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Polly Ester’s practice log 6

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Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/20/20 2:24 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/20/20 11:52 AM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 curious 1/21/20 5:33 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/20 8:24 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/20 10:21 AM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/22/20 3:48 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/23/20 1:57 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Bardo 1/27/20 3:53 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/27/20 4:46 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 curious 1/26/20 12:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/20 1:54 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 curious 1/26/20 1:59 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/20 2:05 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 curious 1/26/20 2:24 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/20 2:36 AM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/20 2:51 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 curious 1/26/20 3:04 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/26/20 4:57 AM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Lars 1/29/20 6:24 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/20 12:04 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/30/20 7:47 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 1/31/20 4:30 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Bill T 2/1/20 7:29 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/1/20 4:03 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/2/20 9:18 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 curious 2/4/20 3:07 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/5/20 5:21 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Bardo 2/9/20 2:39 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/20 3:05 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/10/20 5:37 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/9/20 5:12 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/10/20 5:35 AM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/10/20 2:01 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/20 1:40 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/11/20 3:02 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Bardo 2/12/20 1:20 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/12/20 6:08 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 3:36 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/12/20 4:36 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 4:36 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/12/20 4:40 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 5:40 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 6:49 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 8:02 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/13/20 11:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 12:37 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 12:49 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/13/20 2:23 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/13/20 2:34 PM
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RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 2:58 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/13/20 3:02 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 3:17 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 8:19 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 9:54 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 10:17 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 10:23 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 10:42 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 10:56 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 11:01 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 11:01 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 11:06 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 11:10 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 T 2/14/20 11:15 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 11:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 11:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 11:25 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 T 2/14/20 11:31 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 11:47 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 T 2/14/20 12:07 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 12:11 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 10:52 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/14/20 11:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 11:08 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/14/20 11:11 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 11:21 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 11:41 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/14/20 12:03 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 12:08 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 3:43 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 11:12 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 11:24 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 3:05 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/13/20 3:14 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 3:21 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/13/20 3:53 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 3:56 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Siavash 2/13/20 4:08 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 4:21 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 8:37 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 9:55 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 10:16 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Chris Marti 2/14/20 10:20 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 10:24 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 2:55 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 3:05 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 6:06 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 5:52 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 7:02 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/12/20 8:11 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/13/20 12:23 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/14/20 1:51 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/20 9:46 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/20 10:10 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/20 4:05 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/20 5:51 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/15/20 6:16 PM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/16/20 7:36 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/16/20 10:40 AM
RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6 Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 2/16/20 7:49 PM
Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/20/20 2:24 AM
I don't currently have the time or energy to provide any particular framing for this new thread. It's just a continuation, in the middle of a bumby road.

Note to (not)self: At this point in time, with the parental responsibilities that I have in the relative world and the conditions around them, it isn't physically or emotionally possible to put in any "active" work to mastering the nanas and jhanas to the extent that would involve slam shifting inbetween them. If it doesn't happen on its own, it won't happen. The choices I have is to either be chill with that or not. Thus I'll try to be chill. If I can't make it through the day, awakening won't happen anyway. 

I was exhausted yesterday. I managed to sit for twenty minutes to tune into the space around stuff. Then I had to sleep. It will have to do. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/20/20 11:52 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
After a busy day full of meetings at work and stressful dilemmas to deal with privately, I did the latest guided meditation by Michael Taft at SF Dharma collective https://youtu.be/j-XELl6BKY4 at a public library, seated by a desk. The way I'm currently conditioned, in life situations like this I tend to pick up the control freak patterns until I get too exhausted and then I collapse. Therefore practicing letting go is both necessary and has great potential for integrating practice into daily life, as there are plenty of everyday situations that are excellent opportunities for training. Letting go was part of the exercises in the session, and it was also something I needed to practice in the other sections of the session as well because otherwise I wouldn't be able to follow the instructions at all. 

I noticed that when I was able to let go of grasping something, I could feel kinesthetically that it opened up space as it disentangled layers of contractions. Visually, it got brighter. 

This morning I was woken up by panicky messages from a person that I'm responsible for, putting me into several difficult ethical dilemmas simultaneously. It was very evident how contracted it made me. 

During the work meetings, I payed attention to my reactive behavior and how it caused suffering. I found myself trying to negotiate the distribution of work in a way that would increase my burden to a large extent. I even tried to find ways of doing it that would go unnoticed by my boss, because I couldn't let go of control of the outcome of the project. I was so annoyed when my boss kept distributing the work in a way that would actually make my life less stressful. Seeing this, it was so obvious that I need to let go more. I made a note about letting go. I realized that not trying to secretely work more than I'm allowed to do would actually take away lots of problems and make space for dealing with the dilemmas that were stressing the hell out of me this morning, and also take away parts of the buzzing chaos of entangled thoughts that occupy so much of my awareness. 

I think it may be wise to focus on letting go for a while, both in my formal practice and as daily life informal practice. It can be done in basically all kinds of situations. Strengthening the ability to let go is fundamental, so it is necessary regardless of what kind of practice I'll be doing later on. It is also necessary for the sake of my wellbeing and survival, and for my capacity to benefit others. There. Decided. I think a may have a theme for this practice log after all. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/20/20 1:59 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
This morning I was woken up by panicky messages from a person that I'm responsible for, putting me into several difficult ethical dilemmas simultaneously. It was very evident how contracted it made me. 

During the work meetings, I payed attention to my reactive behavior and how it caused suffering. I found myself trying to negotiate the distribution of work in a way that would increase my burden to a large extent. I even tried to find ways of doing it that would go unnoticed by my boss, because I couldn't let go of control of the outcome of the project. I was so annoyed when my boss kept distributing the work in a way that would actually make my life less stressful. Seeing this, it was so obvious that I need to let go more. I made a note about letting go. I realized that not trying to secretely work more than I'm allowed to do would actually take away lots of problems and make space for dealing with the dilemmas that were stressing the hell out of me this morning, and also take away parts of the buzzing chaos of entangled thoughts that occupy so much of my awareness. 

People are our next practice beyond the meditative terrain. People can be used as a sort of gauge for us to, ruffling the feathers of the self and causing us to become introspective about how we might respond or about the response we have already given. People, in this sense, can become a significant tool in pushing our levels of consciousness beyond that of our usual pre-defined unconscious responses. Now, I make that sound so elegant but for me people are testing to the same degree as you describe and probably always will be so long as I continue to haul around this mass of blood, organs and bones. This is especially tricky with people who I have a history with. No longer do I share the same moral conducts as some of my friends and this has lead to separations which I really don't mind. I find it particularly treacherous negotiating moral and ethical conducts with close friends and family. I don't mean discussing morals and ethics but more trying to bend and flex within their moral and ethical framework. Quite a delicate undertaking I might add and not a precise science! Me and precision usually get along very well until a second party graces my company and proceeds to scribbles all over it! That's a trait I've been looking closely at. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/20/20 2:30 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Note to (not)self: 


Note to (not) self. emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/20/20 3:37 PM as a reply to Bardo.
I have a similar relationship with my precision... We get along fine too as long as I don't interact with other people.

That's not entirely true, though, as there are also internal conflicts. Just living with being autistic and having ADHD at the same time is enough to ruffle plenty of feathers. The inhabitants of "the Polly Ester continuum" are sufficiently diverse to annoy the crap out of each other without setting foot outside the apartment. 

As for negotiating ethics and moral conduct, that's not something I usually need to do that much as I have pretty clear boundaries to begin with and that tends to attract some people and repell others. The ethical dilemmas I vaguely mentioned here are not due to any single individual's poor judgement or anything like that. It's more about system failures in society and limitations of medical knowledge and economy and other resources in a tough situation that involves unknown factors and great risks in many different ways.  

The second comment, was that an example of your precision? emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/21/20 9:10 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did another hour of the same guided meditation today at another public library while waiting for a train. It started out with relatively good clarity, but I had forgotten to take my ADHD medication so halfway through I started to have sudden drops into dullness. There were flashes of dream images and the feeling of sinking very fast. I paused for a few seconds to take my pill, but it took a while for it to kick in. A large part of the instructions involved letting go of all grasping of any object, and that kind of open awareness can periodically be difficult for me with regard to maintaining clarity. Within the time frame of ADHD medicines leaving the system is not the best time for that kind of practice. Still, the baseline of clarity is gradually improving over time in my practice, so I wasn't seduced by pleasant dullness. The success rate of letting go wasn't exceptional, but I did notice things opening up when I managed to do it. The airways opened up, and it got brighter and more spacious. The instructions about awareness being any sensory input that appeared came after I was late to take my medicines, so that part did not work out that well. Instead I payed attention to the different visual forms that appeared, mainly to avoid falling into dullness: a red dot, somewhat bigger and less focused than in fire kasina; a bright dot, same size; a bigger and vaguer red spot; a bigger and vaguer bright spot; a reddish field, sometimes partly covered by a blue-green disc; a bright field; general brightness; sparks of light; a concentrated small black dot; thin vibrant and wavy strings of light; statics; occasional dream images (I saw an old friend that I used to share an apartment with, which coincided with the song "Living on my own" spinning in my head); purple swirls; blue-green swirls. Towards the end of the session, there was pain in my back and neck, and I paused to take some paracetamol as I don't want to risk having a negative feedback loop of histamines being produced because of the pain signals and causing more pain and more histamines (I'm histamine intolerant). The pain distracted me. I need to build up momentum.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/21/20 2:44 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Some sort of calm is gradually finding its way back. While on the train I started to listen to a recorded retreat with Ayya Khema from 1994, in Germany but in English. I find that she inspires confidence, trust and faith with her warmhearted authority and competence. It was the kind of retreat that covers the basics, and that felt good as I need to get away from striving too much and wanting more than is currently possible. She reminded me that loving the practice for its own sake is fundamental. I know that I have that kind of love. I just forget it sometimes. 

Then I did half an hour of anapanna sati with noting of the content of thoughts disturbing the focus on the breath. One suggested label was "past", and I noticed that noting "past" was a great relief. It made me feel that it was gone, which made it easier to let go of the thought. Soon the disturbing thoughts were reduced to fragments. At first I had still a sense of what the fragments were about, but after a while it was more like I was picking up fragments of conversations or brief snap shots of imagery without actively listening to them or watching them and without making any sense of them. The breath was exquisite. I could feel its beginning, middle and end and those little twists that it makes at the end both of the inbreath and of the outbreath, and the brief space inbetween them. There was a sense of the breath syncronizing with the purple swirls, as if I was breathing purple swirls. The breath did indeed swirl. I felt the breath in the entire body even though I was anchored by the nostrils. My body was relaxed. The spine went through some subtle shifts, straightening and sort of opening itself. Towards the end of this short session I got a bit dreamy, but I stayed aware of my mind state. 

As I was writing this report, my mum called to tell me that a cousin of mine has had a car accident and is at the hospital. It's weird. I feel that I care deeply and yet I'm not stressed out. There is nothing I can do about it right now more than wishing her well. My aunt has already lost one child in an accident (a work accident), so she is devastated. We don't know much yet. My mum will call as soon as she has any new information. Calling my cousin's closest family would only add to their burden right now. It wouldn't help in any way. My cousin will probably be in surgery as they had to cut her loose from the car wreck. I love my cousin. We grew up together. What I feel right now is love. And calm. What I'm thinking is "It is what it is", and then I think of her when we grew up and feel love again. Some small voice starts saying something along the line that I "should" be anxious and cry, but I don't even believe that and so it just peters out. Yet I feel closer to the feeling of love and care than I have ever done in times like this before. And I see clearly that all the stuff that gets in the way of reconnecting with my beloved cousin is just nonsense. I see that there is space to do that. That the time running away with all its "must do:s" is an illusion. That I can step out of it. There's a sense of timelessness. Simplicity. Clearness. Nada sound. Stillness. Space. May she be well. May her loved ones be well. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/21/20 5:33 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Much love to you and yours.  The dharma can truly be a sparkling jewel at times like this.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/22/20 1:36 AM as a reply to curious.
Thankyou, and right back at you.

It's morning and my mum just called again to tell me what she knew and see if I'm okay because apparently there has been an explosion in an apartment building in the part of the town where I live (I didn't notice anything), so it was good to be reminded of how I took this yesterday. Reading it made something pop in my head (literally - there was a sound, and then breathing was easier) and invited the peacefulness and love and space again. The moment before that was more cut off. I woke up from very non-lucid dreaming involving vampires, warewolves, evil parents at a day nursery (or maybe they were just vampires), adoption of a child (maybe because his parents were vampires) who was unusually lucid and communicative for a baby, life and death struggles, erotic encounters and falling in love with a vampire gardener as a warewolf, planning to grow cucumbers together, end eventually some peacemaking, which was a relief both because of the peace and because I didn't want to be stuck in samsara for eternity as a vampire-warewolfe. 

My cousin is still sedated after her surgery. As far as we know, she has a concussion and a broken femoral neck. It could have been much worse. 

I'll try to bring the peace with me through the day even as I deal with a very tough situation making me feel powerless and insufficient as a parent. Right now it sort of pops back and forth inbetween perspectives. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/22/20 8:24 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Ayya Khema's teaching is brilliant and very well suited for me. She gives me no escape from seeing through and letting go of my own bullshit. She keeps me motivated and reminds me of what I love about meditation, while at the same time also keeping me from running ahead to dabble with what is beyond my conditioning. I have no doubt that her teachings work, both in the long run and to make it through the day. The next time I'm expressing doubts about what I'm doing and where I am at, feel free to remind me of that. I'm dedicating this day to following her teachings, as a mini retreat. It feels absolutely necessary, and thankfully my job terms are flexible enough to allow that. 

Some observations: I ramble too much. The reason that other people's ramblings annoy me (not here) is that I too easily get caught up in rambling myself. I ramble too much here as well. One reason for that has to do with difficulties in letting go. I have noticed a tendency to comment on threads that I find interesting, that is, commenting not because I have anything useful to say but because of fear that the thread will not get enough attention by others to stay among the recent posts, and that I will therefore forget about it, and that those who actually have something useful to say about it will neglect to do so, and therefore I will miss out on important information. That is reactivity. I need to let go of that. 

Now back to Ayya Khema.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/22/20 10:21 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
One hour of focusing on the sensations of the breath and noting the content of thoughts and the nonsensical fragments that disturbs the focus, and investigating persistent thoughts.

Building momentum can happen fast if I commit fully to the practice. Ayya Khema's toolbox helps occupying my ADHD mind enough to maintain interest, which makes it easier to fully commit to the practice. 

There are more patterns of validation junkiness in my mind than I have been wanting to see, which is why I get annoyed by other people's craving for validation. 

Clicks and pops inside the head seem to accompany instances of letting go leading to a shift in perspective, including minor shifts like dropping a thought pattern midsentence. The kinesthetic feeling of it and the sound are probably my mind's way of noticing the shift. The sense of it being a restart is probably most of the time "just" space opening up, purification, and brightening and expansion of awareness - which is pretty much what the practice is about. Every such instance is one of the many many many steps of the journey, nothing less and nothing more than that. 

The breath is not boring. 

I love wet vipassana. 

Cycling really is fast. Getting excited about signs of good practice really does lead to instantly dropping down to lower nanas. 

