sense of self is fueling the suffering. This came while I was walking, listening to Culadasa's talks on "What is Enlightenment?", and hearing him talk about how one should emulate enlightened beings, and act as if there is no self, even if it feels like there is. I can't remember exactly what he was saying. But, it got me in touch with something important.

I think that "self-ing" has been largely conceptual for me up until now, but over the past couple weeks, it has been emerging as a much more physical phenomenon.

Now that I think about it, maybe a week ago, I was getting extremely frustrated with the notion of trying to see "not-self", because I couldn't clearly distinguish that there even was a sense of self. But, now I see that there is. It's a "feeling of self", not a "belief in self" or even a "labeling of self". This is fantastic. 


I need to thank you for this, Spatial. The question that you ask yourself together with a similar observation described by Shaila Catherine in one of her books reminded me to question the personal storytelling that fuels my suffering. I needed that. Much obliged.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/5/19 8:48 AM as a reply to spatial.
Had a cool experience with "intentions" this morning.

Was reading through Mahasi's Practical Insight Meditation the other day, and he says something about how intentions need to be set before one starts to meditate, not after you've already begun. I never really thought about the importance of this before, but I'm getting a sense of it now.

I set an intention to practice metta for 30 minutes this morning. What was cool about it was the experience of being able to "let the intention do all the work". This seems to have solved a few problems for me, which are hard to explain. Previously, I would have tried hard to "recall the intention", or "do what the intention says to do", or "stop doing whatever I'm doing to make room for the intention", or "check to see if what I'm doing matches the intention".

What I saw this morning is that I can rely on the strength of the intention itself. I'm not sure exactly what "my" job is, but I can make it smaller and smaller. If the intention isn't strong enough to influence "my" behavior, then it's not really "my" problem. It seems to get stronger as I sit with it. Every time "I" had the urge to force myself to "get with the program and do metta", I replaced it with "no, not unless it comes from the force of the intention". So, I don't know how much "metta" was practiced this morning, but I could feel the intention cutting through layers of impurities, doing whatever vipassana/samatha/voodoo was necessary to get me closer to a state where metta might actually be possible.

An image that came to my mind is that the intention is like a magnet, and "I" am a bunch of metal shavings scattered about on a table. It's not "my" job to arrange myself into a neat pile...the magnet actually has the power to help out with that (it's not just a "reminder").

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/5/19 2:21 PM as a reply to spatial.
I'm not sure exactly what "my" job is...

Hmmm... that's the ultimate question. You need to find out what "your" career is, and maybe even before that "who" you are.



RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/5/19 4:37 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

One thing that I do find confusing is the exact boundary as to whether or not there is a sense of having a body. I often get into states where I feel a field of vibrations, which can be very subtle, without having a sense of a body feeling them, if that makes any sense. Not even a sense of spatial location really. It’s just subtly vibrating space. Does that count? The instances of not even having those sensations are much rarer.
This makes sense to me. My practice has taken me to a place where I'm not even sure what a "sense of having a body" is anymore. This is highly frustrating when I'm trying to communicate with other people. I have to admit that your response to my jhana post triggered some of that in me! (certainly not your fault)

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/5/19 4:41 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I need to thank you for this, Spatial. The question that you ask yourself together with a similar observation described by Shaila Catherine in one of her books reminded me to question the personal storytelling that fuels my suffering. I needed that. Much obliged.

I'm glad you found it helpful! I've also been getting some insights after trying some of the stuff in Seeing That Frees, by Rob Burbea. It's a very wordy book, and hard to read for me, but I like the way he thinks. 

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/5/19 4:57 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'm not sure exactly what "my" job is...

Hmmm... that's the ultimate question. You need to find out what "your" career is, and maybe even before that "who" you are.


Yeah, this is what I'm finding difficult. One thing I've noticed about setting intentions before I start meditating is that it clears up one tiny aspect of "who" I am. Whatever else I might be, I know I'm not the one who set that intention. So I can let go of that bit.

This is honestly somewhat scary. I can see a lot of what needs to go, but I can't put most of it into words (it is so fast). And, I don't know what to replace it with. I don't doubt that this will work itself out given enough time, but I don't know what kind of damage I will cause in the meantime. I feel like I'm ruining all of my relationships. At the same time, I can see that there is something really great underneath all of the layers of confusion, because I get glimpses of it from time to time.

It's like there are two places I can be: "the mind", and "reality". "Reality" is fantastic, complex, interesting, and comforting (even when it's painful). "The mind" is something I am losing trust in...I can feel how it grabs me and sends me for a ride. I wish I could just let go and fall backwards into reality, but every time I try, the mind catches me again.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/6/19 1:37 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

I need to thank you for this, Spatial. The question that you ask yourself together with a similar observation described by Shaila Catherine in one of her books reminded me to question the personal storytelling that fuels my suffering. I needed that. Much obliged.

I'm glad you found it helpful! I've also been getting some insights after trying some of the stuff in Seeing That Frees, by Rob Burbea. It's a very wordy book, and hard to read for me, but I like the way he thinks. 



I have been listening to some of Rob Burbea’s dharma talks and I have the same impression - it’s really good stuff but I tend to get lost in the words. I haven’t read the book yet but probably should.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/6/19 1:42 AM as a reply to spatial.
Yup, sneaky bastard, that mind construction. It needs to learn some basic trust. We should probably cradle and caress it and soothe it rather than being angry at it.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/6/19 7:21 AM as a reply to spatial.
It's like there are two places I can be: "the mind", and "reality". "Reality" is fantastic, complex, interesting, and comforting (even when it's painful). "The mind" is something I am losing trust in...I can feel how it grabs me and sends me for a ride. I wish I could just let go and fall backwards into reality, but every time I try, the mind catches me again.

