Diego Garrido's concentration practice

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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts
Somehow 2nd jhana descriptions apply to my concentration practice at the moment, I find hard focusing on the little sensations that make this state up: i.e, I can't locate the bliss sensation for example.

I can do it with regular sensations, although I can't put names to 10 sensations in a second! I just notice (I'm Spanish, is there any difference between noting and noticing? ty) them (when they are fast and lots).

Any help on the two matters will be highly appreciated.

Thank you all DhO!!

diego.

PS: I will continue to post my own concentration practice evolution in this thread, so we all can see an online path and get the help I need and appreciate so much.

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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Somehow 2nd jhana descriptions apply to my concentration practice at the moment, I find hard focusing on the little sensations that make this state up: i.e, I can't locate the bliss sensation for example.

I can do it with regular sensations, although I can't put names to 10 sensations in a second! I just notice (I'm Spanish, is there any difference between noting and noticing? ty) them (when they are fast and lots).

The bodily bliss slips away when you move into 2nd jhana, it becomes less clear on your skin and it feels clearer in your mind, if that makes sense?

Diego, you're doing insight practice here. If you're trying to notice sensations then you're not doing concentration practice, if you want to do concentration all you need to do to begin with is to stay with the breath, or a candle flame, or an empty bowl, or any other object and not the individual sensations!

If you want to do insight practice, don't panic about naming 10 sensations per second. That all comes with time but you really want to be working on noting accurately. Start with one sensation, note it clearly e.g. you notice your behind on the cushion and, either out loud or silently to yourself, note "touching, touching", you then notice the softness of the cushion and note "softness, softness", you notice this is pleasant, note "pleasant, pleasant". Do you see what I mean?

Noting and noticing is a bit of a strange one, I think maybe someone more gifted with language than me would be better at explaining this clearer. Here's what I'd say...

A note is a mark, a sign, a token.
Noticing is the act of observing.

When you note a sensation you're marking it, identifying it, seeing it as an object, something which is not self. Before you can note it, you need to notice it. They're part of the same process basically. Is that of any help to you?
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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts
The bodily bliss slips away when you move into 2nd jhana, it becomes less clear on your skin and it feels clearer in your mind, if that makes sense?


Quoting Daniel's book, pages 168-169 in the paperbook, 141 in the pdf, "The second Jhana":

"The second jhana is like the first, i.e. a seemingly solidified mind state. With the dropping of almost all of applied and sustained effort the rapture and happiness factors created by concentration can really predominate. [...] When this state is really cultivated, the intensity of the pleasure of this state can become pretty much as strong you can stand it."


Maybe I am using bliss in a wrong way. To be more precise, I feel a sense of elevation: That's the sensation I have some trouble with locating.

Diego, you're doing insight practice here. If you're trying to notice sensations then you're not doing concentration practice, if you want to do concentration all you need to do to begin with is to stay with the breath, or a candle flame, or an empty bowl, or any other object and not the individual sensations!


Sure Tommy! I maybe wrote to fast. My intention was to investigate this state I was in (insight practice), once I am on the state (which I reach by concentration).

Thank you very much about the noting/noticing thing. It is much clearer to me now. By the way, the second characteristic (unsatisfactoriness) is so obscure to me, so difficult to understand in the little sensations. For expample: How to see unsatisfactoriness on a little pressure, or pain, or cold or hot sensations? Hence, I focus on the other two. Some light on that will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks Tommy.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Maybe I am using bliss in a wrong way. To be more precise, I feel a sense of elevation: That's the sensation I have some trouble with locating.

Right, I get what you're saying now. I would usually say "bliss" to talk about bodily sensations which, for me, are like warm sand running over my skin, but that's just how I would describe it. You're interpretation sounds fine to me.

This sense of elevation, does it feel like a sort of "opening upwards"? A sort of "lightness", as in not as "heavy" feeling like the first jhana? Those are just the words I would use to describe it but we all communicate differently so don't think I'm trying to correct you, I'm just trying to see if we're talking about the same thing here.

I maybe wrote to fast. My intention was to investigate this state I was in (insight practice), once I am on the state (which I reach by concentration).