There really is resistence to just being with the moment, but it can be dropped. When it is dropped, vipassana jhanas unfold on their own. At least part of the resistence has to do with the erroneous and counterproductive belief that a controler is needed for the experience to happen and for the insight of it to be retrieved and remembered (as if it were something that could be contained and stored).

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/22/20 11:19 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Another pattern that I have noticed is feeling the need to validate others not necessarily because that is helpful, but because I identify with them and cannot bear the thought of not being validated. How do I know if validation is helpful or if it just feeds similar reactive patterns to those I have? 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/22/20 12:20 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
The second comment, was that an example of your precision? emoticon


Nope! That's not me being precise.

Ever time I read your name I can't help but imagine plentiful of rolls of polyester!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/22/20 2:40 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Ah, I see, haha! As I had no idea to what you were referring, I thought maybe you were correcting my spelling error and then added the smiley as a comment to that, but I see know that it was a genuine note to your (not) self and that the smiley was the note. Polly Ester is an alias that I have used for some time. It feels more authentic than my birth name, maybe because it is so obvious that it is fictive that it doesn't make me feel that I should play the part of the separate and continuous female entity Linda. 

---

Yet another hour of the breath meditation. Here I got into dreamy territory. For instance I thought I was focusing diligently only to notice that what I was focusing on was utter nonsense. Ayya Khema talks about that. It’s an imbalance between energy and concentration/serenity with too little energy for maintaining mindfulness. I recognize that from my early practice.

Here I took a break from meditation and dealt with some outer world responsibilities, the thought of which had been draining me for some time. It's a relief, having done that. I think I'm ready for some more meditation after taking some care of the mammalian body.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/22/20 3:48 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did 20 minutes of meditation on the sensations of the breath, sitting up this time instead of reclining. Meditating directly after attending to some urgent mundane issues made it very clear how triggering the current situation is for me, that is, the one that I have only described in very general terms for integrity reasons (not my integrity). The momentum that I had built up during the day was gone. 

Pondering this seems to do something, though. Writing this caused one of those popping/clicking/snapping phenomena and then breathing was easier and the nada sound was louder. Letting go is possible. It just takes some time and commitment and investigation. There is calm and clarity now. The contrast is huge. I need to strenghthen the pathways to this nonreactive mode. That’s a top priority.

Besides from the meditation on the breath that I have reported in the log today, I have done some guided investigation, contemplation and metta, all from a recorded retreat with Ayya Khema. I have also listened to dharma talks. I haven’t done any proper walking meditation. I have tried to remain aware of all movement, but there is room for improvement there. 

I will continue to listen to the retreat for a while, but it is late now so it’s time to sleep soon. This is the retreat: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEMTepz8x_4lOUSKnxL6pDJvVC3mWDqOH It starts with the basics. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/23/20 1:57 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thursday, Jan 23rd, 2020

This morning there was a rather loud popping sound when dreaminess shifted into lucidity.

Listening to Ayya Khema’s dharma talks helps with shifting the perspective to something less ego-centered. It changes sensory experiences. My face feels boundary-less, dissolved, and that’s a relief. The jaw just falls down as there are no tensions keeping it up. There is space and silence and stillness. 

I have listened to all English recordings of her that I can find, I think I’ll start listening to her German ones. I read German in school more than 25 years ago and I haven’t had that much practice, but I think it might be possible to learn to understand it well enough. Then maybe I could apply to a retreat at the center she founded, with a teacher that studied for her. Germany is not that far away. 



Oh no. So that’s what this layer is about. It’s the anxiety tied to guilt and shame that I thought I had already dealt with. I did deal with it, but probably only with a more shallow layer. That anxiety was hellish when I grew up and for a long time also as an adult, but I dealt with it in therapy and through personal processing. I honestly didn’t see this one coming. Thankfully I have friends to process things like this with, but I’m not so sure that it will help that much. This cycle will be a tough one. This is where I have my traumas. This is the old self hate. I thought I had already let go of that. Apparently I haven’t. I don’t even understand how it is possble, as there is no continuous and separate entity that can hate and no separate and continuous entity that can be hated. And yet, something clings to the hate and identifies with it, for some very strange reason. 

I guess there is no separate and continuous entity that has dealt with it either. That’s gone. So... is there something to deal with or isn’t it? I can’t do anything about the past. All I have is the now, and by the time this is posted, that now will no longer exist.

Thinking about it as layers is misleading. The layers are just constructions in the now.

Okay, I’ll try anew: for some strange reason, things are popping up now that have nothing to do with the here and now except in my storytelling. It’s a mesh of entangled thoughts and feelings creating feedback loops that aren’t any helpful. I need to let go of those narrative connections. 



I need to stop identifying with responsibilities in order to prioritize in a non-reactive way. I need to let go of the clinging that causes so much anxiety that I can’t even do anything anyway because it passivates me. Identifying with the responsibilities makes it difficult to see other options. It prevents clarity. As I’m starting to see the reaction chains more clearly, I can see how much suffering I create for myself when I do not let go, and how it doesn’t make the world any better, because my time and energy and capacity are limited. Thus I’m starting to let go of things. There is resistance to it, but I’m doing it. Hopefully it will make space for things that I can do wholeheartedly and with pure intention.



Meditation sessions:

30 minutes sitting with the breath. Exquisite breath interrupted many times by distractions related to difficulties in letting go.

Short break to medicate cat.

1 h of reclining meditation with the breath. Exquisite breath close to absorption interrupted now and then by confused dreaminess. Kriyas: head shaking and a moaning sound at one instance - that’s a new one. Letting go of tensions.

It seems like the window of balance between energy and concentration is very narrow right now. I need more yoga. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/25/20 9:28 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Friday Jan 24th:

20 min sitting meditation focusing on the breath before the yoga class
75 min soft yoga including some reclining meditation in the end
20 min sitting meditation focusing on the breath
70 min reclining meditation focusing on the breath

The yoga was the practice that involved least distraction, as it requires of me that I focus on what I’m doing in the here and now so much that there are less opportunities for thoughts to hijack my attention. Outside of the yoga I have a very hard time letting go of constant worries about my kid and about doing the wrong things as a parent. Being a bad parent. Being insufficient. 

Saturday Jan 25th:

Whoa! In this recording, Ayya Khema is very critical of Mahasi Sayadaw: https://youtu.be/doP5_uedqbg I didn’t realize that there was such a conflict. I don’t think there has to be one.

Walking to yoga class (20 min), trying to lead attention back to mindfulness of the body
Focusing on breathing until the class started (about 10 minutes)
75 minutes of Vinyasa yoga
Walking home (20 min), leading attention back to mindfulness of the body.

Realizing that what I’m dealing with right now is not just ordinary monkey mind, but trauma-induced automatic thinking. I may need to use therapeutic methods as a complement to meditation. If I can’t do it by myself or together with my online support group, I may have to seek therapy. I need to disentangle some stuff and I need to get breaks from the reactive chains to strengthen other pathways.

30 minutes sitting mindfulness of the breath, focusing on the sensations of the breath and counting it to make sure that I notice when thoughts about the ongoing trauma come up. I never lost count, but somehow I managed to think about my kid's situation anyway. 

Forget to be mindful abot the body when I go into the kitchen to check on the potatoes, twist my ankle as I stumble over a ball (cat toy). Humbling. Actually pretty funny. 

Dharma talk on death
The 5 daily recollections - contemplation. Temporary shift of perspective with face feeling itself.

Another dharma talk on death. It was very obvious when the ADHD medication stopped working, as it made me suddenly sink into oblivion. I looked at the watch and saw that I should have taken my medicines a few minutes ago. It is difficult to fit the practice into the short time span of proper focus as the pills that I take (that don’t give me any adverse histamine reactions) only last two hours.

1 h of reclining meditation on the breath. Less distraction, but instead I got into dreamy territory where I thought I knew exactly what I was doing but really didn’t.

20 min reclining meditation on the breath. Dullness.

30 minutes sitting meditation on the breath: worries, guilt, feelings of helplessness and being insufficient, worries about lack of energy, worries that worries are my only drive. Now and then I manage to have wholesome thoughts about how pleasant the breath is and even actually experience the breath, but I think that triggers guilt about taking care of myself instead of others that depend on me, and it doesn’t respond to logic. I’m not ruling out a winter depression, but it could also be related to the cycling, or it could be both. The thought came up that I need to find a method that I love rather than a result that I love, because I can’t count on the results. I’m not loving this - which, then again, could be related to cycling and/or trauma and/or depression. Or just resistance. Regardless of method, it just won’t be great all the time. At least this shows me what is holding me back. And I did love it a couple of days ago. 

Sherpa. Walking through the terrain in all kinds of wheathers and seasons. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
1/25/20 6:15 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Later today: 30 minutes of reclining meditation focusing on sensations of the breath. I feel the sensations but the mind manages to squeeze in worries interspersed with the sensations. I did come up with one thing that I can actually do to help the situation a bit. Afterwards I felt that concentration and clarity had improved a bit, as the nada sound was loud and impermanence was obvious in the visual field.



Night: I did Michael Taft's latest guided meditation at SF Dharma Collective https://youtu.be/kDo5sQMILE4 and could finally relax without getting dull. I could follow the instructions and it worked. I did feel awareness in those different locations. Thanks goodness! The back of the head was tingling as I "inhabited" the fictive point of awareness with sensations until it was clear that no such point was there. Tuning into awareness in the throat instead, and then in the heart, wasn't difficult. Maintaining focus wasn't difficult either, for a large part of the session. However, this was way past bedtime (and way past midnight too) and I was lying down in my bed in a dark room, so then I fell asleep. 

EDIT: After writing the above, I went back to some time before I fell asleep, to do the rest of the meditation, which was only a few minutes. It felt good.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 12:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda, in what domains can you currently perceive emptiness, if you try?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 1:54 AM as a reply to curious.
I don't know. I'm not sure what counts. Apparently not enough when it comes to parenting in a tough situation, and even if I did perceive emptiness there, my kid still wouldn't. There would be less suffering for me but not for her. That situation triggers me, and so it seems that my perception of emptiness is very inconsistent. 

I have these brief glimpses of shifts in perspective. During those, it is as if something loses its grip of my face, if that makes any sense. For a while it felt as if awareness moved slightly in front of my body, outside of it, but that seems to have stopped. When that was happening, it felt as if there was still some kind of anchor back in the body, like an astronaut leaving its mother ship but safely tied to it with a cord. Now during the shifts it's more like agency dissolves, but it is very temporarily. In comparison, the sense of agency feels very heavy. Unfortunately, that's most of the time. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 1:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Do you notice emptiness in the concept of ....  gender?  

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 2:05 AM as a reply to curious.
I have never really understood gender to begin with. It was rather late in my adult life that I realized how much it matters to people and limit people. And in the current situation I need to be very careful about expressing the emptiness of gender, because it definitively is not empty for my kid, but rather a matter of life or death. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 2:24 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Right - I will tread carefully as I think I know what you are saying. Metta to you and your darling child. I know several others in variations of that situation (if I understand correctly) and I know how hard that is.  The world needs more love, not more labelling of people in a way they don't want <heart>.  

But something can be both empty and real at the same time. Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form.  Sometimes we struggle with the form, becaue we somehow intuit the emptiness beneath it.  It doesn't mean the form is not real - even the eightfold path is a dependently arisen fabrication. I chose gender because of what you said - that you clearly never really understood it, because somehow you knew at a deep intuitive level the emptiness of it for you

Maybe it is time for you to look at the emptiness of concepts (but perhaps not that concept).  I say this because you seem to have snapped back a little from non-dual expansion (perhaps I am wrong?).  This happens all the time.  I sometimes think the path is partly about getting different versions of the non-self insight again and again and again until we exhaust the selfing defence mechanims.  So perhaps a fresh approach to emptiness - contemplating the emptiness of concepts, might free something up?

Just a thought.

Malcolm

P.S. Apologies if I have made any incorrect assumptions here. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 2:36 AM as a reply to curious.
Thankyou for your compassion!

You are very right that I have snapped back, and it is very frustrating, and I know that frustration is very counterproductive and unfortunately I'm frustrated about that as well. The thing is, I understand what you say very well. I don't have any problem in seeing that things are both empty and "real" at the same time. Being autistic, I find it very hard to miss as there are myriads of concepts that I have to deal with at face value every day that do not match my experience and seem arbitrary and absurd and yet have a huge impact on my life, whereas concepts that are meaningful to me are hard to explain to the majority. As an interdisciplinary researcher, I use concepts pragmatically as tools and remain very well aware that the different definitions are basically endless and that the concepts we use have bearing on what we are able to see. So what's the higher level of that? 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 2:45 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Being autistic, I find it very hard to miss as there are myriads of concepts that I have to deal with at face value every day that do not match my experience and seem arbitrary and absurd and yet have a huge impact on my life .... So what's the higher level of that? 

In the gap between illusion and reality, lies awakening.


I just made that up (or subconsciously plagariased it).  But I think it sounds impressively pompous!  Actually though, this is another great area for study.  The tiny little gap - that bit between your knowledge of something as abitrary and absurd, and your perception of its impact on your life. Disentangle that, and you will have peeled back another big bit of the onion.

But also - set achievable goals and don't beat yourself up too much.  If you are finding it tough now maybe drop back a bit and wait patiently for the cycle to come around again.  I don't mean the nanas, although that might be part of it.  I mean the bigger meta-cycles.  Sometimes, we need a break, to let the body recover and subconscious integrate all the knowlege.  Then when you least expect it - bam!   I'm guessing you know this already from your work.    

M. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 2:51 AM as a reply to curious.
Yeah, it does sound impressively pompous, and it also captures my current frustration very well. Intellectually I know that I erroneously cling to  stuff in it because of fear that I will neglect my child's needs if I stop, and that it really is the other way around, but getting there...

Makes sense. It's hard. Both stepping back and moving forward needs letting go. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 3:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Well, I would just concentrate on being the person you want to be. You don't have to get there all at once. Choose the values you like, and fill some of the emptiness with your chosen attributes and your loving intention.  Can't really go wrong with that.  Think, do, be.  Then the fear will subside, and skillful means will replace it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 4:57 AM as a reply to curious.
That's what I'm trying. It's just... there is no right way to deal with this situation, as the risks are huge no matter what I do. How does one balance illegal and risky treatments for a minor outside the health care system versus suicide risks with a kid who either shuts down from just talking about it or threatens to run away from home and do it all by herself? I communicated that I wouldn't be able to do anything more unless she would agree to talk to someone about her feelings and wellbeing. Now she hates me but eventually at least agreed to talk to someone if we can get hold of hormones that are illegal for someone her age in this country. Right now there is some relief in just accepting that there is no right way. There is no way for me to fix this and take all her suffering away. What tends to snap me back into anguish and contraction is the feeling of guilt, maybe some version of survival's guilt, which I imagine is especially tricky for most parents in relation to their kids. I haven't made any final decision about what line of action to take. I'm still exploring possible ways of getting care from some party that knows what they are doing. If it weren't for Brexit, there would have been a way. An expensive and logistically demanding and exhausting way, but at least a way. 

