My daily daily

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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
Just got back into vipassana meditation, specifically Mahasi Sayadaw approach of “noting” and I just had something happen today that I’ve never experienced. I was able to see the manifestation of a single sensation. I was so excited I had to tell someone. Progress!

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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 3767 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Can you describe it for everyone, please?

And welcome back to meditation practice.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
Yes of course! 

I was sitting in a chair and doing the noting meditation. Recently, it feels like I’m chasing my sensations around; they’re coming in too quickly for me to notice them right when they happen. But all of a sudden a moment of slight clarity happened and I was able to note the feeling of me sitting in this chair right as the sensation happened. I was able to see the beginning of the sensation rather than just the tail end of it. 
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
 I think it’s possible I might’ve hit equanimity today. The description in Daniels book and other resources sound pretty similar to what I experienced; peace and ease as well as a panoramic perspective. As if the noting meditation was doing itself.  It’s quite seductive and I can see why people don’t progress from here, it’s difficult to note the feeling instead of just enjoying it 

J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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What I've found most helpful in Equanimity nana is to do a gentle self-inquiry practice, asking things like "show me the next thing I need to see. Show me the true nature of effort and surrender. Show me suffering." And just let go and see what happens. Just watch everything. You don't need to note necessarily, although you certainly can.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
I will definitely give that a shot. Thanks for the feedback emoticon

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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
I can now say with a large degree of confidence that I have been hitting the A&P somewhat regularly now, much more than I ever did in my previous practice. I’m taking this as a positive thing. I noted previously how I think I might’ve hit equanimity, but I’m not too sure now. It’s possible it was just 1st jhana

Anyways, I’m hitting the A&P probably everytime I sit for more than 30min, which means its happening within half an hour of sitting. I imagine this means I’m progressing! The Dark Night seems to be getting clearer, it’s much more uncomfortable than the A&P. The Dark Night feels as though I’m suddenly sick of meditating, the chair becomes much more uncomfortable and I immediately don’t want to sit anymore. During the A&P, I feel like I could meditate for hours, the Dark Night makes me not want to meditate. Also, I have a ridiculously hard time focusing. It seems as though I can’t focus on anything. —- Funny enough, I just read Daniel’s description of the Dark Night and it’s literally word-for-word what I experienced. Well..... shit. I took note that when one is in the Dark Night, laser focus drops away and peripheral focus becomes more dominant. If I remembered that while sitting this last time I would’ve sat longer. Well..... shit.

On a separate note, I wasn’t able to login to my old DoH account and had to make a new one. At first I was bummed cause I wanted to see my old posts (which I still can on this account), but now I’ve realized thats a good thing. The creation of a new account on here is symbolic of a new version of me taking another crack at this Stream Entry crap, which is exactly what’s happening.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
Ironically, now knowing I’ve been hitting the A&P frequently (almost every sit), I tried to hit it quicker this most recent sit and thus didn’t. My mind has to learn the balance between effort and no-effort.

The first 3 stages of the Path of Insight are becoming much more clear. In fact, it all is. It’s quite interesting. I don’t think I ever practiced with this amount of clarity before...
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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I’m now struggling with this phenomenon where I know when I’m about to cross the A&P and that knowing causes my focus to wane and I don’t end up crossing it. #frustration.

*EDIT: I think I might’ve just realized why this is happening. When I first started getting back into meditation and crossed the A&P twice in 3 days, I was actually curious about my sensate experience having the 3 Characteristics. I was actively looking for the 3 Characteristics in each phenomenon, rather than just trying to note mindlessly. Today and yesterday I was noting mindlessly. We shall see if that makes a notable change!
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
For future reference; I just hit A&P again this morning. But it wasn’t a “textbook” approach. I had been meditating for about an hour when I got a little frustrated and went back inside. I then talked to my wife for a good 5min, went to sit on the couch to document my morning experiences when I had a flush of good feelings. So I sat and meditated again and I was immediately thrusted into the A&P. Not everything happens on the cushion
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
I’ve realized that one of the biggest determining factors of whether or not I make progress in meditation is my sleep. If I haven’t gotten enough sleep, I have a hard time focusing throughout the day. But I also can’t get too much sleep as that makes me groggy.

[First addition] Also, it’s become very obvious that with every sensation comes a sort of thought right after. I’m not sure if thinking causes another thought but definitely any physical sensation (including emotions) cause a thought or impression of what I sensed right after. I am aware that’s one of the hallmarks of the Cause and Effect stage. It’s interesting I’m able to see it so clearly now, just like in regular life I can see it.