Don't worry, it's just me reading what you've said incorrectly. Apologies for that. From what you're saying it sounds like you've got your shit together and know what you're doing so stick with that.

By the way, the second characteristic (unsatisfactoriness) is so obscure to me, so difficult to understand in the little sensations. For expample: How to see unsatisfactoriness on a little pressure, or pain, or cold or hot sensations? Hence, I focus on the other two. Some light on that will be greatly appreciated.


I'll give it a try but I stand to be corrected! emoticon

If something is unsatisfactory then it's inadequate, it's not enough. For example, you may have a meal which is unsatisfactory because, due to the portion size, it didn't satisfy your hunger, the very reason you sat down to eat in the first place. If this hunger is not satisfied then it leads to suffering, the stomach hurts, our minds are occupied with thoughts of food, we can't concentrate, we get shaky due to low blood-sugar.

Hunger is the desire for food, when we're hungry we're suffering because we don't want to be hungry anymore so we seek out food and satisfy the hunger.....but the hunger comes back and the cycle starts again. So, basically we can see that desire is suffering, we want something other than what we've got at present and we'll be unhappy until we get it. The reason why this is such a fundamental problem is that any sensation, anything which makes up reality, can never satisfy this desire because the satisfaction can only ever be temporary. With meditation, our hunger is spiritual, it's what made us 'wake up' in the first place and what will drive our practice until we can say "done is what needs to be done".

Seeing the 3C's demonstrates, in real-time, that sensation will never satisfy, can't ever be permanent and are not this thing we call "self". So, to eventually get 'round to answering your question.... emoticon

Another way of looking at unsatisfactoriness is as suffering, as we did in our analogy above, which is another word used to refer to this characteristic and is, I feel, more accurate. Suffering is wanting things to be other than they are, and as long as we're looking outside of ourselves for satisfaction then we'll continue to suffer, and be unsatisfied with things as they are.

Is that any better, or have I just confused you even more? emoticon

In short, all sensation is unsatisfying because it will not last, and is not self. That's about as simple as it gets.

Hope that helped!

- Tommy
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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts

Thanks again Tommy. All is clearer now. In short, I'll be posting some more on my personal practice.


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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts

After 2.5 months of everyday 2 hours practice I'm feeling fed up. I acomplished nothing, nor even being with the breath for 3 minutes. I'm feeling very frustrated with all the spiritual path and stuff. emoticon I'm sad, too, and sort of angry. Thinking this all may be true but I won't ever be able to feel or live it. 2.5 x 30 x 2 = 150 hours, should them be enough to at least reach access concentration? no.


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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Hey man, sorry to hear you're having a tough time of it right now. Let's get down to business!

I acomplished nothing, nor even being with the breath for 3 minutes. I'm feeling very frustrated with all the spiritual path and stuff.

Bullshit. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You've accomplished a level of personal discipline and attention to practice which you didn't have before. Is that not true? More importantly, when you experience these periods of doubt, aversion to practice, and irritability then it's actually a wonderful thing because it's showing you that you're making progress. You don't end up feeling like shit with bad practice, these are sign posts to say "Cognitive Restructuring In Progress - Drive Carefully". emoticon

This is the way it goes, it's not all sweetness and light, sometimes meditation leaves me feeling like I've taken a physical beating but these are all signs of progress. Pay attention to them, see them as impermanent, observe how they cause suffering and how, because you can observe those emotions, tensions, unpleasant sensations etc, they cannot possibly be this thing we call a self and so don't affect this fundamental awareness. Note them but understand that fighting against these stages will do you more harm than good, there's an acceptance which is required to skilfully navigate your way forwards and if you continue to practice well then you will get through it. We've all been where you are now, and we'll end up there again. Cycles is cycles is cycles.

Thinking this all may be true but I won't ever be able to feel or live it.

Are you aware of your breath as you breathe in and out? If so, then you're already living it. The Dharma is a living, breathing set of teachings and you're as much a part of it as it is a part of you, as I said above, these periods of doubt are natural and show that you're actually doing something right. Living it is feeling it.

2.5 x 30 x 2 = 150 hours, should them be enough to at least reach access concentration?