I think I will make some of these posts visible only for me soon. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 5:13 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
There was a 75 minutes long yoga class focusing on the fire element. It was demanding and exhausting, which was good in the sense that there was no energy left for excessive thinking. It might backfire with a histamine reaction, but for now I feel relief and I also feel less paralyzed. 

While relaxing in shavasana at the end of the class, there was that thing with my right hand again. I could feel a muscle drawing the thumb into a gripping and then letting go of it, over and over again, with absolutely no subjective experience of me doing it and at the same time very clearly the subjective experience of it being an intentional action - just not mine. This came with the perspective that "it is what it is", acceptance, and some relief but also grieving. The relief doesn't solve things in the relative world, and they still need to be dealt with, and that can only be done in a very human and imperfect way. There is no way to go beyond that. I need to grieve for the world. At least grief is much more constructive than guilt. I suspect that I will snap back into feeling guilty many many times. I'm thankful for the brief moments of relief. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 9:14 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
1 h 20 min of reclining meditation, or maybe it was just resting. I didn't apply any specific technique, but was just focusing on acceptance and dwelling in the relief of being able to accept and let go for a while. That made my body dissolve into a vibrating field of energy but with a lingering sense of resting heavily against the ground at the same time. Thoughts were still ongoing, but they were constructive. No guilt or shame, but some planning of what I can do to act with responsibility and compassion. I realized that there is no conflict in having compassion both for my kid and for  myself. If I don't take my own limitations into account, I can't be there for her either. If you'll excuse my language, I didn't give a fuck about following the breath. This session was more geared towards loving kindness for my (not) self, and it was much needed. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 10:20 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did another 30 minutes of reclining meditation while waiting for a meeting with my kid's father. It started out very vibrational and flowy with loud nada sound. Then there was a brief moment of contraction resulting in that old wobbling sound in my right ear and irritation in my left eye. I tuned into the nada sound as I have learned that doing so tends to dissolve the tension. The nada sound drew the hearing consciousness out of the body, sort of. There was a popping sound as the perspective shifted. It felt as if tactile sensations were turned inside out, switching places between here and there or something like that. At the same time my right hand started gripping beyond my control again. My left shoulder was doing something too, I think. The inside out touch started out most prominent in the hands but spread from the hands to large parts of the body. There was still storytelling going on. There was the thought "I still identify too much with the storytelling". I (?) quickly added "...said a storytelling voice". That made something happen. It felt as if I was stretched out in space, first deepening and then widening. I thought "I'm everywhere". 

Then the doorbell rang.

Thankyou Malcolm! You always have a way of showing me how to let things open up and finding my way back to trust. In fact, it was gratefulness for Malcolm that was the initial meditation object for this session, informally. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/26/20 2:21 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
1 h 15 min of lying down to just let go and surrender to whatever would happen. It took a while to get the mind to calm down after the meeting (although it was a great meeting - my kid's father is my best friend) but after a while it did. There was a bit of brightness and lots of nada sound. My right hand started gripping on its own, and then so did my left hand. My left shoulder sort of jumped up and down, but the hand movements were less jerky. Then there were waves of setups for movement going through my whole body, and none of them felt like my doing. It was like somebody else took control of my body, one part at a time, but there was nothing scary or uncomfortable about it. I was amused and interested. It felt both weird and normal at the same time. Somewhere in all this (I have forgotten the exact order) there was a very sudden occurring that felt like some part of the brain was plugged into a power source and a large loudspeaker. There was like a rapid series of poofs and pops and some electric crackling and humming (very very fast and brief) and a brief surge of fear because it was so sudden and unexpected and it sounded as if there would be a loud howling feedback sound any second, and maybe there was an adrenaline rush. I cannot recall whether some of the "remote control" of body stuff occurred after this or if all of it happened before it. I do recall that not long after it, it felt like nothing more would come from this session so I might as well write the report. I think this was a cessation. I have given up on trying to figure out paths. It was just another baby step on a very long journey that I have only started. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/27/20 9:09 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
30 minutes reclining, just letting go. Peace and spaciousness. Energetic activity at the back of my head. Right hand and left shoulder were doing things on their own, small but rapid movements.

70 minutes: finally some time to really let go. There was bubbliness, then a period of lucid dreamless sleep, then a period of things sort of moving around and knots dissolving, especially in or behind the face. Then peace. There were a couple of pops in the head, with space inbetween. There was nothing special about those pops so they could be anything. Then muscles started doing things on their own - left hand, right hand, left shoulder, right shoulder, left arm, core, left thigh, both feet. My right thumb is still moving sideways. I can watch it happen. It is as if I were a marionette and someone were pulling the strings, one at a time.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/27/20 11:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Another hour. Similar cycling. The puppeteer keeps pulling strings, one at a time. Left index finger, right thumb, left shoulder, left upper arm, ears! My ears were twitching, one at a time. I can't even do that. Also, face muscles, one at a time. 

For a while I tried to let go of conceptualization, tuning into the vibrant quality of sensory experiences. To some small extent I could feel it as massage, almost, regardless of what sense organs were involved, but I put in too much effort and it became counterproductive. Instead of letting go of conceptualizations, I found myself even more occupied with concepts. There are so many, and it happens so fast. Noticing that would be something to practice, but that was not what I was going for this time. Also, the concepts were too sticky, and I got lost in content due to associative chains of discursive thoughts. There is a lot of work to be done at that level, but I think I'll go for the lowhanging fruit first. Maybe I need to tread carefully, one baby step at a time in order not to get overwhelmed. Maybe this is a threshold where I can balance for a while and sort of dip my toes in that chaos once in a while. Maybe it's the fear of being overwhelmed that is holding me back. Well, probably. An ADHD brain can be very overwhelming even in daily life. Maybe I need some water element practice. See, I knew that thread would be helpful, but I could have followed it without writing in it. It's not like I would miss it anyway. I'm too curious for that.

I feel energetic activation coming and going in my scalp even as I'm writing. The cycling keeps going while I'm logging. Now it's time to go to yoga class.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/27/20 11:33 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
The puppeteer keeps pulling strings, one at a time.


Maybe this is how Tourette’s manifests when there is no identification with doing the ticking? There is no compulsion in this. It just occurs. That’s a great relief, because ticking is very often the text book examples of dukkha. So much craving for the perfect sensations, so much aversion to the actual sensations.

Okay, so maybe I’m currently deconstructing my tics.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/27/20 3:53 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I guess there is no separate and continuous entity that has dealt with it either. That’s gone. So... is there something to deal with or isn’t it? I can’t do anything about the past. All I have is the now, and by the time this is posted, that now will no longer exist.

Thinking about it as layers is misleading. The layers are just constructions in the now.

Hey Linda!

Nice to catch up on your postings!

Is there something to deal with or not? This is the question and for me it has been a question that has forced me into the present and often in some uncomfortable ways. It often feels like I'm trapped in the moment. I know there's no worth in thinking about the past or searching for comfort in the future and that just leaves the present moment. The thing about the present is that it seems to be elusive and therefore unsatisfying. It's almost like its not actually the present but instead a reverberating past and future condensed into a very small time-frame. However, with prolonged exposure to this fabricated presence an aperture opens up. It's like a dark hole. I popped through it once or twice and it was rather interesting on the other side - so interesting that it can not possibly be described as the other side but more this side of this side or perhaps samsara illuminated.

Okay, I’ll try anew: for some strange reason, things are popping up now that have nothing to do with the here and now except in my storytelling. It’s a mesh of entangled thoughts and feelings creating feedback loops that aren’t any helpful. I need to let go of those narrative connections. 

Oh, the feedback loop of the mind can get quite frustrating at times. One thing that helps me with this is by switching my attention to something in the outer world. It might be the movement of a person walking along the pavement or the sensations one feels when washing the dishes but then take it further: notice that your attention has moved from thoughts to physical sensory objects and that the movement of the attention can develop relationships with wherever it is placed. In this way you're seeing how attention itself is governed by conditions and that you don't have to succumb to those conditions. Another level of awareness becomes aware of the jumping around of attention.

I need to stop identifying with responsibilities in order to prioritize in a non-reactive way. I need to let go of the clinging that causes so much anxiety that I can’t even do anything anyway because it passivates me. Identifying with the responsibilities makes it difficult to see other options. It prevents clarity. 

I've found that when I remove the need, which basically says I mustn't or shouldn't be doing something, a different outlook arises about the issues that I'm faced with in daily life. Feeling you need to change yourself generates a lot of resistance. Don't sweep the feathers, let them naturally settle. Sometimes intervention is called forth but this comes from the action of non-action as opposed to the resistances of needing. These things become like boats you gently untie from its mooring and allow to slowly drift away with little to no fuss. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/27/20 4:46 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Thankyou for your input!

I find that it sometimes helps just to see how a chain creates unnecessary suffering and point out the need to let go of it and then just let that sink in. The shift happens on its own when the chain has been seen through. It may take a while and it may be a bit back and forth, but what is seen can't be unseen. 

The now is only a cage when we build walls of past and future around it. Just having the now is a relief. 

I temporarily let go. I don't doubt that it will come back many times, but for now there is relief. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/28/20 2:34 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The theme of being a marionette continues. This time there was a tangible third vipassana jhana stretching the face in different directions and pulling face muscles. It must have looked weird. Fingers were moving, shoulders were shaken, the core was sort of pumping, a foot was moving sideways. Earlier today there were instances of mouth opening itself as the jaw was being pulled.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/29/20 7:22 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Yesterday I was exhausted and barely left my bed. This morning I woke up with vibrations/trembling in the chest area and I felt pretty miserable and energy-less. I took 30 minutes to lay down together with two of my cats to feel into it, surrender and let it do what it needed to do. Kinesthetically it felt like some disentangling was going on, and it cleared up the grey fog a bit and made breathing easier. There was a bit of a crunching sound going on in my head. The trembling was replaced by a sense of stillness and spaciousness. I still felt sad, but it was a less complex feeling, less tainted.

On my way to work I listened to a dharma talk by Michael Taft https://youtu.be/IBoy9UiuJmk while on public transports, about silence and stillness always being there already, and it drew me into third vipassana jhana. It was very recognizable as such but there was less of the tearing me to bits and pieces and more of the smoothing out stuff - less kneading and more rolling out the dough, if that makes any sense. It dawned on me that the rough aspects of meditation doing itself is not that different from the sense of emptiness, spaciousness, peace and agencylessness that sometimes shows up in glimpses and sometimes linger for a while. They are just different aspects of the same process.

While at work before lunch I felt that some disentangling was still ongoing in the face area, opening up more space, and even more so during lunch as I watched an episode of Titans at netflix (that actually happens to me quite often, that somehow I am more aware of some process going on than of the content of the episode, and sometimes it seems to be the fact that I'm relaxing from trying to meditate that opens something up). My right thumb was moving sideways back and forth, my respiratory tract cleared up, and the nada sound broke through the sound from my headphones. Back at my room I did a guided Dzogchen meditation by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche https://youtu.be/1mnIdcde8y8 and this time it made sense. I could feel what he was talking about and that it was not so different from when I intuitively just feel into the process end let things disentangle. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/29/20 3:54 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Meditation has kept on doing itself as soon as I have relaxed the slightest today, and my mood has shifted into trusting calm and peace. It has been back and forth several times during the day, but with a clear tendency of more and more peace. Nothing spectacular, just peace. I sat to meditate before yoga class, and the class was very meditative in itself - a slow flow with some Kundalini yoga mixed into the vinyasa - and that had a big part in it. On my way home frome yoga class I ran into an old friend. We came to talk about some really sensitive stuff. During the conversation I noticed contractions and fierce and chaotic vibrations in the chest area again. It was the kind of friend to whom I can actually talk about stuff like that without it being awkward, so I did. When I described how perspectives sort of shift back and forth for me now, I could feel it happening, and so I tuned into the expansive and peaceful perspective again.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/29/20 4:55 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Before going to bed I sat for 45 minutes. As meditation object I focused on the "direction" from where the nada sound comes. Not specific frequencies of the sound, but the sound of silence as a whole. I have found that it opens up something more spacious and very peaceful.

There was still some going back and forth between perspectives. In the more contractive mode, vibrations were most prominent in the area of the uteris, but they also stood out in the throat, the upper arms, and sometimes in the entire torso. 

Note to (not) self: When meditating together with cats, suddenly shouting out a syllable is not a good idea. Jeeze, there were flying cats all over the place. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/29/20 6:24 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Note to (not) self: When meditating together with cats, suddenly shouting out a syllable is not a good idea. Jeeze, there were flying cats all over the place. 

Katz!

Sorry, couldn't resist.   emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/30/20 12:03 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Before going to work I sat for 45 minutes. As meditation object (or possibly non-object) I used the space or presence that silence comes from. That leads to that special feeling that always felt so familiar and simple and natural and yet was so hard to place. Discursive thoughts appeared and reappered, but shifting focus back to that space makes discursive thoughts come to rest. There was quite a lot of attention to posture, though, as I’m trying to cultivate a good posture for sitting practice that doesn’t give rise to inflammatory pain in this sensitive body.

That special feeling lingers. It probably has a fancy name. I’m not sure that ”feeling” is an accurate word for it. I don’t mean it as an emotion. It is more like... a recognition?

I keep checking in with that space/presence that silence comes from, regularly. It keeps uncovering that special familiar unplaceable feeling. I have a sense that it is always there, underneath, whenever and wherever there is consciousness. It may even be the recognition of consciousness. Consciousness recognizing itself. Checking in with it tends to open up the respiratory tract and make breathing much easier. Sometimes there is a crunching noice and kinesthetic feeling, perhaps in the paranasal cavities, perhaps somewhere else inside the head. Sometimes it is more like a very gentle pop.

After lunch I got some light and fresh air on a terrass that has a view over the entire town. I played with my old fear of heights a bit, shifting perspectives back and forth. Tuning into that space/presence took away the fear but it was very easy to trigger it again. Gosh, the contraction of the mind feels very physical. It was painful. Does everybody contract like that in their entire body or is it just me somatizing? Then I did a mini-sitting in my office chair, 10 minutes, with the same focus (or non-focus). I’m loving this.

In the afternoon I did another 10 minutes mini-sitting. It coincided with a very loud, engaged and enthusiastic project meeting in the room next to me, and the walls are very thin, so it was difficult to avoid grabbing the hearing of their conversation. Still, the same feeling was there whenever I managed to shift focus back to the space/presence from where silence arises.

Later in the afternoon I took a stroll by the small river that passes my working place. As I stopped for a while I noticed that when I focused on the space that silence comes from, I could no longer see what forms were far from me and which ones were close to me. It was all equally near. That wasn’t something that lasted, but I could repeat it.

Evening: 75 minutes of Hatha yoga. 

Still checking in. It still works.

This day has had very little suffering in it. For me, that is a miracle.

I’ll probably meditate some more before going to bed.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/30/20 12:04 PM as a reply to Lars.
Lars:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Note to (not) self: When meditating together with cats, suddenly shouting out a syllable is not a good idea. Jeeze, there were flying cats all over the place. 

Katz!

