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Siavash's Practice Log 2

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Siavash's Practice Log 2
journal log practice log meditation log practice journal kasina fire kasina
Answer
1/1/20 5:24 PM
To continue the practice log. May it be of benefit to someone.
This is the first part on fire kasina:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/13223904

And this is the second part:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/13519742

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I still have aversion to writing, because each time there is an intention to write, I notice that it's not a "wholesome" intention. This definition for wholesome is subject to change.

Also I still have aversion to formal sitting practice, because there is a feeling of getting disconnected, when I want to put everything aside and do a formal practice, but still I am doing it a few days a week usually. I guess my addiction to screen, and to listening to talks and etc, has gotten worse.

To try to maintain the practice, I try to be more mindful in daily activities, and also do short practice sessions, and spend more time for practice in bed. Often a mix of techniques, fire kasina, or just the color statics in the murk, or body, or the changing quality of sensations, or nada sound and Shinzen's See In Hear In.

There are some new shades of green in the murk, very clear and beautiful, but they are not there always. They come and go, depending of mind states I guess. But there are almost always some bright dots in the visual field, with eyes open or closed, and often they simulate a sequence of fire kasina: A bright dot appears in the field, very similar to the brightest spot of a candle flame, but circular, stays there for some seconds, then it turns into a very clear black dot, then some clear green halo appears around it, and the black dot gets bigger and loses its shape and becomes a black hole.

It's been some weeks that there are energetic sensations in the head and lower back/hips most times.

It's been some days that when paying careful attention, strong yawning arises. I had this before for a few days, maybe a year ago. Also some bright colors appear, that I guess molten gold is the closest name for it. It looks like a mix of green, yellow, blue, and orange.

And it's a few days that again I have that thing that I called it momentary vertigo before, that for some moments it feels like the visual field loses its stability and starts to move or shift or rotate. While writing this, it happend a few times again, it's subtle, but it's like I am in a bus, and this laptop is on my knees and I am writing there (The field is not stable).

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/14/19 10:42 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
I notice that the root intentions for many of the daily activities that I do, are not much related to the activities themselves. It seems that there are two main drives behind these activities: A craving for pleasure, and a primal dissatisfaction with "what it is", and those activities appear just to fullfil these two. I am not sure which of these two techniques is better for working with those basic two drives: Investigating vedanas, or focusing on the mental talks and images, and emotional body sensations (simply Shinzen's Focus In).

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/14/19 11:12 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Once one realizes that, it makes one wonder how that was not blantantly obvious before, doesn't it? 

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/14/19 11:24 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Once one realizes that, it makes one wonder how that was not blantantly obvious before, doesn't it? 

Yep.
"After a conundrum is solved, it becomes easy/obvious"!
This is a proverb we have in Farsi.

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/14/19 11:25 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
That's a good one. And it should be easy, but embarrassingly enough I still find myself engaging in such activities from time to time, even the ones that are mere avoidance behavior. 

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/15/19 7:41 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
That's a good one. And it should be easy, but embarrassingly enough I still find myself engaging in such activities from time to time, even the ones that are mere avoidance behavior. 

They call it practice/path, right? ;-)

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/16/19 7:59 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Recently I had an observation which was very interesting and helpful.
Last few days, I have spent some time practicing Shinzen’s Hear In, and Auto Think. 
In the last weeks or months maybe, I’ve noticed that recently, a big portion of mental talks seems to happen in a distance, or that the voices are not load, and not very clear, something like humming maybe.
And in the last few days, by focusing on the mental talk space, I’ve noticed that sometimes a stream of talks happen, which is not clear, and I don’t even detect the words and sentences, I only detect the voice itself, and its overall tone, but, I get what the voice is saying, and I detect its meaning and direction, and the relationship between the meanings that it conveys and the mental images that arise related to this mental talk. Previously I would think that if I am not able to detect the words, I can’t know what the talk is saying, but that is not true.

Last night I examined it for some time, that I was listening to the mental talks, without knowing what are the words, but clearly understanding what they were saying. (And sometimes this listening feels pleasant, and sometimes annoying!)