[second addition] I’ve begun noticing how my craving to progress is hindering my actual progress. If one day I hit Dissolution, the next day I find it difficult to even pass the A&P because I’m craving the experience again. Funny how that works...
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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A doctor told me that your brain programs sleep cycles based on how much you slept in the past, so if you've been short on sleep for a few days, your brain runs shorter cycles. Then when you finally get enough sleep, your brain isn't expecting the extra time and that's what causes the groggy feeling. So it's not that you got "too much" sleep, it's that you finally got enough sleep and your brain has to re-adjust.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
Makes plenty of sense to me. I’m just annoyed that if my sleep cycle is even slightly off, I’ll feel off the next day. (Annoyance noted. Fatigue noted. Irony of noting my noting on a forum noted)
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Travis McKinstry:
(Annoyance noted. Fatigue noted. Irony of noting my noting on a forum noted)


*giggles* This is what this forum does to you. Welcome to the world of phenomenology and methodology nerdery!
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
I’m now struggling with the idea of energy and fatigue. If I’m not well rested, I can’t focus well. If I’m too well rested, I can’t focus well. 

[1st addition] I also think I’m struggling because my old approach of passing the A&P is no longer working since I was able to hit Fear while meditating. For some reason, I can’t just simply note fast and pass the A&P.

[2nd addition] Few things I realized this morning; 1.) mindless noting is a thing. Being tired makes mindless noting more of a possibility, 2.) after becoming ‘confident’ in my noting skills and being able to hit the A&P I began making stories of all of my sensate experiences. For example, instead of investigating each sensation for the 3 Characteristics, I would note ‘frustration’ and follow the thought train about why I’m frustrated, all the while noting ‘thinking’. So it was more just mindless noting rather than actually investigating the experiences. I’ve already had this issue before and it’s interesting it keeps coming up.

[3rd addition] I crossed out the 2nd addition because I no longer think those are true. I think something else is going on here. I’m finding it very difficult to focus, very difficult to sit down for more than 15min at a time, etc. I might still be in the Dark Night.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
There’s not much to say except for the fact that I’m extremely frustrated. It feels as if more effort is causing less results. Almost as if my mind is pulling away from wanting to see the 3 characteristics. 

The more I try to note the 3 characteristics, the more resistance I feel. The resistance comes in the form of a type of anxiety in the stomach. I’m not sure what to do. 

J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Travis McKinstry:
There’s not much to say except for the fact that I’m extremely frustrated. It feels as if more effort is causing less results. Almost as if my mind is pulling away from wanting to see the 3 characteristics. 

The more I try to note the 3 characteristics, the more resistance I feel. The resistance comes in the form of a type of anxiety in the stomach. I’m not sure what to do. 


That's Dark Night all right. That resistance and anxiety is suffering right there so just note it and try to look directly at it. Try to identify the exact thing that makes it suffering. Can you distinguish the resistance to the sensations you're currently experiencing from the sensations themselves?
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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I appreciate that feedback. That gives me a lot of reassurance that I didn’t f*ck up somehow. And you’ve definitely given me some things to investigate. Thanks again 
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
Now that I’m confident I’ve been cycling through the Dark Night, I’m relatively confident that I’ve been hitting Equanimity every night before bed (2 nights in a row). I go from being somewhat frustrated/annoyed/irritated to complete calm, it feels as if I could meditate for hours without breaking. 

Also, last night, I had 2 interesting phenomenon come about. The first was when I was meditating on my bed. I was laying down, noting on-and-off when I got a huge surge of pleasant feeling. It didn’t last long, but it was definitely an interesting experience. I started getting some visions of deep ocean blue tentacle-like things coming into my field of view. Eventually this stopped and I went to bed.

The second experience happened when I was sleeping. I had another strong wave of pleasant feelings overcome me, it was so strong that it woke me up in the middle of the night. Not sure what these waves are/mean, but I’m continuing my practice as usual. 

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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Practice has been pretty interesting... I’m probably oscillating between Equanimity and Re-observation. I reviewed the MCTB portion where Daniel talks about Equanimty and it sounds like my experience, word-for-word;
If one is tired, one may begin having dropouts that are similar to what occurred in Dissolution but more extreme. It may be hard to read and pay attention, hard to listen to people and hear, hard to notice where one is and what one is doing
Also, he says;
A related and common feeling in the early part of this stage is the general sense that something big is about to happen
All of these things are happening, along with the intense feeling of everything bein ‘ok’. I’ll be reviewing more of what Daniel reccomends in order for someone to reach Fruition from here, but so far I’ve been searching and investigating for the feeling of a ‘self’ anywhere in my sensate experience. I don’t notice it in my physical sensations, but I think I do in my mental sensations. Any advice at this point would be highly appreciated emoticon
J C, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Try the following: in Eq, say to yourself "Show me the feeling of self in my mental sensations. Show me its true nature. Show me the true nature of effort and surrender." Then just watch everything closely. Give it time and just look closely at all sensations that show up.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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I’ll try that. Thanks for the tip
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
J C, I tried your advice and it did seem to work. I realized I was more relaxed than I was putting in effort, so I turned up the effort and was able to see formations a bit more clear. Thanks emoticon