Sorry, couldn't resist.   emoticon

Luckily my cats haven't shown much interest in reading. emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/30/20 3:21 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Evening session: I sat for 40 minutes in half lotus, tuning into from where the silence comes. It is getting easier. It is very restful and yet not boring. I can just rest into it and get invigorated. It doesn't require much from my executive functioning. In fact, it is less demanding than almost everything in my daily life. At least for now it makes me feel like I'm born anew, innocent or forgiven, and open to see the world with fresh eyes and embrace it. 

Hey, am I the only one who regularly has serious trouble getting a touch pad to respond to my fingers directly after a meditation session? My hands are warm so it can't be poor blood circulation. Large parts of my body did dissolve during the session, but I thought that was just a subjective experience. emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/30/20 7:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Meh, if things continue like this, it seems like I'm going to develop spiritually induced alien hand syndrome. It happens to both hands but mostly the right one. I'm not worried though. I have already had spiritually induced exploding head syndrome, and that passed. At least this one is a pretty cool party trick. The explosions were only apparent to me. 

Maybe it's symbolic - some of the grabbing bubbling up to the surface and eventually dissipating as things get disentangled. I did say that I'd focus on letting go. The universe usually listens - or maybe it's the other way around: conditions pushed towards the process of letting go, and as part of that, the chain of thoughts about deciding to work on letting go happened, and at about the same time, impulses of grabbing started to get disentangled and thus show up as physical manifestations. Bah, now I'm intellectualizing. 

---

I have started to listen to teachings by Lama Lena. I'm not qualified to tell to what extent she knows her stuff, but I'm loving it, and that sure makes learning easier. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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1/31/20 4:30 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have often said that the process knows the way. That may be true on some plane, but it is also so misleading. The creating impulse inherent to all life, to all existence, doesn't know anything, and that's the beauty of it. It is born anew every moment. It is totally innocent, totally fearless, totally accepting and totally free. One might think that ideas about an allmighty and allknowing god with the responsibilities that come with them are an unreasonable burden for a newborn, but even that is missing the point. There is nothing there to know. Everything is new at any given moment, and then it vanishes. There can be no guilt, ultimately. We are all innocent. We are all newborns. There are no chains. There really is no spoon. 

One hour of reclining meditation in the afternoon and one hour of sitting meditation in the evening, and yoga inbetween (one 75 minutes class).

Saying that I focus on the space that silence comes from is misleading. Focusing doesn't work. Just falling into it works. Freefalling. I basically just fall and miss the ground, and there it is. 

The afternoon session was Michael Taft's latest guided meditation. There's a funny story to that, but you might not want to read it if you are planning to do the guided meditation and haven't yet heard it, so here is a spoiler alert.

...
...
... 
... 
...

Funny enough, in this guided meditation, Michael shouts out that same seed syllable that I tried to shout out the other day, the one that scared my cats so much that they flew up like rockets. I don't know how to spell it so I won't write it. Anyway, I got a new chance to look at what it did to all of the ongoing constructions. It really did shatter them for a brief moment in time. 

...
...
...

End of spoiler.

...


In that session I also had some other jumpstarts that came seemingly from nowhere. I guess that they might be old feelings that have been entangled with stuff for quite some time and that they are now being released. 

The evening session was full of love and relief and gratefulness and dedication, and I really felt love and compassion for all sentient beings. So strongly that I cried a bit. Happy tears. And I smiled to my ears. I may even have laughed a bit. It probably looked utterly silly. And sounded... I may have adressed all sentient beings that might be around even if I don't perceive them and said something along the line that I love them all and that they should all know that they are loved, and then done metta on them. I may have offered my life to the Buddha and to the Lord of Compassion. For a while it felt like my hair was standing up at the top of my head or something. There was intense piti throughout my body, many times. There was complete stillness, and there were swirling movements that somehow felt like complete stillness. I remember thinking that I didn't need anything. 

I know. This practically screams A&P. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/1/20 7:29 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
How exciting, Linda! I look forward to hearing how it shapes up emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/1/20 4:03 PM as a reply to Bill T.
Thanks!

Well, as expected, I woke up in dissolution, with a bit of brain fog. I also had inflammatory pain in tendons throughout the body, especially shoulder joints and ribs. I have suspected for a while that histamines are involved in strong Kundalini releases, and I'm histamine intolerant, so... Well, that passes. Something weird happened, or maybe it isn't that weird: I was just watching netflix when suddenly it felt like my entire mouth and the area around it dissolved into an energy field. It started with the mouth and then spread outwards. I lay down for a while, and my body was vibrating. This was in the early afternoon. I decided to do a proper sitting. I sat for an hour, practicing a beginner's version of Dzogchen. As there was still some lingering brain fog, the connection felt a bit off. It was still there but not quite as accessible. It felt like there were energy blockages due to inflammation. I straightened my spine as much as I could, but there were muscle threads that were too tense and that was asymmetrical. I alternated between practicing with eyes closed and eyes open as I find it easier to relax the gaze with my eyes closed but maybe that's cheating.

Late afternoon/early evening: 45 minutes reclining practice of letting go, mainly in shavasana. Allowing stuff to untangle. There were some adrenaline surges. There were also brief moments of exquisite presence, with everything feeling brand new. My left shoulder shook itself while vibrating, and that took away some of the pain. I fell asleep but stayed lucid while snoring. It was peaceful.

Evening: qigong massage of body and face. Then another hour of sitting, beginner's version of Dzogchen. Now it was more accessible. It was definitely not as blissful as yesterday but I don't think I need it to be. It's fine just as it is - sort of a chrystal clear confusion.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/1/20 4:11 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh no! Now there's a bug in this thread. A post disappeared while trying to post it and so I wrote a new one. Then it turned out that the former post had been posted after all, so I deleted the second one and then edited the first one to incorporate some of the new phrasings. Then the post disappeared from recent posts. I'm hoping that it will appear again when I post this. 

Edit: Oh, good. It seem to have worked. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/2/20 9:18 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Morning: 10 min sitting

Lunch: 75 minutes very soft yoga

While walking to and from yoga class and while doing chores: listened to a dharma talk by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. While listening to him taking about space, I accidently bumped into the dishwasher lid and hit my shin bone hard. I know how much that usually hurts, but inspired by the talk I said out loud "Space! There is space! Space! Space!" and tuned into the space around the pain, and then the pain had already passed away without me focusing on it. I was amazed by the difference it made.

Afternoon: 40 min sitting.

That space that the silence comes from, and from which also the thoughts come from, is still there. I find it again and again. I think I can trust that it won't go away. However, I find myself trapped by the concept of it now that I finally have a concept for it, and the "doer" thinks that it knows how to get there and tries to grab it, and of course that doesn't work. I'm doing my best to give myself a break here. When the "doer" misses the target repeatedly, it goes dull to the verge of dozing off. There was plenty of dreaminess. I try to just maintain introspective awareness when that happens, and to work on my posture, and to appreciate the calm and accept that clarity as I'm used to thinking about it comes and goes. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/4/20 3:07 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Space is cool!  There seems to be both a dimensional aspect, and a boundary/boundaryless aspect, and even a volume aspect although somehow each of these is independent of or orthogonal to the others. And then we layer our sense perceptions through all those three aspects of space to create some kind of weird 3-d vision thing that we dub 'reality'.

emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/5/20 5:21 PM as a reply to curious.
curious:
Space is cool!  There seems to be both a dimensional aspect, and a boundary/boundaryless aspect, and even a volume aspect although somehow each of these is independent of or orthogonal to the others. And then we layer our sense perceptions through all those three aspects of space to create some kind of weird 3-d vision thing that we dub 'reality'.

emoticon

I'm not entirely sure that I understand what you are saying, but yes, apparently it is possible for one sense of space to open up while at the same time another one collapses. That is indeed cool.



Practice log Monday February 3rd

Day: 15 minutes sitting.
Evening: half an hour sitting, slightly more than half an hour reclining.
Not much to report.


Tuesday February 4th

During the day I felt overwhelmed (fear) and rather sorry for myself (misery) and then, seeing that, I sort of told myself to get a grip (disgust) and just get things done (desire for deliverance), which I did.

Reclining session in the evening: At first my body was vibrating. Then lots of dreaminess. Then suddenly it was like everything turned inside out in a fierce whoosh, with great clarity, and there was an electronic screaching sound and sort of a click, and then everything was back to normal as if nothing had happened.


Wednesday February 5th

Late morning:
20 minutes sitting, opening up to glimpses of the space/presence (=consciousness) from where the silence and the thoughts come. The glimpses were briefer and weaker than a few days ago. I was starting to feel that there was nothing to hold on to, but I had to end the session because of a booked job meeting.

Evening:
a brief mini-sitting before yoga class.
75 minutes of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga.
Relaxation during which my face dissolved into a field of awareness.
75 minutes of slow flow yoga with Kundalini yoga mixed in it, during which I temporarily felt energetic tinglings at the top of my head.

Night:
40 minutes of allowing my(not)self to be the space/presence from which the silence and the thoughts come. There was lightness, and my respiratory trakt opened up with some clicking sounds.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/6/20 2:10 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did this guided meditation by Michael Taft again: https://youtu.be/kDo5sQMILE4 It reminds me a bit of the warrior seed syllable practice as taught by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. It has the same gradual downward movement, unhooking consciousness from the head. I like it. It also reminds me a bit of that kind lf massage when you squeeze a muscle knot until the knot dissolves, although there is no pressure in this exercise. Just awareness, and then the knot self-liberates. It is helpful for finding that space.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/6/20 3:28 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
After the sitting mentioned above, I did about an hour of reclining practice. It started out with lots of sensations, especially in the face. Then there was this intense turning of the reality inside out, but I chickened out before it was completed. Apparently there is still some lingering fear of annihilation. The fear wasn't strong and it didn't last, but it interrupted the process. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/8/20 12:47 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Friday February 7th, 2020

Reclining, slightly more than 1 h 40 min. There were lots of tension in the face and in the jaw. I tried to let go of doing the tension. After a while, instead there were lots of sensations taking over. There was no need to do anything with the face. It was a field of awareness. I rested in that for quite a while. There were some kriyas, my left shoulder shaking itself, some fingers moving. Then I fell asleep and listened to myself snoring, fully aware of being asleep and still mindful of the body. 


Saturday February 8th, 2020

Sitting, 30 minutes, lunch hour. I started out trying to find that space but found frustration and impatience, so instead I started noting. That opened up the space and led to showers of piti. At times I couldn’t verbalize what I noted so I used whatever expression was closest at hand instead. Then I had to grab my stuff and catch a train. 

Evening: one hour of guided meditation https://youtu.be/SBF4A3NIzr8 and then another 20 minutes of silent meditation. I’m not at home, so I feel guilty for taking the time to meditate instead of being social (yeah, I know that guilt is empty, but I’m contracted today). Lots of tensions, difficulties in letting go, headache, pain in neck, back and knees. Fear that all the lowhanging fruit has already been picked. Thoughts about being stuck. Frustration. Finally some relaxation at the end. And now this damn touchpad won’t recognize my fingers as fingers. Getting angry seems to help with that. That’s a very counterproductive feedback loop. I wonder what it is about my finger tips after meditation that makes them unrecognizable to a touchpad. They aren’t cold. Do some electric impulses calm down? Even during a distracted and restless session?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/8/20 1:13 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh jay, my jaw suddenly unhooked itself from its tensions again. Wow. I was actually thinking just a few minutes ago that maybe I just imagined that happening before - and then it happens again. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/9/20 12:53 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Reflection from daily life: I’m grateful that even in contracted phases like this one, my old fear of heights doesn’t grab me like it used to do in very steep moving staircases. I can feel that the fear is still there, affecting my body with some of the old symptoms, but it doesn’t feel personal. It isn’t pushed down and I haven’t dissociated from it in any pathological way (like I sometimes used to do). It is there in the open. It just doesn’t seem necessary to engage with it apart from just acknowledging that it is there and being sufficiently careful. I appreciate that I can now see that it isn’t as simple as the fear being there or not being there, and having aversion towards one of those possibilities and craving the other one. The fear is there and I can pick it up or refrain from picking it up. I don’t think that there is any real choice there, ultimately, but I believe that realizing this is part of what makes it possible not to pick it up. It is part of the conditioning.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/9/20 2:39 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Reflection from daily life: I’m grateful that even in contracted phases like this one, my old fear of heights doesn’t grab me like it used to do in very steep moving staircases. I can feel that the fear is still there, affecting my body with some of the old symptoms, but it doesn’t feel personal. It isn’t pushed down and I haven’t dissociated from it in any pathological way (like I sometimes used to do). It is there in the open. It just doesn’t seem necessary to engage with it apart from just acknowledging that it is there and being sufficiently careful. I appreciate that I can now see that it isn’t as simple as the fear being there or not being there, and having aversion towards one of those possibilities and craving the other one. The fear is there and I can pick it up or refrain from picking it up. I don’t think that there is any real choice there, ultimately, but I believe that realizing this is part of what makes it possible not to pick it up. It is part of the conditioning.



The impersonal nature of bodily activity becomes progressively more noticeable as your practice evolves. Gratitude itself may become a twig floating in the stream of bodily thingy-me-bobs - a colloquial term to denote the myriad of internal biological processes. When the fear diminishes, the mind energy can divert to other places where it is needed most. I was recently ill with the flu. It was the most interesting illness I've ever experienced. I became deeply contemplative. All of my mind energy was sucked away and the body felt like there was a 200 watt halogon bulb gently brimming from inside. Three days later the illness was gone but mind has returned with its commentaries on life, people and myself which can be summarized in one fitting word: neurosis... or the more character-economical word: ego.

Something peculiar might occur with size and distance, if it hasn't already, which may influence your perception of height. In the face of dhamma practice our limited consciousness shudders and shakes and occasionally breaches the boundaries of its regular mundane run-of-the-mill conditioning constructed of words and sensations. We no longer see things as big, small; far or near. We can still assess those things from a pragmatic sense but distance is not understood through the medium of 'far' nor from its corresponding conditioned sensation. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/9/20 3:05 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Interesting comments! You're right, it isn't just fear that floats around. Gratitude does too. Focusing on how fear floats around and neglecting to make the same observation with regard to gratitude illustrates that there is still a lingering aversion to fear. Thankyou for pointing that out!

I have only had glimpses of what you describe with regard to size and distance. There was one afternoon when I could play with that back and forth. When I tuned into that space or presence that is consciousness being aware of itself (at least that's what I think it is), distances disappeared and I couldn't tell whether something was close and small or distant and large. Everything appeared to be equally near. That is probably just the most basic version of what you describe. I found it kind of cool and I look forward to having perspectives more challenged later on, when my practice has matured enough for that to happen. I'm curious about more details, but maybe it is better not to know too much in advance, to avoid being scripted and to allow for natural curiosity to do its own thing rather than being tempted to tic boxes.

Interesting to hear about your new experience of illness. That's cool. I have a changed experience of dissolution. I used to take the fogginness of it very personally and feel like I was foggy in a way that I no longer do. My capacity is still limited by it but the awareness of that is unclouded, even when I fall asleep. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/9/20 4:35 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I sat for 40 minutes, less and later than I would have wanted, after a long and intense day. There were contractions, but it was also obvious that the contractions arose within a space. I have heard that being said, but that's not the same thing as experiencing it empirically my(not)self. I noticed picking up some feelings and could see how it opened some doors and closed others, and how different feelings allowed different possibilities. I investigated my feelings about feelings and how they relate to craving and aversion. I have preferences with regard to feelings to pick up. They are not that straightforward, as I find myself from time to time picking up feelings that cause me suffering. (Maybe all feelings cause us suffering to some extent, but if so, I think that is just part of life.) It is a relief to see that I can pick up other feelings and open other doors, or let go of thoughts and feelings and open other doors. That it isn't linear. 