In another observation, I’ve noticed that in situations that are stressful or annoying to me, just at the moment that the situation starts to be stressful/annoying, a thought arises, a mental talk, and often with some mental image, and some tension in the body. In that exact instance, I’ve noticed that if I am mindful, I can stop that stream of next thoughts (or it stops itself), by just being equanimous/neutral about the situation and the content of that thought and feeling. But if I am not mindful and equanimous, then after that thought and feeling, mind and body goes to a different state, i.e. anxious/annoyed and there isn’t much clarity about the content of thoughts that happen after that. Previously I was thinking that, it’s that initial thought that causes the next unpleasant feelings in the body, but now I think that those subtle thoughts continue in the background, and if I come back to the first observation, although these thoughts are not clear in terms of wording and etc, but I get their meaning, and those meanings trigger unpleasant sensations in the body and the feeling trigger other negative thoughts related to the situation. This chais starts with that initial thought, that then leads to another thought and another.. . By being mindful and equanimous at the moment, it seems that it loses its power and just stops there.

(Linda, related to your post on vomiting)

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/18/19 9:01 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Last night I was able to do a longer sit after some days of not doing it, it was about 70 minutes I guess, and I did several shorter ones before that, focusing on different objects, breath, color statics in the murk, mental silence, mental image space and etc. And while in bed, I practiced Shinzen's Auto Think.

In the last few days, I notice more "energetic" sensation in my head, nose, and lower back/pelvis, and last night there were lots of vibrations, spread of coolness, bright lights and etc. In early hours of sleep I had a dream, in the dream I was lied down and practicing, that suddenly energy releases started to happen, there was bright light, very bright, and very strong vibrations in my head, and my head and torso was shaking wildly, then it became more intense, and my head and torso started moving up and it was staying with a 40-50 degrees angle and shaking and vibrating (I think this was actually happening in my body mind while having this dream, because after I woke up, there was some pain around the neck and jaw, that arises when there is too much vibration and energy release in my head, but I don't know it was happening exactly like it was in the dream). Then it settled down, and there was a sense of relief. I had the impression that some of these blocked energies are released now, and it feels ok, and now I can rest and enjoy. Then I started having some entertainment, but quickly it changed, and three guys showed up outside the window, and then they were inside. I didn't know how they got inside, and worry started to arise because I knew that they want to stay at my house for sometime (They were not strangers in the dream, but not someone that I really know). I guess I was awake or half awake at the point that I felt someone is touching my big toe that was under the blanket, that caused me to get up. Obviously there was no one there, and it was the remaining bit of the dream world.

There was another dream after I went to sleep again, that someone wanted to strangle me because of a misunderstanding. He was repeating that I deserve it, and I was saying that it's not like what you think!

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/22/19 11:15 AM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
There was something strange that was happening last night, that I think was new.
I didn't have enough sleep yesterday, and last night while in bed, I focused on the color statics in the murk. It happened several times, 5-10 times maybe, that I was getting sleepy and falling sleep probably, then when waking up, I was feeling disoriented, and I guess it wasn't clear what I was seeing in the murk, then after the attention was grabbing on the color statics again (in 1-2 seconds maybe), this disorientation would go away and it would feel normal (and probably I would start to percieve visuals clearly). I got the impression that the feeling was similar to a situation, where you are standing on a wall, and there is a tree but not very close to the wall, and you want to grab a branch on that tree, and it feels unstable while you are trying to let go of the wall and grab the branch, but after you do it, you are stable/ok again.

Today there is restlessness in the body mind. It feels agitating to be still, and my body just wants to move, and although attention is sharp and clear, but it feels agitating to to have it stabilized on something, and it want to jump from object to object, and it does that.

Also today there is a feeling similar to dizziness (maybe?), and sometimes my head feels heavy, and again the visual feels shifts or moves for just a moment. Still there are energetic sensations and vibrations in the head and base of spine and around it.

Another thing that happens these days, which I thing is state/stage related, because it changes periodically, is that it seems that I have lots of dreams at night, but I don't remember them, I only remember a vague feeling, and sometimes very vague imagery, and everytime those vague feelings or mages arise, I get this impression that there were very cool things in that dream-world, that wonderland, that I feel very nice about it, but never get any clearer image or feeling!

There are other days that I remember my dreams very clearly, so I guess each of these two phases belongs to some state/stage, which I don't know what they are.

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
12/27/19 6:18 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
In these recent few days, something happens during practice which is quite interesting.
Often towards the end of the practice, or after 20-30 minutes sometimes, I start to get very sleepy, but I don't fall asleep, and I don't lose clarity much, and I get to watch the mind thinking and remembering things, that often there isn't much mental talks, and most of the thoughts are mental images.

