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T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log

T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 12/18/19 6:58 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Bardo 12/18/19 7:35 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 12/19/19 6:14 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 12/19/19 8:50 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 12/20/19 3:25 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 12/24/19 4:31 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 12/25/19 2:39 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 12/30/19 4:54 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 12/31/19 7:25 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/1/20 4:56 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/3/20 7:03 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/4/20 6:58 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/5/20 5:17 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/5/20 5:49 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/9/20 7:03 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/11/20 4:50 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/12/20 4:35 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/13/20 5:18 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/13/20 3:03 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/18/20 4:54 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/21/20 6:02 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log curious 1/21/20 3:24 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 1/23/20 5:03 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log curious 1/26/20 1:15 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 2/5/20 6:16 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 2/7/20 8:56 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 2/16/20 8:34 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Chris Marti 2/16/20 2:11 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/16/20 2:11 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log curious 2/16/20 11:44 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 2/17/20 6:51 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/17/20 7:03 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/17/20 7:06 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 2/17/20 7:19 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/17/20 7:30 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 2/17/20 11:22 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/17/20 11:26 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 2/19/20 8:16 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 2/26/20 6:14 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/10/20 7:07 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/14/20 7:58 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Chris Marti 3/14/20 8:45 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/14/20 11:53 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Mikhail Zybin 3/14/20 3:32 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/14/20 6:31 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/17/20 6:23 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/17/20 6:44 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/18/20 6:21 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Chris Marti 3/18/20 6:46 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/22/20 6:03 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/26/20 7:08 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 3/26/20 7:59 AM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log curious 3/26/20 2:08 PM
RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log T 3/28/20 7:10 PM
T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
practice log
12/18/19 6:58 AM
This morning I sat for quite some time. Everything settled nicely and suddenly that shift happened where my focus just suddenly says "hey - your nose has air passing! RIGHT HERE!" in the sense that I was thinking about doing it prior...and then it just goes and does it without effort. That sort of abrupt shift. 

I sat with that easily for some time just letting it do its thing, and my eyes picked up sort of wave-like patterns that undulated on my eyelids. They were basically a really dark, deep blackness, and the waves were a lighter gray, wisp kind of thing. Sometimes they would come down like drooping campaign bunting, one big one, or one or two - top down. Sometimes they were vertical and moving across. Sometimes they just moved and shaped out there in front of my eyes. Once in a while, they would form into a circle (perhaps a nimitta, based on descriptions). I wasn't able to do anything with it aside from watch it - it would go away if I tried anything. It seemed as though they may have been coinciding with the breath in some way, but it wasn't obvious enough for me to notice - it was just an impression. 

I then heard a noise in the house and my mind took it in, while observing the patterns visually. I noticed that it kind of moved the waves a little, hearing the noise. I also had a thought of something akin to "hearing doesn't know sight" or somehow the idea that one is separate from the other entirely. I then promptly forgot it, it seemed, and had a thought "uh oh. whatever just occured to me seemed useful and/or important" but I was unable to grasp it... so I let it be forgotten. 

Then I was having some kind of thought about...what I really don't was as if my mind was mid-way through the thought and it got totally cut off very abruptly - just a hard stop - and it was like I suddenly came out of warp speed in Star Wars/Trek. As if "I" was suddenly there realizing my thought got totally gutted, and then everything immediately (quicker than quick) went "whoosh" and came back as if it were catching up to me. Any of you fans out there might be able to visualize what I mean, except remove the light when traveling at warp. The moment when they exit warp and hit normal speed - everything zooms in like bright lines and then sooo quickly is like "pow!" and you can see the planet(s) ahead. It was like that, except it was as if everything was catching up to me, not the other way around. I was stable in the black zone and then things came zooming in. Hard to articulate....

The designs and patterns inside my eyelids were gonzo. It was a very rich, deep, dark kind of black, though. Nothing else at all visually, and yet it had some kind of depth and interest to it in a very warm and comfortable way. I preferred that nothing to the neat patterns I was viewing formerly. The patterns slowly came back, and eventually the nimitta-like, greyish smoke ring donut came back, too. I tried to go into the center of it, but it wasn't happening. It just broke up and when I'd say oh well, it would slowly re-form only to break up again. 

Then I got up and went about my day. Another sit down. Kind of fun!

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
12/18/19 7:35 AM as a reply to T.
I then heard a noise in the house and my mind took it in, while observing the patterns visually. I noticed that it kind of moved the waves a little, hearing the noise. I also had a thought of something akin to "hearing doesn't know sight" or somehow the idea that one is separate from the other entirely. I then promptly forgot it, it seemed, and had a thought "uh oh. whatever just occured to me seemed useful and/or important" but I was unable to grasp it... so I let it be forgotten. 

Hello T.

What you wrote here is a very significant observation and one that, should you come to look more deeply at it, will reveal further interesting aspects about the nature of what we perceive to be inner-world, outer-world, and how consciousness is streamed between the two through the senses to produce a binary perception. The ear hears a noise. One becomes conscious of that noise and the mind interprets that noise through naming and forming. A feeling arises then comes a need to change ourselves or the environment in some way. These are the aggregates respectively: form, consciousness, perception, feeling, and intention. They are typically delivered in this order: form, feeling, perception, intention, and consciousness.

What I read from you is that you were able to remove yourself from this process and watch the entire thing play out perhaps not in the detail I've described but nevertheless, the bare framework was there. It does often appear to us that the senses operate in their own dimensions for instance, seeing does seeing things, and sound does sound things... and so on. I cannot say much more about this as I'm only writing at the level of my current experience.

However, what I do observe a lot of in me is how consciousness is streamed through the aggregated structure of self through the six senses. Senses perceptions are many events and have no relation to each other but the mind has such momentum it strings all these sense perceptions together to produce a stream of consciousness. Because of this the mind itself develops its own sense perceptions called thought so it can keep itself going even at the absence of external sense perceptions. We can see this when we go to sleep at night. The discontent mind dreams in name and form because that is how it is conditioned.

You can observe the aggregates in yourself in many ways throughout the day if that is how you choose to incline your practice. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
12/19/19 6:14 AM as a reply to T.
It is hard to compare experiences from meditation because words are so limited, but what you described in paragraph four sounds to me like it could be the slow version of A&P, the Arising and Passing Away, applied on thinking. That manifests a bit different than most A&P:s and I find it very cool. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
12/19/19 8:50 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Maybe? I have no idea what it was aside from neat-o. 

I have no idea where I am or have been. I've been at it for about 14-15 months really diligently. 1 hour minimum each morning and 30 to 60 minutes every night for the last four or five months. Before that, it was just an hour every morning. I can relate to lots of descriptions of things and have had some moments of clarity where I physically felt lighter and life was "easier" after - until it settles and becomes the new normal; the things I learned that made life lighter are still present, but it is now ingrained; One forgets how much they weighed pre weight loss until they pick up a heavy load again - ideally, with an awareness that it can be set down now...but none of it is obviously any of the pieces and parts described on the path of insight, except in small ways. 

I know fear and anxiety well (though that has never been a thing for me) from this process; I know super chill and everything's cool maaaan from this process; I know everything is exciting amazing and I can't wait to tell everyone how wonderful it all is from this process; and I know deep existential dread from this process (also formerly never a thing for me)... maybe one or two things that would easily point to as A&P (like two stone figures shooting/connected by lightning back and forth between them), but the confusion arises because there's no clear cycle. 

However, in no way has any of that been linear in the ways described elsewhere. Putting out a log just felt like a thing to do so... I did.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
12/20/19 3:25 PM as a reply to T.
Just had a half hour sit.