I think I have become more comfortable with feelings like fear being around. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't any aversion to fear. I still prefer not necessarily having to pick it up, wheras there's other stuff that I find myself eager to pick up. That space/presence became more easily accessable again towards the end of the session. I definitely wouldn't mind picking that up. Except it can't be picked up. The impulse to pick it up divides it into more of duality again. That's something to work on. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/9/20 5:12 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I'm struggling with long strands of unnecessarily complicated programming. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/10/20 5:09 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
That space/presence became more easily accessable again towards the end of the session. I definitely wouldn't mind picking that up. Except it can't be picked up. The impulse to pick it up divides it into more of duality again. That's something to work on. 

One only needs to gently incline the mind in that direction. It's like calling in the felt sense of spaciousness to occupy just the peripheries of the cognition. If it becomes centred in cognition it generally falls prey to unconscious analytic thinking.

Be present, very curious and enjoy those spacious experiences but, more importantly, examine the experiences of spaciousness for it is a mental creation composed of mental components. What qualities are present? What's the emotional atmosphere like? How large is the field of vision? Anything you can distinguish as a constituent of the experience is worthy of investigation and allows one to move through the experience much quicker. Precisely how you do that lies with yourself but generally, once you are in that experience, it should involve consciously directed evaluating thought with some periods of suspended stillness.

Your doing great.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/10/20 5:15 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I'm struggling with long strands of unnecessarily complicated programming. 


What do you mean by this? Is it work related?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/10/20 5:35 AM as a reply to Bardo.
No, mind-related... It feels like there are so many unnecessary loops and meanderings. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/10/20 5:37 AM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
That space/presence became more easily accessable again towards the end of the session. I definitely wouldn't mind picking that up. Except it can't be picked up. The impulse to pick it up divides it into more of duality again. That's something to work on. 

One only needs to gently incline the mind in that direction. It's like calling in the felt sense of spaciousness to occupy just the peripheries of the cognition. If it becomes centred in cognition it generally falls prey to unconscious analytic thinking.

Be present, very curious and enjoy those spacious experiences but, more importantly, examine the experiences of spaciousness for it is a mental creation composed of mental components. What qualities are present? What's the emotional atmosphere like? How large is the field of vision? Anything you can distinguish as a constituent of the experience is worthy of investigation and allows one to move through the experience much quicker. Precisely how you do that lies with yourself but generally, once you are in that experience, it should involve consciously directed evaluating thought with some periods of suspended stillness.

Your doing great.

Thankyou! That's helpful.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/10/20 6:14 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
No, mind-related... It feels like there are so many unnecessary loops and meanderings. 

Ah, I see. My approach was to let these things play themselves out. You'll become caught in them from time to time, but awareness comes to you: "I'm caught in mental proliferation", that is all that is needed - those recognizing moments may not seem like they are having much influence, but they are wearing down the sankaras; the energy that drives you to mentally proliferate. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/10/20 2:01 PM as a reply to Bardo.
That's what I usually do. Good to hear that it makes a difference, because it doesn't always feel like it does. Thanks for the encouragement - it is needed.

---

Daytime: 45 minutes reclining, mainly checking in with what is going on and trying to relax, because I have a stubborn headache that paracetamol won’t take away, and some nausea. I think it’s Kundalini-related. One of my current Tourette tics is to do the mula-bandha, and I can feel how that pushes up energy to the head and causes pressure there (on the other hand, I have really poor sight and haven’t had proper glasses for a long time, which I have finally gotten around to make an appointment for, so that could very well be the main cause). Anyway, lying down felt good, and the respiratory tract cracked open with a number of clicks. I felt meeyes relaxing and defocusing behind closed eyelids. There was lightness and spaciousness. The space is not a visual thing for me, at least not primarily. I find it easier to compare to sound. I’m no audio engineer, but I can hear the difference between a very compact mix and one that is more spacious. I have always preferred the latter one, which doesn’t seem very modern. If you listen to recordings of The Mission UK back in the 80’s, there was a lot of space in their sound. For me, that’s a relief. I don’t like when the sound is too dense. The spaciousness during meditation feels similar. There is just more space inbetween stuff. Less density. Easier to breathe. Relief. Or like being on a hill out in the countryside or in the wild with lots of air and no traffic, no buildings, and no people around, or alone by the sea. This time it was more a construction of spaciousness than that special feeling that I refer to as the space or presence that the silence comes from; that is something else, more like a recognition or dejavue, an unplacable sense of familiarity. Towards the end of the session there was a loud clicking sound that for some reason startled me.

Evening: 100 minutes of reclining practice. I still have a headache. 3C nana? It did feel a bit like reobservation without the oumph that third vipassana jhana brings about. The nada sound was sharp. There was some bubbliness, a bit like carbon dioxide, but not that much, and after a phase of distracting thoughts and movements, the mind calmed down. Instead there was the feeling of something melting near my cheek bones, at the spot where the salivary gland is positioned. There were flourescent purple swirls and pleasantness. For a while I focused on my breath and was close to jhana, but then I lost interest in that. There was some dreaminess. I noticed it fast every time. I wanted to turn it into lucid dreaming in order to test if I can go through a wall, but I never managed to imagine any wall or dream of one, and as soon as I noticed dreaminess it was already gone. Somewhere along the line there were kriyas and some startling responses. Also, there was some breathing of the type that sounds like being asleep.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/11/20 1:40 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Practice is frustrating today. I feel like there is clarity at some level. The nada sound is loud, sensations are at times very finegrained, and there are some poppings going on in my head now and then. Yet I get lost in chains of associations and forget what I'm doing. I should probably be realistic and do brief sittings following a basic method rather than trying to get superrelaxed and superfocused in long reclining sessions. I think I'm trying to approach lower nanas as if they were higher nanas. In order to keep myself from digressing into thoughts I tried to occupy all sense gates at the same time, but that wide focus was not possible right now. I should probably take the hint.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/11/20 3:02 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
That was a constractive idea. I set the timer for 20 minutes and sat down on my cushion to do some very basic noting. It turned out better than expected so I sat for 45 minutes. There definitely was a progression of nanas, with different features standing out. I'm still no good at pinpointing the lower nanas, but I know that I noticed discursive thoughts appearing with space around them (and I could rest in that space for brief moments) and noticed chains of perceptions and thoughts and feelings and noticed that some sensory input is more likely than others to come with a whole package (formations?). There was a phase when the noting/noticing went so fast that it was more like what Shinzen Young refers to as popcorn thoughts - fragments of thoughts popping up and disappearing without storylines tying them together. It was like a whole popcorn factory. So fast, so fragmentary. There was a phase when I tended to note as if I was the one doing what I heard. I noted shouting instead of hearing when I heard some shouting, and driving instead of hearing when I heard a car passing by (and I don't even have a driver's license). I think that may have coincided with the onset of dissolution and the periphery standing out, something that usually manifests as touch feelings of my hands standing out. It did now too. I tested it: the more I tried to focus on the breath, the more the hands stood out. Very predictably, there was a phase of fear after that. It didn't feel personal, but I could feel it in my body as contractions around the heart and lungs and a sense of being pulled towards a void that was all bright. Then there was a brief phase when I didn't feel like continuing. The thought popped up that I wanted to snuggle under a blanket and watch some netflix instead. As I knew that this was misery and only to be expected, I investigated what it felt like. It had a heaviness, like wading in syrup, but it soon got more wired up as disgust arose. Here an alarm went off, telling me that it was time to give my cats their medicines (two of them have some chronical eye condition). 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/12/20 6:06 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
40 minutes reclining, trying to notice as much as possible with all senses, really fast. It made me feel a bit frenzied, but it also opened things up. The nada sound was loud. Tensions arose but I noticed them and let go of them. In the beginning I mainly noticed sensory input. Then thoughts appeared. I managed to just notice and then let go of them many times. Sometimes I got lost in the content but I noticed it and got back on track. There was a period of dreaminess, with a tune stuck in my head as well, a two part chorus drinking song, for some strange reason, about how to die happier. I noticed that and came back to the moment. Suddenly there was this screaching sound again, the one that sounds like loudspeakers have been turned on without any music, on too high volume. That electrical whirring together with the rasping. Then I sort of felt blood rushing through my body. I ended the session, as it felt finished.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/12/20 1:20 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
but I know that I noticed discursive thoughts appearing with space around them (and I could rest in that space for brief moments) and noticed chains of perceptions and thoughts and feelings and noticed that some sensory input is more likely than others to come with a whole package (formations?). 

This is qualitative stuff but I lean over towards Daniel when he says formations are conceptually very difficult to describe. I found his descriptions of formations helpful only having experienced them. Here is one such description by Daniel that resonated with me:

Formations contain all the six sense doors, including thought, in a way that does not split them up sequentially in time or positionally in space. If you could take a 3D moving photograph that also captured smell, taste, touch, sound, and thought, all woven into each other seamlessly and containing a sense of flux, this would approximate the experience of one formation. 

You can find the complete section here but you'll need to scroll down to the relevant part. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/12/20 6:08 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Personally, I think it helps to read the two paragraphs before:

One of the other hallmarks of Equanimity is that the way reality presents is not made up of lots of little sensations occurring in some stable space, not broken up into lots of little, individual sense doors, but instead complete phenomena begin to be perceived as consolidated in a more integrated way, meaning that they are formed together, with space, awareness, and all the different types of sense qualities happening all together to make up the objects in the sensate world, and even all of those objects in the world arise in these integrated wholes, consolidated swaths of moving space that contain all those things within them. It is as though flowing space has textures, colors, sounds, tastes, smells all integrated into it, as part of it, and gradually attention and anything that really seems to be “us” finally gets integrated in the same way also, though we might not notice this at all. The thing about this integrated way of perceiving reality is that, at this stage, it just seems so normal that most people won’t have any idea that this is what is happening unless they are curious about the basics of the way attention and sensate information present themselves, or have been given a heads-up that this is what occurs at this stage. It sounds dramatic, but it is very undramatic. Many will get through this stage and have no idea that something was different, and that’s okay.

These put-together sense impressions, these formed things, are formally (pun intended) called “formations”, and they are the phenomena regarding which we come to Equanimity in this phase. The full formal name of this stage is Knowledge of Equanimity Concerning Formations. I put off writing about formations for a long time, since although the experience of them is very straightforward and natural, they are for some a conceptually difficult topic. Furthermore, the classical definition of “formation” is perhaps not so clear-cut, so I was concerned about imposing on the term my own functional and experiential definitions. Lastly, it seems that plenty of people will just get confused by this set of descriptions, and even plenty of talented meditators won’t be able to notice that these integrated formations are what is going on, and they clearly don’t have to for progress. However, as the topic comes up repeatedly, here we go …

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/12/20 3:05 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
but I know that I noticed discursive thoughts appearing with space around them (and I could rest in that space for brief moments) and noticed chains of perceptions and thoughts and feelings and noticed that some sensory input is more likely than others to come with a whole package (formations?). 

This is qualitative stuff but I lean over towards Daniel when he says formations are conceptually very difficult to describe. I found his descriptions of formations helpful only having experienced them. Here is one such description by Daniel that resonated with me:

Formations contain all the six sense doors, including thought, in a way that does not split them up sequentially in time or positionally in space. If you could take a 3D moving photograph that also captured smell, taste, touch, sound, and thought, all woven into each other seamlessly and containing a sense of flux, this would approximate the experience of one formation. 

You can find the complete section here but you'll need to scroll down to the relevant part. 

That quote captures what I meant very precisely. That is exactly what I meant. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/12/20 3:36 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
That fits it too. Thanks both of you for reminding me! I still hadn't grocked that this is special for equanimity, because it happens so often. I thought of it as what we humans do - construct whole packages. 

This is why I often find it so confusing to use Shinzen Young's noting that is based on what senses are used, even for thoughts. I find myself having all senses integrated in so much of my experiences. There is just no way I could hear one of my cats without at the same time mentally smelling them, feeling their touch, seeing them, thinking about them and feeling something. There is even some kind of taste to the experience. Maybe my cats bring out the equanimity in me. But that's how I usually perceive things when I tune into them, like if I listen to the cars passing by outside. That makes me feel the sensations of being out in my patio, with the cool moist air against my skin, all the smells, the taste of the air in my mouth, and there are also vague visual glimpses of a car. In some phases other things dominate, though. Sometimes what dominates is something as weird as feeling the ground under my wheels and the power of my motor. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/12/20 4:36 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
That fits it too. Thanks both of you for reminding me! I still hadn't grocked that this is special for equanimity, because it happens so often. I thought of it as what we humans do - construct whole packages. 

This is why I often find it so confusing to use Shinzen Young's noting that is based on what senses are used, even for thoughts. I find myself having all senses integrated in so much of my experiences. There is just no way I could hear one of my cats without at the same time mentally smelling them, feeling their touch, seeing them, thinking about them and feeling something. There is even some kind of taste to the experience. Maybe my cats bring out the equanimity in me. But that's how I usually perceive things when I tune into them, like if I listen to the cars passing by outside. That makes me feel the sensations of being out in my patio, with the cool moist air against my skin, all the smells, the taste of the air in my mouth, and there are also vague visual glimpses of a car. In some phases other things dominate, though. Sometimes what dominates is something as weird as feeling the ground under my wheels and the power of my motor. 

Is this what those descriptions of formations refer to?
I thought what you are describing here in this post, is experiencing sensations with their mental impressions together, that because are so close to each other in time, they gave the impression of being coupled, that could be decoupled.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 4:36 PM as a reply to Siavash.
There is no way they could be decoupled. They arise that way, multisensorial. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 4:40 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
There is no way they could be decoupled. They arise that way, multisensorial. 


I am not sure about that. I always experienced physical sensations with their mental images together at the same time, and I just wanted to see if I can experience a physical sensation without having its image. These days I can see that there is time difference between them. I still have mental images for all the sensations, but sometimes I notice that first physical sensation arises, then after a fraction of a second, its mental impression arises. That tells me that probably they can be decoupled.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 5:40 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Keep investigating then.

Some stuff can be decoupled, some arises as packages. That's just the way it is. The package is a phenomenon in itself. It coexists with the more separated phenomena. Reality has more than one level. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 5:52 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I did another sitting before going to yoga. Inspired by Shargrol's advice to T, I divided a session into several 5 minutes parts, with different focuses. I think I will keep doing that more regularly to check in with different aspects of my practice and to take away some pressure. I was surprised by how much easier it was now compared to when I started my daily practice. I have been under the impression that my practice basically sucks now, so that was en eye opener. I ended with "do nothing" and found that familiar space that recognizes itself.

Then 75 minutes of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and 75 minutes of slow flow yoga with some integrated Kundalini yoga. That space finds itself during some forward bends. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 6:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Keep investigating then.