Almost all these mental images are very vague, and their location in space is not clear, except sometimes some of them appear in the murk in front of my face, but with very low resolution and very vague, and almost all of them stay for just a moment, a fraction of a second, so there are many many images that arise and pass very quickly.

What is interesting about it is that, an image appears, and I get a load of meaning from it, and I understand things about it that normally I would think them in terms of mental talks. For instance, a concept like "a short time" or "a long time" appear as an image. Or something like, "this thing is good for that person", appears as an image. So after an image appears, I get to know lots of things about it and remember lots of things, then the image disappears quickly, and I forget all those concepts and meanings in less that a few seconds.

Sometimes an image appears, like a face or an image of a situation, and at that moment I know that I know that person, and I know what that situation was, and I remember lots of things about that person's past or about that situation, but after a few seconds I forget them all, and it's interesting that for most of these images and stories related to them, I actually don't know those people, and don't have any memory of those situations. I know this often some seconds or minutes after the image and its stories appear, and it seems that I remember an impression of the image and its stories (I am not sure what that impression is in terms of sensations), and I realize that I don't know anything about those people and situations in real life. And I don't know how I get all those meanings and perceptions related to any of images, although sometimes some of them appear as images, but often I just know things about an image, and I don't have clarity what form that knowing takes.

This reminds me of what Shinzen says about mental images, that the bulk of thinking happens in the image space.

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
1/1/20 1:41 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
I am spending a good portion of my practice time these days in the murk. Those low resolution images has started to appear again. Mostly they are faces, creepy ones, but with very low resolution, almost like a faint trace of an image and hardly noticeable, and they appear for just a moment, a fraction of a second. I keep reminding myself after each appearance that they are just colored shapes, and I smile. A few times I had images with a little higher resolution. All of them appear in front of my face.

It's interesting that sometimes when there is a painful sensation in the body, initially I feel the pain in an area that is not the origin of pain. If I don't pay careful attention, I may not know where is the origin of pain, but when paying careful attention, I notice that the pain is in somewhere else, and after that, I feel the pain in its origin and not in the initial location anymore.

That sleepy phase that I was having before, and mental images were showing up with stories attached to them, hasn't happened in the last several days.

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
1/4/20 6:22 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Today it was a long and very tough day at work. I was at office for about 15 hours, and more than half of it was intense conflict and tension between two teams, and most of this time I was trying to find a resolution in this conflict. What I noticed that was positive, was that each time anger ot frustration was arising, I was able to recognize it, accept it and let it go, and maintain equanimity in the midst of that crazy chaos, and be able to maintain creativity and technical sharpness that led to finding solution for problems that didn't seem to have any obvious solution.

I had some of this in the past, but I had lost it in the last several years because of the difficulties that I had to face in these years, but thanks to practice, it seems that some of that is coming back, and at least sometimes I am able to maintain equanimity in situations that was not easy to do so before.
And thanks to you Shinzen, as Charlie Tart said once, "You are such a fucking genius"!

-- Edit:
It's interesting that now that I am home, those conversations at office are playing in my mind repeatedly, I have images of those people in my mind and I am hearing their voices again and again, and mild feeling of anxiety is arising in my body, and going away and then arising again.
It seems that probably it was not all equanimity, and part of it was suppressing or bypassing those emotions.

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
1/13/20 5:05 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Darkness, darkness, darkness and darkness.
Lost, hopeless.
No more energy.
No energy for anger.

RE: Siavash's Practice Log 2
Answer
1/16/20 6:27 PM as a reply to Siavash Mahmoudpour.
Getting back to practice slowly.

There was a break in my practice in these few weeks. First because we needed to finish a few projects, and for about two weeks I was working day and night, and for 4-5 days I couldn't have any free time (and mind space) for formal practice. And also because of all this insanity that happened in these two weeks, there was so much distraction and frustration, that I couldn't do the practice, or even remember to practice. Much less practice overally in the last 2-3 weeks.

Now it's been several days that I am trying to go back to how it was before, and do formal and semi-formal practice. Concentration is coming back slowly, but still it's much weaker. It's funny that when we need the practice most, we don't remember to do it.
I always appreciate it that Shinzen says so wisely: "But you may not remember to do it yourself".