I had been watching some Rupert Spira hot takes, so I was in an interesting mental space when I sat down. I basically went directly into a very relaxed and alert sit with very little distraction, yet not feeling any effort toward the (in)actions. 

It was calm and peaceful abiding, I suppose. 

Anyway, at some point, my mind felt a little foggy, in a sense. I suddenly jolted. I thought perhaps I had nodded off, but I was so alert. It happened again a few minutes later; still felt very alert. I checked in on my level of alertness and felt very sharp. I resolved to see if I was nodding. 

I found that, instead, I would feel a sort of brain fog... the eyes would literally feel kind of dense...the back(ish) of my head would have a kind of sensation, and a part on the left side, also. This would feel kind of like tiredness sort of, but much more specific. It occurred to me that it was in relationship to a memory playing out in a sort of daydream fashion. I followed this through and as the memory ended, I would snap mentally to an alertness that felt like returning from nodding off. I decided to watch another and felt the gathering described, and even felt a sort of mental sinking occurring both physically and in a sort of "settling" sense. Then, the memory would conclude and I would snap back - feeling like having nodded off except I was alert and watching if occur. It was marvelous. It wasn't really continuous, but there also didn't seem to be any kind of "gap," as is being long debated in other places on here. 

So I watched for pieces of it as it happened and even sought a memory to continue the process, just to witness it. It was different than the normal narrative mind going, for sure. 

So this went on for some significant piece of the sit and then the bell tolled for me... so I got up very fascinated. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
12/24/19 4:31 AM as a reply to T.
I have been sitting each morning for an hour, as always. In the evenings, generally a half hour minimum. Starting two days ago, an hour each, plus yesterday about three separate hour sits. 

I am tuned in and paying attention, and the sits are nearly boring. There is nothing in particular happening, I'm not the least bit drowsy. My mind doesn't wander far, if at all. I say nearly boring because it isn't actually boring. Simply sitting and breathing, hearing life happening, etc. is enough to keep my attention honed in; it just isn't anything of particular note. No jhanas, but I am very relaxed and have absolutely no problem sitting the hour plus. 

Last night, I said to myself "let go of whatever is keeping you in bland land, man"

Nothing yet. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
12/25/19 2:39 PM as a reply to T.
Christmas Eve I sat for a half hour. It was very relaxed and featureless. It was right before bedtime and went I went to lie down, I had this quick mental image of two colors with a line down the middle, kind of like a nebula in coloration. I had the thought they needed to bleed together or somehow merge. I smiled and the entire thing just went away and I couldn't really remember what I had just thought. 

Today, I did the normal hour in the morning and a couple half hours throughout the day. During this last one, I had a mental image of a kind of dharma wheel out in space. No thoughts about it, just a mental impression and it was made out of sort of space/stars/nebulae. There was an effort to try and turn it inside out - which seemed impossible - but I had the impression of an idea how and began to kind of invert it through the hub... sort of. I immediately got kind of excited about doing that and brought focus onto turning it inside out... and it all immediately disappeared. sigh. 

I keep trying to remember about holding a peanut in the ocean!

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
12/30/19 4:54 PM as a reply to T.
Been practicing right along as described before, except for Friday/Saturday where I had quite short sits. The sits have been the same in featureless-ness, but I have had some flashes of... memory-like things. I'm not sure they are actual memories or if they are just creations of the mind. They flash fairly quickly, so I don't lose focus of the breath, exactly, though it isn't prominent in those moments. They usually seem to be fascinating, but nothing comes out as insightful and I promptly forget the theme. 

The major thing has been how I feel while not meditating. I had a major headache yesterday that originated (it seemed) with tension near the shoulder blades and up into the neck, particularly in the back. THe muscles that extended up into the back of the skull were tight and my head was very unhappy. I tried to soldier it out, but felt ill so I took tylenol. It lessened the pain, but it was there throughout the day. I felt somewhat better toward night. This morning, I felt fine. Then, I sat for about 2 hours 15 minutes and have since been feeling... icky and off. Tightness has returned to the same places, though not causing a headache. My stomach feels nauseous. It isn't necessarily related, but I'm putting it out here in case someone can point to something useful I should be doing to help. I did some metta in the sit today, but everything felt murky and unclear and generally I've felt that way since the sit. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
12/31/19 7:25 AM as a reply to T.
I did a very long guided body scan that started with 20 minutes of standing meditation before bed last night. I followed that with just sitting and felt very focused and extraordinarily calm. The mind was very, very quiet and it felt as though the body could have been completely asleep. It was as if it barely existed. My ears closed down a time or two, and I generally just found it very fascinating sitting still and experiencing the complete interior quiet. During the body meditation my attention was within the body entirely with little awareness beyond. Then, when I transitioned from standing and away from the bones/flesh, and I began sitting, my attention went very flat vertically, but extremely wide. Pinched, yet expansive on one plane. It then transitioned away from that, but I can't say to what. As I said, it was totally quiet in the mind and I actually had to generate some kind of thoughts about what was happening for "anything to happen." I then laid in bed and continued that until I fell asleep. There was essentially no piti or any noted physical feeling(s) of any kind, really. The mind was silent, and I was just sort of looking as... blank awareness. 

This morning, my hour sit was 'chaotic' mentally, though I had no physical aversion to sitting. The mind was all over the map and concentration never came together. My thoughts and attention were totally unbridled and free! ha. Much to my chagrin, though I have tried to simply accept that's what it was and move on. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/1/20 4:56 AM as a reply to T.
So I started reading "No Self, No Problem" by Chris Niebauer and I find it was incredibly helpful, in what felt like an instant, to my practice and in daily life. I highly recommend it to anyone who takes a peek at my log. 

After reading much of the book, I have such a clear understanding of what I'm aiming for with meditation and daily awareness and noting; it isn't some lofty goal a'tall, nor is it mumbo-jumbo. 

As a result, last night's sit and this morning have been... great? I hesitate to qualify, but it is certainly something different. Last night I was in a kind of awareness oblivion for the duration. 

This morning I did an hour, starting with the breath and a light body scan. What I noticed first, upon waking, was that noting was automatic, in a sense. I had qualified myself previously as a terrible noter. I didn't get it. I was forever forgetting to note and hadn't read anything that clicked as to why it works. 

Anyway, after I noted my way to sitting comfortably, scanned the body slightly, and began noting the rise and fall, noises, and what-have-you... I realized that I was much more immediately and clearly noting thinking, wondering, imagining, remembering, planning and was very, very quick to return to the breath, as well as note shifting and stretching movements. It feels as though noting is just... so simple. Except I was so tuned into the narrative brain that it was being drowned out...? maybe. 

The sit was very straightforward. No bells and whistles. I was incredibly focused, felt incredibly fresh, and noted (seemingly) everything there was to be noted. I had no real shifts to anything discernible, but I was certainly jacked up on existence as it is. At one point, however, I did try to return to the breath and realized (in the first moment with alarm, and then with pleasure and internal laughter) that I had no word for "falling" as I noted "rising" and "falling" of the breath. It did come back to me after three or four of them, but for a while it was just... gone. emoticon

When I got up, I continued noting the hell out of living and continue to do so now, several minutes later. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/3/20 7:03 PM as a reply to T.
Sitting has been happening. Continuing an hour per morning, plus at least 20 minutes each evening. Today I did several, hour long sits. I continue to note - kind of a mixture of Shinzen and Mahasi. I've been focusing on "gone" a lot in the Shinzen way and have been noticing a lot of neck stiffness and tightness between the shoulders. I've had some interesting quick fading/jerks while totally alert. Maybe I'm building up to a blackout - I don't know. The sitting itself is easy and without discomfort - I guess the neck undermines that idea, but it's very localized to the neck, between the shoulder blades, and sometimes the mid-lumbar. It basically goes away when I get off the cushion, loosen up a bit, and go on about my day. 