Some stuff can be decoupled, some arises as packages. That's just the way it is. The package is a phenomenon in itself. It coexists with the more separated phenomena. Reality has more than one level. 


Siavash, the packages I'm talking about are creations of the mind. That doesn't mean that they aren't as real as anything else. 

And you are just as real (or unreal) as the cells in your body, or the atoms and molecules they consist of, right? When you recognize yourself in the mirror, you don't usually notice every single atom in a very fast chain, I assume? 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 7:02 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Damn it, I tipped over into overdrive again. Malcolm, how do I find that sweet spot of balanced energy in daily life? (note to (not)self: advice for me in Olivier's thread "Opinions welcome") Just let go, huh? Hm.

Yeah, I think that might actually be simpler than it seems. 

Yup. There's the space. Relief. I really do grab onto that "energy" as soon as there is some available, as if it were a matter of life and death. I squeeze the life out of it. That's very unnecessary. I think I can sleep now. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 7:30 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Keep investigating then.

Some stuff can be decoupled, some arises as packages. That's just the way it is. The package is a phenomenon in itself. It coexists with the more separated phenomena. Reality has more than one level. 


Siavash, the packages I'm talking about are creations of the mind. That doesn't mean that they aren't as real as anything else. 

And you are just as real (or unreal) as the cells in your body, or the atoms and molecules they consist of, right? When you recognize yourself in the mirror, you don't usually notice every single atom in a very fast chain, I assume? 


No questions about being real or not. I don't know what is real, what I can know is just some sensations.
What I notice observing my experience, is that every experience that I have, can be divided to their See, Hear or Feel compnents, or lack of them. I think space is mostly part of See but I don't have enough clarity about that, yet . So I have a hard time seeing that a sound that is coming outside of your mind-body (sound of a cat or a car), and images or touches or smells that your mind generates after hearing that sound, are one package and a separate phenomenon that can not be decoupled. I think they arise decoupled in the first place, and then couple into something, that one can see it as a package or not.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 8:02 PM as a reply to Siavash.
When you hear the car with your attention, you were already aware of it (or more precisely, there was already awareness). That's how it happens. Sometimes it isn't just the sound that reaches your attention, but a whole package. A multisensorial creation. 

Inside and outside are constructions too. Eventually you will need to let go of them.

---

I came back here just to write down that the sudden screaching electric sound of coming back to consciousness happened again, as I was letting go for the purpose of falling asleep. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/12/20 8:11 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Maybe excess energy should be interpreted not as having too much energy, but as spending too much energy. That makes much more sense. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 11:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Siavash, the packages I'm talking about are creations of the mind. That doesn't mean that they aren't as real as anything else. 

And you are just as real (or unreal) as the cells in your body, or the atoms and molecules they consist of, right? When you recognize yourself in the mirror, you don't usually notice every single atom in a very fast chain, I assume? 

Can you point us to something that isn't a creation of the mind? Is it possible that what Daniel Ingram is describing in MCTB2 in regard to formations is about how we perceive phenomena as opposed to different kinds of phenomena? What can you perceive that doesn't come from a sense source (the mind is a sense source)? What can you perceive that doesn't get processed by mind? If we choose, for whatever reason, voluntarily or involuntarily, to see phenomena as combinations of other phenomena or as separate and distinct parts and pieces of a "whole" doesn't that speak to the lens through which we're observing and not dependent origination as we know it to be? Is it possible this is the difference between how things seem in different modes of perception? Is it possible that we reach a point in equanimity where the processing of phenomena via dependent origination becomes the de facto, inherent and unquestioned way we perceive things, and so we don't need to see the parts and pieces being assembled to accept how phenomena are presented to us?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/13/20 12:23 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
My first formal practice today was when I came home from an exhausting meeting on top of the work day (note: the contextualized descriptions of daily life are for the purpose of personal retrospection about what methods worked for what purposes; others are welcome to skip them unless they find the context useful). I thought it might be a good idea to use a simple meditation to check in with what was going on and then let go of it. I used a 30 minutes vipassana timer with a gong every 5 minutes, that is six slots. 

Slot 1: getting settled and grounded. Any form of noting/noticing is allowed. I find it helpful to contact all my senses and my thoughts and feelings, the former in order to ground/stabilize myself and the second in order to prepare myself for what may be difficult to let go of. I skipped verbal notes and went for fast noticing. That worked. The cycling seems to be relatively fluid now, not so much subjective experience of getting stuck, not so much difficulty with dullness or distractions. Focusing on the task was easy. 

Slot 2: body sensations. Good clarity. Fine-grained, fast. A couple of brief instances of distracting thoughts.

Slot 3: thoughts. Good access to thoughts without getting lost in content. The two main categories were non-discursive thoughts popping up and disappearing (often but not always as associations from sounds or body sensations) and meditation-related mental talk. The latter can be divided into different categories. Some of it was investigation, using concepts as tools. Most of the time I found that even that was often redundant, though, because the discursive thoughts about the investigation were merely the kazoo player translating into words what had already been investigated. Much of it was polishing on those translations (more kazoo player) and repeating them (kazoo player grabbing the thoughts out of fear of forgetting them). Much was also analysis, such as some version of the division into categories that I'm now presenting, with a similar tail of polishing and repeating. There were also evaluations of the practice, of what categories there "should" be less from, and on the meta level evaluations of the evaluation. That brought about some confusion and some methodological reflections. I found myself dropping some thoughts as if they were burning, because they were judgemental, and then realizing that dropping them aggressively like that was also judgemental, and there were impulses to drop those thoughts in the same way, but that could go on forever. There was the chain of thoughts that I now understand why some teachers emphasize working with a teacher so much. Being my own teacher I kind of have to evaluate my own practice, and it is tempting to do it while I'm practicing, but that doesn't work that well. Then I did let go, not aggressively, but because it was the only way not to get caught in a loop forever, which I understood and accepted quickly. There is quite a lot of text here about something that went on for maybe a couple of seconds including the confusion. There were also instances of just resting in the space where thoughts arise.

Slot 4: this was supposed to be feelings but I forgot about that and went with noticing whatever stood out as most prominent in any given moment. Mainly body sensations, hearing, formations and thought chains. I didn't get lost in content or get dull. Some instances of space inbetween the input, noticing the space as that recognition. 

Slot 5: doing nothing. Initially I was a bit racey after all the fast noting, but I could drop that relatively fast and instead dwell in the space. There was a flickering that I realized was me trying to hard to "stabilize" the non-focus. When I noticed that, I dropped it, and then it was more effortless. 

Slot 6: I was surprised that there was a remaining slot. First I thought I must have miscalculated and decided to do another slot of doing nothing, but there was a lingering suspicion that I had missed something, and I realized that I had forgotten the feelings slot. Thus I focused on feelings. By now I was mainly equanimous with a tone of happiness and love (for instance towards the cat in my lap) but there was remaining dukkha that manifested as very subtle anxiety underneath everything. I tested myself a bit, turned my thoughts intentionally towards stuff that cause me stress in daily life. There was an emotional response to those thoughts, but it was mild and it wasn't sticky. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/13/20 12:37 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Siavash, the packages I'm talking about are creations of the mind. That doesn't mean that they aren't as real as anything else. 

And you are just as real (or unreal) as the cells in your body, or the atoms and molecules they consist of, right? When you recognize yourself in the mirror, you don't usually notice every single atom in a very fast chain, I assume? 

Can you point us to something that isn't a creation of the mind? Is it possible that what Daniel Ingram is describing in MCTB2 in regard to formations is about how we perceive phenomena as opposed to different kinds of phenomena? What can you perceive that doesn't come from a sense source (the mind is a sense source)? What can you perceive that doesn't get processed by mind? If we choose, for whatever reason, voluntarily or involuntarily, to see phenomena as combinations of other phenomena or as separate and distinct parts and pieces of a "whole" doesn't that speak to the lens through which we're observing and not dependent origination as we know it to be? Is it possible this is the difference between how things seem in different modes of perception? Is it possible that we reach a point in equanimity where the processing of phenomena via dependent origination becomes the de facto, inherent and unquestioned way we perceive things, and so we don't need to see the parts and pieces being assembled to accept how phenomena are presented to us?
No, I can't point to anything that isn't a creation of the mind. What you ask me is precisely the points I wanted to make. I totally agree with you. It was two a clock in the morning when I wrote that, so my language processing wasn't at its best. Thankyou for phrasing it so much better!

Edited to add: I probably wouldn't have described it quite as elegantly at any other time of the day either, but better than I did. The last question was a piece of the puzzle that I still hadn't quite figured out. Many thanks! That was very helpful!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 12:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I really did wonder why a higher nana would mean that stuff are suddenly lumped together like that. That didn't quite make sense. And yet I found that I liked it. It doesn't feel less rich. Less rich than the more vibrational level in some senses, but not as an experience of dual phenomena. Less precise in chronology, sure, but then again, time is also a construction, right? 

And I did wonder, too, like Siavash, how it was possible that all the sensory input came together as a package like that, including thoughts, but  then I asked myself some version of the questions you phrased here, Chris. 

This wasn't a new observation, by the way. I noticed this while I was working with Michael Taft. It took a while for me to grok that it was formations, though. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 2:23 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I really did wonder why a higher nana would mean that stuff are suddenly lumped together like that. That didn't quite make sense. And yet I found that I liked it. It doesn't feel less rich. Less rich than the more vibrational level in some senses, but not as an experience of dual phenomena. Less precise in chronology, sure, but then again, time is also a construction, right? 

And I did wonder, too, like Siavash, how it was possible that all the sensory input came together as a package like that, including thoughts, but  then I asked myself some version of the questions you phrased here, Chris. 

This wasn't a new observation, by the way. I noticed this while I was working with Michael Taft. It took a while for me to grok that it was formations, though. 


I don't think it comes together as a package. I think when we perceive it as a package, we just don't have enough clarity and resolution to see bits and pieces.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 2:34 PM as a reply to Siavash.
I don't think it comes together as a package. I think when we perceive it as a package, we just don't have enough clarity and resolution to see bits and pieces.

That's my take, too. We just don't constantly perceive objects as parts and pieces.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 2:40 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I don't think it comes together as a package. I think when we perceive it as a package, we just don't have enough clarity and resolution to see bits and pieces.

That's my take, too. We just don't constantly perceive objects as parts and pieces.


Otherwise the whole theory of dependent-origination, not-self, emptiness would be meaningless and not true, right?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 2:45 PM as a reply to Siavash.
I'm not following that. Can you elaborate?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 3:05 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'm not following that. Can you elaborate?


We only rely on what we get from our senses, 6 senses. And if with maximum resolution, still there are phenomenon that are packages perceived by our senses, and can not be deconstructed into pieces, then that would mean that there can be objects that have more pieces but still can not be deconstructed. If there is a package of 2 elements that can not be decoupled, then there can be another package of 4 elements, 8 elements and etc, that can not be decoupled, and that would mean that these packages don't follow cause and effect in their arosal. Of course this is not experiential, and just a theoretical statement. If there are phenomenon that can not be decoupled, then it would be possible to have a self that can not be decoupled or deconstructed, and that would mean that it's outside of dependent origination causality.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 2:55 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I don't think it comes together as a package. I think when we perceive it as a package, we just don't have enough clarity and resolution to see bits and pieces.

That's my take, too. We just don't constantly perceive objects as parts and pieces.

That is not my take. My take is that there are constructions on a variety of levels, and most* of what we perceive is constructions. It's not like "hearing a car (or any outside sounds)" is raw data and "feeling the air on my skin" and "smelling the moist grass and the road and the car" is another unit of raw data. They are constructions too, but on a less complex level. I see it as a matter of scale. That's a simplification of what I mean, but it will have to do. When we perceive a formation, that is a very accurate perception of a formation. It would be poor clarity to delude oneself into thinking that one perceived parts one at a time when one in fact didn't. 

*) Maybe at some point it is possible to perceive something on a level that isn't constructed, but that is more than I know.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 2:58 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Chris Marti:
I'm not following that. Can you elaborate?


We only rely on what we get from our senses, 6 senses. And if with maximum resolution, still there are phenomenon that are packages perceived by our senses, and can not be deconstructed into pieces, then that would mean that there can be objects that have more pieces but still can not be deconstructed. If there is a package of 2 elements that can not be decoupled, then there can be another package of 4 elements, 8 elements and etc, that can not be decoupled, and that would mean that these packages don't follow cause and effect in their arosal. Of course this is not experiential, and just a theoritical statement. If there are phenomenon that can not be decoupled, then it would be possible to have a self that can not be decoupled or deconstructed, and that would mean that it's outside of dependent origination causality.

Can I ask you, do you believe that you perceive raw sense data when you identify the sound of a car?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 3:02 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Chris Marti:
I'm not following that. Can you elaborate?


We only rely on what we get from our senses, 6 senses. And if with maximum resolution, still there are phenomenon that are packages perceived by our senses, and can not be deconstructed into pieces, then that would mean that there can be objects that have more pieces but still can not be deconstructed. If there is a package of 2 elements that can not be decoupled, then there can be another package of 4 elements, 8 elements and etc, that can not be decoupled, and that would mean that these packages don't follow cause and effect in their arosal. Of course this is not experiential, and just a theoritical statement. If there are phenomenon that can not be decoupled, then it would be possible to have a self that can not be decoupled or deconstructed, and that would mean that it's outside of dependent origination causality.

Can I ask you, do you believe that you perceive raw sense data when you identify the sound of a car?


Well I don't know what a raw data would be. What I perceive is a sound, and some mental images of a car, its location, and image of the sound itself, but they don't always arise exactly at the same time. First there is a sound, and those mental images come later. That is what I mean by not being coupled. Of course I don't always have that clarity to see that images arise after the sound, or that if I am focusing intensly on some other object, those images don't arise at all.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/13/20 3:05 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Chris Marti:
I'm not following that. Can you elaborate?


We only rely on what we get from our senses, 6 senses. And if with maximum resolution, still there are phenomenon that are packages perceived by our senses, and can not be deconstructed into pieces, then that would mean that there can be objects that have more pieces but still can not be deconstructed. If there is a package of 2 elements that can not be decoupled, then there can be another package of 4 elements, 8 elements and etc, that can not be decoupled, and that would mean that these packages don't follow cause and effect in their arosal. Of course this is not experiential, and just a theoritical statement. If there are phenomenon that can not be decoupled, then it would be possible to have a self that can not be decoupled or deconstructed, and that would mean that it's outside of dependent origination causality.

This sounds a bit like a version of Zenon's paradox. Do we really need to go to smaller and smaller parts for all eternity? Can't we just jump and not give a damn about having to do half of that step first, and half of the half step first, and so on for eternity? Apparently people do jump. And apparently formations are a thing, just like they are. Sure, it is possible to zoom in, but it is also possible to zoom out. Doesn't clarity go in all directions? Or does it have another name when you zoom out?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
Answer
2/13/20 3:14 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Chris Marti:
I'm not following that. Can you elaborate?


We only rely on what we get from our senses, 6 senses. And if with maximum resolution, still there are phenomenon that are packages perceived by our senses, and can not be deconstructed into pieces, then that would mean that there can be objects that have more pieces but still can not be deconstructed. If there is a package of 2 elements that can not be decoupled, then there can be another package of 4 elements, 8 elements and etc, that can not be decoupled, and that would mean that these packages don't follow cause and effect in their arosal. Of course this is not experiential, and just a theoritical statement. If there are phenomenon that can not be decoupled, then it would be possible to have a self that can not be decoupled or deconstructed, and that would mean that it's outside of dependent origination causality.