Yes, it should and you've almost certainly already gotten access concentration before now. The problem, in my opinion, is that you're looking in the wrong place and looking for something which access concentration is not! You've already said you think you're getting to 2nd jhana, and if this is the case then you've already gotten access concentration! Can you see what I mean?

Imagine that the jhanas are like layers of brickwork on a house. Access concentration is the first layer of cement laid on the foundation before the first course of brick goes on, so you wouldn't be able to get to the second layer of bricks without having laid your layer of cement and layed the first line of bricks would you?

Take it easy on yourself, start updating your practice thread with what's happening right now and see if anyone can offer any advice to help you along. Remember that compassion is a big part of this practice and that means compassion for your own experience of the world as well as others, forgive your own mistakes and you'll learn so much more. I'll offer whatever help I possibly can, but I'm just a guy like you who's been doing this for a little bit longer so keep on learning and asking questions.

Get out of that loop of negativity, get your insight practice on the go and let us know how you get on.

Metta,
Tommy
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bill of the wandering mind, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 131 Join Date: 4/14/11 Recent Posts
I've been there - I remember in the middle of a retreat once being so angry with the mind because it wouldnt do as I wished! Sometimes the direct way isnt always the best - play around and see what happens. Experiment and see how your mind behaves. Look at different parts of the breath - is it harder or easier to stay with different parts? What happens if you look at a boring part of the breath as compared to a more interesting part? If all else fails you could always fall back to noting for some of your time - at some point you may discover what your mind was doing or have an insight that helps in some way. I'm not an advanced student by any means but I know I'm better off for not giving up! Sometimes things happen easier when we no longer care as much if they happen, and we can get out of our own way.
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bill of the wandering mind, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 131 Join Date: 4/14/11 Recent Posts
This talk may be useful as well.

http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/BasicsCollection/07%20At%20Ease%20with%20the%20Breath.mp3
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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts
First of all, lots of thanks to Bill of the wandering mind, fire golem and Tommy!
What I just described happened to me all of the sudden, while being with my girlfriend doing nothing special. I felt that way for at least 3 more days, with the same intensity, and now it's gone. I must say that your metta did absolutely work on me, Tommy, and I kept practicing even with that state of mind, investigating my darkness.

When that feeling gone, I could stay with the breath for 5 to 10 minutes, without wandering. Following this advices:
"Shift your attention to a pleasant sensation, preferably a pleasant physical sensation. You will need a good bit of concentration to watch a pleasant physical sensation, because a mildly pleasant feeling somewhere in your body is not nearly as exciting as the breath coming in and the breath going out. You’ve got this mildly pleasant sensation that’s just sitting there; you need to be well-concentrated to stay with it."
from http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma7/enterjhana.html. As I cound't feel the sensation from my hands to be "pleasant", (I feel them more like lightness), I focused in the centre of my chest, exactly on the stomach starts (haha whats the name for that? emoticon). That bringed me to a moderately pleasant state, I would say firmer, unificating, and EVEN if I get into the content of thoughts, it remains.

My question of course is: maybe it's 1st jhanna? Forget about I wrote at the start of the thread! emoticon (as I did)

Thanks Tommy, by now you are the nearest I had to a teacher hehe, thought I am perfectly aware you are a regular guy like me emoticon (that means with superpowers hahaha)

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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
That bringed me to a moderately pleasant state, I would say firmer, unificating, and EVEN if I get into the content of thoughts, it remains

Bingo! You got it. If you want to make the jhana firmer then just stay with that pleasant feeling in the body, but if you want to move into 2nd jhana then pay attention to the mental aspects of the experience. Either way, if you're getting into firm jhana then you're concentration skills are very good already so all your worrying about access concentration was unnecessary.

I focused in the centre of my chest, exactly on the stomach starts (haha whats the name for that?)

That's usually called the solar plexus, don't be embarrassed about asking this stuff. It's useful and it's the best way to learn.