I find noting gone interesting and also hard to keep up with. I note an action, then another action begins before the first one is actually gone, so I find I'm doing something like "hear...see....(hear) gone...hear...(see) gone..." and so forth. They overlap and once in a while it gets kind of confusing, in a way, but I just try to keep at it. 

I find that after doing a little early jhana to get excited and focused, I can go along pretty well. Sometimes I get into what feels like equanimity and then it's even simpler to track what occurs. After a while of that, I just sit and do some shikantaza. I find that is when the gone-noting makes any kind of blank outs happen. It hasn't happened while noting yet. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/4/20 6:58 AM as a reply to T.
This morning I woke up with some serious, serious neck pain and stiffness that was angling toward major headache. I sat for about 30 minutes, but my daughter woke up early so I cut it short. In the sit, since I was having discomfort and such, I just decided to go with some kind of shikantaza/choiceless awareness kind of thing. I found that after the briefest time, I felt some shifts and dropped into a very nice equanimity feeling. I just sat and bathed and remained alert. It felt like some shifty stuff was happening at the periphery, but I just sat and felt so very comfortable and remained alert. Then, as I said, my daughter arose early. 

I got up and my neck was back to painful and stiff and I felt tired. After my wife got up, I went back to sit the other half hour. 

Again, I angled for just sitting; plain and simple. Again, all sorts of quick shifting and rapidly hit and equanimous feeling that was pervasive and made me crack a soft smile. I just sat and felt so.... content. I remained alert. Nothing particular to report. It felt, at one point, like there was some kind of jolt of a... major shift of sorts, but not "in your face" kind of shift. Just a quick - hey, where'd I go? Weird. I still feel super alert. 

That was the only thing going on. I had some peripheral thoughts and considerations swirling around, but I just sat quietly in the middle and was so very, very content and comfortable. 

The bell tolled for me - I ignored it and sat another five minutes or so because it was so luxurious of a sit. When I got up, my neck pain is 100% gone and I feel like a million buckeroos. 


RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/5/20 5:17 AM as a reply to T.
Yes. Trust it. The process knows the way. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/5/20 5:49 AM as a reply to T.
Inspired by Michial's fun with fire kasina, I gave it a whirl last night for about 20 minutes. I don't really have a clue what I'm doing, but I sat and stared at it, closed my eyes, etc. I was able to get a reddish dot  (that reminded me of a sunset in Karate kid) to turn into a very deep red and form a full circle, instead of missing the bottom piece. After a while, it became a very well defined circle, and very, very red, like a laser being shot into my eye. The surround became very, very dark black, and all the murk was pushed to the fringe. Sometimes it was gone entirely, and would slowly creep back in. While starting at the flame intently, some of the time, I was so focused I felt 100% confident that I could interact with the flame. I willed it to flicker - no luck! hahah

Later, I sat for a half hour and it was very peaceful and quiet. Not much to report for that sit. It was comfortable and quiet inside. 

I woke up just before 0100 and was wide, wide awake and felt totally refreshed. I decided to sit for a few - probably 15 minutes. In that sit, it was wide and easy, though not expansive. As most insights seem to go - this seems incredibly obvious - but I realized that thoughts, my narration, and the perspective of the viewer are three separate entities. Meaning - I realized that my narration is more or less optional regarding thoughts. If I narrate the thought, it is grabbing it; if I don't, it just keeps on keeping on and I can kind of see it like an apparition of what it becomes once narrated. I had already seen the separation of viewer and thoughts, but missed the narration bit. 

That felt interesting enough for one midnight sitting, so I went back and lay down, though I was still totally refreshed and awake. I just did some breathing exercises and relaxed. Suddenly, my attention did this really, really expansive sort of thing and I had this instinct "oh shit - this is it!" and tried to see what was happening. Attention sort of ballooned out, away and around, and then came back around behind me. That was it. Anticlimactic, but it was definitely a different feel. After sitting a little longer, I had this vision of a grand staircase with some number of landings ahead of me. It was white, marble stairs and railings with a lovely blue carpeting. Not sure where it goes/went. 

Eventually, I did an hour sit this morning. It started out very restful and cheerful and relaxing once again. I was very, very comfortable and really just enjoying sitting there. At some point, in retrospect, I have no idea how long into the hour...I had the thought that being kind to myself was being kind to all others (and the reverse. Kind of occurred in one idea). Then, I had this attentional shift in a strange way. It was like in the old cartoons where the character is heading to his lair, so he sits in a chair against a short wall... the wall then spins around and the character is on the opposite side of the wall inside the lair. Anyway, it was kind of like that, expect it didn't feel as though I moved, necessarily. It was more like my awareness swirled around me 180 degrees. 

The rest of the sit was super duper peaceful and chillllllll. I "came out of it" right about 4 minutes before my bell was set to go off. 


RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/9/20 7:03 AM as a reply to T.
Been practicing right along, not missing a beat. Generally speaking, this continues to be an hour in the morning, and 25-45 minutes in the evening, and sometimes I do a half hour of fire kasina for fun before that sitting (with reading in between). 

The fire kasina has been fun. I can't report anything funky and fun, but it is enjoyable seeing the red dot and the different color and patterns that can surround it sometimes. I just like doing it - I suppose it is helping concentration, but I am just enjoying it. 

The sits lately have been quite effortless, though not as "deep" as they had been prior. I find myself very alert and focused on sensations. I have been using the Shinzen noting when I note - grouping similar senses into one single phrase instead of giving them each their own.

I have found that this method has kept me more alert than the other noting I was doing. I can't guess as to why, perhaps it is unrelated. More involved in occurrences both in and out, but less of a zen zone.  

That said, I have noticed in this method that I go along noting like so... hear, see, hear, hear, hear, feel, see, feel... at some point it just snaps kind of out of sync. (note: I also note gone, but that is hard to demo in writing) It's not controllable, although kind of. I have noticed that it seems to occur at the conclusion of a "see" thought. Some visual image passes mentally, or some memory concludes... and I kind of blip out. I'm very quickly back (thus the blip) and realize there was a moment of blip. It feels as though my body kind of jerks (similar to nodding off), but I can't determine if that is simply the sensation of it. My body is still in the place I last knew it to be - I'm not chin-to-chest or anything. I also know it is very, very quick, because other hear senses haven't changed enough in the interim to have been long. I'm certain I don't fall asleep; in fact, I have been very awake and rested for days, and I am very aware of it happening up until and right afterward. 

I sleep great for about 7 hours and wake up at 4 without issue. I go all day without yawning and really enjoy the daily activities, and go to bed around 9 just to keep a solid routine. I'm not necessarily "tired" by then, but I am comfortable to lie down and do some quick noting before falling asleep and stay asleep for 7 straight. 

Regarding the ability to "control" the blip. If I note it as a blip and consider what it was, and then think "let's see about that again," I can sometimes get a blip to happen again within a couple minutes, sometimes three in an hour. It seems to depend on just how zen-ed out I am, and whether I intend to try again, but then simply go back to noting diligently. If I try to, it doesn't happen. Perhaps a subtle difference, but I imagine any readers here will get the idea. 

EDIT* Forgot to mention that I have been consciously turning my crossfit workouts into meditation practice. I remember some allusion to physical activity (marching) in MCTB2 being possible for that, so I decided to do it on purpose. Essentially, I turn it to basic noting and try keeping my attention grounded as low, physically, as I can. So yesterday, it was running, box jump overs, rowing - combinations of those. I would basic note "left, left, left, right, left" while running; "up, 1, down" for box jump overs; "bend, push, bend, push" for rowing. I found that I really maximized my physical ability beyond my norm. It was partners, and while resting I would note my footfalls as I walked, or my in/out breath. At the end, I was dizzy and very, very winded, though I hadn't noticed it one bit during the noting. It was great. I am so, so very sore today. 