This sounds a bit like a version of Zenon's paradox. Do we really need to go to smaller and smaller parts for all eternity? Can't we just jump and not give a damn about having to do half of that step first, and half of the half step first, and so on for eternity? Apparently people do jump. And apparently formations are a thing, just like they are. Sure, it is possible to zoom in, but it is also possible to zoom out. Doesn't clarity go in all directions? Or does it have another name when you zoom out?


I am not sure I get what you mean here. I don't have any preference about what kind of clarity we should pursue, and I didn't want to imply that there should be such a preference. What I just meant is that, if objects can be deconstructed into pieces, then they can be deconstructed into pieces, and if we don't perceive that way, that wouldn't mean that there were not pieces. We just didn't perceive the pieces. Of course no one can prove (at least now I guess) any of this or its opposite!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 3:17 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Chris Marti:
I'm not following that. Can you elaborate?


We only rely on what we get from our senses, 6 senses. And if with maximum resolution, still there are phenomenon that are packages perceived by our senses, and can not be deconstructed into pieces, then that would mean that there can be objects that have more pieces but still can not be deconstructed. If there is a package of 2 elements that can not be decoupled, then there can be another package of 4 elements, 8 elements and etc, that can not be decoupled, and that would mean that these packages don't follow cause and effect in their arosal. Of course this is not experiential, and just a theoritical statement. If there are phenomenon that can not be decoupled, then it would be possible to have a self that can not be decoupled or deconstructed, and that would mean that it's outside of dependent origination causality.

Can I ask you, do you believe that you perceive raw sense data when you identify the sound of a car?


Well I don't know what a raw data would be. What I perceive is a sound, and some mental images of a car, its location, and image of the sound itself, but they don't always arise exactly at the same time. First there is a sound, and those mental images come later. That is what I mean by not being coupled. Of course I don't always have that clarity to see that images arise after the sound, or that if I am focusing intensly on some other object, those images don't arise at all.

And I am saying that sometimes a whole package of sensorial information (not raw data) comes into attention in an instant. That happens. Maybe we are using the word clarity differently. I don't use it exclusively for being able to zoom in more and more, but that would be a possible way of using the concept too. I'm using the concept clarity for seeing things like they are (if that can ever be done; I guess that depends on how we define "like they are"). In Shinheads people aim for increasing their clarity. To me it doesn't make sense that the goal should be to neglect how the human mind empirically functions. But then again, I'm talking about epistemology, not ontology. It is a fact that at a certain stage we see things like this. Sure, I guess we could say that it's poor clarity, but if we are striving for clarity and a higher nana means decreased clarity, then that would imply that one would like to avoid the higher nanas. I think this is a central step in improving one's clarity, not a lapse, even if it may seem like the latter. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 3:21 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Okay, so you assume a material view of the world, in the sense that matter ultimately exists and can be divided into smaller and smaller pieces for all eternity?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 3:53 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Okay, so you assume a material view of the world, in the sense that matter ultimately exists and can be divided into smaller and smaller pieces for all eternity?


I don't know how you came to that conclusion! :-D
I really don't know what the matter is or is not. What I can perceive is only sensations. For those sensations, currently I think they can be divided into pieces. How those sensations relate to matter or what matter is, how could I know?!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 3:56 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Then I don't understand your point. If you haven't yet experienced this phenomenon, you will eventually. I think that when you do, it really isn't relevant to point out that you can zoom in on phenomena too. That is already obvious. Sometimes the package level is the relevant level to observe, that is, how it unfolds in human experience. That is part of the insight development. I don't think it is possible to skip that part if one is to move further. I guess that is an empirical question, though, so I suggest you see for yourself. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 4:08 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Then I don't understand your point. If you haven't yet experienced this phenomenon, you will eventually. I think that when you do, it really isn't relevant to point out that you can zoom in on phenomena too. That is already obvious. Sometimes the package level is the relevant level to observe, that is, how it unfolds in human experience. That is part of the insight development. I don't think it is possible to skip that part if one is to move further. I guess that is an empirical question, though, so I suggest you see for yourself. 


There was no judgment about what should one do or not do or what is the right focus strategy or what is good for progress and anything like that in all that I said, but anyway, let's move on.
Sorry to waste your time.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/13/20 4:21 PM as a reply to Siavash.
No worries. That was not my point. I mean, sure, if people comment in my practice log that what I describe as formations is really not formations but poor clarity, then I do assume that they are suggesting that I need to investigate that more. But that isn't important. Nevermind that. But my point here is that one can be held back if one thinks that clarity is all about seeing the parts of things and therefore neglects potential insights. I want that to be clear, in case someone reads this and risks getting stuck.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 8:19 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Can I ask you, do you believe that you perceive raw sense data when you identify the sound of a car?

Yes, of course. The perception of the sound precedes the mental image, which is followed by the name. I don't just "believe" this, I can observe it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 8:37 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Okay, so you assume a material view of the world, in the sense that matter ultimately exists and can be divided into smaller and smaller pieces for all eternity?

I think it's important to be clear about specifying which domain we're investigating with meditation. It is the mental life we live, not the physical world. The physical world as described by science appears to have a hierarchical structure, where an object can be deconstructed into molecules, atoms, protons/neutrons/electrons/etc., and then further into quarks and who-knows-what-else. That's not the domain of dependent origination, which focuses on those bits of perception that we can observe the mind processing. We can describe the mind's processing (dependent origination) in scientific terms, and we all do this on DhO, but that can be misleading. The core "particle" of dependent origination appears to me to be base sense perceptions. Those that can't be deconstructed because the mind doesn't have the necessary perceptual resolution. We can only observe so much detail. We can't invent a new mind/brain like we can invent ever more powerful microscopes.

BTW - Zeno's paradox is a philosophical concept that doesn't seem to pan out in the real-world. The arrow always seems to get to the target, right?

emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 9:54 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Can I ask you, do you believe that you perceive raw sense data when you identify the sound of a car?

Yes, of course. The perception of the sound precedes the mental image, which is followed by the name. I don't just "believe" this, I can observe it.

I mean consciously and directly, unfiltered. That the raw data is what someone as a non-arahant has direct access to and identifies as a car. I don't know if you are exceptional, or if all arahants are, but as far as I understand, humans actually do not experience the raw data as they are. I think both scientists and teachers such as Michael Taft agree about that.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 9:55 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Okay, so you assume a material view of the world, in the sense that matter ultimately exists and can be divided into smaller and smaller pieces for all eternity?

I think it's important to be clear about specifying which domain we're investigating with meditation. It is the mental life we live, not the physical world. The physical world as described by science appears to have a hierarchical structure, where an object can be deconstructed into molecules, atoms, protons/neutrons/electrons/etc., and then further into quarks and who-knows-what-else. That's not the domain of dependent origination, which focuses on those bits of perception that we can observe the mind processing. We can describe the mind's processing (dependent origination) in scientific terms, and we all do this on DhO, but that can be misleading. The core "particle" of dependent origination appears to me to be base sense perceptions. Those that can't be deconstructed because the mind doesn't have the necessary perceptual resolution. We can only observe so much detail. We can't invent a new mind/brain like we can invent ever more powerful microscopes.

BTW - Zeno's paradox is a philosophical concept that doesn't seem to pan out in the real-world. The arrow always seems to get to the target, right?

emoticon

I am talking about epistemology, for my part, just like you. I was trying to understand Siavash's point, and that was the only way I could make sense of it. I don't see why I would need for everything to be made up of parts all the way otherwise. I don't need to investigate endless chains in order to reach equanimity of formations. Do you? Wasn't your point that at some point, one doesn't need it anymore. Hence Zenon's paradox. That was the point. Let us shoot that f-ing arrow!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 10:16 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Is it really that controversial on this forum to say that it is valid to observe constructions as the constructions they are? That when reality arises in attention, rather than in peripheral awareness, it sometimes is already a whole package, and when that is the case, it isn't problematic to note it like that?


I'm trying to convey this point from MCTB2, on equanimity:

don’t be tempted to apply that first vipassana jhana mentality and technique of linearly noticing individual pieces; doing this would be backpedaling, as this stage is far beyond that, even though it may seem so ordinary that it hardly seems as advanced as it is. It would be like trying to count the number of notes coming from the violins instead of getting fully into the beauty of the symphony in all its rich, full, textured, effortless, grandeur as it reverberates within the concert hall.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 10:17 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I mean consciously and directly, unfiltered. That the raw data is what someone as a non-arahant has direct access to and identifies as a car. I don't know if you are exceptional, or if all arahants are, but as far as I understand, humans actually do not experience the raw data as they are. I think both scientists and teachers such as Michael Taft agree about that.

Huh?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 10:20 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Wasn't your point that at some point, one doesn't need it anymore. Hence Zenon's paradox. That was the point. Let us shoot that f-ing arrow!

The view that perception is made up of parts and pieces becomes inherent, deeply accepted and understood at some point, generally in equanimity. That was my point. We can choose to observe things in parts and pieces, or not.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 10:23 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
When a human being touches their big toe, the raw data of seeing the touching reaches the brain before the raw data of touching the toe. Yet that is not what people experience most of the time. The experience is already interpreted, unconsciously. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 10:24 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Wasn't your point that at some point, one doesn't need it anymore. Hence Zenon's paradox. That was the point. Let us shoot that f-ing arrow!

The view that perception is made up of parts and pieces becomes inherent, deeply accepted and understood at some point, generally in equanimity. That was my point. We can choose to observe things in parts and pieces, or not.

Yes. I said that too. But we can't do it retrospectively. When we perceive something as a package, then that's how the experience is. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 10:42 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
When a human being touches their big toe, the raw data of seeing the touching reaches the brain before the raw data of touching the toe. Yet that is not what people experience most of the time. The experience is already interpreted, unconsciously. 

Here's what happens when I observe this: the sensory input reaches the mind, then the mind starts interpreting it, first as a touch sensation, then with a location, then with an image (mental image of the toe/foot), and then with a name "touching toe."

Whether I choose to observe the process with that resolution or not, it still happens that way. Prior to reaching a certain point in practice, I was not aware of the series of steps involved as the mind processes this occurrence. That is what we call "ignorance" in Buddhism, and that's what causes the sensations of suffering, dissatisfaction, or whatever you call dukkha. Since that point in time, I have an innate understanding that that's how perception works. I don't have to observe the process with a deep resolution to know, deeply, that that's how the mind works.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 10:52 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
When a human being touches their big toe, the raw data of seeing the touching reaches the brain before the raw data of touching the toe. Yet that is not what people experience most of the time. The experience is already interpreted, unconsciously. 

Actually, right now it seems like I'm in one of those phases when if I touch my big toe, I first see it, then feel the touch in my finger, and then feel the touch in my toe. So yes, I completely agree that there is a linearity to things in the relative world. Of course it is. My point is not to deny that. I don't understand why you keep assuming that. My point is that sometimes it is more accurate to see human experience for what it is even if that means accepting that sometimes sensory information comes in packages in the experience. Chris, I think we are in agreement about this. Siavash and I have discussed this several times, not only at DhO. If you read what I was questioning, it was the notion that the package can't really be a package, because according to Siavash, it wouldn't be possible to experience it like that. And yet we sometimes do. It's not that I only think that I experience it like that. That is the actual experience. That's how the mind constructs it. The construction is experienced. And there is a point to noticing that.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 10:56 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
When a human being touches their big toe, the raw data of seeing the touching reaches the brain before the raw data of touching the toe. Yet that is not what people experience most of the time. The experience is already interpreted, unconsciously. 

Here's what happens when I observe this: the sensory input reaches the mind, then the mind starts interpreting it, first as a touch sensation, then with a location, then with an image (mental image of the toe/foot), and then with a name "touching toe."

Whether I choose to observe the process with that resolution or not, it still happens that way. Prior to reaching a certain point in practice, I was not aware of the series of steps involved as the mind processes this occurrence. That is what we call "ignorance" in Buddhism, and that's what causes the sensations of suffering, dissatisfaction, or whatever you call dukkha. Since that point in time, I have an innate understanding that that's how perception works. I don't have to observe the process with a deep resolution to know, deeply, that that's how the mind works.
I'm not talking about how it happens physically. I'm talking about how the mind constructs it. And I totally agree with you about how perception works and that we don't always need to watch this play out linearly in order to understand it. I have done so throughout this conversation. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:01 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Chris Marti:
When a human being touches their big toe, the raw data of seeing the touching reaches the brain before the raw data of touching the toe. Yet that is not what people experience most of the time. The experience is already interpreted, unconsciously. 

Here's what happens when I observe this: the sensory input reaches the mind, then the mind starts interpreting it, first as a touch sensation, then with a location, then with an image (mental image of the toe/foot), and then with a name "touching toe."

Whether I choose to observe the process with that resolution or not, it still happens that way. Prior to reaching a certain point in practice, I was not aware of the series of steps involved as the mind processes this occurrence. That is what we call "ignorance" in Buddhism, and that's what causes the sensations of suffering, dissatisfaction, or whatever you call dukkha. Since that point in time, I have an innate understanding that that's how perception works. I don't have to observe the process with a deep resolution to know, deeply, that that's how the mind works.
I'm not talking about how it happens physically. I'm talking about how the mind constructs it. And I totally agree with you about how perception works and that we don't always need to watch this play out linearly in order to understand it. I have done so throughout this conversation. 
What I'm saying is that the constructions are experienced to. They occur too. They should not be confused with raw data, because that would be ignorance, but they are part of our experience. They are sense experiences too, in their own right. Daniel says so too. Are we talking different languages? 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:01 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I'm not talking about how it happens physically. I'm talking about how the mind constructs it. 

Let me reiterate that I was describing the mind's process, not the physical process.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:08 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
according to Siavash, it wouldn't be possible to experience it like that


Actually I didn't say that. What I said is the same point that Chris said above. Once we see that it arises piece by piece, then we know that it arises that way, and if we don't perceive it that way, it wouldn't change the fact that sensations arise piece by piece and not as a whole.

My discussion was only about how it is or is not, and not about what one should do, or how to perceive formations in Equanimity or etc, but it seemed that you were focused on what should one do, and that makes it harder to understand each other, I guess!

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:06 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'm not talking about how it happens physically. I'm talking about how the mind constructs it. 

Let me reiterate that I was describing the mind's process, not the physical process.


But you also said that you don't always see the linearity, right? Doesn't that mean that your mind presents another construct? That your experience actually is different than that linearity at that particular time? Isn't it valid to say that there was processing going on that you didn't need to attend to? That it was already packaged when you dealt with it phenomenologically? 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:08 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
according to Siavash, it wouldn't be possible to experience it like that


Actually I didn't say that. What I said is the same point that Chris said above. Once we see that it arises piece by piece, then we know that it arises that way, and if don't perceive it that way, it wouldn't change the fact that sensations arise piece by piece and not as a whole.