Thanks Tommy, by now you are the nearest I had to a teacher hehe, thought I am perfectly aware you are a regular guy like me

Behave yourself. emoticon

- Tommy

P.S. I can make things explode by looking at them and I'm also stealing things from your fridge with my psychic powers while you're reading this. emoticon
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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts
hahaha ty! I'll work on all of that, I'll be reporting soon emoticon
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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts
Hi all! 1st I must say I'm enjoying practice very much right now. Seems to me like I get to 1st jhanna in 2-3 minutes. Usually I stay "there" for an hour. Now I understand (and feel) the bliss! emoticon
Then I pay attention to the sensations arising for half an hour (switch to insight practice), although nothing happens. My question is: Should anything happen? and What is supposed to happen? What I am looking for (if anything)?
Tommy, when you said "notice the mental aspects of the (first) jhanna"... can you explain this in more detail? I'm not sure what to do to reach the 2nd one.

Thanks to all!

diego

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Diego Garrido Prats:
Hi all! 1st I must say I'm enjoying practice very much right now. Seems to me like I get to 1st jhanna in 2-3 minutes. Usually I stay "there" for an hour. Now I understand (and feel) the bliss! emoticon
Then I pay attention to the sensations arising for half an hour (switch to insight practice), although nothing happens. My question is: Should anything happen? and What is supposed to happen? What I am looking for (if anything)?

you're looking to pay attention to the 3 characteristics (selflessness (aka happening-on-its-own-ness), impermanence, and unsatisfactoriness) of any sensation. you don't have to do anything else. what will happen is you will go through the insight cycles - but you don't strain for that to happen, it just happens as a result of the looking. so focus on the looking and worry not about what should or should not happen - that worrying is a huge detriment to practice as it prevents you from clear seeing.

Diego Garrido Prats:
I'm not sure what to do to reach the 2nd one.

just stay in the 1st one for a while and you will start to get bored with it. it's kind of annoying that you have to keep focusing to keep the bliss up, isn't it? at some point you will realize you can stop focusing, and when the focusing stops and the bliss remains, you're in 2nd jhana. you kind of lock into a positive feedback loop.

then 2nd jhana will be awesome cause it feels great.. but eventually you get bored of the intensity of the bliss, and when your mind is ready you let that go to reveal a much calmer pleasant sensation. etc. for the rest of the jhanas - you get bored with its primary factor and move on
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I think Claudiu's spot on with his advice there so there's not much I could really add to that, but as usual I'll open my big mouth....

Then I pay attention to the sensations arising for half an hour (switch to insight practice), although nothing happens.

I think you need to start being clearer with what you're doing in practice when you're reporting, if only so that we can see what sort of sensations you're noting while doing insight practice. From what I understand so far, you're starting with concentration and getting into first jhana before beginning insight, is that right?

If so, what's the first sensation you notice? Remember how simple noting is, you're just naming stuff as it arises in awareness.

If you want some advice on reporting this stuff on here, don't worry about it during practice. Just note as accurately as you can and then write up whatever you can remember afterwards, or maybe even record a sound clip on your phone and transcribe it yourself. I do this sometimes and it's quite useful. Either way, don't stress about reporting too much and just write up whatever you can.

If nothing happens then either you're not noting correctly, or you're looking for something which isn't part of what happens during this practice.

Should anything happen? and What is supposed to happen? What I am looking for (if anything)?

Yes. Hard to say. You're not looking "for" anything.

You're paying attention to sensations on a moment by moment basis, that's all so don't look "for" anything. If you find that you're looking for something then you note "looking", and move on to the next sensation which presents itself.

Keep it up!!
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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts
To Fire golem: Thanks.

· I've been doing some noting practice paying attention to the 3Cs. I'll be keeping this part this way, without looking for anything.
· Refering to the samatha jhannas, I will simply enjoy them naturally, as I suspect I could have been reach the 2nd one. If it can be done withing 1-2 weeks from the 1st one with a 1.30 hours of practice per day. This is a question emoticon

To Tommy: Thanks.

·I find easier to focus on my solar plexus pleasant sensation when I'm "happy". Since Sunday I'm sad, in pain, in anger. Therefore, I can't focus on that pleasant sensation as it no longer exists, and focusing on the anger or pain doesn't bring me to any jhanna at least as far as I have been doing it.

·
If nothing happens then either you're not noting correctly, or you're looking for something which isn't part of what happens during this practice.