That's the view from here.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/11/20 4:50 AM as a reply to T.
The last couple of days, I have found myself engaged in a conversation, or otherwise occupied in a similar way, and suddenly had attention tune into the fact that one of my hands (generally dominant) is in some odd posture. It isn't necessariyl odd in and of itself, but my brain never sent a signal to change it from whatever it was doing before. So I'll find it rigidly sitting in some strange way for the context as I speak... notice it and then change the position. It's interesting. 

Sits have been just sitting and noting. Very alert and zero tiredness (all day and also during sits), but nothing kind of "going on" during the sits. 

This morning's hour sit, I just sat down. As in - I didn't have any real intention. I didn't get up to my alarm, I laid around a bit, finally had the impetus to go sit come up so I did... and just sat down. My mind wandered all over god's creation and I was aware of it from an observer perspective - never truly losing myself into the wandering. At some point, I felt a drop like an elevator and went down about four floors. It was fun so I tried to tune into the drop (maybe jhanic in nature) and it wasn't very eventful. I simply felt very clear, alert, and observant. So I just kept letting the mind do as it might. 

That continued the full hour. I'd have the seemingly random and unidentified elevator drops and just watch whatever seemed to be randomly occurring. I continue to be very balanced in my daily life and not really ever getting tired mentally. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/12/20 4:35 AM as a reply to T.
I sat quite a bit last night. It wasn't much of anything and I had trouble keeping any focus. I noticed being uncomfortable physically more. Throughout the day, earlier, I was feeling antsy and fidgety. I had one pretty serious jerk/body mvement/kriya of my dominant arm and hand. Before that I had done 40 minutes of fire kasina. 

This morning was quite terrible as far as sit goes. I did my daily routine. Immediately, I was uncomfortable, but I just soldiered on. That lasted the entire time, sort of crescendo-ing throughout the hour. It felt like my focus was a mess - actually, non-existent. I tried following the breath with a mantra to help, but I wasn't able to keep track. My mind felt like a busy, busy place. I couldn't relate any one thread here, exactly, but I kept getting pulled around with what was going on and totally and completely forgetting my intent.

Somewhere around halfway through, maybe, I heard what was maybe the nada sound? I haven't heard it before, so I'm unsure. It was definitely not an external stimulus. It sounded like two of those wooden blocks clunking together once. It had a very interesting tone to it, but sounded faint. 

Throughout the sit, I noticed that I kept realizing I was hunched forward/curled in. Kind of like falling asleep, but I wasn't, and it was my entire torso. I would realize that and then straight up slowly - a while later (15 minute maybe) I would notice it again. 

As the sit went on, I started to worry about how much longer I had left to sit. I felt very overwhelmed by what was going on in my head. I had tried to start metta twice. The first time, I had trouble remembering how to even begin (odd and concerning, if I had been able to remember I was doing that, which wasn't until later). The second time, I was able to access the phrasing, but only got through the first four or five words of my phrasing when I realized I had forgotten the first time, and couldn't fathom why; I use it all the time. It worried me a little and felt out of hand. I did manage to get through one round before my mind just went elsewhere and I wasn't able to continue the metta anymore. 

I was very uncomfortable and in "pain" for the latter half hour of the sit. The mind was feeling pretty wild. I began feeling ill at ease with it all, anxious, etc. Then, it started to rain. I was sitting beneath a skylight, so I could hear it start very, very slowly... one drop at a time, and slowly increase. This felt naturally soothing and stopped my freaking out, but not how painful sitting was. The bell tolled for me, but I resolved to power through a little longer to prove a point to myself (I guess). I listened to the rain, noting gone after each drop walloped. I felt less edgy, anxious, and worried. 

I've seen/heard people talk about how their practice, in certain stages, can feel like going back all the way to the beginning again - but this felt worse than that to me. I never had much trouble focusing when I first began meditating, though I obviously worked with discomfort and what method helped me best maintain focus. This was like negative progress, though I know it isn't like that, necessarily. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/13/20 5:18 AM as a reply to T.
So. Yesterday after the journal/log, I continued to experience high levels of anxiety and worry. I felt cooped up and hemmed in...and all that jazz! So, I decided to try and work it out instead of stew. I headed to the morning crossfit and approached the workout as a noting/meditative practice. It was a thirty minute deal. It seemed to help a little and got me physically churned down into a more relaxed state. The rest of the day I had underlying freakouts happening all day in the heart area with period of high anxiety. My wife could definitely feel my energy, which made for some annoying conversations for both of us. 

At some point during the day, it became kind of exciting. I was driving back from somewhere and it felt like an adrenaline rush more than anxiety. I have always been an adrenaline junky, so I channeled this into something super awesome to experience. It was like driving too fast (I wasn't) or riding a roller coaster, or sky diving. Somewhere on that spectrum depending on the moment. I would give it consideration and let it roll without doing much. 

I sat 45 minutes before bed, which was different than earlier. I was much more able to focus, or at least some semblance thereof. I just did breath focus and sat. Though the mind did stray some from time to time, it was relatively focused on the breath. I wasn't very comfortable after the first 20 minutes; my back started hurting as well as my legs. I kept on keeping on. I inclined toward jhanas (I really only have the lower 4 with any success), but they weren't happening. 

This morning, I sat an hour. Started out uncomfortable and continued, but I sat through. I kept with the breath and was able to focus alright. In the beginning the mind was quite clear and featureless. Various stories came and went; I followed a few, but was aware I was doing so. I inlined toward the jhanas again, but only felt like 1 happened...maybe 2. At some point, I think I may have dropped to 3 because my core felt very warm, but my arms and chest had a very cool sensation, if somewhat clammy. There was something interesting about the field of focus, but I'm not sure I can articulate it. I stayed there the rest of the sit without any changes in focus, attention, or the body feeling. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/13/20 3:03 PM as a reply to T.
I was watching a video of Fool Us with Penn & Teller. The magician fooled them, during which he elaborated about losing his ability to be fooled at 13 years old; he described the trick, but made it yet another trick maintaining the viewer's innocence. Anyway, as I said, they were fooled and were praising his skill. 

...and I just started crying. I was so damn happy for the guy and for his skill, and for our maintaining of innocence to go forward naive and believing in magic, and their honoring of his abilities. Just cried. 

That came out of left field and has to be related to my practice. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/18/20 4:54 AM as a reply to T.
Sits recently have been pronounced by discomfort and a general lack of impulse to do them. I continued to sit the morning hour and a few short evenings, but the desire to wasn't there in the same way it had been prior for so long. 

Yesterday, it came back! I did a 45 minute sit and was excited to do so. During it, there was zero sloth/torpor/boredom that would mix into past sits. Discomfort certainly existed after a half hour or so (I was sitting in a different way than I usually do, and on a different surface, so I'm surprised I made it that far), but it was kind of... there. It wasn't pain in the sense of a deterrent and something I was battling with. It was just noticed as what would be interpreted as pain, but wasn't coming through that way exactly. At one point, I had a strange sort of jolt at the bottom of the out breath. I had been very, very relaxed. I could sort of recreate it at the bottom of the out breath if I really tried to relax absolutely everything in my experience. It would result in this sort of jolt. 

This morning, during my morning hour, it was basically the same, but the pain seemed even less interesting and relevant to anything. I could check it out if I chose, but it was kind of "down there" and not necessarily relevant to "me." 