My discussion was only about how it is or is not, and not about what one should do, or how to perceive formations in Equanimity or etc, but it seemed that you were focused on what should one do, and that makes it harder to understand each other, I guess!

You did say that what I described couldn't be formations, and that instead it is poor clarity. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:10 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I've never used the word "linearity" in this context or in this conversation. I'm not sure what it means here.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:11 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
according to Siavash, it wouldn't be possible to experience it like that


Actually I didn't say that. What I said is the same point that Chris said above. Once we see that it arises piece by piece, then we know that it arises that way, and if don't perceive it that way, it wouldn't change the fact that sensations arise piece by piece and not as a whole.

My discussion was only about how it is or is not, and not about what one should do, or how to perceive formations in Equanimity or etc, but it seemed that you were focused on what should one do, and that makes it harder to understand each other, I guess!

You did say that what I described couldn't be formations, and that instead it is poor clarity. 


I questioned it that your description in that post, matches the descriptions of formation, and I said that it looks like experiencing sensations together with their mental impressions. That doesn't mean that we can not experience sensations as a package. But the fact that we experience it as a package, should not imply that all those sensations arrived together to the party.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:12 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Actually I didn't say that. What I said is the same point that Chris said above. Once we see that it arises piece by piece, then we know that it arises that way, and if we don't perceive it that way, it wouldn't change the fact that sensations arise piece by piece and not as a whole.

Yep, we agree on this.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:15 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Here's what happens when I observe this: the sensory input reaches the mind, then the mind starts interpreting it, first as a touch sensation, then with a location, then with an image (mental image of the toe/foot), and then with a name "touching toe."

For realz?

The processing distance by neuronal pathway from eyeball to brain and fingertip/toe to brain is significantly longer, so the processing information reaching the brain doesn't arrive simultaneously. I understood that the brain (scientific reading, not experiential) essentially held the visual information in a momentary buffer (if you will) and introduced the physical touch when it reached, delivering them as a packet. Kind of like Linda said. This is way dumbed down, but you get the idea. Therefore, the quick experience is that they occur at the same time, but you actually see the touching occur before the physical sensation occurs. Like a gunshot in the distance vs. the flash of the muzzle, kind of thing.

I wish I could find it, but I read a couple of articles outlining this. The taller you are, the more you are living in the past, from a processing perspective. I found that to be kind of funny.

I haven't dug into this to speak from my physical experience of it (aside from the obvious of touching my toe and watching). It all seems to happen simultaneously to my slow clunker. emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:21 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
according to Siavash, it wouldn't be possible to experience it like that


Actually I didn't say that. What I said is the same point that Chris said above. Once we see that it arises piece by piece, then we know that it arises that way, and if don't perceive it that way, it wouldn't change the fact that sensations arise piece by piece and not as a whole.

My discussion was only about how it is or is not, and not about what one should do, or how to perceive formations in Equanimity or etc, but it seemed that you were focused on what should one do, and that makes it harder to understand each other, I guess!

You did say that what I described couldn't be formations, and that instead it is poor clarity. 


I questioned it that your description in that post, matches the descriptions of formation, and I said that it looks like experiencing sensations together with their mental impressions. That doesn't mean that we can not experience sensations as a package. But the fact that we experience it as a package, should not imply that all those sensations arrived together to the party.

I never said that the sensations as raw data arrive at the same time. I said that the construction is like that. The mental activity is also sensory information. That is a sense too and equally valid as part of our sensorial reality and human experience, something that Daniel also says. We just shouldn't confuse it with raw data from the sense organs. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:21 AM as a reply to T.
The processing distance by neuronal pathway from eyeball to brain and fingertip/toe to brain is significantly longer, so the processing information reaching the brain doesn't arrive simultaneously. 

There would be no visual sensory input involved. I don't have to watch to get the mental image. I just have to feel.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:21 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
The processing distance by neuronal pathway from eyeball to brain and fingertip/toe to brain is significantly longer, so the processing information reaching the brain doesn't arrive simultaneously. 

There would be no visual sensory input involved. I don't have to watch to get the mental image. I just have to feel.
But I asked about when you actually see it.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:24 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Actually I didn't say that. What I said is the same point that Chris said above. Once we see that it arises piece by piece, then we know that it arises that way, and if we don't perceive it that way, it wouldn't change the fact that sensations arise piece by piece and not as a whole.

Yep, we agree on this.
We ALL agree about that, but that is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about constructions occurring as they are. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:25 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hey, I have to get back to work. You all keep sorting this out and I'll check back in later  emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:31 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
There would be no visual sensory input involved. I don't have to watch to get the mental image. I just have to feel.

OooO. emoticon

Tracking now, sir. 

Linda said see, and you said observe, and I assumed you were both talking about looking with the eyeballz. 

I withdraw my confusion and concur that I have had this experience (heard/smelled the coffee pot turn on - flashed a mental image of an object on another level of my home). 

I also feel the need to say that I have seen (visually) what you are saying Linda.

Siavash - hi. 

Alas...

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:41 AM as a reply to Siavash.
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Siavash Mahmoudpour:
according to Siavash, it wouldn't be possible to experience it like that


Actually I didn't say that. What I said is the same point that Chris said above. Once we see that it arises piece by piece, then we know that it arises that way, and if don't perceive it that way, it wouldn't change the fact that sensations arise piece by piece and not as a whole.

My discussion was only about how it is or is not, and not about what one should do, or how to perceive formations in Equanimity or etc, but it seemed that you were focused on what should one do, and that makes it harder to understand each other, I guess!

You did say that what I described couldn't be formations, and that instead it is poor clarity. 


I questioned it that your description in that post, matches the descriptions of formation, and I said that it looks like experiencing sensations together with their mental impressions. That doesn't mean that we can not experience sensations as a package. But the fact that we experience it as a package, should not imply that all those sensations arrived together to the party.

Yeah well, I write this log mainly to keep track of things and there's a limit to how much effort I can put into describing things over and over again every time they occur. I put the word formations there for me, to remember what I did not have the energy to phrase in the middle of the night. The next day both Bardo and Chris had posted quotes that described exactly what I did experience. I said that it was like that, because it was. We can't all write like Daniel all the time, can we? 

You know that mental formations are aggregates right? They are supposed to be packages. Yes, it is experiencing sensations together with their mental impressions. That is what formations are. So do you now agree that it was formations?

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 11:47 AM as a reply to T.
Thankyou T! Yeah, language is so very limited. It can be really frustrating at times, especially when people think that I'm disagreeing with them when I'm not. 

I was trying to explain in many different ways that I'm talking about the point of seeing how the mind uses aggregates. I think you understood what I meant. Thankyou! 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 12:03 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I haven't had a clear experience of formations as far as I know, so I can't say experientially. Reading MCTB, it seems that there is a clear difference between what is mental impressions of sensations, and the way formations are perceived, that instead of perceiving sensations arising in different modalities, the whole experience arises and vanishes is perceived, or the space arises and vanishes that has texures of 6 senses.
And you know better than me what you have experienced! And I think that is important, not what I think (which I don't have any conclusion).

And thanks for the discussion :-)

T - Hi yourself :-)

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 12:08 PM as a reply to Siavash.
Sometimes (very regularly) I experience it just like that: what arises and vanishes has all these textures, and it isn't separated into different sense organs. It doesn't come from the sense organs. It comes from the mind, which is also a sense. It is really difficult to put it into words in a way that resonates with how others use words. Of course I also hear the sound with my ear and the brain processes the sound waves, but that isn't what stands out most in my attention.

Thankyou too! I'm frustrated with the limitations of language, not with you. emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 12:07 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
emoticon
I have very little understanding of pali or any of that, but the five aggregates as often mentioned (exactly as so) can be confusing to me.

The aggregate is what one gets when grouping disparate (or even similar) elements. So the aggregate is the packet bundle in the mind, by grouping the smell/sight/sound. The smell itself, is an aggregate of whatever those pieces of sense data are to signal the smell and subsequent bundle (aggregate). The body is an aggregate of pieces of meat machine, or whatever group of subparts... 

To be succinct about the whole thing...

it seems as though the aggregated aggregates aggregate and, subsequently, though rapidly, are aggregated by the aggregated aggregate to create an aggregate, which is aggregated into a noun. So all you have to do to realize no self and realize stream entry is do that backward. 

Done. SE. emoticon

May all beings see un-aggregating. emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 12:11 PM as a reply to T.
T:
emoticon
I have very little understanding of pali or any of that, but the five aggregates as often mentioned (exactly as so) can be confusing to me.

The aggregate is what one gets when grouping disparate (or even similar) elements. So the aggregate is the packet bundle in the mind, by grouping the smell/sight/sound. The smell itself, is an aggregate of whatever those pieces of sense data are to signal the smell and subsequent bundle (aggregate). The body is an aggregate of pieces of meat machine, or whatever group of subparts... 

To be succinct about the whole thing...

it seems as though the aggregated aggregates aggregate and, subsequently, though rapidly, are aggregated by the aggregated aggregate to create an aggregate, which is aggregated into a noun. So all you have to do to realize no self and realize stream entry is do that backward. 

Done. SE. emoticon

May all beings see un-aggregating. emoticon

emoticon

It's turtles all the way down. emoticon

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 1:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Practice today: vipassana, letting go, Tibetan sound healing. No phenomenological descriptions here because I don't feel like languaging about it. Just a brief expression of gratitude, because somehow, despite the limitations of human communication, especially when it comes to establishing common ground, Malcolm finds a way to give me the exact pointers that I need exactly when I need them - on a regular basis and amazingly accurately. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/14/20 3:43 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Sometimes (very regularly) I experience it just like that: what arises and vanishes has all these textures, and it isn't separated into different sense organs. It doesn't come from the sense organs. It comes from the mind, which is also a sense. It is really difficult to put it into words in a way that resonates with how others use words. Of course I also hear the sound with my ear and the brain processes the sound waves, but that isn't what stands out most in my attention.

Thankyou too! I'm frustrated with the limitations of language, not with you. emoticon
Also, when this happens, it really seams unnecessary and kind of limiting to think of it as me perceiving it with sense organs and brain and dividing it into inner and outer. Things just happen and it's all aware. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/15/20 9:46 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
The first paragraph below is crossposted from my thread about lucid dreamless sleep.

What do you know... I accidently found some use for lucid dreamless sleep. I have been having an earworm today, a song that we used to sing in a choir 20 years ago or so, 25 maybe. The lyrics were in French, and I don't speak French. Thus I couldn't remember more than a few words, which is kind of irritating when you have a tune stuck in your head. After lunch I decided to do a reclining letting go meditation, typically the sort of meditation where I risk falling asleep. I needed to rest anyway, so why not. After a couple of unknowing events I was very relaxed and fell asleep. I stayed lucid but didn't have any thoughts that I can recall apart from recognizing being asleep and hearing and feeling the breath and the occasional snoring. After one and a half hour I had to wake myself up and go to the bathroom. There I found myself singing the song, with the complete lyrics in French. I could even remember the spelling of most of it.

Now I’ll try to describe the first part of the session.

I started reciting what Shargrol suggested as an intention in Siavash’s practice log. Then I lay down and listened to a guided meditation by Adyashanti on ”the most essential”: https://youtu.be/427Zzw6XuuU
It felt good. I remember that there were some rather stubborn thoughts in the very beginning and that I let go of them. Now I can't even remember them. Then I sort of floated, melted and dissolved in a peaceful way. There were some cracklings in the head region and a couple of electrical-ish clicks or snaps that may or may not have followed missing frames. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/15/20 10:10 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hm, okay, I did exaggerate a bit. It was probably half of the lyrics and some of the spelling, or something like that. Still, it took me by surprise.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/15/20 4:05 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today's practice:

Morning: 75 minutes Vinyasa yoga, 60 minutes Yin yoga

Afternoon: the reclining guided session reported above

Evening on the cushion practice so far: 30 minutes of diagnostic and warming up practice + 45 minutes of noticing widely without grabbing onto stuff, and of investigating when grabbing occurred

The 30 minutes session was divided into six slots. I have modified the structure a bit. 1: noticing widely to get settled and get grounded. 2: bodily sensations. 3: the interaction between thoughts and feelings. 4: noticing whatever predominates in every given moment. 5: whatever I want to investigate further. 6: "do nothing".

Some observations:
My pulse (of blood) makes a ticking noice in my head.
Energetic sensations on different parts of my scalp, apart from the usual energy field of the body.
A combo of lots of spaciousness and lots of contractions. A feeling of diminished gravity with some lightheadedness.
Sounds from outside the apartment makes my mind sort of expand to experience the outside.
Investigations mainly occur without language. They sort of follow the structure of a question and follow-up questions until emptiness is revealed, but each question takes maybe a fraction of a second. I do not see the need for retrospective tracking of those questions and how they could be translated into words. The important thing is that they do what they are supposed to do. Since those habitual patterns that I investigate are very strong, the contractions reappear over and over again in very similar ways, so I repeat the procedure over and over again. Thus the fluctuation of expansions and contractions. When I tune into the space/presence/ground of being/whatever it's called, I can "see" those expansions and contractions. It flickers in and out of access. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/15/20 5:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have been listening a lot to gongs this weekend, like this one: https://youtu.be/jJP6OVJJXhc This is excellent for letting go of active attention as a doer and just letting awareness do its thing. Attention just can't keep up with these vibrations, but awareness can. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/15/20 6:16 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Dzogchen for me: listening to that direction that doesn't exist in space and sort of floating there.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/16/20 7:36 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Morning: attended yoga workshop focusing on space element. Great yoga class, learned a lot, challenged my ideas of what is anatomically possible for this body.

Afternoon: 30 minutes of warming up sitting with six slots. Decided that "bodily sensations" include sensations of the energy body even if it means that they are outside the physical body. I assess that I'm on the threshold between reobservation and equanimity (at risk of dropping down to A&P since that pathway/portal seems easily accessible for me, cycling back and forth between those three nanas). There are mind-racing and energetic sensations and contractions and feedback loops tripping over themselves and earworms and third vipassana jhana and at the same time a sense of relief and space and optimism, and mind looking at itself occasionally. I like this place. I definitely see the dukkha in it, and wouldn't mind going passed that, but that is one of the reasons that I like it. It has lowhanging fruit. Small changes make great differences in this place. It's dynamic. I don't know which path I'm on. It's somewhere beyond SE. It seems to me like the territory between first and third, as mapped on this forum, contains a vaste number of insight cycles. There are things to learn, insights to make and territories to explore; that's what matters. 

As soon as my afternoon ADHD medication kicks in, I'll do a longer session. 

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/16/20 10:40 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I kind of jumped into a rabbit hole... I thought I'd get in the mood by listening to gong music by the guy I linked to yesterday (?), and it was so amazing that I couldn't stop. It felt like I was about to leave my body a couple of times. Eventually I had to take a break from it because it got too much oxytocine going. It makes my uteris contract and I have endometriosis. So worth it, though! 

I know, it's time to start a new practice log. Sorry, poor executive functioning. Will do, soon.

RE: Polly Ester’s practice log 6
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2/16/20 7:49 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Today there have been feelings of something rising up through the top of my head, and my pulse has been ticking behind my nose and my respiratory tract has been opened wide. Piti like electric crackling around my head, something melting down over my cheek, and flow through and around my body.