Are mind and reality different? Why on earth would you think that?


RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/6/19 9:37 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
It's like there are two places I can be: "the mind", and "reality". "Reality" is fantastic, complex, interesting, and comforting (even when it's painful). "The mind" is something I am losing trust in...I can feel how it grabs me and sends me for a ride. I wish I could just let go and fall backwards into reality, but every time I try, the mind catches me again.

Are mind and reality different? Why on earth would you think that?


I don't really "think that"...I know it's not true, because I have memories of going in and out of mind, just the same as with the rest of reality, and when I intentionally explore mind, it seems to be the same as the rest of reality. But, there is still the sense in my practice that there is an "enlightened part of me" (reality), and an "unenlightened part of me" (mind). And, I much prefer to spend time in the "enlightened part of me", where I can see things arise and pass away, and I don't get irrationally angry, and I can think clearly. 

Here's a question: to what degree should I be working on this right now? Should the road all the way up to third path be focused on solidifying the witness, even though that's wrong from a fourth path perspective? Or, is that a misunderstanding? Sometimes I feel like arguing with my perceptions on such a deep level makes me crazy, even if I do have glimpses now and then of how wrong they are.

Whatever I've been doing with intentions lately seems to be somewhat profound (at least for now). It really seems to have disrupted my sense of agency in some tiny but fundamental way. For the past couple days, the part of me that cares about how my practice is going has been seen to be not-self about 90% of the time. There's an odd feeling: seeing the intention arise, seeing the self take credit for the intention, seeing the intention pass away, and somehow not grasping after it. It's like I'm content to not remember what the intention is, to misremember it, to just wait until it becomes clearer, to have the sense that there was an intention (but that's its problem, not mine). I can feel it unifying my sub-minds, to use Culadasa's language.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/6/19 9:52 AM as a reply to spatial.
... to what degree should I be working on this right now?

I'm of the opinion that it's best to work on those things that draw you in, that you're more or less compelled to think about, or that knaw at you. That's what I always did. I don't think there's a "proper" order. I think you let nature decide.

Hope that helps.


RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/6/19 12:11 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
... to what degree should I be working on this right now?

I'm of the opinion that it's best to work on those things that draw you in, that you're more or less compelled to think about, or that knaw at you. That's what I always did. I don't think there's a "proper" order. I think you let nature decide.

Hope that helps.



Yes, that helps, thanks.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/6/19 12:12 PM as a reply to spatial.
I used to think the mind had cycles. Like, if I had a thought, that thought would return again and again with some frequency. Like a scheduler in an operating system. Something seems wrong about this now. 

Setting intentions has made me realize something interesting about my sense of time. If I set an intention like "for the rest of the day, I intend to...", then this thought will return not every 5 seconds, or every 5 minutes, or whatever. Rather, it will return every time I think of myself in the context of the whole day.

So, there's no need for a scheduler...

I'm sure this has deep implications.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/6/19 12:20 PM as a reply to spatial.
Huh, interesting!

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/17/19 4:43 PM as a reply to spatial.
I'm currently experiencing some "vicissitudes of life", no doubt partially as a result of my erratic behavior while dark-nighting. This has encouraged me to practice harder.

Wherever I am in my practice, things seem to be going "better" right now. That might change. I don't seem to be experiencing a real dark night. Instead, it feels like there are many insight cycles occuring simultaneously, and my attention tunes into one or another at any given moment. Some of them are very obvious, like strong pressure in my head. Others are very subtle, like when I am imagining a tree, and I can feel sensations corresponding to one of the tiniest leaves in that tree.

I've been playing around a lot with holding on to that "thought space", basically letting myself daydream while doing normal things.

---

I think I saw a new glitch in the matrix today. I was pondering a particular fear that I felt, when I noticed the following sequence of events:

1. The mind asked Question 1: "What needs of mine are not being met, which might be leading to this fear?"
2. The mind started imagining the scenario suggested by the fear.
3. The mind asked Question 2, which was far less well-defined than Question 1, and was something like: "Is this scenario really what I'm afraid of? Isn't it likely there's another scenario that could also be possible?"
4. The mind started investigating alternative scenarios, trying to connect the fear to those.
5. The mind stopped investigating, and said "I don't know."
6. I then thought "Well, that's too bad, I guess I can't figure out what my needs are, even after investigating..."
7. I suddenly realized that I had never investigated that issue at all, and that the mind had automatically accepted "I don't know" as an answer to Question 1, when it was actually more properly an answer to Question 2.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/21/19 8:22 AM as a reply to spatial.
This morning, I noticed myself trying to forcibly keep experiences simple and comprehensible SO THAT it would be easy to write about them in my practice log SO THAT nothing important would be left out of my story SO THAT future generations would have something comprehensive to refer to.

I kid you not.

RE: spatial's practice log, part 2
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9/21/19 8:43 AM as a reply to spatial.
I have similar experiences, without thinking about future generations. But often during practice, there is a narrative thread in my mind, that tries to capture experiences, and formulate them as a practice log, with an obsession about not losing details! All kinds of distractions!