So the drop out/jolt thing happened, seemingly randomly as I got super relaxed. I decided to play with it a bit, inquisitively. During the out breath, I would just try and relax as much as possible - mentally and physically. Kind of let go. It felt kind of like, as I descended, I could just drop right out of the body, in a sense. I would reach the bottom and feel very open, and there would be a jolt and the in breath would start. I kept doing it and found that my concentration seemed to deepen out of curiosity, I imagine. I kept monitoring it - relax, open, let go.. breath. 

I think I've decided that I finally found the base, base impulse to in breath...? I'm really not sure.

I definitely in-breathe after the sort of jolt. The jolt, as I'm calling it, isn't like holding your breath and having a strong desire to breathe. In fact, I let go and didn't respond to the impulse in that way, and the jolt came separately without the impulse feeling, and after. It originates somewhere deep down and comes up from "the bottom" and then up through, and subsequently I breathe in. It is hard to truly see if one causes the other. On the way down, it feels like I'm letting go to an extent that my body would just fall apart/away/open, and the jolt brings me back up and in. Hard to articulate. I get the same feeling of the mind in that moment - like it is opening and I can see it totally relaxing and it could also fall apart/away/open completely and - zingo. Except... jolt. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/21/20 6:02 AM as a reply to T.
Sitting has been different lately. 

It used to be that I would focus, following the breath, maybe play with access to the early jhanas, and get all "other worldly" sometimes. None of that happens.

I sit with the breath. 

That about sums it up. 

I don't recede inside or relax into anything or...see beyond the immediate moment in communion with the mind-at-large or whatever.  

I sit with the breath.

I'm aware of it and follow it. Watch it. I'm alert and hear/smell everything around me that presents itself; and I just sit there. I'm comfortable for nearly the entirety of the 60 minutes each morning (and any timeframe each evening), and nothing happens. This morning I had some small early jhana action as far as body sensations. Instead of the strong piti that overtakes the body, it was just a full body "oh, this is so nice." It was very fine and subtle. I focused on it for several minutes and let the enjoyment just wash all around, but it was very calming and relaxed and not what I understood as piti from the past where it was quite forceful.

Nothing seems to be happening, basically. I've been following the breath now for probably... 500 hours? Right in there somewhere. Sittin' with the breath. 

Irritable today. 

The past several nights at the end of my sit, or right after, I have been telling myself that I intend to be aware during the dream state. I've been in some of the dreams aware. It's hard to tell time spans, or whether I'm aware for 1 out of 4 dreams, or if there is only 1 dream. However, sometimes I'll wake up to go to the bathroom, lie back down, and go back to the same dream and still be aware, at least for a while. I haven't figured out how to actually do anything in there, yet, but I'm aware I'm dreaming and watching things play out. It isn't fully lucid with an ability to change anything, though sometimes I do. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/21/20 3:24 PM as a reply to T.
So, if your concentration is sufficient to sit with the breath continuously, it could be time to try refining the object of meditation to be more challenging, to more precisely observe a smaller part of the breath.  So if you are observing the flow of air at the nostrils, try narrowing the focus to individual sensations in three or four points within each nostril.  Of if you are observing the rise and fall of the abdomen, try breaking it down into smaller parts - start of the in-breath, middle, end of the in-breath, changing to the out-breath and so on.  

Metta to you T


RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/23/20 5:03 AM as a reply to T.
I fell asleep to myself,
and awoke
to the simple, beautiful truth.
I marveled at elegance
I danced with creation
I fell asleep to the truth,
and awoke to myself.

I wander between
clumsily in darkness.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
1/26/20 1:15 AM as a reply to T.
emoticon  Great.

Did you note the arising and passing away of this experience?  

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/5/20 6:16 AM as a reply to T.
Nothing is happening. Some boredom, sort of, though I'm not sure that's an apt description. It's clear I have no idea what I'm doing, though I still sit. I did skip a couple of days; I had a head cold and just didn't feel like it. Only two days. Back in it today, but I was just sitting counting breaths and feeling very over the whole thing. I switched positions to corpse after about 20 minutes - not because I was uncomfortable or anything... just because "who gives a f*ck," in a way. It's all very strange. 

Yesterday and the day before, despite the head cold. I was fine. I felt fairly serene and basically continually present. There wasn't a ton of mind discourse and distraction. 

Today, I'm tense inside and kind of angry. 

edit: I was reading Kenneth Folk's article on jhana and nana (the wiki here) and he describes concentration. It occurred to me...
I have no problem following the breath whatsoever. I can count from 1-10 dozens of times without losing track in the least. Thoughts still occur and pass through, but they never grab. I always stay on track. He notes that being concentrated means being able to count 1-10 two or three times without wandering. Well, I'm able to do this four or five times that without much effort... yet nothing feels like it's happening whatsoever. 

I don't have the vipassana abilities that many people here talk about. It just doesn't seem to happen - he notes that those who concentrate well seem to struggle with it. Seems to be me, perhaps...?

Great. So what do I do?

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/7/20 8:56 AM as a reply to T.
I have been having some digestive disruptions and feeling quite off for a few days. I didn't sit the past two. I slept a significant amount.

I did some meditating from bed last night. This morning I got in 40 minutes of my usual morning 60 before my daughter woke up. 

I was very alert and engaged the entire time. I started with Metta - very concentrated and aware. I did that for about 10 minutes, I would guess. I then settled into just being focused on whatever was there. The surface of my body was very cool, if not somewhat slightly cold, but everything below the surface was very warm and I could feel many of the processes occurring. The usual - tingling of the scalp, the sensations of sitting and feeling where it touched itself, the digestive sensation in the stomach, and such.

In summation - just very alert and concentrated. I did not bother counting breath because I have good concentration already and I think it has been overly used, potentially; if that makes sense. I still need some guidance on what to do when you have lots of concentration, but little other direction. 

Anyway - I was very alert and tuned in to life and my bodily systems. Really without effort. Then a thought about one of the systems of the body or something going on popped up... and I mentally said to myself "words just get in the way," and my mind loosened up... almost physically. My brain sort of relaxed in a physical way - or so it felt. My sense of space widened a bit. It was pleasant. That's just it. The coolness of the body surface remained the entire sit, the sense of space was widened slightly, and I was very concentrated and alert. Nearly bored...but that's not quite the right term. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/16/20 8:34 AM as a reply to T.
Practice...ah, practice. It had been STALE for some time. Shargrol and curious both nudged with a couple ideas and I've been mucking about. New ways of trying the practice, so that simply makes it fun and interesting. Thank you both, very much, if you happen by here. 

For a while now, I've been having more awareness in and of my dreams. Sometimes, I know I'm dreaming, but not in enough of a sense to think of controlling it. I wake up to go pee, or something, and then when I get back to sleep the dream had continued and I jump back in very quickly. Sometimes, living in a sort of in between during the awake part. Last night was the first time that I really had the sense I could control it, but I didn't. In part, because the instance when I realized it...I was afraid; In two different dreams. As I was aware and it has been haunting me, this is part of the practice, and it bled over into the sit (and life) today. 

Dream 1: Going about my business doing whatever and suddenly, this very ominous dude shows up. A regular looking guy, in his way, but with an energy that is very dark and nervous-making, with undertones of fear. In this dream, I was only kind of lucid, but he stood out in stark contrast to the feel/background/sense of the dream. It was alarming. He definitely meant me harm in the dream. I don't recall what he did to my dream self, but it wasn't nice. 

