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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
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 6/3/19 9:31 AM
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
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 6/8/19 3:14 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 Bigbird 6/3/19 5:27 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 6/8/19 3:15 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/12/19 8:42 PM
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/14/19 11:22 PM
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
RE: spatial's practice log, part 2 spatial 7/17/19 8:26 PM
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
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