I mean, nothing spectacular happens. Nothing like the jhannas. How would I know wether I am on Body and Mind, etc? Are they recognizable? That's what I mean. It's like I don't feel any wiser or understand anything new. emoticon

·This has been a very hard week. Didn't see my gf, was always in a bad mood, feeling angry and pain, as I said, just keepin the practice up (as you told me) but with very less results than before, hard sittings... Feel like crying. Although I can "not get in the content" I still am feeling all of this.

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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Since Sunday I'm sad, in pain, in anger. Therefore, I can't focus on that pleasant sensation as it no longer exists, and focusing on the anger or pain doesn't bring me to any jhanna at least as far as I have been doing it.

Good, this is progress. In Dark Night your attention will have more emphasis at the edges, the end of sensation will be clearer than the start or middle, and it's generally a really shitty time to deal with but what's useful during this stage is to use this to your advantage.

Just allow your focus to lie wherever it feels natural, pay attention to the sadness, the pain, the anger and let them happen. Invite them to stay for a while, make them your guests and allow them to do what they do. They've got something to tell you so pay attention to them because they'll vanish in an instant, and you see this for yourself by noting them so, as difficult as it can be, just let it happen because fighting it makes it worse.

As for finding pleasant sensation, try doing a metta meditation as a starting point for your practice. If you do this properly then you'll find plenty of pleasantness to focus on but it's useful to remember that it's not just the positive sensation which gets your into 1st jhana. It's effort and attention which gets you there, the pleasantness is just a side-effect anyway so learn to get into jhanas when you feel like shit too, they're amazingly useful for dealing with all the Dark Night crap and giving you a nice little break from the harsh vibrations.

I mean, nothing spectacular happens. Nothing like the jhannas. How would I know wether I am on Body and Mind, etc? Are they recognizable? That's what I mean. It's like I don't feel any wiser or understand anything new.

Don't worry mate, this is all just part of the process. The stages are recognizable and predictable, but it takes repeated experiences with each to be able to identify them well and it can be quite confusing when trying to do this by yourself. Try these links [1] [2] and see if that helps any. When it comes down to it, you'll pick it all up yourself anyway if you continue to practice but it's not necessary to your practice to know each jhana and ñana inside out as it will all become clear through direct experience. It's useful, no doubt about that, but don't stress about knowing everything all at once.

This has been a very hard week. Didn't see my gf, was always in a bad mood, feeling angry and pain, as I said, just keepin the practice up (as you told me) but with very less results than before, hard sittings... Feel like crying. Although I can "not get in the content" I still am feeling all of this.

Sorry to hear that Diego, everyone on here know how this stuff feels so don't think you're alone in your experience. Do some metta practice on yourself and acknowledge the fact that we can all be assholes sometimes.... emoticon

Take care and good luck with everything,

Metta metta metta!!
- Tommy
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Diego Garrido Prats, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 12 Join Date: 3/21/11 Recent Posts
Thanks Tommy. I just wrote a big post and clicked the Back button so it's gone now. emoticon I will summarize:

-Pain and sorrow is less strong than before. I feel solar plexus again, all day long. I feel fine about good stuff and pay attention to bad stuff. Doing fine.

-Yesterday I felt 5 minutes of strong fear. I was practicing in bed, then the fear came, (there was no object), then I felt asleep.

-Next month I go to a 10 days retreat (Goenka, in Barcelona). Any advices or anything to say Tommy?

diego

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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Diego Garrido's concentration practice

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Diego Garrido Prats:
By the way, the second characteristic (unsatisfactoriness) is so obscure to me, so difficult to understand in the little sensations. For expample: How to see unsatisfactoriness on a little pressure, or pain, or cold or hot sensations? Hence, I focus on the other two. Some light on that will be greatly appreciated.


what might help: notice any 2 chars imply the third. if something is impermanent and selfless, then how can it satisfy? (what would it satisfy? and it only lasts an instant!)

the unsatisfactoriness of 'neutral' sensations i think more has to do with the pain of taking to be a 'self'. why cant we just let it be? why must we grab on to everything we see?

it's subtle, though, and when i started i had the same question and was told to just investigate easier-to-see stuff at first, as the subtler things become obvious (and not-subtle) as you go on, then once those are done with more subtle things arise which then become coarse, etc

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