Dream 2: I brought my grandmother on vacation to Ireland or Iceland. We were touring. There was a beautiful lodge we boarded at. In the night, as I was walking in the hall of the lodge, this dude appeared. Same dude. Big, biker kinda guy, very negative dark energy and scary. I was much more lucid for this one. I felt afraid, but I knew it was a dream and decided to approach him. There was someone else with him, who was slightly less menacing. Anyway, we stood looking at one another. Again - the contrast between the dream reality and the texture of this part of the dream were remarkably different. Like... Having the Terminator show up on the animated set of Trolls. I think he hit me and I felt the emotional reactions one would, though no pain. I turned to walk away, deciding against violence, and he kicked me extraordinarily hard in the back - sending me flying (literally) down a very long flight of stairs into a very, very dark corridor. Knowing it was a dream, I just let go and flew down.. hit and rolled. Went on with my business and lost lucidity. I made a conscious decision to let it go in the dream, but apparently, I also let go of lucidity. The power of the dude (as I'm calling him) was palpable still in the dream for as long as I was still in it. It was palpable when I awoke. It followed me through my sit - with flashes of the dude and his aura. When I think about it now - still a heavy, dark, dread kinda feeling. 

I'm aware this is me - or at least a creation of my own mind. However - it's dark, baby...real dark. Not something I'm aware of in normal business. I watched Steven LaBarge after seeing him mentioned (Linda...?) and I believe him that there's nothing to be afraid of, but it surely doesn't feel that way. The dude definitely wanted to end me. Maybe it's an internal fight going on as I finally unravel the self? The fear was the ego? 

The sit today was a straightforward get concentrated and then just...settle. I did an hour. It was good. Getting focused was easy. I was fairly comfortable except some leg, lower back pain toward the last 15 minutes (I would guess). Nothing notable about the sit, per se, except the dude appeared a couple times and I had that same sense of fear/dread/worry. He's definitely gonna get me, kinda thing. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/16/20 2:11 PM as a reply to T.
You asked:  
So what do I do?

Relax! Stop trying so hard. The word "concentration" as applied to jhana meditation is a hopelessly misleading term. Jhana isn't about laser-bean focus. It's about soft, fuzzy relaxed focus.

Also, the times when I felt my practice was stalled, was useless, was quiet and boring, almost always turned out to be the times when stuff was happening in the background but going unnoticed. It'll come. It will come.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/16/20 2:11 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

Also, the times when I felt my practice was stalled, was useless, was quiet and boring, almost always turned out to be the times when stuff was happening in the background but going unnoticed. It'll come. It will come.

I’ll second that. I still have a hard time believing that myself, when I’m in the midst of it, but it is pretty clear when I read through my practice logs. Breakthroughs tend to come after a period that really sucks subjectively.

I don’t think I mentioned Stephen LaBarge but someone likely did so either in my thread about lucid dreamless sleep or in my log.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/16/20 11:44 PM as a reply to T.
Ah dreams. Yep. I think you know exactly what they mean, albeit with an overaly of externalised fear.  Just sent you an updated message that will maybe help a little.

With much metta.


RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/17/20 6:51 AM as a reply to T.
Last night's dreams and today's sit were very non-dramatic. 

60 minutes, as always. Metta to get hot-to-trot and then just sat there "looking around." Thank you all who have given suggestions, as I've found having those options to mix in makes the shikantaza that much better when I turn to it. 

I did find part way through the sit that it felt like my... brain, in a sense...was pulling up and to the left. My eyes felt as if they were drifting up that way, kind of like rolling back, but not actually. It hit a bliss spot. 

So I sort of inclined attention up and in that direction again... sort of moving my eyes up and to the left, but again... I don't think I was actually moving the eyeballs (lids were closed). Once again... a bliss blip. I found I can do that over and over. I also found I can sort of keep it up in that zone and hold the on button. It was interesting. I didn't get bored, exactly, but I did decide to give it up after a few. I wasn't sure what would happen if I just sat there doing that - it felt like I could give myself a seizure or something. Not alarming or even concerning.. I just stopped. 

The rest of the sit was peaceful and I was alert. I found some interesting shapes inside the eyes - been keeping my eye out for the space that I hear other people talk about which is just out in front of the face, but there wasn't anything to fall into yet. 

good times. 

edit: at work, just tried the mind/eyeball thing without any concentration and the soda fountain still runs on command.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/17/20 7:03 AM as a reply to T.
I recognize that button! (I actually had seizures - totally harmless ones - before I found the practice, and I do think it might be related, but in the practice this did not lead to seizures.) I recognize the territory. I am currently sort of grieving the loss of it, as I developed an attachment to it. It manifests differently now and I'm starting to be okay with that. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/17/20 7:06 AM as a reply to T.
So... are you having the fireworks you asked for? Enjoy! And let go of them afterwards. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/17/20 7:19 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Negative on the fireworks, Ghost Rider. I've had body bliss (piti?) before in sits. The fireworks I lament not experiencing from time to time are the formless realms. oooo well. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/17/20 7:30 AM as a reply to T.
Did you just give me a nickname? Do I even want to know why you chose that one? emoticon

Ah. Oh well. I'm not confident that I have experienced them either or if I have just scripted myself into experiencing something that matches my idea of it. I'm not even totally sure whether there's a difference between those options. Regardless of which, I'm sure that the experience can be much more refined compared to what I have experienced. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/17/20 11:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/17/20 11:26 AM as a reply to T.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/19/20 8:16 PM as a reply to T.
It was time. Kasina time. Fire kasina using a light bulb, a la D.I.MD suggestion. 

As advertised, it creates a nice, large after image. 

I quickly got into seeing shimmering yellow within the very, very red dot. Outside there would be blue rings, yellow, rings, and very, very dark black rings. The space around it would darken into a crisp darkness as the dot hung in the visual field. Eventually, the dot sort of disappeared and turned into a teal triangle. (this is all over a course of time, snipped). The teal triangle made itself into a square, then back to a triangle. It spun around like wheel of fortune. THEN - I noticed it got larger and my overall internal vision was kind of hued very, very lightly with that same teal, even as the triangle was spinning in the middle. Edit: there were also periods around this territory where there would be scalene and right angle triangles around the field (two to four at a time) that would be teal. Kind of like looking at shards of glass lying on a very dark background, and they even kind of glinted sometimes.

For brief periods right around those transitions - from dot to teal shape - I would get lost a moment. The mind would just dart off into some random sort of dream-sequence and then snap back to the teal shape. 

A couple of times, the triangle went purple. For a short period, the triangle was hollow and it was as if I were passing through thousands of them consecutively - kind of like a tunnel. They were purple for a while, then they were yellow, and teal (order uncertain on the latter two). 

It was a wild ride - no idea why I didn't start doing this when I first read it in MCTB2. 

Oh yes, lots of body bliss and joy. I see how it can be distracting. It was more potent than the meditative version and made me nearly giggle a couple times. The heart rate was slightly elevated. Energy was certainly up. It seemed to ebb a little (or I forgot about it) during the brief dream sequences and the "tunnel run." As I go through the fire kasina book, it seems like maybe that's because I managed to let it go and focus better, which led to those possibilities. Not sure, but it's fun!

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
2/26/20 6:14 AM as a reply to T.
Last night, my wife and I watched a movie that put me in a mood. It was really depressing and inspiring at the same time. Affected me to the extent that I was near crying just talking to her about it. 

Later, lying in bed, we were discussing something and I related that the situation was akin to the chicken and the egg. It's an endless cycle - which could possibly have come first? My mind just started going off on that idea and sort of... racing, I guess you could say. Not actually in a manic sense, though, just quickly going to a thing and looking at it deeply, yet in a very big way, and then another. So it first snapped to an acorn and an oak tree - one acorn is every tree, but one tree is every acorn. Endless. Every rain storm is every stream, is every, cloud, is every storm, is every... endless. Which came first - the adult human or the baby? Endless. It all appeared so dramatic and vast and I felt hugely expansive and it was breath-taking. Pretty sure my heart rate spiked. It was marvelous. Lasted for a little while as the mind went from idea to idea taking in the breadth of it. I eventually fell asleep. 