By accident, I found an old thread on here of people talking about how to get out of Equanimity and into Fruition. The advice was trying to see the formations more clear; from beginning middle to end. As I was focusing on that, I actually started to get a better sense of where the sense of self was coming from. I ended up dropping into what I think was high Equanimity. I’ve been passively focusing on that all day now and it’s been interesting. 
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
I believe I’ve hit Equanimity. I feel a general sense of calm during my sit. I used Kenneth Folk’s “Diagnosing for Dummies” thread and my current practice feels like what he described; everything sucked and I was frustrated and now I’m faced with a general sense of calm. 

Anyways, when I get pretty good concentration going, I get this sense of something “snapping back”. It’s as if when I’m really into observing a sensation or formation, there’s this quick snap to a more “observer” type feel. Is this a thing? Should I be focusing on that sensation?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Is there a physical sensation to this? Or how do you notice it?

Observing the observer is a very valid practice, and I believe that it is suitable for equanimity.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Thanks for the feedback. 

Its not a physical sensation, it’s more of a mental sensation
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 5293 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Uh-huh. I’m not sure I know what you are referring to, but I’m very kinesthetic so for me practically everything has physical sensations connected to it. How do you sense a mental sensation?
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Interesting... haha I like the different perspective.

So I was meditating and doing some slight noting, some slight just observing as much as I could with the least amount of effort needed. I’d be focusing on a particular sensation like hearing a car pass on the road. I’d see the mental image and movement and whatnot in my head and almost at the exact moment that I sense this happening, it’s as if my mind comes back to focus on something else. Something that felt like a sense of self in my head.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Maybe that’s the non-kinesthetic version of what I sense as physical bouncing inside my head, or arising and passings of subjective points. Yeah, I find it fascinating to get this kind of translation, sort of a code key to other minds.

Trying to clearly see the very vanishing of such a subjective point was what got me what I believe was stream entry.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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...or arising and passings of subjective points.
Would you mind expanding on that idea? That sounds pretty bizarre to me.

And as always I appreciate your feedback and discussing this with you
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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A point would pop up that thought that it was observing something, or at least that’s how I interpreted it. Then when I tried to observe that point, another point would arise, because the point that used to ”be” the subject was now the object.

I appreciate our talks too. I find them inspiring.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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!! Yes! Exactly! That’s a good way of describing what I’m noticing when in High Equanimity. So from this point you just attempted to see each one of those “pops” come and go? That’s what got you to SE?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Yeah, basically, although I ended up doing something slightly different as a result of trying it. I don’t think I should be too specific here, because I think it’s important that you find out experientially. Happy hunt!
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Cameron, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Do you make a point of consciously attempting to observe the arising and passing of sensations? I've gone through Practical Insight Meditation and I don't remember it saying to do this, even though it's at the core of Daniel's instruction. It's also a part of the U Ba Khin technique.

So far I've just been observing sensations generally without trying to consciously observe the Three Characteristics in them. I seem to be improving my perceptual abilities, concentration and equanimity from this and seem to be mucking about in the dukkha nanas. Kinda just relying on a subconscious perception and understanding for now.

What do you think?
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Cameron,
Do you make a point of consciously attempting to observe the arising and passing of sensations?
It kinda depends on where I am on the map of insight. For the first 4 stages (Mind and Body, Cause and Effect, the Three Characteristics and the Arising and Passing), yes. In Cause and Effect I’m clearly seeing the idea that a sensation directly leads to a mental impression of it, so I’m focused on the sensation rising and passing as well as the mental impression of it. In the Three Characteristics noting becomes quite fast for me and goes by in a blur. After that, (and during the sukkah nanas) my attention is much more broad and I have difficulty focusing on one sensation so I try to see the rising and falling of other things like feelings, thoughts, motivations, etc.

When you say you’re relying on a subconscious perception, I’m not so sure that would work. At least not for me. The most progress I’ve ever made in terms of perceptual abilities, concentration, etc. is when I’ve been genuinely curious about each sensation.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Good session today. I had what I’m pretty sure were several “near misses”. I was in deep Equanimity, just chilled out as hell. Noticing things in a very relaxed manner. Then, when I seemed to get caught in some thought stream or something, my mind would snap back to the present and it felt as if it was “dipping out”. I’d suggest gentle questions every so often, like, “what does no-self feel like?” Or “where is this observer at?” And just watch the mind do it’s thing. Although I’m just now remembering that Daniel made a distinction in his book between “dropping out” like what happens in Dissolution, and “near misses”. I actually think my “near misses” were me “dropping out”, which is still a good sign. 