Woke up very early and couldn't sleep, so I hit the kasina practice. It was fine, progressing through the red dot and in/around the zone of the deep back hole tinged with teal/yellow, oort cloud with a hole, kind of thing... and back and forth. 

Then I transitioned into my normal morning hour long sit. I had zero difficulty settling in. The gong went and zoom-o, I was tuned up. I didn't need the breath at all, or even notice it. I was just sitting and being aware. I realized quickly that I could feel my brain literally tense around ideas and sensations and that I could relax it by... sort of zooming out. I was very aware of what was going on in the mind, but I could also shift to hearing and it would be very, very dominant - filling my head. Then I could switch to vision (eyes closed) and dissect the swirlies and white/black war going on in the eyelids, I didn't switch over to sensations, but I'm sure it would have been a similarly intimate sense. It was kind of fascinating how different this sit was to others. My daughter would cough in her room and a tiny piece of attention would zip and peek - and then zoom back to the whole thing I had been attending to originally; watching the mind. 

I hit the bliss fountain to see what would happen - still worked. I had a couple arm jerks, which caught me off guard. Hadn't happened for a while. 

I had a couple of occasions where I was quite focused on the visual patterns and what came up mentally (going back and forth), and I would go into a kind space that is maybe hypnagogic in some way. I've seen the term here, but had no idea what it meant. I heard the etymology on a Michael Taft podcast and it really felt like that - going toward the god of dreams. I wasn't asleep, most certainly, but I was also not exactly present aside from my mind paying attention.

Perhaps this is what a formless realm jhana feels like? I don't have a gauge. I definitely was unaware of my body and, now that I think of it, almost all my senses aside from.. well awareness isn't a sense. So I was unaware of all my senses. So maybe?

At some point, the bliss button was hit for me - as opposed to the method I've found of popping it on. 

It was cool. 

Interestingly, five minutes before the gong, I was just totally over it. Not averse to practicing at all, I could have continued sitting; I was just over it. That's the only way to describe it. So I got up. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/10/20 7:07 AM as a reply to T.
Lame-o. I've been practicing, though I skipped a couple days here and there. I was quite unmotivated, for some reason. 

To try and gin up some excitement again, I did some kasina. That kind of backfired because I went from all in, feeling all the excitement, getting all buzzing... and then when I went back to it the next day it was totally vague and hard to pay attention and ended up being a bit frustrating. I realize this points directly at some kind of obvious phase/stage due to the meditating on the kasina, but it was still annoying. 

However, it has regained me some traction in motivation and I'm back on the cushion each day. The time change is really a pain in the ass and for the first time in quite a long while, I'm fighting drowsiness. It is different than drowsiness from the past, though, as I seem to maintain more overall awareness in the face of it than I used to. 

I see lots of ways the self is created. I matter-of-factly recognize a number of ways in which it is ultimately false. Yet the goddamned thing won't go away long enough for me to have a zappo insight so I can... what's the word.... grok it deeply?

Side note: I notice certain emotions appear... seemingly randomly. Well, that's not it. Somewhat out of context and potentially disproportionate to the cause. Example: I work in public safety. There was a large meeting for emergency planning and preparation for the novel coronavirus. I was struck by the group in the room all sitting down to the table in the face of something many of them find unnecessarily terrifying and trying to plan how they will help other people. Every time some new party would speak, I would feel like breaking down in tears. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/14/20 7:58 AM as a reply to T.
Before experience, I am. 
Letting go of all experience is letting go of suffering. 

I was sitting. Deep in some place meditative. I kept having these little moments of shift where I'd be deep in, watching some kind of thought, and then just sort of shift really quickly and unexpectedly in the amount of attention scope... kind of. I'm not very good at explaining it. 

Anyway, I was deep in there doing this and my mind started to chatter a little, and it seemed to be addressing me. Or at least speaking to me in the third person. I can't really recall what about. That, in itself, should have been it's own clue, but as it went, it finished the sentence and added "my name" to it; except it wasn't the name I was given at birth (Tim). It was Chris. In the very moment it happened, it made some kind of schism in my mind where everything stopped, quite literally. A moment later, I realized that my mind had called "me" by my "wrong name" which was kind of hilarious in its own way. The realization was pretty complete that I'm not that, though, and am instead something else.

All I was left with were the two ideas above, which just sort of echoed and resonated throughout my very, very quiet, peaceful, and open mental space. I had a very clear feeling of utter detachment from my physical being, though a sense of "me" was still coordinated up and around my head-space. It was clear that it was more like looking "through" that space as opposed to living from it. Sort of. Incomplete, sure, but definitely noticable. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/14/20 8:45 AM as a reply to T.
Pretty sure my mind tried to send me a message and dialed the wrong number  emoticon

- Chris

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/14/20 11:53 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
When it arrived, it gave me this odd kind of mental tearing affect. Try and control your mind, wouldya? emoticon

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/14/20 3:32 PM as a reply to T.
Well, it is not exactly cycles - you surely must know about the Big Bang and Darwinian evolution. Maybe what happens around us is better described as unfolding, not cycles. No chicken is an exact copy of her mother, and, as time went by, something that we would call a dinosaur became through mutation and natural celection something that we call a chicken.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/14/20 6:31 PM as a reply to Mikhail Zybin.
Oh, yes, Darwin! He's the guy who found those golden plates from God, and founded a nation of poly amorous families, right...? Wait... no, I'm thinking of someone else. 

Every oak tree on the planet started from this one acorn in my back yard. Literally. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/17/20 6:23 AM as a reply to T.
Sitting for the past several days has been "supah" different, as some say it where I live. I can't put my finger on it, exactly. It may be that thoughts passing are much more clearly seen as that. I try pointing to them and kind of "oooh" and "aaaah" as one does at cloud formations, looking for the ones pretending to be "me."

Anyway - 
The formula itself is the same. I sit sixty minutes in the morning, and generally 15-30 in the evening. Between, the life is lived as prescribed. 

I start with the breath counting to ten, though much of the time it hardly seems necessary. I'm already paying attention and already the mind focuses on what's happening in experience. Much more rarely, it will comment on what's happening via some passing thought. 

Then, kind of nothing happens; yet everything is happening. I lose no focus, nor do I get drowsy or foggy. Nothing crazy happens as far as mental images, or energy bursts, or I don't know... anything really; yet everything is just happening. In fact, one passing thought as I watched was simply "life occurs." 

It is much more possible to sit truly without moving - it isn't that discomfort isn't present - I just don't care. That's maybe not the right way to put it. I'm aware there is discomfort and just let it be there. It isn't really a problem, I guess. 

So I dabble seeing thoughts, I hear things that go on, I see wispy formations in my eyelids, I play with sensing the whole body, then a hand, then my forehead or nose... and just do that for an hour. There's not much to it, but it's still very enjoyable and feels useful somehow. 

Oh. There was one odd moment where it was as if someone shined a flashlight into my right eye from up and to my right. It was super quick. There wasn't anyone around with a flashlight, so it must have been mind generated, but nothing dramatic happened afterward. Obviously, that means it was a deep, deep realization. emoticon  I'm plumbing the depths of my nonexistent soul by way of light flashes. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/17/20 6:44 AM as a reply to T.
I think it sounds like you are doing great. I have an attachment for the fireworks, too, though, so I get that subtle frustration that I think I see in your writing. Peace is an acquired taste, it seems. Or maybe we are just messed up. Hopefully, it grows on us.