Maybe they’re both. Maybe one of those was a “near miss” and the others were “drop outs”. Hmmm.... I’d love to hear others’ opinions on this!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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That is really difficult to tell from someone’s subjective descriptions. I used to have what I thought could be near misses until I had other experiences that were more clearcut and still apparently not ”it”. I still have unknown events, and I think many of them are something as simple as shifts between different mindstates. It seems to me that those can be a bit abrupt. For instance, it is possible to be sort of spitted out from a state of jhana. Coming back from a dreamlike state can also be abrupt and is fairly common in equanimity as I understand it. In any case, it is probably fruitful to investigate all such shifts in as much detail as possible to learn more about how one’s mind works. Noticing the shifts as they occur is a good start.

Caveat: All this is said from the perspective of a fellow traveller and should not be mistaken for teaching (by any reader).
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Those are all good points. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate any discussion on these experiences. Whether or not what you’re saying is true, it helps bring it all into perspective for me. Thanks Linda
YCR, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Do you practice the Jhanas?
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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 I do not. I used to, but that was several years ago.  

YCR, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Did you stop intentionally or do the Dukkha Nanas prevent you from practicing them?
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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I intentionally stopped doing jhana practice so I could focus on vipassana (I know, you need both to do either). 

Then I hit the Dark Night and stopped meditating for years
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Would it be a good idea to start my meditation practice out with 45min of concentration then an hour of vipassana?
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Still oscillating between low and high Equanimity. I’m trying to balance effort and relaxation, as well as trying to understand the difference between equanimity and indifference. 

My current practice is; I close my eyes and begin noting to help bring my focus in. After about 5min of this, I’m able to watch sensations come and go. They aren’t going fast, but rather clear and I (usually) don’t get caught in thought trains. If I can maintain a good amount of effort (and I’m not tired), I’ll enter into a deep calm/peace which I assume is boardering high Equanimity. There were times off-cushion that I had experiences that Daniel describes in his book. Things like;
Sometimes the early part of stage 11 can produce a real sense of freedom in the conventional sense, freedom from cares, worries, and even responsibilities and social conventions.
I know this is different than the A&P because my A&P experiences have all had a certain buzzing quality to them. I usually would feel quite good and have a sense of something happening. My hear rate and breathing increased, as did the illuminations. 

So far, in this Equanimity stage, it is a calm, relaxed, peaceful experience. I’m considering that I need tailored advice from a teacher because I’m not sure what to do in this stage. Someone advised me to keep “letting go” of desires, goals, etc. I have been, and I’m not sure where else to go.
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Dustin, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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[quote=]I’m considering that I need tailored advice from a teacher because I’m not sure what to do in this stage. Someone advised me to keep “letting go” of desires, goals, etc. I have been, and I’m not sure where else to go.          If your far enough up in eq that you don’t need to investigate anymore than you could use self inquiry “ Who am I” meditation. It can get really interesting. Hers a link.

https://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/teachings/instructions/
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Thanks for that! I’ll definitely try this out!
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Dream Walker, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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Hey, welcome back trav! Shoot me a hello on hangouts sometime.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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For some reason, I’ve been unable to reach A&P, or really anything past the first 3 stages. It’s been frustrating, and I’m trying to see this as a “learning opportunity” for letting go. 
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

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I definitely hit Equanimity today. I also had a glimpse oh what life might be like after SE. It was as if every moment was full of mindfulness and there was little to no automaticity. It was a moment of really high Equanimity, I think. Only time will tell.
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Travis McKinstry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: My daily daily

Posts: 130 Join Date: 7/1/19 Recent Posts
Daniel’s description of Equanimity in his book MCTB definitely aligns with what I’m experiencing not only on cushion but off cushion as well. 

I feel as if I could sit for hours, there’s a strong peacefulness. I talked with Kenneth Folk recently and asked him if I was experiencing Equaniity at the time (I wasn’t), and he described it as amazingly peaceful. He said something like, ‘if you’re in equanimity, that’s great! You’ll feel like you don’t want to be anywhere else. You’ll sometimes think well I hope I don’t hit SE because I’d hate for this to end’— I didn’t understand it at the time but now I do. The practice seems to be doing itself... sometimes it feels as if I’m not really there, and I’ve had a hard time staying with conversations because I’ll automatically go back to being mindful.

On a somewhat separate note, I’ve been feeling this strong Equanimity ever since that moment yesterday where I felt like I had a glimpse into what life would be like after SE. I’m not sure if that was me hitting SE or just deep Equanimity. Even as I type this I almost feel like I’m disappearing... this is bizarre...

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