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/18/20 6:21 AM as a reply to T.
I'm finding the gong doesn't really "mean anything" anymore. It's a great starter, but when it hits at the end, it doesn't "stop" me anymore. It used to be that this was the end of the work for the day, sort of. Now, the gong sounds and I hear it, but I just keep doing whatever - well... sitting. Not whatever, I suppose. I sit until sitting is over. How I know when that is, I couldn't really say. It just ends. Sometimes before the gong, though more rarely unless it is a 15-minute quickie (get your minds out of the gutter, dear readers). 

The sits themselves are nothing remarkable, and yet I'm amazed at the lack of self-directed thinking in a narrative sense. Maybe the knot is untangling. 

Perhaps sits aren't supposed to be remarkable. 
Perhaps the very thing is remarkable. 
Maybe... I'm remarkably unremarkable.
How wonderful.
How very silly. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/18/20 6:46 AM as a reply to T.
Good ruminating there!

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/22/20 6:03 AM as a reply to T.
Trying for the present moment actually inhibits the ability to be in the present moment. 
It's a kind of comitragedy of everyone doing all this work to SEEEEEEE something that simply is, and is.. everything there is. The attempt at getting to it actually distances one from it in the first place. Well... in the second place? Once the mind gets rolling at all, you're not there, you're in the mind stream which is never in the present - well, that's not true, either, exactly. The mind stream is present as it arises, but the minds processing of it is immediately past/future. It's a tricky thing sometimes to ride the razor's edge of BAM. Here. Now. 

Relaxing helps a lot. Letting go, as they say, helps a lot. Didn't make sense to me for the longest time. 

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/26/20 7:08 AM as a reply to T.
Ok... so. 

Been sittin', as one does. I had a grand weekend of opening and it was a game changer in a big way. 

That said - today is Thursday, and I noticed yesterday in the evening and continuing into today something annoying.

Old unskillful habits and things that were long gone are just cropping up and giving me hell. Old thought patterns, primarily, that revolve around an idea of "me" as the story of the world is told from "my perspective." The latter has been gone for some time, and the former much more recently. However, they were gone. Seemingly gone, gone.

Weeeeelll, not so fast, grasshopper. 

In a sense it is like I am being bombarded by these old things. I find them.. not repulsive...that's not the right word. So they surprise me, because that's not how things have been operating for some time now. I don't buy into them - in fact I've done really well at seeing them and sloughing them off. They are generally the kind of thing that would lead to dukkha if I paid attention to them. Instead, they're creating dukkha because they are coming up all of a sudden after a very, very long period of calm and peacefulness. I'm trying not to be overly averse to them and create more dukkha, but it is annoying. I'm guessing it points to being "somewhere" other people would recognize, but I frankly don't understand any of this "stages" business. 

Perhaps I began a new spiral, as Linda/Polly likes to refer it. That feels right somehow. Hopefully it isn't a downward one! emoticon

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/26/20 7:59 AM as a reply to T.
I was going to say that I recognize this experience, and then you used my words for it. emoticon

RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/26/20 2:08 PM as a reply to T.
T, what you are describing - I think of these as sankharas.  They are contracted habitual tendencies to behave in certain ways.  You have to purify yourself of the worst of them to make progress.  Then when you achieve absorption in the great new states that makes them unnoticeable for a while.  But as the fascination fades, the sankharas become more obvious again.  Much more obvious, actually, because now you are aware of them separately from yourself,  instead of hardly noticing them and letting them unthinkingly drive your behaviour. 

What you are doing is just right - notice them and renounce them, leading to their cessation.  But don't obsess about getting rid of them, as that involves contracting around the self, and you don't want that.  Also, you don't have to get rid of all of them. It's fine just to sit with them, noting they are impermanent, not-self, and a cause of suffering.  

You can also remodel them a bit over time through the four right exertions. However, in my view it's worth having a bit of programming, and not aspiring to be be just a blank state. Some of our personal history is worth honouring, particularly for householders.  It's worth enjoying and living within the skillful connections we have to others.  But now you have more of a choice - which sankharas do you want?


RE: T's (likely sporadic) Practice Log
3/28/20 7:10 PM as a reply to curious.
For about a week now, my vision has been different. Being outside, particularly in and around the woods and fields, distance and close up function differently. I remember reading a person saying how things "appeared very 3D where they are" or something along those lines and feeling like "yea, dude. No shit. That's how eyes work."

Except, now I know what they mean. It's seen differently by the brain, or something. The whole idea of the thing is where it is, or whatever weirdness comes out. Yea. That. You can tell a tree between you and a field is most definitely round by just looking at it - the light bending around it and such, I guess is how I would describe it. It's very three-dimensional and very obviously at a different depth than the meadow, or the trees distant, or whatever else. The same with a house in the distance, or my wife raking leaves between the tree, the meadow, and the house distant. It's really fun to walk in the woods and I've been playing around with it all week. 

So that's been happening. At the same time, as I said above, I've been on the struggle bus with habits cropping and grumpiness, though relatively mild aside from the mental proliferation of old habits. I've been fine, though. 

Just said for about 45 minutes. After concentrating for a while, I just rolled on it. After a while, I had a sort of blip out. Eventually, my mind was hovering over "the train" when it took some kind of turn back toward "me." It went fast, and as I said, I was kind of hovering above the train as it went. When it jogged hard left, I almost lost it. This was all some kind of visualizing... in a way. Not intentionally so.

At that moment, the mind visually slammed right into a label (kind of literally) that said "I" and the label was in front of.. whatever was perceived as me by the mind; I was sort of observing from the side. The label was clearly separate from the thing it was placed in front of, and clearly separate from either the viewpoint of me or the thing it had been placed in front of. EDIT: This is hard to describe because it was more like a label hovering in the middle of space, but I perceived my viewing it as my awareness, but also seeing that what was behind and around the label as my awareness. ::END EDIT. The label then kind of flew off in a different direction. My mind shifted very hard and abruptly and went quiet. It was obvious enough what it meant. 

I then went to an apple and considered an apple believing itself to be Macintosh, or perhaps $1.00. Then, the mind went after the apple since it isn't apple, either. It's... and the mind really quickly ran through image of apple, image of tree bud, branch, tree, ground, rain, soil, etc. Then it went back to the apple and the apple kind of... poofed out. Not explode, disappear, or disintegrate... but like what might happen if you blow someone's cigarette smoke puff. It just.. separated away into nothing. 

I directed my mind to a visual of my dog. Same thing happened, sort of. He poofed. Then my daughter. She poofed. Then my neighbor, he poofed. Then my house, it poofed. Then I turned it at my body.

It didn't poof. Not exactly. It wasn't all there, though, either. For the first time, though, I was able to see what it means to be outside the confines of the physical form. My.. aura or whatever, was definitely outside the boundary of my arms, my torso, my legs, etc. Except there was a squeezed feeling keeping me very much inside my skull space. It was like everything else emanated beyond my body, but was still stuck in my skull in one spot. Like a shoe too tight. And yet I had the knowledge of my awareness filling the space around me - even beyond what felt like "my aura."

So I went back around with objects and poofed them into vapor a few more times. Then I went back to check the aura. The tightness of the noggin' was reduced, but the skull still felt too tight. I could kind of feel the aura outside of it, but it took some real paying attention. 

The body was easy. It didn't take much thinking about it to feel "me" beyond the body from the neck down. Like depictions of a magnetic field I have seen, in a sense. 

Anyway - I wanted to sit and screw with that forever, but it ended. Couldn't tell you why. I was very concentrated, very comfortable, and in it...but it was over, apparently. Eyes abruptly opened, head shook to loosen up, and I headed down to journal. *big shrug of the shoulders*

Doesn't feel any different at the moment.